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Annan’s Assad Proverb

You can’t turn the wind,

So turn the sail

This is, according to news reports over the weekend, the African proverb that UN former Sec Gen and envoy to Syria whispered to the country’s tyrannical dictator.

I do like this. I thought straight away about the analogy I tend to give when illuminating how penetrating a new account for the first time needs a strategy.

When cold-calling, people tend to simply bash away, leaving voice mails day after day. After a while without a bite, it’s clear the person does not want to speak to you. But you carry on regardless. One step away from stalking.

I evoke the films of yore. Where medieval battles culminate in a battering ram trying to smash it’s way through a locked castle door and portcullis, whilst arrows rain down on the attackers from atop the turrets above.

Going nowhere, eventually either some young whipper-snapper or the dashing hero, decides to wander around the side. And would you believe it. A convenient tree, a lowering of the wall and a cheekily constructed see-saw later, and he is catapulted inside to save the maiden.

And that’s how you must frame your cold-call plan.

If the direct approach is not working, the wind blowing you back, then turn the sail, and go round about to progress.

A lovely addition to my metaphor, thanks Kofi. Next stop, Iran, right?

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