Not Making the Short List? Look for Chinks in Your Armor.

Nobody ever tells you when you don’t make the short list. They just disappear adding insult to injury.

In this week’s Moment of Clarity I share how chinks in your perception armor can cost you deals.

According to, a “chink” is a vulnerable area in armor or in a plan as in “Having a crappy web site was the chink in Acme’s armor.”   This term relies on chink in the sense of “a crack or gap,” a meaning dating from about 1400 and used figuratively since the mid-1600s.

When prospects make short lists of options that include your firm and a few of your competitors, they turn into Sherlock Holmes.

Your prospects are cynical. They’ve heard it all before and everyone makes similar promises, offer up gleaming case studies, present professional materials, etc.

As you meet, they are looking for clues that they see as hints that you ain’t all that and a bag of chips. They have been disappointed before and they want to make the right choice.

Most business buyers experience uncertainty when making decisions to buy. They use a process of elimination – evaluating available information and using their intuition to determine who makes the short list and who doesn’t.

Remember, it’s all about perception at this stage. Prospects take everything you say with a grain of salt – they expect you to have a decent web site, speak in coherent sentences and play up your strengths.

But make no mistake, buyers feel risk when making decisions. And if you register too high on their Risk ‘O Meter – you don’t make the short list.

What they are really looking for are tell-tale gaps in your approach that send the message “Warning Will Robinson!” and just might knock you out of the running.

Let me give you some examples.

Let’s say you have great sales people and a growing base of customers, but your marketing materials all look different and were filled with grammatical errors and/or poorly written copy.

Prospects perceive that you might not have your act together or that you don’t care enough to get it right for your own company, why would you care to get it right for them?

That’s a clue for the discriminating prospect. Others might include:

  • Using a blurry cell phone photo on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Inconsistent message (or unclear message)
  • Poor reviews or negative social media
  • Slow response for requests
  • Subpar brand design
  • Too many to list.

Sales and marketing is a game of gaining incremental edges over competition. The smallest things can defeat you if you aren’t paying attention.

And I assure you, your prospects are paying very close attention.

Sometimes it’s hard to see gaps in your own operation. Part of our value is seeing things from new perspectives and through our decades of experience. We often review marketing programs and plans, sales approach and process, marketing materials, et. al. for clients.

We’ll help you spot the gaps before you get tossed off the short list. Schedule yourself on our calendar by CLICKING HERE


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