Everything. Nothing. Something.

Guest blog from LifeBUILDERS' Friend Dan Whitfield

Early in my sales career I once went out on a sales call with a top representative at my company. We were visiting a large national service company, and potential client. When it came time to make a recommendation the rep went LARGE. His proposal included all of our services. I mean EVERYTHING. The decision maker was polite but relatively quickly said, "thanks but no thanks." He wanted NOTHING.

The rep quickly pivoted and made a simple statement. He said, "You know, there is a lot of landscape that we could talk about between EVERYTHING (my proposal) and NOTHING (your decision)." He briefly suggested one part of the proposal (SOMETHING) that made the most sense in light of the customer's current needs. In no time, the customer said, "I'll give that a try. Let's do it." 

After that sales call, the rep said "I use the "everything, nothing, something" approach all the time. My greatest clients met me in the middle after my first recommendation. SOMETHING allowed me the time it takes to build total trust. Something is better than nothing. I can develop the account from there."

In the years since, I've occasionally used the "Everything, Nothing, Something" approach during a sales conversation. But actually, I've found its greater purpose has actually been that it has become a helpful framework in my life. It's been a guide for me in responding to many of the life and business requests that come my way. Here's how I've used this framework:

1. EVERYTHING. (Not literally)

Needs and requests will always exceed resources. We can't say yes to everyone or everything. Nor should we.  Research, due diligence, process, collaboration and communication with other stakeholders will serve us well before saying yes to many of the requests we receive. I'm not suggesting "paralysis of analysis."  But, trying to do everything is exhausting and can't be executed for the long haul. 

Potential EVERYTHING pitfalls – Burnout and/or buyers remorse. And, it’s simply not possible.

2. NOTHING. (Saying yes to very little)

Being selective, single minded, and laser focused on what's important to you and your business is a great life and business strategy. With this approach your calendar stays clear and you can always reconsider after additional review. 

Potential pitfalls – You will miss out on many meaningful things and potentially hurt or hinder the people and causes in your life that you actually could help.

3. SOMETHING. (Doing something meaningful for many things)

Candidly, this is my favorite part of this decision-making framework. I enjoy saying yes. I like to buy things. I enjoy responding positively to requests. Most importantly, I want to help others and really make a difference. By carefully choosing and responding to the right requests we give ourselves the bandwidth to do something meaningful for many of the requests we receive. 

Potential pitfalls – Not as much fun as trying to do everything. Sometimes we become limited in what we can do because we’ve said yes to more than a handful of people or opportunities.

I'd like to give you a chance to test out this framework!

I volunteer for a nonprofit organization called LifeBUILDERS Detroit. We serve the under-served in Regent Park. This community was once called Detroit's most dangerous zip code. Think of boarded up houses and gangs controlling the streets. But, not anymore! Not because of hundreds of people who said, “YES” and “SOMETHING.” Amazing things are happening and the community is being restored and revolutionized!

Now more than ever we need the help of those who are committed to change in major metro areas. Here's what we need in reference to the framework I've discussed above:

1. EVERYTHING - We need approximately 2 million dollars to build a community center and finish renovating the almost 2000 abandoned homes in this neighborhood. I believe someone would see this cause as worthy of the give EVERYTHING framework.

2. NOTHING - We certainly understand that many people are already committed to other great causes and have to say no at this time. 

3. SOMETHING - We need people who are willing to donate $250 for a camp scholarship this summer for a worthy child in this neighborhood. In years past this has been one of the most significant components of empowering youth in the community. Doing SOMETHING could change the life of an under served youth!

Below is a link to investigate further this opportunity. Test this framework out. It just might be helpful to you. I know it could help others! Thanks for your consideration of this request and for testing the framework!