A colleague of mine was signed up, by his employer, for a six month coaching course. The program is intended to help workers in his profession become more successful in selling their services/products. My colleague explained to me that this program used a variety of what you’d call proven techniques to help professionals improve their business skills and so increase the business they closed. The program offered physical marketing pieces, data organization and management, written materials to guide one’s interaction with prospective clients and more.
This was a commitment of some of his work time as well as some money for my colleague and he was uncertain as to how valuable this program might be to him. In this connection he noted that the program claimed to have a very significant presence in the business, involved in a fair percentage of completed transaction.
My first question was whether he wanted to be tied to this likely successful, but widely used approach. Would it not be more prudent to differentiate oneself than to be seen to be “just like everyone else”? Even if the program worked, would that mean, first that it would work as well for him and second that it would be something that would continue to work for a reasonable period of time in the future? Given the time, effort and money required, it would not be a good thing if the market were to become saturated or if choosing this path put him behind the cutting edge for the next hot program.
In weighing the utility of this program, I suggested, it might be advisable to also examine the alternatives. How would he be impacted if he did nothing? If he needed to do something, whether for confidence, knowledge or validation, was there another option or options different from this program? Could there be an individualized program, perhaps, that would build on his strengths and allow him to maintain a distinct presence rather than participate in a more homogenized approach?
It may be better to take a step back and think about what we want or need to do as opposed to what someone else tells us to do. After all, it is not like anyone is going to be putting our needs first except insofar as it meets their own.