Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Modern Selling methods of Peaceful Protest - Occupylsx

(Update at 30th Oct 2012  Speech at Friends House, Euston Road )

The  City of London is the financial district  often called "The City"  and is administered by the Corporation Of London. The City area has many old street  names to do with buyng and selling - the early markets.

An example from the poster wall at the protest camp at the Occupylsx protest at St Paul's Cathedral

Shoe lane. Milk lane. Bread street.
Cheapside ( cheap = market). Wood street. Honey lane.
Poultry ( Chickens) and Cornhill ( Wheat market).

Some of the earliest merchant guilds were established in medieval times and practiced their selling craft  .

The various trades whose livery companies were foundations of early com panies ( com = with, panis = bread) who broke bread  and shared fellowship and trade much as the Eucharist /communion of Christianity is shared today.
There are many churches to be found in this compact district of London.

Many were built after the great fire of London 1666 with designs by Sir Christopher Wren. The main glory is of course his masterpiece - the Cathedral dedicated to St Paul whose trade was a tent maker!

Over the years I must have walked through Pater noster ( Our Father..) square on many occasions to reach St Paul's through the gate - Temple bar  which was repositioned at the square in 2004 .

To one side of the square, there is a lovely sculpture by Dame Elisabeth Frink of the Shepherd leading the sheep.

Paternoster Square near St Paul's Cathedral  is private land belonging to an estate's corporation

 Access is currently barred by striped tape,metal barriers ,security guards and police officers .

All this disruption has arisen due to the current tented protest part of the worldwide protest "Occupy the city".

 In London the protest group have set their encampment beneath the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.

I  have paid a couple of visits to the site to listen to what the protesters had to say.

I have bought some coffees sandwiches and offered them to some of these visitors to London. The food and drinks were graciously accepted. at the info tent.

They seemed a very friendly and good natured bunch of people. They were also well organised. The are not obstructing the visitors or worshippers to the cathedral. They also are self-policing the camp ensuring there are no drugs or alcohol being consumed on the site.

They  have many agendas so it was quite difficult to ascertain at first what their objective is but I guess they are selling ideas to those who wish to listen  on how they feel about  how our imperfect world could be a better place.

 They seek to see a more just distribution of the world's resources and challenge some of the huge salaries and profits earned by some of the big firms.

I took the opportunity to find out their feelings, opinions and attitudes which have not been that well explained by much of the conventional media I have read .

Putting aside the legal or illegal aspects of the encampment I was impressed by the range of modern sales and marketing techniques that they use effectively. 

 Is imitation of capitalism a source of the protesters' flattery?

 For example Objection handling:-

The story about the empty tents has been countered by showing  that tents mask the heat signature of the infra red cameras used in the newspaper articles last week.

Many of the protesters are  Gen Y  modern generation who have no need to speak to the 'old skool' newspapers to  ask them to retract any questionable allegations - they simply made  a video on You tube and put it on the net to demolish the allegation.

Attention Grabbers par excellence - A Giant  Casino Roulette Cloth and counters laid at the steps of St Paul's Cathedral

The home made posters were direct and effective

The Church of England may find it difficult to disconnect from such images . They imply a relationship to Big Business. Perception is Reality regrettably to many today whether capitalists or not.

The messages of some of the home made signs show subtle appreciation of the church's viewpoint

Sadly St Paul's was closed for public worship for last week -an unintended consequence of the protest that was protesting against amongst other things -the banks, the stock exchange and pleading for justice.

By the second week the Cathedral was open again for business and prayer- both with free entry for religious services , for free private prayer in the peaceful and spiritually filled space- St Dunstan's chapel, and £14.50 entrance fee for tourist visitors. St. Paul's is a very expensive building to maintain.

Using words like 'usury and mamon' have an arresting resonance with many worshippers and visitors to St Paul's

This message was even referred to by the Bishop of London in his engagement with the protesters on Sunday morning. In an address Dr Chartres told protesters, who fear forcible removal, he shared many of their concerns on corporate greed.
However, he stopped short of agreeing to protesters' demands for a promise not to support eviction.

Public relations attention grabber at the steps of St Paul's a giant spoof of the monopoly board

FEW would not wish and pray for a peaceful resolution to the situation

An Anglican Priest from Hackney speaks to the crowd on Saturday afternoon of the poverty he has witnessed in his parish at the 'sermon at the steps' series of speeches from 20 different religious and spiritual leaders.

