It was our annual Italian Christmas cookie making day. A tradition that I have enjoyed since I was a little girl making these special anisette cookies with my mom and Nonna. For the past 12 years, it has been just Mom and me starting before dawn and working for the good part of a day to to roll, cut, tie, bake, ice and sprinkle 600 cookies, while chatting like two little school girls sharing secrets.

This year, my 20-year-old niece, the youngest of my Mother’s fourteen grandchildren, decided she wanted to learn the family recipe and was willing to wake up early to make the hour-long drive to my house to become part of our ritual. It was heartwarming to have her join in the activity and the conversation, as we all appreciated the fact that she was representative of the fourth generation carrying on this tradition.

Several hours into our endeavor, my sweet niece made this innocent comment, “I had no idea how much work went into making these cookies! It’s not just about knowing the recipe…there are so many important little details that make the difference in them being perfect!”

This is true in baking; it is also true in selling! It’s not just about knowing the recipe to sell aka: sales cycle, it’s about the attention to important little details like relationship building, listening skills and non-defensiveness that make the difference in a professional sales process being perfect.

In cookie baking we eat a few testers along the way to ensure perfection. In selling, perfection comes with a few bites of pie; humble pie that is.

Diane Ciotta
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