Saturday, 30 June 2012

Handshakes and exchanging business cards Business etiquette

Upper floor of London Olympia's Grand hall,
 at Marketing Live 2012
 notice the wonderful Victorian iron railings
See photo below of what the other side of the red roundels depict
I was surpised when visiting the stands at Marketing live 2012 this year how many visitors or exhibitors had not prepared themselves to have business cards on their person for work.

 I overheard a number of instances where either the exhibitor , the visitor or both , apologised for not having a business card on them.

There are of course those visitor badge scanners. They are more a  Customer Relationship management (CRM)  data capture method rather than a courteous welcoming introduction method.

I accept that the laser beam takes information off the bar code or QR code on my visitor's badge but I always feel that I am being 'branded' like a cow or sheep at a farm when they aim the gun( reader) on my badge.!

Close up of the iron railings on the upper floor at London, Olympia's Grand Hall
Perhaps this 'branding' is actually very in keeping with  the  'Marketing live' show   which is much about 'branding' in the marketing sense and held in a hall space which was originally an Agricultural Hall hence the grain sheafs depicted in the Victorian Ironwork roundels.

I feel that sometimes some stand exhibitors did not want to shake hands but get straight to the bar code reading gun bit, like an eager adolescent on their first experience with a paint balling gun .

Engagement on a stand seems increasingly to becoming an impersonal mimickry of a virtual reality 'conversation' or computer war game simulation. "Friending" and "defriending" I suppose is how many see business engagement nowadays.

Handshakes have been around for a long time but are they going out of fashion I wonder ?.

One of the earliest depictions of a handshake is that of Antiochus I of Commagene, shaking hands with Heracles 70-38 BC, in the British Museum.
We commonly shake hands  on meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement.

Antiochus 1 of Commagene 70-38BC
on display in the British Museum
( The hole is due to a later use as a agricultural press)

During the Euro 2012  we have seen soccer captains at the beginning of matches exchange gifts such as mementos / pennants/ plaques and shake hands.

Much in the same way in Business, we exchange business cards at the start of the meeting.


*The Buyers, views of Salespeople 2012 Data shows that exchanging business cards from the Buyers' viewpoint is seen always necessary 59%, Sometimes 38% and 3% never. So away from the exhibtion world handshakes are still expected.


Along with the exhange of a penant , a prize or a business card, we might also shake hands.
At award ceremonies such  as the film festivals of Cannes or the Oscars, the award winner will shake hands with the award presenter before accepting a trophy or award from the presenter.
Many hands will be shaken along with the presentation and acceptance of the bronze, silver and gold medals on the three step rostrums at the Olympic games in London in just a few days’ time.
Photo of  the Metro newspaper story
 of the historic handshake

The purpose of the handshake can convey trust, balance, and equality and so last Wednesday 27th June 2012 we had an historic occasion for reconciliation between a monarch and a republican in Northern Ireland.

This fortnight we will notice  at Wimbledon Tennis Championships the players at the end of a match going up to the net and shaking hands across the net, followed by walking up to the Umpire's chair and acknowledging the umpire usually with some grace ( but not always!)

Handshakes are also significant in business partiularly in sales engagement.

*The latest Buyers’ views of salespeople shortly to be published in full reveals that 91% of Buyers expect a handshake and consider it necessary with a salesperson.

*For information on the TACK Buyers’ Views Survey 2012

Of course shaking hands does not mean you  necessarily like the person particularly.

I knew a trainer colleague years ago who, at the end of a course, made a point of shaking hands with each delegate at the end of a course.

He would walk across the room extend his hand for a handshake and say to some of the delegates "" ( Their name) " I have been wanting to say goodbye to you" whilst shaking their hand..

 One could see that sometimes the recipient was not absolutley  sure how the farewell was meant.

 ie was it - you were such a great person I wanted to make my goodbyes  to you


 merely Good riddance to you!

Forgiving and forgetting ,if that is possible ,can at least be faciliated by a handshake in business as in Northern Ireland last Wednesday by a monarch and a republican last 27th June 2012.

