Get beyond “it can’t be done”

Building A Mercedes-Benz/AMG Engine

Imagine the ideal solution

“In solving problems of virtually any kind, the way to get the best outcome is to imagine what the ideal solution would be and then work backward to where you are today. This ensures you do not erect imaginary obstacles before you even know what the ideal is.” — The Birth of An Idea, Russell L. Ackoff, Jason Magidson, Herbert J. Addison

Is your system working? What do you want? There is no better way to gain an understanding of something than by designing it. Planning backward from where one want to be reduces the number of alternatives that must be considered when making a choice of how to get there. It simplifies the planning process considerably.

My Own Personal Lesson In Self-Deceit

Over my life I’ve had a lot of wonderful experiences and people in my life that I have learned a lot from. I’ve also learned a lot about myself just from spending many quiet moments alone probing, questioning, and searching what it is I really believe and value. It’s weird I’m sure, but I have this fascination and love to read books by people who are known to be dying soon or have died. It’s here where I’ve learned about the “unspoken” areas of a persons life. It’s not the areas that you hear discussed around the water cooler at the office. It’s the unfiltered truth rather than the self-aggrandizing, posturing and positioning done by some good people in self help books and blogs.

I say that to introduce you to this written perspective about life and career that slapped me in the face by Linds Redding a few months before he died last year at age 52. I thank my friend, David Airey for sharing it with me.

It’s The Creative The Customer Is Paying For

When a project is tangible, touchable, or easily visual it’s easy for a customer to understand what they are paying for. However, that is not the norm. The customer needs you, the creative, to help him or her solve a problem. If it were an easy solution they wouldn’t need you. They would just go to Kinkos or buy a template. Your customer has something greater to solve,  an idea that needs to mature, creative thinking, strategic planning, stretching the mind as well as key resources. This is what we call the creative. This is the real value — intangibles that begin with just a seed of a thought and germinate into formidable ideas that become tangible, in some cases touchable, visual, and easy to grasp.

That marketing plan that is sought for is only the result of lots of creative. That winning sales proposal only came about because of the 10,000 hours that the creative team has invested in many projects over time, into planning, sketches, thought, strategy, process, unwinding the complexity and then more planning, thought, strategy, process and lest I forget, execution. This is the value a customer wants, not just the end result

Leave A Voicemail

Remember the old days of prospecting? Call, introduce yourself, get appointment.

The game has changed

Recently a salesperson said, “I just can’t call anymore. Buyers just don’t pick up their phones. True. Think of yourself. We don’t want to be interrupted. We don’t want to be sold. We are inundated by messages 24/7, not another cold call.

What if. . .

What if this salesperson took a totally different approach to that tough to reach, busy, annoyed with sales calls person?

The Approach

Follow along. So the salesperson, whom I will call Jim for this illustration has a prospect with a phone number. Original approach would be to call and hope the person picks up. Chances of success are nil. Remember we call have caller id and we use it.

Here’s the right approach . . .

  1. Jim (our salesperson) has a name that is candidate for what he has to offer.
  2. Jim uses LinkedIn to locate this person and finds out he is the right candidate.
  3. He now goes to Twitter, finds the candidate and FOLLOWS the person. Now the candidate has an opportunity to learn who Jim is. (Hoping he uses Twitter effectively and links back to his blog.)
  4. He now goes to Google+ and repeats the strategy. Socially surrounding the candidate.
  5. Using the social data to discover something the candidate/buyer cares about —such as history, biking, running, personal development, marketing, networking, branding, etc.
  6. Uses that the discovery of that social data to create an amazing email.
  7. Calls — gets the buyers voicemail and leaves this message: “Glenn, this is Jim XXXXX, I going to send you an email and I would be grateful if you would reply.” — No phone number, no call me back, just a short and sweet message.
  8. Sends the amazing email
  9. Gets the meeting
  10. Makes the sale

Here’s the content of the email. . .

To: Glenn XXXXXX

From: Jim XXXXXX

Subject: Referral from XXXXXXXXXX

“Never, never, never give up.” — Winston Churchill


I thought Winston Churchill’s words of wisdom might open the door for me to introduce you to XXXXXX and demonstrate how we can help. I also thought this article would be of value to you, 5 Reasons Companies Leave A PEO.

Are you available Thursday, May 23rd at 10:30 AM for a 10 minute online meeting?


(555) 555-1212

Sent using iPad


  1. The email is very short and personal.
  2. The quote in the email is around the persons interests that you discovered via Social Media. It captures their attention and is enticing the recipient to read it.
  3. The content connects to the prospects interests
  4. Positions Jim (salesperson) as the expert — placing a strategic blog article written by Jim around an area of interest that helps Glenn (buyer) solve a problem.
  5. Simple call to action: Schedule a meeting.
  6. Adds “Sent using iPad” — This tells Glenn that you are thinking about him and not an automated robot message mass produced.


Those Who Care

“What a pro.”

“What a jerk!”


“What a special person.”

“She cares.”

All comments related to interactions I’ve had with people this week.  It’s likely you’ve had similar interactions with people. So if your going to invest your time and interact with people, who are the type of people who will get the best of your time?

Thats right, those who care.



The Expert

Is it possible you don’t have the answer?

When we don’t have the answer, it is the reason we seek an expert. Positioning with the expert that we know something and forcing the dialog around what we know can limit the greater potential, or even success or failure for the endeavor.

Posing to align yourself as equal with the expert is dangerous. First there is a reason why they are the expert. Second, there is a reason why you engaged them in the conversation. Let the expert be the expert and get out of the way. It will bring more satisfying results for you and the expert.