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The Obvious

by Doug Davidoff | Mar 5, 2009 11:00:39 AM

I've been thinking a lot of the title of a book.  Three months ago on a trip to visit a client in Buffalo, I came across Jack Trout's new book, In Search of The Obvious.  (Please note that I have not read this book and while I like much of what Trout has written, I've also taken him to task for some old thinking.)  While I haven't read the book, I've been obsessing about the concept of the obvious.

Here's what I've come to understand.  Experts hate (HATE) obvious, because, well, it just doesn't require any expertise to understand.  Any six-year-old can understand the obvious.  There's no nuance in obvious - and experts love (LOVE) nuance.  Here's how Dictionary.com defines obvious:


I guess it violates cocktail party manners to "lack subtlety."

Since I've been thinking about obvious, I've become shocked by just how difficult salespeople and entrepreneurs make it for people to understand them.  We use complex words (too many and too embarrassing to mention), complex drawings, and complex concepts to highlight what need to be obvious conclusions.

Here's the thing, unless you are selling a pure commodity to a fundamental buyer, your buyer has a lot more in common with a six-year-old than an expert.  The more obvious the better.  Obvious doesn't mean stupid - quite the contrary.  Obvious requires genius.  Obvious is different.  Obvious requires that you occupy the mind of your buyer, that you make your buyer feel understood.  Obvious means you care.

Increasing sales and building a business have very little in common with cocktail parties; so drop the nuance and the subtlety and be obvious.  It's the key to fast, sustainable, profitable growth.