I’m currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, “What the Dog Saw” (Gladwell is the author of Blink, Tipping Point, Outliers).
As has been the case with his previous books, I am finding many of the chapters within the book to have lessons, tips, concepts and ideas that relate to the work we do. One such chapter is “The Ketchup Conundrum”, wherein Gladwell explores the advent of multiple types of Mustards (once upon a time there was only one!). The way in which it was discovered that the world was ready for a variety of mustards directly relates to the need for client specific strategic positioning.
Another chapter I found to be highly relevant to proposal work is the, “The Pitchman”. In this chapter, Gladwell explores some of the reasons Ron Popeil, he of “Just set it, and ….” (Come on, you know the words.) fame, was so successful. This chapter highlights how Ron was able to persuade and convince a great many people to purchase his products (including having once sold more than $1,000,000 worth of product, at about $89 a piece, in under an hour!
As I have done with Gladwell’s other books, I highly recommend this as one of the books every proposal person should read and have in their library of proposal books.
* As Gladwell explains early on in his book, the title is derived from his attempt to see things from a different perspective, citing as an example, rather than viewing dog training from the trainer’s viewpoint, attempting to see, “what the dog saw”.