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Art of Persuasion: 4 Magical Potions.

We are all salespeople.

One does not need to be customer facing or have sales in our job requirement to understand the importance of being skilled at persuasion.

Whether it be to convince people about our point of view, get them to accept our recommendation or even attract a partner we all need to be able to sell.

Over years of observing people who not only are great at sales but do so in ways that feed, build and nourish strong ongoing relationships while also building goodwill, reveal four common practices:

1.     Understanding needs: 8 Expectations.

2.     Leveraging the concept of SAVE: Solution. Access. Values. Experience.

3.   Unearthing answers the using a photography Metaphor: Frame. Illuminate. Edit.

4.     High Impact presentation: Short. Punchy. Unforgettable.

Understanding Needs: Eight Expectations.

Four of these expectations are focused on outputs and outcomes and four of them focus on process or how the partner works.

Outputs: Insights, Ideas, Inspiration, and Implementation.

Process: Collaboration, Continuous Improvement, Operating Discipline, and Values.

1. Insights: Clients pay the highest premium in not just economic value but their attention and their admiration to firms that bring them insights about their customers or their business.

2.Inspiration: External suppliers and partners see a world different than a client. Most work across different industries and have a different employee mix. Clients in these changing times want to know how they benchmark against the best. Not just their industry, but across industries.

3.Ideas: In the end despite debate as to whether they pay adequately for ideas, every client cares a lot about ideas and without a good flow of them it is hard for an outside partner to remain valuable.

4. Implementation: Eventually insights, inspiration and ideas mean little if they cannot be implemented in the marketplace. Clients look for firms that have the skills either internally or through tight partnerships to yield tangible programs, products or services into the marketplace in a cost-effective timely manner.

While insight, inspiration, ideas, and implementation are the wings of a healthy partnership, there are some processes or ways of working that are as important and often can carry a relationship when the ideas, insights, ideas, or implementation are wanting or can challenge a partnership when not present even if ideas, inspiration, and insights are flowing

1.Collaboration: Clients hate (and it is not too strong a word) the lack of collaboration between their various partners. They resent having to baby sit grownups who cannot play together. They see the friction as a loss of time and economic value.

2. Continuous Improvement: In a world of change, businesses ask if the outside partner is continuously improving themselves. Are they remaining curious, challenging the status quo, and leveraging technology or other efficiencies costs, becoming more productive?

3. Operating Discipline: This is the least sexy and interesting part of what clients want because in many ways they expect it. Can their partner run their own business by managing budgets, schedules, legal clearances, and the like? Are they responsiveness and do they staff with capable people?

4. Values: This is an expectation that has grown increasingly important over recent years as companies increasingly care about employee well-being, diversity, and purpose. Integrity and trust have always been critical to Clients, but they now want to know about the workforce of their suppliers and partners.

For a step by step guide on how to understand and meet client requirements clickhere

S. A.V.E.= Solutions. Accessible.. Value. Experience.


People and potential Clients look for solutions, but companies often focus on products, services, and processes.

This is understandable since the purpose of an organization is to provide products and services and often the way to differentiate oneself is by focusing on the special inputs (e.g., data), ingredients (e.g., saffron), processes (e.g., “bespoke”, “hand curdled”), approaches (e.g., some sort of diagram of how the company comes up with results) or organizational structure (e.g., “our special way of working and organizational structure that is silo-less, client focused and efficient”)

All of this is well and good and often necessary but never sufficient.

Because what the buyer is asking is “can you show me some cool shit instead of showing me how your colon works?”


Today, most people are constrained for time and want things fast, friction-free and optimized for their personal situation.

Simplicity in understanding what is available.

Convenience in buying.

 Flexibility in delivery and returns.

Optionality in payment terms.

Are our solutions easy to buy and ourselves easy to deal with?

For an organization this means being easily discoverable on all major platforms. Using language that is simple and free of buzz word bingo and jingo lingo. Being available to purchase or interact with across all channels and offering varied methods of delivery and payment.

People will not adapt to the way of the company, but the company needs to re-tool its spine to adapt to the way of the people.


Value is always a key since in addition to time, money is often a constraint for most.

This often requires competitive pricing but is not necessarily about selling out with the lowest price.

 Ideally one finds a way to price the outcome versus the input.

Buying cheap pigs could lead to poisoned hot dogs.

Smart archers use fewer arrows and can get to the bullseye of solution faster, so quality has great ROI but often one must find ways to illustrate and numerate quality.

Some approaches include truly differentiated solutions or people where the result or experience are so clearly superior that premiums are justifiable.

It is important to note that Apple, LVMH, Disney and many others do not differentiate on price but value.

In addition, today like never before the values of a company or person matters.


A stance on ESG.

Approach to DEI.

Care and growth of employees and community.

All these now become ways to signal value and values.


In the end people remember the experience and pay for the experience.

And much of business and marketing is creating seamless experiences or rectifying and correcting lapses in the experience.

Experiences have always been key but in the next few years as Web 3.0/The Third Connected Age scales with increasingly open, decentralized and composable systems, AR/VR interfaces, new organizational structures (DAO’s) and new currencies of trust and monetization (Blockchain driven tokens) it is likely to be the KEY differentiator

For a step by step guide on how to leverage S.A.V.E. click here

Unearthing Answers using a photography metaphor: Frame. Illuminate. Edit.

