Business Development Newsletter #248-Predictions, Pitches, High school

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • No way you can predict what’s going to happen in your team’s lives, but if you could, would you tell them?
  • Students go through a predictable learning journey when being taught. Some will shortcut the process, but most have to wander through the stages: unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, consciously competent, and unconsciously competent.
  • Tasks we need to complete contain elements of other tasks we already know how to do. Riding a bike includes balance, for instance. When teaching a new task to your team, consider the parts they already know how to do. It speeds up the learning process by a factor of 2 at least.
  • Anyone reading this weekly bulletin usually skips to the last section, if I am to believe the feedback. Knowing this I will be making a change in format for 2021. It’s time.

Being Human – You know how when?

“Life is like an analogy.” – Aaron Allston

​​​​In my work, one of the areas I help firms with is getting the staff to chip in with bits and pieces of marketing/sales for the company. My logic is, if any individual in the company can do something to lose an account, they might as well work at winning accounts too.

Since non-sales staff are reluctant to “pitch,” one technique I use to help them describe the work their company does is to use a simple pitch pattern. It’s the “So you know how when [state problem]? We make sure that doesn’t happen” pitch script. The key to the pattern is making the problem part descriptive enough the listener either empathizes with it: “yes, I can see how that would suck” or you touch on something they’ve experienced first hand, and they feel the pain/anxiety. Then you relieve it.

The reason it works is that these off-the-cuff analogies are around us all the time. We just don’t know it. Unconscious competence in action.

Want an example?

While talking to an up-and-coming entrepreneur, she threw a couple of these problem/solution analogies out while describing her service. She has an app to help parents find babysitters by tapping into their network of friends. As she described it, she said it helped parents waiting for a response to a request for sitting. The moment she said it, I remembered the feeling. I hated looking for last minute sitters, and felt the anxiety. Mind you, I haven’t hired a sitter in years.

I work with non-sales people to build problems like this into bigger and more emotional examples. It may start as, “So you know how when you’re making last minute plans and you have to wait for your sitter to say yes or no? We make sure that doesn’t happen.” Not bad, but it could be better.

We turn it into something more like “So you know how when you get that last minute invite to something big, like Hamilton tickets, and you text your favorite sitter. . . no response. So you call your mother-in-law, but she never turns on her phone. You consider your deadbeat cousin, but can’t do that again (after the pizza incident). The clock is ticking and it’s a school night and you haven’t been out in weeks and you’re about to pull your hair out. You know the feeling? We make sure that doesn’t happen. Post your job and boom. Responses from trusted sitters in minutes.”

It’s simple, it’s effective, and it helps non-sales staff generate opportunities.

Good stuff.

Random stuff

“I think we can approach normality, but I don’t think we’re going to be back to normal until the end of 2021.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci 

mulaney 13 year olds

The topic of public health has gone from “what is this, public health you speak of?” to the #1 topic of conversation in our household. Out here in the middle of the US we’re looking at a long winter. I have a propane patio heater that will get some use, hundreds of streaming shows available, and found some puzzles to put together. The liquor cabinet has holes to fill, my firewood needs to be ordered, and the house needs winterizing, giving me something to look forward to.

With all this time you’d think I could do something productive, like finish writing the two books I have in the works. Or finish reading the great novels sitting on my shelf. Instead, I sit and scroll. And refresh. And tsk, tsk while mentally wagging my finger.

I do have one distraction for now through mid-December. It’s a class I teach to high-schoolers. It’s a virtual class and I’m teaching the kids a little about business and entrepreneurship. (a very little) I give them some general guidance, introduce them to entrepreneurs, and break them into groups to work on a problem the entrepreneur is dealing with, so they can present it later.

To grade their participation I have them record their Zoom meetings to share with me. I check attendance, listen in a bit to offer advice, and move on.

Have you ever watched comedian John Mulaney? He has a bit where he talks about 13 year olds. He says, “13 year olds are the meanest people in the world,” you can watch it here:

Anyway, these are 16-17 year olds, but while watching these recordings I was surprised to hear the topic of conversation. A group of girls was talking about me. Like in detail. Not in a flattering way. Just hearing them sent me right back to 1986. I jump up, running to the mirror to check my complexion.

So, at least I have that going for me.


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