Right FIT Newsletter #149 – Assumptions, Time, Big Pens

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you get more sales and marketing done in less time. . . next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Look for the opportunity to define assumptions inside your office meetings. Especially between people from different business units because the same word has different meanings to different people doing different jobs.
  • This reminds me of a quote from William H. Whyte, “The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it.”
  • Are you happy with how an important conversation went? Don’t just bask in the glory of your accomplishment, take 3 minutes to jot down your thoughts before getting to the next task and losing the moment.
  • One last thought for next week. Your perceptions are built on what you’re actively looking for. Knowing that, look to catch your people doing “right” and reward them for it.


Being Human – Time

Our most valuable non-renewable resource


I am meeting with a friend this week and ask about the progress on his side-project. It’s an excellent idea that will require some investment to come to life and he’s been doing a fair share of market research. He tells me he’s hit a roadblock and proceeds to pull out what has to be an eight or ten page document from his briefcase.

“To build this it’s going to cost something like $100,000,” he says, shoulders and eyes dropping.

I take the document from his hands and it’s a proposal. A statement of work. A detailed statement of work with milestones, responsibilities, and rates.

“How long did it take for them to get this to you?”

He describes a few missed meetings, an hour and half long coffee, and ten days elapsing before the document was emailed.

A Waste of Time

Here’s the thing that jumps out at me. This is an amazing waste of time.

I happen to know the developer. On occasion he calls to chat and mentions sales problems. As in, “we can always use a few more projects.” He usually asks for some branding or positioning advice, but after seeing this proposal, branding is the least of his problems.

He needs to be more critical of where he invests his time.

If I call and say, “You need to spend more time with your best prospects,” and cite this startup idea as an example, I know what he’ll say. It didn’t take that much time because it’s boilerplate. I love conversations like this because it keeps my finger on the pulse of the market. Among other justifications.

Time is your non-renewable resource. Any shortcuts to your sales process are worth investigating. In this case, at coffee, the conversation between these two could have gone:

Developer: “I’d need a lot more information, but based on what you’re describing, this project could run anywhere from $80-120K. Is that in the ballpark of what you’re looking for?”

Startup: “Wow. That’s more than I thought. I’d have to raise some money or have some customers or something before spending that kind of money.”

Developer: “Sure. Makes sense. I’m happy to help if you need more details should you decide to go down this path. Your project sounds amazing.”

Startup: “Do you ever work for equity or a piece of the action?”

Developer: “I don’t, but I know some do. . .” etc.

I just saved the developer at least 2 hours and as many as 10, and the startup has the same valuable information he was looking for, namely, how much would this be, approximately?

Next week, be aware of where you spend you time.

Good stuff.


Random Stuff

Am I boring you?


I have developed an affinity for pens with a little heft. It started when I researched “favorite pens for writers” years back and stumbled into the online pen subculture. People obsess about pens, ink cartridges, ink color swabs, fountain pens, in-store pens, ball rollers, etc. I am not into it that deep, but I like my pens to have a little density.

My latest pen is a machined aluminum thing from Karas Pen Company. It’s not as heavy as some, but it has a little more girth and I like the idea that I can take it apart with the right size Allen wrench.

On this day, I’m acting as an observer in a business development meeting. Listening to vocabulary, watching body language, and making occasional notes. The conversation drifts into minutia (I mean, it is a finance meeting after all) and I fight for concentration, fidgeting with my pen. Twist, open, twist, closed. The pen is great because it doesn’t make a sound. I mean, I get the big bucks for this, right? I need to keep things professional.

That’s when it happens.

You see, the issue with big, heavy, metal pens is they make a racket when dropped on a table. A loud, clattering noise that jolts you straight up in your chair. A casual observer turning to the noise and seeing you sit up would think to themselves, “did you just wake yourself up?”

I scramble for the pen, inadvertently scooting it around like a hot potato, before finally getting it under control and casually placing it on my notebook. I look up and see five bemused faces looking me right in the eye. I can feel the heat rising in my cheeks.

“Are we boring you?”

“No, not at all. Please continue.”



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