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Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, led one of the most innovative engineering teams in history, and coined the KISS Principle, i.e. “Keep it simple, stupid.”

Johnson was a renowned aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Martin for more than 40 years. He headed their secret division named Skunk Works, a now-common name for R&D departments that was initially an inside joke. (They worked near an awful-smelling plastics factory.)


Johnson came up with the KISS principle during World War II. It was a way to remind his team that their state-of-the-art jets still had to be repaired by average mechanics with basic tools. By eliminating unnecessary complexity, Skunk Works developed some of aviation’s most significant breakthroughs in record time.


Johnson died in 1990, but “Keep it simple, stupid” lives on as a valuable motto for all of us in sales. Too often we overcomplicate the business. You'll grow your business if you do 2 simple things:


1. Drive New Business.

Brian Tracy stated, "Keep your sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously. Always have more people to see than you have time to see them."

Og Mandino aptly said, "What you plant now, you'll harvest later." 

Coaching Tip - Have a Top 10 Opportunity List. These are 10 high value prospects that could (and should) close today. 

This simple list drives new business. The more you KISS, the more you'll sell!

2. Protect Your Existing Customer Base.

Prolific Canadian author and business idea man, Bob Hooey states "If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will." Your residual income and/or repeat revenue is protected when the "back door" is closed! Prioritize your customer base!

Coaching Tip - Identify your top 10 down-traders/inactive customers and time block conversations with them this week. Strategizing on ways to re-engage your customer base is a great conversation to have with a business coach. 

Having this list is simple. The more you KISS, the more you'll sell!

Leonardo Da Vinci once said that "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." The art of selling is keeping it simple!

And as always, below is a value added resource on today's topic. Enjoy! 

Great quotes on keeping it simple!

Dan Whitfield

Written by Dan Whitfield

Dan is dedicated to "coaching up" small business owners and leaders of growth-oriented sales organizations. His goal is to help you get where you want to go. Faster.