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Taking Mowgli out of the jungle

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 19-Oct-2016 11:14:34


I use the term ‘Jungle Talk’ to describe the chest-thumping many sales people do when communicating with prospects and customers.  In a recent workshop with the Relationship Managers at an asset management company one of the participants from New York had the guts to share with us a follow-up email which was full of Jungle Talk. Another participant from London said to her colleague “We have to take Mowgli out of the jungle”.

Mowgli is the boy in The Jungle Book. Watch the old Disney film and see if you recognise one of your colleagues in King Louie who loves to talk about himself!


Do you use jungle talk?

Here are just some of the occasions when it is all too easy to slip into Jungle Talk;

  • Standard approach letters instead of tailored letters based on careful industry and company research

  • Boring company presentations instead of test drives of successful projects

  • Standard follow-up mails and management summaries with 80% vendor-centric content

  • Communication in meetings and calls which is generic and not relevant to the customer

The Relationship Manager from New York offered to read out his follow-up mail.

Good afternoon George,

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me earlier today.

Founded in 1992, ABC is a leading asset manager for Alternative Investments. ABC’s client base comprises institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, family offices and other financial institutions located in North America, Europe and Asia.  Our investors tend to be repeat, long-term clients with whom ABC has developed a role as a trusted partner.  ABC has offices in London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong.

As a follow-up to our call, please let me know if you are available on November 16th – 18th.   

Best regards,

John Smith, Investor Relations

Just take a look at how much of the email is (or isn’t) about the customer and their needs then compare it with this follow up email.

Dear Mike

Thank you for the time you took yesterday to explain the current situation and requirements regarding the development of sales capabilities.

  • The London branch (approx. 70 RMs and 40 assistants spread across 3 teams) is looking to implement a common Sales and Relationship Development framework.

  • Up until now each RM has managed their book in their own way. This makes it difficult to coach individual team members, scale the business and create a common client experience.

  • In the past training has been “transactional” with little or no follow-up or coaching. The emphasis of the program you are considering for next year is continuous improvement – not just training.

  • Top-down and bottom-up mobilisation are required to make the program a success. A train-the-trainer approach in which leaders train their own people and creating a small design team comprising of RMs are two things you are considering.

 I hope this summary is a good reflection of what you want to achieve. Are there any additional points which you would like to add?

You mentioned that there might be an opportunity to discuss our proposed solution during your next trip to Frankfurt. When would that be?

Best regards

Phil Kreindler

I also showed the group the response from the prospect to my follow-up.

Hi Phil

Many thanks also for your time yesterday – it was a very useful conversation, which you have summarised perfectly.

The only additional point I feel is worth including is an extension of ‘enabling leaders to coach the concepts’ which would also cover ongoing monitoring, coaching and development through regular refreshers as required.

Yes, I am likely to be in Frankfurt next month on 21-22 November, so we could potentially meet up then if that works for you?

Kind regards



Put the customer in the center of the stage, not in the audience

This is a vital part of Customerized Selling. It’s usually pretty tough to get a meeting or call with a prospective customer so you should have a plan for the meeting and follow it up promptly and in a way that ensures that the customer feels well understood.

This should be delivered within 24 hours of the meeting to show you are responsive. And remember, if you call it a widget and the customer calls it a gizmo in your communication with that customer it's a gizmo.

When you are in the jungle you can use jungle talk but when you talk to a customer, talk about their issues in their language.


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Learn how customers want you to sell. In Phil Kreindler’s book, Customerized Selling, he incorporates how customers define good selling into all aspects of sales force development.