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Published: 12/02/2024

On Remaining Human in the Face of Business Challenges: Tech Excellence Podcast with Alan Talbot

Tech Excellence podcast with Alan Talbot

In this podcast episode, Alan Talbot – director and founder at Bridge Solutions Ltd and our communications manager and host,  Monika Dawidowicz, discussed the significance of people-centricity and flexibility while tailoring offers and building lasting relationships in a constantly changing and evolving business landscape.

Key takeaways

The key lies in customisation and adding value

  • Ensuring our offer brings value to our clients and their businesses is essential. There will be no success if we don’t listen to our clients and their goals. Tailoring solutions to meet specific customer needs is crucial for adding value and enhancing satisfaction.
  • Without the confidence that our products and services can bring tangible value to our clients, the chance that they will be willing to cooperate with us is slim. When pitching, it is vital to show and emphasise why what’s on the table will benefit them.

A human-centric approach goes a long way

  • No matter what your business is, go beyond the technicalities and technology. First and foremost, listen to your clients, understand their needs, and strive to build lasting relationships.
  • Stay human and empathise with your clients. Practising empathy helps in better understanding and addressing their pain points.
  • Maintain honesty and integrity in all business dealings, including sales and operations. It’s hard to earn trust, but losing it only takes a moment. Staying honest and transparent strengthens this trust in the face of challenges.

 Keep agile and adapt to your client’s needs

  • Adaptability and flexibility in your approach can help meet clients’ evolving needs. The only constant is change, so the ability to adjust and modify the approach will help you earn trust and confidence in your expertise.
  • Solutions should address customer pain points and objectives directly to ensure relevance and effectiveness.

Digital transformation is a key to steady growth

  • The digitisation of the modern business landscape is something that should always be taken into account.  It helps to achieve sustainable business growth and adaptability to swift market changes.

Solve problems and build strategic relationships

  • Adopt a consultative approach to selling, focusing on solving problems rather than just pushing products. It will make you more trustworthy and strengthen your reputation as a reliable business partner.
  • Building solid partnerships can amplify the impact of your solutions and expand your market reach.

Watch and listen


Transcript

Monika Dawidowicz: Okay, we’re live. Hello and welcome everybody to Tech Excellence podcast, where we support tech founders and entrepreneurs in turning their ideas into the next big thing with the help of experts. And today I am joined by Alan Talbot, Director and Founder at Bridge Solutions. Hi, Alan. 

Alan Talbot: Good morning. How are you doing, Monika? 

Monika: Yeah, great. And I’m really excited to be talking to you. And the topic of the conversation today is the power of customization. But before we get there, I would like our audience, both those who are listening to us live on our LinkedIn stream and those who will listen afterwards on Spotify or YouTube, to understand your background and where did you get all your knowledge from. So, I think I will just let you introduce yourself and tell us something more about Bridge Solutions and what you do. 

Alan: Thank you so much, Monika. And thanks for having me over. 

Monika: It’s a pleasure. Well, I’m a seasoned veteran yet young at heart with over 25 years working in tech roles. I’ve built my career up, and I’ve been in senior and executive positions for the last 15 years, more or less. I’m privileged to have worked in different industries, varied scale projects and tasks, multicultural and multi-ethnical environments and international settings. And I’ve been both as a partner and as a customer. So I’ve got that privilege. 

I’m especially gripped by aviation. I love the industry in which I’ve been involved in for the last 10 years, to some degree or another. I enjoy being in complex and challenging situations as it brings out the best in me, envisioning the holistic solutions, being in the midst of it all. However, I have to say that the most enticing part of it is the exposure to people I engage with. It is a constant surge of energy, connecting with different personalities, visions, emotions. I feel it enriches me with each and every iteration and interaction. It is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of my career, and so far to be able to harness this overall positive energy that people bring with them. And this drives towards change, progress, improvement, but also exposes a much deeper treasure of emotions, values and principles, which is so, so, so deep. 

