No one will ask me the question, do you dare to deviate because I’m the one known for going against the tide. Being left-handed has its challenges in a society where most people follow the crowd. Sometimes I interpret things entirely differently whereby ridicule quickly follows. On the other hand, the stories of my past prove that being different often comes with benefits. Moreover, the differentiators help our brand to stand out and can increase influence for doing business.
Upon recalling one story, I burst into laughter. The episode at a corporate team meeting and the aftermath put management on defense. It was at a time when we were tasked with selling the technology of new high-end printers. The machines were gigantic. They reminded me of the computer equipment of the day requiring separate rooms of their own. Air conditioning for the units was needed to keep everything operating as necessary. I wondered if the same would hold for the printers.
Management tasked each team member with providing the name of one viable prospective client. Accordingly, if we were to secure the sale, a sizeable bonus would be ours. The criteria included that the prospective company would have:
- The budget
- The interest
- And the room to house the equipment
Most of the team members had difficulty with naming a prospect. Fortunately, I was in communication with an excellent candidate. I provided the name of the company and arranged for an introductory meeting with our engineer.
Everything was in perfect order, and the sale in my mind was sound. As the meeting took place, I awaited the go-ahead signal. The engineer was highly competent. However, our thinking was 180 degrees apart. He delivered unexpected bad news to the sales manager.
In front of the entire team, the sales manager reprimanded me for wasting precious hours of the engineer and the company. My client was not a credible prospect for the new equipment. Their room was far too small, and I should have known better. I was forewarned never to do anything similar again, or I’d lose my job.
My thought was, okay, here we go again!
I calmly replied that the client first and foremost likes and trusts me. Furthermore, they already have some of our equipment that performs well, and they are interested in our latest. I then went as far as to imply a line from the movie Field of Dreams, ‘build it and they will come.’
I said that the client and I had built a good relationship, and they trust me. Accordingly, I have faith that upon learning the space requirements, they will adjust their walls. The sales manager looked at me as if I had lost my mind. In disbelief, he said, ‘so you want me to send the engineer back out again to a company where no possibility for business exists?’
My response included a smile as I enthusiastically said, Yes, I do!
The manager was caught in a difficult situation. A certified engineer told him there was no possibility given the footprint of the machinery. Only a few of us had a prospective client on the list. He needed to close the sale for every single company appearing on the list. Reluctantly, he told the engineer to return to the premises. He was visibly anxious about my dare to deviate.
To everyone’s astonishment (except mine), the client wanted to do further business with us. They did adjust the walls to enlarge the space as predicted. I was one of the first reps to finalize the sale of new equipment. A nice bonus was mine, plus the manager and engineer earned theirs. Most of all, I was proud of my taking the dare to deviate!
Do You Dare To Deviate?
Speaking up and remaining steadfast on an idea frightens most people in the corporate setting. How do you rate yourself on promoting your novel idea?
Think back to times when you may have had different ideas and approaches for business. No doubt, scorn, and laughter came your way. But more importantly, how do you handle these uncomfortable moments? Do you have any regret about not speaking up over an incident?
The best way to move past uncomfortable situations is to have a flexible plan in place. Not everything works out to expectations. However, if you are of the mindset that what you intend will work out, it is best to see it through to the end. Otherwise, should you allow others to dictate when it’s time to stop, you will never know if you missed an opportunity.
When you consider the idea of ‘dare to deviate,’ weigh out the pros and cons. Be comfortable with some ridicule if it doesn’t work. At the same time, decide if the benefit outweighs the possibility of scorn directed at you. The gamble on a dare to deviate is more treacherous in the corporate environment than being an entrepreneur.
There are lessons to learn from ideas that do not work out as we hope:
- A failure can direct you to a better path.
- New ideas are forthcoming.
- You become comfortable with calculated risk contributing to quicker advancement.
Ultimately, there is little satisfaction in participating in the herd mentality. On occasion, we dare to deviate, hoping something new will work out; there is tremendous satisfaction when it does. Using common sense and practical guidelines will help you transform the usual into something special.
Sales Tips: Dare To Deviate
- Believe in yourself
- Take an occasional calculated risk
- Assess all possibilities
- Weight the pros and cons of moving forward
- Before moving forward, know that the benefit will outweigh a poor outcome
- Ask yourself how you will feel if you do nothing
- Examine the possibilities from all angles
- Ask for help as needed
- Follow-up with every step to increase odds for success
- Celebrate Success!
Related: Are You Ready To Increase Influence?