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COFF memory device to help you motivate clients to buy or take action

Have you heard of Khumbu cough?

TB lukla nepal


It’s also known as high-altitude hack and is named after a region in the Himalayas around Mount Everest. (link at the end of this post – if you are interested)

The debilitating Khumbu cough can be so severe it can cause you to break ribs.

I developed a severe cough when I was doing a story in the Himalayas on the 50-th anniversary of the Hillary-Tenzing climb.

I still remember the angry chorus of coughs and curses throughout the camp in the dark of night.

I’m not saying I suffered from the actual “badge-of honour” Khumbu cough – but the hacking cough that I DID have meant I couldn’t sleep and lack of sleep make me weak and weakness meant I couldn’t walk and not being able to walk meant I couldn’t  work and do my job.

I was coughing up a white toothpaste-foam-like substance.

I had to be taken to a lower altitude to recover. I  felt so guilty because I let down my workmates and my team

These days, I’m facing bigger and tougher challenges.

In this tough economic climate, I help businesses  to win business with techniques such as the COFF memory device.

Remember the Khumbu cough story and the COFF memory device and it will help you persuade clients to give YOUR offering (product or service) higher priority.

The brutal truth is that these days many organisations are so busy focussing on survival. It’s harder to get their attention and action.

Your offering (product of service) is way down their list of  priorities – unless you can MAKE IT a priority for them.

That’s where the COFF memory device can help.

I KNOW cough is spelled C-O-U-G-H – but C-O-F- F works better!



The COFF memory device will help you find the annoying “coughs” with your client – the things your client will devote time and money to relieving.


And it doesn’t have to be the dreaded Khumbu cough – even common cold coughs (like the one I have now) can get our attention and encourage us to take action and spend money to relieve the cough.



What is it about a cough that gets our attention and our action?


  1. a cough is obvious and hard to ignore
  2. it’s annoying to you (the cough-er) and to those around you – it can be embarrassing
  3. a cough can interfere with other important things  you need to do – such as sleeping

So when you communicate with your client  – ask your client about:

  1. Their Challenges
  2. Objectives (and Obstacles)
  3. Why they need to get relief Fast
  4. What solution would Fit with their available resources and time

See the COFF? – Challenges, Objectives (and Obstacles), Fast ad Fit

1. Their challenges


What challenges keep coming up again and again with annoying regularity? (like a cough!)

What challenges get in the way of getting their work done? (like a cough! – you get the picture, so I won’t write this after every line!)

What challenges cause embarrassment with your client’s clients?

What keeps them up at night worrying?

(It’s an old sales question – but it’s still a good one!)

What happens if the client doesn’t fix the challenge fast? What the danger/consequence the challenge can escalate to?

Remember: the cough means less sleep – less sleep means more exhaustion and less energy – less energy means you can’t walk – you can’t walk, you can’t work!

Slide1 copy 5

2. Objectives (and Obstacles)

 What is most important for the client to achieve? This quarter/this year? (the objective)

What’s getting in the way of achieving the objectives?

 3.Why they need to get relief Fast?


What will happen if the challenge continues?

What would improve – if the challenge was relieved quickly?

What do they (the client) think would help relieve the challenge?


 When would they like the challenge to be relieved? – maybe not    completely solved but relieved.


 4. What solution would Fit with their available resources and time?

cough syrups

One of the best ways to give a client confidence in your “solution” is to show the FIT between their challenge and your suggested relief.

Once again, I use this simple yet effective example.

When I recently needed cough medicine for my cough – there were so many choices.

What persuaded me was how the medicine I chose matched the things I wanted to fix.

The specific description matched  (fitted) my challenge.

cough list

Plus, I love a good list that gives me several reasons to choose a particular solution.

TB everest

My “Everest experience” was very painful – but at least it gave me a good “war story” to go with the COFF memory device!

If you’re interested – here’s a link to the COUGH post that inspired this COFF memory device and a link to the Khumbu Cough.



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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.

I’ve disciplined my self to check ALL my different communication platforms twice a day – as part of my Check-in Ritual.


TB working in cafe


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This entry was posted on September 18, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .
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