I’ve set up initially Bridge Solutions as a people-centric organisation and together with my partners nowadays, because it’s three of us, we focus on bringing people together, hence the name. We are like-minded individuals, cherishing same values and ethics and understanding that people, working with people for people is fundamental for all of us. And it is at the core of all our activities because the people element is instrumental in ensuring that whatever we do is of value. We are very value-focused, meaning that whatever we do needs to generate value. I think that needs to be the core at each and every business. The fact that we give a lot of importance to value generation immediately sharpens the senses, right? So when you engage in speaking and seeking the most viable solution with a customer, you understand that it is the best fitting, not only for the customer but also for the partners that are engaged. 

Our business approach is to primarily build relationships with all our stakeholders. We operate both as vendors and brokers in certain cases and therefore we manage relationships on both sides. So you have a lot of juggle in the air at the same time. Our situation is whereby we come at the centre of a multi-party engagement, which raises the stakes even further. So Bridge is more than an apt name for us, you know, it’s not just the name in it, but it is the best visual representation of what factually we do. We firmly believe that our offering and value lies in creating this connection between different bodies that could better be equipped and facing their daily challenges when coming together. 

We make things happen when demand requires supply, when problems require solutions, when people need people to improve situations effectively for the general good. Our mission statement to create meaningful connections is more than a tagline, we firmly believe in it, and what we are saying collectively as Bridge Solutions and the individuals behind the brand is that we have experienced it first-handedly, we’ve seen successes and we’ve learned our lessons. I think the strongest point for Bridge Solutions where we actually give a lot of value is we excel in eliminating confusion and what I mean is creating that understanding and synergies by providing that middle layer that lies between the business requirement and the technical solution which is key to solving problems. 

Whilst this may seem redundant, it might seem obvious to a lot of people, it is a skill that is only refined with accumulated experience, extensive exposure, hands-on application and gained by a cumulative wealth of successes but also by lessons learned, you know. 

Monika: Yeah, because it’s not always success. 

Alan: Exactly, exactly. 

Monika: And sometimes the failure is the best teacher. 

Alan: Exactly, the important thing is to learn from that lesson. 

Monika: And I really appreciate that human factor that you are emphasising, the value and human, that’s really powerful, and to be honest not that common’ still. 

Alan: It’s not, and technology actually is becoming more and more impersonal unfortunately where human beings and people can actually become commodities, can become currencies, you know, we can easily exchange, but it is more important more than ever nowadays to keep that people element in place because fundamentally it’s people that are working with people and nothing more. You are providing a service to people, whatever we are doing, the end customer is always a human being. So ultimately when people are involved you need to adapt to the dynamics and also accept the good and the bad that comes with it. 

What we’ve done as Bridge Solutions also and I’ll conclude with this point is we are building an international network of partners. We are spearheading this partnership, this network, and we bring together excellent companies, fantastic companies that have a communality of principles that are very much similar to ours, you know. We want to do something that is significant and of value. 

Monika: Yeah, and that’s why we proudly, as DAC.digital, joined the network, and decided to collaborate with you and also bring you to the podcast so that you could share the principles that you’re following and that emphasis on the value. 

Alan: And we are extremely proud to be associated with a name such as DAC because we found this true sense of communality between us. I mean even working with you guys and seeing the capability that you can offer and the way in which you do it, it’s quite different than from other organizations that we’ve encountered in our path. I think what we can offer here, the business proposition is extremely exciting because what we can actually offer to our customers, active and prospective, is quite enticing. We might not be the first group out there, however, we are very distinct in what we bring to the table. It’s a stronger group of people with a wide-arching capability which is phenomenal what we can offer, track record which is tangible and the vision that can enrich any organization that engages us because vision is significant and important and we’ll see throughout the podcast how that helps. But besides, obviously, other commercial and operational benefits, I think that is clearly what distinguishes this partnership, this group of people coming together to make something quite significant. 

Monika: Okay, so thank you for that introduction. I believe now it’s clear for everybody what you do and obviously, with your whole experience and those decades in the industry, we could have had like 10 episodes of different podcasts but today we’re here to talk about the customization and actually translating the, let’s say, tech problems into business problems and at the end of the day the human problems that the companies are to solve because what I observed in the industry right now when I look at both our clients and our direct or indirect competitors is that sometimes we get so lost in all that tech that we have to offer. 

