After reorganizing my paper clip collections during the lockdown, I decided I would finally attack the thousands of files my sisters and I have set aside over the years regarding my family’s history. My Mom and Dad kept various clips, photos and writings about their Grandparents on both sides so we can piece together roughly back to the mid-1800s.
I have become familiar with the study of heuristics over the years. If I keep it simple, heuristics are mental shortcuts that help us make decisions and judgments. I learn a lot from thinking about how I come to decisions particularly when faced with complex issues.
A student raised his hand during an MBA guest lecture some years ago and said to me, “Thanks for telling us about the barriers you overcame to succeed, but could you tell us how you overcame them?”
My worldview has been shaped by paradox. Here are a few of my favorites.
- You can’t sell when you’re talking
And yet most salespeople “show up and throw up”. One of my early mentors taught me that “if you spend 30 minutes with a prospect and they speak 27 of those minutes, they will think YOU are a genius”. It stuck throughout my corporate and entrepreneurial career and I think it’s been life changing. Great salespeople are great listeners and only speak at any length AFTER they fully understand the client’s issues. Even then, they pause frequently to say, “did I get that right?”
This concept goes double in personal relationships which I also see as the continuing process of “selling each other”. I must “seek first to understand, less be understood”. I find rich irony that great sales advice comes from the Bible.