Related Links
Business Etiquete

 Body Talking

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Facebook for Business 10 tips for your Business page

Following the welcome and introductions given by Colin Stanbridge CEO ,London Chamber of commerce and Industry  he introduced the Minister for Culture.

 Ed Vaizey   Minister for DCMS opened the breakfast meeting at London Chamber of Commerce International in the City of London on “ Growing your business Socially”.

It is encouraging to see that the Governement can spare time to address SMEs in the UK and it was appreciated by the 'sell out' audience.

The minister said that the UK is one of the leading countries in e commerce. 25% of the country’s economic growth is predicted to come from e commerce.

The Government is investing £1 billion into the economy for superfast broadband, national mobile phone coverage, and the auction of Spectrum 4G.

Ed Vaizey MP UK GovERNEMNTt Minister DCMS at LCCI , 
 City of London

Mr Vaizey emphasised that one of the great things about Europe not talked about enough is the Digital Single Market.

It will enable UK businesses to sell at home and export abroad. 

He also mentioned the EC’s contribution to Privacy and consumer protection directives and data protection.

Simon Milner, Director Policy of facebook  then opened his presentation on Deloitte’s report of January 2012 which estimated that Facebook is responsible for £200 million pounds of business and has created some 18,000 jobs.

Nick Baird Chief Executive of UK Trade and Investment UKTI described Facebook presence as “ effortlessly global” and shared with the audience his former foreign office experience of the “Arab Spring”  evacuationcommunications through contacts via Facebook was by far the most effective channel of communication.

Nick Baird, Chief Executive UKTI at LCCI's
"Gowing your business socially"  facebook

He said in view of all the challenges of the UK economy British business needs to go global. We must exploit the digital space.

In his work with the Turkish washing machine company Beko he mentioned how their “Mums united” community has some 60,000 fans. (62,601 likes · 1,221 talking about this)

There is also a new export initiative – a partnership with Yell called Open to export  shortly to be launched undergiong beta testing now ,where mentors are available to help new exporters..UKTI Help for exporters .

Justin Mewse , Tropical Sky at LCCI's
 "Growing your business socially"
Next t speaker was Justin  Mewse from Travel business Tropical Sky.

He shared his company’s experience of business with Facebook through case experiences of  campaigns targeted at various countries and market sectors.

Question Time  Simon Milner Diretor of Policy Facebook left,
Kirby Koo, middle 
Facebook Global Marketing solutions , Facebook

The core of the morning meeting was led by the dynamic and ebuliant Kirby Koo , Global Marketing Solutions facebook. Kirby is based with a team of 11 in Ireland. They have been doing a roadshow around the chambers of commerce in the UK culminating in this one in the city of London.
 Kirby advise a stepped approach on starting your business page with facebook. Stage 1 Connect People to your page 2 Reach people and their friends 3 Work on insights and optimisation.

She also agce additional tips on engaging with your audience on Facebook by publishing to your page.

Tip 1 Post succent content

Tip 2 Post photos and videos

Tip 3 Post regularly

*The Buyers'Views Of Salespeople 2012 survey
 has identified that
11.8% of Buyer respondents used Facebook
to research potential suppliers in the last 12 months

Tip 4 Ask for Fans' opinion

Tip 5 Ask questions using Facebook's Questions Product

Tip 6 try posting " fill in the blanks" posts

Tip 7 Give your fans access to exclsuive information

Tip 8 Give your fans access to exclsuive information

Tip 9 Keep Current

Tip 10 Localise your postsif they are only relevant to specific audiences.

The team then opened up for questions from the room chaired skillfully  by Simon Milner.

They did this in a very time efficient way.

 They took three questions at a time and then answered the three in one shared response. 

 The session was pacey , interesting and kept to time.

I thought the facebook team were very professional, approachable and helpful.

So I better start a facebook business page!

* The TACK Internaltional Buyers'Views of Salespeople 2012 Survey will be published shortly       For further information

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Marketing Live 2012 Jelly Babies to suck and see 'Creating Amazing'

Marketing lIve 2012 gives visitors the chance to see the latest marketing solutions, to find out what’s new, benchmark and work out how to turn ideas to their competitive advantage.

