People are Desperate for Different

I like to tell the following story at my workshops.

There is a fellow who specializes in helping elementary school teachers develop techniques to engage their students.  He is very creative and slightly outrageous to emphasize a point I will get to in a minute.

Anyway, when a school hires him, he makes sure he schedules his visit so that he shows up during recess when all the kids are outside. Then, he pulls up in his van . . . but not just any van. HIS van is decorated with big dinosaurs . . . Pterodactyls and T-Rex’s that are attached and extend beyond the roof line like big puzzle pieces. So what do you think the reaction is when he pulls up? 

Yep . . . the kids stop their play, stare for a minute and then run, as fast as they can, over to the van to see what on earth is going on.  Now, as you can imagine, this does not happen when any of the dozens of other vans per week drive into the parking lot . . . it only happened when a van with huge dinosaurs attached pulled in.  Why?

Because his van is different, provocative, exciting, curious . . . all the things, by the way, he tries to teach the teachers to be when they are engaging their students. You see, his theory is that kids are bored to death in school.  So that presents a big opportunity because if a teacher can figure out how to make a lesson different, provocative, exciting and curious, the kids are way more likely to engage, listen, buy in and learn.

Well guess what . . . I am sure you are way ahead of me . . . the exact same dynamic and opportunity exists in sales. Most peoples’ work days are pretty routine.  And a lot of sales pitches look pretty much the same.  But every once in a while someone shows up that is a little different, perhaps a little provocative, more exiting and peaks our curiosity a bit more. That salesperson, my good friends, is almost always one of the leaders in his or her category because, like the teaching advisor, he is constantly looking for ways to stand out and to turn people on.

I am not recommending you put dinosaurs on your cars, but keep pressing the creative envelope.  We may all be grownups but in some ways, when it comes to seeking things that are new, fresh and fun, we never really grow up at all.

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