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Sunday, 27 May 2012

6 ways to underpin your trusted advisor status in Solution Selling

Tom Wallis of Phocas and Isabel Li of Crystal CG
 in discussion at the
TACK Solution Based Selling Course
 at De Vere West One, May 2012
Words like 'Partners', 'Solution Providers' and 'Trusted Advisors' are bandied about nowadays by many who are just trying to make a sale, when the reality is that they are nothing more than another traditional transactional salesperson.

  (Nothing wrong with being transactional when it's appropriate, of course ! )





However none of us begins our career as a trusted advisor.
 It is the status to which most professional salespeople  strive to become for trust is earned.

If you are a sales executive, it is worth thinking hard what traits a solution provider needs to have in order to be considered by your client as a “Trusted Advisor”.

 As a solution provider it is also worth reflecting upon what benefits you  would obtain if your clients trusted you more.

Such questions are posed to delegates during the TACK International Solution Based Selling course as we take some time out to discuss the issue of ' trusted advisor'.

Much of this issue revolves around  'perception' of course, but rather than  just talk about this ,the delegates formulate some actions that will plant the seeds of that perception of 'being' a trusted advisor in their clients' minds. ( see some of their flip chart work)


 Delegates come up with some interesting ideas. They often suggest that traditional selling involves a cross over of 'capabilities knowledge' -such as knowledge of the client company and the products and service they can offer to the client.

The selling skills of  the traditional sale centre on  conventional selling activities such as knowledge of sales, prospecting , opening the call, investigation, features and benefits, objection handling, negotiation, closing and follow up etc.

The delegates also tend to formulate ideas centred around improving business relationships, through use of interpersonal style mapping. Trusted advisors understand and adapt  to different personalities of clients by adapting their own behaviour. ( "Different strokes for different folks")
Additional actions include  developing the perception of trusted advisor in your client's minds.

 Fortunately  knowledge can be collected more easily through the Internet for both traditional and solution based sellers..

 Unlike the 'capabilities knowledge' of conventional selling the trusted advisor of the solution sell though  employs "Situational knowledge". This involves the client's situation - so becoming  a useful source of information by understanding the client's situation is key.

Similarly  being able to relate to the client thorough investigation, helping the client by helping the client to understand the implications of the situation and to visualise the  solution.

By setting up automatic alerts  and using on line business services and subscriptions you can gather practical information on  Client companies, their key customers, their relevant competition , key opinion leaders in the trade sector etc.  Such information which automatically which saves a lot of time and helps underpin your  client knowledge  to convey your trusted advisor image.


1. Google alerts

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.

Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you'll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

 •monitoring a developing news story on your client companies, your clients' top clients and your clients' competitors

 •keeping current on a competitor or industry activities in general

 •getting the latest on a individual contacts e.g. MDs the 'good and the great' in your industry etc or news on events such as exhibitions, seminars etc.

 • keeping tabs on a client's favourite sports teams, interests, hobbies etc
2. Hoovers http://www.hoovers.com/ A Dun and Bradstreet service top-of-the-line business information

3. One source http://www.onesource.com/ an infogroup company - personalised prospecting ,direct dial numbers, email addresses, intelligence in real time

4. Get on subscription lists to trade sector specialist magazines to build up your knowledge as trusted advisor. + Put aside some time to read the content!

5. Get on the mailing list for client in house newsletters     Read up before next call / meeting.

6. Use Linked In at both the individual cleint contac level but also to build up a list of more contacts/ allies  within client companies and also follow and read ( listen) in LinkedIn sector groups and forums.





video
After lunch energiser at Solution Based Selling to wake us up
 after the great lunches from the West One Steam, Bake , Grill restaurant
- You drive for show you putt for doe!