Wednesday morning’s session on the centre stage of the Marketing Live had a brilliant case study from Chris Taylor, European marketing Communications for Lexus in Europe on marketing a luxury brand.
Chris Taylor , Lexus

Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota. In 1989 Eiji Toyoda set the vision for the company to ‘ create the finest  luxury car in the world.’

 Well it took a huge number of talented people to bring this all to fruition.

 1400 engineers, 3,600 technicians 450 prototypes and continual testing but the foundation of the brand Lexus  is (was) the relentless pursuit of perfection.

Lexus sell around 44,000 vehicles in Europe. 200,000 in USA.

Lexus’ differentiators against the massive three German brands of BMW Mercedes and Audi is a pioneering drive in both technology and innovation evidenced by the Hybrid Drive and superb customer service as evidenced in countless awards gained in the USA and UK.

Lexus have now have a new brand expression to live up to

“ Create Amazing”

But that is too good for Lexus alone.

Shouldn’t we all in Sales and Marketing not strive each day to ‘create amazing’ for our clients?

Lexus have now refocused their brand image to be more dynamic through great photography, the bolder use of colour and chunkier typography.

This reflects their increased confidence when competing with the three giant German manufacturers.

Chris outlined the Lexus Brand Strategy and Brand Expression but then moved into his exposition on the development and launch of the new Lexus website.

He describes web marketing within Lexus is seen to be a game changer.

Visits to 4 or more dealers is typical 27% of such customers at the moment. The figure was 47% just five years ago.

The creation of a coordinated but culturally flexible website across the 42 company websites across Europe for the Lexus group is a huge project.

The budget concerned is what most of us could only dream of. Yet Chris’ case study gave very useful tips that even the most modest business could learn.

Starting with the vision of what success would look like and how it could be reached ,the relevant KPIs were set.

The next step was thorough research analysis both through direct primary approaches and desk research.

Lexus then took considerable care to study their Audience through deep audience Insight analysis their digital behaviour and also noting the regional differences.

Then Lexus moved to a more recognisable approach of Gap analysis to then contemplating how to sell the vision and produce the road map from which the design was then conceived, designed and built.

The keys learning that Lexus case shared with us are:

· The web is key so make the journey to purchase less of a strain for the customer Lexus thought

· Competitors had a very homogenous look. Lexus chose to differentiate the look of their website.

· Get outside your market and look at similar brands in different markets. So as a Luxury brand Lexus looked to Chanel, Burberry and Rolex for ideas. Their Learning was pretty much “ less is definitely more.”

· Today the consumer wants more. Their research revealed that content and functionality was not being provided as the customer wanted.

Chris emphasised the basic but very important point that the website should not declare what the brand wants to hear but rather give easy access to what the consumer wants to know.

Some of the Lexus KPIs are easy to relate/adapt to every business.

We all have the equivalent of how long do the customers stay on our site, pull through figures the equivalent to visits to dealerships, to taking a test drive to ordering brochures to asking for financial quotes.

Lexus are shortly to launch their mobile offering. One of the clever thoughts that Chris shared with the audience was that when designing mobile Lexus use ‘progressing enhancement’. Rather than the conventional approach of condensing and stripping, The content from the website Lexus chose to develop and work it up in the opposite direction.

At first when I saw the demonstration of the main website it looked very long but this was seen to be better than clicking away to different pages. In a sense, it looks like the software does the adapting as you scroll down the page. For example when a client’s selects say a colour of a model as they scroll down the page for other information the illustration all become the colour selected. Until Chris pointed it out in the demonstration I had not realised it. It was so subtle and clever.

The visitor to the website can control how the journey will look by selecting a magazine look, or elct an entirely image rich format or a more interactive format like colouring the picture of the car.

Apparently, web visitors do tend to anchor so by making the longer picture on their anchorage page they stick with experience.

