I spend a fair amount of time reading

Enough? No, not nearly. One thing that I have noticed is that everyone is pitching a hack – a shortcut – an easy way to get from point A to point B without having to do nearly as much work. My experience is that if one is going to do something right, there may be something that comes about that makes it more convenient or easier, but generally if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. 

What does this have to do with Chutes and Ladders? What does this have to do with Sales and Marketing? Hang in there…promise, it’s coming. 

One of the things that I am constantly seeing are so-called experts that will take you on a journey (for a fee of course) that will help you see your business or company in a whole new light and bring new customers and clients to you in droves to the point of not knowing which way is up because you’ll be serving so many new people. Does this sound too good to be true? I think so. 

I love old games. I don’t know if Chutes and Ladders is one of them, but it somehow clicked in my mind when I was reading a book that referenced the importance of a strong sales funnel. As I was reading about the distilling of conversion rates and funnel analysis and taking a million people down to 100,000 and down again to 20,000 perhaps finally down to 20 that actually want to buy from you I thought that it makes much more sense to look at it as climbing up a ladder. 

My point in this is a simple one. Aren’t we better off having, let’s say, 25 people that we have served so well that they each then tell a couple of colleagues or friends about their experience – maybe more than a couple even! From there, not only do we have our initial true fans, but we also have a connection with them on our way up. So let’s take it up the next level. 25 up to 250. Of the 250 we work with 50 of them and those 50 each tell 5 people – there’s another 250 plus the ones before them…and so on, so on, so on. 

This approach may sound naive, and perhaps it is. What it does though is allows up to do great work for people who care and want to work with us. It is perhaps a bit slower to reach full speed, but it allows us to reach full speed with a cohort that is already engaged on the same journey that we are so in my eyes that makes working together easier than it may be in the funnel situation.

If we do outstanding work for great people it is unlikely that we’ll lose. When we lose sight of this simple (but challenging) concept that bad things happen. Let’s just say that it’s no accident that the chute always takes the player back down to the beginning, or near there while the ladder takes the player higher on the board until they win the game. Where we land on the board when we roll is never random.