We are surrounded by complexity–in our business, in our communities, in our lives. Complexity can be, by its nature, overwhelming.

Ironically, too often our approach to dealing with complex situations is to make them more complex. We do this because we don’t understand what we face or what we may be trying to do. We do this because we’ve never experienced the situation before. We do this because we worry about risk. We do this because we worry about what we don’t know. We do this because we may be frightened. We do this because we don’t know any other way.

Simplifying what we are looking at is the furthest thing from our minds.

Salespeople often add to the complexity customers face. They do this because they don’t understand the problem/opportunity the customer faces. They do this trying to be responsive to the customer. They do this to feign intelligence and to match what they think customers expect.

Sometimes, they believe they must meet the customer’s complex situations with complex solutions. The attitude is “If the customer is facing something very complex, only a complex approach to solving their problems will be acceptable.”

We have our own language to explain what we do, using technical terms, acronyms, and words that are meaningless/confusing to our customers. Yet we assume they understand them and never give them the secret decoder ring. (Recently, a client sent me a document filled with acronyms and complex multi-syllabic words. I couldn’t understand it so I plugged it into Google Translate. Turns out Google Translate doesn’t translate complex.)

If we change our point of view. If we focus on helping them make sense of what they face, we can help them understand and navigate the complexity.

But we create greater value when we help simplify. When we help the customer identify the few things that are most critical to the issues the customer faces now and help them move forward. We don’t make complexity go away, but we help them understand “first things first.” We help them make sense of what they face, the alternatives they might choose, and what is important to their success. We help them not just manage complexity more effectively but simplify things.

Question: “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.” Complexity is the elephant in the room for our customers.

How do we help the customer simplify their buying journey?