News from Afar (Issue 612)

In which we are reminded that selling also includes sharing our perspective to help our clients advance.

“How has your trip been?”

The golden mid-March Arizona sun rays were just reaching over Camelback Mountain to the patio roof behind us, reducing the slight chill in the cloudless, still,  Paradise Valley morning. We were just starting our breakfast, al fresco, a traveler and a native.

“It’s been great, thank you!” the traveler replied. “I went to two conferences last week – one here in Phoenix, the other near San Diego, I’ll tell you all about those, there were some TERRIFIC insights about where the industry is headed… The spring flowers in San Diego are in full bloom already, you just can’t believe the colors. Look here, I have some pictures on my phone… And, really, the best part of the whole week was two days ago when I went up to Sedona with a friend. Have you seen it? Oh, gosh, the view driving into town was amazing. The first big red rocks formations seem to rise out of nowhere…. and then …. “

A tradition as old as human travel. Travelers passing through and villagers returning home, sharing news and adventure stories from far off lands. Welcome, all, the story teller, describer of places, recounter of deeds, danger warner, chronicler. Sit by our fire, by our bar, at our table, and bring us news from beyond. Tell us your experiences, amaze us with your tales, expand our understanding of what you are seeing…out there.

“What are you seeing…out there?”, it turns out, is a question frequently asked of sales people and consultants. Our clients are tending their businesses, their families, and their communities. However wide their vision, however much they surf the Web, they seek and respect our perspective as business travelers, moving along paths and speaking with people different from theirs.

“What are you seeing out there?” is an invitation to share events and facts, yes. More important, “what are you seeing out there?” is an invitation for us to offer perspective, points of view about trends and events that affect our clients’ decisions. It’s a chance for us to help our clients make sense of what they’re seeing, to test their own experience and opinions against ours, enriched by our travel and our conversations with many clients and prospects.

We could, like travelers down the centuries, appear at our clients’ and prospects’ doors ready to regale them with whatever stories seem most amusing in the moment, as if all huddled ‘round the flickering late evening fire, mugs of mead in hand, darkness pressing.

Better, ‘though, to measure our audience, to think ahead – anticipate their question and PLAN a response for EACH client or prospect, assisted by our study of industry trends portrayed in Vertical IQ or other providers of industry information and our experiences with similar and different clients.

As we now plan our questions prior to sales calls, so now should we plan our responses to “What are you seeing…out there?”, the better to serve our clients and earn their trust.

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