August 30; If No One is listening, It Matters Not What You Say
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Eight: Communication; 30 August

If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.

Mark 4:23

If No One is listening, It Matters Not What You Say

Calling An Audible

Your Business Professor had been regularly calling on the hospital account making dozens of sales presentations. I had known the decision maker, a nurse, for years. She asked me, “Do you have a 26 gauge?”

I stared at her. We were the only company on the market that did. And I had told her that dozens of times in dozens of pitches.

She had been paying little attention to me. I was little more than a professional visitor. All of my company’s marketing efforts and budget, and my personal selling genius were dust in the whirlwind that was her Intensive Care Unit. My glossy, four-color direct mail piece did not catch any attention; she did not hear me.

I was selling the Good News of teeny-tiny catheters for intravenous therapy, but no one had ears to hear. No one was buying my copy.


There are Biblical references to hearing with understanding before a person can get the Gospel. Recent literature and studies confirm ancient understanding. In the 1898 issue of Printers’ Ink, a writer noted, “The mission of an advertisement is to sell goods. To do this, it must attract attention…”

Later in 1921, sales trainer, C. P. Russell, wrote that selling could best be done after the salesman has first gained attention from the customer, then interest, desire and action. This popular formula has made its way into countless modern marketing textbooks under the rubric-acronym AIDA. (Russell 1921)

More recently in 1963, marketing management scholar, J. A. Howard, reminded sales and marketing professionals of Cognition, Affect and Behavior for another nifty acronym, CAB. Cognition, or reasoning and understanding, comes first. (Howard 1963)

Management of the sales process is successful when a deal is done, the sale is closed and the account opened. Sales representatives as Account Managers are the best communicators: they accomplish organization goals with the active support of their company’s customers.

These sales managers, like all leaders, get the attention of other people. People listen to them. Usually.


kirbyYour Business Professor, as a teenager, once sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I was acting as a Rainmaker where I performed all the actions of both marketing and sales. I studied under an experienced sales trainer, George, whose last name is lost to the decades.

He encouraged a simple method to catch the attention of the prospect and provoke some action with—literally—a sales pitch. He threw an attachment, usually a lightweight nozzle, at the customer. Now it was a gentle, high arch toss, released after George had his catcher’s eye (he never threw to a woman). The baseball pitcher assault and battery analogy always caught the buyer’s attention.

Notice that when the prospect has made the catch, it was easier for him to see and feel the product features to—most important—hear and understand the customer benefits.


My decision-making nurse was distracted by a beeping monitor. But I answered her question, “Yes, we have the 26 gauge.” My hands were full. I clumsily pulled a product sample from my bag and asked her, “Can you open this for me?”

She didn’t drop the ball.

She finally heard the message and took action.

If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. Mark 4:23



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8 Responses

  1. Molly M says:

    In today’s busy society, it can be harder than ever to grab someone’s attention. We are more inundated with information and distractions than ever before. Companies and sales staff’s are pulling it out all of the stops to gain the attention of potential clients. From guerrilla marketing to twitter marketing, companies are trying to keep up with the ever-changing lives of the American public.

    The ‘catch’ that is described in the blog post likely wouldn’t work in today’s world. Advertisers are always on the look out for a new and improved ‘catch’ that can grab the attention of potential buyers. However, it’s not just how you grab a buyer’s attention – it’s also how you keep it. Companies will do well to remember that the ‘catch’ is just the first stage of the selling process, once the attention is grabbed, it needs to be maintained!

  2. Mike C says:

    This article shows the importance of creating an active listening environment. In an exchange of communication between individuals, listening is more important than speaking. In a professional situation getting and keeping someone’s attention (active listening) while one speaks, especially when a call to action is desired, as is the case in a sales pitch, gives the sales representative the opportunity to create a successful outcome. Our Business professor learned this engagement technique as a teen with “George’s” encouragement and later adapted this technique to successfully gain listener’s attention to close the deal after unsuccessful attempts of verbally communicating his ideas and message.

    To “provoke some action” is a way to open or introduce active listening and the communication of ideas to be effective, understood and remembered. The article reference to the 1898 issue of Printers’ Ink, highlights the need to obtain Attention, Interest, Desire & Action (AIDA) for effective communication emphasizes the basic human need back then to attract attention and be heard, this continues today. It shows one of many approaches to human communication and interaction, and can work effectively on the “right person” if the salesperson wants to be heard, remembered and have the deal close.

