To help new hires and trainees with a clear understanding of the word paradigm, I often start out by asking a room full of bright eyed employees for the answer to a simple question. There is a cabin full of people in the middle of the forest, and they are all dead – how do you suspect they died?  I then go around the room and listen to the various responses which include guesses like starvation, food poisoning, carbon monoxide, bear attack, and the list of incorrect assumptions continues.  When I reveal the answer that I was looking for, the team of people is always stunned. The answer I was seeking was a plane crash.  You may recall that the area of a plane which houses the passengers is referred to as the cabin. That is why when you ask this same question to a pilot or a flight attendant they will almost always solve the riddle within a guess or two.  The point is this: We all project our own personal experiences, beliefs, and values on to whatever we encounter in life. We can’t help but draw from our finite or limited perspective when examining a new challenge or opportunity.

That is why it is so important to keep an open mind and do your very best to see the big picture at all times. When caught up in the day to day grind, it easy for marketers and sales people alike to be so far in the forest, that they can barley see the trees. For example the never-ending rejection that we face in the field can cause us to feel as if we are fighting a loosing battle. For door-to-door canvassers who may interrupt a phone call or family dinner, telemarketers who’s calls are often unwelcomed, or retail promoters who are attempting to engage a shopper on the run, it can be easy to fall in to the trap of seeing it small… to feel like you are a pest or nuisance… to adopt the inaccurate perception that if they had an interest, they would have already acted upon it. This frame of mind can be very discouraging.

By contrast, seeing the big picture, like everything that transpires as the result of taking the initiative to generate business that would have never otherwise occurred is an incredibly uplifting and inspiring point of view. Allow me to elaborate. When a door-to-door canvasser, telemarketer, or store promoter generates an appointment which results in a sale, this has a positive impact on the lives of many. In fact so many that it is difficult to articulate in its entirety. This sales sales transaction not only puts money in the marketer’s pocket, but it also generates a commission for the sales person, a profit for the company, an order for the factory, a delivery for the truck driver, a project for the installer, a permit fee for the city, lower energy bills for the customer, more stable property values for the neighbors, and the list goes on and on and on.  When we actually stop to think about how many people benefit from the result of our initial ambition to knock on that door, pick up that phone, or engage that shopper, it is inspiring and encouraging. Something to be very proud of, and most certainly not ashamed of.

I will never forget the day that I mistakenly apologized for interrupting a wise old war veteran who was working in his garage. He told me sternly “Don’t apologize! I would much rather have an honest man come to my front door and try to sell me something, than a dishonest one at my back door trying to separate me from something.”  After all, isn’t that the proper paradigm to have when considering what we marketers do?  An honest hard working profession promoting products and services that improve the quality of lives of our customers, while at the same time spin the wheels of the economy by providing work for countless unrelated industries…

Having this big picture perspective on the importance and positive impact of one’s occupation can change their paradigm all together. It is this change in paradigm which increases the over all self esteem and attitude about what we do. This can fuel an individual’s passion and conviction and increase their capacity to generate leads and appointments because of their new found understanding for what they are truly hoping to accomplish while on the job.

Be sure to present this perspective to your marketing staff and watch how their attitudes and productivity improve as a result.

Cheers,
Tony