The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective



Imagine: You’re all alone; in a sinking row boat; at sea; surrounded by sharks.  You have no oars; just a mirror.  You can see land; it’s about a mile off.  The sky is cloudless.  How would you survive this ordeal?  

Jot down your answer; we’ll come back to it. 

My Manager believes (and I agree with him) that Discovery is the most important aspect to a B2B sales process; yet it is an area that most sales people do poorly.  “Discovery”; “Analysis”; “Requirements Definition”; it goes by many names.  What do you call it?  I’ll refer to it as “Disco” for today, OK? 

Doing an effective Disco certainly is not easy.  Getting the prospect to tell you what their needs are; tell you about their current shortcomings; sharing their goals; permitting you to meet with their full staff; complete interviews with their executives; etc., etc., etc., requires the utmost of skill and discretion.  

And, of course, in competitive situations the prospect may not want to give you all of the time and the access you need to be thorough.  Worse yet:  The people you’re interacting with may favor a competitor – especially, our most tenacious competitor; “no change”.  

            Not to decide is to decide.

                                                           Harvey Cox 

When we’re doing a Disco in that situation, the people we’re interviewing will withhold key information (or worse, lie!).  Even if they favor your solution, they may still withhold information because they’ve moved past Disco into Negotiation mode, true? 

All valid – yet most often a bad Disco is due to poor skills on the part of us – the sales person.  We’re too anxious to sell; too high pressured in our questioning; in too much of a hurry.  We like to speak – not listen; we want to dwell on “us”, not focus on “them”.  And, we can over-think things instead of simply asking our prospect, “Why?”  Here’s our favorite, Unknown Sage: 

The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert.  After their tent was set up, they fell sound asleep.  One hour later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, “Kemo-Sabe, look towards the sky.  What do you see?”  The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.”  “What that tell you?” asks Tonto.  The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute and then says, “Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially millions of planets.  Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.  Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning.  Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.  Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.  What’s it tell you, Tonto?”  Tonto is silent for a moment, then says, “Kemo-Sabe, you dumb a@#.  Someone stole tent.”                                                                           

I opened today’s little ditty with a “Minute Mystery” – fun to play in a group; excellent drill for a sales team to practice their Disco skills.   One person states the mystery; everyone else works together to get to the solution.  The players can ask the leader questions that can be answered either “Yes” or “No” (only).  All-in-all, it should take about a minute to solve the mystery.  

Asking good questions; listening to the answers; and avoiding over-thinking; are all keys to solving Minute Mysteries.  True – today, you didn’t have the benefit of teammates to help you solve the mystery stated at the start.  Nonetheless, how did you do?  The answer, you ask?  “Stop imagining.” 


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.



  1. Jim Anderson
    Jun 11, 2012

    OK, stop imagining. However, what is the purpose of the mirror?

    • Bill Foss
      Jun 11, 2012

      I would think that the mirror is to see yourself as you are. Stop imagining.

      • Gary
        Jun 12, 2012

        Thanks for playing Coach – Actually the mirror has no true meaning to solving the minute mystery; just ther to distract you :). Thx, GAP

    • Gary
      Jun 12, 2012

      Thanks for playing Jim! Actually, the mirror is simply a piece if superfluous information that has nothing to do with the solution – just like real world Discos. Thx, GAP

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