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Flexibility: The Key to Co-Creating Insights and Solutions

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If you want to positively differentiate yourself with buyers and you want your job of selling to become a whole lot easier. This is the very best advice I can offer you. It comes directly from our research with buyers.

You see something that not a lot of salespeople know, but every buyer knows is that buyers are more willing to buy when they feel they've had an opportunity to participate in creating what they want, when they've put their own imprint on whatever it is that you're going to offer to them as a solution, when they feel that they've been fully heard and their own insights, their own input is a part of the solution that's been created. Well, that's irresistible to a buyer when they've become that invested in the process and when the final product, the solution that you offer them is of their own design, at least in part, well, how could they say no?

At that point you've got buy-in before you ever ask for the buy. You have a series of micro commitments that have been made throughout your sales process, and there's ownership. The only way that this can happen though, is if you're willing to be flexible. You can't be in a hurry. You can't have it be your way.

You can't do the work on your own going away to create a solution in a vacuum and then bring it back to the buyer who has forgotten all about whatever they said to you the last time you met.

You have to be flexible in the moment to ask questions that stir up the buyer's interest, to bring in the buyers ideas to your solution. And if your product is one that doesn't have a lot of flexibility, then you have to be creative. Maybe the way you deliver, maybe the timing of reorder, maybe the way you communicate with the buyer.

There are all sorts of other ways that they can have a voice in shaping that solution and how it's delivered. Flexibility that allows the buyer-in will help you close the sale more often and faster every single time.

I'm not one to wallow. But I was really disappointed when I learned that it's virtually impossible to grow big heads of iceberg lettuce where I live. It gets too hot, too fast, and that kind of lettuce just doesn't grow here. So I had to give up on that idea. And it turns out that there are many other varieties of lettuce that I've discovered I like even better than Iceberg. It's expanded my horizons to be forced into this situation where I can't grow what I thought I wanted.

And given a choice today, I wouldn't turn back. I can barely stand it in the middle of winter when that's all that's available at the grocery store.

I'd rather go without, than have iceberg lettuce now. Not only that, but it turns out all these other leafy lettuces have lots more vitamins, in addition to having really great flavors.

So I'm a convert, because I was willing to be flexible and not give up on lettuce entirely. I have all new kinds of lettuces in my repertoire and I enjoy them all much better than I ever enjoyed Iceberg in a salad before. Being flexible certainly helps in gardening and probably just about anything else in life. I love tomatoes. To me, the epitome of gardening is a juicy, red, ripe tomato. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes I do in the peak of summer.

But in gardening, it pays to be flexible and to try new things. There are many, many other varieties of tomatoes besides the ones I grew up on, and I've embraced the idea of every year trying at least one novelty type of tomato heirloom tomatoes especially. They're not all pretty. They're not all exactly that flavor that I'm looking for in a good BLT.

But being flexible protects me from a crop getting decimated if the conditions aren't just right, prevents me from having everything taste exactly the same and prevents me from falling into the same old, same old type of a habit.

And when you have many different varieties of tomatoes, you can make many different varieties of salsa and a tomato sauce and of all kinds of other things that you might never have thought about when it comes to tomatoes. You'd be amazed at the varieties you can get in ketchups and tomato paste if you just have a mind toward giving them a try. I grow all sorts of tomatoes, big and small, ugly, pretty, and I use every single bit of the tomato except for the stem.

It goes right back into the compost pile, but the peels make a beautiful tomato powder and that tomato powder can season almost anything. I just dry them in the dehydrator and then I grind it up into powder and use it in many, many different ways.

I'd like you to metaphorically think about whatever's growing in your organization. What's growing there and how could you harvest what's growing and use it in new ways? If you were to be more flexible, what better yields could you get? What new things could you try?

What outcomes might occur that you never expected? Don't limit yourself to what's always been. Especially at an unprecedented time in history when so many things are changing so rapidly, being flexible has become more important than ever.

The CONNECT2Sell Blog has been discontinued as our focus has shifted to leadership at every level. Research with buyers demonstrates that buyers respond favorably when sellers show up as leaders. If you'd like to step into your full potential as a leader (and boost sales!), take a look at our free and affordable courses on