Mobile Phones have Made Your Salespeople Lazy, Here’s the Fix

Want to have some real fun? For just one day, take a job selling industrial air compressors. You’re going to love the sales formula they use:

step 1. tell the customer, “Yes we have one available DX-5000.”

step 2. tell them the price, “it’s $35,000.”

step 3. take a credit card or send an invoice

No pitch required here. These are very straightforward transactions based on price & availability.

Consider Bruce Matthew of Long Beach, CA, a friend (at least he was until this email wen’t out) — he earns $2 million/year selling aircraft parts.

I don’t have that luxury as I raise money for a living – a notoriously difficult form of sales. Currently I’m asking investors for $35 million to roll-up a Pharmacy group. This is a complex deal and the furthest thing from straightforward.

So yes, I wish I sold tractor parts, airplane parts, whatever … some kind of physical plug-and-play commodity. Bruce Matthew, half- drunk anti-salesman can sell that stuff using this one line, “What’s the part number you need?”

One late night in August, La Jolla, CA Bruce and I were at a terrible bar called Moondoggies and he leaned over a quart of scotch and said, “Oren, I’m going to teach you the SECRET of business success.”

Thanks, but no thanks.

Friend or not, I’m not basing anything in my career on this guy’s advice.

But then he dropped a bomb, in a single word:


He said, in one of those super-serious voices:

My competition uses mobile phones and they walk around the warehouse talking. They sell from Starbucks, from their car, at the gym. They pick up calls on their mobile at any time, there’s always background noise. Echos. Dropped lines. It’s a nightmare talking to them. People hate it. They buy from me because these are complicated aircraft parts and you need a clear phone line to get it right.

It is possible there was $2M of value in the scotch-infused lunatic rambling of an airplane parts salesman?

Turns out, there is.

When presenting a deal, especially on that first get-to-know-you phone call, I like to remember what a thin pipe a phone line is. You’re presenting a persuasive argument through a sippy-straw of information compared to meeting in person.

Visual pipes to the brain convey 10 times the amount of information the auditory pipes do.

IF you have a bad phone connection or bad VOIP, every minute on the line with you can be a painful waste of time for the listener.

I’m sure you’ll agree, the most common form of Bad Phone Connection is “the echo,” so let’s focus on this for a minute.

An echo literally prevents you from being able to say what you are thinking – it JAMS speech and thought.

To illustrate this, you’re going to want to watch this clip: UnitedStates Navy Cadets Speech Jammed

Yes, that’s right. The most earnest and well disciplined young men serving our nation … can’t speak straight because of a little feedback echo.

Here, try it out. It’s the online speech jammer.

This demonstrates how a simple echo on a phone call jams your thoughts and your speech.

C’mon Oren, how often does this really happen?

A third of the pitch calls I’m on have echos at some point:

– two people on the same call walk into the same room,
– when someone dials in from laptap and a phone at the same time phone, or
– it’s just a bad connect.

For the geeks: what’s going on here is your brain constantly monitors the sound of your voice to keep your words on track. When it can’t focus on the words you just said, to stay in alignment, you get jammed up. In other words, you need feedback from yourself to speak clearly (this is why deaf people have difficulty speaking clearly.)

Almost any echo will jam up your speech to the point where you can’t form sentences or clear ideas. Have you ever told a conference line, “I can’t hear myself think.” That was likely when you were getting an echo.

I recognize, many of us don’t have landlines and we do make client calls from airports, highways and restaurants.

Here’s a chart of the basic Rules of Clarity:

I think it goes without saying, before you make an important call asking a client for $1 million, $10 million or $100 million as many of you do, go to a quiet room where you know there’s excellent reception. The more valuable your call, the more crystal clear you need that line to be.


Do you want to improve your pitch? My popular online training platform offers an easy way to add structure, support and speed to all aspects of your presentation. Learn more here.

Need to raise $10 – 50 million of growth capital? That’s my sweet spot: my pitches have raised more than a $1 billion of mezz, Sr, equity and venture financing, in nearly every industry. We’re FINRA registered and have recently completed a $25M mezz round in healthcare, $20M in SaaS, and $45M sellside in MedTech and others. Reach out to and let’s discuss your financing.

If you found any value in this newsletter, or it made you laugh-out-loud, forward it to colleagues and friends who might be interested. They’ll thank you and so will I.

If you received this newsletter from a friend, and would like to subscribe (it’s fr/ee!), just enter your name and email address in the box on my home page.

Want to reprint this article? My lawyer has advised me not to give blanket permission to reprint my material. If you’d like to refer to this article or link to it, of course you’re welcome to do that. If you’d like to do more than that, please email me and I’ll get back to you right away so we can work out a solution.

Privacy policy: I do not rent, sell, trade or share your email address with anyone, ever.


Send this to a friend