Things have changed.

Everyone feels differently about whatever it is you sell. Economic uncertainty makes people act differently, even when they used to buy lots of your stuff.  Your problems are now different problems. So your approach needs to strategically shift.

My friend and favorite psychology bodhisattva, Dr. Steven Feinberg, writes at length about the idea of strategic shifting in his excellent book, The Advantage Makers. The idea is that you must change the rules, the perspective, the focal length of your problem if you are to solve it. Expecting different results from the same approach is madness.

Are you trying to beat down the doors and reach hard to reach people? Change the rules and approach them in a different way, using a different stakeholder, and treat that stakeholder in a way that they don’t expect. Make friends where they expect you to be adversarial. Help them do what they have been doing as opposed to preaching to them that they’re missing something important.

Are you trying to sell something to people who aren’t buying because their budgets are cut? Because they are actually afraid that their jobs will be the next to go? Change the rules and offer them something much easier – a chance to try for very little what usually costs a lot, a chance to collaborate and network with peers and potential allies, and maybe given them a chance to get exclusive information.  

You don’t always have to fight your battles head on.

A change of perspective – a strategic shift – can give you new eyes on a persistent problem.  New eyes help, too – assembling your team of smart guys from the outside often provide you with the fresh insights you lack from being too close and being too steeped in your own culture to see. This is what Roger would call Being the Fool, if I took a card from his deck. All innovation comes from elsewhere, so cultivate it.

If you haven’t picked it up, give it a read. These are timely insights for a turbulent time.