All this type of thinking emanates fro the principles of KAIZEN . To create amazing optimisation is a continual task.

Does this all work?

Well Chris finished with these impressive results for the UK website after just 3 weeks


75% decrease in bounce rate (visitors leaving the site)

100% increase in visitor duration

40 times more viewing on critical pages such as Price and Specifics

70% increase in Dealer location pages.

Good luck with your striving to “Create amazing” !

The show’s guide – Little Black Book is a manageable A5 type size reasonably easy to navigate around considering the enormously wide offering of the show.

There are three extra ‘zones’ or Show areas this year Customer Loyalty and Motivation, Promotional Merchandise and Live Marketing.

The show is on two levels and is big and busy.
Marketing Week Live offers incredible wide range educational content aimed at career advancement, bringing current thought leaders and influencers , to deliver insight and expertise from global brands.

I am visiting to gain a deeper understanding, learn and take away some tangible inspirations from the campaign success stories of the likes of Coca Cola , Nexus and Diageo etc.  and apply them to my business with clients.

 I am also looking around the exhibition areas on the two levels of the grand Hall, Olympia London to find the tools to become a little bit  smarter, after all we are all trying to  generate better ROI.

The show is divided into 8 areas
1.       In store
2.       Insight
3.       Data marketing
4.       In store
5.       Customer loyalty and motivation
6.       On line marketing
7.       Promotional merchandise
8.       LIVE
Fantastic buzz at the show -

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Body Language in Business Context Congruence and Cluster

Take a look at this Reuters  photograph from the London Metro Sports page today June 25th.
Reading the body language what emotions is he portraying .

 Is he

a.       happy ?
b.      sad?
c.       frustrated?
d.      disappointed?
e.      upset?
f.     devastated ?

Certainly it is emotion.

Until I read the caption I had thought this man was very  distraught.  Context in body language interpretation is important.
 In fact the athlete concerned is the 24 year old American  Ashton Eaton who smashed the 11 year old world decathlon record of Roman Sebrle by 13 points (9,039) .  He achieved this in gruelling weather conditions in Eugene, Oregon USA.
His 9,039 points score left him some 656 points clear of the second-placed Trey Hardee the defending world champion. ( Daley Thompson CBE 1984 World record  of 8847 held until 1992 still the UK record after 20 years!)
After the 1500 metres finale Mr. Eaton said” It is a representation of all the work I have put in. I felt in the moment. I knew  there was maybe not another opportunity to make this count. After 600metres I Knew there was no way I wasn’t going to get the record”

To interpret body language the gestures alone are not enough. To get an accurate appraisal you need the three Cs. Context - Congruence - Clusters

With the rest of this post I have inserted some other sporting pictures for you to practise you body language interpretation skills.

What has this to do with selling ?

Context – is the body language in the right context. 
If someone is rocking back and forth arms folded on the edge of their seat and it’s the middle of winter outside at a bus stop and they are under dressed, then they are probably cold.  If they are in a warm room then the body language is out of context and there is a problem to be investigated.
Toothache ? Screwing his head back on? Stretching his neck
England and Chelsea Star John Terry
Photo of picture clipping from metro newspaper source of photo : PA

Congruence – if someone says “I really like your idea.”  But their tone of voice is aggressive, bored or sarcastic and their arms are folded and they are frowning then what they are saying is not congruent (aligned) with their tone of voice and body language.  So you must assume there is a problem that needs to be investigated.

Victorious? I want to punch you?
Spanish soccer star Alonso
Photo of Newspaper clipping metro source of original photograph AFP
Clusters – if someone has folded arms and that is all then they may just be comfortable so nothing needs to be read into it.
  If their arms are folded, they are frowning and leaning away from you then there is a cluster of behaviours all suggesting a problem and again you need to investigate.

Buyers convey their true feelings, mainly through the following body positions body angle facial expression, hands arms and legs. These positions make up a Body Cluster.
It is the study of a body cluster , rather than the individual "cluster element" of body position, that give  the observant salesperson  useful clues of the buyer's true feelings.

