Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Value Spectrum

Recently I attended a party where I was the only one not to have seen a single episode of LOST, CSI, West Wing, ER, Gossip Girl, Law & Order or a bunch of other shows I've never even heard of.

You probably understand not watching a lot of TV because of time. I can't possibly be Supermom, career woman, student, volunteer, self-health freak, freelance Life Balance Strategist AND a couch potato. It's easy to give the "no time" excuse when I'm lost about LOST.

Yet, I know that "no time" is really what we call in Salesland, a lazy objection. It's the "no budget" of life balance.

For those who have never carried a bag (harkening back to a day when salestypes actually had a bag o' goods), "no budget" is the easiest way to end a potential sale.

Without turning this post into a sales tutorial, the easiest response is, "Okay, thanks. Keep us in mind for the future." And then move on to the next rejection. Easiest... and yet not so much, since finding and starting over with a new prospect can be more difficult than overcoming objections. Definitely not the path to success.

When it comes to life balance challenges, the easy way out is to say, "no time."

I know I should exercise more but I don't have the time. I know I should eat healthier but I don't have the time. Meditate - no time. Read more books - no time. Go back to school - no time. Get organized - no time. Be more romantic - no time. Create a detailed financial plan so when I say "no budget" I know how lazy an objection it really is - no time.

You get the idea. We may even know that these things will actually help us but we tell ourselves we don't have time to deal with it.

The most basic way to overcome an objection is to say, "If *insert objection* wasn't an issue, would you do it?"

Sales 101, I know. I can hear some of my co-workers groan as I type this. But it's applicable, even in life balance.

Regarding my TV issue, some astute person at a cocktail party might ask me, "If you had the time, would you watch CSI: Miami?" In response to which, I'd take a sip of my Cosmopolitan martini (since I also sometimes catch old late night repeats of Sex & the City) and say, "Nope."

The truth is I just don't enjoy popular TV dramas. They actually kinda stress me out. Maybe it's because I'm too empathic, not sure.

But you can see it's really not about time; it's about value. Value in all things, whether you're talking widgets, life balance or television, is individual. People value different things for different reasons. There's no magic formula. In Salesland, it's as much an art as a science figuring out exactly how each company, department and individual perceives value.

Personally, I most enjoy a specific genre of television: competitive reality shows. Survivor, So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef (or Iron Chef or Chopped), Project Runway. Stuff other people, including my husband, consider a complete waste of time. (I can now also hear the groan of my hard-working actor friends.)

It's also about prioritization. There's really never a moment in my life where I prioritize TV above other things. As much as I enjoy a good American Idol showdown, I'm not going to give up a night out or time to write so as not to miss an episode.

As in business, there's a spectrum of value. The key in presenting something new is to figure out where it would most likely sit on that spectrum (if at all) and then figure out how to elevate it's position of value. Sometimes this means moving other things farther down the list, displacing them altogether or somehow allowing them to share priority placement.

When it comes to television, we are lucky to have online options as well as magical recording devices which no longer need bulky tapes or keep us up at night flashing 12:00 -- 12:00 -- 12:00 -- 12:00 -- 12:00 -- . TV has accomplished that rare "have your cake and eat it too" solution. No wonder it's a trillion dollar industry. Still not going to get me to watch CSI, but I can watch the shows I do value whilst walking on my treadmill, making dinner or driving to work. (Just kidding.)

The life balance lesson for you is about overcoming your own "lazy objections" especially in regards to taking better care of yourself.

Can you honestly answer "yes" to the question, "If you did have the time, would you do it?"

Look at your value spectrum. Where does exercise or eating better or meditating (or whatever) fit on that scale? What's above it? Thinking about both value and prioritization, is that the picture of your "best life"? Is it sustainable?

The coolest thing of all in this scenario is that you are both the salesperson and the customer. You have control over the entire transaction. You can tap into creative solutions which work for you in unique ways. You control the outcome.

Don't sell yourself short.   Remember:  Increased confidence brings increased capacity.

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Sit10 said...

I know this wasn't the point of your post (and that the point of your post is a very meaningful one) but I was distracted by that shiny word "TV."

And what I find most interesting is that you and I have opposite TV tastes, and for the same reason. I find empathizing with fictional Tv cathartic, and the reality scenario stressful. I know my TV is not real. You also like coaching, so I can see the appeal of competitive reality shows to you. I find life competitive enough.

Angela said...

It's sad to say that this post comes at a timely moment for me, as I seem to let so many things come between me and what is supposedly valuable in my life (ie the things that will lead directly to achieving life goals). It's amazing how easy it is to prioritize the squeaky wheels that simply suck up your time as your life quietly passes by and you haven't done what you hoped or expected yourself to accomplish. Thanks for the reminder!

Jason said...

You really are a very talented writer.

I wonder how obligation fits in with all of this? If the sales person is your local girl scout tribe selling cookies that you may not want or need, at what point does the feeling of obligation compromise or even conquer the transaction process and change the true outcome. Is the entire value of the transaction lost if it is obligation driven? Does the transaction count as part of your spectrum of value? Are you really in control? I think that we feel obligated all of the time to do things that we may not truly value. We make decisions and our life is altered while our spectrum of value remains intact and benign.

What about wakes? They always seem to jump right to the top of our list – but not really. We will miss a Wednesday night dinner with our family to attend a wake of a stranger. Is that strange? What about the spectrum?

Charlene said...

Thanks Jason! "Personal Social Responsibility" is one of the five departments I address in my PSM methodology. Obligation is a matter of perspective. Doing things for others (whether it's donating time/money to charity or attending a wake) is about extending positive energy. For me, creating positive energy is VERY high on my value spectrum. But it's a choice. In my opinion, a win-win choice since in giving to others, we also receive.

therealbobthought said...

thanks little lady for visitin my site, yhen saw you called me a sales sumpthin any way answer this quetion for me. why do so may sales people spell know, n o ?

Charlene said...

You crack me up Bob!

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

Charlene, I feel as if there is never enough time in the day to get everything accomplished that I need to do. Even if I prioritize things, it still seems as if so many things are so important that there isn't enough of me to go around. I'm sure this sense of urgency is not good for my sanity. TV definitely falls way down on the "to do" list but, I have to be honest, sometimes it is great to just zone out and watch TV. There is something mesmerizing and therapeutic about the whole act. Don't ask me what I watched, though, because I honestly couldn't tell you half the time.

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

Charlene, I absolutely love your perspective and I couldn't agree more! I think all happiness and balance comes from within. When I am happy and taking care of myself it is amazing how many balls I can juggle with a smile on my face! I'm now following you so I can read more of your strategies!

Charlene said...

Thanks Amy - you have a great attitude! Visited your blog and now following you as well. Looking forward to more exchange of positivity!

Dianne said...

Love your blog! I get what you're saying. But don't forget escape. Sometimes we need to treat ourselves or watch whatever helps us escape. Its always great if what we watch also has some takeaway, even if its a romantic comedy or action movie.

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