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The Raspberry Flavoured Lollipop

Handy Andy is our neighbour. He’s a brilliant neighbour and handy because he owns every DIY tool imaginable, and that I might possibly want to borrow. He’s even got a 2-metre drill bit. Kudos.

Yesterday he popped round with his grandson, Ralph. Which is great because he knows we like to see him. Ralph’s 4 now and we’ve known him since he was born (not actually present at the birth though). We hadn’t seen him for a while and when we do it’s normally in the ‘safety’ of grandpa’s house or garden. But yesterday he came into our house and went all shy and retiring, hiding his face in Andy’s armpit.

We know Ralph can be a talker when he gets going and we also knew if we tried too hard to coax him he would just stay quiet and keep hiding from us. So instead, we chatted with Andy and he mentioned some things that Ralph had been doing. Slowly Ralph came out of his shell and was eventually restored to the full and important banter mode of a 4 year old, like what flavour his lollipop was.

It reminded me of the importance of focusing on doing what’s needed to achieve a goal not the end-goal itself.

In sales there’s constant pressure for predictability, leading to salespeople regularly being asked questions like “how much is this deal worth?” and “when will it close?” The danger is that these end-goal questions distract salespeople from focusing on what’s needed to close business on time. Whereas, if the same degree of focus was given to questions like:

  • What does the customer want to achieve?
  • Why is this important to them and why now?
  • What are their key issues and challenges?

…to understand what’s motivating a customer to invest, they could spend less time having to chase and push customers late in the sales cycle.

What’s your tip for getting customer ‘pull’ in the sales cycle?


PS. What was your favourite childhood sweet?

What is your most impressive DIY tool?