Can You Sell Like John Cleese?

John CleeseCan you sell like John Cleese?  Creating contrast between what you offer and what your customer has or is considering is crucial to the sale.  Show your customer where the real value lies, just like John.


What’s the opposite of “attention” when it comes to sales messaging?

It’s not “inattention,” though that is the most logical obvious answer. Inattention is a passive, natural occurrence you have to wrestle with in every messaging situation. And certainly, the failure to move somebody from inattention to attention is a primary killer of sales opportunities.

What’s worse than inattention is active resistance to your message. Denial that the problem you’re trying to solve needs solving.

Don’t try this at home: Check out this great 80’s commercial for Compaq computers, with actor John Cleese trying to create contrast for a new “portable” computer:


You need to paint a clear picture of what is bad and good. You need to concisely define the shortcomings of your prospect’s current situation and contrast that with the opportunity to overcome those shortcomings with your solution.  Not only must this difference be clear, it must be significant.  Value for your customers lies between the Pain and the Gain.

What happens if you don’t show enough contrast? There won’t be enough value for a prospect to do something different.  Make sure you clearly articulate and visualize the contrast between your solution and your prospect’s current situation if you want to move from denial to attention.

And remember, customers buy on emotion and justify with fact.  Be sure to wrap a great story around your offering.


Until next time,

Crowe Mead Signature





Crowe Mead

Posted on by Crowe Mead in Leadership, Sales, Strategy

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