Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Art of Christmas Window Dressing-Fortnam and Mason's , Piccadilly London Christmas Windows

Attracting customers to your store is a traditional discipline that retail has employed ever since the first shop window.

Fortnum’s designers have interpreted some of the masterpieces from the collection of the National Gallery in their Christmas window displays for this year.

Winter scenes, still lives, and views of Venice are represented, with subtle additions that remind us of the season’s special qualities.

The windows have the magical drawing power of a Children’s Toy Theatre – Do Pollock’s Toy Theatres still exist? The windows have an eye catching 3D effect.

As you scroll down and look at the photos remember that they are photos of models not the paintings. (I doubt you can take photos of the original paintings at the National Gallery in any case)

Even better why not go and see them in Piccadilly.

Related Link
West End Shop Windows  Advent - Christmas season 2011

Thursday, 25 November 2010

All Sales is a stage and one salesperson in their time plays many parts - Selling Styles

The rise of Selling 2.0 has meant that the use of communication media offered by the Internet such as email, social networking, twitter, conferencing and the like provides many more communication possibilities to the salesperson.

Yet beneath this ‘makeover’ of communication choices that selling has undergone, deep down the anatomy of professional salespeople has not changed much.

Google's home page logo recently reminded us that some 115 years ago a new kind of ray ( the X ray) was discovered by Wilhelm Rontgen. He produced the first X ray photograph of part of the human body - his wife's hand.

So let's study the 'anatomy '21st Century salesperson with a quasi X ray analysis and study the various parts.

Salespeople combine many roles and satisfy many needs. To understand your full responsibility you need to look at your job and from three different perspectives.

• Your customers’ perspective
• Your company’s
• Your own

The Customers’ perspective:

To be fully effective in opening, building, maintaining and servicing an account there are four different roles as a customer will expect to see demonstrated. Selling style is often a balance between building relationships and obtaining commitments from customers.

1. Overseer Part: ( Passive and reactive sales style likely to be low on building commitment and low on building relationships) This profile is likely to be expressed by being
Well Organised
Keeps promises
Utilises resources

2. Diplomat Part: ( a more ‘political’ sales style high on building relationships but lower on getting commitment) This aspect is likely to be seen in action by a salesperson who

develops relationships
active listener

3. Promoter Part
( Proactive sales style high on obtaining commitments low on building relationships) This style is likely to express skills in a salesperson who is

able to motivate
builds commitment
believes in their offer

The Professional Sales Consultant Part (4) is able to blend the Overseer, Promoter and Diplomat roles where they are best suited. You will need to spend most of your time in a sales consultant role as trusted advisor, need satisfier and problem solver.

There will be times when you need to use the other parts to carry out a particular role of the total sales function. The true professional has the sensitivity and flexibility to be able to utilise the right part at the right time for the right person.

But remember that you must always aim to move back into the full sales consultant role as soon as one of the others has served its purpose.

Your Company’s viewpoint:

If your customers are happy then your manager is likely to be happy also. But there are other roles you need to complete your responsibility to your own organisation:

These are if you like the aspects of the role which could be described as being a Professional Business Manager. There are three further parts to consider here.

Your Researcher Part
Obtains feedback information on
Public relations Officer
Image of company
Network market
Network relationships

Planner Part
The development of territory and accounts
Strategy in Place
Goals Task Prioritisation

( Slide of First choice ( out of top 5) of what buyers like in salespeople with whom they do business- from 2010 Buyers' Views of salespeople Click for free summary of the TACK Buyers' Views Research 2010 research.)

The final part of the jigsaw skeleton has to be your role as a responsible Self Manager. Your personal success depends largely on your own efforts. To ensure success you will need to be a:

Hard Worker Part
Effort and ability
Goal focused
Self directed

Optimist Part
Expect success
Relish challenges

Realist Part
Do right tasks
Eliminate Weakness

The intermixing of the 'parts'- Hard worker, Optimist and Realist can be summed up as having the right mental attitude to the job of selling.

What the above shows is that to keep the complex and wonderful 'machine' that is your sales anatomy in good working order you need to keep it fit for purpose and revitalised.

