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How do you know that your “Door-Opener” will deliver for you?

To refresh your memory, it’s a literal term. Your Door-Opener is the business issue you’re associating with to demonstrate your relevance, attract market attention, and earn access to buyers. It opens doors to conversations about that problem.

Make sure it has these three elements.

  1. The flawed/outdated norm
  2. Face-saving excuse for still adhering to flawed norm
  3. The new thing that produces a better outcome

Flawed/outdated norm

Just as startup entrepreneurs have to have something different to get investors’ attention, for you to get the attention of your market, and earn a spot in someone’s crowded calendar, you have to have a different perspective on a problem, or a different approach to solving it. You’re essentially saying, “The common wisdom is more common than wise. The norm is flawed in these ways.”

Your enemy is the norm, the way people have always done it. You differentiate from, and position against, that norm. Otherwise, you’re a me-too time-waster.

By taking a clear and strong position relative to this problem, you enable the market to stratify itself among those who

  • disagree strongly with your position, and may even think you’re nuts;
  • don’t care, at least right now; or
  • are already aligned with your views, but who didn’t know that until they saw your communication. These people are your tribe; they’ll follow you, retweet you, share your posts, attend your session at the conference, tell people about you, etc.

Face-saving device

“Hey, don’t you feel foolish for still doing things the old way?” Making prospects feel stupid never works, so you’ve got to show how it’s OK for a smart person still to be doing something in a less than optimal way. The easiest solution is newness. Your idea is new. How could this buyer be expected to have heard of it, much less have adopted it already?

Another technique is to draw out previously unrecognized consequences that, had the buyer been aware of them, would have motivated her to change before now. Now that she’s aware of them, that bell can’t be unrung, and those consequences may be motivating.

This is where the Cost of Doing Nothing discipline and process serves you well.

The new thing that produces a better outcome

This is what you’re selling, your new mousetrap. It’s the product, process, methodology, or whatever, that will eliminate or mitigate the consequences of the flawed/outdated norm. Focus your message on the outcome it produces, not on how it works. If people don’t care about the promised outcome, they certainly don’t care about the “how.”

And don’t claim that it’s better, only that it’s different. As Al Ries and Jack Trout taught us in The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, there’s no such thing as “better,” at least as far as marketers’ claims go. There’s only “different.” Some of those exposed to your difference will perceive it as better. For them, it’s better. You can safely claim to be different. You can’t claim to be better. That’s for the buyers to decide.

Mike O'Horo


Acquiring and mastering business development skill is a three-part mission: Education, Training, and Coaching. Each produces a different outcome, and should be accomplished using different tools at appropriate cost.

  • Education produces understanding, awareness, context, but no skills. Like law school. The Dezurve content library lets you accomplish this easily, conveniently, and at trivial cost.

  • Training is the actual doing. It produces practical skills available to you when you need them in the real world. RainmakerVT online simulations and video courses let you learn and make your mistakes privately in our virtual world, at modest cost.

  • Coaching produces tangible success by guiding you to apply successfully the skills you learned.

Click on the links to learn more about each component. Contact me to discuss your situation and options.