Just Give Me Doonesbury...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, May 23, 2013

Doonesbury and SalesBack in the day...when I actually read a physical newspaper, I always carried the paper to the treadmill and immediately opened the last page of The Boston Globe and began the day by reading the comics. Today that daily routine has been replaced by my iPad and the digital excellence of experiencing the daily WSJ.  I still read the so-so content of the Globe, but only online and although the comics are digitally available, even techy-nerdy-me would say..."it's not quite the same". 

Today, as a consumer, I want what I want when I want it, and I want the experience of experiencing whatever it is to be...well..."to be an experience". 


  • Seamless technology
  • Personal to me
  • Customized to only what I want
  • Content rich digitally

Give me those, and you can charge me whatever you want from "free" at one end of the spectrum all the way up to "I don't care what the price is".  In fact, for me personally, give me those bullets, and the price becomes merely part of the buying process and not a comparison.  That's sales optimization!

Staples and salesThat's exactly how I feel whenever I buy anything from Staples.  Yea, I know, you now have the Staples buzzer sound reverberating in your head, but the reality of Staples is that...It's Easy.  It's actually better than that...it's really easy.  Staples know when I want to buy stuff before I do.  It gives me just the coupons that I want. I get easy-to-use Rewards.  When I do go into the physical store down the road on Route 1, the store recognizes my iPhone and my Key Ring app spits out even more coupons.  And both their store and online checkout are...just easy.

Compare that to buying a car in almost any dealership.  I'm actually in the market for a car in the next week or so, and once again, I'll go online, spec out exactly what I want through one of the many buying platforms (I like Edmunds and Consumer Reports Build & Buy the best), auction the best price, email back and forth including sending the photos of the trade-in and finally consummate the deal when they deliver the car-with the registration already completed-to my house.  Not totally seamless, but much more satisfying than dealing with the backslapping, wham-bam, let-me-check-with-my-boss, transaction attack dogs guarding (you from leaving) the front door.

So why in our personal lives as consumers do we gravitate to the very positive sales and service experiences of companies such as Zappos, Amazon and Apple, while we uniformly tell one another about how bad Comcast is, but then in our professional lives as salespeople we too often make it not only confusing, but actually difficult for our prospects and existing customers to buy from us?

If they just want Doonesbury, sell them Doonesbury. 

  • The way they want it
  • Using the delivery method they want
  • And, the exact time of when they want it

Give them Doonesbury, and price will never be the #1 issue

What this requires is for you to STOP SELLING!  

WHAT?  OMG, are you crazy?  I'm behind Q2 quota now...

Ok, but just maybe, the reason is that you're selling too hard.

  • Start listening...really listening
  • Focus on what the prospect wants to achieve in their business objectives
  • Don't talk about your product or you.  They already know about all that
  • Connect the dots between your product and THE VALUE it will deliver for them
  • Directly focus on the value you give and how it will achieve their objectives
  • Make it Staples-Zappos-Amazon easy for them to do business with you.
  • ...and finally focus on sales optimization with your salespeople, not beating them to sell.

The failing Boston Globe is in the business of delivering newspapers, not news directed to  me.  I know that every digital Globe costs me $.99, and that I spend 10 minutes at the most glancing through it.  The WSJ gives me much better, fresher, earlier news in a more digitally robust format and then reminds me during the day when it alerts me to what I want to know when it happens. I have no idea what The WSJ costs me, but I know I would pay more.

Think through your own selling process over the next couple of days and figure out how you can better attune your selling process to deliver what your prospects actually want to receive in a form and at a price which allows them to achieve their personal and business objectives. 

Have a great long weekend, and come Tuesday, get out there and sell some stuff! Jack Derby 


Head Coach
Linked In and Sales

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