Compliment Sandwich

Compliment Sandwich – Have you ever had the pleasure of trying one?

SPOILER: They don’t taste good!

Compliment Sandwich, “When someone tries to ease the blow of a criticism by delivering it between two insincere compliments.”

The not so funny thing about compliment sandwiches is they were taught to managers at one time!

If you do this or know someone who does, STOP RIGHT NOW!

INSTEAD – Try these techniques:

1.) Sincerely congratulation your employee. Then frame what you would like to improve on in a way that they understand and WHY they should do it.

For example, Joe just landed another huge sale, he is due for a promotion soon, however his desk is a mess! His manager, Mike, thinks it doesn’t represent how great of an employee Joe actually is. The CEO is going to be walking around the office later in the week. Mike goes to Joe, and congratulates him on the huge sale.

OLD WAY (compliment sandwich):

Mike: “Wow, Joe! That is great, you are on fire”

Mike: “our desk is a nuclear hazard, clean it up for the love of god.”

Mike: “Good job on the sale!”


Mike: “Wow, Joe! That is great, you are on fire!”

Joe: “Thanks Mike, it feels great”


Mike: “The CEO will be touring our offices next week, I know you’re a great jpb, although he doesn’t see what I see, every day. What do you think he might think when he sees your desk?”

Joe: ”You know what, your right, I could probably clean it up a bit”

Mike: “I think that’s a great idea.”

2.) Ask the employee what they thought they did well. Sincerely acknowledge their feedback. Add some of your own POSITIVE feedback. Now ask them what they thought they could do better. After they reply, you can add anything else that you observed.

Employees can read right through a compliment sandwich, instead be sincere and speak from the heart.

Drew Patterson, MBA


It’s In The Presentation!

Culinary Presentation

The above photo is spot on! Most people would choose the dish on the right. How much extra effort did it take to construct the one on the right?

ANSWER: Not much!

I draw three powerful lessons here:

1. Presentation is important

  • Makes your product/service seem more valuable
  • Makes your customer think highly of you
  • Makes you look credible

2. It is very easy to do – a small reorganization of the same ingredients (data) is all it takes (as you see in the photo).

  • It’s not revolutionary changes, it is small improvements that make the difference (e.g. are you starting strong?, are you passionate?, are you engaging?)!

3. First impressions do matter

  • When you hear, “That doesn’t look very good”, what are they chances they will try it?
  • Professional speakers and trainers have long asserted that people make up their minds about people they meet for the first time within two minutes (It is actually less than that according to the book, “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell).

How can you step up your presentation game (client meetings, relationships, business meetings, etc.)? When was the last time you took a class or asked for feedback on the way you look, talk, and engage?

Stop being normal and start being gourmet!

(Hint: Anyone can do it!)
Drew Patterson, MBA

The Haircut

Whenever my brother gets his haircut the stylist always does a different job. I always ask him if he wanted it the way it came out and he replies with, “why, you don’t like it?” Translation: he doesn’t like it.

 Every time he comes with another botched haircut, I tell him my secret for getting the haircut I want every time, in an effort to help him finally get a nice ‘do. However, being a stubborn guy, he continues to just hope for the best every time he sits in a stylist’s chair.



Both my brother and I get our haircuts at local independently-owned shops nearby (we don’t have a loyalty with one). The stylists are skilled — however, there is usually a slight communication gap between the stylist and ourselves (most of the stylists are non-native English Speakers.) I, too, used to have the same issue my brother did, until I realized the main culprit was deceptively simple: Communication.

 I have 4 simple tips for better communication:

1.)    Eliminate jargon – If someone says “bowl cut” or “crew cut” these cuts should be universal but they are not treated equal everywhere, make sure to clarify. Similarly, in the business world, terms like “collaborative environment” and “dynamic salesperson” may mean very different (and often ambiguous) things at different workplaces.

2.)    Use simple language – I ask for specifics, like the gauge of the shavers (#1,2,3,4, etc. ), or try using inches. Again, applied to the workforce, consider emails and other modes of communication:  it can be helpful to avoid pseudo-intellectual statements and wordiness. Keep It Simple.

3.)    Do not assume – Just because someone says “okay, got it” does not mean they do! You can always respond, “Right, so you’re going to ____?”

