Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Occupy’s persuasive selling acknowledged in part by Bank of England

As autumn leaves were falling in London's Euston Road last night, Andrew Haldane Executive Director of the Bank of England gave an address  about ‘socially useful banking ‘ .

The venue was the Quaker Friends Meeting House, well beyond the square mile of the financial district the ‘City’ and the 'Old Lady of Threadneedle Street' ( Bank of England) .

In his speech Mr Aldane used the Meeting House as a link with the origins of  the banks Lloyds and Barclays which have Quaker roots.

'Socially useful banking' Mr Aldane stressed is not only a question for the banks. It is a key issue for the UK as well.

 We have all felt the financial consequences of banks’ failings and failures.  Mr Aldane suggested two questions

1.       What do we want our banking system to do?

2.       How do we create that system?

October 2011 OccupyLSX Protest at the steps
of St Paul's Cathedral
 in London's City / Financial district
It is now over a year since the OccupyLSX movement  encamped outside the steps of  St Paul’s Cathedral  and sold their peaceful protest  through social and conventional media  to the public and policymakers.

 One year on, what has it achieved?

Some have suggested rather little, that Occupy’s voice has been loud but vague, long on the rhetoric  of problems,  and little to offer in terms of solutions.

Others have argued that the crevasses of the global financial system, which opened during the crisis, are basically unchanged and  that reform has failed.

Perhaps to the surprise of many Mr Aldane argues that this is wrong on both counts. He says that Occupy’s argument had been both loud and persuasive and that policymakers have listened and  are reforming.

He not only acknowledged Occupy’s moral case but also their analysis.

“For the hard-headed facts suggest that, at the heart of the global financial crisis, were and are problems of deep and rising inequality.”


Giant Monopoly Board Stunt at St Paul's October 2011
Mr Aldane suggested that the popular banker bashing of 'heads on sticks strategy' missed the key point.

 He considers that the crisis was not about individual greed and hubris but of a system with built-in incentives for self harm.

Mr Aldane chose to focus on the system - its structure, its leverage, its governance, the level and form of its remuneration, its (lack of) competition.

( He did not expand on the responsibilities of those who set the incentives of the systems , set up the structures, oversaw the governance but then maybe that’s a' heads on sticks' approach !)
Mr Aldane put forward a 5Cs solution Culture, Capital, Compensation,Credit and Competition.


For more detail on this 5 Cs model this link is for the pdf of the whole speech. Click here
Mr. Aldane cited Handelsbanken as evidence of competition - not yet a Barclays or a Lloyds but they may be the fastest-expanding bank in the UK at the moment.
 On average, they open a new branch – not a cost centre, a branch - every two weeks. Their business model is fascinating,( Quaker-even), in its orientation.
They offer only basic banking services, mortgages and small business loans, to people in a tight, locally-defined catchment area.
All credit decisions are taken locally by people, not centrally by a computer. No bonuses are paid and no-one has a sales-target. When the whole firm out-performs, a contribution is made to a pooled fund which is invested on employees’ behalf.
The fruits of success are distributed equally and gratification is deferred.
Challenging his audience Mr Aldane said

“If that sounds attractive, then it is down to us – not regulators, not politicians, you and I – to deliver it.

If as bank customers we want to change the culture of banking, then we should start by supporting those banks who are delivering that change. Putting your money where your mouth is would deliver far greater and more durable change than any amount of banker-bashing.”

He concluded his speech.
There is the quiet, but unmistakable, sound of a leaf being turned. If I am right and a new leaf is being turned, then Occupy will have played a key role in this fledgling financial reformation. You have put the arguments. You have helped win the debate. And policymakers, like me, will need your continuing support in delivering that radical change.”
Time will tell whether Mr. Aldane’s ‘ leaf’  being overturned will turn out to be a 'new leaf' for the financial sector or a 'fig leaf'.

Monday, 29 October 2012

007 steps of Selling Process in the Daniel Craig era Step 5 Answering Objections

James Bond has to overcome many objections and resistances in the course of his missions to achieve success.

