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Management Side

Two Quotes to Apply to Creating Customers

I'm a fanatic when it comes to consuming quotes and memes. My Photos library is full of those that I tuck away through my surfing habits on the web. If I read something that strikes me as fundamental or sound or pithy - something that strikes "a chord" for me - it's an automatic screen capture and highlighter tool. This obsession preceded these modern tools of cataloguing my finds. Just look at my bookshelf where you'll find a dozen books on quotable quotes from different sources and topics. Someone else went to the trouble of curating quotes for me and I just had to buy the book. I proceeded to dog-ear pages or use highlighting markers back then to identify the quotes that really spoke to me. The ones that defined my thinking or influenced me in life and business. Now days, all you have to do is scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. to have a graphic and a quote from someone. It's so much easier, except you have no way of knowing the accuracy of the source. When books were published, you had more of a certainty sources were verified. Perhaps there were citations and endnotes of references.

Many of my screen captures come from comment sections on news articles. You will not get an argument from me that comments sections are mostly moronic, biased, cruel, or derogatory thoughts from keyboard warriors in their parent's basement. Damaged people. People who have no business making comments because they are ignorant or inexperienced. All they do is "feel" and find that that makes them special. However, the advantage of comments sections is the pseudo-anonymity associated with making a comment. Nobody uses their actual name. This allows for more truth-telling without fears of repercussions. There can be diamonds hidden in that bedrock. From reading any given comment, one cannot tell how credentialed someone is making the quote, but what you can tell by the quality of the comment is whether or not the commenter is someone you are willing to consider. I definitely put more stock into what Will Rogers is credited with saying than MajikBeast43. That is, unless MajikBeast43 has a well-thought-out observation that is brief, pithy, insightful, funny, or true. Perhaps MajikBeast43 is really Ray Dalio or Martin Armstrong or Dave Chappelle? Who knows.

Scrolling through my Photos library I found two examples that I can apply to how I approach solution selling. The first comes from Rick Rubin, the successful record producer, who produced records for wide ranging talent like Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, to Metallica, Tom Petty, and Johnny Cash. This meme quotes him saying, "Making music is like fishing. You can go out fishing, but you can't say I'm going to catch three fish today. You have very little control over this process. It's magic really." It is apparent that I'm not in the record producing business, but I can easily see the parallel in my daily business life in solution sales. In reality, I have very little control over the process. I can't control many factors that result in a successful business deal or supply contract. I can make educated guesses on solutions, I can make outstanding proposals, I can project the value customers can come to expect from working with my company. I can't control the constraints my customers have, or the timing they need to fund projects, or what my competition is offering, or what capacity my company has to deliver. Hell, a pandemic could hit that freezes all business deals for a year. Or a supply chain disruption hits that re-prioritizes all my customers activities away from their expansion plans. Or interest rates tripling to a point that makes deals less profitable or more difficult to finance. There's no way all of these things could happen (sic) in today's modern business world, right? Do any of these uncontrollable factors make someone less effective at sales? No. I'm just out there fishing, i.e. doing what is necessary to put me in a position to catch a fish. Finding the right spot. Using the right bait. Having all the proper fishing equipment.

The next quote I want to share with you is uncredited. I do not know who said it, so that makes me wonder if I should buy into it. Yet, it is powerful, and so true based on my life's experiences. "If you spend your time chasing butterflies, they'll fly away. But if you spend your time making a beautiful garden, the butterflies will come to you. Don't chase, attract." A simple Google search of the quote revealed to me who did produce this wonderful insight. Mario Quintana. Further searching as to who this person is revealed that he was a Brazilian poet. The main themes of his poetry include death, the lost childhood and time. He was an amazing, award-winning writer who deserves my admiration. Just by reading his quote, I could tell it was worth buying into without even knowing his credentials first. This one is easy to apply to solution sales in the sense that being pushy with customers to achieve your goals can have the negative impact of chasing them away. The best success will come with aligning their goals with your goals to create the outcome you both will enjoy. It's so simple, yet I see butterfly chasers everywhere and garden builders are few and far between.

Believe me, I could go on for hours with assessments of each and every quote or meme I've gathered over the years. Even more so if I were to pull down the books from my shelf and dig into quotes and comments I highlighted that are bound in that archaic medium of paper. However, I'll just conclude this month's column with the parting thought that you can find inspiration everywhere. You just have to keep your eyes open and be mindful of the synchronicities that are all around us. The world is an amazing place and there are amazing people you can learn from throughout history. Luckily, amazing thinkers have laid down their thoughts in books and articles so future generations can stand on their shoulders and apply valuable lessons that have already been learned. That's why I find joy in writing and reading. Meme makers on the internet have built an income by bringing these thoughts and ideas to more eyeballs. Comment sections are growing exponentially every second of every day. If I let all the garbage in most comment sections dictate my mood and outlook, I will become a miserable person. Don't let that happen. Find the Mario Quintana's throughout history to show you where to find peace and success. People like that are everywhere. Find them.

Steve Sena (stevesena@me.com) is a Cincinnati native. He obtained degrees in Paper Science & Engineering from Miami University in Oxford, OH and an MBA concentrating in Economics from Xavier University. He's worked for a broad array of leading producers, suppliers, and converters of pulp and paper grades.



 


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