“How Will You
Sharpen Your Axe?”
There is an old
story of a woodcutter who got his first job. The boss gave him an
axe, and showed him where to work. His first day he cut 18 trees.
His second day only 15 trees. Even though he increased his effort,
the third day he cut only 10 trees. The woodcutter thought he was
losing his strength. His boss asked him “When was the last time
you sharpened your axe?” The wood cutter said “He was too
busy to sharpen his axe.”
When was the last
time you “sharpened your axe,” learned something new, or
relearned something you forgot? How committed are you to continuous
improvement for both yourself and your team members?
to continuous improvement drives innovation.
keeps professionals at the top of their game.
performers practice each day to stay sharp and ensure they perform
at their peak level.
chefs, and trade professionals train daily to stay mentally sharp
and up-to-date on improvements.
If the daily
efforts of these professionals are necessary and important, why is
it that so many leaders, managers, and business owners skip the
daily opportunity for continuous improvement?
reminds me of William Bradshaw, founder of Bradshaw Automotive and
Past NADA Chairman. Each year he would have his key leaders
participate in the yearly NADA convention. These leaders were
required to attend numerous training sessions throughout the 4 day
convention. William then purchased the recordings of these sessions
to be used daily throughout the year to train those who did not
attend, and to retrain those who had been in
I have had many
assignments where there was an hour or more commute to and from
work. In the evening, driving home, I would reflect on the wins and
losses of the day to determine how I could improve myself and/or
our team. What did I learn that day? What did the team members
learn that day? Why did we meet, or fail to meet, our objectives?
Then, I set up our objectives for the following day.
How do you train
to stay sharp while improving your skills? How will you “Sharpen
“Larry on Learning” sessions I help leaders and their teams
to sharpen their axes. To discuss how I can help you fulfill your
commitment to continuous improvement, while helping you sharpen
your axe, contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That is today’s
MORNING MINUTE: 5/19/23
“Return on Investment vs Cost of Inaction”
Salespeople learn early about “the return on investment.”
They are usually not taught about “the cost of inaction.”
Let’s examine each.
Selling is helping your client either solve a problem or taking
advantage of an opportunity…return on investment. Salespeople learn
to identify the client’s problem or opportunity. Simply talking
about what your product/service does, without personalizing it for
the buyer, does not increase your client’s return on investment.
Sellers must share both features and benefits to increase the
client’s mental perception of value. They also use presentations,
demonstrations, and reviews so the client’s perception of value
Jackie Cooper once stated: “I will never pay for it financially,
until I own it mentally!” When your client perceives that the
value of what they are buying is equal to or greater than what they
must pay for it, they almost always will buy it. Their return on
their investment, ROI, is greater than their
What happens when your client agrees that the product/service is
well worth what you are selling it for, yet they are not buying?
The most often used objection is “It’s costs too much!” This
may be a real issue or just a tactic to get a better price. This is
where you employ the cost of inaction (COI).
First, restate how the product/service solves their problem or
opportunity. Then ask them how much not solving their
problem will cost them. Ask how much a missed
opportunity will cost them? Restate how much they will lose
by expressing it in dollars. That amount is the cost of
inaction. Add that cost of inaction to the return on investment
that they agreed to. Then ask again for the order. It they still
will not agree, then move the client to a less expensive product or
Remember, first start with their return on investment. Have them
agree that the value is equal to, or greater than, what you are
asking. Plus, have them agree that the item will solve their
problem or opportunity. If they will not buy using their return on
investment, then employ their cost of inaction.
Sometimes salespeople complicate the client’s buying
process. Buyers simply must perceive what they are buying
solves their problem or opportunity. Clients must see that the
return on investment of what they want is quite valuable. Plus,
they must understand how much their inaction will actually cost
Using this process, salespeople will sell more and earn more, as
they build a large following of happy clients.
That is today’s Morning Minute.