Momentum 347: This week: People talk, Value, Sell me

Sales and marketing Newsletter

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

In this issue:

– Things other people said
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Things other people said

  • “If you give up a day, you may recover a week.”
    – Dean Robinson, Australia’s Family Business Transformer
  • “Define your culture, hire those that will live it, believe it in it and advocate for it to others, and then get out of the way and let them do their thing.”
    – Dillon Allie, HDMZ
  • “When our words fall short, the measurement system keeps communicating.”
    – Kathy Letendre, Letendre & Associates
  • “One might argue getting old is the most common most haunting long term disease of all.”
    – Kevin Mikuls, Singer/Actor

Being Human – Value is in the eye of the beholder

“People love to buy. They hate to be sold.”

sam taggarts hard sell

If there is any disadvantage to a career in sales, it’s that I’m easy to sell to. I have a vested interest in seeing the end of a sales cycle. It warms the cockles of my heart when I hear solid discovery, a good tie-down, overcoming of objections, and closing questions.

The upside is many salespeople are terrible at all those things. They make assumptions, use techniques masking their intent, run from objections, and never get around to asking for the business. Case in point, for the last year the neighborhood has been overrun with a group from one of our local internet providers. Century Link is installing a fiberoptic system in the ‘hood and it’s supposed to be faster than my current gigabit service. (which never gets close to a gigabit, and it makes me mad) It’s cheaper too. I only know this because I research things when the bad salespeople leave.

I read an anecdote many years ago from the owner of one of Texas’ biggest department stores. I think it was either Mr. Neiman or Mr. Marcus. He too, loves sales. He made a pact with himself that he would buy anything sold to him by a competent salesperson. Whether he needed it or not. When his wife suggested this might be expensive he said he would also refuse to buy anything that was not sold to him.

He went an entire year without buying anything and eventually abandoned the effort.

The sales approach I’m most interested in is door-to-door. It can’t work very well, I think, because who answers the door anymore? Talk to a stranger in person? Plus, terrible salespeople? Seems expensive. I read an article highlighting the life of one of these characters, and it confirmed a lot of my biases.

Sam Taggart’s Hard Sell

In other news, I’m getting my new Century Link service installed today. I just needed someone to ask.

(I could have hugged him he did so well)

“How you sell is a sample of how you solve.” – Mahan Khalsa


When it comes to complex selling, there’s a lot going on. Complex sales means the problem is complex, or getting to a result is going to require talking multiple issues.

How do I know this? Because all solutions, all products, derive their value from the problems they solve.

I get a lot of sales literature, specifically sales training literature. One common tagline is “sell on value.” I think they mean uncover value because it doesn’t matter how valuable your solution is to you, value lies in the problem the prospect is trying to solve.

I use the world’s best snowblower story to illustrate this point.

Great Snowblower

Imagine I show up at your office wheeling in a snowblower. It’s not just any snowblower, I tell you, this one is powered by solar. It’s advanced battery system holds a charge for months at a time, even on cloudy days. What this means to you, Mr. Prospect, is it will be ready to go when you are. No oil changes, no empty gas cans, just ready to go. It has enough power to handle anything up to a five-car extended driveway on a corner lot. This snowblower not only has power, it can handle everything from a three-foot snowdrift to a small dusting of snow. It won’t just clear your driveway, it will clear sidewalks, flagstone paths, and make grass paths for little Fido to do his business by the back tree. It can even handle pea gravel porches without making a mess. The best part? It’s a robot. With its advanced AI, satellite GPS, and your Wi-Fi connection, once you show it around the property, it’s powerful brain senses the weather and operates independently, without any instruction from you, for the entire winter. It’s pet safe, environmentally friendly, and has a setting to go looking for old people in a 1 mile radius to help. The best scientific minds in the world have been working on this snow blowing technology for decades. I can say to you in all honest, Mr. Prospect, this snowblower does everything.