Negotiation case study skills practise at Solution Based Selling 

'Wine importer' Peter negotiates
 with 'hoteliers' Tom and Sally
Leon and Isabel negotiate as Simon listens
 and observes preparing to give feedback on the
 " California Here I come" case study
Craig and Jana negotiate while observer Derek listens
 in and prepares to give feedback

Related links on Solution Based  Selling;-

Solution Based  selling – course review


Research for the Solution  Based Sell


The Budget 2012 and opportunities for Solution Based  Sellers


Your differentiated value proposition in your solution  based sell


Solution Based Selling – 6 stage model


Friday, 18 May 2012

Business Start up 2012 ExCell 7 ways to make the most of selling opportunities at trade shows

As Facebook is launched on Wall Street today, it is an appropriate day to be visiting a show dedicated to the needs of start up businesses.

 I wonder how many future Zuckerberg’s will be visiting and maybe exhibiting at the ExCel Business start up show 2012.

After 12 years of running this focused business show for start-ups and SMEs, Business Start up  have built up an enviable experience in recognising what a fledgling business needs to know before getting started.

With more than 230 exhibitors and over 140 seminars this year – plus a series of live events to participate in what they claim it is  “the biggest show in the UK for start ups.”

 There is so much to see and do at a trade show,  so you need to think carefully about how to manage your visit to make the most of your  time.

Business start up's  advice on planning to visit their exhibition seems common sense but I wonder how many will take such good advice.

I took a look at their checklist on the show website which helps  to make sure a visitor/exhibitor doesn't miss any of the essentials for their visit to the show.

(  minor point -OK for the observant someone forgot to update  the site from the show last year it still says 2011- but  hey keep your eye on the fly, Hugh,  and don’t  get tangled in the web of criticism and negative thinking!!!)

Setting clear objectives for the show.

Work out exactly what you need to know before you arrive. Past visitors to the show have stressed  to Business Start Up that a little preparation goes a long way when faced with the vast amount of information available .

Business startup warn that their exhibition is NOT like the scatter gun of an exhibition like the Ideal Home Show.
Here is their 7 stage preparation with a few additional ideas of my own to make better use of your time at a show.

a.       Plan

Make use of the show website, the updates the organisers send you by email and the show guide

Calculate how much time you think you will need to fit everything in, then double it. There is often so much to see and do that you might need to consider investing your time visiting on a number of days of the show.

b.      Identify

What do you want from this show? What information or advice do you need? Identify which exhibitors you should visit, which speakers you want to hear and the events you would like to participate in to get the most out of Business Startup.

c.       Target

Once you have planned who you want to see, use the floor plan of the show guide.

d.      Relax

When planning your trip to the show, leave time for reflection or for unexpected events - don't be unrealistic about what you can achieve, and don't be surprised who you may meet.

e.      Record

Don't forget to take a pen and notepad - or your laptop or PDA - so that you can make notes at the show. If you have a dictaphone, take that too. Nowadays I guess many will use their smart phone.

f.        Network

Take a good quantity of business cards, and a briefcase or backpack - if you haven't visited before, you'll be surprised just how much information is available such shows. The businesses you meet on the day could become your preferred suppliers, or your best customers.

g.       Follow-up

After the show, don't let your motivation go off the boil or your hot leads cool. Call the people who gave you their cards, keep those lunch dates, and put your networking contacts in your address book.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ascension of Face book the Good book and the feast of Ascension

The ascended singers of the All Saints Church Fulham choir
waving from the medieval church tower
at 7.15 a.m 17th May 2012 on Ascension Day
Congratulations to all at Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has now ascended into the realms of Wall Street.
 Apparently the appetite for shares has been so ferocious that Facebook issued 25% more than originally planned.
Possibly tomorrow 28 year old  Mr Zuckerberg is likely to be sitting on paper fortune worth more than $26 billion.

Fantastic result for just eight years in business!!

Today others have kept the feast of the Ascension across the world “Their profit and their joy to know , the mystery of his love.” celebrating the feast of the Ascension.

