Right FIT Sales Newsletter #178 – Shortcuts to strengths, What happened, Broken

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

  • The ideas I share for getting more done in less time, next week are rooted in one concept: humans prefer to do things using their strengths. A corollary is: adult humans will do what they want to do, you can’t force them.
  • Here’s an easy way to use your people’s strengths. Next week, as you’re waiting for one of your people to do something that needs to be done, ask for their input on how they’d prefer to do it. “What” needs to be done isn’t up for debate, but “how” they get there is open for discussion.
  • Each time I suggest letting people come up with their own path, someone pushes back with “but Occam’s Razor says the shortest path is best.” I get what they’re trying to say, but I think the shortest path is letting your people pick their own way. Take the longer view.
  • Looking for the number of times your team has to hear something before it’s absorbed? Take your highest guess and add 33%. It’s a lot, be ready to repeat yourself.

Being Human – What just happened?

“Joel, get off the solution.”


If prospects want to talk about your solution/service/product, your first thought should be “Why?” If it’s not, you run the risk of losing the opportunity to inertia.

I’m helping a client with a proposal, which involves asking a lot of questions about what their prospect is trying to solve/accomplish and how they’ll know it’s solved/accomplished. The problem we’re having is that everything that comes out of my client’s mouth doesn’t sound like anything his prospect would say. It sounds like a marketing brochure.

“Did they say that?” I ask.

He presses his lips together because he knows what’s coming. In the excitement of being in front of a prospect who wants our solution, we tend to talk more than listen. It’s normal because they’re talking about our thing! The solutions tend to be interesting and we’re both excited to talk about it. We want to talk about it because it’s a topic we’re experts in. Prospects want to talk about it because they can avoid revisiting the critical thinking that goes into making sure the solution is an exact fit for their needs.

That last sentence sounds insulting to prospects, but it’s true. The good news for us is if the prospect asks us for a solution, if it doesn’t work they’ll take the blame. Wait, what? They’ll blame you?!? That’s not fair.

When a prospect asks for a solution, especially one you’re an expert in, your first job is to get them off the solution. Move them back in the process a few steps to understand why this solution is the exact-right-solution for them. After all, if you’re going to take the blame, you should understand the problem.

How do you get off the solution? Ask questions. Here’s a couple to get your brain started:

  • Define terms in the solution. “Ms. Prospect, strategy facilitation is something we’re experts at. As experts, we know that the phrase strategy facilitation means different things to different people. Let me ask, when you say ‘strategy facilitation’ what do you mean?”
  • Go to the problem. “Ms. Prospect, strategy facilitation is one of our strengths and I’m happy to tell you what sets us apart, but first, I have a question. What problem is strategic facilitation going to help you solve?”

My client’s proposal was going to be impossible to write using the prospect’s language because he got lost in the solution with them. My advice to him is to go back and ask the questions. It’s embarrassing and takes time to do, but if it keeps him from investing an inordinate amount of time scrambling to make the client happy down the road, it’s worth it.

Random Stuff


What is he doing now?


I tell a lot of stories about myself struggling with the activities of daily life. This week, I’m going to share a few tasks that I’ve learned I can do, in my own way. I know it’s my own way because the old men in the neighborhood tell me so. “You’re not doing it that way, are you?” or “Are you trying to do X?” (with X being whatever I’m doing which is obvious to me but must not be obvious to the world.)

I can put in a light fixture, break rocks, take out a 20 year old basketball hoop, fix screens, put together a grill/office chair/dresser, string a lacrosse stick, kill spiders, install struts, build a fire, make a meal, and do the dishes.

My point is, I’m not a total mess.

That said, I can’t explain how the slow cooker broke this morning, but it happened. At least it was clean before biting the dust.


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