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Makes me think of the Buddhist concept of "beginner's mind".


I admit that I go in to sales presentations "naked," and ironically I work with companies to print those beautiful brochures.

I also used to bring a portfolio of all the gorgeous brochures I'd printed for other companies, but not any more. Now, I only bring them in to demonstrate a new idea or production technique I am recommending to the client as part of an ongoing, value-added approach.

The only thing that goes with me now on the first call is a business card, pen and small notebook. But shhh, don't tell people to stop printing brochures or I'll be out of business.

Jeff Ogden

I love this post and I have a similar story to share. We were down to a final two competitors and the top exec decided to meet with each -- thought IT recommended my competitor.

First up was my fully clothed competitor who used a frontal approach -- multiple execs, Powerpoint, armed to the teeth. In effect, they said "Aren't we great?"

Next up was me and I came in "Naked," armed only with a notebook and pen. We talked. I asked questions. We learned of his concerns. We discussed them. We bonded.

The next day my phone rang. The top exec overruled IT to go with us.

The top exec of that competitor later say "How the hell did we ever lose that deal?"

Jeff Ogden, President
Find New Customers

Stef Sinn

Simply wonderful!
And on top of it all it keeps the client awake instead of putting him/her to sleep because it's about him/her and that's what business/service is all about.
There is also a wonderful natural dynamic in this that keeps the service provider associated with the value he/she provides and not with the (marketing) cost.
Apart from all as a "consumer" I get annoyed with all the marketing cost that we (consumers) pay for (i.e. in the next telecom bill) in every corporate campaign and even worse if it comes in the form of the glossy brochures on bleached paper which have a huge impact on the environment.
"GO naked GO"!!! The best experiences are anyway made outside our comfort zone :-)

Jonathan London

Great story Jill.

The only way you can do that is to REALLY KNOW YOUR STUFF because then you are more confident.

P.S. Next time can you change the picture to a very attractive woman?

Jack Lamb


I like the way you weave stories you tell with things going on in your life! I look at it this way, your degree of nakedness is directly related to the depth of research you have done before the meeting. The deeper the research, the less naked you are. Being able to ask pointed questions rather than just open-ended questions really helps your credibility in the prospect's eyes, e.g. your question can include things like their top 3 business priorities, asking which is more important to them and why.

Jeff Eskow

I start every sales presentation the same way. I say "Listen, most sales people will come here with a PowerPoint presentation and a pile of brochures. I don't do any of that. I'm just here to talk to you, and we can both learn a little about each other's companies..." Almost every time I get a small smile from my prospect; the smile that says "Yes, we DO get a lot of PowerPoint presentations in here...thank you for NOT brining one!"

Kjetil Korsveien

People buy from people. That the way it has always been.

I stopped using PP, laptops a year ago. Now I bring with me a pen and a note book at sales calls. Works every time. The mind of the customer are a more powerful tool for imagination than any flashy PP presentation.

Dan Seidman

Jill- I cut my teeth in selling working for a prestigious search firm with expensive gold brochures (well, not real gold - or I would have taken more work home). The packages cost the company, with printing & postage about $10 each. I was sending out about 20 a week when the boss came storming into the office one day shouting about his costs in mailing and literature. So 8 people on the team and I, the rookie, was spending over $800 a month mailing stuff nobody looked at. I was well liked enough that nobody ratted me out. But I learned fast the value of going unarmed, and as you so well describe, naked, into battle.

Thanks for the great metaphor on your brilliant coaching tip.


Great advice, as it's more valuable to have a business conversation with your audience engaging them rather than simply selling them on your offering. Prospective buyers like to be understood as much as the next person.

Also, I went to that small college in Northern Iowa and enjoyed a few Coed Naked Soccer matches myself. Much much more innocent than the administration made it out to be.

Jeff Garrison

Jill, I love the photo. I explain "going naked" by using Habit 5 of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The first meeting is the "seek to understand" meeting. Just have a conversation by asking intelligent, relevant questions.

The second meeting is the "seek to be understood" meeting. If the first meeting went well, the prospect is excited to hear what you have to say.


Great article, will share with our team here. Scripts are so 1980's...take a hint from social media, people want to be connected but not just with a name and a product...they want the emotional connection. What good is a sale/conversation if it's hard core scripted? Why not emotionally connect with them on their (the customer's) level? Look them up on ZoomInfo, Hoovers, or Jigsaw....find out about them, who they are, and what they are about. Look at their industry, what are the top challenges? Make a suggestion (odds are, you're right) but with emotion and conviction in your voice. People want me, the real me...not who I think they want me to be! Drop your guard, say "John, what does it take to schedule time on your calender....?" or "John, I know you get allot of calls like this every week, how do you determine who you want to do business with over the phone...?" Reel them in with emotionally, not logically. Qualify them on the back end!

call center philippines

Interesting article. Companies have different strategies to gain more sales than the other companies. And this is one unique idea to make their sales increase more.

KyNam Doan

Thanks Jill! This is something I definitely have to work on. I'm used to always having collateral on me to talk about. I'm subscribing to your blog right *now*


Jordan Flipsyde

Step back and brighter!

Chris  Hanlon

Love it!

I used to use all the brochures when I worked in sales for a large company. Later when I had my own smaller business and couldn't afford the collateral that I used to rely on, I found (to my surprise) that it didn't seem to make any difference.

Effectively I had the 'naked' experience but hadn't even realised!

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