Sales Momentum #118 – Bourne, Nudges, Helicopters

Sales and marketing Newsletter

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

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Take note of your surroundings. You don’t need to be like Jason Bourne, “I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred and fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself.” but at least take note of where you’re parking.
  • When someone suggests an arbitrary bimodal orientation, challenge them on it. The one that puts me through the roof is, “if we did that for you, we’d have to do it for everyone.” Unless you’re the government, that can’t be true. Challenge.

  • The default settings on most computer installs is for your benefit because it saves time making choices. However, when the iOS default overrides all of my preferred program settings and keeps opening Numbers instead of Excel, I wonder if they’re doing it for me or doing it to me.
  • Is there anything better than an early spring day, a convertible and your favorite song on the radio? It’s almost 70 degrees here and just saw a guy in a BMW convertible with his son in the back seat. The little dude bopping his head with a little porkpie hat and sunglasses on. Good stuff.

Being Human – Nudges

“A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions.” – Richard Thaler


This week I’ve been thinking a lot about Richard Thaler’s book, Nudge. It’s funny and full of the ideas that led to his recent Nobel Prize in Economics.

In that book I bumped into an idea from Amos Tversky, that we humans have two major ways of making decisions. One way is by eliminating choices from a limited number of alternatives. The other way is when faced with too many choices to consider individually, we create categories and narrow by broad strokes. Like when we choose a vacation destination. There are far too many places to go, so we pick a feature like “beaches” and narrow from there. That means that we may forgo a fantastic vacation in the mountains of Colorado, but it also means we’e closer to making a choice.

Professional marketers know this and can frame the categories we use. Like all powers, this can be used in good ways and bad ways. What we need to do is, as Thaler says, “make an active choice” about the frames we accept. Or as the Buddha may have said, doubt everything and find your own way.

And let’s remain aware enough to question the defaults. You never know who set them up.

Random Stuff

“Get back in the house”

There are times in the late afternoon when I struggle to keep my eyes open. Working from home, it’s not uncommon for me to succumb to this feeling and take a caffeine power nap. I drink a cup of coffee or a soda, set the phone timer for 20 minutes, sit back and close the eyes. By the time the alarm goes off, the caffeine kicks in and I’m ready to power through the evening.

I am 10 minutes into my routine when I hear the helicopter. It’s not unusual for a police helicopter or a hospital transport to fly overhead, but this one sounds different. For one thing, it sounds like it’s on top of my house. For another thing, I am trying to sleep.

Once the idea of a helicopter on my house is in my head, the nap is ruined. I get up, feeling a little groggy and try looking for the source of the noise. I can’t see it through the front room windows, so I decide to go out to the front yard. I left my glasses on the desk, and I’m not fully awake, but I can see my neighbor’s minivan in her driveway, doors wide open, which is weird. I can hear the helicopter much better now and see it in the sky behind the big Linden tree in my front yard. It can’t be more than 100 feet off the ground near the end of my block, about 7 or 8 houses away. I can almost feel the wind from the blades.

I continue out to the street so I can get out from under the tree blocking my view. Down the block I see what looks like four police cruisers, lights flashing, and notice a few officers wandering the street. I turn around to see if there’s anything on the other end of the block and for the first time, notice an officer standing no more than 40 feet away from me in the middle of the road. Even without my glasses on, I can see a look on his face that says, what are you doing?!?

I stick my hand up to wave and he points at my front door, “Get back in the house,” he says. Well, it’s more like yelling.

Seems that a high speed chase has just ended at the corner and the suspect ran away. No one is asking, but I haven’t seen him.


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