The Facts Can Destroy Your Sales

factsI came into the study to find The Effective Detective lost in thought.

“Sir, is there a problem?” I asked, concerned

“What? Oh Watson, no not a problem. I am contemplating the merits of presenting a task that may not be terribly easy as quite simple,” he replied with his brow still furrowed in thought.

“An interesting play on words, sir. Yet it strikes me as dishonest. How can a hard task actually be simple?” I asked, hoping to move the conversation along, almost certainly making The Detective happier, since he was always happiest when pontificating.

“Watson, you disappoint. There is nothing dishonest about making a true statement. A simple task can be quite hard,” The Detective responded.

Intrigued, I prompted him to continue, “I must confess to being dense today, sir. I am not following you.”

“Come now Watson. Let me give you an example. Say I told you to pick up a box and carry it across the room. Would you agree that is a simple task?”

I nodded my agreement.

“If I then told you if the box was made of lead, and contained several more blocks of lead,  would you agree that the task was hard?”

I had to smile. Once again I had fallen into one of The Detective’s logical traps. “Yes, sir, I would have to agree. An interesting thought experiment, but what does it have to do with the issues we are typically confronted with?”

The Detective smiled almost warmly which took a little of the sting out of his next words. “You are as dense as the lead boxes we were just discussing Watson. Perhaps you did not sleep soundly enough last night? Allow me to explain,” The Detective breathed deeply, before beginning his latest pontification. “When marketing a product or service, the last thing we want to present our prospects with is something that they perceive will be hard to do, or involve an enormous amount of work. They may be willing to do the work once they see the possibilities but to lead with the perception of complexity or difficulty is a bad idea. Which would you rather choose Watson, ‘The 45 Step plan that will leave you feeling like you just ran a marathon, but will multiply your income!’ or ‘The simple 5 step plan that will propel your income to the next level!’

“The latter of course, sir.”

“Now once you get into it, you may discover that after completing that 5 step plan, you feel like you just ran a marathon, but if you truly have reached the next level of income that you desired, might you possibly be glad you weren’t scared away by the title?

“Truth is important Watson, but if one truly has something that can benefit people – I am of course giving one the benefit of the doubt that they are not a shyster –  then isn’t it more important not to scare them off before they can decide whether the effort is worth the return? Words matter. There was an old joke in the tech world, that back in the good old days, if Hewlett-Packard – a fine technical company started by and originally run by engineers, who have a reputation for being quite literal, was selling sushi they would market it as ‘cold dead fish’. Very true, but not very appetizing,”  The Detective paused briefly, and I, now convinced that I had seen the obvious, jumped in.

“So the cold hard facts are not always the best way to present something. If we have a simple five step system where each simple step of the system involves a lot of hard work, better to promote the simplicity rather than the effort involved!” I exclaimed.

“Watson, you have redeemed yourself,” The Detective interjected, gently clapping his hands. “I’m not sure I could have said that better myself! Now let us immerse ourselves in our own simple yet hard work,” The Detective said, ending our discussion for the day.





  1. Great post Matt!

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