The Drift

The Drift

More Stuff to Write Down.

Last week I used this space to share several of the leading themes from Write this Down: Memes and Metaphors for a Better Life in Sales, a book that I've begun working on. This week, a few more, including some challenging advice for both managers, individual contributors and their fellow humans from many walks of life.

Management is a patient form of service. If you’re not in it for others, or not for the long haul, get out. There are easier ways to make a living.

Respect is the new friendship. Lose the chumminess and start with a basic respect for your customer's time and needs. You'll both value what happens from there.

Worthiness is a state of grace. A focus on getting and winning isn’t sustainable. Those who focus on deserving – trust, loyalty, investment – operate in a perpetual state of excellence.

As a manager, sometimes you just need to remind people who they are.

Never bring your erstwhile competitors into the room with you. There is only room for the customer, the problem and how you intend to solve it. Give oxygen and light to your competition and you will get the outcome you deserve.

Pay attention to your prepositions. A great sale is not something you do TO a customer. It’s something you build WITH and FOR a customer.

When preparing for an important customer meeting, ask this question: What’s the MOST SPECIFIC thing this customer can DO to advance this deal? Now base all your work on deserving that action and asking for it.

Successful sales calls don’t just end well on their own. You must have an exit strategy – a closing sequence – that is every bit as deliberate and prepared as your presentation or customer research. And you must save the time to execute it.

If you’re holding back on discussing price or dates with your customer – especially price – ask yourself why. Unless you’re drawing lines around cost and calendar, your close is only theoretical. And very soft.

Often the best follow up question isn’t a question at all. It’s an invitation to Tell me more about that…

Solid sales strategy can be boiled down to four steps. Say less. More powerfully. Sooner. To the right people.

More Posts

The Drift is Back.

You haven't heard from The Drift since late spring... a several-week hiatus that allowed for the outlining of "Write this Down: Memes and Metaphors for a Better Life in Sales." Since fleshing out the book will take a while longer, I've decided to share many of the aforementioned Memes and Metaphors across the next few posts of The Drift. Read on, comment, share, push back and apply them to your own life in sales.

A Time of Truth.

Five years ago, P&G CMO Marc Pritchard called bullshit on the digital supply chain and challenged us to get our house in order. I’ll make it even simpler. Tell the truth. Sell real stuff. Clean up after yourself. Leave the place a little better than how you found it. Create confidence. Now Google and Apple have done us all a favor. They not only locked the door to the digital funhouse; they pretty much burned the place down. What we build now is up to us. I hope we build back better.

What We Say When We're Not Selling.

While erstwhile sellers may never actually come out and say "Please don't buy anything from me today," these anti-selling clichés may be the next best -- or worst -- thing.

The VIP Manager.

For teams conditioned to their managers spitting out answers and directives, this approach is going to feel strange at first. The VIP manager is forcing strategic thinking and deeper context into decision making that’s too often situational, transactional and unscalable. VIP management will slow down the moments while simultaneously speeding up the growth of your team.

Our Year on Earth.

For exactly a year now, each day, without leaving home, we look into the faces of dozens of industry execs: we share meaningful phone calls with managers working to better lead and care for their teams. On a dime, and on a shoestring, we’ve pivoted into the fourth complete reinvention of our company. And we’ve spent this year on earth making a difference for good people. Who's luckier than we are?

Hiring in the Shadows.

The truth is, we’re still mostly interviewing the way we did in 2015 – and 2005 and 1995 – and it has nothing to do with the pandemic or Zoom. Our perspective on talent is compromised not because we are now hiring within the frame of a Zoom screen. It’s because we’ve always used a flawed lens to frame candidates.

Low Beams.

The person you’re speaking to right now… the work in front of you… today… the next hour. These are the only reality we can truly impact. Look past them and you’ll lose the only resource that can never be replaced: The moment.

The January Conversation.

Without a disruptive strategy to get the January conversation, you’re just another player hanging around the rim waiting for a rebound. You deserve better. So grab the ball and take your shots.


A little more light, more vaccine being delivered, people sharing news of their vaccinations on social media. And even as the amount of light and hope spirals upward, we will simultaneously suffer through cold and storms and sadness. These things live together in winter, but in spring the light wins out. And Spring will come. Just stay focused on the light.

What It Will Take.

Now here we are, with vaccines rolling out and a sense that things are going to get better… but only in the spring. Here we are, facing winter. And we’re asking ourselves, what will it take? What will it take to keep spirits strong, to stay hopeful and resilient under the weight of COVID fatigue and Zoom burnout? It will take choices... good ones.

What I Heard in Class.

In today’s post, I’d like to invite you inside one of our Upstream Sales Workshops on Zoom and let you overhear some of what’s being taken away.

Window of Opportunity.

Nobody ever says I just wish I’d waited longer to change. I’m glad we didn’t.