Confessions of Seasoned Sales Guy
“Hello, let me show you the NEXT BEST THING that will solve all your problems. All you have to do is X, and then you will see that Y is no longer a problem. So sign next to the X on the service contract. I will stop bugging you. And shortly after I leave, you will wonder LOUDLY IN YOUR HEAD, WHY?!?!”
What just Happened
You just read above a scenario that I have had spent a career formerly as a sales rep fixing and now as a consultant digging business out of the piles of unfulfilled promises made for the sake of the deal. The secret sauce for salespeople is how they communicate the “SIZZLE” to you. The sizzle is that thing that makes you feel like what they are selling is the solution to all your problems.
Reps have fun talking sizzle and solution to the marketplace. Because Let’s be honest; Sales is not a fun job for the faint of heart. Sales professionals run into more people saying “NO” every day than saying “YES.” But before we cue the sad music for how challenging the position is, I need to address the topic of this post. And it is the intersection of where problem and solution intersect. Some solutions are simply the best and the last you will ever need for your problem. Other solutions are suitable for now, but for a short time only. The clear intention should be spelled out and crystal clear that there will be some more to do. Or don’t stop; there is something next for you to get to the next level.
Overlays and Widgets
Finally, to my happiness, there are more tools than I can count that give people with disabilities access to the digital world just like everyone else. Some of these tools are free for the user. Many of the devices come with a residual fee based on the functionality and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) level under the hood.
The A.I. is doing repair work to make things fall closer to the conformance and compliant side of the universal Website Content Accessibility Guideline (W.C.A.G.). W.C.A.G. is a monolith of standards that the world has agreed to adapt as the standard. So, that little icon on the bottom of the webpage, the accessibility statement, E.T.C. (In the spirit of transparency. I do market a tool myself that can be found here), can be doing a whole lot more than doing nothing at all.
Now that you understand what to look for
So why is it a problem? Because these tools are not meant to be the end of the conversation on Digital Accessibility. They are not the last thing you do to help those with disabilities find and navigate their digital footprint. They are the first step to show that you care about those with disabilities and are willing to take a degree in their direction. At the same time, you continue to figure out what your organization needs to do to maintain a level of compliance and conformance that can grow along with your organization.
Unfortunately, When widgets and Overlay tools hit the market, too many salespeople, many of them entirely out of sight and just down a phone line, sold these unique first-line tools as THE LAST THING YOU WILL EVER NEED. And that was and will always be the problem. As long as the first word before intelligence is “artificial,” you can assume complete termination of the problem. But darn that Salesperson said, or at least gave me the impression that this would take care of my problems. So why am I sitting here with a “Demand Letter” telling me that I am not A.D.A. compliant?
Knowledge is POWER
Right now, there is a perfect storm of your Low Results PROBLEMS crashing into the High Pressure of “TOO MUCH INFORMATION” and “TOO MANY VENDORS SALES REPS” that want to solve the problem rather than establish a relationship and guide you through the process or at least hand you off to the next expert that can take them on their journey. Because my friends Digital Accessibility is a lifelong journey we should be excited about being a part of since it would lead to an almost certain 25% increase in web traffic.
Since 1 in 4 Americans alone has a disability. But remember, it is not the widget nor the overlay that is the problem. The problem is how it was marketed or what your expectations were when you purchased it. Simply put, THEY ARE A GREAT FIRST STEP. And they are better than doing NOTHING.
The Stereo and The Snow Boots
When I was a young Airman in the U.S. Air Force serving in Germany, I did not need anything. One thing I wanted more than anything was a fantastic “Panasonic” stereo system for my dorm room. I saw the system I wanted at the Base Exchange. And I still remember it was about four paychecks out of my range. But the sales guy had me convinced it was “THE LAST STEREO SYSTEM I WOULD EVER NEED.” So I saved my money and made payments on lay-away over the next few paydays until I had enough money to go and buy it outright. I bought the last model and got the assurance that I got the TOP OF THE LINE.
I went home and spent the whole next day setting it up. Then I headed back to the scene of the purchase to buy some music to play. and then I saw it. “The NEW Panasonic” Stereo system is one year better than mine with a few more features I did not have. I am not too mad. I still have the receiver and the 6 CD Changer, and that was over 20 years ago.
After the military, I had a crazy career in television. At one point, the track to me to the tundra of Minnesota. My mother bought me a pair of “Ducks” they look funny leather outside and removable insides with fur around the ankles. I know me and footwear. I figured these suckers are going to last about 3-4 years, tops. Well, I left The “Cities” in the early ’90s, and those ducks followed me everywhere. Ironically, in 2018 I laid them to rest in my new hometown of Eugene, Oregon, the home of the University of Oregon Ducks.