Business Growth Ideas #301 This week: Worldviews, Too generous, Frankenstein

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

  • How does your mood impact judgement? Studies suggest a good mood will leave you more susceptible to persuasion. A bad mood leads to catching more errors.
  • Each corporate citizen can offer examples of how procedures slow down decision-making. It makes better decisions, but salespeople hate it. Lucky for them, some executives skirt the rules. 
  • Do others see the world the same way you do? No. We just think they do. Their perception is their reality. You both think your perception actually is reality. That leads to problems.
  • Just because a business is successful doesn’t mean it was designed that way. Most firms start with no plan, limited capital, and hard work. Re-design your firm to be the perfect version of itself. Why not? Grab pen and paper and start.

Being Human – Did I need to offer that?

“Freedom is the individual’s capacity to know that he is the determined one, to pause between stimulus and response and thus to throw his weight, however slight it may be, on the side of one particular response among several possible ones.”
– Rollo May


I am speaking with a very successful salesperson at a fast-growing company. He describes an event familiar to account managers everywhere. A team member responsible for keeping the customer happy gets push back from the client. To make the client happy, they make an offer, a concession. The sales team feels that the concession is not needed. The question the salesperson raises is how to stop them from doing it.


Specifically, what I call “language training.” The team member under stress will default to their comfort zone. Customer service people are empathetic. They will recognize stress in clients, and react fast. They want to do what they can to make the client happy and it comes out like, “we can give you three free months.” It’s a solution, and it may be what the client wants, but the team member needs to work a process before getting there. This is what they should get trained on.

For instance, when a client is upset, seems upset, or is in a bad mood, the team member picks up on it and wants it to go away. They can be taught a process like this:

  • Recognize the trigger. A process is hard to remember until it’s too late. Focus on the triggering event. Get it by asking team members to describe situations where they made offers, focusing on the events leading up to it.
  • Check for understanding, “Mr. Client, it seems like. . .”
  • Restate the issue, if there is one, and get agreement on what it is. “Let me double-check my understanding. . .” (often, restating the problem moves it to the side)
  • Ask if they want your help in solving it. “Mr. Client, I’m sorry you think this, it’s not our intention for that to happen. Would you like me to do something about it?”
  • Ask if they have a solution in mind before offering your options.
  • Offer conditional options. “Would it help if we could do X? If I were to offer Y? Or Z?” Let the customer have agency in how it’s solved.
  • Get agreement the option solves the problem before committing to it. “If I’m hearing you correctly, if I were to do X, would you be ok with continuing?” (this is the language the customer service person needs, but it has to be couched in a process for it to be successful)

We used to say the difference between animals and humans is the P in S-P-R. SPR stands for Stimulus, Pause, Response. A cat, for instance, is all S-R, no P. Clap your hands, cat jumps. Stimulus, Response. We humans, on the other hand, can train ourselves on a Stimulus to insert a Pause. Then Respond.

This training effort is all about recognizing the Stimulus, and then critiquing the Response. For better responses, give your customer service people the language tools they need. It will lead to less questioning around, “Did they need to offer all of that? Right now?” because the customer service person can say, “Let me tell you how we got there. . .”

Good stuff.

Random stuff


“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.” – The Creature


I went to a lecture. A scholar talked about Mary Shelley and her novel, “Frankenstein.” It was a pleasant evening. Fall is starting in my neck of the woods and a tree the lecturer was standing under had started dropping red leaves. The backdrop was a 35 room mansion built in 1903 called Joslyn Castle. It looks like a castle. Idyllic setting for learning about a Gothic Romance tale. (see what I learned there? Plus I was reminded the creature had no name. It was created by Frankenstein, not named Frankenstein. I can’t wait to spring that on an unsuspecting trick-or-treater.)

I enjoy lectures. Early in life I heard stories of Mark Twain traveling the world, delivering lectures to massive audiences, and thought, “how great would that be?” To me, it sounded like a music concert, or comedy tour. Twain would come to town, people would buy tickets, and he’d entertain them for a bit. Since I can’t play music, and I’m not funny enough to be on stage, maybe, I thought to myself, I could lecture for a living?

When I listen to lecturers I spend some mental energy listening to the content, some thinking about their formatting, and a lot of brainpower wondering how I can make a living at it. Our “Frankenstein” lecturer has spent years studying Mary Shelley. Years writing about her, talking about her, publishing books including her. My brain tells me that must be a key. A lecturer must know a lot about something.

Let’s see. I don’t have musical ability. I am not a comedian. And I don’t know a lot about any one thing.

Maybe world-renowned-lecturer isn’t in the cards. Plus, I hate traveling for work, and I’m leery of fame.

All this is spinning through my head as the lecturer winds up her talk, and we offer applause. My lovely bride turns to me and says, “Well, what did you think?” I take a minute to think about how to respond.

“I’m hungry,” I say, and we head to the bar.


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