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Turbulence And Fear Of Buying

by David Brock on March 5th, 2019

I spend too much of my life on planes. The other day was a rough flight, it was typical winter storms. I’ve become immune to the occasional shaking, even the captain suspending service for a few minutes. But this flight caused me to pause. We hit a pocket, it seemed like we dropped 100 plus feet. The bouncing was worse than I experienced. We hit a few more pockets, a few of the overhead bins popped open, I could hear carts crashing in the galley. I could see a few of the people around me praying. Despite the 100 + thousand miles I fly every year, I found myself clutching the armrests, closing my eyes and trying to meditate.

Then it was over…..

The captain came on the speakers, “Sorry folks, we couldn’t avoid that turbulence, but we are through it now…..”

Turbulence is unsettling. We are out of control, we don’t know what’s happening now, what will happen next. Every once in a while the there’s a “pocket,” and we drop. We don’t know when it will end, worse yet, we don’t know how to get out of it.

Increasingly, our and our customers’ worlds are characterized by turbulence. We face ever increasing complexity, disruption, change, uncertainty, risk, overload, overwhelm, distraction, confusion, data/information overload, confusion, disengagement, shifting priorities……

Each of us, facing turbulence, grab the “armrests” and pray. We look for a way out, but the nature of turbulence is “we don’t know.”

We need help, just like pilots who are trained to deal with these situations, who practice in flight simulators, who have navigated similar situations many times, we need someone to guide us through what we face.

Managers and leaders are the first place we look, but often, they are inexperienced at this as well. But there are the few inspiring leaders that help us navigate. They inspire us to get through and help us discover how to navigate turbulence.

There are others that help us, sometimes it’s consultants or experts–people experienced with the situations we face.

Sales people can be great sources in helping our customers navigate turbulence. We’ve seen it before, we’ve helped others navigate, we know there is a way to get through and the things most helpful to the customer at every point in their journey.

Like a pilots, we can help the customer understand. We can help make sense of what they are experiencing, we can help them understand. We help them get through the turbulence, developing a solution to move forward.

Dealing with turbulence has little to do with the solution, it’s understanding what the customer faces, it’s recognizing how they feel, and understanding their journey. It is about what they are going through and their journey.

Great sales people recognize the challenge of turbulence, helping customers understand, overcoming their fear of buying.

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  1. Glen permalink

    I really enjoyed this Dave. That’s partly to say I really agreed with it too

    • Thanks so much Glen, so many of the concepts around turbulence and sensemaking have been driven by what I’ve learned in our conversations. Thanks for teaching/inspiring me!

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