You might find this link useful from to help you keep your sales anatomy in good working order.

Click for Tack's Interactive Course selector.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Hurry to Harrods - Peter Pan Themed Christmas Shop Windows

Click for Harrods.

Advantages of Brand extension and risks of line extension -National Geographic, Ferrari and Aston Martin’s Cygnet 1.

The shopping district of London’s West End is now in full flow. Its Christmas Season started several weeks ahead of the official Christian season ahead of Advent next Sunday.

The Christmas street lights of Oxford Street and Regent Street take premier position in the capital’s lights. This year Regent street promotes the Narnia films.

The crowds are out in force looking for Christmas gifts for friends and family. Opposite the flagship toy store Hamley’s in Regent Street are two relative new kids on the block that have now established a very strong presence in the West End scene.

Both are examples of brand extensions where their brand name is placed on a variety of goods and gifts which themselves have become impressive revenue streams for their organisations.

The iconic yellow-framed National Geographic magazine has extended its brand in a store selling branded toys, clothing plus a coffee shop.
Click for on line for National Geographic if you can’t get to Regents Street.

Just a few street numbers from the National Geographic’s store is the Ferrari store.
Ferrari’s branded products are described by the Modena HQ based luxury car manufacturer as “solde trovati” –found money.

This revenue stream represents allegedly some £ 1 billion from their retail and licensing operations. The Regent Street store is one of thirty Ferrari operate.

Just to put this second ‘found money’ revenue stream into perspective the sales of Ferrari cars is £1.5 billion.

On sale in the shop was a wide array of licensed goods watches, bath robes, golfing towels, a laptop, trainers, phones etc. Ferrari red goes well at this time of the year when red is a Yule-tide colour.

No doubt they might come up with an adapted bathrobe with white cuffs for an upmarket Santa Claus outfit. Click for on line Ferrari store if you can’t get to the Regents Street Store.

Not to be outdone by the stores of the West End the Top stores of the Knightsbridge district such as Harvey Nichols and Harrods are disporting their Christmas campaigns.

Harrods shop windows have taken theme of Peter Pan with one incongruent exception. Aston Martin has a window display of their eco responsible Cygnet car.

With models such as the Vantage V8 emits 320 g of CO2 per km they will fall foul of EU regulations new emission standards due to come into force in 2012.

For average car emissions those who exceed 130 kg of CO2 per km will be levied fines. Hence the Cygnet is being introduced into the Aston Martin’s stable.Click for on line Aston Martin if you can’t get to Harrods.
During 2011 Aston plans to produce 2000 of these young chicks.

Ferrari is able to ‘dilute’ their poor CO2 emissions under the balancing contribution of the volume of smaller cars in their parent Fiat Automotive group.

Aston Martin as a single brand organisation and does not have such a strategic option.

Aston has neither the funds, time , core specialism or production capacity to manufacture their own economy car to meet the 2012 emissions deadline. It has therefore chosen to import and adapt Toyota’s IQ mini car.

The risk to Aston Martin is whether the sales of the Cygnet 1 line extensions could damage the Aston Martin brand image as an elite, high performance hand-made British icon. Time will tell.
Click for details of TACK International‘s Marketing for Business Professionals.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Evolving English - Facebook's new messaging system

Today 16/11/10 Mark Zuckerberg has predicted revamped messaging system will make email obsolete. Whether you want to reach a friend by SMS text, instant message tweets or email Mr. Zuckerberg explains, it won’t matter.

You simply select their name and send a real-time message, which will reach them on whatever device they’re on, without you having to be concerned about whether you should text them, instant message them, contact them on Facebook, chat and so on.
We modelled it more closely to chat and reduced the number of things you need to do to send a message. We wanted to make this more like a conversation.” Facebook announced

Well Professional Selling, which this blog promotes, is much about business directed conversations.

We have been inextricably part of the Evolving of English as is acknowledged by the new exhibition running at the British Library at Kings Cross, London. (Photo )

The British Library’s exhibition deals with English language in its forms both written and spoken. It deals with accents, slang, jargon as well as punctuation, syntax and spelling. Although it tells the story of the development of the one language and its many voices, it is also a story about communication - which is our trade.

