Stop Cooking Frogs in a Crock Pot

Last week, Dean Minuto spoke to my Vistage Group.  Dean is a partner with SalesBrain, (  a consulting firm that applies basic neuroscience studies to improve the sales process.  One of Dean’s key messages was the importance of delivering your message to the Reptilian Brain.  (Behavioral psychologists have divided the brain into three:  the rational, the emotional and the instinctual.  The Reptilian Brain represents the instinctual.)

Dean demonstrated how the most effective business development plans focus on the six stimuli in the reptilian section of the brain:

–          Self-centered
–          Contrast
–          Tangible
–          Beginning and end
–          Visual
–          Emotion

I found the Contrast stimuli to be especially relevant to the power of being specific in attracting new clients.  The Contrast stimuli refers to our ability to differentiate safety from danger – flight or fight.  We need to see a difference in order to make a change.  Dean said that if we tossed a frog in very hot water, his immediate instinct would be to make a change and jump out.  If we put that same frog in water that was at room temperature, his motivation to do something different would not be so great.  When we slowly heated the water to a boil, the frog would not sense a significant difference and would probably recognize the need for change after he was Frog Soup.

So what does the power of being specific have to do with Frog Soup?   If meaningful contrast is a critical step to gaining a new client, then effectively demonstrating that contrast or difference with the prospect’s current provider is mandatory.  One approach is to attack the competitor and promote what is wrong with their solution.  Unfortunately, this has become a too popular option with politicians, but fortunately has proven relatively ineffective in business relationships.  A better approach would be to provide a service that is recognized as being significantly better than what the competition is serving up.

Focusing on a specific industry, or a specific issue, or a specific challenge and developing implications and best practices around that specialty is a great start in illustrating meaningful Contrast or a compelling difference.  Developing relationships with prospects based on providing value through insights and implications will create such a dramatic change in the water temperature that the frog will jump out and be very receptive to hearing more from a new service provider.

It is just another example of the power of being specific.

Explore posts in the same categories: Having the right message

6 Comments on “Stop Cooking Frogs in a Crock Pot”

  1. Dick Jones Says:

    Mike, Your latest addition in your blog amplifies the need to be famous for something vs. being a generalist. As a generalist, you’re only turning the water temperature up slowly and not providing the change catalyst. If you are famous for something, the water temperature goes from cold to hot very quickly, causing a rapid change. In the case of the frog, he jumps out of the water. In the case of a prospect, they become a client. Analogies like these are very good to get people thinking in simplistic terms on what they can do to differentiate themselves from their competition. The key message is that your water better be boiling (ie: you better be famous for something) before putting the frog in (before you meet with a new client).

    • Paul Schempp Says:

      This is a great point Mike: being so specific it hurts; have the water boiling. Last week I was in Charlotte for the PGA Tournament working with a couple of players. One of them told me “I’m going to go work on my putting.” So I asked “What are you specifically going to work on?” They said “My putting. What do you mean specifically?” To which I said: “Does your technique need improving, or a change of equipment, or reading the green speeds, or your decision making/mental approach” “Never thought of it that way,” said the player. No wonder his putting was suffering despite the hours and hours of ‘practice’ He wasn’t using the “power of being specific” and consequently was getting boiled in slowly heating water. Player soup. Thanks for the insights Mike! I’m going to share your blog with him. And be famous in Orlando on Sunday! My best wishes go with you! 🙂

  2. Jason Says:

    I love the analogy of the frog sitting in nice warm water that is slowly leading to its demise. Much like a company considering a change in professional service providers – unless a significant contrast is noticed, they may be lulled into sticking with the same old current provider, because the warm water feels good and change doesn’t “feel” necessary/beneficial. The trouble is, they just might be getting “cooked”. Provide CONTRAST and save the day.

  3. Susan Says:

    Mike, You are so right! And…there is a ton of warm water out there with a lot of frogs floating around twittering and facebooking about it! No doubt, being specific is the key and when you become really specific with great info or products to offer, you will find yourself outside the hot pot with all the frogs jumping to what you have that’s different!

  4. Paul Says:

    Really, I would rather slam my competetor and feel good for a minute, but your right we can’t do this for a number of reasons. We can slam them by stealing market share, you are spot on with the approach to, “to provide a service that is recognized as being significantly better than what the competition is serving up.”

    Create those Raving Fans…

  5. Leslie Kuban Says:

    Well done, Mike. Frog Soup is a very memorable way of conveying your point.

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