Professional Service Sales Ideas #271 – This week: Optimism, Process vs event, Fences

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

  • Own your analogies because clients will use them when describing your services to others. The more unique the analogy, the more work it does when you’re not there.
  • Next time you hear a new salesperson say, “I hate scripts,” correct them. They hate the poor delivery of scripts. Their favorite actor in their favorite movie isn’t winging it.
  • Start with a fresh view of the future as we come out of the pandemic. Optimism is growing, and you may be in a position to take advantage of it. Be bold.
  • Trust is built on promises kept. It takes time to get there. In contrast, it doesn’t take much to destroy it. A stray comment may be all it takes to unravel months or years of progress. You can earn trust again, but it will take time. Be patient.

Being Human – It’s a process, not an event

“There is nothing wrong in change, if it is in the right direction. To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.”
– Winston Churchill


When a big pitch comes up it’s easy to view it as do or die. Movie characters like Blake in “Glengarry, Glen Ross,” or TV show characters like Don Draper from “Madmen,” reinforce this idea. In my experience, the perfect pitch, the perfect response, or the perfect presentation rarely happens. When they do, they are notable because it’s so rare. It’s more common that your big pitch is one step in a complicated dance.

I suggest you approach all of your big pitches this way. It may be a big step in the dance, but it’s one step, and to get the most from it we need to consider its impact on the rest of the steps.

I’ve been working on two big pitches this week. One feels more terminal because it’s been suggested a decision will be made, and the other feels more preliminary because they’ve said the only decision made is whether to continue. Both are high pressure, high stakes events.

To help, I’ve been repeating a saying learned from a guy in Pittsburgh. As he was grilled by our CEO he would get a lot of advice for his people, tell them to do this, don’t let them do that, and he would eventually reply, “It’s a process, not an event.” It never calmed the CEO down, but he was right. Change takes time, and changing someone’s mind (selling) takes time.

Good luck on your big pitches! Just remember it’s one step in a complicated dance. Focus on your process, and do the best you can during the event.

Random stuff


“Slow down, you move too fast.” – Feelin’ Groovy

dont be fooled(image via PrinterBill)

Did I tell you my back fence blew over? Last summer while quarantining I inspected the entire yard. I noticed some of my posts were rotting. I even took time to walk the fence and test each post, noting good and bad. I went a step further and looked up the name of the company on the fence, but they’re no longer in business. That’s as far as I got before the winter set in.

Big wind. Fence falls. Sent for help and a handyman came and fixed it. Temporary fix though. The ground is frozen.

We’re in “false spring” here. It happens once in a while. The weather is perfect for over a week. It lets a man dream of sunshine and cocktails on the porch. There should be a sign saying “DON’T BE FOOLED” like they have in the mountains of Colorado.

Growing up in Denver I drove in the mountains quite a bit. You get used to the steep grades, sharp turns, and out of state drivers freaking out. I can be very judgemental behind the wheel in such situations. Two years ago I was alone, driving up the big hills to a family event. It had been a solid decade since I drove up to Leadville, but the scenery looks about the same. One change is I have a more powerful truck. I mash the pedal down on the way up to the Eisenhower tunnel, zipping in and out of traffic. I feel elated which may be due to being on the road for 10 hours straight, or the sunshine, or the altitude. Rocky Mountain High. I may have set a record getting up to the tunnel.

The other side of the tunnel is a little steeper than I remember. The alignment on my machine is a little off at high speed too. When I touch on the brake I get a shudder in the wheel. How did I get up to 90 so fast?

Up ahead, I can see a semi 2/3 of the way up the runaway truck ramp. I didn’t know they could get that high up the hill, but more importantly, I can’t use the ramp if this truck gets any further out of control. This truck that happens to sit up a little higher than I remember, and seems to want to go up on two wheels, stuntman style. Is this how it ends?

Later I find out the fine engineers at Land Rover must have considered such things and my suspension was in no danger of launching me into the mountain. (probably) I did get a realignment, but the mechanic could only suggest it’s safe if I stay under 100mph. Over that requires further fine-tuning.

It’s a wonder I’m still here, lucky enough to see my fence fall. Delusional enough to think I may be able to do it myself.

Good stuff.


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