The Advantage of Disadvantages

The late Dutch football coach Johan Cruyff had a way of creating his own aphorisms – some of which said little (“The ball is round”- Yeah thanks Johan, we hadn’t noticed that) but others were quite smart:

“Every disadvantage has its advantage”.

Now at this time, when literally every person and every business struggles with a major disadvantage, this goes much further than ‘the advantage is that you can pivot into online services and offerings’.

For example: a lot of your competition has slashed their advertising and marketing budgets (always a bad idea in times of crisis), so you can increase your market share by doubling down when others are slowing down.

And on that note: advertising gets cheaper during a crisis. If you want visibility, now’s the time to get it.

Or: if you’re a hairdresser, you’re currently not making any money – but everybody and their housemate is buying hair clippers. As a barber, you can sell those, along with training videos on how to cut your spouse’s hair, and perhaps personal sessions that address the nature of an individual client’s type of hair. Big opportunity. Big advantage.

Or: there’s going to be a massive increase in learning habits, so anyone who has something they can teach, will suddenly have a much bigger market.

Or: customer needs have changed dramatically – people buy different things, or for different reasons, or to address. different problems.

Companies that continue trying to sell the old way, without adjusting to the new circumstances and the changed buyer needs, are going to struggle. See Blockbuster Video – they didn’t adjust, went out of business, and that opened up a large market, which turned into a fine advantage for that little startup called Netflix.

And you bet that a lot of your competitors – especially the big boys – are going to pivot and adjust too slowly – meaning, you can suddenly get access to, and a listening ear with, prospects who would normally happily buy from the big boys and not be aware that you exist and that you rock your work.

Another advantage?

Especially in the B2B space, there are suddenly a bunch of problems that used to be ‘nice to fix’ and that have suddenly become ‘need to fix’.

I.e. for a lot of the work that you can do, there’s now an urgent need, instead of a someday-need.

If you can spot those needs and adjust your offer and messaging, you can sell faster than you used to.

It all depends on how you look at the situation.

And, to get a good look at the situation, one where you see the advantages and opportunities, it is 100% required that you start with step one: Listen.

(There’s a reason why my LEAP system starts with L for listen, and only then goes into Explain, Ask, Profit. If you don’t listen to your people, you don’t know what they’ll need and want, or what it is that they want now).

So whatever you do: talk to your people. Get on calls, ask what’s going on for them, what they struggle with most.

Don’t go and offer a solution until for each company, client, industry or demographic, you have a good and clear idea of what they need, right now, in these different circumstances.  

Or, watch this training video on turning your unique ability into revenue – especially the first 25 minutes or so, because that goes deep into how to connect, and ask, and listen.

Lots of advantages going on. Go find ‘em!




P.s. One final, incredibly big advantage: there’s suddenly a LOT more disposable income available, now that people no longer go on cruises, holidays, to the movies and restaurants as much as they used to. Lots of money that people aren’t spending – but maybe, they’d spend it with you, once you find out what it is they need, right now?

Also published on Medium.

I help nice people sell more

Sign up for daily ethical selling emails and get a bonus of my free e-book, 10 Rules for Ethical Selling.

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy


Martin helped our co-working space get to full occupancy and $25.000 monthly revenue in less than a year.

~ Antonio Herrezuelo,
Avenida Capital

Looking to increase your sales as well as your impact?

Then maybe we should talk

get the book

…and sell the way nice people do

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

get the book

and discover how to sell the way nice people do

You’ll also receive a short daily email on ethical selling and business growth.

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy