Dr. John D. Sanders • 843-491-6060john@johnsanders.com

"Stuff Flows"

By whatever term you want to use, we mean that when you just let things happen-- the wrong things happen, or nothing happens. The bad events take over. The business seeks its lowest level. People wait for direction or for other people to set the agenda. Days become weeks that become months-- and when time passes, usually nothing good comes out of it.

I’ve always enjoyed "the deal." Yes, I mean working toward a goal of putting two people together; or, raising money for a company or project; or arranging a corporate merger or acquisition; or helping the close of a contract.

Selling technology (or a product or service) requires the understanding and belief that my title for this article is really true. And in today’s marketplace this is especially so. There are too many opportunities for the buyer to "investigate further" or "find another source" or "spend the funds on another resource" or just about any other excuse for not closing the other side of the transaction.

Yes, there are many new methods of marketing that didn’t exist years ago. Remember only a few years past when we didn’t have the fax to send information on demand. It’s also not that long ago that "overnighting it" wasn’t available-- relying on the mail meant days in delay. And, of course, with the internet now one can just inform the customer to "pull it down" off the website.

However, not only have all these techniques for more efficient marketing been made available to you, but they are also equally available to all your competitors. It’s too late to be first to use FedEx, or the first with broadcast fax, or to have a dynamic homepage. These are now all built into the process and expected by virtually everyone you might do business with. You’re now only at a disadvantage if you don’t use them.

Deals take driving forces to produce good conclusions. The salesperson or marketer must be the catalyst that has his eye on the target and keeps the deal moving. How about another cliché: "if you snooze, you lose." The human element is still critical to completing virtually any project from organizing a committee to selling a technology.

Set the goals and the timetable, and then make sure there is a "deal driver"-- that person who isn’t going to let anything just flow, but is going to do whatever it takes to meet those goals and timetable. And make sure the deal driver really enjoys the process. It’s that same person who as a kid on the playground wanted the ball to make the critical shot-- a type of person who enjoys the fray that leads to a positive conclusion.

So, if "bad things are leading to more bad things" in your sales department or committee or technology development project then become the deal driver. The "stuff is flowing" and Murphy’s Law is at work: "If something can go wrong, it will." You have to be willing to take the ball and do what’s necessary to meet the objectives. And be thankful that we human beings are ever more necessary in the process.

I would appreciate comments; contact me at Technology Transfer Business magazine: phone: 703-610-8787; e-mail: john@johnsanders.com; internet: www.johnsanders.com.

prepared for the April, 1997 Issue of the FLC NewsLink