There are many wonderfully historic treasures in the exhibition such as original copies of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, William Tyndale's’ New Testament, the poem Boewolf right up books , plays ,poems and advertisements of modern times. Dictionaries are on show such as those of Doctor Johnson, the record cards of an Oxford English Dictionary but also one of the earliest one by Robert Cawdrey written in 1604 some 150 years before Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary

But the world of sales is ever present. In the interactive quiz we are asked what a biblipole is? Well, it is a seller of books apparently. I wonder if the mighty Amazon knows off its bibliopole role.

There is a first edition (1719) of a great novel by (a former silk stockings salesperson) one Daniel Defoe whose novel “The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe” described the human condition, relationship and motivation well before Maslow, Vroom et al.

Even in the Old English and Middle English sections of the show Selling is not far away. Professor David Crystal ( whose books on English should be on every salesperson's bookshelf) reads the section of Chaucer’s Canterbury tales (1386-7) in the prologue about a salesman the Marchaunt (Merchant). As the display illuminates the old language we hear him read in the old language. (A prologue is a forerunner of an advertisement- a classic attention getter- when you think about it. It gives you a taster of more things to come in your offer whether that be a book , product or service.) So in the prologue's description of the Merchant we hear:

David Crystal’s Books and Blog.

“.. Well coud he in eschuange sheeldes selle………with his bargains and with his chevisaunce”
Sheeldes : gold coins........... Chevisaunce : money lending

(Of course my Microsoft word spellchecker and Blogger's spellcheck have now gone mad with red underlining or highlighting of “incorrect spelling” over this quote from the original Canterbury Tales). This Middle English breaks the ‘rules’ of Microsoft’s standard vocabulary.

Similarly the exhibition goes into some detail about the rules of English, how they have changed and how they have been broken.

If you are visiting London on pleasure or business, this free exhibition runs from November 2010 to April 2011 is definitely worth a visit.
Professional Selling’s use of Social media in the evolving of English in the personal field with the likes of Facebook continues apace.
Will its 'sister' LinkedIn , I wonder, develop a similar messaging system which will render business email redundant?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Brilliant Selling - a sales book to keep with you 'on the go'

Subtitle: What the best salespeople, know, do and say
Authors: Jeremy Cassell & Tom Bird

Publisher: Pearson Education

ISBN 979-0273-72646-3 2009

Genre: Sales Skills Course Style - practical guide to selling.

Style: Workbook Modular sections "meaty content" with Tips, War stories and exercises

Contents page: Six Part Course of study: 1. You, 2. Process & Planning, 3. Your Power to Influence, 4. Understanding Buyers and Prospects, 5. Presenting Solutions, 6. Developing customers.

Index: None. Very great pity for those who like to use such books for reference or to dip in rather than read chapter by chapter , cover to cover.. They will find it very hard to navigate around this book or go back to refer and check learning. Hopefully the publisher will have a rethink and include one in future editions of this book

Flick through eye appeal: Clinical, Academic and Educational feel. You’ll either like the ‘Brilliant’ house style or not. For some readers the heavyweight nature of the layout might be off-putting but persevere because there is good content

Time for a breather Stops: Lots of exercises to help cement the learning points and apply to own experience

Topic Summary: Scroll down to view Short review

(Co author Tom Bird at Successful Selling 2010 ISMM Conference. Coventry , UK )

Illustrations: The cartoons by Sarah Arnold have a strange ‘profile look’ of Pablo Picasso’s late period. The humour they contained seldom showed men in a complimentary light but they more or less related to the sections they illustrated. The diagrams and illustrations are crisp and clear

Short Review **** Four Stars
Casell and Bird have a lot to contribute and share with us.

Brilliant Selling is an excellent contribution to books on practical selling.

If you are looking for a comprehensive refresher on selling skills and best practice look no further. For those readers who always have a bottle of wine on the go in your fridge. 'Brilliant Selling' could be your work reading equivalent.

To benefit best from this vintage you will need a book mark.

