Sales Momentum #343 – This week: Confidence, Comparison, Assumptions

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Thinking about Momentum
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Thinking about Momentum

  • Confidence, the feeling of assurance in your actions, comes in different flavors. It can be false confidence, a faked confidence, or it can also be a “been there done that” confidence. Aim for this last one, process confidence, which is an assurance effort will get the result.
  • Momentum has a symbiotic relationship with confidence. One is almost physical in nature, the other mental. As momentum builds, confidence builds. When we’re confident we can build momentum. The loss of either slows us down. 
  • Confidence is more mental than momentum it gets its energy from self-talk. Confidence killers: thinking you don’t deserve it, assuming negative outcomes, stewing on shortcomings, or thinking there are no options. All in your head.
  • Fixing negative self-talk is difficult. This is why managers focus on building momentum instead. As momentum builds and the process gets results, confidence takes root. We see heads held higher and notice a pep in the step.

Being Human – Don’t dare to compare

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton


In a lot of initial conversations with prospects I am asked about how they compare with others. How are they compared to the competition? I get it. It’s part of our human nature. In many cases this desire to compare is what drives us. We see what others have and start asking ourselves questions like, “What exactly to I have to do in order to get those same results?” or “How can I get similar outcomes in my organization?”

My standard response to these prospects is it isn’t as useful to compare to others as it is to compare to your own performance. It’s better to set your own targets with your own reasons for achieving them, then work toward this personal vision. The reason is that when you compare there is always someone or something with more. It will drive you crazy chasing their rabbit and may cause problems you didn’t want.

As an example, what happens if you take super motivated type-A people who have to be #1 and put them in competition? Things escalate. Like public company executive pay packages. In the late 1970’s the SEC made it a requirement to report top executive compensation plans. Once the high-achievers could see what their neighbors were making things changed in the executive comp world. Since that time executive pay packages have gone way up compared to non-executive pay packages. The new ability to compare made previously happy executives ask, “How do I get a pay package like that?” and press for more.

In today’s world of incredible amounts of information we’re at risk of never being happy. Never having as much as someone else.

Start picking your own path, especially as you get going on improvements. A sure confidence killer is knowing someone just like you is getting more than you. If we can march to the beat of our own drummer we’ll keep our confidence up, keep the momentum going, and get what we want. We don’t have to settle for chasing what we think someone else has.

Good stuff.


“Hounds follow those who feed them.” — Otton von Bismarck


I am standing in Boston Commons, killing some time before my Airbnb opens, when I feel a tug on my pant leg. I look down, and a squirrel is starting to climb up my trousers. I’m too surprised to react, and he stops at about my knee where we proceed to regard one another. I give him the universal sign for “I got nothing,” (plus a little wave of my hand) and he jumps off, running toward another park goer.

I think about the little tree rat because I’m reading a story about backyard bird feeders changing the migratory habits of bird species. Small changes in one’s environment can bring about long term consequences.

When I worked in an office I went in early and left late. I could have used a coach to help with life balance, but instead focused on brute effort to get things done. On more than one occasion my work life required trips to off-site locations where we’d strategize over malted beverages. Some of these after work gatherings turned lengthy, and I would stumble home later than usual. The house might be quiet with my lovely bride and our offspring tucked away, and I’d see a note on the table, “Dinner is in the fridge.”

Yep, the note was written with a heavy hand and when I got the fidge I could see the effort that went into making the culinary delight. These were the days when every cell phone call cost money, so communication wasn’t just a text away. I’m not making excuses, just putting you in the proper era.

These days our migration patterns have changed. I’m working from home, and it’s my lovely bride who ventures out in the real world. After a long day teaching future leaders of the world and sitting in meetings she is not in the mood for making culinary delights. This usually means going out for a bite, but tonight I am in a creative mood. We have some tomatoes, some fire roasted veggies, etc. I run to the bakery, then get to work and make dinner. Not anything fancy, but I use most of the kitchenware, and make lots of great smells. I plate things up and admire my work.

Then I wait. And wait.

“When are you coming home?” I text. Nothing. The food cools down, and I eat all tomorrow morning’s scones while watching the local news. Then it hits me.

“Is this the night you’re going to dinner?” I text. 20 minutes later she replies, “Yes.”

I look down and Wilson the ABC is looking up. His dark eyes are larger than the Boston squirrel’s, but they want the same thing.



“One of the worst things anybody can do is assume. I think fools assume. If people have really got it together, they never assume anything.” – Mike Krzyzewski

amazon whole foods

When I was slinging tropical shirts I needed help and my first thought was to bring in my lovely bride. She’s very talented at everything and I needed help with, well, everything. She politely declined with a “Duck no!” When I pressed her for a reason there was something about my communication style and assumed knowledge.

It’s not the first time I had heard this “too much assumed knowledge.” I think of it as a feature, not a bug.

Yesterday I was running an errand and offered to fit in a few other errands while out in the summer sun. One run is to Whole Foods to pick up a grocery order that’s patiently waiting to be transferred to our fridge.

This is ordered with her account, so I use her phone to communicate with the robots in the sky about my arrival. I like to drive up, enter my spot next to the other lazy people, and stopwatch the delivery. Usually I’m doing this with my lovely bride and her fancy car that has the hatch release. Push a button and the door goes up, the delivery person yells in, “Are you Laura?,” I yell back affirmative, they put everything in the back, then I push the button and the door goes down. Very efficient.

This time I’m in my truck, so I have to meet the delivery person at the hatch. Old Blue has some quirks and one of them is a poorly designed hatch system. The nice young man comes out and I say, “Hello! Today I’m Laura!” He said, “Oh, okay,” and quickly put the bags in the truck.

As I ponder his strange reaction I notice I’m the only person in the pickup section. One of the few people in the parking lot. Just some big dopey guy getting out of his car and randomly saying to a worker, “Today, call me by my girl name!”

It’s that assumed knowledge thing again. Don’t worry, I’m used to it now.


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