Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Tuesday, September 26, 2006  

Finding the Right Combination for an Authentic SPIN

Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

"Welcome to the commoditization of experiences: 'Been there, done that ...’ HR departments must stage real auditions. Your success relies on picking the right people to play the parts. People take on roles, but they act out character. The individual characterizations must fit within the entire ensemble."

B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, “The Experience Economy”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH. Your survey should yield the types of challenges you most enjoy and you’d love to sink your teeth into in the resort location of your dreams. Convincing your target decision-maker that you’re the one to deliver the results may require a little SPIN. By shifting the conversation away from the costs and your fees or the salary you command, you are better able to negotiate a better deal as a function of the value you bring.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: I have to keep reminding myself, that this survey is really non-job search-related. And, that it is conducted in a low stress situation that can help make you comfortable with the knowledge gathering process.

Explorer: And, let us re-emphasize that if you want, you can even take someone with you.

J2020F: So in a destination resort community, what happens next?

Eagle: After completing your survey, you should be able to describe your new career objective by filling in the blanks:

I would like to use the following blend of enjoyable and marketable skills ...

Using my present (or future) interests, experiences and expertise in (or with) ...

On projects with objectives fulfilling these goals and values ....

Working most closely with these kinds of people ...

In a work setting with these characteristics ...

At this level of responsibility and salary range ...

At an organization located in this geographical area ....

Explorer: When you either get called back because of something you uncovered in a survey interview with a potential decision-maker, or you decide to approach your target organization with a proposal, you can take advantage of SPIN

J2020F: Spin doesn’t have a positive association for many people.

Explorer: Many sales people put together a “Call Plan” before they contact their potential customer or client that is designed to advance a sale – which is certainly your goal in each subsequent meeting, right?

Eagle: SPIN refers to questioning techniques and agenda topics to cover in each meeting, described in “SPIN Selling” by Neil Rackham.

J2020F: So, it’s an acronym?

Eagle: Yes, coming from the broad approach known as solution selling or relationship selling. S stands for Situation.

Explorer: It may also be known as a situational analysis and some people spend too much time on this topic during a meeting, which is only natural because of how much investigative homework you've done in preparation for the meeting.

J2020F: How should you budget your time?

Explorer: Your goal is to spend more time with P and I, or Problems and Implications than on the situational analysis. More on that a little later.

J2020F: O.K. Fair enough. So what’s your goal in the brief situational section of SPIN?

Eagle: In the beginning you only want to discover any missing facts you need, to set up the problems and implications portion of the meeting.

J2020F: Problems, but “I don’t got no stinking problems.” What’s the focus in the problem section of the agenda?

Explorer: By Problems we mean problems that might exist and that we can solve (with our most enjoyable and marketable skills and expertise).

Eagle: We aren’t surfacing any other problems. Only the ones tied to what we love to solve. We only need one, but anticipate and question for three problem areas.

J2020F: So, like an attorney, you don’t want to ask a question on the witness stand, unless you know the answer?

Eagle: Right. Once you confirm with the decision-maker that a problem exists, then you want to coax out the indirect Implications.

J2020F: So while there’s no “I” in team, there is an “I” in SPIN? What are indirect implications and why are they important to the agenda?

Explorer: Well, for one usually there are costs associated with the problem, that ripple out into other functions and people dependent on the information, materials or products delayed or defective caused by your problem.

J2020F: So indirect implications means hidden costs. Kind of like opportunity costs or costs for not addressing the problem.

Explorer: You’ve got the idea. You go through a series of questions to identify key stakeholders who have a vested interest in the solution of the problem, are impacted by it and would be able to do their jobs and functions more productively after they buy your solution.

Eagle: One easy way is to surface the internal customer and supplier chain of relationships to identify critical interdependencies.

J2020F: So, you can then give them an estimate of what the total cost of inaction is?

Explorer: Actually, we’ve found they will resist a number coming from the outside as being inflated. By getting the decision-maker to guess what the total cost is for the whole supply chain they become your advocate.

J2020F: How so?

Eagle: They’ve stopped and figured out a cost – benefit ratio that they never had the time to calculate before. Often times the number they arrive at is much larger than the number you could have guessed at.

J2020F: And, the strategy must be that what they will offer you as an employee or as a consultant is a very small percentage of the total cost they’ve just arrived at?

Explorer: And that makes this whole advance-the-sale easier because you shifted the framework from cost to one about the value you bring.

J2020F: By following the situation, problem and indirect implications agenda, you cannot only advance your sale you’ve just changed to framework through which you’ll be seen as a highly valued contributor.

Explorer: That’s the general idea.

Eagle: All of a sudden the salary range you want, bracketed just under the upper limits of their range and extended to the figure you want, or the cost of your consultation or product seems more like a valuable investment than another cost to be justified.

J2020F: If the implications shift the initial problem's cost at say $100,000 to a total cost of $2 million, then what your asking seems more than reasonable because of the value you bring?

Explorer: And, by having the decision-maker come up with the estimates, not only are they more reliable, the total figure frequently is much higher than you could have guessed.

J2020F: If you had started with a figure like that in the situational analysis stage, you probably would have been viewed as just another job seeker or salesperson. I know I would have concluded that as a decision-maker. What’s next?

Eagle: Now, you've exposed an explicit “Need” which you hope to develop further.

J2020F: Talk more about that.

Eagle: A need that may have been lying dormant or less important and urgent until seen through the implications lens.

J2020F: How do you get ready for this approach?

Eagle: As preparation you can fill out a worksheet that asks you to take what you offer -- your expertise, skills, and talents -- and to break them down into characteristics like you would of a product, service or experience in one column and the problem that this solves for the buyer.

Explorer: Or you can work backwards to the problem by working on two columns -- explicit need and implied need.

J2020F: What is the difference?

Explorer: The explicit need is a description of how your solution is superior to the competition.

Eagle: The implied need is a list of problems that your solution could solve.

J2020F: And of course by addressing the agreed upon, serious and urgent need, you are in the position to offer customized benefits in the form of you, right?

Explorer: Exactly.

J2020F: Realistically the SPIN approach occurs over time. Are there any direct links to the context, concepts, resources, tips and tools to help you find the right combination as you take your life out for an authentic SPIN?

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

12:17 PM

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