  3. Debby L says:

    Today I learned that my Management professor has a background in sales and marketing. I had originally considered Marketing as my undergraduate major, after becoming interested in print and media advertising, especially commercials. I loved watching commercials and studying how companies would try to “attract” potential customers. However, I did not stay on the marketing track for long and pursued a different major.

    The deal breaker for me was the extensive amount of market research studies that had to be conducted in order for me to graduate. I did not understand why research was required…for marketing?! I thought companies would simply profit through fun commercials and occasional freebies, right?

    Boy, was I wrong. There are various elements to consider and studies to evaluate when mastering the art of sales. The important part of sales is that BOTH parties need to be involved. There needs to be effective (and active) communication between the buyer and seller to “seal the deal.” As my professor states in the post, catching the attention of the audience is part one, but ultimately, you want to ensure that you hear and understand the customer benefits. Buyers will ask “what’s in it for me?” and hopefully you have been listening to provide an answer.

  4. Arturo Mancilla says:

    Today’s buyers are busier than ever before. We are loosing attention for lots of things and we are not paying attention to those things that matter. In this case companies need to make an extra effort in making sales as well as have a better communication with people.

    According to the popular formula of C.P. Russell drawing attention to sell is necessary. However, nowadays capturing customer’s attention is not the only priority. As a salesperson, you have to go above and beyond customer’s expectations. In the sales world you have to focus on responding quickly and efficiently to their needs, create value, provide superb customer service and deliver promises.

    Also, it is really important to pick the right audience since people are going to hear but they sometimes they care only going to pay attention or listen to what interests them. When selling, we have to make sure there is an emotional connection between the customer and yourself.

    In conclusion, in order to succeed as a salesperson I believe that if you add extra strategies into C.P. Rusell’s original formula people will definitely catch the customer’s attention and it will create loyalty. Going the extra mile is extremely important because sales are based on the experience of the customer and also on giving a timely response and follow up.

  5. Jmk says:

    To succeed in seizing people attention, whether we are selling a product or presenting an idea, we need to understand our audience first. What can attract them? What do they prefer? People won’t listen if they are not interested, so learning about our audience will help us in persuading them to listen. Second, the first couple of sentences that we are going to say are the most influencing part of our presentation that will assist us in gaining our audience attention. Therefore, we need to prepare our introduction carefully and choose the techniques that can successfully captivate our audience attention such as using an interesting visual, telling a story or stating a stimulating statement. Lastly, we need to know how to sustain our audience attention, which could be done through a brief, concise and to the point presentation or through cutting our presentation into sub-presentations in which we can keep our audience steadily engaged.

  6. Listening is one of the most important skills that you can have. Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.

    History shows that when companies listen to their customers, collaborate with them and innovate together, they thrive. When companies don’t listen, they fail. Yahoo, Best Buy, and Nascar are good examples of companies increasingly putting an emphasis on understanding its core customers in an effort to rebound. They’ve started to take bold steps to react to the demand of the market, to be more customer obsessed, and turn customer feedback into action. As a result, these organizations are now showing signs of revival.

    Best Buy is listening to its customers more than ever by focusing on customer reviews. The retailer has begun to share feedback with vendors. In fact, it rewards some customers with special points to use toward future purchases for completing reviews. Now, that’s what I call listening.

  7. Lauren R says:

    People, in general, suffer from what we use at my current job a “time-famine phenomenon,” in which we are inundated with information with little to no time to process, analyze, and act. Oftentimes, our busy day-to-day schedules force us to choose what is the most convenient or “shiniest object” due to convenience and ease.

    Corporations, though some would consider them people, don’t have that same luxury. The primary job of a company/sales organization that wants to succeed is to seek to understand then to be understood. Understanding what people want, what will actually make their lives easier, is the first step to making a difference. The second step, according to the Challenger sales model, is to TEACH people something new. Companies/managers/sales organizations that are perceived as good listeners who are able to speak directly to the articulated need tend to be most successful. Companies that go above and beyond the grain by providing solutions that their consumers might not have even known were a good fit tend to be even more successful, more innovative, and more likely to have to do less to get attention in the long run.

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