Sales Newsletter #176 – Saying no, No guessing, Being upsold

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

  • A foolproof way to get more done in a short week? Say no. You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but saying no to any request outside your top 3 priorities leads to getting more done in less time.
  • Now more and more studies are showing us that the secret weapon for productivity is sleep. Ignore the “I only sleep 4 hours” people. Go to bed an hour early.
  • Everyone knows anxiety and stress makes getting things done more difficult. After walking 5+ miles a day in Paris, I’m convinced a long walk does wonders for keeping anxiousness at bay. Go for a walk, get things done.
  • A last thought, this weekend get lost in fiction. It does wonders to get into someone else’s head for a while. Last weekend I had fun running through Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol.” That man sure loves puzzles.

Being Human – What would you like to know


“If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers.” Edward Hodnett


This week I led a small group through my market research process. When it came time to get into the survey questions, I asked them, “If you could learn anything from your prospect, what would you like to know?” This was a technical group, so it wasn’t a surprise to hear things like “their current software package,” and, “how long they have been with their current provider.” I stood back from the whiteboard to take in their answers, put my hands on my hips, and say, “I don’t see how any of this information helps understand this new market.”

Once the silence settles in and I hear people shifting in their seats, I turn to them and ask again, “If you could learn anything from your prospect, what would you like to know?” No one speaks at first, then someone says, “Well, what would you want to know that’s different than what I want to know?”

Good question, I say. Their product solves a problem in their current market and I want to know is if the new market is similar. We review the idea a product’s value comes from the problem it solves or the result it achieves and structure our questions inside this frame. I like the list they came up with: (yes, I helped)

  • Does this market have the problem?
  • How do they know they have the problem?
  • How big is it?
  • How would they know if it’s fixed?
  • What would the ROI be?
  • If it’s a problem, why hasn’t it been fixed?
  • Who else does this problem or our solution affect in the organization?
  • Is there money to fix the problem?
  • What’s the timeframe to get the problem fixed?
  • How do they make the decision to buy a solution?
  • Are there a set number of steps in the decision?
  • What decision criteria will they be using?

Once the list is out, we brainstorm the ways to get the information. Obviously, the answer is to ask them – but what usually happens? We guess. We assume. We have questions in our head, but we don’t ask.

The good news is by talking about it, this group will start to ask more questions and get some answers. They won’t be perfect, but each bit of information they uncover in their market research will lead to time saved on new customer acquisition. And if they’re lucky, they’ll uncover hidden value too.

Enjoy the weekend and next week, less guessing.

Random Stuff


Wait, what was that again?


Speaking of not guessing, I find myself at the car rental counter after a long day and delayed flight. It’s late and I still need to get to my hotel. I’m staying in a new part of the city and getting there is heavy on my mind.

“You know what?” the rental guy says, “I have you down for a full size but I can upgrade you to a brand new Ford Explorer.”

That’s nice of you, I say, is that the same price?

“It’s $30,” he says, which I think is the discounted rate I was getting by booking through the airline. Surely he’s not doubling my discounted rate, I think.

Sounds good, I say.

“As a matter of fact, I’m going to do you one better. I’m going to upgrade you to a Lincoln,” he says.

Sounds good, I say.

He tells me to review the screen and initial at the prompts. I look at the price and think this is a lot more than I reserved it for. I shrug and initial it anyway. This right here is what I’m talking about when I ask people, “When you hear it, when you see it, will you have the courage to ask it?” All I have to do is ask what the original price was, but I don’t. I keep moving. It’s late and I’m tired with a long drive ahead.

On my way out to aisle E, spot 16, I start to berate myself. Why can’t I self advocate? Why am I “customer of the month” so many times? I imagine that guy high-fiving friends and saying, I got you suckah. It makes me kind of happy for him for trying, but mostly I’m mad at myself for being lazy.

I walk up to the giant machine. A brand new, tricked out Lincoln MKS. It’s huge and I don’t need it. I’m traveling alone for a day and half. I’m probably driving 20 miles at the most. So dumb.

I open the door, toss my things in the passenger seat and start to adjust the seat. Immediately, I’m swimming in the rich smell of new premium leather. I press the start button and the dashboard lights up with animation and sound. This Matthew McConaughey approved vehicle has less than 400 miles on it and I hate to admit this, but now I’m wide awake. I navigate the big machine out of the lot, gun the big engine to merge onto the highway which brings a big smile to my face and, dang it, I’m not mad anymore.


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