The origin of sales creativity mystery solved. It’s you!
You missed it, man! Last weeks column was the MOST CREATIVE ever. Actually it was HALF of the most creative ever. This week is the second half of last week’s — what it takes to be creative. Where does creativity come from? You learn it. How important is creativity in sales success? Very. How creative are you? Not very. Can you improve your creativity? Yes. Read a book on it. Practice it. Last week we went over the first part of the basic elements that make up the creative capability. “Jeffrey I didn’t read your column last week.” You say. If you want last weeks offering, go to www.gitomer.com and there will be instructions. And hey – get with it. You gotta read my column every week. Here are the rest of the elements that comprise your creativity. They will lead you to the understanding, awareness, and the ability to SELF improve – assuming a willingness to put forth the effort on your part. 9. Studying creativity. The more you read, the more you will understand how others have learned and taught creativity. If you have not read the classic Michael Michalko’s book Thinkertoys or his new book Cracking Creativity or any Edward de Bono book, Six Thinking Hats, Lateral Thinking, or a compilation of his thoughts entitled, Serious Creativity. I recommend you start from there and immediately progress to Dr. Seuss, the champion of creativity for both adults and children. No kid can read or digest Michalko or de Bono. Every kid can read, re-read, think about, learn from, AND digest The Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, Green Eggs & Ham, Horton Hears a Who, or any of the Dr. Seuss legendary classics. My library has more than 25 volumes. OK, I’ve given you the titles. All you gotta do is buy them and read them.
10. Studying the history of creativity in your industry. In order for you to figure out what is going on today, and project your brilliant ideas into the future, you need to have a firm grip on what happened yesterday and why. As an expert in sales, the books I find most inspirational were written somewhere between 50 and 70 years ago. There’s always a new wrinkle in something old.
11. Using creative models. If you look at the concepts presented in the book Six thinking Hats or Six Action Shoes it’s a classic model in creativity where the author, Edward de Bono, uses colors of the hat or the shoe to convey a process. The easiest example of the model is a concept brought out in Thinkertoys called S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Scamper is simply a new way to look at an existing idea, and asking yourself questions to improve it. Each letter in the acronym represents a different perspective to see creative ideas from. The letters are Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Maximize, or Minimize, Put to other use, and Reverse or Rearrange. If you take any object, thought, or project and put the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. model to use, you will come up with new and creative ideas. The object of the model is to learn the practical science so that you can see there’s a way for you to learn creativity, rather than simply be creative. Learn rather than be. One does not replace the other. One is simply an additional method or supplement to the other. Sometimes you do things or think things without really knowing “why”. The “why” is never as important as the “is.”
12. Risk Failure. There’s an old expression that says “no risk no reward.” I say, “no risk, no nothing.” All creative people take risks. It’s the nature of the process. Daring to think something new or try something new. The best example of creative-failure I can give you is Thomas Edison, he’s also the best example of creative-success. He thought, he studied, he tried, he risked, he failed THOUSANDS of times, and he succeeded big time. Thousands of brilliant inventions and ideas. Tens of thousands of failed ideas and inventions. Wherever your creativity takes you, risk comes along for the ride – it’s a natural part of the process – enjoy the thrill of it like you would a roller coaster ride. Fail to get a hit in baseball two out of three times for 20 years and you’ll go to the hall of fame with a .333 batting average.
13. Seeing your creativity in action. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing your idea put to use. No matter how small or grandiose people tend to brag (be proud of) and take ownership of “there idea” “See that over there?” “Yeah, I thought of that.” Even it’s it just moving something from one end of the room to the other, setting up a new configuration of the same equipment or creating a slogan, there is HUGE PRIDE in “seeing” your idea.
13.5 The ridicule factor. Whatever your great idea is, there will always be someone ready to throw cold water on it. IGNORE those people. They are jealous because they have no ideas of their own. And for those of you that think all the good ideas are taken, look at the sport of ice hockey. It’s more than 150 years old. The hockey (goalie) MASK is only 30 years old. Wouldn’t you think that someone could have come up with it in the first 120 years? Finally one guy (Jacques Plante) got tired of getting hit in the face with the puck! Hello. And once again, necessity became the mother of invention. And he created the first hockey mask. There are a ton of other equally obvious ideas out there – your job is to be thinking about them. There were millions of people who “knew the game” of Ice Hockey, but only one who imagined a better, safer way to play it. Which leads me to the end. And the quote I found inscribed in the front of the book “Thinkertoys.” I have read the book several times, and ordered a case of them signed by the author, Michael Michalko. In it he had written, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” I rest my case. The rest is up to you.
Free GitBit…Exercise your brain to build your creative muscle. I offer you 7.5 creative exercises you can use the nanosecond you retrieve them. Go to www.gitomer.com (register if you’re a first time user) and enter the word CREATIVE in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org