Business Strategy Series, Vol.10, No.2, 2009, pp.86-89
Business strategists know that there is no royal road to asking the right questions about their
own business. But there is a detour to the ideas that otherwise may never occur to them:
strategy metaphors combine disciplines that at first glance have no relevance for an
individual company, but inspire questions that could be valuable for it. And so the detour
becomes a shortcut.
The apostle Paul and the use of sales strategies is such a metaphor. From the middle of 2008
to 2009, Christians around the world are observing the year of St Paul, who was born in the
year 8 AD in the Greek city of Tarsus.
But St Paul as a sales strategist? Isn’t that a little farfetched? Whenever I mention this at client
events, especially to bank sales managers, the first reaction is puzzled looks. What does the
one have to do with the other? I usually say that both St Paul and banks sold or still sell
abstract ‘‘products’’ – things that are not tangible in the material sense and whose benefits
are not evident directly after purchase – in contrast to impulse buys like a pair of shoes. It is
then at the latest that my audiences begin to look less puzzled than intrigued.
This article is also available in German in the “Vatican Magazine”.