Selling with purpose first — all the time

This morning I did one thing I always did as a kid prior to teeth-brushing. I felt the surface of my teeth with my tongue. Maybe it began as a way to justify the need or just lists among several other similar verification steps I subjected every ‘work’ to, in what also includes smelling my clothes to check if they were neat, to the very awkward act of habitually smelling every food to confirm state of spoilt, half-spoilt or not which I eventually dropped though as my love for food literally matured.

How smooth the surface of my teeth was and right there I got an emotional reward for the habit of brushing before going to bed which I had been doing for some days now as a way to finally add-on to my list of desired positive habits. Of course it’s not about avoiding the routine for the morning, which could have been a thought as a kid.

So I thought about how brushing my mouth before I sleep means I clear my mouth of all the bits of food hidden in the corners and reduce to almost nothing the overnight decay which I assume leads to the yellow and grey debris I feel in the mornings, which of course also explains the temporary waking mouth odour that almost everyone ‘carries’. I am not a dentist but in that moment I wished my dentists over the years explained it to me this way as a reason to brush twice daily. It would have been more compelling. I would have seen the clear goal and appreciated the value of sweeping my mouth prior to sleeping for hours as a way to keep it clean and free from the overnight process which I would have imagined as a disgusting ‘decay carnival’. But then my dentist only spoke about the need to develop new habits and that brushing twice daily was simply another one that I could work hard towards. At those times the need for positive habits was not compelling enough for me to do the same effortlessly everyday without a need to reminded. Not that he didn’t mention that this was about keeping my mouth clean, but he didn’t focus on that purpose enough for me to get the picture I was able to paint for myself this morning, which would have made all the difference.

As I though about it, I see parallels in business sales, proposition, leadership as well as daily communication between friends and partners. The goal of conviction or sales has to be get the other person or audience to see the reason to want to do, to want to buy and not simply by coercing or convincing with repetition, the voice of the superior or simply projecting necessity or obligation.

This makes a good lesson for me to develop my approach in proposition, team leadership and everyday conversations. Although if there is one part of this we already do well at FourthCanvas, it is our design service process which begins by taking the client beyond what they ask for to finding out why; thinking through their business, market and industry; and then proposing our offers and how they directly connect to their goals and objectives, especially in the long run. We don’t ask people to have us do a rebrand simply because it’s good and big companies do it. We directly emphasize on the effect of this on their fading market share, customer loyalty and in some cases the absence of a connection between their existing identity and their target audience. And we don’t stop at these big words. In a proposal to a university, we took a snapshot of people’s comments on their existing identities and compared with statements from a global university ratings executive on how the perception of schools have a great impact on their global rankings. We go further and tell business owners about Kelechi, Bola, and Tayo, imaginary characters from their target audience and how they currently miss the message and why. Of course these are random examples as our proposition is always specifically about the bigger picture for the particular client we are dealing with.

It applies across board and people can achieve their goals and objectives more if the emphasis of communication and conviction is on the why, and how it solves a problem the other person really cares about.

When you hit that spot, no more words are necessary.

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