The book has substantial content and good body. You will not be able to read it at one sitting. Even if you tried to, you would miss out on reflecting on the learning lessons it gives.

A pencil to hand to mark up the parts that appeal or a notepad by your side ( paper or an open word document on your PC) to record your responses to the exercises and tips that you might wish to adopt in your own selling practice would also be worthwhile.

The Sales Process is simple and unfussy. Prospect-Identify needs and implications-Present Solutions-Meet objections-Negotiate-Ask for the business -Manage the account. The distinction between transactional and consultative selling is clearly put.

Its one omission ( small quibble) is that it has little to say on challenges of Modern selling 2.0 , social networking, email and the web and mobile communication but otherwise it is comprehensive.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Developing a stronger Selling mindset - OFT review on new entrants to Banking in UK

You can ‘rev up’ your car engine by depressing the accelerator and make loads of noise but no progress is made until you engage the gears.

Similarly new banks advertising better rates and offering choices to clients through advertising can stimulate interest but it may not enough to cause customers to change current supplier or brand.

Some of the toughest objections in selling occur when a salesperson is competing against an incumbent supplier. This might be expressed in retail banking as:-

“I am happy with my current bank”

“I’m sure what you say is all well and good but I would need a damned good reason to change over my account to you.”

“Changing over to your bank is too much hassle”

Of course whether these objections are always true or not, is not the point. They are how the client feels or thinks they feel.

Clients are not purely rational in banking or in any business.

New entrants to banking have to jump through a number of testing hoops to gain regulatory approval and the requirements for capital are tough as Metro bank can attest.

The problem for all those who want to encourage competition in the banking sector including the Independent Banking Commission ( IBC) is that offering better choices is one thing , but persuading the consumer to act on them is quite another .

Clive Maxwell, executive director for goods, services and mergers at the OFT, said: "A number of firms have recently entered the market, and more are expected to follow.

While we found few barriers to setting up, new firms trying to grow in this market face difficulties due to :

customers' low levels of switching,

loyalty to incumbent providers,

and attachment to a local branch

This was most marked for personal and business current account customers, whereas personal customers were more likely to shop around for loan products.”

Maybe developing a stronger Selling Mind-set is part of the answer!

For some in the banking world “Selling” still requires quite a culture change. Many did not join the bank originally to be ‘salespeople’.
It was not the language used in the recruitment ad or at the job interview.

They are happier to say that they ‘lend’ money, ‘arrange’ loans and ‘conduct’ reviews but tend to baulk a little at describing their role as ‘selling money’.

Like most in B2B selling they also have large parts to their job that are of a more technical nature. Selling is only a part of what they do.

Much of retail banking is a reactive process. Many in the banks still appear to live their world as might have one Ralph Waldo Emerson (the great American thinker and essayist (1803-1882 )) whose perspective on business was expressed once as:-

“If a man writes a better book, preach a better sermon or build a better mousetrap ,though he sites his works in the middle of a forest the world will beat a path to his door”

Perhaps rather than an Emerson mind-set Banks could look to the retail sector in Grocery world.

Thomas Lipton , self made man and merchant(1848-1931) had a more proactive view of business.

“When a hen lays her eggs she clucks the news all around the

When a duck on the other hand lays her egg, she does it in
complete silence.

But who the hell buys duck’s eggs?!!”

Well that suggests a lot of energy and effort is required. But surely 'clucking the news' is much like the 'revving of our car engine' mentioned at the beginning.

Selling's job has to help sell the eggs at market. Customer conversions are the first true measure of the new banking entrants- thereafter holding onto them.

So, what is selling?

Alfred Tack founder of Tack International defined selling some sixty years ago as

“Selling is Persuasive Communication against resistance”

That's not such a bad definition for new banking entrants or anyone in today's drive for new business.

Good luck and good selling to Metro bank , Tesco, Sainsbury and all those courageously entering the new banking arena.

Virtutis Fortuna Comes - Fortune favours the brave!

Monday, 8 November 2010

5 Communication Disparities between consumers and marketers

Do consumers really want to be talked to through Twitter and Facebook?