Basic Body Language ready reckoner

Handshakes: The new Buyers' Views of salespeople Survey 2012 reveals that 91.9% of Buyers consider it always necessary to shake hands. For more information on the TACK Buyers' views of Salespeople 2012 will be published shortly, contact

Acceptance signals: indicate that the client is interested in what you have to say and you may proceed

Caution Signals: are a sign of neutral or sceptical feelings to what you are presenting. You need to react to these signals as they represent a breakdown in  communication and show little buyer interest in your offer.

  • Should you observe these caution signals; the following  actions will help:
  • Alter the course of your planned presentation
  • Encourage the buyer to express their attitudes and beliefs through the Tell me, Explain to me , Describe for me conversational questioning technique.
  • Listen carefully with patience and interest to what the buyer is saying and reply directly
  • Express positive acceptance signals yourself.

Disagreement signals: indicate that your buyer feels strongly negative about your message and you will need to adjust to the situation straightaway.You can use some of the courses of action suggested for caution signals above, but also by:

  • Stopping your planned action
  • Reducing or removing any pressure on the buyer to buy or participate in the conversation using a more diplomatic selling style.
  • telegraphing your awareness of the negative vibes shows a willingness to help not just tell-sell


You should be alert, not only to what a buyers says. but also to their body language. Don't jump t conclusions on an isolated gesture. wait until the gestures from a cluster before your react. You  need to interpret non-verbal signals and react to them correctly, both verbally and in their own body language to increase your effectiveness.

Well I guess there will be all manner of sports photos over this summer of Sports Euro 2012, Wimbledon, London 2012 Olympics etc. to practise your body language interpretation skills.
 memwhile what's Andy Murray thinking ?

Good Luck Mr Murray.

Related  Posts on Body Language

Handshakes, Fist bumps and High Fives

Standing Tall for the successful

4 Point master class in mannerisms

6 points to consider in body language for Selling

Book review of Body Language in Business

Body Talking

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Grammar fascism and ’ like’ rapping “ It’s just not cricket” in Business Communication

(This post is about some of the perils in business communication plus photos of cricket and an explanation of the game)

The war with Jargon and gobbledygook returned to the news this weekend.

I wish I used better grammar and syntax. Microsoft word does not always help but luckily there are people around who have both a mission and passion for clear and correct English who pull me up on my errors.

On  Graham Norton’s Friday night TV show, there was the compulsive viewing of  71 year old actress Miriam Margolyes and wordsmith rapper on the sofa  .’s habitual ‘misuse / overuse’ of the  ‘like’  word was picked up and corrected by Miriam Margolyes playing the role of his affectionate old style retired school mistress .

Similarly the Saturday edition of the Daily Telegraph ( see related links at the bottom of this post) wrote a story on  the Minster of State for the Department for International Development ( DFID)  Mr Alan Duncan's issuing a memo to his staff  from his private office to drop the use of jargon.

What I liked  about both stories was how both and Alan Duncan  both sportingly admitted their own grammar shortcomings and  allowed themselves  to be challenged and corrected . allowed Miriam Margolyes to interrupt his anecdotes or explanations every time he said ‘like’  when she interjected  “No dear , ii’s not  ‘like’ It’s  ‘is’ “. continued  to correct himself with humility. ( Don't so many of us have these  useless verbal mannerisms?)

Similarly DFID minister of state  (MOS )Alan Duncan openly finished his memo to his staff

“Disclaimer: MoS is always willing to be challenged about his judgement on grammatical standards and will not take offence at a properly reasoned opinion.”

Buzzwords and jargon are not a new phenomena. As you can see from this fun buzzword generator from the 1960s which would still work today - take a look and have a go at using it.

How to use this Buzzword Generator .
You can construct 'apparently' impressive  business speak sentences
 using one word from each of columns 1 ,2 and 3.
No-one will have the remotest idea what you are talking about
 but the important thing is they will never admit it
- except perhaps for Miriam Margolyes or Alan Duncan M.P.

Alan Duncan MP  issued a memo  last week accusing staff at the Department for International Development of damaging Britain’s worldwide reputation by using “language that the rest of the world doesn’t understand”.

