Recently I was attending a board meeting, and there was a sign in front of one of the serving dishes that said, “Scrambled Eggs: Contains Eggs.” As a sales and leadership expert, It served as a reminder to me that often when we’re seeking new opportunities in life and in business, we need to look beyond the obvious and search for what I call “hidden signs.”
A while back a client called because they were facing a competitive threat, and they wanted some help. One of their major contracts was up for renewal, and their customer was upset about the price they were paying. (Sound familiar?) They told my client to get their price in line with the competition because they had already sourced a new product and found it was qualified to work.
While we were discussing strategy, I asked, “When is the last time you sent your salespeople into their factories?” It had been a while, so we mobilized the troops and sent the salespeople out. On one of those visits, a salesperson walked in the door, tripped over a box, and went head first into the concrete floor. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time.
People came running to his aid, helped him up, and dusted him off. He was fine, but he did ask what he had tripped over. They said, “Oh that piece of garbage? That’s the piece of garbage they’re trying to force us to use and it doesn’t work.” Well, I’m sure you know what it was. That piece of garbage was the supposedly qualified product. It pays to visit clients and get to know their businesses up close. Obviously this new information changed our strategy, which ultimately helped my client close the deal with favorable terms for both sides.
Are you looking for the hidden signs that will help you to uncover new opportunities? Are you looking at the intent of the words people are using? Are you reading between the lines? Are you looking for opportunities by asking better questions and by talking to everybody? Do that, and you’ll have a better picture of what you’re looking at, and the opportunities will reveal themselves. Genuine opportunities don’t have to be spelled out like the sign labeling the scrambled eggs. When you look between the lines and watch out for the hidden signs, I promise you that sales will skyrocket and new opportunities will appear. Here is another resource you can use to learn more about this subject.