A small group of us join Canon Joe Hawes ( Vicar)
 and Revd Penny Seabrook
 before going off to work on Thursday morning
 dutifully watched over by our guard dog 'Bruno'


At All Saints Church, Fulham, London on the north bank of the river Thames we celebrated Ascension Day this morning at 7.00 a.m. al fresco to the accompaniment of birds twittering with rather more than 140 characters.

A small group of us assembled outside the west door  of the church beneath the medieval tower which has stood on this site since 1440.
 Some 60ft above us- within the tower -the team of bell ringers were preparing to ring out the church bells across west London .
It was the most beautiful of springtime wake up calls. Listen to the sound on the video clip.
video

Some 90 feet above us on the top of tower was the choir sang out across the river hymns and  and full throated rendering of Guiseppe Pitoni’s (1657-1743) ‘Cantate Domino.’

 Interesting to reflect that this piece of music 18th century was some two hundred years  younger than the tower!

The tower is made of Kentish rag stone, which came up from Maidstone by barge. Henry VI’s officers kept trying to appropriate it for Eton College!

The six hundred years have taken their toll. There are essential and urgent works to be done. Re-joining of the corners of the tower, replacement of old mortar.

A new bell frame is to be built in the Clock frame.

The bells are to be re-hung so that they can be rung more easily.

The Church has an appeal for this conservation work which is supported by English Heritage and heritage lottery funded but the total cost of repairing the tower, moving the bell frame so that the bells can ring without damaging the tower again is around £470,000.


If you would like to contribute to the All Saints Restoration Appeal details can be found
info@allsaints-fulham.org.uk and www.alsaints-fulham.org.uk


Whether you are :

·         one of the 1,000 millionaires that will be created by the flotation of facebook today,

·         one of the 845 miilion monthly active users ( up some 39% from last year,

·         one of the 483 million active daily users ( up 48% from last year) ,

·         one of 100 billion number of ‘friends’,

         one of the 2.7 billion number of likes and comments per  day,

·         or one of the 3,000 facebook employees

·         or Mark Zuckerbeg himself

·         or simply one who cares about an historic building that has stood for 600 years that has enabled off-line and on-line human social networking community for its weddings , births, funerals, many services and a beautiful place for quiet – and even as a back drop for a Hollywood blockbuster!

Thanks for reading this blog

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Sales related limericks in honour of Mr. Lear born 12th May 1812

Google reminded me that today is poet and artist Edward Lear's birthday 12th May 1812. He popularised the Limerick and I guess would have loved the creative tweets of today.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lear

So here are some collected sales related limericks to enjoy .

Please add your favourite sales limericks in the comments - 'runcible spoons' at the ready:!

 


There once was a sales guy called Zack

Who loved to 'yakety yak'.

His clients would itch

When he gave forth his pitch

Then wondered why none called him back!.

There once was a sales guy named Jude
Looked upon as a road warrior dude
Then along came the mobile
Now he works from his home, while
Selling to those who he has wooed


There once was a salesman named Sonny
Who loved selling and clients thought funny
He forgot  how to close
Though t 'was under his nose
lots of friends, but sadly no money!
 

Sales and marketing were out of alignment.



Neither could finish an assignment.

When they shared the same treasure

with leads  they could measure

Income broke through this confinement

Hurrah for our CRM tool
That Managers think is so cool
Listing deals and accounts
It helps pipeline amounts
and it makes the competitors drool



So you’re in the sales profession
Take notice of this great suggestion
Your goal is to close
Whilst absorbing the “no’s”
It’s not just to make conversation
.



