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[SDS] Follow the red folder

[Reading Time: 1m 22 sec]

That red folder touched four peoples’ hands. There was no point to it really, and that one red folder prevented the biggest sale of Shelby’s life.

You see, the red folder was a symbol.

It went through the hands of four separate secretaries before the folder made its way to the bosses desk. Each secretary grabbed the folder, signed their name, and passed it along. The whole exercise seemed pointless.

That’s a scene from the movie Ford v. Ferrari. What followed was a timeless sales lesson:

Your client needs to understand their problems and what they stand to gain on their own terms.

It’s not about the quality of the pitch, it’s about how you can help someone. And that’s why this particular scene was so freaking good.

Ford motor company had this problem. They were a giant company built to move slowly. But Henry Ford II had this crazy goal of building the fastest car in the world in just a year. In order to do that, Ford had to go from slow-moving to fast-moving. Shelby was the person he hired to do build the car.

Predictably, too many roadblocks got in Shelby’s way. So he did what any good sales person would do: he put the problem in terms that his client could understand.

He told his client, Ford II, about this red folder he saw change hands four times before entering the meeting. It was a sign of just how bureaucratic and slow-moving Ford had become.

But illustrating it this way made Ford II see.

Even when the problem is right in front of your clients, sometimes they can’t see it.

Help them see and then build a bridge that will get them to their goal. That’s what you should sell. Not service or product.

That’s what you get paid for and that’s what your clients will buy every single time when you can help them see it.