He needs to know who is who in the baddy organisation. He needs to understand the psychology of his adversary and their motivations.

'M'  played by Dame Judi Dench
Today’s style of selling is less transactional than back in the day and a sales professional works in partnership.
This requires flexibility from salespeople.

Do you remember when Dame Judi Dench took on the role of 'M' ?. She had a great speech about change in process, values etc.

M:  You don't like me, Bond. You don't like my methods. You think I'm an accountant, a bean counter more interested in my numbers than your instincts.

James Bond ( Brosnan): The thought had occurred to me.

M:  Good. Because I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appeal to that young woman I sent to evaluate you.

James Bond:  Point taken.

M:  Not quite, 007. If you think for one moment I don't have the balls to send a man out to die, your instincts are dead wrong. I have no compunction about sending you to your death, but I won't do it on a whim, even with your cavalier attitude towards life
Bond has had to adapt to the obstacles and challenges he meets in different eras. Likewise sales professionals have to adapt to their changing business environments and different bosses.
Daniel Craig's Bond operates in today's  Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous VUCA worldHowever there is a trend of challenger selling or disruptive selling style which is seen appropriate when unseating an incumbent supplier.


·         In the selling of the 50s and Sixties ( the original  Ian Fleming James Bond novels and the Sean Connery era)  it was assumed that at this stage lots of objections would be raised, and this would be likely to occur, because the selling process was more transactional and prescriptive. However, successful modern selling now demands more initial understanding from the sales person. Pre-emption of resistance to your offer is better than cure.

·         Nevertheless objections do arise right up to our Daniel Craig's Bond   VUCA world, and they can often be handled constructively, which is the key. The most page views on this site is on handling objections are a testament to this.

·         Should objections arise, firstly you should qualify each one by reflecting back to the person who raised it, to establish the precise nature of the objection - "why do you say that?" , or better still, "what makes you say that?, is usually a good start. This can be soften by using the TED technique. ( Tell me why… explain to me what..)

·         it may be necessary to probe deeper to get to the real issue, by asking ‘why’ to a series of answers - mots objections result from misunderstandings and assumptions, and some are used to veil other misgivings  sometimes referred to as false objections which the sales person needs to expose. Quite often the Price objection is used by buyers to veil other misgivings or that perhaps they are not the final decision maker but may not have revealed this to you.
Photo taken from the steps of the Royal College of Music
Glass Porch roof at top of photo
007 staging for the World Premiere at the Royal Albert Hall

·         lots of objections are simply a request for more information. Simply ask and probe instead but in a conversational style; a good  approach is something like "I understand why that could be an issue, can I ask you to tell me more about why it is and what's important for you here?.."

·         try to avoid altogether the use of the word 'but' - it's inherently confrontational and its brothers and sisters Yes but…, No but…, OK but…, I take your point but…..

·         A conventional approach was to reflect back the objection as a re-phrasing one’s understanding of it., be careful not to be like the politician answering a question with a question. Avoid phrases like “ what your trying to say or I think what you are really saying is

·         the 'feel-felt-found' approach is still popular in overcoming objections: this is a response built around the words 'feel, felt ,found' elements:
For example "I understand how you feel/why you feel that...//Other clients at first have felt just the same/that...//But (or 'And') when... they have found that..." The method uses empathy in the 'feel'stage,, neutrality and group reference (shifting the issue away from personal confrontation) in  the ' felt 'stage , and then addresses the objection and reinforces the benefits using  majority evidence in ( found)stage, to persuade the buyer . You need case studies and references at the ready. This needs to be used subtly as so often in selling ,it not just what you say but how you say what you say.

·          the  approach is best to work with the prospect in first understanding what lies beneath each objection, and then working with the prospect to shape the proposition so that it fits more acceptably with what is required.
Set up of staging for the World Premiere of Skyfall.
Red Carpet up the staircase to the Royal Albert Hall
Aston Martin taking pride of place and no parking ticket for parking on staircase pavement !