For my friends at TACK International
There once was a sales pro named Michael
Who disliked his long sales cycle

Post his TACK  "PRO-PAYBACK Selling"
His bosses were yelling
We wish we had more folks like Michael
There once was a Gatekeeper named Jane
Whom my sales messages were left in vain
She wasn’t a snob
Merely doing her job
Vetting sales calls again and again

Friday, 11 May 2012

Dale Carnegie in our Digital Age

(left)The 'new' How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age
and (right) a copy of the classic given to my late father as a birthday present in 1959

Title of Book:            How to Win Friends and Influence People

Subtititle:     in the Digital Age

Author : Dale Carnegie and Associates  - Brent Cole

Publisher : Simon and Schuster UK Ltd 2011

ISBN:  978-0-85720-728-9

- Unputdownable


Genre:    Human relations and how to do it better

Style: Soul help book rather than 'self help'

Contents page: Clear Introduction. Core of Book in Four parts - chapters with page numbers

Index:             No Index. Great pity for those of us who like to dip in and out and go back for the golden nuggets.
"Perennial truths" of Dale Carnegie old and new

Flick through eye appeal: No visuals . Good  sized type face

Time for a breather Stops : None but each chapter is bite sized with well crafted summaries by Brent Cole with final sentences capturing the essence of each chapter succinctly.

Golden Nuggets: This book is a treasure chest of golden nuggets

Topic Summary:  Four parts - ( 1.) Essentials of engagement, ( 2.) 6 ways to make a lasting impression, (3. ) How to merit and maintain others' trust and (4. ) How to lead change without resistance or resentment

War Stories: Plenty . Well written and relevant with natural bias to the Good and Great in USA past and present- plus quite number of Baseball and Basket ball stories none the worse for that because one gets the gist of the learning point. Ends on modern heroes notably our own Sir Richard Branson page 227
" How companies adapt to this energetic and sometimes chaotic world will define their future success. The website, Facebook page, blog, Twitter feed are no longer add-ons to a business's communication budget: They should be central to its marketing strategy, and used in coordination with other marketing efforts. "  Feb 8th 2011 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/218098

Illustration: None

Quotes: Loads and Loads - all relevant and powerful .

Short Review:

Every sales professional should read a copy of Dale Carnegie's Classic " How to win friends and influence people" but if the writings from the early part of the last century seem dated try this version for the Digital age.

Most of the stories and quotes in this adapted re-write of the classic by Dale Carnegie are based on spiritual wisdom and common sense.

Having read the original some years back, I found the return to the principles profound . Those of you who have read the classic will find like the prodigal son you are welcomed home by the father.

Those of you who have not read the original this adapted version to our digital age is excellent.

As Brent Cole concludes in this updated version:

" It is true that the world is open for business, but your first task remains the business of humanity. The greatest endeavours are always and will always be interdependent and interactive. In the end , the art of winning friends and influencing people in the digital age is summed up in the activity of connecting and staying connected on common ground."

Some of the learning points struck home so strongly that I did find myself weeping.

As a "Brit",I guess I must acknowledge  with humility that classic 'Motherhood and Apple pie' is both encouraging, engaging and enabling.

In short buy, borrow or download  a copy of this book but most importantly read the lessons within it and apply them from then on by sharing its principles.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: "Wouldn't you like to have that?"

 Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”

Page 52 of my Father's copy of Dale Carnegie  "How to win friends and influence people"  1958 reprinted edition (c)  1938 published by The World's Work (1913) ltd Kingswood , Surrey. Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay and Company Ltd., Bungay ,Suffolk


Related sites

Dale Carnegie


Simon and Schuster   Businesswww.simonsays.co.uk


Richard Branson " Social Relations"

Virgin Group
http://www.virgin.com/

Richard's blog
http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson





Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The 2012 Queen’s speech, Competition and Markets Bill - some implications for Selling

OFT and CC are dead! Long live the CMA

Wednesday 9 May 2012 sees the State Opening of Parliament.
The State Opening marks the formal start of the new 2012-13 parliamentary session. The primary purpose of this glittering state occasion is to set out the Government’s legislative agenda in the Queen’s Speech.