Everybody does everything and we show off with the most cutting-edge technology that is within our stack and sometimes we lost that sense of how does it really translate into helping others, helping the businesses and helping the people. And this is not the only show that I’m hosting right now, because we have another one, called Kotlin Crew Community Talks, where we discuss different things connected to that specific programming language, with developers and also company owners. And the most recent episode my guest told a really powerful thing to me that struck me in a positive way that they’re a small company just 12 people software house and what tells them apart from their competition is that they actually offer solving business problems instead of offering tech and I thought, like, that’s a powerful thing and that is a really distinctive feature of a software house and do you also observe a similar thing that sometimes the value or the business problem addressing is not correctly communicated? 

Alan: I have to strongly agree with what you’re saying. I guess all companies, all entities that are there are there also to do commercially well. So there is a way and means how you can actually sell but it doesn’t mean that if you are selling you are solving. I think there are a number of things that we need to bring up to mind in order to make sure that this element of relationship-building is consistent and grows, that you are actually offering something which is generating value you are actually offering a solution rather than tech on itself and nothing more. I think the first and foremost thing to put in mind is that you can have the best product, you can have the best people, you can have the best technology. If you don’t know how to sell it, it will stay on the shelf. 

That is the first important thing. So even techies and I’m a techie myself, I’m a nerd to a certain extent need to understand the art of selling, selling ethically, right? You need to position your product in a way that is honest, transparent and then can generate value. So that is one of the most important things. The second thing I believe that you also need to keep in mind is that not all projects are the same. If you have a belief that they are, you are already starting on the wrong foot. I’m putting on two hats, you know, as a former customer myself and as a partner now, so I’m trying to create this medley, this melange between the two. The people, the company, the context of the situation will ensure that even in just a little detail, it makes the situation unique. And as they say, the devil lies in the details so you cannot go with a blanket approach. 

I’ve sold the solution 20 times, so it applies 20 times the same. No, there is context, the situation might be different, you need to understand that. Addressing a situation by just applying tech without knowing the problem is difficult and I’ll say why. Most of the customers don’t even know what the problem is. There is a sensation, there is a vision of a desirable state, there are pain points scattered but no one can actually put their finger on what the real problem is. The best approach that we found is rather than addressing tech, which tech is one of the three pillars of digital transformation, is to first understand what the problem is. Keep tech totally out of the discussion. You need to understand what the ultimate objective is for the organisation and once you start going in deeper you will start understanding the best applicability of technology that’s needed. 

Some cases it might turn out that it’s not a technology requirement, it’s a process requirement. In some cases it’s people, it could be something simple as training and it’s not technology. But we tend to cut corners when it comes to the unknown to the difficult and technology in itself is a complicated sphere. So people will tend to say, “Ah technology can actually solve it, you know, my competitor did that, you know, so if it applies to him, it applies to us.” But that’s not the case. That in the long run can lead also to significant challenges in also managing the relationship. So understanding the problem is extremely critical and that is where you start adding value to your customer because you are empathising, you are getting deep in the situation, you are sharing the pains that the customer has, you are becoming more and more ingrained with the customer. You are creating that relationship, that human component, that human element. 

Ultimately you need to transpose the business to technical and the technical to business and this is not easy. I mean you cannot be an expert of all sorts, of all industries, of all situations. That’s extremely difficult. I think the word impossible is more applicable in this case, right? 

Monika: Totally. 

Alan: But you need to bring to the table expertise if required, you know, you can, you need to adapt to the situation and create that something special which the customer starts opening up to express exactly what the pain points are, knowing and understanding that at the other side of the table, on the other side of the table, there is actually somebody or someone that can start to understand and get that feel, right? Start absorbing the business impact, the business reality and then it’s up to the partner to start envisaging how technology might facilitate, ease that point, generate more value intrinsically or within the organisation. So that transposition between the business to technical, it’s essential but in a later stage if one is… 

Monika: So first it’s more of like emphatising, it’s the process of getting to know each other and understanding what are the pain points and then somehow combining all of that and trying to find a tech solution together after the initial like step of getting to know each other. 

