Entrepreneurs see the future and negotiate the distance

Business & Strategy

One of my favorite ways to engage with new ideas is when I hear someone make a comment in passing.

Comments made in passing are so important. They likely reflect years of strategic thinking on a subject matter and are simply the forgotten byproducts of that thinking. That means they are taken for granted. So when I hear someone make a comment in passing, I like to note it down as a subject to think about here on the blog.

(Yes, writing is thinking.)

I recently heard Dan Sullivan say that most people work toward a result in the future that they cannot see. Entrepreneurs see the future as an immediate reality and then negotiate the distance—how long—with the public until it becomes a reality.

It’s easy to see sales as a negotiation. Each party comes to the table with wants and must come to terms everyone can agree on. But we don’t usually look at marketing like a negotiation. In marketing, we tend to see only strategies and tactics. Even if we’re customer-centric, as all great marketing is, we still think about persuasion to make a move or solve a problem.

Again—all good things—but none of them quite honor the fact that we’re negotiating how long it will be before they accept our new reality. Or if they accept it all.

Thinking this way creates new possibilities and opportunities. Instead of wondering “Why aren’t people buying my stuff?” (which is where most of us go) you can ask more intelligent questions like,

  • “Why doesn’t the intended customer see a need for this right now?”
  • “Why doesn’t my target audience seem to WANT this right now?”
  • “What steps lie between my new reality and the public’s need or want of it?”
  • “Do I even have the right target audience?”
  • “Do I even have the right product?”
  • “How can I most effectively find the right customer?”
  • “How could I create a burning desire/demand in the marketplace sooner?”

Again—these are all questions marketers have been asking for decades. But, I would argue, only the very best ones with lots of trial, error, and failure under their belts.

We can all access this level of thinking by simply viewing your marketing/product creation as a negotiation with the public. I, for one, know this is going to change how I think about my products and services.

Here’s another angle: If you view this process as a negotiation, consider how many times we launch things with ZERO negotiation. We simply “put it out there” never giving the public time to think about their need or desire.

Would you show up to a potential client’s doorstep and hand them an invoice while congratulating them on being your newest client? Before you ever heard them out, qualified them as a customer, or created a desire for what you’re offering? No!

So why do we do this with our products and services online?

One answer: Because it’s easy to do. And I’m glad for that. I love how easy it is to launch something.

But don’t neglect the mandatory negotiation period.

Make your work more collaborative and conversational, and it will likely be more successful in the end.

See the future, negotiate the distance.

Feb 13, 2024

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Hey, I'm Steve — a Christian, entrepreneur, thinker, and creator. Thanks for stopping by!

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