The couple of dozen people I shared chats with over the weekend of Michael Jackson’s death all praised Thriller as a spellbindingly awesome album. No one had any problem telling me how much they liked his pre-light-skin recordings. As of right now, it’s impossible to avoid hearing his songs as you go about your daily routine and I have to admit to the enjoyment that creating a playlist of his songs on my ipod, ready for a long train trip to a client later in the week, gave me.
Surfing for background bereft of tittle-tattle, with genuinely interesting and fresh angles, yielded few fruitful searches. Thankfully, one such gem came to me from the unlikely setting of the Harvard Business blogs, in the form of Michael Jackson and the Zombieconomy. It reveals thoughts on why the music industry, among others, are flawed due to the inappropriate way in which they stimulate ‘growth’.
It immediately struck me as a trio of excellent ways to push sales forward in these credit crunch, recession times:
Change through authentic value
Firstly, it gives prospects in our b2b solution selling world a terrific analogy of why they should take the plunge and buy, should they be wavering. The video link in the aforementioned blog post plays an audio file where one line can be paraphrased as ‘companies may know that they need to change, but do not necessarily know precisely how they can do so to create authentic value’. And I’m sure we can pitch our solution as creating such true value.
Secondly, there’s promotion of the idea of chasing real innovation, over what is termed “unnovation”. If you can show (framed in this way) that what you offer is genuinely progressive for the prospect, then you undoubtedly move closer to signatures. Two further points made here add fire. Firstly, you must go against the perceived grain of “undercounting cost and overcounting benefit”, as well as ensuring that you do not exhibit (the omnipresent and disgraceful) ‘indifference to whether clients are better off’.
Stop playing musical chairs
And thirdly, here’s one further delicious snippet:
“We don’t reward people for creating, growing, nurturing, or even remixing assets. We just reward them for allocating the same old assets.”
How does your solution reward the “creating, growing, nurturing, or even remixing” that could be done client-side?
So, for at least the rest of the year, telling a story which begins “…remember the Thriller video and all those zombies dancing…” and talk about this ‘zombie economy’ can only help distinguish you from competition.