Seth’s Blog really came home to me this morning. I read Seth Godin’s blog almost every day because I always learn something new that is both useful and thought-provoking. Very little business advice consistently meets both of these standards that I attribute to Seth.
This morning I read his post “The Answer is Simple”. In two short paragraphs Seth captured a dilemma faced by most small business owners and sales reps who sell any kind of service. How can you compete with the people who promise simple solutions to complex problems, even though you know that there are no really simple solutions?
Seth says, “Take complicated overall answers and make them simple steps instead. Teach complexity over time, simply.”
His advice reminds me of what I have learned from The Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan, who always recommends that you devise your solution as a process and create a clear and simple visual representation of that process. Dan’s advice was instrumental in helping us devise The Whale Hunters Process™, which is simple in terms of “Scout, Hunt, Harvest” but embeds a good bit of complexity within those simple terms.
My friend Hazel Walker of The Referral Institute says about Whale Hunting, “It’s simple but it isn’t easy.” An important part of our jobs is to make things easier for our clients and customers. But the rub is that if we over-simplify or imply that the implementation is easier than we know it will be, we do no favors to ourselves or our customers.
And that’s why it’s so important for you to take responsibility for making your solution not only look and feel simple to your customers but also BE simple because it has been broken down into manageable steps. When your customer asks, “What should I do next?”, she doesn’t want to hear “that depends” or “you could do it this way or that way or another way.” He is counting on you to say, “Here is the next step.” In the first consulting practice that I built, we literally promoted the slogan “We know what to do next.”
My clients struggle with the need for simplicity in their brand promises and in their marketing and sales materials. As The Whale Hunters has been completing its 2011 strategic plan, our team has struggled to reduce ambiguity and be more directive in the “what should I do next” department. How well can you represent the complexity of what you offer in a simple, step-by-step manner?
I recommend it as an exercise to prepare for your 2011 sales explosion!