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I Really Don’t Care, But in a Good Way

Some years ago, I was involved in a drawn-out negotiation with a Fortune 100 company. The team I was part of had been doing good and richly rewarded work, and we were all interested in upping our game. The client wanted more access to our intellectual property. We wanted a more predictable revenue stream over […]

25 People

In the 1990s, a man named Dunbar suggested a correlation between primate brain size and social group size. Without litigating his research, he proposed that we humans can comfortably maintain between 100 and 200 social relationships. Ever after, this has been referred to as “Dunbar’s Number.” Many people split the difference and call it 150. […]

Rinse and Repeat. Rinse and Repeat. Rinse and . . .

Did you think the word “Repeat?” You did. We’d like to think we’re good judges of the accuracy and value of the information we receive. The truth is, we’re not. Or not as good as we think. Why? Two reasons come to mind. We’re overwhelmed with stimulus. We use mental models and shortcuts to manage […]

Talk Less

Conversations between strangers almost always start on familiar territory. Buyers rarely reveal something meaningful in the beginning. It might be interesting, but it is seldom important. The good stuff always comes later. Unfortunately, many sellers never get there. Why? The temptation to start talking kicks in. They hear a “need,” and off they go. But […]

What are You Worth?

Anyone who sells a service has been offered the opportunity to discount their fees. The number you land on is the intersection of . . . How the buyer values you. How the buyer values solving the problem. How you value you. You have no chance of adjusting the buyer’s sense of the first two […]

Four (of many) Rules of Selling

There are many rules (lessons, principles, good ideas) governing good selling. Here are four for your list. People buy from people. It’s easy to forget this, but you do so at your peril. You’re afraid they won’t buy, and they’re afraid they will. Dealing with that dynamic will deliver a happy outcome 95% of the […]

We Suffer from Lack of Curation and Signposts

The Pali Canon is the collected wisdom of Theravada Buddhism. It contains about 1.5 million words. All Buddhists know the Four Noble Truths. That’s fewer than 100 words and gives you a lifetime of things to work on. The King James Bible is about 780,000 words. If all you did every day was live the […]

Selling vs. Order Taking

If a buyer tells you what they want, you describe what you have, and they buy . . . Is that selling? It’s order-taking There’s nothing wrong with order-taking, but selling is something else. It involves persuasion. It specifically points to influencing how the buyer thinks about the following: The problem or opportunity. Think of […]

Lousy Work for Lousy Clients

(This builds on a previous missive about Transcendence.) The quality of your work and the quality of your clients have a ratcheting effect. When we’re new, we typically start at the other polarity—doing lousy work for lousy clients. It’s not that they’re bad or you’re bad—it’s just that you’re new. You don’t yet know what […]

Boundary or Beacon?

Right after early men and women figured out how to start a fire on purpose, they realized a new boundary. Light a candle or light a pile of tinder, and we perceive a boundary, an edge. Inside the edge, we can see. Beyond, we can’t. It’s dark. Beside the fire, it’s warm. At some distance, […]