We all have blind spots. They can come from familiarity, or they can come from distractions. I once had a salesperson who drove his territory backward every couple of months. He did it because he felt he would get so familiar with the “route” he was running, that he would pass by companies that were opportunities, just because he would stop seeing them. I experience that when I write. Sometimes typos or missing words just disappear. My mind reads them as I meant, not as I wrote.
When I started this practice over 15 years ago, I was a sole proprietor. I had worked in large companies with multiple people to support. As a sole proprietor, it was just me. My first company name was Phillips Sales Development, and I had a tag line of Strategic Sales Advisors. Unfortunately, I had misspelled “Strategic” on my business card. I had a friendly client point it out to me. It might have hurt my credibility. I was happy to have it be a friend that spotted it, and it led me to change the name of the company to PSD3. Some good came from it, but it pointed out a blind spot for me.
Since that time, our practice has grown to as many as six full time employees and shrunk to as few as one. All driven by the need to continue to grow profitably and be relevant. But as a practice of one, I missed the camaraderie of a team. I missed the give and take of a discussion around strategy and execution. I had a fear of missing opportunities because of my blind spots. That changed when I joined a partner in a joint venture over a year ago.
Yesterday we met with a client that we are working with on development and execution of their three-year strategy. They are a brilliant and successful company, and their focus is growing from their strength, not from being in trouble. As I worked initially with the company, I sensed some or their blind spots. They spoke of customer churn. Every year they lost several customers, and every year they added approximately the same number of new customers. The blind spot was the “why” they lost the customers. Was it healthy? Was it driven by circumstances beyond their control? Would knowing those answers help slow the churn?
Much like my salesperson mentioned earlier, we felt we needed to “drive the route backwards”. We needed to understand why. We have asked for all the data they can provide relative to their customer churn. We can look at the information with a different view. We will reach out to customers to understand the reasons they left and adjust as needed.
Our client and their leadership had the humility and confidence to understand they needed another view. For that we are grateful. We are dedicated to helping them achieve their strategic goals and confident we can provide them the jumpstart for the next three years of successful growth.