I had to consider the title Eat Their Lunch, the image of a person taking another person’s lunch in the form of a brown paper bag, a yellow cover that screams for attention, and an aggressive font.
I also had to consider whether to use the Red Ocean as a metaphor for competition, as well as the shark that causes the ocean to be red in the first place. The sharks in the red ocean aren’t attacking their customers; they’re attacking each other. So, if you live where the water is red, it’s best to be the Great White.
I struggled with all of these decisions, but not because there is anything that I have written that would give anyone pause about my recommendations on how to sell. What I believe is that selling is something you are doing for someone and with someone—and not something you do to someone. It’s the act of caring enough to help people create better results, including results they don’t yet know are available to them.
I took only one person’s counsel on this, and that counsel came from a friend and mentor, Seth. We agreed that I had to either run towards these concepts or away from them. I chose to run towards them because the need to displace competitors is necessary in for most of us who are not fortunate enough to have a line of people waiting to buy from us each morning (something only Apple has proven capable of). I did, however, change the hand grabbing the bag from a man’s hand in a suit with a big watch on his wrist, because it was too Glengarry Glenn Ross for me.
Recently someone told me that 80% of people have a negative opinion of salespeople. I don’t believe that is true, even if people may respond to a survey in the numbers indicated. People have moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, and friends who work in sales. I don’t buy the “everybody hates salespeople” idea because I spend every day with salespeople who have clients that love them–even if those clients don’t buy from poor salespeople.
Over time, I have developed a certain immunity to the negative stereotype of salespeople, like one might develop from taking a small dose of iocane powder every day.
That said, the title, cover, and red ocean concept are all aimed directly at salespeople who must displace competitors in the act of acquiring new opportunities and clients. Nothing in Eat Their Lunch, The Lost Art of Closing, or The Only Sales Guide suggests that salespeople do anything to harm or take advantage of their clients, and nor do any of the 3,700 blog posts I have published here.
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