Abhi Yerra

Sheepdog: A Framework for Action in Life and Work

Only Rule That Matters: Always Be Helping
  • Micro-commitments. Have people commit to the smallest things. Next meeting, next step, next way to talk to people, small project to start.
  • Slow Down When Speaking. Slow it down. Calm it down. speeding things makes people think they are not heard. Listen, Don't Interrupt
  • Positive playful voice. Relax and smile while talking even when on the phone.
  • Tell the Illness, Sell the Cure
  • Be Funny
  • Ask How and Why questions. (Makes them think)
  • When asking a question make them do the work to figure out the answer. It makes them think they came up with the answer
Think in terms of the buyer:
  • What is the problem they are having?
  • How can we make their life easier?
  • What would make them love us?
  • How can we surprise them?
Buyer Matrix
Roles/Responsibilities: What is he/she in charge of or expected to manage?
Business Objectives & Metrics: What does he/she want to achieve? How is success measured? How is she/he evaluated?
External Challenges: What external factors or industry trends might make it more difficult to reach his/her objectives?
Strategies and Initiatives: What likely strategies and initiatives are in place to help achieve his/her objectives?
Internal Issues: What likely issues does the organization face that could prevent/hinder goal achievement?
Primary Interfaces: Who are the peers, subordinates, superiors and outsiders with whom he/she frequently interacts?
Status Quo: What's his/her "status quo" relevant to your product, service or solution?
Change Drivers: What would cause him/her to change from the status quo?
Change Inhibitors: What would cause him/her to stay with the status quo, even if they're not happy with it?
Challenger Sale
  • Listen
  • Ask Questions, Lead Them
  • Empathy
  • Say Little, This is Therapy
  • Slow Down, When Speaking
  • Put Things in Customer Benefit
  • Be funny :)
Step 1: The Warmer
“We are seeing the following three things at other companies like yours. Is there something you'd like to add?”This is you are starting with a hypothesis of the company. What other companies have you worked at that face similar situations.Make it three things specifically
Get more data back.
Step 2: The Reframe
Need to have something to the customer which is a reframe. Not a I totally agree but a , "huh, that is interesting" It needs to SHOCK.If you fail to give this "huh how interesting: then you failed the sale because they already though through of how to do it themselves.Time to break the news that their problems will not be solved with the solution they’ve imagined.*Get within their OODA cycle and throw them into chaos so that they have to reframe and reorient their decision making process around you.
Shock ThemHave to create a huh / that’s right
Step 3: Rational Drowning
They need to really feel like that they need this solution. Make them consider the opportunity. Do not mention youself at all.Reframe it with solid data. Why is this important?
Give examples of why this is important
Step 4: Emotional Impact
Customer has to see themselves in the story you are telling with the solution.You have to paint a picture of other companies like the customer who went down a similar path by engaging in behavior that the customer will immediately recognize as typical of their own company.Help them glimpse into the future.During a successful Emotional Impact step, your audience will feel personally connected to your presentation because you’re giving them a scenario that resembles their own situation.*Relate to pain. Create a story that helps them feel the pain.What is the unhappy ending here?
Have them be in the picture but the ending doesn't look good.
Step 5: A New Way
Talk about solutions not about you. Talk about what the solution can do. I.e What the capabilities of the new system would be. How to go about it.Convince them thow much better they would be if they acted differently.They have to buy a solution before they buy your solution.Tell alternate story with a happy ending.
Tell a solution.Something that could be generic.
Step 6: Our Solution
Demonstrate how our solution is much better than anything else out there.Tell them how we have experience in solving that exact need. How we have created a solution that allows them to figure out how to scale and grow.
Tell them how our solution is better.
Post Meeting
  • What small thing can you improve?
  • Did you talk too much?
  • What made them open their eyes? What was the shock?

Enterprise Sales

  • Who are the stakeholders in the deal?
  • How much does the stakeholder want this deal to happen?
  • Does the stakeholder see an opportunity in their career for this?
  • Is each stakeholder excited and passionate about your solution? Have you sold the vision to each person?
  • What are the major objections each stakeholder has?
  • What are the metrics that the prospect defines as success


  1. So what is it like? What should it include?
  1. The reason why we reached out exactly to them, and not someone else. That makes them feel the proposition is directed to them specifically, i.e. it feels more personal and more valuable. This should be nicely connected with your introduction, too.
  1. The clear answer to the question: What can we do for them? Or, what is it exactly that we are proposing in this message?
  1. The benefit of starting a business relationship with us. In other words, what’s in it for them. What exactly they and their company can gain from our proposition. Remember, it’s all about them, not you.
  1. The example of how other people and/or companies benefited from cooperation with us. If you’ve got some impressive numbers, you can mention them here. Check the post by Heather Morgan to see how to do it right.
  1. The light, honest and polite tone devoid of fake praise and empty phrases. The language of a person looking for a start to talk, not a salesperson who is trying to close a deal. See the post by Robert Graham for a good example.


  • For every customer / prospect figure out their competitors and go to them


  1. How Sales Works
  1. Sales Management
  • [ ] Ultimate Sales Machine
  • [ ] Ziglar on Selling
  1. Tools
  1. Methods
  1. Segmentation
  1. Personas
  1. Drip Campaigns
  1. Effective Emails
  1. Testing Emails
  1. Cold Calling
  1. Scripts for Cold Calling
  1. Testing Calls
  1. How to Reach People
  1. Mental Models: Behavioral Economics
  • [ ] Thinking Fast, and Slow
  • [ ] SalesEQ
  1. Segmentation
  1. Closing a Sale
  1. Negotiation
  1. Pitching
  1. Mental Model: improv is similar to sales power dynamics
  1. Improv
  1. Books:
  • [ ] the second city almanac of improvisation
  • [ ] improvising for theater
  • [ ] improv wisdon: don't prepare, just show up
  • [ ] Improv
  • [ ] Impro: Improvisation and Theater