Enlightenment philosopher David Hume is most famous for the “is-ought” problem. Also called Hume’s Law.

Hume’s Law is specifically related to the concepts of morals and ethics.  It was outlined in his work,  A Treatise of Human Nature.

Hume observed that trying to synthesize factual observations (an “is”) into ethical/moral conclusions (an “ought”) is a murky deduction at best, Hume thought it was impossible. He argued that ethics are formed by our “sentiments”.    

Hume’s idea was refined for economics and sales in the Fact-Value Distinction, which similarly states.  “A statement of fact based on reason and empiricism does not imply a statement of value or aesthetics.”

For salespeople and business owners.

Measuring the fact of any sales activity in the pipeline does not imply that something of value happened.

Your value proposition, your product demonstration, the ROI analysis do not begin to uncover these “oughts”.

It is the job of sales to discover and align the “oughts.”  

Are you doing a lot of meetings but not getting an order?

Are there a lot of “deals” in the pipeline but not much action?

Do we have a lot of sales activity but not much in the way of sales?

Are your salespeople uncovering the “oughts’?

Want to know how to uncover your customer’s “oughts”?  Let’s talk!


Will Traylor, is the owner of ActionAxiom, LLC We help small to mid-sized companies fix a diseconomy of scale in their sales department. You can’t cost-effectively manage a small sales force. By fractionalizing the sales manager position, we offer companies a way to grow sales without the chaos of an under-managed sales force.