Houston, We Have A Problem

Published on July 2, 2000

When a problem comes your way, what’s your response? Many of us see problems as threats to our success and existence. We tend to spend a lot of time and energy worrying about them and the impacts they have on our business. When we look at problems in this light, we are not performing at peak levels. Problems are not threats. They are opportunities to do something different and create better results. Fact is most of us are paid to deal with problems. If this was not the case, then many sales people would not be needed and the customers could easily do their business over the internet. In my earlier selling days, I was given a prime key account. Making my first visit to the customer was like walking into a land mine. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong with the account. Upon entering the VP’s office, this former army colonel said in no uncertain words that if the problem was not immediately solved, he would personally have his managers throw me out of his 102nd floor window of the World Trade Center. Now that’s a problem! I immediately seized the moment to solve the customer’s problem and save my life. In doing so, we came up with some creative answers and processes that not only solved the customer’s immediate problems but also prevented future problems from developing. The results included keeping the business and one year later being awarded a $1 Million Contract. There was no problem to begin with. There was only one tremendous opportunity to make a difference. It all depends on how you look at things.

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