Business Growth Ideas #296 This week: Sales cycles, Mistakes, Action

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

  • Getting to yes or no faster, in a sales cycle, is a challenge. The decision will take as long as the slowest part of the process. This is why I recommend getting the process outlined early. It lets you put due dates in and manage to it.
  • This short next week is a good time to remind your rainmakers about using humility to uncover more opportunities. The salesperson with nothing to sell is the best rainmaker you’ll ever have. Totally client focused. 
  • Having to press to make quota makes everyone a wreck. Instead of pressing, be great at defining the client’s desired outcomes. When it’s important to them they’ll come around.
  • Each time you help a client crystallize their vision of the future you get identified with it when they dream about it. It’s like the movie “Inception,” you’re in their brains early. There’s a good chance you’ll be brought in to help at some point.

Being Human – Known by your worst mistake

“What if you were only known for the worst thing you’ve ever done? ” – Catherine Hoke


I read an interesting article this week, “Life After White-Collar Crime,” about executives who went to prison and a support group linked to them. A few years ago I volunteered some time to help local prisoners get skills that will help them once they get out of prison. These aren’t white-collar criminals. This group is more earthy in their crimes and did not graduate from our leading business schools.

A saying in the program, aimed at the mentors (our title as volunteers) is, “What if you were only known for the worst thing you’ve ever done?” It’s an interesting thought. Getting out of prison comes with some heavy baggage. Even though you’ve technically paid your debt to society, the community isn’t quick to accept you back. You are forever linked to your worst behavior. Our prison system is unique in this regard. We don’t tell stories of rehab as easily as we imagine recidivism.

This week, Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy’s assassin came up for parole. The parole board recommends release from his sentence, essentially saying he has paid his debt to society. As you can imagine, there is a lot of emotion around this event.

The article about white-collar criminals trouble re-engaging with society, thinking about my brief time with the incarcerated, and considering the worst thing I’ve ever done. This leads my thoughts to the Church because one of our corporal acts of mercy is to visit prisoners.

The Church makes me think of the parish priest explaining types of love and ending with Agape, which he describes as unconditional love. All people, all the time. Impossible for a human to do, says the priest.

We will never know what goes on in someone’s head, and for that reason it seems prudent to act less certain about the judgments we make about others. I should be a little less condemning, a little more merciful.

As the saying goes, it’s a process, not an event. We’ll get there.

(and if you’re interested, check out my friend Jeremy’s re-entry program, Rise, at

Random stuff



I love action thrillers. Guns, nighttime, karate, bad guys, good guys, cars, loud noises…all of it. In our household this isn’t a problem unless I’m watching with my bride.

She doesn’t like loud noises, or car chases, or karate, or dark rainy nights, or gun play.

This means when she has a night out with a friend, I get to load up the TV queue and movie binge. Last weekend it was “Nobody,” with Bob Odenkirk. He plays a man with a special set of skills trying to leave his old life behind. And failing.

I love it. Can’t get it out of my head. The other night there is a nice rain in our neighborhood, it’s dark, and as I lay on the couch shoving fist-fulls of popcorn into my pie-hole, a strange car pulls up in front of the house. It is probably a lost DoorDash driver slowing down because my house number may or may not be visible. Actually, it may not even be on the house because of painting. . .anyway, this strange car rolls up. . . just like in the movie.

All my senses are tingling. I reach up and flick the light off. If the mystery driver gets out of the car with his black military gear clad henchmen, I’m heading to the kitchen to grab a knife once I stop by the fusebox and kill the power. I can close off the door to the basement, the kitchen and push the couch over for cover.

It’s a tense few seconds. It may last as long as a minute. The mystery car’s brake lights come back on, it starts up, and my would be assassins drive off into the night. I can feel my neck hairs lie down as I let out a long breath. Exhausting.

I don’t know how Bob Odenkirk does it.


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