by Nick Miller of Clarity Advantage
In which we are reminded that, if we want to gain entry to a new account, we may need to present an idea that can be implemented fast.
In Manhattan at the end of a day-long meeting last week, another meeting participant and I fled to Lexington Avenue to grab a cab for the run to LaGuardia Airport. After a quick arm raise, a cab appeared. We stuffed our suitcases into the opened trunk. My colleague went left to slide into the curb side of the cab behind the driver. A few seconds later, watching for passing traffic hurtling down Lex, I opened the street side rear passenger door and began sliding, somewhat stiffly, into the cab. With my left leg in and left butt cheek on the rear seat , I paused for a moment to swing my brief case around. As I raised the case, the cab driver took off down Lexington Avenue toward La Guardia.
“Whoa, whoa, WHOA!” I shouted. Because my right foot and half my weight were still planted on Lexington Avenue, the cab, essentially, slid out from under my left butt cheek and, as it moved down Lex and away from me, the momentum of the cab spun me around (with my brief case, mind you) and I rolled helplessly to the street, coming to rest on my back in the second lane. Happily…. happily… the light at 49th street had turned red moments before. No cars coming.
Why did this happen?
This is a little like gaining entry to new clients. For whatever reason, a prospective buyer/company may pull over and open its doors, showing some opening or willingness to accept new “passengers” (i.e. ideas, products). Yet, when they think it’s time, they move forward just like the cab did. They don’t necessarily look to see whether “we’re in;” they move forward on their own time, driven by their own motivations and internal dynamics.
So, if we’re attempting to gain entry to an account as a new provider, whether from the curb side or the street side, we have to get in quickly with an idea that can be installed or fulfilled fast to start the relationship and get strapped in as a new provider. If we’re half committed or slow to slide in our idea or if the idea is too complex or too complicated and will take too much of the client’s time, the prospective client may pull away like the cab … no matter how good our idea… and roll down the street while we roll in the street wondering what happened.
We need to look for easy, fast, low risk ways for them to accept us… THEN we can sell them more complicated stuff to which they will need to dedicate more time and resources.