Alan: Exactly, basing also on the fact that each situation is unique, you are creating something which is totally unique for your customer. Now it doesn’t mean you are creating a bespoke piece of tech necessarily but you are creating a solution and the solution encompasses more than just technology, a solution to be effective, to achieve successful digital transformation. You need to address the people component, you need the process component and the tech which ultimately is just the means with which you enable this change, achieving this change. Once you have those three components in place and they are commensurate to the customer’s requirements, I believe that there is successful digital transformation. 

However, there are other things which one needs to keep in mind. I’ve encountered in my career for example situations whereby, or organisations, that have actually adopted a solution which a prima facie seemed to be very relative, fitting, but no one had measured actually the degree of success of the implementation. So it is also on the partner itself to actually measure success and why I’m saying that, this also brings an element of sustainability. So if you are defining a solution you need to actually determine what is the value you are going to generate out of that solution for the customer’s benefit. 

Not all solutions are of the same size, scale or cost even in terms of spread within the organisation. So it becomes difficult at some point to actually measure what that solution is contributing to the entire organisation. It’s extremely pertinent that as you go down the line you actually measure how much positive value is being generated vis-a-vis the pains that it had in the past. So you can easily say, “Listen I want a solution that actually starts generating revenue as from day one, I want to increase revenue by 10%.” You need to actually understand that the solution you are offering actually starts generating that kind of revenue. By setting in KPIs you are also framing and boxing the way in which the project is going on. Any form of deviation can be managed throughout the project and aligning it back again according to the targets that have been established. 

Monika: Provided that they were established…

Alan:  And that’s at the onset. Exactly, exactly. So it’s important and it helps because when you start measuring you can actually measure to a certain extent. You can put a quantifying element on the pain points, and unless you know what the pain points are, you cannot actually say “Listen we solved your pain, you know, tangibly this is in place and you are actually doing it.” By boxing it and by measuring these metrics, putting in these metrics in place, it also helps on the element of scoping. But we touched a bit on the pain points. Knowing your audiences as well, and when you are building your solutions is extremely important. The honest pitch is significant. So it is important that once you are positioning a solution with someone, you need to make it relevant to them. So, if you are pitching something which is affecting operations, for example, you need to make sure that whatever you are delivering is actually relevant to operations.  It’s not something that’s, you know, extremely generic it’s covering just finances revenue or whatnot. It needs to be extremely pertinent to the people and understanding their pain points. 

One other thing that we’ve found, when tech organizations tend to pitch, is the people actually pitching do not realize that they are the brand. And that is extremely important. People are representing a brand, however, when you are in a face-to-face situation, when you are trying to sell your product, your solution, your service to the customer you need to build that element of trust. And the only way…

Monika: How?

Alan: That’s a tricky one, but I think there are some basic principles, you know. In a situation where you are a startup, maybe, or you are trying to penetrate a market which is new for you or an industry, which is absolutely new, you are probably not known. You’re probably competing against more established players. 

Monika: And probably you’re the 10th one pitching to them that day. 

Alan: At least, you know, you’re a small entity, you’ve got a brilliant product, a brilliant idea, you know, you’re throwing yourself in there, and you’re trying to sell. So if you are not known, and especially if you are vying for these first contracts, you need to build trust. And you need also to appreciate that you do not have the luxury of multiple attempts. Probably you’ve got one shot, you know, you’ve got your foot through the door, and you need to push your way in. However, one needs to keep in mind that, on the other side, you know, you’re your counterpart, the person giving you the opportunity is also sticking their neck out in order to give you that valid opportunity, and extreme very rare chance probably in order to pitch. 

And you need to invest on that opportunity. You need to build a trust. And in that case, you ask me how do you build that trust. We have found, and I have personally experienced, that usually honesty, consistency, empathy and sometimes even saying no can build that trust. You know, no I cannot do it, or not I’m not capable of going there. 

Monika: But that’s a transparency and honesty instead of leading someone on. 

Alan: Exactly. 

Monika: And then realizing that. 

Alan: Exactly. It goes a long way further than being Mr. Yes all the time, right. And this element of transparency is extremely significant, not only at the onset but throughout the entire relationship. That is how trust is built. Transparency is fundamental. And the transparency comes also clarity and consistency. You know you need to define certain things early at the onset, and you need to be consistent throughout. You cannot change the tune because the situation asks, you know, to… to vie significantly from some core principles, or core ways on how you do business. So we understand that there is change, and change is inevitable. But these elements of clarity and consistency cannot change. Those are anchors, whilst you are building this relationship. 

