What If


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I started my career selling mainframe computers for IBM. When I joined IBM, they were just coming off several years of an advertising campaign that presented a rather stark proposition, “What If…” That was it, nothing else.

For some reason that campaign had fallen out of favor with all the marketing and advertising types and was displaced by something that was frankly not memorable.

But from a sales point of view, the campaign was inspirational–it still is.

Today, so many of the great customer conversations begin with “What if….” or “Have you ever thought of…” or “Have you considered…..”

Engaging the customer in thinking, in considering new ideas, in helping them see new opportunities, in exploring is the start of all great sales opportunities. It starts new conversations, it starts new thinking, it creates new engagement. It drives change. It creates opportunity for our customers and for us.

We talk a lot about engaging customers in new conversations, some of them are provocative, some of them are challenging, too many seem to be about “telling.” There is tremendous merit in these approaches, but sometimes I wonder if we make these conversations more complicated than they need be.

We’re trying to engage our customers. We are trying to help our customer discover opportunities to grow and improve–how they can leverage our capabilities to accelerate their ability to do so. It’s a collaborative process.

Somehow, it seems more of our conversations should start with, “What if….”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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