What is a worldview?
A worldview is the way you or someone else views the world. It’s the environment we work in, the things we care about, the rules and regulations that form parameters around our work-life, our influences and biases, etc.
Why worldviews are important
Worldviews are important because it’s the lens each of us use to evaluate a problem, solution, and opportunity. It’s the reference point we have that forms our interest and concern. Things that fall within our worldview have a greater opportunity to catch our attention and compel us to learn more.
Worldviews are important because they form the basis for the things we give time to and spend money on.
Why your worldview needs to change
Your worldview likely needs to change because it’s too product and service focused. In other words, your worldview is likely yours, not your prospective customer’s. Sadly, most company sales training continues to be product-oriented: how our product’s spec sheet is better than others, how our product functions, how our product is configured, etc.
The reason this is a problem is because no one wants to buy anything you or I have to offer. Our prospect’s worldview isn’t concerned about our product or service, except to the extent it can address a problem or opportunity they’re concerned with. NOTE: We’ll talk about this in detail in Module 3.
When our worldview doesn’t match the worldview of the person we’re talking to, they don’t listen. So, we need to change our worldview to match our prospective customers: talking about the things we do in terms they are attuned to — their worldview.
The worldview that matters most
Obviously, the prospective customer’s worldview matters most — far more than the salesperson’s view of the products and services they offer. The prospect is who we need to listen to and have listen to us. We need the prospect’s attention, but to get it we can’t change their worldview — there are too many things that shape it that we can’t control. Instead, we need to match the prospect’s worldview to be accepted and welcomed to join in a conversation.
If we want the attention of a decision maker, we need to introduce ourselves in a manner that fits the way they see and experience the world. If we don’t, we’re merely interrupting them with things they aren’t concerned about and will commonly be met with requests for literature, excuses of inadequate budgets, and responses such as We don’t have a need right now, but we’ll call you when we do.
How do worldviews relate to getting in?
Think for a moment about interruptions. By definition an interruption is to hinder or stop the action or discourse of someone by breaking in on them. Interruptions are when one worldview intersects with another. It’s when I’m involved in one thing and you call me about something else — something important to you, but not to me.
When you operate from the worldview of your prospective customer, there’s less chance of interruption and greater chance you’ll be welcomed when you initially make contact.
How to change your worldview
To change your worldview, you need to put yourself in the position of your prospective customer — think about the world as they do. Then map the things you offer into that view — focusing on the things you do for your prospect as opposed to the things you do.
Your prospect’s view of the world comes from the following:
- their position
- their work history
- their customers
- their management
- their experience
- their peers
- their market
- their industry
- their organizational structure
- their responsibilities
- their duties
- their metrics
- their reporting
You need to look at the things above and ask yourself how the things you offer fit into that world. You need to talk about the things you offer in terms that fit that worldview — the things your prospective customers cares about most, the things they are concerned about; the things they watch, measure, and report each day.
An example of mismatched worldviews
In a past life I was VP of Worldwide Sales and Support for an IP telephony company — we manufactured, sold and supported soft-switches and media gateways. As VP of sales in a late-stage start-up I was continually focused on expanding our market, shortening sales cycles, generating repeat revenue, and exceeding revenue targets — that was my worldview.
And I was continually approached by salespeople hocking sales training.
In my first few months on the job, a number of sales training companies called me. I was targeted as an new sales VP at a growing company — likely ready to change things a bit and put my stamp on the organization. Sales training was rationalized as part of that change.
So, the phone calls and letters continued.
Each salesperson that contacted me touted their wares: pedigree of trainers, number of sales staff trained, uniqueness of training materials, follow-on support options, sales tools, etc. To me, each sounded about the same. Each person who contacted me was very proud and excited about their program.
The disconnect was my worldview didn’t include training. I didn’t view training as the issue with our sales performance — present or future. But I was focused on exceeding revenue targets and maximizing our sales presence. My worldview was focused on close ratios, shortening sales cycles, increasing indirect sales performance, and attracting better qualified leads.
I wasn’t interested in training, but would have welcomed talking to someone with a program to shorten sales cycles, increase transaction values, reach more decision makers, increase the rate and volume of repeat buyers, increase close ratios, etc. the problem was no one contacted me talk about these concerns. No one related their sales training program to my worldview.
As a result, I ignored continued requests for my time to talk about sales training. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about their program. The missed opportunity for some companies was the inability to equate their sales training as a means to achieve something important to me.
Things to think about
Consider the prospects you target and think about ways their worldview differs from yours. Do you map your products and services as a means to achieve something valuable to them? What drives your conversations — their interest or yours? Talk to your prospects about the things you do for them as opposed to the things you do. Your products are services are a means to achieve something they value.
What say you?