The people listening to the multi-faith session on Saturday

Time for partying and dancing -protesting must be entertaining as well

The Protest in the foreground and tourists and worshippers entering the Cathedral at the top of the steps - a sort of temporary normality.

To end this piece  -  a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down !-

 with a former description of the steps of St Paul's in perhaps simpler times but still with a relevant message for all today.

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul's
The little old bird woman comes
In her own special way to the people she call,
"Come, buy my bags full of crumbs;
Come feed the little birds,
Show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
Their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
Feed the birds," that's what she cries
While overhead, her birds fill the skies
All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares
Although you can't see it,
You know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares

Though her words are simple and few
Listen, listen, she's calling to you
"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag"

from the song from the film Mary Poppins

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Mobile Marketing social media less talk more listening

In the comedy series the Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin his boss CJ  of " I didn't get where I am today..."  fame, had  two telephones on his desk.

He would pompously announce when answering on which he was answering " CJ on red"  or "CJ on Green".

Nowadays many sales and marketing people like CJ have two phones but mobiles ( e.g. A blackberry and a smart phone)

On the desks of some captains of the profession we are now seeing a second computer screen - not for following share prices or the financial news but a screen dedicated to following social media in real time.

Sellers and marketers have become increasingly voyeuristic and posssibly even narcisistic when it comes to social media monitoring and listening to the crowd talking about our brands.
I  took this video at London'sTate Modern Gallery  - It was a performance art piece and rather compulsive to watch much like following social media conversations

The London Evening Standard's Gideon Spanier ran an interesting story on Social media marketing on Monday 24th Oct. twitter address @standardcity

The volume of social media chatter  measured by Peer Index who monitor key influencers on social media say they have observed companies now get 20, 30 or even 40,000 in bound messages about their brand a week. With such volumes marketers clearly need some way to segment them.

With so many consumers willing to share so much personal detail about themselves - the fact that so many have few concerns about their privacy settings-means there is a veritable goldmine of data to be harvested.
A crowd taking part in a performance artwork at Tate Modern on London's South Bank

The Incorporated  Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) survey found 72% of  are now monitoring the conversations in social media about their brands. around half of these firms are using the systems offered by the monitoring agencies Brandwatch , Radian6  and Sysomos  .

Consumers are spending more time rather than less on sites such a Facebook whose users are rumoured to be close to a billion.

68% of Chief marketing officers ( CMOs) feel under-prepared when it comes to IBM survey of 1700 CMOs.

Yet the challenge for many CMOs is to decide what is the purpose of their social media strategy.

Many have been seduced to accumulate lots of friends and followers and then to jump into online conversations. Yet many of the  consumers who are having such conversations reagrdles to whether the brands have chosen to get involved or not.

Apparently those social media users are not keen to receive marketing messages or to buy goods and services.

What carries far more weight are recommendations  from friends carry more weight.

Christian Galdwell  of Human Digital advises marketers not to join but LISTEN.

Beyond mere monitoring to gain deeper insight marketers need to make long-term, pro-active strategic decisions about their brands rather than just short term knee-jerk responses to the latest reputation crisis.

Facebook, Twitter and the rest should be used less of a communication channel and more as tools for marketing research and insight  and customer relation tools.

Spanier surmises that it is only a matter of time  before mobile payment catches up with the rise of smart phones. "The social media revolution has a long way to run"

Related links

Engaging social media
London Evening Standard - Business Online

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Successful Selling 2011 The Portillo Moment

Michael Portillo now sees himself in the Entertainment Business and rather self-effacingly opened his talk to the ISMM’s Successful Selling 2011 conference with stories of his unseating at the election  for  Member of Parliament  for Enfield and Edmonton in 1997.

This is euphemistically now known as “the Portillo Moment” -eating humble pie although Michael Portillo's description to the conference was rather more graphic!

 Yet of course he has held senior positions in both shadow cabinet and cabinet for the UK Government.

Michael Portillo enters the Ricoh Arena for the ISMM's Successful Selling 2011

It was a privilege for the Institute to hear from  someone who has held high offices of state such  as Secretary of State for Defence, Employment, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and as a Shadow Chancellor.

