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The Power Of Visualization!

by David Brock on February 6th, 2015

No, I’m not going to get all “new wavy” and start chanting on you.  There is a huge amount of literature on visualization, some of it starts getting out there, but a lot of it is rock solid.  Recently, Michael Harris, commented on one of my LinkedIn Posts.  In the post he brought up visualization.

In reflecting on our LinkedIn exchange, I thought about how powerful visualization is in influencing, often totally unconsciously, our behaviors and the outcomes we create.

Before I dive, in–a few examples, to start illustrating the point.

Many of you know I’m a wannabe athlete, so I take my sports seriously, training and trying to improve.  When I first started training for bicycle racing, I had to learn things like how to draft off my teammates–a couple inches behind someone’s wheel at a pretty good speed, or riding in a pack, or dealing with obstacles and hazards in the roadway.

You probably can guess the outcomes of my early encounters.  In drafting, riding so close to someone’s wheel, I was consumed with “not hitting his wheel.”  In a pack I was consumed with “not getting knocked down.”  Encountering an obstacle, I was consumed with “not hitting the obstacle.”

Yep!  I hit every single one of them.  I had close to 100% “success” in hitting back wheels, getting knocked down, hitting the obstacles.  There was one really embarrassing time, when we were riding through a very low tunnel at a pretty good speed.  We had to stay right in the center, right behind each other.  Drift a foot or so either direction and your helmet would hit the severely curved ceiling of the tunnel.  Yes—I was the laughing stock of the team for the rest of the ride as they pointed at my severely dinged helmet and my equally dinged pride.

Each of us has our own stories–whether it’s not missing that golf ball, tennis ball, baseball, target, or not swallowing water when we are surfing, or whatever.

The same thing happens in our professional and sales lives.

If we think too much about “not discounting,” rather than about value creation, what happens—usually we get into a pricing battle.

If we think too much about “keep the customer from hanging up on the call” rather than “what’s the most interesting thing to that customer,” — you know the answer.

Or even that desperation, “I can’t afford to lose this deal.”

Visualization is very powerful.  It shapes our attitudes in everything we pursue.  It shapes how we approach things and how we respond to challenges that come up on the way.  It impacts whether we see the glass as half empty or half full.

Make no mistake, visualization is very different than dreaming.  Visualization is purposeful, it is thought-ful, it is focused.  Visualization focuses on the best possible execution to achieve the outcomes we desire.

It changes the way we approach selling.

We visualize the process of creating the greatest value for the customer and execute that, not worrying about price, because we know price and value are completely different.

We visualize helping the customer with their buying process and then become a critical resource in moving them through that process, not worrying about getting the order.  We know the order is a natural outcome of the collaboration.

We visualize helping the customer see opportunities to be far more successful–to grow, improve, not about a catchy line to keep them on the phone.

Visualization, consciously or unconsciously always influences the outcomes we create.  So why not leverage it to create the outcomes we want instead of unconsciously visualizing the obstacles we will face.

Thanks for starting the conversation Michael!

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3 Comments
  1. Martin Schmalenbach permalink

    Dave, you mentioned wanting to be an athlete – I hear you! In my youth I did pretty well at the 400m sprint, representing my college for most of my time there, breaking several college records. And I learned to enjoy that very physical sport, rugby. Later in life I had the joy of spending 3 days with the 1968 olympic 400m hurdle champion, now ‘sir’ David Hemery. And with England just winning not 10 minutes ago their first match of the 2015 Six Nations Rugby championship, I couldn’t not comment.

    There are VERY few athletes these days who don’t use some form of visualization to help them stay on top.

    Increasingly we’re finding through our coaching and simulation based approach here where I work that people are doing exactly this – visualizing what was, what could be… it both helps them figure out ways to get from where they are to where they’d like to be… AND provides some strong motivation & self confidence to go and ‘do’!!!

    • Martin, now you have me struggling with visualization–trying to think of you in a sprinting kit doing the 400 😉

      Visualization is so powerful. There are endless stories of athletes visualizing, increasingly we’re hearing of business professionals using it. I guess it might be a fancy way of saying, figure out your object, figure out what you have to do to achieve it, go out and execute.

  2. Getting your head in the right space is so important for professional athletes like tennis, gold etc. Why would sales be any different. I was talking to Geoffrey Moore today about provoking customers with insight, and we both agreed that it’s got to come from caring first, provoke second; otherwise, the provocation becomes a means to your end.

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