The Sales Pyramid – by Professor Terri L. Griffith, Ph.D.

The Sales Triangle is a foundational part of Bob Terson’s book, Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson. Mental attitude, work habits, and salesmanship are key to making sales. As an organizational designer – and organizational design applies to organizations of one, as well as sales teams and full blown companies — I suggest you consider a Sales Pyramid with the extra dimension of technology tools to support your efforts.

I agree with Bob Terson that the “Triangle is the level and fulcrum of successful selling”, …”and if it’s sturdy enough, you’ll move the world.” But I’ll add that pyramids have stood for millennia as well.

While you can’t sell without the Triangle, with a Pyramid you might sell more.

None of us have extra resources these days, so we have to make the most of the resources we have. Our mental attitudes, work habits, and salesmanship are supported by some form of technology (everything from your mobile phone, to your mode of travel, to your log book — see Bob’s comments about video testimonials here). My point is that it is important to manage all four dimensions together to get the most from each. There is no magic bullet. No one dimension will lead to your success. All four have to be working in sync for your best outcomes.

Bob says, “You can count on the Triangle; it’ll never let you down. You also can count on utter failure unless all three sides are functioning in a robust manner.” When I read that section, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit.

I wrote a book called, The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive. Just as Terson says, all three pieces of the sales triangle have to be functioning in a robust manner, I argue in my book that you have to mix all three of your human (think mental attitude), organizational (think work habits), and technology tools to work together to get the most out of your efforts. It’s easy to see that salesmanship must be added when your focusing on sales; I’m just suggesting that you also give explicit attention to technology given the leverage it can add. has grown to be a $2.27B business based on the importance of technology to the sales process. Build a pyramid out of your triangle.

Take this first step: Stop – Look – Listen

Just like you do before you cross a street, stop and take a look at your current approach, both so you won’t get hit by a truck and so you can squeeze the most out of your already solid mental attitudes, work habits, and salesmanship. Is there one tool you could add (or drop) to enhance your efforts? Is there something you’ve been watching others try but just haven’t taken the leap yourself? Try it, and listen to the results.

Keep experimenting with your personal pyramid. Focus on small steps rather than a complete overhaul. If you are thinking about buying any new tool (hardware, software, piece of equipment), see if you can try before you buy, or just buy the simplest version until you have the data to know it’s what you need. Stop and look at your options, make a small change, listen to the results. Consider whether a small change in your work habits or sales approach might leverage the new tool even more. Stop, look, and listen to the impact on your sales.


Terri Griffith is a professor of management at Santa Clara University and the author of The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive. She shares her passion for innovative work via via her blogTwitter, and Facebook. She’s honored to be one of the 2012 Silicon Valley Women of Influence.


Get your free Preview of Selling Fearlessly’s Chapter 1 here.