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

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