He did not mention in his speech at the Ricoh last Thursday that he himself was involved in Sales and Marketing from an early age. When he was a child in 1961 he starred in a TV advertisement for the blackcurrant  drink Ribena!

After a few amusing  anecdotes to settle his audience Mr Portillo gave us his perspective on the state of the economy.

He suggested that the 2008 financial crisis was unlike previous recessions and was more akin to the financial collapse of 1929.

He outlined the seriousness of multiple debt crisis.

·       Personal Debt

·       Financial Institutions- Exotic Debt Instruments

·       Sovereign Debt

He then mentioned the Euro zone Crisis which he viewed as a political crisis.

Mr. Portillo also warned of us misreading the crisis as a global crisis a generalised expression in aggregate which he considers not specific enough.

The recession is felt by the USA and Europe yet BRIC ( Brazil, Russia, India  & China) are hitting growth of 6%. Even in Europe Turkey is showing good growth.

On the domestic front he stated only 18% of the wealth in the UK is owned by people under 50 years old. Turning that figure round it means that 82% of the wealth is held by people over 50 years old.
Of course the fragility of banks and poor confidence are at the heart of our problems. Yet Mr. Portillo had the sales strategy for static economies is a battle for market share and Selling must be at the core of this.

He mentioned the recent figures for Whitbread and in particular Costa Coffee where even in a 'luxury area' - the £2 cup of coffee market shares can be expanded.

Similarly those sectors who have developed their brands into essential musts which folks are loathed to give up such as mobile telephony and Sky subscriptions are set to grow.

Referring to the late Steve Jobs of Apple , Mr Portillo  suggested part of apple's genius was not t be too stuck on market research and develop new brands to become 'staples.'

Selling brands and Design appeals to the hearts and guts of consumers. Michael appealed to the audience that there are fantastic opportunities in dormant markets for sellers.

British society continues to change. He referred to the "bourgeoisation" of the UK's working class whose expectation for quality and customer service will drive new markets.
He illustrated the point how through celebrity chefs a middle class dinner party mindset has been adopted by many more. 
People want good quality reliable brands. Selling has the responsibility to sell these.

Of course the unreliability of financial products in the UK, the miss-selling of financial service amounting to some £3 billion  helped some sector's image.

But we have now a fantastic mission to meet the needs and wants of customers through humanity, empathy and enthusiasm to translate into creating sustainable Customer relationship.

Much as with politics selling has to be about conviction- saying what you believe.
 Today's challenge is to sell into that emotional space.

For all the considerable challenges ahead for the Sales profession, the latest findings from TACK International's Sales leadership 2011 would agree with much of the tenure of Mr Portillo's speech.

So it is not all doom and gloom 79 % of Sales teams are on target
TACK International's Sales Director, Carole Hudson (left) and Managing Director, Louise Gulliver (right) at stand 17 at Sales expo - Successful Seliing 2011, holding TACK's latest Research Study - Sales Leadership 2011

 for Free Summary of Sales Leadership Survey 2011

Jonathan Cox, Marketing Manager at TACK International  at Successful Selling 2011 where TACK launched their latest Course Directory  

Some other photos of the Expo at Successful Selling 2011

Related Links

Buyer Facilitation

Selling to Different Values

Selling Value not Price

Friday, 21 October 2011

Buyer Faciltitation Skills at Successful Selling 2011

Sharon Drew has a different take on selling.

Her presentation at  the ISMM's Successful Selling 2011 had the performance energy and zest of a Lisa Minelli -  no holding back and personable.

It never hurts sales people to try and see their sell from the Buyer's perspective.

 However, what Sharon focused on was on a more holistic approach and in particualr to acknowlege how the Buyers' systems thinking needs to be understood by salespeople. The Buying Cycle in not necessarilty synchronised with Sales' view of the Buyng journey.

Sharon pointed out that often there are rate determining steps in the Buyers' cycle sales which salesoverlook. We don't consider what will be invoved in the Buy in and Change Management implications that may arise out of our selling solution to their buyers ' needs and wants- indeed all that behind the scenes things stuff, politics etc.

Along with conventional business powerpoint slides, Sharon employed some slides from Sesame Street and the Muppets which were fun but also consistent with her message.

