Business Coaching: Give them what they want.

I just wanted to get these thoughts on 'paper' today... and ... as these are spontaneous thoughts they are probably not complete, well-thought-out ideas. But, here goes anyway.

I was just reminded of something a couple of my sales-minded friends told me when I asked them about sales: they all said the same thing..."Give them what they want." Indeed this seems to be the key and what can make sales as easy as taking candy from a baby. If you read Jordan Belfort's book "The Way of the Wolf", famous from the movie 'The Wolf of Wall Street' with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, you will get the same advice. Belfort goes one step further when he says that the job of the salesperson is to help the person get what they want even when it doesn't mean a sale for you in that moment. In other words, he is saying you also help others make sales.

So, what about someone, or a country, who says they want something but they don't REALLY want it? 

In real estate there are a couple of famous sayings: "Buyers are liars." "Sellers are worse."  This simply means that what people are telling you they want, they don't really want. They want something else but they themselves are unaware of it. 

A friend of mine just returned from a year working for the Peace Corp in Africa, where the government had requested business coaches to help new entrepreneurs get started in their business to build the economy. The government funds many new businesses but they seem to have trouble turning the opportunity into businesses that actually function as a business, in other words, produce something, open the doors, and sell products to create a profit.

He worked very hard on projects to help these new business leaders out but nothing much came of it. Why? I'm not sure but I have an idea about it, because I suffer from the same thing. I don't get it..."it" being "Business".

Why don't they or I get it? Because we have never worked in a business before on the management side. We have always been the talent but are not the administration. We do the work of the business and produce the product of the business but we have never had to run a business. That is a completely different thing than being an employee, or as I like to say, an Indian and not a Chief.

There is a move called "The Gods Must be Crazy" and it is a South African film about this very issue of 'western culture' of life and business getting integrated with those who come from the bush of Africa. These tribal people aren't at all interested in the way things work in the west. It isn't a part of their DNA at all. If they have enough to eat, drink, and sit around a fire at night, they have plenty. Why complicate something as simple as this?

Westerners see poverty when in fact they are living the same lives they have lived for thousands of years. So, deep down in their soul there is no 'drive' to become business people. They all may say they want modern conveniences but deep down it is all too much trouble. They may want cell phones, social media, and to watch movies on streaming, but they don't.

People can be helped with business and it doesn't do a bit of good. It isn't because they are lazy, stupid, or uneducated. It is because they don't want, need, or understand it. It is like being from a different planet.

Before I go on with my own reflections on this topic I'd like to explore something else that has to do with what I have discussed thus far...

So...if they don't really want what they say they want, how do we find out what it is they want so we can help them get it and it has a much higher chance of success.

The old saying "Don't try to sell ice to an Eskimo." They already have more than enough and they don't need it." So, in Africa the same may hold true in a different way. They may need ice, but they've never had it so they don't know that they want it because they don't really know what it is for. So, WHAT DO THEY WANT?

The biggest mistake a business can make is to 'want something for their customers that they don't know they want.' Just because what you are selling is great doesn't mean people are going to want it or need it. Just because you need to make a sale doesn't mean that it is a prospective customer's duty to buy it from you so you can make money.

If we are trying to help people the real thing we should be doing is determining what people really want and seeing to it that they can get it.

I'm thinking that in Africa the best way to teach business to people is to bring a business that will work to the country and hire the people as employees and train them to do the jobs involved in business. They need to be a part of a business culture first before going out on their own to create a new business. In fact, most businesses are created by people who were employees of another business and then decided to take their knowledge and skills to start their own company. Very few do it any other way.

So, with business it is about asking the right questions and not trying to give answers to questions nobody has asked.


Now to me...

This is the soul-searching I am doing with myself. Do I want to be a business person? Do I need to be a business person? Should I be a business person? I would LIKE to be a business person but because my entire DNA is screaming NOOOO at me I think I have an inner deep resistance to it and no matter how much coaching I get, or shift in my mind I try to develop for myself, there is not enough gold in Fort Knox to get me to do it. But, I am too stubborn to give up. I still think that there will be a shift inside of me that will turn me into a business magnet in my years of retirement.

The truth is that I am a creative person and not a business person. My talents lie in the creative end of any business idea. So, either I get someone to do the business side for me, or I attach myself to a business/organization somehow.