The essence of photography

At its essence photography is driven by three variables:

a)     Framing:  What the photographer decides to focus on, how the camera is angled and positioned relative to the subject and what is left in and left out of the viewfinder.

b)    Exposure/Lighting: This is a combination of aperture, shutter speed and how sensitive to light the film is (ISO speed)

c)     Editing: Once upon a time with analog film only professionals had the tools of editing (darkrooms, chemicals, and papers) but today with digital capabilities of our phones we all can pre-edit by taking several test shots, give ourselves lots of editing options by taking a lot of pictures and then later with easy-to-use tools sculpt our pictures to our liking by cropping and filtering and more.

The essence of problem solving

The best problem solvers tend to be good at three factors:

a)     Framing the problem by asking the right question: They want to know whether one is solving the right problem.

b)    Getting the right input/data/facts so they can throw as much light on the problem: Can one get as much illumination as one can?

c)     Interrogating and iterating the answer:  The first answers tend to be somewhat right and often lec to additional questions or additional fine tuning before one reaches a more robust solution.

For a step by step guide on how to use the photography metaphor click here

High Impact Presentations.

A case can be made that most presentation decks are

a)    Un-necessary.

b)    Too long.

c)     A celebration of process versus product.

d)    A mechanism of management control.

e)    A waste of talent, time, and treasure.

f)     A placebo pill for what can be cured with a conversation.

It may be time to re-think presentation decks.

Why most decks should be no longer than 9 slides.

Think of all the presentation you have sat through or produced.  Many were fifty, sixty or hundred slides long. How many slides do you remember? How many stood out or made a difference?

Presentations are often un-necessarily long because:

a)     We often confuse volume with quality.

b)    Many people feel without a huge deck they cannot justify their expenses or point of view.

c)     Often firms are paid by time exerted so they are incentivized to bloat and be baroque.

d)    We often focus on how the colon works versus showing the cool shit by spending too much time about the process, the background, the history, the tools, the sources of data versus delivering the idea, insight, innovation, or imagination. If we need more than nine slides to tell our story, sell our point of view, or close a deal, we may not have anything truly convincing, differentiated, or interesting.

Over the years here is some learning gleaned from the best story tellers, salespeople, and communicators reduced to a simple exercise.

The best presentations are ones where you write the deck but never present or share it.

See above or below for a visual of how to limit any kind of presentation to 9 slides.

Begin with a letter size sheet of paper and a pen or pencil.

Place the sheet so it is in landscape mode.

Pretend you are playing tic tac toe and draw two vertical and two horizontal lines.

You now are looking at a slide view of nine slides on a single piece of paper.

Slide 9 is the appendix slide where you will list supporting material and will be the last slide you fill in.

Slide 8 is the Desired Action slide which highlights what you want to get from the meeting/ have the person you are presenting to act on.

This is the first slide that you fill in since this is what the point of the meeting you are having is.

Then the focus of your work is slide 4, 5 and 6 which you may want to label Insights, Ideas, Imagination.  What insights about customer, consumer, marketplace, competition will you be sharing that get your audience to THINK differently? What one two or three big ideas are you delivering that will make their customers or consumers SEE them differently? What provocations, perspectives, points of view are you communicating that will get your audience to FEEL differently about their business, their future or you?

The goal of slide 4, 5 and 6 is to make sure you get the action you are looking for on slide 8.

Slide 7 is the Proof on why you or your firm should be believed, and this is where you show or share the cool results you have driven for other people.

Now you are ready to write the opening slides 1, 2 and 3 which are very key. Slide 1 should be a title that will make your audience come to attention, slide 2  a promise or some other benefit or outcome you will drive (e.g. your firm will generate 20 percent improvement or x or y) and then slide 3 which is the agenda slide or navigation slide which notes that you will be sharing ideas, insights, imagination and supporting material….but are ready to jump into any section based on what your audience is interested in first or how you have read the room at the beginning.

Finally slide 9 which is the appendix of all the supporting material that the first 8 slides are built on and can include data, cases, and other stuff.

Once you write this out you will find that you can make the entire presentation often without the presentation and at minimum you no longer have a long ponderous deck.

Instead, we have perspectives, provocations, points of view, insights, ideas, imagination, promises of delivery and a warehouse of stuff they can rummage through assuming they are interested.

Try this approach.

For more on the 9 slide presentation click here

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Rishad Tobaccowala is an author, speaker, educator and advisor who helps people see, think and feel differently about growth. Growth of their business, their teams and themselves. Check out Rishad’s workshops that companies world wide are leveraging to unleash their talent and enhance their productivity: The Workshops. For more about Rishad Tobaccowala click here.

The latest episode of What Next? Now on all global podcast platforms!

Paul Kemp-Robertson the co-founder of Contagious and the co-author of Contagious Commandments reminds us that in a world of plumbing (data and tech to find the right person at the right place at the right time) to never forget the importance of poetry ( creative and contagious ideas and stories that inspire and persuade the people we find.)Now on all global podcast platforms!

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