• Jerry Phillips

Finding Common Good Is Work, And Worth It

Our filters of experiences shade our perception of what we see. It dictates how we react if we don’t have an intentional approach. If we grew up on a farm in Kansas, and we now live in a major city on a coast, we will see things differently than if we reversed the situation.

My wife and I walk around our neighborhood several times a week. We have very steep hills to walk and I tend to set my watch to “outdoor walk” and focus on the workout. My wife doesn’t see it that way. She certainly sees the benefit of the exercise, but she is a realtor and she is looking at the houses and enjoying the different elevations of the homes. She is enjoying the views of the terrain. We see things differently and we both enjoy the time together that we have on these walks. She is not wrong and I’m right, or vice versa.

Why is it that we read and see people focused on differences and not focused on what we can do together? If our focus is always on differences and we are trying to show that our way is the right way, we miss opportunities. I believe it all starts with asking the right questions and listening to find commonality. We listen to find a way to help each other.

In sales the basis for existing is to solve problems. If you solve big problems, you earn big paydays. We can only understand what challenges exist through asking great questions and listening. Some people can clearly articulate their issues, others may not. They can feel the pain but can’t tell you why. It’s our job as salespeople to ask questions to get to the root cause.

Today the surface issue is a recession caused by a pandemic. If you ask questions to dig deeper the cause may be people, or process, or technology to support sales. When the economy is strong issues can be hidden by revenue. When we see the challenge of a recession, we can see the problems that were hidden before.

If we work with our customers and prospects to find common opportunities, we can have a significant impact. I share with my friends and clients that when we understand the customer issues and we can help them solve the problems; we move from across the table to the same side of the table. Yes, we are working to sell our solution and they are working find a solution and that can create tension. But we are working through our differences to find common good for both of us. We can see things differently through the filters of what we are working to accomplish and still work together to find the best solution for everyone.

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