The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Selling the one that works…

Setting appropriate expectations – easy to say, hard to do.  

While recently reading Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play © by Mahan Khalsa, he wrote of a negotiation concept called” “Preemptive Negotiations”.  It goes like this: 

Out of curiosity, have you ever experienced an installation of this scale that went absolutely perfectly?”  When the say, “no”, we can continue, “and neither have we.” 

Now there’s an approach that takes some brass!  Negotiating how you will address your client’s disappointments with their purchase of your products/services, before you close the deal for their purchase of your products/services! 

Yes, much has been said and much has been written about sales people mis-setting expectations.  Over promising and under delivering it is often called.  But it’s extremely difficult to sell the customer a “solution” (aka the one that works).  Unfortunately, it really is all about expectations: 

            Law Number XXXVII: 

Ninety percent of the time things will turn out worse than you expect.  The other 10 percent of the time you had no right to expect so much.

Norman R. Augustine 

Are there sales professionals that have made huge money “selling ice to Eskimos”?  I suppose.  We see some of those types appear in the headlines from time to time with captions that include, “Ponzi Scheme”; “CEO receives millions in pay while company slumps into oblivion”; or sometimes, simply “Facebook IPO”.  But these self-serving, over-the-top, unscrupulous, sales types really are few and far between. 

Most of us have the appropriate intentions.  Yet “selling the one that works” to the customer takes much more than appropriate intentions.   Take product training, for instance.  How many times have we taken a new sales position and discovered our company only offers a Do-It-Yourself approach to training us on how the product really works? 

Some companies leverage a mentoring approach with their new hires; on surface, an excellent idea.  But – who trains the mentor on how to mentor?  The Sales Manager, you say?  OK – who has trained your Sales Managers to “manage”?  “Mr. OJT”, you say?  Ah yes, we know him well.

If Mr. OJT has developed bad habits, leveraged short cuts, or in some other way figured out how to succeed in spite of cluelessness, he now infects our new sales reps with these bad habits.  Is that what our future customers were expecting? 

Of course, the customer is hard enough to sell to, true?  Too busy to walk us through their current situation, letting us guess instead; leaders delegating to subordinates; or worse, bringing in an outside consultant who leverages that world famous, expectation, mis-setting tool known as the “RFP”.  Yep, too many projects are doomed from the beginning: 

            The stages of Systems Development: 

1. Wild enthusiasm

2. Disillusionment

3. Total confusion

4. Search for the guilty

5. Punishment of the innocent

6. Promotion of the non-participants

Arthur Black 

But in the end I believe it still remains the sales professional’s responsibility to sell the one that works to our customers.  And when we come across that customer that we intuitively know we can’t possibly meet their expectations – we have to be the ones to walk away.  Yes, setting appropriate expectations; easy to say, very hard to do.  

But an error of omission can lead to the same dead-end destinations as errors of commission.  Either way, if we are not careful we will wind up in a cartoon like this one that has lasted the ages:



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. noText
    Sep 08, 2012

    thanks for this awsome post 🙂 noText

    • Gary
      Sep 13, 2012

      My pleasure – thanks for reading me! GAP

  2. Xrumer
    Sep 09, 2012

    I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It抯 pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    • Gary
      Sep 13, 2012

      Thank you for your very kind comments (and for reading me). GAP

  3. Thank you all for your information and comments Regards ��.

    • Gary
      Sep 13, 2012

      My pleasure – thank you for reading me! GAP

  4. coach outlet
    Sep 09, 2012

    I conceive this website has some really good info for everyone. “Loving someone is easy but losing someone is hard.” by Shelby Harthcock.

    • Gary
      Sep 13, 2012

      Thank you for commenting – and sharing your quote, too. GAP

  5. online tv software
    Sep 09, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your article I would always follow

    • Gary
      Sep 13, 2012

      Thank you for your kind comment, and for reading my work. GAP

  6. Apple iPhone
    Sep 15, 2012

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I��m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks a lot

  7. I have never seen such good content online before. You have really earned my deepest respect. I have shared this with my friends because it deserves to be seen. You are truly a good writer.

    • Gary
      Sep 16, 2012

      Thank you very much for your kind comments – it makes my writing all the more enjoyable! Thx, GAP

  8. America
    Sep 30, 2012

    I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thanks, I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

Leave a Reply