The sixth study from the Direct Marketing Association and Fast.MAP has been published. It is reported in Marketing Week Magazine 4th Novemebr 2010.

It shows a BIG disparity between what marketers think of these new ways of communication and how consumers wished to be talked to.

The research which measures what consumers think in comparison to what marketers believe consumers think, shows that direct mail and email are consumers’ preferred methods of contact above phone calls and being sent a text or messages or Twitter.

The sample consisted of more than 1,400 consumers who were asked their opinions of direct marketing and 200 marketers were asked to predict how consumers would answer.

New questions were asked about Twitter and social media for this study in addition to the questions in the study which have remained the same since 2005 when the study started.

(The report of the survey is not on the fast.MAP site yet, nor on the Marketing Week site yet but I have put links to their home sites at the end of this post where you might be able to track down more information)

The 5 disparities between what consumers think and what marketers think consumers think!

1. A quarter of marketers think people are happy to receive texts
from financial services companies but only 1% of consumers agree?

2. Only 2% of consumers want to hear about DVD releases via social media but
marketers are far more hopeful with 22% thinking people want to be contacted
this way.

3. In 16 out of the 26 categories assessed (including banking,
DIY, and supermarkets direct paper mail edged out email for top spot. A
surprising finding when two years previously had preferred email.

4. 65% of consumers would prefer no contact at all from the brands they don’t know,
but only 15% of marketers think this is the case.

5. The design of a piece of mail is cited by 35% of marketers as important in affecting whether people open it, but only 7% agree with this view.

David Cole MD of Fast.MAP said to Marketing Week magazine that email and direct mail are tried and tested methods of communication. Marketers need to understand new media properly and invest resources in testing before they jump on the latest fad.

Brands that don’t have a relationship with a consumer should be especially wary of using text messages, Twitter or other social media to contact them direct. Only 1% of consumers cite any of these forms of communication as preferable whereas 10% of marketers think people would be happy to receive text messages for example.

The Buyers Views survey of Salespeople 2010 would suggest that it is not so different in B2B markets.

Click for free summary of the TACK Buyers' Views Research 2010 research.

Click for Direct Marketing Association home site.

Click for fast.MAP home site.

Click for Marketing Week Magazine home site.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

A nine days wonder ? -Retinal implants, the i newspaper, Sony Walkman and the Pontiac .The story of Product Life cycles

Well the new i newspaper is no 'nine days wonder'. It has completed its second week of trading. The 20p priced paper is competing against free newspapers such as Metro up and down the country and the free Evening Standard in London.

Of course it is early days yet but it has got off to a good start.

It got me thinking about the origin of the expression 'nine days wonder' which we can use in conversation about new products etc. in sales.

However we use it usually to refer to a short and not particularly successful project or life cycle.

This week I came across a plaque in Bishopsgate, in the City London (financial district) which explained the derivation of the expression “a nine days wonder”. It refers to one William Kemp (died 1603) who was an English actor and dancer specializing in comic roles.
He was best known for having been one of the original players in early dramas by William Shakespeare.

In February and March of 1600, he undertook a project to raise his profile which was waning. He would later call the publicity stunt his "Nine Days Wonder", in which he morris danced from London to Norwich (a distance of over a hundred miles) in a journey which took him nine days spread over several weeks, often amid cheering crowds especially at his arrival in Norwich.

Later that year he published a description of the event in order to prove to doubters that it was true. I guess celebrity culture in the entertainment industry has a long pedigree.

Likewise, no company’s products, policies or forward planning can remain static. The needs of consumers are constantly evolving, technological changes will make many existing and successful products obsolete, competitors enter successful markets and economic factors can modify consumer purchasing behaviour.

Product planning is vital so that products are continuing to meet changing consumer needs. The sales results are monitored against forecasts.

New marketing ideas can be evaluated and introduced if they are acceptable and todays profits can finance tomorrow’s new products. So let's look at the topic of Product life cycles.

At the development stage of the product life cycle, research has usually been undertaken and products designed. Prototypes are originated and tested, financial and human resources are allocated to the product’s’ development. Investment is relatively high and income is zero. Many product ideas are eliminated at this stage.

