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HomemibusinessReady… Set… Go!

Ready… Set… Go!

There is a crucial business choice between 
being ‘Ready when you are’ and ‘I’m ready. Are You?’.

The tentative, reactive business attitude of ‘I’m ready when you are’ is one that everyone suffers from, either now and then, or virtually all of the time. This weak stance is alive and well in many private accounting practices, where the onus is almost always on clients to ask 
for ideas and help, and it exists at retail level with the use of power phrases such 
as ‘will there be anything else?’.

It is also on display in some Optometry Practices, such as one I visited recently where an assistant said to me: ‘We have various lenses that might be of help to you, would you like me to show you what is available?’, to which I said, “Not at the moment, thank you”, and the lady said “Okay”, and that was that.

Opposite Attitudes

The world of business has been constrained by this awful attitude 
since business began, and no amount 
of so-called ‘sales training’ will change the situation…except to make it worse by asking people to behave in ways that are alien to them! And yet…the people held back by this mindset are quite often the opposite in their private lives.

There are various lenses that can help with vision and comfort, let me show them to you so that you know what is available.

For example, at a training course I ran not long ago, one of the weakest sales people there got talking to me at the lunch break about ‘comedy’. Using the proactive attitude of ‘I’m ready! Are you?’, he said: “John, you obviously enjoy humour; have you seen the New Zealand duo called 
The Flight of the Conchords on SBS?” 
I told him I didn’t know of them and so he continued, “They are fantastic and I’m sure you’d love them!” I made a point of watching the show the following week and he was right, and even if I hadn’t enjoyed the act, it was very good of him to tell me about it.

Now, the question is: why doesn’t he use this positive approach when selling to customers and prospects? The answer 
is simple: he does not feel that what he 
has to sell is worth telling people about 
in a manner that is ardent, convincing 
and contagious.

Personal Experience

In my own case, I have enjoyed a successful career as a professional conference speaker and trainer, but I never had a lesson about how to perform these demanding duties. What drove me from the start, and drives me still, is a feeling of great distaste at what passes for education and motivation in the sales sector.

Determined to offer alternative, truthful and much better ways of doing business, based on my own experience and the knowledge of great professionals I had encountered, I entered the speaking circuit with a series of urgent messages that I thought business people ought to hear…for their sake and for the benefit 
of their customers and companies.

To create the conference presentations, I thought about the right ways to communicate with people, and I also considered the wrong ways to communicate…based on the agony of listening to so-called ‘motivators’, who would deliver patronising messages about ‘how to be a success’. Finally, I had to learn how to deliver the messages that I had created, using evidence, ideas, humour, etc., so that I could stand before an audience for 90 minutes…without notes.

Being Ready

So, to be driven by the attitude of 
‘I’m ready! Are you?’, the first task 
is to design your messages to patients 
and customers so that they are more valuable and urgent than those delivered 
by your competitors.

With a different, better, more interesting set of ‘messages’ you can serve people with the attitude of ‘I’m ready! Are you?’ Without such better messages you will 
be compelled to face customers and say “Can I help you?”, or “Do you want to see some other ideas?”…both of which are aligned with the attitude of ‘I’m ready when you are.’
Once the messages are created, the next challenge is to ‘present’ the messages in the best possible way, otherwise you will have a superior proposition delivered in an inferior manner.

An example of a positive message that complies with the ‘I’m ready!, Are you?’ approach would go like this: “There are various lenses that can help with vision and comfort, let me show them to you so that you know what is available.”

Delivering valuable messages to patients and customers involves a professional obligation, and should never entail asking permission to do your job.

Key Points
  • Reactive attitude of ‘I’m ready when you are’ is a tentative and weak stance.
  • Proactive attitude of ‘I’m ready! Are you?’ is positive and signifies assertiveness and confidence.
    Design messages to patients/customers so that they’re more valuable and urgent than those delivered by competitors.
  • Avoid saying “Can I help you?”, or “Do you want to see some other ideas?” which leaves the customer to control the situation.
John Lees is a sales and marketing specialist, operating services as a professional speaker, 
trainer, consultant, business coach…and he is 
the author of 11 books on business development. 
Email: [email protected] 
Website: www.johnlees.com.au.