The American writer, Mark Twain, once wrote that:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
There’s a fine line between opportunities and risks, and Mark Twain does a good job capturing the flawed assumption that often underpins our decisions.
Ask an organisation about an opportunity they’re pursuing, and what keeps them up at night. More times than not, the answer is whether they can deliver on the product, or service that they’ve promised.
Unpack this, and you’ll find that the subconscious response is often about the risks inherent in developing a product, or implementing a newly designed service. In essence, it’s about making something. Reason follows that, if you make something new, innovative, novel, or cool—consumers will follow.
It’s the now-famous Field of Dreams moment, ‘if you build it, they will come’—although this is actually a misquote from the movie.
As an industry going through considerable changes, aged care is experiencing a moment of equal parts excitement and challenge, where much of what is labelled innovation is open for consideration. Coupled with the idea of technological exponential growth, the options seem awe-inspiringly limitless, if not also downright bewildering.
Yet behind the economist’s quantitative models on our ageing society, the engineer’s technological breakthroughs, the design thinker’s understanding of what consumers want, or the clinician’s latest health findings—one vitally important business element gets short shrift… sales.
Former Apple Chief Evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, one noted that:
“_You can blow all the smoke that you like about brand awareness, corporate image, and feedback from early adopters, but you either make it rain or you don’t.” _
Let’s be honest, sales has an image problem, and of course, no one likes to be reminded that they’re being sold to, but this is no reason why sales is not given a seat at the innovation table.
As PayPal and Palantir, Co-Founder, Peter Thiel, offered:
“If you’ve invented something new, but you haven’t invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business—no matter how good the product.”
In aged care, the move to consumer directed-care, where funding now goes to the client instead of the provider, signals a business landscape where services have to be ‘sold’. It means that now, hardworking providers need to give compelling reasons for prospective clients to choose their suite of services over other competitors.
Some see this as industry disruption, it’s not—it’s an opportunity. Inventing an effective way to sell is just as important as designing a consumer-centric service, or implementing technology that makes your organisation more productive.
Everyone sells, so it’s time we transcend long standing biases about selling. More importantly, it’s about realising the value of what’s being sold.
This begins by creating meaning for clients—it’s about giving them a life, not just offering a service.