In this week's news,probably the most remarkable eaxample of a product in development stage is the new artificial retina implant. The trial was conducted in Germany using a device made by Retinal Implant.
UK trials are due for next year at the Oxford Eye hospital and Kings College London.

The launch of the i newspaper which is at its introduction stage of the life cycle where considerable marketing communications effort is spend on promotion as Bill boards and poster on the sides of London’s Red Buses attest. Income at this stage is minimal but future profits should offset these early losses if all goes well.

Meanwhile again in the newspaper world the Times on-line has being charging for readers going beyond the opening page. There is considerable debate about the type of subscribers they have captured but it will be interesting to see whether they can buck a trend of free online news services.

Next are products and services which appear to be in the growth stage of the product life cycle. By this time, the investments in the development and introductory phases should have begun to pay off. The cumulative effect of the promotion mix should stimulate an upward growth for the product. Profits will be at their highest during this stage, paying payback of a high proportion of the preceding investment.

If the product is proving successful, competitors will begin to enter the market. These are often called “Me toos”. The IPod now is in its ninth year. It has spawned the mini and the Nano perhaps suggesting it is in a later part of the growth stage moving into maturity.

In the maturity stage of the life cycle there are generally a large number of competitor and promotional expenditure is used to defend market positions sales start to peak out. Mobile phones would be a good example for the UK.

Saturation and decline stage: As the market becomes saturated a downward trend in sales and market size will occur and profits will markedly shrink at this stage. The product is approaching its period of phasing out.

A sad example to me of this is General Motors announcement to phase out one of the iconic muscle car brands – the Pontiac. The Pontiac lasted 84 years. In 1968, Pontiac’s sales reached 1 million – a feat which was never to be repeated in its history.

Similarly Sony has decided to no longer produce the Walkman cassette players after a 31 year life cycle. Launched in July 1979 it was derided as a fad with only 3,000 units sold in the first month. It subsequently grew to 400 million sales. Production ceases in Japan this month and the production in China will also once existing orders in Asia & Europe are met.


The ‘ i newspaper’ has a weather section (our English obsession with matters meteorological). It covers a weather outlook in a city by city guide. It has a section on Norwich with an illustration of key buildings in the city including the cathedral that William Kemp would have recognised.

Click for course programme for TACK’s Marketing for Business Professionals programme.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Business Conversion or just making appointments?- The Voicemail + Email follow up issue.

The challenge to salespeople of getting in front of the right people at the right time becomes greater and greater as competition increases.

Similarly clients and prospects are becoming busier and busier. They don't want 'time wasters' calling them, nor to receive junk mail , spam nor those pesky unfocused email shots.

To the question
“A potential supplier with whom you have had NO previous contact wishes to contact you to make an appointment. Which methods of communication are acceptable to you?”

The survey of respondents from the Buyers’ Views of salespeople survey 2010 were :-

Letter ............................................. 58%
Face to Face cold call................15%
Linked In .......................................28%

You also need to discern what is persistence and what is being an annoyance and put-off to prospects.

So you must become more skilled and more professional at making ( actually selling) appointments and obtaining interviews with both new prospects and existing clients. You must decide:-

  • What is real success with regard to obtaining appointments to you?

  • What are to be your success metrics? How will you record and measure them?

  • What will your balance of quantity to quality

    If your aim is to increase your conversion rate -specify conversions to what?!.

    The practical principles are basically the same for both phone and face to face. But the application of those principles will differ according to whether you are making a first contact or a repeat call.

    There are three main methods available to you:

    1.Telephone + email confirmation / follow up is probably the most popular approach. There are advantages of combining these methods as you increase response rates, you will also have made an impression e.g. a verbal and written footprint, and you would have appealed to the prospect through Word choice, Tone Organisation & Pace.

    2. Cold calling is less common nowadays but there has been a slight increase in acceptability from 2010 research. Don't discount it out of hand. Remember 15% of Buyers still consider it acceptable. The fiigure has increased from the 2007 study.

