Great ideas come from new and fresh perspectives and not from old knowledge and notions.
In marketing, business, and in life, if you think you know, then you really don’t know. The only true statement you can make is “I don’t know”. These words might meet resistance at first. They did with me when I first contemplated it. However, bear with me for a moment.
First off, I am not proposing to tell your new client you don’t know anything. They would quickly run for the hills after demanding their money back. Instead, I am talking about nurturing a mental framework of newness and openness. Temporarily, park your accumulated knowledge in a separate mental compartment and approach the new situation as if you have nothing to defend or conquer.
When you meet with a new client or partner it is not a job interview for either one of you. It’s an exploration of ideas and concepts with the possibility for a new solution through synergy. A new business relationship requires an equal exchange of information and meaningful dialogue. It also requires an attitude that’s free of old perceptions.
“Nothing Fails Like Success”
It’s tempting to approach a new situation with the same tools and knowledge that led to success in the past. But “nothing fails like success”, in other words, past success does not guarantee future success. It is very likely that each new situation needs a fresh mindset and perhaps even new tools to help your client.
Therefore, don’t hold on too tightly to old knowledge which worked well in the past, you may run the risk of negating and overlooking new information, strategies, and solutions to new problems. Wisdom and experience has its place, and are best used as navigation tools and a compass through the ever changing terrain which is your market place and your industry.
Some people feel that this approach conflicts with goal oriented and outcome based thinking. It does not. If the goal is to form a profitable partnership with a client then it is important to allow flexibility on how to reach that goal. The path is organic and constantly changing. Just like an airplane flying from Boston to LA is off course 90% of the time, but the plane’s navigation system constantly adjusts to the changing winds and corrects its course to reach the destination, the goal.
I’ve never come out of a meeting without having learned something new which could be applied to the betterment of our business. Every new encounter, client, business relationship will offer us an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and look at a problem from a fresh perspective never before revealed to us. It is counterproductive to lean primarily on past successes for solutions. Nothing fails like success.
Entering a situation initially with an “I don’t know” attitude will provide the proper mental space for new and creative solutions in a rapidly changing environment.
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