The prospect nods his head, mouth slightly agape, not knowing what to say. The machine is beautiful yet slightly menacing. It’s ready for work. Then the prospect smiles, and says, “Greg, this is an amazing machine. But I live in a penthouse apartment in a high rise. And we’re in Phoenix.

Value is uncovered

Value does not derive from the product. I need to get out of Phoenix and make my way to Houghton, MI, where the annual snowfall is 218 inches. They have the problem.

Don’t worry about bringing value. Worry about finding the problem to be solved.

by them.” – therapist Virginia Satir


I’m reading a study suggesting talking to strangers makes us happier. So why don’t we talk to strangers? The number of reasons probably matches the number of people times the number of hours in the day.

How about this, instead of talking to strangers, we work on just acknowledging them. The flip side of talking to strangers is no one wants to be invisible. Hundreds of novels are written about it. We are happier when we are recognized as being present in the world. Eye contact and a smile.

I can see you thinking, everyone? Even an aggressive panhandler? What about them?

I bring this up with someone whose job it is to try and love all people, no matter what. I tell him it bothers me to see people in need, but the problem seems to big for me to fix. This holy man suggests I may be looking at it wrong. Instead of fixing it, what if all I am required to do is acknowledge another human in my presence? It’s a good point.

I try. I’m not the best at it. And so far, pulling up to an intersection and acknowledging someone in need, but giving them nothing makes me feel worse about as many times as it makes me happier. I say “hey” or nod their way, and look them in the eye.

The truth is panhandlers are a fraction of the strangers I come into contact with. Being in line, walking through an open house, talking to a store clerk, walking in the neighborhood. Add up all these instances and I rarely find myself in uncomfortable situations. It’s easy to acknowledge others.

That should be the goal. We don’t need to go as far as talking to every stranger, but we do need to acknowledge our fellow humans. A positive life is made up of millions of positive interactions. Acknowledging another person is an easy way to ring the bell.

It may make you happier and just may bring you luck.

Random stuff


“Hounds follow those who feed them.” — Otton von Bismarck


I am standing in Boston Commons, killing some time before my Airbnb opens, when I feel a tug on my pant leg. I look down, and a squirrel is starting to climb up my trousers. I’m too surprised to react, and he stops at about my knee where we proceed to regard one another. I give him the universal sign for “I got nothing,” (plus a little wave of my hand) and he jumps off, running toward another park goer.

I think about the little tree rat because I’m reading a story about backyard bird feeders changing the migratory habits of bird species. Small changes in one’s environment can bring about long term consequences.

When I worked in an office I went in early and left late. I could have used a coach to help with life balance, but instead focused on brute effort to get things done. On more than one occasion my work life required trips to off-site locations where we’d strategize over malted beverages. Some of these after work gatherings turned lengthy, and I would stumble home later than usual. The house might be quiet with my lovely bride and our offspring tucked away, and I’d see a note on the table, “Dinner is in the fridge.”

Yep, the note was written with a heavy hand and when I got the fidge I could see the effort that went into making the culinary delight. These were the days when every cell phone call cost money, so communication wasn’t just a text away. I’m not making excuses, just putting you in the proper era.

These days our migration patterns have changed. I’m working from home, and it’s my lovely bride who ventures out in the real world. After a long day teaching future leaders of the world and sitting in meetings she is not in the mood for making culinary delights. This usually means going out for a bite, but tonight I am in a creative mood. We have some tomatoes, some fire roasted veggies, etc. I run to the bakery, then get to work and make dinner. Not anything fancy, but I use most of the kitchenware, and make lots of great smells. I plate things up and admire my work.

Then I wait. And wait.

“When are you coming home?” I text. Nothing. The food cools down, and I eat all tomorrow morning’s scones while watching the local news. Then it hits me.

“Is this the night you’re going to dinner?” I text. 20 minutes later she replies, “Yes.”

I look down and Wilson the ABC is looking up. His dark eyes are larger than the Boston squirrel’s, but they want the same thing.

As luck would have it, this time I got something.


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