    Click for free summary of the TACK Buyers' Views Research 2010 research.

    Indeed one of the workshops at this year's ISMM conference Successful Selling 2010 was Andy Preston's on " Win more Business from Cold Calling".

    3. Networking whose usual objective is to set up an opening conversation in an informal setting. Andy Bones’ chapter on Networking in his book “The Jelly Effect” is well worth reading. (If link below does not work to Book Review section, please go to home page and then click Book Reviews on Menu on right hand side.)

    Click for REVIEW OF The Jelly Effect by Andy Bones.

  • Other methods like email campaigns, advertisement returns and direct mail can be used either to obtain leads or to prepare the ground for you, but any of these has to be supplemented by one of the two main methods.

    The basic sequence

    This is the same whichever method you are using and is very similar to the sequence of a face to face meeting, sales presentation or web conferencing meeting:

    Clarify your objective(s): the chief one must be to get to meet the person, but secondary ones could be to obtain information or referrals. So prepare a list of advantages to the prospect of why meeting you is an advantage to them. Sell the appointment don’t merely make the appointment.

    Prepare: Research the client , their company and market.

    Google them as they will have probably ‘Googled’ you and your company! It is certainly worth checking out their Linked In profile if they have one.

    Remind yourself of the questions/facts/benefits you will use according to how the situation develops, and how you will answer the most likely put-off’s or objections; review the information you already have about the person/organisation; ensure you have your diary/outlook and other materials to hand.

    • Be polite and respectful but sound confident: use your prospect’s name immediately; be sure to get it right; give your first name and surname; never appear apologetic for interrupting but thank the prospect for speaking to you if he/she has done so at an inconvenient time.

    Obtain attention quickly: use a question, a referral, a previous request to “contact me again”, a factual statement or some other ‘attention getter’ as soon as possible; don’t waste time. See the post on this site for ideas.

    Click for five methods of gaining client attention.

    Explain the benefits of a meeting: motivate the prospect to want to meet you by giving a beneficial reason for doing so; but remember that at this stage you are selling the interview and not the product/service.

    Answer objections and avoid put-offs politely but firmly: always appreciate the client’s point of view; never argue; emphasise that the meeting can be brief; explain why a personal meeting is necessary in the client’s interests; don’t be led into making your actual presentation by phone (unless this is appropriate).

    Close on your objective: ask for the appointment directly, with or without one of the back-up closing techniques (e.g. offer alternative times/dates); be as flexible as necessary in terms of when/where; resort to a secondary objective only if you completely fail in your primary one.

    Some special considerations

    • Personal Assistants and telephone receptionists: they must be your friends and allies not your adversaries; be polite and never ‘talk down’ to them; always introduce yourself with first name and surname and be careful about the use of their first names (if in doubt, don’t); ask for their help; smile (even when on the phone); be friendly but don’t waste their time; ask them for information; if they ask for further details before they will put you through, keep it short and simple and politely repeat your request.

    • Receptionists: exactly as for secretaries and telephonists but when cold calling be patient and do not rush them; offer to speak directly to your prospect on the receptionist’s phone if preferred; be confident but not aggressive.

    Sales and Technical Literature: sending a pdf attachment, posting literature or leaving literature is very rarely any good by itself; they can even be counterproductive because it gives a prospect a reason for not seeing you personally; always be prepared to explain why it is not a substitute; have ‘mini literature’ , case study overviews, executive summaries of white papers which you can send if necessary which will simply whet the client’s appetite; if you have to send full literature then use it as a reason for calling back for a personal appointment.

    White papers: Research white papers and case studies have become increasingly popular. They should be offered selectively and be relevant to the prospect.

    Business cards: try to avoid giving them to receptionists, as a snap (negative) judgement may be made by a prospect if your card is read over the phone or presented ‘cold’. Photographs on business cards are making a comeback. This is a question of fashion and personal taste and probably governed by corporate image rules of your organisation. But like photos on your ‘Linked In’ profile it leaves a visual impression on the client’s memory

    Voicemail: People debate about whether to leave a message on a voicemail. As voicemail is increasingly popular it is best to have prepared an articulate and interesting voicemail message. Some find it hat if you prepare the prospect that you will be send them an email nominating the subject heading so they can pick it out from the list of unopened emails that increases the likelihood they will read your email than delete it from the subject heading.

