Story 1, part A:
There is an urban myth about a technology sales guy at his best and final pitch to a large prospect. He walked into the board room. 9 executives are sitting around the room like a jury waiting to hear the closing statement of a long trial. Good Morning! He starts quietly and gets the room to quiet down. He is staring at them one by one. Knowing he’s got their attention. Done his homework, he knows it is him and another vendor in the final race. Head to head. But he also knows that technologically; his platform is better. Much better! However, he learned from his inside source last night that the new Chief Financial Officer of this prospect is very keen of – if it’s working, don’t touch it – which got him to realize his new competition at this point is the prospect itself with basically not changing. Doing nothing.
He knew he had to touch them emotionally to make them understand the cost of doing nothing. He knew he had to move them somehow and highlight not how much they are not saving with their current platform but rather how much they are wasting in the current state.
A Microsoft software engineer walks down one of California’s beaches with his 5 year old kid one evening. As they’re walking, the kid all of a sudden asks his dad – hey father, the sun, out there in the horizon, it sets into the ocean every evening. How come father? How does it work dad that it does that every day? The dad, contemplating for a long minute about the answer finally says – son, it works, don’t worry about it.
People say nothing is impossible...but I do nothing every day....
Story 1, part B:
So now that he has the room’s attention, and everyone is waiting for him to start, he grabs a small paper shredder. Puts it right on the board room oval table. Plugs it in and pulls out of his bag a stack of one hundred dollars – in singles! He puts the stacks of bills on the table. Now he definitely has their attention and as an experienced sales person he senses it. He sees their body language changes, they are all intrigued. He then looks at his watch as if counting seconds and after about 6 seconds he pulls out one dollar bill from the stack and sends it through the shredder. Bzzzzzrrrrrzzz.
The sudden startling sound of the shredder along with the thought of shredding real money got the group in the room to feel uncomfortable. But just like we are drawn to see things that are not necessarily appealing yet attracting our attention so were the executives in the room. Their uneasiness turned into a peak of curiosity and simply stared at the guy. He looked at his watch again and now counted for longer before shredding another dollar - bzzzzzrrrrrzzz. Another minute or so goes by and another dollar goes through the shredder. At this point, the new CFO in the room, and you could tell he was agitated, snapped at the guy and said – ENOUGH. What is this? I thought you have some slides to show us, some final presentation to share with us.
The guy took a deep breath, looked the CFO in the eye and said:
“We covered your pain points last time I was here. During the last 3 meetings and 2 online sessions we dove deep into our technology and it seems that everyone is clear about the technological advantages we provide. I understand the main push back right now is pricing. In your last email sir you mentioned our solution seems a bit more expensive than what you have today. And moreover, I understand you are considering doing nothing, not changing your current status with your current technology. You are concerned about the resource allocation during the next couple of months of implementation. Well sir, I did the math. (at this point he looked at his watch again and pulled another dollar bill into the shredder) and the only one page I am going to share with you today is with these calculations of mine which show that if you do nothing sir, and yes, considering our somewhat higher costs, and if you wait to implement, you are basically throwing away a dollar every minute and 15 seconds every day on an ongoing basis. Do the math.”
He then reached out to the stack of singles, grabbed one dollar, looked at his watch and handed the bill to the CFO asking…”would you like to understand how it feels when you do nothing?”.