I got a deal on some special teeth whitener toothpaste. When you drink the amount of tea I do, I’ll take anything to brighten up my smile. Then I got a notification to say that it was on its way! I waited expectant and excited, replaying the Instagram video in my head, imagining my pearly white gnashers lighting up the room.
Then… nothing arrived. The delivery app showed that the road was closed to us and it seemed the driver didn’t want to use the larger diversion sign next to it. The picture was there but the computer said no response.
The funny thing was that the road really wasn’t closed completely and certainly not the road to our house. People needed access and cars were driving past the gap made for vehicles to pass. Besides, the diversion signs gave travellers other options to get to our home.
After expressing my disappointment with a few messages it got me thinking. How many times are we hit with a sign or a notification that disrupts what we were planning on doing and we just accept the obstacle rather than question it?
Starting creating purposeful businesses, becoming a B-Corp and pioneering a 4-day work week (before it became trendy), we have had quite a few signs thrown our way. Signs saying give up, change course, or stop trying to be more purposeful!
We all have to read signs to navigate, keep us safe and ensure we arrive at our destination but some signs can take us off course. They are unexpected and can be more distracting than helpful.
Maybe its cones in the road, road closed, flood, diversions or even traffic lights in places where we least expect them. Country living serves up more random signs like animals crossing the road or fallen trees. (Incidentally, the biggest surprise warning sign I encountered on moving to the country was all the 4x4s strewn along the verge with shifty-looking folk pretending not to be engaged in an illegal pursuit of certain wild animals. Foxes, be on your guard!)
As far as traffic signs go, the signs can often stay out for days after the event, like in the case of heavy rainfall that causes floods, or ice that makes driving hazardous. In the country it just seems to take longer for them to be collected back in!
After respecting the sign for a while, braver folk simply ignore it and carry on as they judge (usually correctly) that the conditions the sign is indicating no longer apply. For me, I can see this in business. Rather than driving on autopilot or forever locked in survival mode, if we want to grow and get to our destination, taking the braver route is the smarter option. The conditions may have changed, we just need to take pre-emptive action.
The words, ‘It is how we have always done it’ absolutely make sense in normal conditions BUT in abnormal ones, we have to think differently.
Having to navigate the scorched earth of the last few years it is easy to see how you might get stuck there BUT you have to break out from its limitations. If you want different results you need to execute differently.
To come out of these adverse circumstances we need to add in additional steps, add more value, invest more time, and be clearer with our communication.
Having spoken to many businesses over the last few weeks the common theme I hear is that the buying journey is taking longer. Decisions are delayed as well as payments, banks are closing, fear is taking hold and, of course, the media is amplifying the negativity.
While lots of people shopping, transactions are not as commonplace as they used to be. We have to work harder to create the confidence to get the deal, whilst trying to separate the window shoppers, tyre kickers and free samplers from the genuine investors.
Simply put. Change is needed.
Change the environment. We are a product of it. No sales, too many of the wrong kind of prospects, these are all symptoms of being in the wrong rooms. So get out of them. Run to the right rooms! Don’t devalue yourself. You will spend all of your time for no money and your value and impact is continually questioned.
Go find some rooms where you can be your very best self.
Here’s a few examples of how to do it:
ONE WAY TO MANY WAYS
Produce content that aligns with you.
You have a certain expertise. So, be clear about it. Talk about it often. Blog about it, post about it, appear on a few podcasts, and if you are really serious, start your own podcast or even write a book around your subject. The more value you add, the more people will see that you know your stuff. If you can’t talk about why, how and what, then you don’t know enough to take the potential client on a journey. Add depth to your brand by talking about what you know and love.
People will hear your ideas and methodology but the serious people won’t have the time to copy you, they’ll just want your help. They are looking for people who remove the hassle of delivery and are willing to invest in someone who can take it off their desk.
RED LIGHT TO GREEN LIGHT
Talk to strangers. Get out there. Network, talk to people rather than relying on a web form only. Get out from behind that desk and invest in people. More conversations create more opportunities. When fearful, we clam up, but I think that’s the time to get more visible! Get into the rooms where you are most uncomfortable. Stop hiding behind tags.
Introbiz is a tool to enable you to do this more easily. I’m a franchise owner of Bristol Introbiz and we are creating experiences and connections on and offline that are attracting a whole new world of purposeful people.
WORK IN PROGRESS TO WORK FOR PROGRESS
Give to others.
I looked at my diary this week, and I have given lots of advice and value for FREE not for a FEE. I’m not expecting anything back, I want to help people.
Helping people should always be part of our investment strategy. When you sow, you don’t reap always from the same people but sowing is a great way of assisting others who need a step up, a lift, or fresh direction.
Try new things and share new things, you’ll also recognise the impact you give when you are around people who don’t normally hear what you have to say.
DEAD END TO CROSSROADS
Honestly, some days you’ll be shocked by people’s perceptions and intentions. Insecurity in these times is ugly, it gets in the way of progress. I’ve got wiser to distraction, so I go where there is traction. Time tells and we just have to trust the process.
Let the evidence speak for itself rather than getting caught up in justifying yourself. Focus on what you are responsible for and build.
Peace makes for progress. Panic causes distress. Stay aligned on what you are assigned. If a potential lead has had a bad experience then find out why.
Negativity steals time, kills hope and drags your mood down. Guard against it, don’t entertain it. Be the positivity.
LINE DOWN TO LINE OPEN
Phone people. Email, text, messenger, WhatsApp are great tools but getting on the phone can change your zone. Voice calls are underrated but having them removes the need for second-guessing. Tone can be misrepresented on an email, or a text, particularly if you have time and the other person is time-poor.
Getting on the phone takes confidence BUT it inspires confidence. The more you do it, the easier it is and the friendlier you become. It is harder to catfish and quicker to identify if someone is serious or not.
DIVERSION TO A DIRECT ROUTE
Life is full of diversions but we need to keep our focus on the goal. Building a business can seem worrying when we just go by the signs.
The best thing you can do for your company is to create a strong narrative. People love adventure and if you can share yours well, you’ll find your people.
Our Purpose Playbook is a catalyst for change in any business and we have added 6 figure sums to companies with our creative thinking and business insight.
More eyes on your brand will ensure that your message becomes the definitive sign that everyone is looking for.