Span the Chasm Blog

Two out of Three IS Bad

Customer Experience, Sales Development

Share The Knowledge

Meatloaf was close when he sang: "Two out of Three Ain't Bad”, but Aristotle knew better. 

In today’s complex sales arena, it’s imperative to have a plan for all 3 of these to succeed in the top tier of sales professionals.

Consider Aristotle’s Rhetoric for the “Modes of Persuasion” when building YOUR sales plan:

  1. Ethos: Credibility and trust. One of the most valuable components for your prospect. Being able to validate to your customer that you’ve been here already, and can successfully navigate and solve their complex problems. “Understanding your goals, we have successfully….”.

  2. Logos: Logic, reason, and proof. Rationality is the foundation from which to build. It’s the required proof to validate your claims. Things such as use cases and white papers. “When we did this A/B test, we got these results…”. Many reps rely too heavily on these, without realizing it’s only ONE component of the total approach.

  3. Pathos: Emotions and stories. There’s no doubt emotions drive big decisions. They only work when supported by the previous 2 elements but, in the end, they carry the deal. If you can’t connect your prospect to the pain of the current state in contrast to the elation of the future state you’ll UNIQUELY deliver, it’s going to be a slog. 

    “Imagine what it will be like when we… Well, at ACME, we nailed it by delivering…”. Emotion and WHY drives greater results EVERY TIME. Period.

While it may just sound like all greek to you, it’s critical to have a plan for persuasion in your engagements.

Test my theory. Consider any major purchase you've made that went well. A few things I suspect were true:

1.    You trusted the rep that you worked with (ethos). 

2.    You believed that they had the skills and experience to help you (logos). 

3.    You knew they cared and wanted the best solution for you and probably told you a story (pathos).

My theory was proven by my own recent experience. While shopping for a car at two dealerships, I received two VERY different experiences.

The salesman at a Mercedes Benz dealership nailed all three of these:

Ethos: A fellow Benz owner with 20 years in car sales with the brand, he took the time to ask and answer all my many questions. Trust.

Logos: He knew his product and the market COLD and could pro/con everything. Impressive.

Pathos: He shared stories and connected it back to the car. Emotions.

On the flip side, the Jaguar sales rep? 0 for 3, and I mean 0 for 3!

She didn’t know my name..she called me Andy more than once (ethos). I asked questions about the difference between two models, and she couldn’t answer (Logos). There were no compelling stories, and many missed opportunities to engage me to determine my WHY for wanting this car (Pathos).

As Julia Roberts says in Pretty Women, “Big Mistake”. I won’t go back there again.

A client and Senior Sales Rep that I greatly respect, Bryan Sartory from TrackMaven, and I discussed these 3 modes last week as he navigated a deal. Bryan ALWAYS brings these to play as he serves CMOs and marketing leaders. And, not surprisingly, Bryan is at the top of the pack.

Look at the sales leaders you follow, and I bet they ALL have this in common. They may not realize it, but they got an A in Greek.

In the end, it comes down to building Trust, proving Competency and invoking Emotion

If you aren’t consciously building and leveraging these as you serve your prospects and clients, you are consciously building unnecessary risk into your engagements.

Think these don’t matter? 


If they don’t matter to you, then I know you aren’t in the top 10% of your market sector. The top reps that we coach have a plan for each of these three critical components built into their engagements. And they win. They win A LOT!

Want to learn more? I encourage you to attend my LIVE WORKshop: Focus on What Matters™ and IGNITE Your Success! In Atlanta on September 30th.

Registration is NOW open. Enroll by August 31st, 2017 to save $100 and get my BONUS Friday night Personal Growth event... Don't miss it! You'll receive all my best methods and hands on guidance for 2 days for only $397!

Click here to learn more.

Until next time...


Randy Riemersma

Randy Riemersma

Randy is President and Co-Founder of Span the Chasm, a firm focused on driving sustainable sales growth for companies and sales teams. He’s a seasoned Sales Master, with 28 years of success in Sales and Product Management, Consulting and Training.

Clear the Clutter and  Focus on What Matters, Learn How with the 3 Pillars of Sales Blueprint  Click HERE

Signup below to get the StC Newsletter!