I first heard the saying "form follows function" when I was taking golf lessons around 1994.
The golf pro was helping me learn how to correct my own golf swing by analyzing how I completed it. In other words, what was my form after the function of my swing.
Most golfers go out and hack around the golf course, making the same poor shot time after time, year after year, never able to really improve so they end up playing Army golf their entire lives. You know, left, right, left, right.
But golf is a game of opposites.
To hit the ball higher, hit down on it. If you're hitting the ball right, slide your left foot (your leading foot if you're right handed) to the right and/or stand on the right side of the tee box. If you find your shots coming up short, check to see if all of your weight has shifted to your back foot after your swing instead of forward.
Form follows function is also a principle associated with modernist architecture and industrial design in the 20th century. The principle is that the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose. (Wikipedia)
St. Thomas Aquinas explained, “The operation of anything follows the mode of its being” (Summa Theologica, Pt. 1, Q. 75, art. 3). More simply stated, action follows being. We can deduce the nature of a thing through studying its actions. Aquinas made this statement in his explanation of the human soul. Our minds have the power of abstraction, which is a key point in proving the existence of souls in humans. (Abstraction is the operation. Soul is what is existing or being.)
The same is true of selling. Show me a salesperson that won't make eye contact, has a weak handshake, dresses poorly, won't shut up, constantly disparages his competition, his company, even his own products, one who immediately discounts his offering and/or caves in on exotic demands from the client in areas such as rush delivery times, extended warranties or support, or modifications to the product and I'll show you a struggling, under-achieving, dissatisfied person that is probably a job-hopping, unhealthy mess of a human being.
Their form—not hitting sales quotas, not growing year over year, lacking confidence, begging, allowing themselves to be a punching bag—follows their poor function: bad lists, bad scripts (or refusing to create and follow a script), focusing on features and facts instead of benefits and solutions, viewing themselves as pesky, pushy interruptions in the lives of their prospects and clients instead of trusted advisors bringing welcomed solutions.
If you don't like your selling form, look at the functions, the actions you are taking on a day-to-day, even hour-to-hour basis. Are you taking care of yourself physically? Are you surrounding yourself with motivated professionals? Are you putting positive information into your head during your commute, at the gym, to start and end your day?
Since 1994 I've been reading, listening and attending conferences, workshops and mastermind groups to help me reach my peak performance. Now I offer various solutions to help you do the same and they range in price from free to "nowhere close to free" but all are effective.
For under $20 you can read my new book, It Takes More Than a Big Smile, a Good Idea, and a Twitter Account to Build a Business That Lasts.
For a lot more you can enroll in my Make Every Sale program and really dig in to grow.
Whatever you decide, please decide, because if you choose not to decide, it's still a decision. You can change your form by changing your function this very moment. I know because I did many years ago and it has been the best professional decision of my life.
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If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as:
- Apply MagneticMarketing to your business and watch your business grow
- Learn to put PersonalityInCopy and watch your influence grow
- Go where the money is: Marketing To The Affluent
- Hire The Best Keynote Speaker
- Ontraport Demo