    So rehearse that message. Read it through and maybe even test it out first by recording it yourself and then listening to it as a receiver and ask yourself whether you would want to respond to it.

    Finally never cut off the call on first hearing a voicemail. Listen to the whole length because often it will have a mobile phone number given on it or details of when the messages will be picked up.

  • Monday, 1 November 2010

    Client Personality Matrix - simple tea matrix

    Cadbury's Mini animals tea break biscuits can teach you a bit about buying psychology and the treat can be motivating.

    Cadbury's Tiff Tiger's mates Leroy Lion, Mojo Monkey, Gemma Elephant and Zippo Hippo can teach you about Buyer Personality and remind you how to be flexible in your selling style with different buyer personalities.

    You can't change your personality but you can alter your behaviour towards a client.

    We have control over our half of the interaction.

    What you say
    What you do
    What you convey

    and your understanding of the client's style will determine the quality of the business relationship.

    You can learn to develop the skill of relating to their styles and how to move into the other person’s arena of expectations in order to gain endorsement and support.

    To orientate yourself around this simple matrix, lay out the biscuit wrappers as follows or look at the photograph.

    Top left is the Elephant ( Submissive Introvert) Top right is the Lion ( Dominant Introvert)
    Bottom left is the Hippo ( Submissive extrovert and bottom right the Monkey ( Dominant Extrovert)

    The matrix coordinates run top to bottom from Reserved to Sociable behaviour, and the horizontal the scale of how much a client likes to control the communication, an axis from left to right Yielding to Dominant

    The Recognisable Tendencies and Characteristics of your client zoo.

    Gemma ELEPHANT tends to
    • Collects information
    • Needs accurate details
    • Likes to analyse things
    • Sensitive
    • Vulnerable

    Leroy LION tends to be
    • Task/results-oriented
    • Efficient and effective
    • Likes to be in charge
    Zippo HIPPO tends to be
    • Sensitive
    • Tuned in to other people’s emotions
    • Vulnerable
    • Interested in details
    Mojo MONKEY tends to
    • Have plenty of ideas
    • Knows how to have fun
    • Enjoys a joke
    • Is very creative

    Here are some things to plan for and what to avoid being seen as when dealing with your client zoo.

    With Gemma ELEPHANT plan to be seen as …
    • clear, specific, brief
    • business-like
    • results oriented
    • ready to stress results
    However with Gemma ELEPHANT avoid being seen as …
    • vague, too general
    • personal, casual
    • directive, forceful
    • careless with facts

    With Zippo HIPPO avoid being seen as …
    • Impatient, forceful
    • Aloof, too business-like
    • Personally disinterested
    • Pressing for a quick decision
    However with Zippo HIPPO be seen to
    • Use a quiet tone of voice
    • Be gentle
    • Be prepared to go into detail

    With Leroy LION plan to be seen as …
    • supporting their ideas
    • providing incentives
    • supporting commitment
    • stimulating, thought provoking
    However with Leroy LION avoid being seen as …
    • arbitrary, directive
    • emphasising restraint
    • vacillating
    • unyielding, too structured

    With Mojo MONKEY plan to be seen as …
    • well prepared
    • working to an agenda
    • having evidence
    • oriented towards specifics
    However with Mojo MONKEY avoid being seen as …
    • unstructured, informal
    • vague, too general
    • intuitive
    • oriented toward generalities

    Alter your communication style to match each client

    • Talk quietly & gently
    • Go into detail
    With Leroy LION
    • Don’t waste time
    • Be brief & to the point
    • Speak directly
    • Spell out the bottom line
    With Zippo HIPPO
    e a quiet tone of voice
    • Be gentle
    • Be prepared to go into detail
    With Mojo MONKEY
    Ask them for ideas and involve them.

    Be energetic. Mojo gets bored quickly

    OK Tea break over ......back to work

    (Post inspired by Nigel Risner's work)