Sharon explained that for the fine use of solution selling and the fact Salespeople find out needs and wants and sell solutions often the do not consider the widers picture. it for this reason there are delays- why a buyer might take two years to come to the decision but not with you. It is also our sales pipeline is so inaccurate.

They may well have needed our solution but were not ready to buy.

Buying System Rules - for buying Facilitation

  • The Problem will not be recognised by the Buyer Team until it is seem as part of the Buying system.

  • Change can't be seen to cause  to mushc disruption or there will be no purchase regardless o fthe need.

  • The ENTIRE Buying decision  team need to be on board and have a VOICE

Selling often gets it wrong because

  •  We are entering too soon into the buying journey

  • We treat the needs we have identified as isolated events not within in the whole picture

  • We have not identified  what's happening behind the scenes - politics and relationship issues.

  • We have not identified the change management implications

  • e have not acknowledge how the Buying team forms, storms and reforms is the whole length of the Buying Cycle

  • We ignore our role as decision facilitator

We will never understand Buyers until we understand their system.

Sharon's lively blog is  at

Related Links

The Portillo Moment
Selling to Different Values
Selling Value not Price

Executive summary of Buyers Views of Salespeople survey.

Buyers views of Salespeople Podcast
HR and Buying
12 key buying motivators

Selling to and with Different Buyers' Values in the Generations Successful Selling 2011

Successful Selling 2011 held at the Ricoh Arena - site of Coventry Football Club
Following Don Hutson’s session on 'Value Selling' the conference considered the changing values of the today’s new generation of buyers . This session was delivered by Dr Graeme Codrington
Graeme's business card describes his role as " Speaker| Facilitaor| Author| Futurist
Many in the profession are aware of and use the findings that modern psychology has brought to help us develop better interrelationships and help our selling better adapt to buyer's  - NLP and Psychometric profiling etc. but Dr Codrington got the audience to focus on the array of different values that today’s buyers may have.
Dr Graeme Codrington at Successful Selling 2011

Different generations have different values so Graeme advised that to build effective relationships not only are conventional motivations important but perhaps at the moment that values are more critical.
What different generations see as Good or bad, normal or weird has been probably  formed in their upbringing  and in markedly different circumstances.
Like many speakers on the day he used his experience of domestic relationships to illustrate his talk. In Dr Codrington whether his mother in Bournemouth to represent one generation, himself and his wife as another or his three daughters as yet another.
Although there can be overlap in values, Graeme offered four distinct generations.
The main point Graeme got over to us is that how we present , communicate and work with each generation requires us to consider and flex to their values which may be markedly different from the generation we belong to. 

 This sort of information when dealing with customers must lead to better selling for sure.
Oscar Wilde stated that "Youth is wasted on the young" Dr Codrington suggests that the important thing is the values  of today's youth ( future buyers) are very different to Baby Boomers in the audience.
As Graeme expanded on various values of different generations  I thought back to when ( I am a baby boomer) I was in my formative years. Maybe some ISMM members might remember another 'gathering'  at a football ground but in east London.
31st May 1976 The Who played at The Valley, the home of Charlton Athletic Football Club, in what was the world's loudest concert, at over 120 dBs
 The Who's great hit "My Generation" says something about my values I guess - not all good  and not all bad.
People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
Lyrics from The Who's great hit “My generation”
Related Links

The Portillo Moment
Buyer Facilitation
Selling Value not Price

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Value Selling Evolution at Successful Selling 2011 Don Hutson

Second report live from Successful Selling 2011

All the  main room presentations for the morning of the Conference in the Jaguar exhibition Hall of the Ricoh Arena included views on aspects of change and how Sales has adapted and will continually adapt to the changing world economic scene.
Three keys to success - John Paul Getty

First off was  Don Hutson from the United States. Included in his session on Sales Negotiations – Selling Value not Price, was  a section on the Evolution of Selling. Don’s Tennessee accent was a good wake up call for the conference at the start of the day.
Don Hutson at Successful Selling 2011

Don talked us through the history of selling from the Product Pitch of the Snake Oil Salesperson through to the hard sell of the 1940s with its highly pressurised approach and what Don graphically describes as “commission breath”!

