Tasty Diversions (Issue 502)

In which we are cautioned to look closely before we invest serious time in juicy-looking prospects and customers.

“Should I do this… or not do this?”

In the dwindling sunlight, across from Gate E24, I gazed at this sandwich, this thankfully vegetarian portabello mushroom with aioli mayonnaise, mozzarella cheese and tomato with pesto spread on focaccia bread sandwich. This food ready to go, four hours until I’m home sandwich.

So, I did it.

I grabbed it from the cooler. I paid for it. I found private space near the gate in which to devour my kill. I opened it, I sniffed it (yup, smelled as good as the description), and I ate it.

It tasted…cool. Rich, with the green pesto, red tomato, creamy mozzarella, and garlic. Healthy. How VERY.. satisfying.

Appetite sated, I casually picked at the wrapper, idly eyeing the nutrition information for such a tasty treat at day’s end.

Oh! Oh! 850 calories, 430 calories from fat, 54% of daily cholesterol, 35% of sodium. And on it went. Waaaaaay off my diet. Oh, my, why didn’t I look at this before I ate it?

“Unbelieveable,” I said aloud. “Unbelievable!” I ate a meatless something that looked good and sounded good… and IT WASN’T GOOD FOR ME! I’d been baited and switched. Misled. I’d been…. I’d been really stupid because I didn’t read the label.

Ever had accounts or prospects like that? Ones that, on the surface, looked good and sounded good and yet, if we’d really read the “nutrition labels,” we could have seen they wouldn’t be good for us?

We need to read the labels and not let our eyes get ahead of our brains. Triage our accounts and prospects? Yes, by their industry, and their past purchases, and their future potential and, in addition, by their culture, their alignment to buying from and working with companies like ours, their perceptions of value, their orientation to relationships, their decision-making styles.

Are they really good fits for us, our companies, and our value propositions – our sales “diets” – or are they, like the sandwich at gate E24, look-good, sound-good diversions that will take us off the paths that we know we should be on, leaving us feeling foolish and disappointed.

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