Sales Director Newsletter #257-Off the solution, Referral sources, Spinning

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

  • Each time a prospect approaches you about a solution, ignore the temptation to dig into it. Sellers love to talk about the solution. Prospects like to talk about the solution. It’s a conspiracy. Get off the solution, get into the underlying problem to be solved or result to be achieved.
  • All businesses measure something. When they buy your solution they’re expecting some measure to change. They’ll want it to go up, or they’ll want to bring it down. Know how you’re going to be judged before you start the work.  
  • Being able to respond in the moment is a learned skill. A combination of recognizing the situation, keeping a clear outcome in mind, and practiced actions. As with all learned skills, you improve with systematic reviews. Assessing each element, one at a time, and practicing new responses.
  • Our ability to make bold decisions depends on how we feel about our ability to survive it. The manager or sales person facing family pressures, financial issues, and a lack of sleep makes different decisions than a millionaire lottery winner.

Being Human – Referral sources

“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell

My youngest sent a TikTok video of a dog, Bunny, being trained to communicate with her attentive human.

tik tok smart dog

Besides making me feel bad for not spending more time with Wilson the Amazing Border Collie, it served as a good example of how to develop strong referral sources.

The business development rep I am talking to is expressing displeasure with her teams ability to deliver on the opportunities she is digging up. One of the referral sources is not impressed that every referral seems to be turned down for one reason or another. The rep is understandably frustrated.

This is where the dog training example comes in. In training the effort and patience required by both the human and dog is high. For a referral source to be both helpful and useful, they need to know your business well. The only way to learn your business is to send referrals and get feedback. At first, most of the feedback may be negative as they learn the nuances of what a good client looks like. It’s a delicate back and forth over time.

Just like you train a dog with treats, building a referrer requires you to reward part of the desired behavior (giving a referral) while working on other parts of the behavior (a referral that fits). The rep needed to come up with a reward, while holding out further reward for the rest of the behavior to be learned.

Thinking this way let her review the situation and see a new way to help/reward the referrer. The referrer’s frustration is because the referred party still needs help. Saying “we can’t help them,” makes more work for the referrer. In this case the rep goes to work finding help for the referred party, then goes back to the referrer to give feedback. The “reward” for the referrer is the referral is helped and the referrer looks good. They’ll be open to more input on what will make for a better referral in the future.

Just like Bunny’s trainer is doing, I assume. I could confirm this by practicing on Wilson, but he’s sleeping right now.

Random stuff



In my youth I played a lot of sports. As an adult I continued some of these activities, running, swimming, basketball, tennis, and such until a series of injuries squashed my momentum. The last injury involves my knee and hip. At a wedding, during facility setup, the grandfather of the groom sees me getting out of a car.

“What’s wrong with the knee?” he said.

I must have been limping a bit. “It just hurts sometimes,” I say. (at this point I should mention he is a retired orthopedic surgeon of local renown) He watches me walk toward him and as I pass he says, “You’re going to need a total knee replacement.”

After double-checking that he didn’t mean right that minute, I went on with my day. The knee actually feels better. I am making changes though. Like getting a new exercise/torture device. A spin bike. It will join my rowing machine in daily taunts and occasionally get used.

My middle child played even more sports in his youth. Kept doing them in college and does something very physical every day. He is hibernating with us through the end of the year and eyes the two-month-old spin bike with joy. When he was with us in the spring and used the rowing machine it developed a weird noise. I learned that if you row hard enough the bolts need to be re-tightened regularly. Something my previous two years of ownership didn’t happen to reveal. I wondered what he’d do to the bike.

It didn’t take long to find out. “There’s a weird clicking on the right side,” he said, dripping in sweat after his first ride. I put down my morning cookie and raise an eyebrow at him before going to check the damage.

It turns out, if you pedal hard enough it’s possible to pop the pedal open and spill tiny ball bearings on the floor. It’s ok. We’ll skip the warranty and upgrade the pedals. I was probably going to have to do it in the next couple of years anyway.

Once I start riding it.


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