·         avoid  arguments - even if you win them you'll damage the relationship you'll probably lose the sale! - instead you must enable a constructive discussion so that you and your prospect are both working at the problem together; provided your offer is sound most objections are usually overcome by both you and your buyer adjusting their positions slightly.

·         you've handled all the objections when you've covered everything that you've noted down - it's therefore important to keep notes and show that you're doing it


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Daniel Craig 'sells it' 007 steps of Selling Process Lock Down

Back in the day there was a simple selling formula ABC. It stood for
Always Be Closing
In today’s complex sale, the skill of closing is a series of lock downs within the overall sale of a  project is still important.

 For many movie goers the Opening sequence of a Bond movie is what sells the movie.

The opening sequence of the SKYFALL lasts around twelve minutes on screen.

 From Emmanuel Levy’s Cinema 24/7 site I read that the opening sequence took three months of rehearsals and two months of filming to produce.

 Stunt co-coordinator Gary Powell enlisted motocross champion Robbie Maddison, former Top Gear’s ‘Stig’ Ben Collins and British rally car champion Mark Higgins to his stunt team.

 It’s important to lock down the action step by step so my team can learn it like the back of their hand. After rehearsing for months on end, it gets ingrained in the memory, making it less likely to make mistakes,” says Powell.
Setting up for the World Premiere of Skyfall in
London's Prince Consort road
Reality beats 'virtual'

While stunt coordinator Powell appreciates the advance in digital technology and computer graphics, he prefers the action to be real.  Producer Michael G Wilson “All of us, Sam and Gary especially, felt that we need to push this movie as far as we could. And we’ve always relied on the fact that we do things for real in Bond movies, and that’s just the way it is.

 If it’s CGI, it’s just to help out, as opposed to creating the scene. Standing on top of a train, travelling at 50 kilometres per hour, fighting with Ola Rapace going over a bridge was probably a stand out moment.”

Lock Down their commitment

·         in contemporary selling,  using the SKYFALL  steps, every sales person's aim should be to prepare and conduct the selling process so well to pre-empt most objections

·         more often than not a simple and direct question is the  lead to the lightest of lock downs – like the last click of a lock
Prince Consort Road Blocked off by the Skyfall Premiere set
 at the foot of the Royal Albert  Hall Steps

 something like "Are you happy that we've covered everything ? Would you like to go ahead?". “Shall we get the paperwork underway ? “

·         the manner in which a sale is complete  will depend on the style of the decision-maker – look out for the buying signals and adapt to different buying personalities:

no-nonsense dominant introverts are likely to decide very quickly and may become  irritated if you leave matters hanging after they've indicated they're happy;

  submissive introverts e.g. some  technical people will want every detail covered and may need time to think, so don't rush them, but keep in touch and  ensure they have all the information they need;

amiable types may actually say yes before they're ready, in which case you need to ensure that everything is suitably covered so nothing can ricochet later

for some worked examples of closes click here for worked examples of closes


Producer Barbara Broccoli  “Daniel contributes a great deal to designing the action and the fights in particular and he’s the one who really pulls it off, because he wants to do as much of it as he possibly can.

We were in Turkey for the train sequence and I had my heart in my mouth the whole time; he and Ola were fighting on the roof of a moving train and the moves that they were doing were just heart stopping. Daniel’s the reason why the action works as well as it does because he sells it, he’s up there and I think audiences know that.”
An 007 fan outside the Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden London
When selling, we need to be 'up there' selling with the Daniel Craigs of 007 selling.
Good Selling !


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

....Twitter in the skies .

To Autumn

by John Keats 1795-1821

Mist on a Lake in Germany
 SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!

     Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

 Conspiring with him how to load and bless

     With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

Figs at Holland Park
 To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

     And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

         To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells


St. Mary Pillsdown Manor
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

 And still more, later flowers for the bees,

 Until they think warm days will never cease,

     For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.


