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Week of 5/15/23


“How Will You Sharpen Your Axe?”

There is an old story of a woodcutter who got his first job. The boss gave him an axe, and showed him where to work. His first day he cut 18 trees. His second day only 15 trees. Even though he increased his effort, the third day he cut only 10 trees. The woodcutter thought he was losing his strength. His boss asked him “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” The wood cutter said “He was too busy to sharpen his axe.”

When was the last time you “sharpened your axe,” learned something new, or relearned something you forgot? How committed are you to continuous improvement for both yourself and your team members?  

Being committed to continuous improvement drives innovation.

Daily training keeps professionals at the top of their game.

Athletes and performers practice each day to stay sharp and ensure they perform at their peak level.

Salespeople, chefs, and trade professionals train daily to stay mentally sharp and up-to-date on improvements.

If the daily efforts of these professionals are necessary and important, why is it that so many leaders, managers, and business owners skip the daily opportunity for continuous improvement?

This subject reminds me of William Bradshaw, founder of Bradshaw Automotive and Past NADA Chairman. Each year he would have his key leaders participate in the yearly NADA convention. These leaders were required to attend numerous training sessions throughout the 4 day convention. William then purchased the recordings of these sessions to be used daily throughout the year to train those who did not attend, and to retrain those who had been in attendance.

I have had many assignments where there was an hour or more commute to and from work. In the evening, driving home, I would reflect on the wins and losses of the day to determine how I could improve myself and/or our team. What did I learn that day? What did the team members learn that day? Why did we meet, or fail to meet, our objectives? Then, I set up our objectives for the following day.

How do you train to stay sharp while improving your skills? How will you “Sharpen your axe?”?

Through my “Larry on Learning” sessions I help leaders and their teams to sharpen their axes. To discuss how I can help you fulfill your commitment to continuous improvement, while helping you sharpen your axe, contact me today at

That is today’s Morning Minute.

Morning Minute 5/19/23 "Return of Investment vs Cost of Inaction"


“Return on Investment vs Cost of Inaction”

Salespeople learn early about “the return on investment.” (ROI)

They are usually not taught about “the cost of inaction.” (COI)

Let’s examine each.

Selling is helping your client either solve a problem or taking advantage of an opportunity…return on investment. Salespeople learn to identify the client’s problem or opportunity. Simply talking about what your product/service does, without personalizing it for the buyer, does not increase your client’s return on investment. Sellers must share both features and benefits to increase the client’s mental perception of value. They also use presentations, demonstrations, and reviews so the client’s perception of value grows.

Jackie Cooper once stated: “I will never pay for it financially, until I own it mentally!” When your client perceives that the value of what they are buying is equal to or greater than what they must pay for it, they almost always will buy it. Their return on their investment, ROI, is greater than their expense.

What happens when your client agrees that the product/service is well worth what you are selling it for, yet they are not buying? The most often used objection is “It’s costs too much!” This may be a real issue or just a tactic to get a better price. This is where you employ the cost of inaction (COI).

First, restate how the product/service solves their problem or opportunity. Then ask them how much not solving their problem will cost them. Ask how much a missed opportunity will cost them? Restate how much they will lose by expressing it in dollars. That amount is the cost of inaction. Add that cost of inaction to the return on investment that they agreed to. Then ask again for the order. It they still will not agree, then move the client to a less expensive product or service.

Remember, first start with their return on investment. Have them agree that the value is equal to, or greater than, what you are asking. Plus, have them agree that the item will solve their problem or opportunity. If they will not buy using their return on investment, then employ their cost of inaction.

Sometimes salespeople complicate the client’s buying process. Buyers simply must perceive what they are buying solves their problem or opportunity. Clients must see that the return on investment of what they want is quite valuable. Plus, they must understand how much their inaction will actually cost them.

Using this process, salespeople will sell more and earn more, as they build a large following of happy clients.

That is today’s Morning Minute.