MIND MANAGEMENT Anti-Crisis Thinking: Turning doubts into delivery

The pressures of competitive business and social environment are literally tying people down with shackles of negative thinking. We are bombarded by all the different crises in today’s world: the crisis in the control of the infectious disease, SARS; aid workers facing humanitarian crisis; the Iraq post-war crisis ad nauseam.

What you focus on you get. An example of crisis thinking is illustrated by those of the “I’ll wait and see” brigade. “I’ll wait for the budget before I make any more decisions” when it’s already obvious the budget isn’t going to make any difference at all, because it never does. What’s in the budget is signalled months ahead of delivery.

Anti-crisis thinking means turning crises into opportunities! Take the example of something that happened recently in New York, the city that’s shed 50,000 jobs on Wall Street over the past three years. Because of drop in commercial property prices Pfizer Laboratories said it would spend $400 million on its New York office producing 1000 new jobs.

What are you doing for your organisation to help reverse crisis thinking? What strategies do you have in mind? Are you looking at all the new and exciting options available today in performance and people skills training to promote success thinking?

The recent media frenzy over the post America’s Cup debacle could be resolved by anti-crisis thinking. The report focuses on what went wrong instead of the objective lesson on how to bring the Cup back to New Zealand. It blames management structure, design failure, poor performance and so on. What we should gain from the experience is the understanding that there is no substitute for good management practices and marketing psychology.

A few businesses are focusing on ‘the market’ crisis caused by exchange rate changes and the ‘orders are down’ crisis instead of creating new markets for themselves. Many manufacturers and service companies continue to think in traditional terms when it comes to finding new customers. The laws of attraction and professional networking seem to be concepts that elude them.

Research shows that sales people are still mastering outdated sales techniques and approaches to more business instead of embracing some of the more powerful business approaches utilised by top corporations around the world to cope with market crises head on.

Here are some of them:
Focus on relationships Successful value-based, principle-based selling depends on relationships, not necessarily sales techniques and the personality of the sales person. powerful relationship word is symbiosis, the Greek word for “living together in mutually beneficial relationship that provides enough benefits for all partners to view it as valuable”. This translation certainly expresses the heart of good trusting relationship. You cannot achieve symbiosis through sales personality alone. It requires an understanding of the other person’s personality.

Be customer centred Have strategy for competitor advantage. It is necessary for you to periodically assess or analyse your relationship with important or valued customers, to address weaknesses. How do your customers view you? What’s their opinion of your company, your strengths or weaknesses and how do they feel you relate to them?

How good are your customer-interactive skills? Is your staff familiar with the use of verbal and non-verbal skills? What improvements are called for? Who has the expertise to carry out this training?

Profiling customers How proficient are your teams at analysing customers. It is vital that they know how to ‘read’ the other person before engaging in the relationship-building strategy. Sales training techniques are limiting if the salesperson uses the same approach to different personality styles. Profiling is skill that can be mastered.

“After-sales” sales and service Too many companies are content to simply have their sales team meet budget. Your sales professionals should be schooled in the art of always getting another sale or new customer from every sale and be proactive in offering after-sales service as an enhancer to your product or service. This is how to double your sales and halve your costs.

Anti-crisis thinking will take your team from producing ordinary to extra-ordinary sales.

Charles Donoghue APS, FNZIM is an Auckland-based author, performance psychology coach and business consultant. Email: [email protected], www.donoghuedynamics.com.

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