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Context in Sales - Your Ticket to Transparency

· transparency sale,Transparency,Sales Messaging,client success

Last week, while taking a little "Spring Break" with my family, I had an incredible Chicago-style hot dog. We had gone on a little hike, and drove up upon this place on our way back.

It was a hot dog. It was fantastic.

In context.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. If it wasn’t for Covid, we likely would have gone out for a nice dinner together.

Imagine - sitting at a nice restaurant, having a glass of wine, and that same exact hot dog is on your plate.

Would it taste as great? Probably not.

Context: “a frame that surrounds, which provides resources for its appropriate interpretation”

What is great for some people in some situations, isn’t for other people or in other situations.

Everyone you talk to or that you’re trying to sell to each has a different frame surrounding them, thus, a different way to interpret your offering. And, for each individual, that frame may change day-by-day, or even minute-by-minute.

Understanding the context of your solutions...

1) It’s a way to frame your messaging via transparency.

2) It’s also such an important mindset to have when doing discovery.

Your Messaging & Your Discovery

I'm mostly Italian. I love great Italian food.

To me, Olive Garden is not Italian food. I've eaten there, laughed at how bad I thought it was, but gave it another chance. It was worse the second time.

Yet - MANY people LOVE Olive Garden. For example, here's the review snippet for a local Olive Garden via Google - 1300+ reviews at a score of 4.2. That's really solid!

When you go to an Olive Garden, you're not heading out for high end. You're going to a moderately priced, family-style Italian themed chain restaurant loaded with a pile of breadsticks.

If you're expecting a high end Italian meal, you are likely to be disappointed.

Same food either way, but one context = satisfaction, and another? Dissatisfaction.

Do you know...

- When is your solution awesome for a client?

- When is it not?

Use that in your positioning.

My business offers workshops and keynotes. My programs amalgamate sales & science into easy-to-implement ways to improve your positioning, messaging, presenting, negotiating and sales leadership. It's "learn it in the morning, use it in the afternoon, see results the next day."

I don't teach prospecting, per se. I teach clinical empathy, using that as a lens into effective prospecting, but I don't teach a "prospecting class".

I don't teach a comprehensive "methodology". Transparency is a philosophy-plus-application, not a formal methodology like ValueSelling, SPIN, Target Account Selling, Sandler, etc...

The negotiation program is mind-boggingly effective and easy in some organizations, but it can be square-peg-round-hole in others. If an organization doesn't care about how fast it collects cash, client commitment or trying to maximize deal values, it won't work. And...I've had a couple of large companies who have clients whose clients pay them in arrears (and that's cool), buy as they go (versus making a commitment), and are totally cool with massive discounting as long as deals get done - and I walked away quickly.

I list every client logo for every client I have on my website's homepage. Every single one (except one who put in the contract that I couldn't use their logo, but that's besides the point). I only want to work with the prospects and customers who I can feel awesome about putting on there.

If it's not going to work, I (a) want to refer them to someone else and (b) want to do (a) as quickly as humanly possible so I can spend my time on the ones that will work.

That is my sole mindset in discovery & qualification, and I would hope is yours, too...and your leader's.


Get in front of a whiteboard. Think about the most successful clients you have. What was their context? What was it about the timing, the individuals you were speaking with, the circumstances, and your solution that hit such a homerun? Start writing down the traits.

Then, think about the times you either struggled to find success with a client, or lost SLOWLY. What was their context? What was it about the timing, the individuals you were speaking with, the circumstances, and your solution?

This was an incredibly helpful exercise when I did it - with myself and for my own business.

It informs my positioning, messaging, discovery and qualification.

It optimizes who I work with, and when I refer out.

It speeds my sales cycles and increases my win rates.

It increases my referrals, positive reviews, book sales.

It increases my own love for what I do.

What do you think? Better to let the customer decide based on their own context, or to be the personal trainer who tells them "you may have better options other than us"?

By the way, reviews are incredibly helpful to me and my business. If you're so inclined, I'd love it...:

1) If you've read the book, head on over to Amazon and leave a rating and/or review.

2) If you've taken a class with me, head over to G2 and leave a review. They've just created the listing for Sales Melon LLC, so I'd love to fill it up!

As we used to say in grade school, "I'll be your best friend!"

Oh, and if you want more of my nonsense in your inbox right when I share it, sign up HERE...

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