I am the first one to criticize Mr. Silva when I think that he champions a topic that is detrimental to business in general and the wireless industry specifically. However, in the April 7 issue of RCR, Mr. Silva is right on track in his piece, DC Notes.
I was associated with the commercial helicopter industry for many years and there is a lesson that they learned and Mr. Silva points to the same principle in his article. You see, many people had, for many years, seen the helicopter as a “noisy death trap waiting to crash into their house.” There were programs in many municipalities where government officials were lauded for their ability to keep helicopters out of their constituents’ back yards; the helicopter being a threat to safety, aesthetics and general good order. Keep in mind, the issue of all the benefits of the aircraft or the facts of its safety never seemed to have any weight in the corporate thought process of the government agencies.
Then the industry tried a new direction. The Helicopter Association International sponsored a huge “Fly Neighborly” campaign aimed at teaching owners and pilots how to be less obtrusive. They investigated techniques that would enable the helicopter to perform maneuvers more quietly. In concert with industry, a public relations campaign aimed at working with local governments was started. Manufacturers began massive programs to make their aircraft quieter, commercial operators self-imposed altitude restrictions, pilots were taught how to modify their approach procedures so as to be less noticeable … In the final analysis, the approach was successful because the industry began to be perceived as an ally in lieu of an adversary.
Mr. Silva shows us the same wisdom. All of us who have any mature knowledge of handling objections know that the worst thing to do is to push against the objector! That’s what we are doing when we attempt to flex our political muscle in the face of the local municipalities. If we are wise, we will heed Mr. Silva’s advice and then perhaps we will make real progress.