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Applying Sales Savvy

We’ve all heard the advice: “Sales is all about relationships.” But how do we APPLY that?

Two places to start are with Experience Design and Talk-Backs

If you have been consistently underselling, underpricing or not in love with the experience of selling to customers who love your work, TRY THIS:

Experience Design

Did you know that movie theatre popcorn is sold at a 900% mark up? That’s because those crappy kernels are made more valuable by the movie theatre experience. Here are some small-business examples of selling the experience:

One windshield repairman takes what is normally a boring mobile windshield replacement and creates an live interactive talk about the art and workmanship BEHIND the application while you wait. I’ve had my windshield replaced a few times over the years, but I’d never before gotten a replacement and a SHOW. Guess who I’m calling next time my windshield makes like a spider’s web?

A local web developer turbo-charges the speed and accuracy of his design work by inviting the client into a meeting and creating the website in REAL TIME with the client there to make changes, rather than firing emails back and forth over a period of days or weeks. He was already fast, but his personal approach to the process makes him LIGHTING fast and turns a one-time customer into a raving fan.

Strange-stunt band Walk Off The Earth is known not only for their musical talent, but for the cover-song videos they create for their fans featuring brain-boggling and hilarious stunts with musical instruments conducted WHILE they are performing their famous One-Take videos. They then spend untold hours responding directly to comments generated by their viral videos.

What behind-the-scenes work are you doing for your clients that creates a valuable experience surrounding your actual product or service?

Designing a premium customer experience allows you to give the work, but sell the EXPERIENCE. Your particular, aesthetic, creativity and hard work can be combined to create a unique and exciting customer experience that generates extra value for the right clients.

Before you start designing your full-out, amazing surround-sound HD customer experience, how can you be sure that your design will resonate with your ideal clients? Ask ‘em.


Are you talking directly to your clients and potential clients? If your Facebook business page is all about you, you, you, or if you have a blog that receives very little comment-action, there’s a good chance you may not be getting your money’s worth for the time it takes you to post.

Set a recurring date to get LIVE feedback from a group of ideal clients. To make the most of these dates, always include at least one person that you’ve worked with before in the group that you talk with. Don’t stack the odds in your favor by only interviewing happy current clients. You are looking for points where you can go deeper and make your work even more accessible to the perfect future client.

Make your talk-backs as interactive as possible by getting your feedback face-to-face. If you can’t get within slapping distance of your ideal client, FaceTime or Skype with them. Phone calls or Facebook message are a last resort; if you’re new to getting regular, intense feedback, do NOT hide behind email or online surveys. You are digging for the spark of excitement that can turn a one-time customer into a long-time client. This requires the human touch.

Advanced Talk-Backs

Did you know that multi-million dollar startups begin with creating experiences and then creating talk-backs? The most successful startups that blossom into the businesses and apps we know and love begin with a bunch of mildly nauseous, hoodie-clad creative people with clammy hands and dry mouths. These decidedly non-salesy folks are searching for a magic number: 100

Business guru Steve Blank, advisor to businesses that begin as Ramen-fueled dreams, advises that you can’t be sure that any idea will work until you personally interview 100 people about the idea in person. Of those 100, not every one will be your ideal client. Your challenge is to use the information you get from the interviews to ZERO in on the exact type of client that values your work and your approach. Next, based on your research find 100 of these IDEAL clients to personally interview.

If the idea of 100 in-person interviews makes you queasy, consider this. Take the average cost of your lowest-priced package. For me this would be $90. Pretend that you were only allowed to sell to the 100 people you interviewed personally, and only after developing a warm, friendly relationship that left THEM asking YOU, “How can I pay you for what you’re creating?"

How much money would you make from that 100? How much easier would it be to craft your marketing message and pricing if you personally knew each person that you were designing for, rather than pitching to the cold darkness of outer space and waiting to be found? How much less sleazy would you feel about selling to people who were asking YOU for your work, at full price?

Deeply devoted clients can only be created one conversation at a time. Heartfelt Commissions can only be earned one client at a time.

The value you generate from your initial foundation of 100 hand-picked devotees will payoff many times over. Instead of drafting “web copy,” you can simply write a message to your friends on your website. Instead of “generating sales,” you’re serving a community.

Sales really is about relationships. But shaking hands on a sunny day does not a relationship make. We’ve got to be willing to go deep with our customers and learn about their wants, needs and dreams and let THEM tell US how they’d like us to play a role in their aspirations.

So here’s my question:

What could you do to get 5 interviews knocked out before next Friday?

Grow Your Glow

Define Commision