Monika: But just to make things clear, that clarity and consistency, it’s on the level of your ethics and value, but not, you know, when the situation requires, like, for example, you sealed the deal you agreed on some actions and services, but then the situation is dynamic, then it’s okay to change the approach, yeah. Well, you communicate with the client. So these are two different things, yeah? 

Alan: Yes. However, there also needs to be clarity and consistency even when embracing change. The partner needs to be extremely agile, and in certain cases, customers need to be guided, especially if their organizations are still not agile enough, you know, to understand and embrace change. And that’s quite common to happen. However, you need to guide objectively for their benefit, and avoid being both trapped in a situation whereby this sudden urgent push for change, which might not be justified or controlled, right, can seriously risk the entire project or initiative that is at hand. 

This is part of the clarity and consistency, whereby initially when you start things, you set the basics right. You know, you get the terms of reference and then you play it according to the maturity, also of the partner whenever there are changes, whenever there are certain requirements, you play it sensibly. It cannot be that you stick to a scope as from day one and the scope changes significantly as you go along. That is a pitfall, you know. You end up in situations, whereby a number of organizations rather than saying “no”, whenever required, and saying “yes” constantly all the time, right, end up in a situation where the project might be at risk. You’ve got project overruns, you’ve got scope creep the requirement has significantly changed and varies from the objectives. 

This could be quite risky. However, on the other hand, one needs to realize that we live in an eternal constant of change. Change it’s paradoxical, but change is the constant, it’s not the variable. 

Monika: And that’s the only thing that we’re certain about. 

Alan: That is the only thing that we’re certain about. 

Monika: Things are going to change. 

Alan: Yes, but change needs to be prioritized. Change needs to be evaluated. Change needs to be sensible change. There are certain situations, whereby change is extremely imposing and heavy that you need to change your product as you are going along. It doesn’t make sense to wait at the end of the initiative. This is the whole concept of Agile, right, to embrace change and make sure that the product that you are actually delivering is relevant and applicable at that point in time, right. And whenever there are changes, you apply those changes. But however, you find that that customers under constant demand changes significantly without actually measuring the value of the change, the value that you are going to get from that output of change. And we, as partners, need to guide those customers objectively, not looking at the bottom line, at the end of the day, and did the commercial application in order to play the long game, no, look more into the future and making sure that whatever initiative is taking on is for the greater good of the customer. 

Monika: That seems like something to note down. So anybody who’s listening to us just pause for a second and let that sink in. 

Alan: We’ve also found out, I mean, this might be maybe part of the boring part of the discussion, when it comes to contracting as well. Contracts need to be clear at the onset. 

Monika: For both parties. 

Alan: For both parties. Exactly. I strongly believe that the best contract is the one that molds in a drawer, right. You write the contract, you sign it, everyone knows about it. Throw it in there. You never take it out. The Italians actually have a very good saying, they say which means “Let’s have a clear understanding, which means it’s a long friendship,” right? So… And I think that is the best way, because contracts can easily come into play, especially if you are service-oriented and there are SLAs, and there are a number of different things that come into play, and if the service you’re offering is quite complicated, this can lead to a deterioration of service, to a deterioration in the relationship. So it is important that contracts are clear, comprehensive and understood by anyone else. I think that the final thing at the end of the day is very simple then, finally. You need to be human. 

Monika: I think that’s the key. 

Alan: That is the key, yes. You need to give consideration to whoever is on the other side, you know, opposite you on the screen, or on the other side of table, what might be going through their live,s you need to empathize you know. A dose of sincere humanity never fails, and if you keep that in mind, I think the majority of times you will nail it on the head. 

Monika: Okay, so we’ve touched on a lot of different aspects of customizing that offer, and the approach to the client. So, if you were to sum up in a few sentences, like, what’s the key to the customized offer? What are the key steps here? 

Alan: I think the most important part is the beginning, you know, you only get one chance to make the first impression. You’ve only got one chance for that. So pitching is essential. You need to know your audience. It takes work, and it takes research. You do not lose sight of the important things, such as the quality of the products, the benefits, the cost, the time frames, or whatever it is. They are all important to whoever is willing to give you a chance, so that is extremely significant. 

