Sell More Effectively in Business and Entrepreneurship

*This blog is based off original content that was published in InPaint Magazine in a Fall issue of 2014.*

In the day and age of social media, and the internet’s ability to expose and share a company for what they truly are, it is crucial that your company has a positive web, internet and SEO presence. Pushing to receive 5 star and A plus reviews is an important step in this process. Who wouldn’t want to put their best foot forward and show all who visit your site the perfect glistening photos of freshly painted homes, maybe a few testimonial videos and letters stating such things as, “amazing customer service,” “superior quality craftsmanship,” “integrity” and so forth? Once you sprinkle in the SEO magic and combine the age old steps of generating leads, building rapport, making a connection, and asking for business, you should be all set, right?

Wrong.  The way we have been taught to market, sell and post all these wonderful  reviews will generate business, but not nearly as much as what I am about to propose.  I know this may sound crazy, it did to me when I first considered it, but bear with me.

Everyone reading this article has had a job blow up, a pissed off customer, and a complete disaster occur.  I have heard painter’s stories of burning an apartment complex to the ground, getting punched in the face (repeatedly) by a painter they just fired, and even one of an entire painting crew being arrested in a drug raid.   Not quite the details to include in your shiny marketing brochure…or is it?

I was sitting with a potential customer about to close one of the largest deals I have ever worked on. I was positive I was going to close this deal because of my shiny marketing brochure, until the gentleman threw it across his office and said, “This is crap (he really did, watch the video  about it here) . I want to hear some real deal, crazy stuff. I want to hear about a time you screwed up badly and what you did about it.”  I was hesitant and nervous to share this because I thought a mistake would look bad and set myself up for failure.

Then I let him have it.  I shared about the time I painted the wrong color on a customer’s home and what we did to make it right “That’s nice”, he said, “but you have better.”   I shared about painting the right color, but on the wrong house(I have the video here on this one too). “Oh! Now we have something,” he exclaimed. Then I shared the story about the time a sprayer blew up all over the exterior of a customer’s home, painting everything including the customer and her 9 month old baby (Score! Here’s that story).  So what happened next?

I closed the deal.  My customer wanted to know how I would stand up to a worst case scenario.  He was spending a lot of money, and wanted to be sure that my “integrity” was true.  Integrity shines when it is put to the test in crisis.  In closing consider this:

  • When you go to Amazon to buy a book and there are 100 reviews, 97 great and 3 bad, which ones do you click on first?
  • If you are sitting in Starbucks, and the people to the left are having a normal conversation while the people to the right are having a conversation about a train wreck filled with drama, which one would you lean to listen to? You have to see this video about a conversation I recently over heard.
  • Would you rather buy from a salesman who only showed you a shiny marketing brochure, or someone who was honest and transparent about making “wrong” right again? I was once told my shiny marketing brochure was crap, and it changed the way I sold and related to people in business forever.  And yes, I do have a video about that too, that can be found here.
  • A happy customer tells 3 people about you, an angry one tells 20. One that you upset and then made things right with tells 30.


Humans are drawn to stories of conflict, crisis and a final resolution.  5 star reviews and shiny marketing brochures don’t satisfy.   They don’t  build as much trust, interest, or commitment.  Everyone has a painted baby story.  Go share yours!

I would love to hear yours!  Post a comment with your most outrageous painted baby story below.