Allow me to relate a modern fairy tale. It takes place in a land with a very deep and fast-flowing river running right through the middle. No one is able to cross the river by himself without drowning.
On one side of the river, we find Miss A, on the other side, Mr. B. Over time, Miss A and Mr. B have developed quite a relationship by talking across the river. It occurs to them that they are deeply in love. But the river poses quite an obstacle. One day, Miss A turns to Mr. B and, professing her love, asks him to stay put while she walks down the levee to try to find a way across.
Not far away, Miss A comes upon Mr. C, who has a boat. Passionate about getting across the river, she explains her dilemma and asks him to ferry her so that she can be with her true love.
Mr. C agrees to take Miss A across the river if she will kiss him. Miss A is taken aback and refuses because of her love for Mr. B. Mr. C simply restates his price, only to be rejected once more. Distraught, Miss A trudges further along the riverbank.
Soon she encounters Mr. D, who is sitting in a rocking chair and minding his own business when Miss A approaches. She explains the situation and begs for Mr. Ds assistance. Mr. D refuses. He explains, in no uncertain terms, that he doesnt want to get involved. He feels this is none of his business, and he asks Miss A to leave him alone.
Feeling defeated, Miss A decides to exercise her only viable option as she treks back to Mr. C and acquiesces to his demands. True to his word, Mr. C takes Miss A across the river in his boat. Miss A makes her way along the other side of the river, soon to be in the arms of her true love.
As she approaches Mr. B, he calls out to her, asking her to explain how she got there. Miss A tells him the whole sordid story, leaving no stone unturned. After listening, and without hesitation, Mr. B informs her that he doesnt want her anymore. He explains that his standards are very clear, and since she kissed Mr. C, he could no longer accept her.
Confused and forlorn, Miss A trudges along the riverbank without any idea of what to do. Suddenly she comes across Mr. E., who is on a horse a white horse and is dressed in white. After Miss A explains, Mr. E only takes a second to consider the situation. He explains to Miss A that he doesnt care about her past and that he loves her just the way she is. He invites her to join him on his horse as they ride off into the sunset together. She does. They do. End of story.
After you have put your tissues away, if I asked you to rate our five characters according to how much you respect them, how would your list look? Perhaps you would put Miss A at the top because of her stamina, her perseverance or her tenaciousness. Perhaps she would be at the bottom because she compromised herself (the hussy!).
Did you respect Mr. B the most because he was principled? Or the least because he was inflexible?
Maybe Mr. C would top your list because he had a price and stuck to it, or he could be at the bottom because he was obviously an opportunist. Did you respect Mr. D because of his ability to stay uninvolved? Or perhaps you didnt like the fact that he would not help a damsel in distress.
Finally, maybe you put Mr. E at the top since he is the knight in shining armor, able to accept our heroine no matter what her past. Or is Mr. E really the opportunist in this story?
The point is that these are all right. The word that should come to mind is PERSPECTIVE.
This is the ability to understand that, in any given situation, someone else may have a totally different perspective of the same information. Recognize that world-class marketers always take this into account. They see the world through their markets eyes, allowing them to see the way their markets buy.
The next time you send out that direct mail piece, or give away that promotional product, stop and consider your clients perspective not yours!
Jeff Tobe, certified speaking professional, speaks and trains with diverse companies and organizations around the world. Find information about his books, presentations and a free creativity newsletter at www.jefftobe.com, or contact him at (800) 875-7106.