 These were given as historical examples but not one selling today should employ. But the next three stages of the history Don outlined still have relevance.

Throughout the 1970s Relationship selling became adopted as the norm  which in concert with Needs Analysis Selling and Symbiotic Selling are now the ways we strive to perfect our approach today.

Don’s combination of energy and wisdom particularly on his take on motivation was interesting. He quoted Henry David Thoreau on motivation:

“Motivation is the pull of anticipation

( our goals/visions) and the push of

discipline ( work and practice.)"

 Motivation of course does not last  but neither , as Don quipped, does a bath yet we need to do it regularly.

Don’s take on goal setting described that gap between Present Self-Image and the Projected Self-Image that we strive for in 5-10 years.

We choose our attitude, Don stressed on a daily basis.

This point rseonated in the room of  sales people who know that our demeanour and spirit is chosen by us to adopt and display in reaction to any given stimulus.  'A smiling face' as Confucius is supposed to have said 'sells!'

Perhaps more sales people should catch Don’s infectious reverse paranoia  ( as his wife describes it) and look on life as full of people (buyers) there to help us !

With the advent of the entry of the Trusted Advisor of today  Don suggested

1.  We need to display to our customer both integrity and character.

2.  We need to be on hand to offer great expertise

3.  Build a top class follow through reputation
( all emphasised in the Buyers Views Survey - free executive summary )

Delegates await the start of the conference at Successful Selling 2011

US learning’s business development model







Don then took the audience through his simple but effective negotiation matrix to counter the prevalence of negotiation phobia he believes many sales people to have.

His model consisted of a vertical Proactive- reactive line and a horizontal line of  low cooperation and high cooperation.

The four resultant quadrants were Avoidance ( Walk away), Accommodation , Competitive ( Win –Lose) and Collaboration the ultimate Win-Win.

Finally Don focused on the keys to selling Value

a)   Commodities

b)   Differentiation (s) –in Relationship, Experiential, Process, , Technology and marketing

c)  Value/Price Perspectives

Don’s energy and Memphis common sense got the conference off to a good start.

Successful Selling 2011

The current rhetoric of the “powers that be”, whether the Bank of England , the many captains of industry or our elected coalition government is focusing on setting great store on the importance of growth to pull the country out of recession.

Those organisations that have survived so far have implemented their mean and lean cost cutting . Now they have to redirect their organisations for growth.

SUCCESSFUL SELLING is one of the gems in the Institute of Sales and Marketing’s crown. Returning to the Coventry Ricoh centre this year the ISMM is holding the event in the Jaguar Exhibition Hall.

 The visitors that I have met so far include sales professionals from a wide array of businesses and industry sectors, including key influencers and decision makers:
• Sales Executives
• Senior Sales Executives
• Sales Managers
• Sales Directors
• Managing Directors / CEO's

Successful Selling is an exhilarating blend of training sessions, the latest sales techniques and research with ideas to inspire the sales professionals to new heights of sales attainment and respond to Prime Minister David Cameron’s edict in his letter to BESMA of the central role selling will play in the next few years.

                                            "The early bird catches the worm"

First stand set and ready to go at the expo for Successful Selling was Phone Coach

So why have over 500 hundred sales professionals signed up to attend each year? Every sales professional looks to Increase their sales effectiveness..

. To keep fresh in their skills set sales people need to look for ways to increase sales, improve motivation and boost profits.

 This year it seems that many of the people I talked to were particularly focused on new business generation.

  New Statue of Jimmy Hill OBE outside the Ricoh Centre Manger at Coventry City and arguably one the great salespeople of our time in the promotion of the glorious game. Much of the time salespeople are lone workers.

 Roughly half in B2B work from home. The majority of their interactions are with customers and their own companies so they appreciate the opportunity to meet fellow members of the profession to come to the Ricoh centre at Coventry to charge up their selling skills batteries. Totally matchless...

Nowhere else can one learn from such an impressive line-up of 6 top speakers in just one day; speakers who really know from their own experience what it takes to succeed. Along with Sales experts in the afternoon training sessions

Great value... No other business event gives you so much useful tips and a great chance to network. SUCCESSFUL SELLING 2011 Time to go into the conference.

Related Links

The Portillo Moment

Buyer Facilitation

Selling to Different Values

Selling Value not Price