Intellectual property

Bill Gates said “Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”

Technology is changing every day and the “new thing” will not be the “new thing” in six months. Someone, somewhere will built it better, smaller and cheaper. Your great idea of an app, a dot com. website or computer program will be challenged and most do not survive long term.

I made mention of this in a blog last week but look at Blackberry and Kodak for example. The technology of those companies and the market share that they both controlled lasted for a while, but competitors came along and stole the market from them. Kodak had a 100 year run with selling film before digital cameras and phones were invented with memory chips. Blackberry owned the smart phone market until the iPhone. Look at Intel processing chips, they were used in just about every laptop computer. Since laptop computers are being replaced by tablets, Intel has had to change their corporate strategy to remain viable in this changing market.

Why am I telling you all this? The thing that will never change in business is the human element. Take our business for example. It doesn’t matter how great the technology becomes, it will never replace the voice and the thinking of a salesman. There will never be an app that can have a conversation, understand numbers and negotiate a contract. The problem becomes when we as salesmen began to let technology become our main focus and we can easily lose our way. Emails and texts are much easier than a phone call and require much less preparation. We have all experienced an email that says something in writing that the sender did not mean to imply. When you are speaking with someone, you hear the voice and the meaning behind the words. In an email all you see are the words.

If you think about your business last week. Which technology did you use most? If the phone was at the bottom of the list, this blog post should be a wakeup call. My State Farm insurance agent who has insured everything we have for many years called me last Friday to just say hello. He didn’t have anything to sell me or any reason other than to say hello. He could have emailed me, sure, but he called instead. When I hung up with him, I realized that is what I need to do much more of. That call did one very important thing. It reminded me (his client) that he appreciated my business and was thinking about me. In business that is very very powerful and it is the single one element that technology will never replace.

So in business, when you look at your desk and you see a computer, it represents websites, emails, and scans. The cell phone represents calls and texts. I am guessing that on the side of your desk you probably have a phone. If you ask yourself which of these devises represent the most important thing in business, let me tell you, it is a phone call. Just like my State Farm rep, he choose the phone to reach out to me and that my friends is business 101. The human element is so very powerful and unlike computers and emails, it genders trust and respect and repeat business. KT

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