Business Growth Ideas #288 This week: Narrating, De-risking, Driftwooding

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

  • Your narrative is your truth. Your client’s narrative about your work is their truth. What stories are clients telling peers about your work?
  • Once a client hints at wanting more or less of something ask for the measurement. “We need better customer service.” How will they know if customer service improves? Where will it show up? How do they measure it today? 
  • Under duress, it’s tempting to wish things were easier. The problem with such thinking is it shuts down creativity. Instead, wish you were better because it keeps the creative juices flowing.
  • Jorts are not a thing for middle-aged men, so I have been told. Mulitiple times.

Being Human – De-risking a decision

“Caution is the eldest child of wisdom.” – Victor Hugo


When Microsoft was creeping into IBM’s business in the ’80s & ’90s the upstart’s enterprise level resellers would describe their biggest objection as, “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM.” Corporations, no matter the size, are made up of people, and those executive people have often out-worked, out-politicked, and out-lasted other executive people to get where they are. Why give some younger version of themselves a shot at the throne by putting the enterprise in the hands of some little company? The big company does okay.

It’s all about risk.

Selling into the enterprise space without the benefit of a big brand like IBM seems impossible at times, but the sheer scale of the orders may be worth the effort. If you decide it is, your focus needs to be de-risking the decision.

You’re thinking, so Greg, how do you de-risk a decision? Good question! One way is to not hide from the risk. Our general rule is if you see something, if you hear something, if you sense something which could be a deal killer, you find a way to ask about it. Nicely. You don’t have a deal to kill if it’s not really there. You can’t lose something you never had.

This is how it might sound if you’re talking to Barb, the CIO of a division of a multinational company who is evaluating your bid for service.

“Barb, if I were sitting in your chair I’d be looking strongly at continuing to use the incumbent. Big Software Inc. is a good company. It’s hard to go wrong with them. It’s a lock. We’re flattered to be included, but it feels like the best we can do is be a price check. What would you need to see from us to make this interesting?”

Barb will either confirm it as a vendor price check, or she’ll describe where the incumbent is falling short. Your job is to explore those shortcomings, find others the company isn’t addressing, and help the client make the right decision in the company’s best interest, and their best interest. De-risk the choice to go with you. Make Barb a superstar.

Simple, but not easy.

Random stuff



Going for a walk is one of life’s little pleasures.

I can break my little footfalls into three general categories: destination, dog, and driftwood.

Destination walks tend to be for food or drink, they may or may not include the dog, and tend to be under a mile in length.

Dog walks are more exercise focused, get the heart rate up, and trace familiar routes. They are almost always two to three miles long.

Driftwood walks tend to happen on vacation, rely on the tide taking us along, and may involve pausing for cocktails. They can go on for hours, cover many miles, and involve lots of talking.

Last week we did a lot of driftwooding. Two weeks before that we did much driftwooding. Next week sounds like more driftwooding.

I’m not sure why you need to know this, but there it is.


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