But one needs to make all those positive elements more appealing, and you need to try to understand, who is in the audience. So, you need to see what areas they direct and manage and create relevance to what you are actually offering, how it can actually alleviate their pains, how it is relevant to them. Whilst you are presenting to a single organization, you have to keep in mind that organizations might somewhat be siloed. Departments running at different pace. Might not be running coordinated strategies. A lot of discriminants that, whilst any organization will tend to say “no we are the most open, most collaborative,” right, “the most flat hierarchically,” you know. A lot of them still experience these problems, and usually, larger organizations actually go through these internal challenges, because they are effectively being run by people and nothing more. So it’s in their nature, and organizations reflect the nature of their people. 

So it is super important to appease, not in a superficial way, mind you, but by ensuring that what you are offering does, as a matter of fact, hold appeal and value to their side of operations. You need to cover all aspects and make sure that the message gets through. You need to make sure that you have strong data to back you up. Test cases and scenarios, and be prepared for everything. So, most importantly, show that when you are selling, what you are selling actually is deliverable. 

Monika: That’s a very important point. 

Alan: What you promised can actually be delivered. 

Monika: And that you have resources to provide it. 

Alan: Exactly, and the product works as you are actually saying. I mean, there are… then you can go into the complications, you know, sometimes you sell a product but you don’t consider integration with third parties. These things need to be brought to light initially. There should be no gap between offer and deployment. I’ve experienced bad situations as a customer, and I’ve seen also other parties in the industry that have failed to do so, and that is very unfortunate because it is real, you know. Salespeople are interested in commissions and sales, and I’m not saying this to the detriment of them, but that is their role. They need to sell. But there are situations where they do not go beyond. It is no surprise then that projects fail because expectations are misaligned, you know. You sold me that, and I’m getting this. And that is quite critical. That element of clarity, consistency and transparency, we spoke about, needs to be in it. 

Monika: Because, of course, it’s easy to sell everything that you talk about, yeah. But if the team doesn’t deliver that because what was sold was, for example, impossible then we have an issue, and that there’s no way to rebuild that trust if it’s broken once.

Alan: You need to keep at the back of your mind that your offering needs to be consistent bottom line. You will deliver what you promise, as otherwise, your brand will be impacted. And you would be extremely surprised at how small the world is and how names get around easily, you know. Even if this venture fails and you move on to the next one it’s very probable that one day these things will catch up. 

Monika: Of course, they will. 

Alan: So do the right thing. Be consistent and transparent. It is amazing how this does manage to seep through. That’s not… 

Monika: Yeah, and I think having that long-term perspective is vital here. Because, you know, in a short run obviously, let’s have some quick wins and sell whatever we imagine. But then, if we don’t deliver, for example, because we sold more than we can actually deliver. Because I think that can be a case. Then yeah, we get that, we get that badge of an unreliable person or a company. And it’s very difficult to shake it off later. 

Alan: Extremely difficult. And all partners, all organizations that are in this sector, that actually sell technology solutions. I think it is on them to cascade this corporate culture, this mentality. This bag of ethics, and values, and principles to whoever is representing them. Because brand, it takes ages to build a brand. It takes a second to lose a brand. So it is extremely important. Brand needs to transmit and lose confidence and trust to your client base. So, be sensible. Be aware that your brand can be impacted with whatever action you take, so that is extremely important. I think that is the final takeaway then, when it comes to how to actually pitch. I mean, I know that time is limited. We can spend days talking about these things. 

Monika: Exactly. So maybe before we wrap up, I would like to let everyone know that if you would like to collaborate with Allen and Bridge Solutions, like, we will include all the links and all the necessary resources in the description, and in the show notes. But maybe, if you could point out some sources of information that are that could be valuable for people who would like to follow that principle of having the value and ethics in place. Are there any places or sources of knowledge that you could reference and, I don’t know, some literature or, I don’t know, podcasts or places where people could just start seeking inspiration on how to have all those things in place? 

