Pre-Week 15: Slow down!

Your focus when switching projects

I’m doing freelance work on mondays and I notice it affects my focus a bit the day after. Feels like I have to rebuild some momentum on tuesday. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are full-focused on my Idea Extraction so that’s great.  This situation won’t change for a few weeks so I will see if I can cool down a bit better on Monday evenings to give myself a better start on Tuesday.

More SPIN Selling learnings

I’m starting to feel ashamed about not making the progress I want. For over a month now I keep telling myself I overwhelm each time I try to push my learning. This can’t be an effective way to learn.

Because I learned so much reading SPIN Selling I decided to finish the book, and I had two insights.

1: Learn one thing at a time

Learning too much at the same time made me feel overwhelmed for a few weeks in a row now. The funny thing is, that’s actually explained at the end of the book!
I would suggest: don’t read this book step-by-step and try to implement it along the way. Make sure you read it first, and then implement it step-by-step without worrying about perfectly implementing all of the theory at once. Trying to distinguish Problem Questions from Situation Questions and at the same time focus on Implication Questions while trying to avoid Need-Payoff Questions just yet. That can be a bit much.
So I’m now following the book’s advice and decided to only proceed to the next step when totally comfortable with the current one.
  1. Start asking questions instead of talking yourself
  2. Get comfortable asking Problem Questions
  3. Focus on asking Implication Questions
  4. Only then start asking Need-Payoff Questions
The focus is on quantity. Ask lots of the type of questions you want to learn. Don’t try to be perfect from the start.

2: Offering your solution too early creates objections

Last week I realised how my offer talking to business owners is a product itself as well. They aren’t paying money, but they do spend time. So offering to talk is like offering a solution. But did they have an explicit need to do so yet? Of course not, or they would have been looking for people to help them already.
I think it’s important to explain what you’re doing (as a software entrepreneur, studying the market to find the biggest problems, and then create a solution for it). But asking for the call is like closing without developing the need.
So you should ask questions first, and then make them realise they have a problem/implied need and then develop it to an explicit need so they want a conversation.
That explains why my calls where I mentioned problems I heard in earlier ones are way more successful compared to the calls where I asked for a meeting or longer call straight away.

A 20 mile march

Josh Isaac already mentioned how taking a 20 Mile March would guarantee daily action without wearing yourself out. Make steps every day and eventually you will arrive at your destination. In his interview with Andy Drish he mentioned this again, and Andy talks about the power of streaks as well.
I’m hooked on the app lately, and noticed building a streak of 30 minute movement each day is actually very addictive. The longer your streak, the more you’ll want to protect it.
I’m going to implement the 20 Mile March in my Idea Extraction as well. So every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I will make cold calls or have face-to-face conversations where I will try to find pain on a deep level.
Every day I want at least:
  • One call over an hour. Or:
  • Two calls of 15 minutes. Or:
  • Ten failed calls
I downloaded the Goal Streaks iPhone app to help me track my progress.

Problem hooks

This week I had my longest meeting ever. It lasted 3,5 hours! The guy had all the time in the world. It was not a business owner but an Operations Manager with experience at a few very large companies. I found it hard to judge how deep the problems were. Although I’m still working on getting to the deepest problems, it’s interesting to use these surface problems as a hook in conversations. And it looks like most of them can be applied to many markets:
  • no time acquisities or commercial activities
  • no contact plans for existing customers
  • no personal attention for staff
  • high sickness absence
  • high DSO (daily sales outstanding)
  • time consuming quotes
  • fees for missing appointments
  • complex status reports
  • time consuming client information updates
  • problems finding the right staff
  • long waiting time
  • contstantly explaning quotes
  • high staff turnover
  • inside/outside work rate out of balance
  • problems staying up-to-date on their industry