Her Majesty the Queen on her way to the Palace of Westminster to open Parliament May 2012
 Beneath the  bluster of headline news from this year's Queen’s speech on such issues as House of Lords reform, ring fencing ' casino banks', easier hiring and firing for employers, overhauling public sector pensions, and monitoring of emails and electronic communications etc.  our coalition Government have introduced after consultation and new authority - the Competition and Markets Authority CMA.

The coach enters the Palace at Westminster via the Sovereign's Gate


 It is the UK coalition government’s desire to streamline procedure and governance.

So we lose now the office of fair trading (OFT) and the competition commission (CC).

The former CC conducted second-stage reviews of mergers and markets  benefited the country  from its autonomy and expertise. It preserved sufficient institutional safeguards for the independence of the second phase. Today's announcement of the launch of the new CMA  will make it the chief organisation for future enforcement.


The competition and markets bill

The CBI describe the reforms in this bill as “evolutionary rather than revolutionary”. The reduced  bureaucracy  and duplication of processes firms need to go through to meet competition law  are to be broadly welcomed .

However the CBI reckon the new bill is likely to have increased risks.

The change to the cartel offence is likely to confuse and cause uncertainty and the ability of the  secretary of state to request market investigations on the basis of public interest is likely to politicise the competition regime.

The substantial cost and reputational threat to business of not raining the bar for market investigations is an on-going concern

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills state
"The new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be responsible for promoting effective competition in markets across the UK economy for the benefit of consumers and allow more effective co-ordination with Trading Standards.

Above all the proposals will help streamline the consumer landscape and ensure a powerful consumer voice to business, government and regulators"
I guess its work will focus on the Private Sector.

Selling has to be interested in anything from Government where the consumer landscape  will be streamlined ( I assume they mean the market)  and the empowerment of the  voice of the consumer whether to , government or regulators.
What I guess might intrigue some of  us in selling is how the new CMA  would propose to act  in  the Public sector market place . There are circumstances where Government  is the Corporate Buyer and deals with suppliers .

The current legal challenge of Novartis on the NHS over drugs in the treatment of wet AMD might for example could  well prove an interesting early  test for the fledgling organisation should they care to engage after the courts and te lawyers have done their bit..

Novartis is challenging the NHS on the use of intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin™) instead of the NICE-recommended ranibizumab (Lucentis™) for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Both drugs are manufactured by Novartis but bevacizumab is not licensed for this indication and has been widely used off-label because it is a cheaper alternative.

Ranibizumab costs around £740 per injection, and has been specifically developed for use in ocular conditions with a supporting European licence and safety approval for treating wet AMD. Bevacizumab costs around £60 per injection and has been widely used off-label.

The NHS faces a legal dilemma – using a cheaper unlicensed alternative drug that appears to be effective versus a more expensive, licensed formulation that has been approved by NICE.
What is fair for the buyer ? What is fair for the supplier? The implications of this particular case could be wide reaching for both the procurement side of Government and their suppliers.

Will the new CMA dare to dive into these troubled public sector waters from a  market competition and fair trading governance perspective ?

video

                                                             The Royal Guard



video

                                             The Westminster Abbey Bells ring out






Fancy a challenge set by the Government?

 Department of Business for Innovation and skills BIS
Competition to find most enterprising place in the UK
http://news.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/The-search-is-on-for-the-UK-s-most-enterprising-places-6799e.aspx

There are three categories in this year’s awards:

· The most enterprising place in the UK.

· The organisation that best promotes enterprise.
· The organisation most successful in encouraging businesses to export.

Two of the three winners will go on to represent the UK at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Nicosia, Cyprus on 15 November 2012, during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Enterprising Britain is free to enter and is open to all places in the UK that can demonstrate the impact enterprise has had on their community in the past two years. To register interest email your contact details to enterprisingbritain@bis.gsi.gov.uk.

Entries must be submitted by 30 May 2012 and the winners of each category will be announced on 16 July 2012.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Marketing and Selling no longer 'Silo' disciplines ? #marketingandsalessilos

Quite a while back ,Mark Ritson in the December 7th 2011 issue of the magazine 'Marketing Week' headlined a provocative article on the CIM report marketing and selling Fusion.