Alan: I would be very happy to engage with them if there are direct questions. But what I have learned in life, I mean, these are values that are… you are usually brought up, you know, this is what what your parents transmit to you, this is what your culture transmits to you, and I believe that there is a lot of positivity, and a lot of good values out there across the globe. Even though we live in a world which does sometimes need more evidence that these values are out there, I think these are transcendent and quite logical. However, I mean, when it comes to principles, these are so personal, these are-, these are so individual, pertaining to oneself, that I don’t think that there is any form of literature or a book that will actually convince you how to behave or not. I think this is a whole thing of self-awareness. 

Monika: Okay, and self-discovery, and maybe, you know, thinking about it, yes? 

Alan: It’s your own personal journey, it’s your own personal journey. However, then if you want to be more pragmatic and more methodical, you need- you need to put it into context, right. I mean, what makes sense from a commercial perspective, does it make sense for me, you know, to be a one-hit wonder you know? Not build a relationship, rip off my customer once, you know, make a buck and see what’s going to turn out the next day. I don’t think…

Monika: Probably nothing good…

Alan: Probably nothing will come out of that. So this is all basic, and all logical but unfortunately, we tend to lose that awareness, that simplicity of life, because situations demand it. Your pressures to increase your sales, your pressures to deliver, your pressures to meet times, your pressure on a lot of stuff, and we lose focus on the more simple and basic things. 

Monika: So what would you recommend that’s just keeping that focus and maybe finding some time to align? 

Alan: Yes.

Monika:  To check if your actions are aligned with your values. 

Alan: Yes that is… Then, even though when it comes, maybe, to other tools that you can use when you are approaching your customers, but besides having your tools and tactics. We have found out that customers do not immediately open up on the first phase, you need to follow up more than that. So, maybe proof of concepts are a good way on how you can actually engage even deeper with customers. Those customers that actually would accept a proof of concept are usually mature also, and opening up for innovation, so it’s a good platform also to start exploring other things. 

One other thing, sometimes it’s also good to go for the crumbs rather than the big ticket. Do not over-stretch yourself because projects that can seem extremely attractive, might not always be the most suitable. That doesn’t mean that all projects are good, so you need to distinguish that, you need to have some logical sense also responsibility towards the rest of the organization. I believe you also have to be agile in the offer, you need to create velocity in the interest, you need to keep at it. You can’t let it go cold, you need to do that respectfully within boundaries, you can’t be a pest, you can’t bombard the other entity, but you need to show that you are present, you are showing interest, that the customer actually becoming your customer is a privilege for you as well. It’s a feather in your cap, make the customer feel special, so that agility following the offer is extremely important. 

Maybe one final thing is when pitching, you need to learn, and this is something that you get an experience, you need to learn how to read the room and, possibly, the politics of the table. This is something that you won’t find in a book. 

Monika: You need to practice. 

Alan: Yes, this is something that you need to learn. 

Monika: You need to tap on your emotional intelligence and just try test and see what works. 

Alan: Yes, notwithstanding everything, one needs to understand that business is tough. Probably, you won’t get it right the first time, the second, but at some point, good things happen to good people, those who apply themselves and are extremely positive that that will happen. 

Monika: That’s a perfect-, perfect closing thought: good things happen to good people in business. 

Alan: Yes, yes, keep that positive energy coming, and this world needs more positive people definitely. 

Monika: Definitely, and I absolutely agree with that, and all of the things that you said, there’s so much knowledge packed in those 40 minutes, so I highly encourage everyone who watched and listened to us today to do it again on Spotify and YouTube, because, yeah, definitely a lot of takeaways from this conversation for every entrepreneur, on every level of development. Those who are starting, but those who already are in business, and maybe lost their focus on the way. I believe there’s a lot to take from Alan here, and as I’ve mentioned before, feel free to reach out to Bridge Solutions if you need some guidance on the way or if you need to get connected to people who share similar values in business. Thank you very much, Alan. It was great to great to talk to you, and a final closing announcement is that next week we will also be broadcasting another episode live here on LinkedIn, so stay tuned, and I’m looking forward to hearing any feedback from you about this one. So, great to have you here today, and have a great day, everyone. 

Alan: Thank you, bye-bye.

Monika: Bye-bye.

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