Sales and Selling Ideas #274 – This week: Context and constraint, Perception, Snippers

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 need to get all the issues to create a good solution. The secret to a complete list: turn the list around, so they can see it, and ask “is there anything else?”
  • On most days I prattle on about evidence because uncovering evidence is the first step to bigger opportunities. After evidence comes context (where? when? to what extent?) and then constraints. (why isn’t it done now?)
  • Now, with remote connections, it’s even more important to et customers involved in the solution. Especially if you rely on your contact to sell the solution inside their organization. Their enthusiasm increases in line with their contribution to the proposed solution.
  • This from long ago: 
    Have I told you about Louie the Beagle? Sturdy companion, full of dog life lessons.
    * Good at one thing — focuses on it. (sniffing)
    * Loves a good stretch.
    * Makes a point of being underestimated. (can jump 4′ from a prone position if meat is left on the counter’s edge)
    * Assumes you want to be her friend.

Being Human – Perception and reality

“Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas. Logic will never change emotion or perception.” – Edward de Bono

point of view via jenalynalbia

Salespeople are born, not made. 

We are all natural-born salespeople. 

Which is it?

I fall firmly in the everyone is a salesperson camp. So much so that easily half of my business is helping very smart people release their natural-born inner-salespeople.

Besides the occasional debate this point of view has some real world implications. I am on a call with the leadership of a fast-growth company and talk turns to the scaling up sales. The CFO is surprised when I suggest investment in a couple new sales enablement technologies. He says, “The only thing that works is adding more feet on the street. We need to double the size of our workforce.” Implied is my suggestion to invest in the current sales team isn’t the best use of funds.

The VP of Sales is on my side and the CEO is undecided. The rapid expansion of their sales force has led to impressive growth, but over half the sales team is missing their individual quota and a small percentage is on corrective plan, one foot out the door. To me, assuming future revenue is equal, the effort and expense involved in continuing to hire will be much greater than my inside out approach.

As we explain our points of view something becomes clear. The CFO believes salespeople are born, not made. If this is your bias, hiring and firing is the right path to take. Put the feet on the street, throw a lot of stuff at the wall, and some of it will stick. Get enough to stick, find enough natural salespeople, and you hit your target. In my experience, it’s an approach which works when the market is huge and the opportunity is fleeting, but it’s rough on the customers over the long term.

This is another example of perception influencing real decisions. The CFO and I see things differently, and it makes communication difficult until we can get on the same page.

As with everything else in life, this question of natural-born or man-made is not a black or white issue, it’s gray. A natural-born salesperson with no interest in selling will do a bad job, while an analytics wizard with a desire to learn persuasion will do a good job. People are complicated.

As I’ve said before, “cada cabeza es un mundo,” in each head, a world, and this was another good reminder. Good communication depends on getting curious about what others think. Once I understand where the CFO is coming from, I can meet him there and make progress.

Random stuff


“Go in close, and when you think you are too close, go in closer.”

– Major Tommy McGuire


When you get new clothes with tags, are you a ripper or a cutter? I used to rip that little tag right off, but somewhere along the line I figured out that ripping may leave a hole in my new garment.

I started cutting.

I had to learn not to cut while the garment was on my body because that could lead to something larger than a hole, but the cutting works. This led me to removing all tags. Including that cluster of tags on many of my button front shirts. You know the one. It usually has wash instructions in multiple languages and maybe a replacement button or two.

When I used to make shirts for a living these tags were places for fun. The cleaning instructions were “wash when dirty, dry when wet,” and the contents included, “made with love and sun in Bali, Indonesia.” That was fun. We loved doing this so much that we removed T-shirt tags from the wholesalers we bought them from, printing new size/fabric information under the collar.

Suffice it to say, I’m pretty adept with the scissors. Thousands of tags removed in my lifetime. I can cut it so close you’d never know the tag was ever there.

I’m thinking about this because I tried removing a cluster from a favorite shirt. It bothered me a little. Not much, but enough to re-visit my skills with snippers. I trim the tag a little too close and rip a long hole in the side of the garment. Lucky for me, I can put in a stitch or two to hold things together.

The problem is I pick the wrong thread. It may be fishing line. At some point it got sharp. Really sharp. Now, when I wear the shirt I get a tiny rash on my side. A little reminder for when my head gets too big.

I just wanted you to know this.


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