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Q&A with Jeff #1

Question

We’ve been through quite a few different strategies on various areas in the business. It seems we’re always switching things up, trying new approaches.

How do you decide on when to change things up, what new strategies to adopt? What prompts you? What do you base your decisions on? Decisions in the sales process, marketing approach, course structure, etc.

Is it data? Is it intuition? Is it conversations with customers, peers, friends, etc.?

Answer

A combination of experience and data. A lot of the decisions come from matching to what I experienced in my Three Deep days. If I’m on a sales call, I’ll refer back to how people reacted to my sales pitch back then. Their reactions, their objections, their decisions. And try to find similarities between the two situations, and draw a conclusion.

Some Thoughts

I’m paraphrasing Jeff here, of course. And condensing the answer.

For awhile now, I’ve been mulling over why Jeff made certain decisions.

Honestly, I sometimes feel we move fast, break things too much, too quickly. Jumping from idea to idea without sufficient data. The sample size is simply too small to make an informed decision, that’s how I feel.

It always start out something like this. We get all hyped up and confident about a new idea. That it is the solution we’ve been looking for. This is going to be the winner.

It can be a plan for immediate action, or a plan to be executed 3 months from now.

We roll up our sleeves and get busy.

Sometimes we’ll get the plan rolling for 2 months (e.g. blog content), sometimes we complete the whole plan (e.g. product launch).

And then Jeff reflects on the progress and results, and decides that we’ll change directions. We’ll discuss the new plans, and we’re off again.

Here’s why I’m puzzled. I see data within the business: sales figure, opt-ins, conversions, etc. But I’m still missing out big time on customer interactions outside of support mailbox (email exchanges, conferences bump-ins) and feedback from industry peers.

My guess was that these interactions shape a lot of the decisions. They steer the decisions into directions that data alone wasn’t able to do.

So maybe that’s what I’m not seeing. But after talking to Jeff about it, it seems experience plays a big part. Finding the pattern between what is happening and what happened in the past in a similar-enough situation makes all the differences.

I remember this one powerful example of Jeff explaining how sales calls typically go down. He has been on more than 1,000 of these calls to know if someone’s a good lead. If they’ll buy, their objections, all that behavioral stuff.

So, data is important. We should always be making data-driven decisions. But you really can’t beat experience.

 

Update July 17, 2017: Jeff gave me some feedback on this very first Q&A, and I though it’ll be helpful to add as an update. So here it is, in Jeff’s words.

Simple answer is the 99% of decisions are made based on:

1) business model/trying to hit revenue goals (and making adjustments when things don’t hit my expectations)
2) my travel schedule and if I can get things done in the time frame/getting the effect out there
3) maximizing the building of our brands in the time available (bang for our buck/most effective efforts)

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