I’ve always devoted much thought to bedding, but SleepNumber ® beds have got to be one of the best consumer product ideas ever devised. Think about it – each side of the mattress can be individually programmed. As one of the product ads promises, “Neither you nor your sleeping partner has to compromise on the firmness or softness of the bed. Each of you can find your own level of comfort.” It’s absolutely brilliant! What’s more, I think I’ve just found a new coaching metaphor-in-a-mattress.
You know how I’m always using the metaphor of my toaster to teach business owners and sales staff the importance of setting a system in place to attract, follow up on, and maintain business relationships? Well, the SleepNumber® bed serves as a perfect example of another fundamental truth I teach about business: People are more likely to repeat behaviors that bring them a feeling of reward. Customers, associates, and contacts will form a relationship with you because they feel they are rewarded. They will continue the relationship for the same reason.
One of the things I stress in “Thinking Points For Connecting Forward” is to ask people what “one thing” would help them, right now, move their personal or professional life forward, and then help them connect to resources to achieve that goal.
Here’s where the individually-adjustable mattress metaphor comes in. Different people have different ideas about what’s rewarding to them. Some business contacts focus on long-term benefits; others need to perceive more immediate rewards. Some value individual recognition, while to others a sense of belonging and connection is a priority. The DISC model of human behavior tells us different people have different needs, different talents, and different perspectives.
Can you see why the the SleepNumber® bed idea holds such genius for sustaining mutually rewarding business relationships over time? Both parties need to feel rewarded in the relationship, but each could be getting different kinds of rewards out of it. Perhaps what I need most right now is a sounding board for ideas I have about growing my business. You, on the other hand need information and contacts in an industry you want to penetrate. Because we’re going beyond traditional networking to NetBeing, the two “sides” of our relationship can be adjusted to fit our individual needs.
Wow! A toaster metaphor and a mattress metaphor! What more could any business coach need?