Inside the Bottle
by Shane Sparks, Co-Founder
I had a typical sales call yesterday: The prospect began the conversation focused on a specific solution they had in mind. “We need more (fill in the blank),” he began.
I listened patiently for a few minutes and asked some pointed questions. And then quickly determined that they had many problems (or opportunities for you optimists), but the one he was focused on was not one of them. It was a minor issue, and of marginal value to fix. Once I was able to get him focused on the bigger picture, and the bigger opportunities he felt a mixture of relief and appreciation that I could provide some leadership.
I made the sale and we are going to help his school greatly.
There’s an old saying, “you can’t see the label from inside the bottle.” What we normally see with new clients is that they come to us with a specific solution in mind. They come wanting to buy something from us. Most often they are wrong. Not because they are poor decision makers, but because they have an internal context around the problem. They are inside the bottle.
Our first job is to be objective, to look from the outside in. And in doing so, we can usually bring a perspective that is missing. It’s an important exercise to go through periodically.
Another way to do this is to look at your school with fresh eyes. Follow these easy steps:
- Start at the parking lot, though the walk into the campus doors – What do you see?
- What would be your first impression if you were a prospect?
- Look at your website and pretend that you are a prospective student – What would you be feeling?
- What answers are you trying to get?
- Call the school – how does reception sound on the phone? Inviting, bored?
- How does your admissions staff engage prospects?
Why not take a few minutes today to look at your school and step outside the bottle. Let me know what you see.