Business Growth Ideas #320 – This week: Change, Evidence, Permanence

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

  • You can generate momentum by doing more or by releasing constraints. Both approaches work. Just know the tools you use to build will not be the tools you need to tear down.
  • Real change is hard. Most of the business books you see today point to what your people should be doing better/differently. Real change comes from leadership at the top, but it’s hard to tell the king he has no clothes. 
  • Cutting edge AI hiring tools based on behaviors, says the press release. Visiting the careers page leads to a questionnaire confirming applicant’s previous experience of “SaaS selling management, $100MM or more,” which looks a lot like how we screen and hire without AI behavior tools.
  • Who else has this problem? A question preceding most new product development. Get out, talk to prospects, and confirm the problem before going further. Do the same with the solution. It will save a lot of selling effort after launch.

Being Human – Is it working?

“Society has come to expect the wizardry of forensic science to solve all crimes, but without the human element of deductive skills, teamwork, very hard investigation, and smart prosecution, evidence means nothing.” – Patricia Cornwell


How do we know this to be true?

I write about evidence a lot because it peppers most of my conversations. Whether we’re taking about a new market, a new product, a sales cycle, or career advice I’m asking about evidence. How do we know? Are we sure?

The truth is out there, as Agent Mulder might say. Go get it.

I lead a group of high school students through a course on entrepreneurship. We say, you have a new idea, congratulations. Now what? Through a series of exercises and exhortations we encourage them to come to the conclusion that the answers are out there, and the best answers come from future customers.

Business leaders already know this. Yet we still sit in coffee shops, come up with ideas, and get to work. What keeps us from getting evidence at the start?

There’s not just one reason, but this is a prevalent one.

I don’t want to blow my chance with a prospect.

It feels like if we can’t explain the solution clearly, or don’t have a working example, or are missing something, we can’t go back. Each prospective customer is to be treated gently until the time is right. Like Eminem says, you only get one shot.

Re-applying our lead question, how do we know this to be true? Are we sure we only get one shot?

An example

A client approached an influential industry group 6 months before working with me. The feedback from the group was negative and sharp and the owner moved on. As we are reviewing the feedback I note it is hard to read, almost mean, but it’s primarily focused on his presentation. “We should call on them again,” I suggest. “The product had little pushback, you’ve improved it, and we can fix the presentation.” He disagrees but finds it hard to fight my what have we got to lose argument.

We send the note. We get his new, better presentation scheduled. There is a lot of interaction with participants. At the end, the moderator thanks everyone for their time and says, “Thank you for reaching back out to us. We have a lot of presentations but no one takes our feedback and returns to demonstrate their progress. This was great.”

So there you have it. Anecdotal evidence you won’t blow your chance of returning to a prospect, or group of prospects.

Get out there.

Random stuff


“There is nothing permanent except change.” – Heraclitus

gold medal winner

I have trouble making up my mind. It’s a sliding scale based on permanence. For instance, a truck I want to keep for 200,000 miles or 20 years (whichever comes first) takes me a minute longer to act on than deciding on donut flavor to stuff into my pie hole right now.

I think about this as I watch the Olympics. One of the monobob bobsledders is pushing her bobsled down the track and peeking out between her track-suit and her shoes we can see her tattoos. After she wins gold and more skin is revealed, more tattoos.

Late one night in college, with a group of fraternity brothers, a decision was made. Let’s get tattoos. The leader of our group was also the captain of our lacrosse club. He talked me into our fraternity’s Greek letters on the bottom of one ankle, and crossed lax sticks on the other.

Next stop, the Grinn and Barret tattoo shop. In line, ready to go…for, looking back on it, a pretty permanent decision. That night I require no deliberation. I will be graduating into the real world in a few months and this is who I am. These tattoos have meaning.

The first of my brethren steps up to order his mark and the clerk says, “$50.” Or maybe she said, “$35”. Whatever it was, it was easily 5 times more than I had in my possession. I hadn’t thought of the cost before that moment and I felt dumb. I hated being broke, and I felt like I was the only one without flash cash to blow on treating myself to the good life.

Then I heard big Dietz say, “How much? F*** that, man. That’s like 20 beers,” and he walked out the door, heading toward the dive bar we had just left moments earlier.

Me too I said, following him out the door. He was right, and I had enough for 2, maybe 3 beers burning a hole in his pocket.

I continue to watch the bobsledder emote true joy and hug everyone in sight…and I think “if one is $50…there’s $100…$200 …$300. . .”


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