Thursday, October 25, 2012

To Challenge, Teach and Tailor.

Selling is one of the least understood activities, even by those doing it. The most commonly taught sales methods focus on building a strong relationship with customers and helping them find solutions to their problems. However, most decision makers feel this process is simply a waste of their time.

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson have identified a more powerful way to build business in The Challenger Sale. The most effective salespeople are those who understand their client's business well enough to challenge decision makers with problems and opportunities they didn't even know they had. Sales people with the insight and communication skills to help their clients see things in a new way are valued and welcomed by those clients.

Communicating new insights requires the ability to teach and the ability to tailor the message to the interests of each individual. Most complex decisions impact people from many parts of an organization. People from finance, engineering and manufacturing will have different points of view and different concerns. The effective sales person addresses the needs of each person and tailors the message so that it resonates with each person.

While the focus of The Challenger Sale is on sales technique, I believe it has value to anyone who works with other people to get things done. The ability to identify and communicate new insight is valuable in any field.

Are you a challenger or a relationship builder?

You might also be interested in:

The Paradox of Excellence

Retweet or Retire

Ask Nice, Ask Twice

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Circle Your Customers with Innovation

Upward spiral
Upward Spiral by Gerriet
One key to successful innovation is creating products or services that customers want.  You do this by creating a circle of innovation that revolves around customers.

When a potential customer suggests a new idea, ask yourself and your team how you might implement the concept. In the process of solving a specific problem for a specific customer, you will develop new competencies and capabilities.

After you have delighted your initial customer, look for other customers who may be interested in your new capabilities. Use your new expertise to challenge those customers to implement your new product also.

By keeping your innovation circling around real customer needs, your capabilities and your customer list will spiral steadily upward.

You might also be interested in:

Innovation at Eric Scott

Collision of Ideas

Your Business Model is Broken

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To Think Different, Read Different

Fans of Apple often identify with the company's original advertising campaign for the Mac which encouraged users to "Think Different". However, choosing a particular type of computer isn't really enough to change our way of thinking.  To think differently, we need to read differently.  We need to expose ourselves to people with an unusual point of view.

Here are 10 Twitter accounts that share original and curated content that will make you think:

@bakadesuyo - Eric Barker, at Barking Up The Wrong Tree, wants to understand why we do what we do and use the answers to be awesome at life.

@carr2n - David Carr is a reporter and columnist who covers pop culture at the New York Times.

@mistygirlph - Misty Belardo will teach you one little thing you can do, how small positive actions can help you improve the quality of your life.

@margaretwallace - Margaret Wallace is passionate about tech, media, gaming, gamification and pop culture.

@vincefavilla - Vince Favilla shares interesting psychology news, fun facts and other great stuff to educate, inspire and motivate.

@avantgame - Jane McGonigal makes and plays games. She also shares why games make us better and how they can change the world.

@harvardbiz - The latest Havard Business Review blog posts, management tips, daily stats and more.

@htollvr - Heidi Tolliver-Nigro is a print industry analyst specializing in digital, 1:1, and web-to-print technologies.

@nadraangerman - Nadra Angerman evangelizes 3D printing, 3D imaging, Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing.

@toughloveforx - Michael Josefowicz is a retired printer committed to improving education.

Who do you follow who encourages you to think?

You might also be interested in:

University on Four Wheels

Diverse Experience Drives Creativity

Gateway to the Artistic

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wide and Wonderful

Panorama of the Flint Hills
Panorama of the Flint Hills Captured by Martha Dameron
Last week I was in a meeting with Elise Ellis, Black River Imaging's Social Media Guru and a professional photograher and iPhoneographer. I was admiring the thinness and lightness of her new iPhone 5 when she picked it up, slowly turned in a half circle, then showed us a panoramic image of our entire conference room. I was hooked. I was even happier when I realized that iOS 6 had added the panoramic capability to my iPhone 4S also.

Panoramic photography, a method that captures an image with an elongated field of view, dates back to the 1840s. The earliest patents describe a hand cranked device that could capture a 150° field of view on a Daguerreotype up to 24 inches long. After the invention of flexible film in 1888, a number of Panoramic cameras were introduced. Typically, these cameras used a lens which rotated around a curved film plane as the image was captured. The negatives from these cameras were typically larger than a standard 35mm frame, often 24 by 58mm.

Georgia Pass Panoramic
Georgia Pass by Martha Dameron

School photography companies, including Inter-State Studio and Publishing, used Panoramic film cameras to capture large groups through the end of the 20th century. As it became more difficult to maintain the older panoramic printing systems, we would cut the negatives in half, scan both halves and stitch them together digitally to be printed on our digital photographic printers. A few years ago, the improvements in the resolution of our professional digital cameras allowed us to retire the panoramic film cameras completely.

In 1996, a consortium of film manufacturers and photo processing companies greatly damaged the reputation of panoramic photography with the launch of the Advanced Photo System. Despite its name, the system was not very advanced and created a panoramic image by simply cropping the bottom and top from a normal format image. People quickly discovered that these had a narrower field of view than they expected and insufficient negative area to produce an acceptable enlargement.

Camp Hale Panoramic
Camp Hale by Martha Dameron

Fortunately, in 2010, Sony began adding a Sweep Panorama mode to their consumer cameras that allowed the user to capture high resolution panoramic images with a wide field of view by rotating the camera. These cameras capture multiple standard format frames and automatically stitch them into a single wide format panoramic image. The Sony system was used by photographer Martha Dameron to capture each of the panoramas included in this post.

The addition of panoramic capture to the iPhone is exciting because the iPhone is the camera many of us carry with us all of the time. Now we can preserve the memory of the scenes that unfold all around us everyday. These images make ideal content for Panoramic photo books and wide format wall decor.

Panoramic stretch of road
A stretch of road by Martha Dameron

Earlier this year, Elise's iPhoneography was featured in an exhibit of metal prints at the OTC Fine Arts Gallery in Springfield Missouri. Elise exhibits her iPhone images on metal because the "dye sublimation process fuses the image to a piece of metal, creating incredible visual depth and luminosity."  Since the metal prints can also be ordered in custom sizes to fit the aspect ratios of panoramic images, I will be surprised if her next showing doesn't include a few elongated prints.

If you would like to learn more about iPhoneography from Elise Ellis, she will be talking about the ins and outs of smart phone photography at the Gillioz Theater in Springfield Missouri on Saturday October 20th. The event is a benefit for the historic theater organized by the OTC Fine Arts Department.

Eclectic shop panoramic
An eclectic shop by Martha Dameron

You might also like:

Cellphone Array Camera

Photography in 3D

Sincerely Social

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.