It read


The CIM is mis-selling the concept of marketing”


It  reignited an on going kerfuffle  of whether selling is part of marketing or as now being postulated by  the Chartered Institute of Marketing CIM that marketing is part of selling. .

To use the “mis selling” expression rather than the re- alignment word was certainly provocative and extreme.


Usually “mis selling” is reserved to report the likes of the  scandal of breast implants by PIP using industrial grade silicone,   or the Barclays  furor over  Swaps,  or financial advisers  offering mismatched Payment Protection Insurance or  recently Ofgem in its ongoing investigations into the energy sales practices of Scottish Power, SSE and npower and EDF Energy on this issue.


Suppliers are required  by the  various consumer watchdogs to put in place robust processes to guard against mis selling.


These obligations include ensuring that any marketing material that suppliers use and information that they provide during telesales and face-to-face marketing

 are fair,

accurate,

easy to understand and

 do not relate to products that are inappropriate for the customer.


 In addition, suppliers are required to conduct any telesales and face-to-face marketing activities in a

 fair,

 transparent,

appropriate

and professional manner.


Interestingly one tends not to see in the media- the expression of 'mis-marketing' much, but far more  often that of " mis selling."



 The CIM’s Marketing and Sales Fusion report laid out the case for repositioning marketing and the sales function. Time for some Silo busting perhaps?


Cement Silos for the Cross Rail Project
 at London Paddington Rail Station


Key points from the 'Marketing and Sales fusion?' paper:






  • There has been a trend towards the separation of sales and marketing functions in businesses: this results in unnecessary competition and a detrimental impact on the business overall.


  • Research demonstrates that companies with closely aligned sales and marketing departments are more competitive and more successful.
  • A conceptual shift is required at the highest level of UK business. Both sales and marketing functions must abandon their 'silo' mentalities and embrace not just cooperation but union. Big businesses could have much to learn from SMEs, where sales and marketing are often integrated.
  • Marketing evolved out of sales, and the two disciplines share many fundamental characteristics: reuniting sales and marketing brings benefits across a business.

David Thorp, director of research and professional development at the CIM, stated:


“For too long the trend has been towards separating marketing and sales - and the marketing profession, in its desire to establish itself, undoubtedly contributed to this. We believe that, in the next decade, more and more companies will see reintegrating marketing and sales as a smart move that brings real rewards.”


Mark Ritson considered this move by the CIM as a retrograde step.


He  is in no way is expressing a snobby attitude to selling but says that


“most sales departments  think they understand marketing. But they don’t, they think it means sales. And when you approach every strategic marketing challenge thinking that marketing should deliver immediate sales, you get many of the key strategic decisions wrong. You under-price the product. You target everyone. You position to everyone. And eventually sales start to decline because of the inherent and insistent focus on increasing them.”


On the other hand Ritson said


“Most marketers couldn’t sell a bucket of water to a man whose pants are on fire, but the idea that blending the two functions into one will somehow synergize the organisation is utter nonsense.”


I guess the debate of defining marketing and selling will continue for it is not a new one.

Here are some other definitions from 'back in the day' - some serious and some light hearted:-

"Marketing is what salespeople used to do in their lunch breaks"

"Marketing is selling products that won't come back to customers who will"

"Marketing is selling artificial pearls to real swine" jokingly said by Peter Blood years ago  former head of the Institute of Marketing ( not so different to the alleged views of some at Goldman Sachs and 'Muppets' ?! as recently reported in the New York Times this year)

 Heidi Cohen has a website with 72 definitions of marketing
http://heidicohen.com/marketing-definition/

Marketing Guru - Philip Kotler defines marketing as 


“the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.”



Related links

CIM link to download report

http://www.cim.co.uk/resources/emergingthemes/msfusion.aspx