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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Headwaters Of The Sale

They made a big deal when someone discovers the origination point of the Amazon, Mississippi, or Nile. (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”)

What about when someone discovers the origination point of a sale?

It’s way before a project goes out for bid, before negotiation, before specification. If you were present at origination, stands to reason that could be a huge advantage.

Thursday I was at a Grip’N Grin at the Alexandria Chamber Of Commerce. Joe Shumard, Membership Driver was making some announcements. He and I are running an experiment to raise the use of Web 2.0 by Chamber Members. I would be satisfied with an ostentatious display of mastery from the members. This was the kickoff.

Joe asked two questions.

“How many of you have a LinkedIn account?”

“How many are in the Alexandria Chamber LinkedIn group?”

And he dropped the subject, went on to other announcements. I was fielding questions the rest of the morning.

The headwaters of the sale are the point where the buyer starts to consider the solution. That’s the efficient place for me to be.

Let me give you another example.

A friend asked for help building a presentation for a industry-wide meeting where he was selling document management software and services. We had done this before and agreed that the battle would be won or lost with the opening question.

Come the presentation the opening question was:

(Hand raised above head) “How many of you…have ever…lost a document…in your own computer?”
End game at three minutes. The audience took over to make all his points for him. It was a feeding frenzy and he was busy graciously welcoming his new customers.

Been there, done that? Tell us!


  1. There is also presenting a solution to a client that then can identify a problem that needs to be solved. By saying this I mean, if you don't know there is a solution for a problem you just grin and bear it. My best technical demonstrations resulted in increased knowledge of solutions that no one knew existed and hense the need for the product.

  2. Ten years ago I moved to Alexandria, Virginia from Nantucket, Massachusetts. I didn't know anyone here, so the first thing I did was join the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. That's how I found out about the Alexandria Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Women's Business Centers, and of course how I made many friends and connections. About five years ago the SBDC sent out a survey asking how much business they had been involved in generating for me. I track my referral source in QuickBooks (ask me how!) so I pulled up the report and as I reviewed the sources I noticed that I could trace almost 75% of my revenue back several steps to the contacts I made through the Chamber, particularly through the SBDC and Women's Business Centers. For the last five years, my phone has not stopped ringing.

    I introduce myself as a QuickBooks Expert and Bookkeeping Coach. My website,, instantly communicates what I do. I've had people stop me on the road when they see the website address on the side of my blue PT Cruiser.

    I now have four employees. I think the web address has been the second most productive marketing force for me after word of mouth.

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