Selling Water: On Urgency and Importance Kingston’s Journey #111

Don’t Count On People’s Word

Words are cheap. People lie and say what they need to say to get what they want. And if it is not to the benefit of the other party to fulfill their word, well then it is better to assume they won’t do it.

Because your average person is going to prefer taking the path of least resistance rather then being proactive and taking the initiative by doing something that is inconvenient for them now, but beneficial in the long term. Many people (especially in developing countries) live in a constant state of emergency where pressing concerns such as ‘how am I going to make rent?’ take precedence over more overarching issues such as ‘how can I increase my earning capacity over the next 5 years?’

The former question is much easier to sell then the later. Solving someone’s problem of how to make rent is a more tangible solution to a more pressing problem. The results are immediate while most people are unwilling to see a result that requires delayed gratification. It was Steven Covey who illustrated this point another way, through describing activities that are whether or not urgent/important where most people focus on issues urgent and important rather then the more beneficial path of just important issues.

Create A Sense of Urgency

Of course with any human interaction, business as in the case of this example, one needs to adopt to the local market. What that means in this case is framing your offer to be both urgent and important. let’s use fire to elaborate on this. Now if you sell something with long term benefits (but not urgent) people will say they’ll get back to you and ultimately forget as they have so many pressing concerns already preoccupying them. But if they are on fire and you are selling water, there is a sense of urgency and people will be buying from you hand over fist.

So set them on fire and sell water.

Kingston S. Lim

August 11, 2021

Freetown, Sierra Leone

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