4.)    Use Body Language – I recently read a book called Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman. In it, he states that “happy,” “sad,” etc. are easy to interpret for most people, no matter what language they speak. In addition, acting out in body language with hand signals can also improve communication.

What do I tell my stylist? “A #3 on the side, fade to the top, and 1 inch off of the top (I show the stylist by standing my hair up with my fingers, and only revealing what I want off)”

It works 90+ percent of the time!

Speaking of which — guess where I am going today?

Drew Patterson, MBA

Setting The Bar

Work, school, sports, or other activities all have some sort of comparable performance metric. There is natural competition in most activities in your life. Being sales it is a constant competition. Many people want to be the “best,” the “champion,” the “great bambino,” and think second place is as good as last. Today, I want to talk about the bar. The bar could be a lap record, a grade point average, or a sales quota. The bar grows as new highs are achieved and expectations rise.

There are two strategies I would like to share that I believe truly work. The first is very simple: Practice, practice, and practice some more. Work harder than all of your competition.

The second strategy is to try doing something no one else is doing. This is risky and does not always pay off. A great example is Dick Fosbury revolutionizing the high jump by inventing a unique “back-first” technique. His use of this technique shattered records. Although this is an extreme success example, what if you learned a better more effective way of studying or training yourself? There are definitely new ways of doing things that have yet to be discovered.

Think about it, what do you spend a lot of time doing or what do you want to become better at?


Drew Patterson, MBA

Silence is Golden

You may remember me writing about the Quincy compressor I recently sold, and how it was a difficult item for which to find a buyer. During the four months it took to find the buyer, I had to do research on product specifications, lower the price, and make sure I was targeting all the key words.

When I finally did find the buyer it was not as easy of a sale as one might think. After the prospective buyer inspected the product, he explained that he needed a certain output and this particular item was a little shy of what he needed it for. After this statement, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Damn. Back to the drawing board.” But, I did not verbalize this fear. The buyer contemplated for several minutes. He finally said, “I could make this work, but it’s going to require some work and parts.” 10 minutes later, we had agreed on a fair price for the compressor.

The lesson to be learned is that silence is useful, and to not assume that a sale will not pan out. In spite of our assumptions or concerns regarding a sale, the expression “silence is golden” often does translate into a positive transaction.

Drew Patterson, MBA


What You Learn In Sales

I recently stumbled upon this article “One Job That Could Guarantee Your Success” by Joel Peterson. After reading it I could not agree more. Why do MBA students resist sales?

In the article he notes 4 different key skills a salesman develops in his career:

1) Conquer rejection: cold-calling, market surveying, and… rejection.

2) Hone your networking skills.

3) Tackle and solve problems.

4) Rise to the top using your negotiation, pervasive, and communication skills.

There were so many bright MBA students I met in my MBA program, but a significant number of them had not worked on those four skills. If they were armed with those skills in addition to all the other material we learned in the MBA program, the sky would be the limit!

Going back to school may be a larger commitment than you may be looking for, but what about the above skills? When is the last time you took yourself out of your comfort zone and worked conquering rejection, or networking, or even communicating? Help yourself, and your company will take notice.

Link to article

Drew Patterson, MBA

Eat the Frog

If you’re scratching your head at the title of this post, it’s likely because you have not read the book by Brian Tracy titled, unsurprisingly, Eat that Frog! The concept of eating said amphibian is simple: if we tackle the hardest task first thing every day, the rest of the day will be much more relaxed, fun, and we will accomplish a lot more. After implementing this practice in my life, I have come to notice the rewarding results.

Even on the weekends, the first thing I do is tackle my workout. If I don’t do it in the morning I will likely talk myself out of it later in the day! Once my workout is done I can look forward to spending relaxing time with my fiancé and Sheila(my dog).

Another benefit of eating the frog is that you’ll reduce the likelihood of things blowing up in your face. You know the old saying — “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Well, think of “eating the frog” as your prevention. Get your oil changed on your lunch break and avoid car trouble next month. Call that challenging client this morning and you won’t have to worry about an angry call later this week. Clean your house before leaving for the weekend and avoid a headache come Sunday night…. Get the idea?

You can apply this to every aspect of your life. I promise you will get more done and be happier knowing that the difficult things are over. Give it a try! I leave a fake frog on my desk at home to remind me to implement this concept into my daily life.


Drew Patterson, MBA