Blog Posts

Here are some of my blogs. They cover different sales subjects and scenarios.

I hope you enjoy reading them and find them inspiring and useful for you own sales.


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Let's build a Pizza Oven!

June 06, 20235 min read

"Let's build a pizza oven"...I said.

"I've seen one built on TV and it was easy - they did it in an afternoon and were cooking pizzas the same evening.

We already have some bricks and we just need a bit of sand and'll be fun and we can have a pizza party".

Mmm...famous last words..

  • Easy!,

  • Fun!

  • ...just need a bit of sand and clay....

It's amazing how our brains just look for the attractive elements and get all excited. All sense seems to go out of the window and we stop looking for actual facts and replace these with our own exciting 'facts'...It's easy, fun and we already have what we need...we only need to get a bit of sand and clay.  Vague, sweeping statements based on what?  Something we saw online once? A general notion that we have everything we need to make something great happen?

The reality?

  • The bricks we had were for block paving so not really suitable for building pillars to support an oven.(took a lot longer to construct the base)

  • We needed over 130kg of clay and 12 bags of builders sand (not just a bit)

  • It took over 3 weeks to dry out and then exploded before we could cook pizza. 

    Yes, you read that correctly 3 weeks and an explosion.

exploded oven

I'm guessing some nifty editing went on and a general stretching of the truth for the TV programme I watched (a certain TV chef from Devon has a lot to answer for) and the accompanying YouTube video we used for research! 

Yes-we made a rookie mistake in not mixing the clay with sand before building...if we had we would have needed 20 bags sand instead of 12. We may have saved the explosion but I'm still not sure.

How does this relate to business and sales? Well, bear with me on this...

clay oven pieces

After totally demolishing the exploded oven and losing all motivation to rebuild, I realised that if we threw all the hard clay away we would just be wasting so much effort and also so much learning.(not to mention the money)

OK yes, it was an unmitigated disaster as a pizza oven but after clearing it all up into a wheel barrow I saw the volume of clay and thought...I can rebuild this.  I have learned the hard lesson that clay alone is no good.  I have 130kg of dried out clay which could be rehydrated.  I have 12 bags of sand which could be mixed into the clay.  I have the knowledge and experience of the building process... I will not be beaten!

wheel barrow of clay pieces

So a plan has been made.

Clay is currently watered, hydrating and waiting to be mixed with the sand. 
Yes, we'll need more sand but this time we will look at all the things we could have done differently and make our plan accordingly. 

There will be pizzas yet!

Now to how this sad tale relates to your sales and business.

After every sales meeting (positive or not), you need to document what you did at each stage. 
Analyse what went well (my clay rolling and building technique), what you could have done better,( mixed sand and clay first) then dust yourself off and have another go. 
Maybe with the same prospect and an adjusted approach...
Maybe with a new prospect and refined plan.

The moral of this tale is that you must not give up but also do not repeat a formula that is flawed.  If you are going back to follow up or retry with an existing  prospect then make adjustments before you try again. But please do try again...often it's timing that's a problem or just a little tweak to your positioning. 

How do you know?
Ask your prospect. Ask if the timing for them to buy from you is right, ask when it would be right. 
Ask if you haven't given them enough information, ask what is standing in the way of them buying. 
Then do something about it.  Don't let your brain look for the easy route or the quick route. 
Research thoroughly, ask the relevant questions until you are satisfied you know what is needed. If it doesn't work out as well as you want it to, find out why and try again.  Don't give up and don't waste all that valuable knowledge and experience you've gained.

Of course there's another moral to this DIY tale...

Get an expert in to help you.

We could have had a pizza oven built for us by someone who knows what they are doing...a full 'done-for-you' service.

We could have had an expert come and advise us on what to do and how to do it at each stage...a 'done-with-you' service.

BUT we did the full Do-It-Yourself...using only the internet for information and trial & error to execute.

I recommend that if you can afford it, it's a good idea to at least start with someone advising you with their expert 'know how'

The problem we found (and you will too) is that there were so many different approaches and mixed advice that we needed to just choose one method and try it.

We learned the hard way because our brains chose the method that looked the easiest, quickest way to a pizza. Now we are starting again with some expert advice.
So, choose an expert who has experience in their field...who has already done something you want to do and knows what it takes even if it's not the easiest or quickest route.

I can help you with sales and selling skills if you feel you've tried all the DIY approaches.  I can help you to get predictable and repeatable sales. You don't want an exploding pizza oven every time do you?

Use my expert sales help so you can have your pizza time and time again!!  Just click here to organise a free informal chat with no obligation.

I hope my cautionary tale amused you and that you actually see how it can inform your decisions.

Happy Selling and I'll let you know when the pizzas are ready! 

Paula (Pizza Oven Builder Extraordinaire)

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Paula Richardson

Paula Richardson - SmartBee Sales, helping you to get more sales more easily

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