The Slow Movement continues its spread.
I first came across it a decade ago. Wonderful, seemingly impromptu – the then new term was popup – small markets with chef-manned stalls grouped together inbetween London office space. Local, artisanal lunchtime snacks I, along with many others, were happy to support in preference to The Man.
Little did I know that there was a movement. And it began in backlash at a MacDonalds opening. At the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome no less.
I remember seeing the snail logo on posters and couldn’t help wondering if they’d chosen the wrong word. In their sense, the opposite of fast wasn’t really slow as such. More like calm, handcrafted, deep. But not as snappy, not as instant (ahem).
Self-appointed Slowness ambassador Carl Honoré; “Slow with a capital-S does not mean doing everything at a snail’s pace as that what be absurd, silly, right. It’s about doing things at the right speed“.
Solution selling falls into the trap. The relentless pursuit of shortening deal times tends to usher in bigger discounts yet paradoxically, less deals. A race to the bottom.
Strategically, there is nothing that has greater impact on heightening the flow, size and success of deals than sorting out then refining your overall sales process. This is sadly beyond far too many a sales operation.
Tactically, there’s a few pointers around the edges that can hasten progress.
One idea comes from the school of old-fashioned letter writing. Honoré again; “Slow journalism; bringing back long form and deep thinking rather than 140-character tweets and clickbait”.
The rush to single sentence emails, short chats on messaging apps and single slides sent through has liberating moments. Yet the sculpted, considered document still has its place.
I’m not suggesting sending through dozens of pages of a slideshow pdf. Nor returning to the days of telephone directory Props (ask someone with grey hair).
But some of the greatest ‘wins’ feature a long essay. Putting plenty of thought into a potential client’s issue. Not only does it feel good to construct, but when read – and I accept that is the cruncher as it really hurts when the recipient doesn’t – you are practically guaranteed to work together. In crowded fields of charts, tables, photos and bullets, it’s a terrific qualification tool.
I’m not going to pretend these outputs are easy. You cannot fall prey to the famed quote; “I didn’t have time to write a short letter so wrote you a long one instead”. Hurried is Fast. It’s not good. Festina lente.
They take precious time too. Which you likely feel you do not have. But like any new endeavour, crack it once and it is then way simpler to amend and develop as you go along to your next bid. Sales Data Re-use for which 90s process practitioners in particular will go all warm and gooey.
As author of The Great Acceleration, Robert Colville, notes, no-one wants to become “hummingbird creatures that don’t have time to think or reflect”. And that includes your ideal customer.