Imagine shopping for a new car and obsessing about whether it comes with tires, or a steering wheel, or a rear view mirror. Silly, right? Or is it?
You’re not buying just a car, are you? You’re buying what that car can do for you .
Not that there aren’t several ways to get from point A to point B. The real reason you have a desire to own a car is because of how it will make you feel: free, safe, proud, self-reliant, happy or cool. Feeling a touch of swagger? Sure, go ahead.
Now back up and think about the drawbacks of trying to buy a car. The haggling, the options, the impossibility of making apples-to-apples comparisons, the financing and nasty surprises. All of a sudden those assumptions you made at the outset aren’t so silly after all. There you are in the post-purchase interview (aka interrogation) obligated to consider “tires”–winter tires, and rims, and where to store them. Not to mention extended warranties, financing options, rust protection. You get the idea.
So much for the car, let alone the satisfaction of feeling the way you want to feel.
Has the knowledge economy helped this age-old scenario? No, but, happily, we’re about to leave the knowledge economy behind—the economy of too much useless information—and personally, I can’t wait. Enter the experience economy, where technology will allow us to visualize what we want and experience how it will make us feel before we commit to a purchase. Think of the Oculus Rift, with its immersive experience, as an example.
Now think of the Interior Construction ecosphere, where DIRTT and Verto360 are trying to shift the conversation from what construction is to what it can do for people. How it can make them feel. An easy sell? Not when, after a short presentation and demonstration on why and how we do what we do, the prospect says: “ Oh, I see, you sell modular walls.”
“No, we don’t,” we say. “We are providing a technologically advanced way of building. Perhaps thinking of it as construction for the 21st century might be helpful.”
“Well, yes, but you sell walls just like what’s their name.”
“Look, let’s forget about the walls for a moment. Verto360 is about building better, faster, at a comparable price.”
“Yes, well, we tried those prefab walls years ago and they didn’t work.”
We persist. ”It’s not about the walls. It’s about technology integration, future flexibility and adaptability.”
The prospect nods. ”Thanks for coming in and sharing. We’ll review your system with our team and let you know if there’s a fit.”
Like a Monty Python skit , we’re arguing about the tires when what I want to do is discuss why we do what we do and how we might collectively want to do it better.
Of course, the problem isn’t prospective clients . The problem is, the mind automatically associates some new thing with what we already know. Association is what our brains are really good at. The power of association is a really neat energy-saving mechanism .
Up to a point.
The downside with association is that we can blow the opportunity to take in new information and experiences. And the busier we get, the more likely we are to revert to association, and walk away from something new and different, even if that something’s a whole lot better.
We’re not likely to get any less busy anytime soon, so what’s the solution?
To step out of association and ask ourselves “What else could be possible here?” Does a wall have to be just a wall? A solid inert obstacle that boxes us in, or can you imagine it being an interactive super highway for technology and a conduit for change? What if that car could fly?
Now you can relax and feel the difference, and we’ll never need to argue about the tires (aka the walls) again .