Maybe Mr. Duncan’s civil servants don’t see themselves as internal salespeople or their boss as their customer but it is a similar ‘like’ situation – as might say!
Yet even the simplest of language
 can confuse as in the game of cricket

“ You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out.
When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out." ( to be continued)

 Mr. Duncan ‘s  feed back on his civil servants’ communication included

·         A preference that  we did not ‘leverage’ or ‘mainstream’ anything,

·           he is happy for economies to grow, he does not like it when we ‘grow economies

·         He  is not impressed with the loose and meaningless use of ‘going forward’, either at the beginning or the end of any sentence.

·         He has recommended that DFID  do not ever ‘access’, ‘catalyse’, ‘showcase’ or ‘impact’ anything.

·         He was depressed by reading about DFID’s work in ‘the humanitarian space’.”

·         “He would also prefer to meet someone than ‘meet with’ them.

·          A sentence which begins with ‘Grateful for your…’ would appear to be lacking the prefix ‘I would be…’.”

 “All our communication must be immediately explicable to the non-DFID reader. Clear language conveys clear thought. Its poor use suggests sloppy thinking.”

“It irks when nouns are used as verbs,

apostrophes are left off (or misplaced),

compound adjectives (such as UN-led) are not hyphenated,

and sentences are begun with ‘But’ or ‘However’.”

 Mr Duncan  explains he “finds it annoying when conjunctions such as ‘which’ or ‘that’ are inexplicably dropped in a way which ruins the flow and logic of a sentence. " and that "submissions should have a logical flow and not attempt to fill the page with every conceivable fact that can be retrieved by cut and paste.”

It concluded with further instruction on the type of letterhead that should be used, and the styling for how phone numbers are listed.
"Sometimes you get men still in and not
out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him
out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in."
( to be continued)
It  all reminds me of the film “ Life of Brian”. There is a  sketch of a Latin lesson. All about parsing and grammar Latin. Possibly  Mr Duncan  sees himself as a Roman Centurion / schoolmaster and his civil servants the beleaguered Brian!
You tube clip from life of Brian ( play and enjoy but please return in 4 mins!)
So what has this to do with Selling?
Simply put , our words in speech and written coomunication are under our Buyers' grammar and jargon microscope in  so many more communication channels than before.
10 key communiction channels that the TACK Buyers' views of salespoeple 2012 study has captured. The TACK Buyers views of Salespeople  includes respondents views on the quality of such channels by salespeople with Buyers is shorty to be published . For more information
Marketing Week  featured an editorial awhile back on new jargon:
 "While likeonomics might sound like jargon, it is an effective strategy when applied properly, so I'm pretty certain this is a word that will stick." the edtorial went. 
The  article ( written in April 1012 I think) mentioned other new terms are "SoLoMo" and "plussification".
"..There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and
they decide when the men who are in are out."  to be continued
 SoLoMo  blends the terms "social, local and mobile", so that customers who use a smartphone can be targeted with increasingly personalised marketing based on their location or social network profile.  e.g.  a commuter waiting for a train could be sent a voucher for the station cafe.
"Plussification" refers to the use of Google+ to boost the search engine rankings of content shared there.
 In selling we can all slip into jargon and sloppy grammar. Indeed some of the expressions from Alan Duncan’s memo like ‘going forward’ are trotted out in today's pitches.
"When both sides have been
in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice

after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that
is the end of the game." HOWSAT?!"

(Photo:The cricket teams for the match All Sainys Church ,Fulham
versus St Luke's Chelsea at Barnes Elms fields June 23rd 2012)
Alan Duncan's concern is that poor grammar and jargon from DFID endangered Britain’s worldwide reputation by using “language that the rest of the world doesn’t understand”.
The same danger  could be said for the reputation of professional selling. Time for us to rid ourselves of sales jargon and buzzwords - once again.

Related Links;
Daily Telegraph
Business Jargon Article in Daily Telegraph April

Information at TACK International

Other research studies by TACK International