Leaves in Holland Park
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

     Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

 Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

     Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Leaves on the lawn outside Belvedere Restaurant and Orangery
 Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,

     Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

         Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;

 And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

     Steady thy laden head across a brook;


Leaves on the Kyoto Garden Path
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

         Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

 Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

     Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

Tree at Holland Park
 While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

     And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

 Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

     Among the river sallows, borne aloft

         Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

From the formal Garden Holland Park
 And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

     Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

     The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;

         And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

007 steps of Selling Process 7 Steps of Selling inspired by James Bond

Reinventing your selling style to suit the times

Body Language and James Bond 007

The Challenger Seller 007 ‘s way


Keeping focused like 007

Some photos of the world premiere showing of Skyfall, the site of the first Bond Film  Premiere etc

The Venue for the World Premiere
of the new James Bond movie SKYFALL
I was lucky to snap this Double Decker bus with a Skyfall Movie poster passing by.

Now Rileys - Beleive it or not  Museum
this buidling was a Cinema back in 1962 -
 called The London Pavilion and hosted the premiere of the first James Bond film , Dr No.

Early fans pick their spot on the red carpet runway
 at the World Premiere of Skyfall
Queue of the fans srarting forming in Prince Consort Road before the runway and red carpet had been set up
An eye catching movie fan in the Queue in Prince Consort Road leading
to the steps of the Royal Albert Hall for the World Premiere of Skyfall

Daniel Craig Selling the Premiere Promise of Skyfall Step 7 Living the promise

Step 7 of the SKYFALL 007 selling process

Living the Promises of Skyfall

Like a  previous Olympic Champion the pressure is on Daniel Craig the current James Bond. You are only as good as your last movie.

The red carpet being laid for the
 World Premeiere of Skyfall
 makes the one at the
Cannes Film festiva look like a mat !
The show business hype, the interviews,walking the red carpet at the glamourous premiere at London's Royal Albert Hall count for nothing if the product does not live up to the promise.

Daniel Craig's Bond may stand on the shoulders of Connery,  Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan and Moore but a lot hangs on his broad shoulders.
So it is with our sale. We stand on the shoulders of sales people before us.

Do we live up to the promise of our offering?

Live up to your Promises

·         after-sales follow-up depends on the type of product and service, but generally for every sale the sales person must carry out a number of important processes:

·         all relevant paperwork must be completed and copies provided to the customer - paperwork is will cover the processing of the order, the confirmation of the order and its details to the customer, possibly the completion of installation and delivery specification and instructions

·         Sales reporting by the sales person is also necessary, generally on a pro-forma or computer screen, typically detailing the order value, product type and quantity, and details about the customer such as industrial sector - each sales organization stipulates the sales person's reporting requirements, and often these are linked to sales commissions and bonuses, etc.

·         The sales person should also make follow-up contact with the customer - as often as necessary - to confirm that the customer is happy with the way the order is being progressed; this helps reduce possible confusion and misunderstood expectations, which are a big cause of customer dissatisfaction or order cancellation if left to fester unresolved

·         Customer follow-up and problem resolution must always be the responsibility for the sales person, who should consider themselves the 'guardian' of that customer, even if a well-organised customer service exists for general after-sales care

·         Customers rightly hold sales people responsible for what happens after the sale is made, and good conscientious follow-up will usually be rewarded with referrals to other customers - this is also helpful for networking

·         Follow-up is an important indicator of integrity; when a sales person makes a sale he is personally endorsing the product and the company, so ensuring that value and satisfaction are fulfilled is an integral part of the modern sales function

Skyfall and Daniel Craig Selling Focus - Presentation

Prince Consort road in Kensington with its  historic buildings like the Royal College of Music and Imperial College  was cordoned off for the World Premiere  red carpet runway for Skyfalls's Daniel Craig et al and HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for one of the grandest and historic venues in London the Royal Albert Hall acting as a movie house for one night.
The new south door of London's Royal Albert Hall
makes an impressive podium  for the Skyfall World Premiere runway
with the lovely Autumn ( Fall) colours

Presentation is key to James Bond.

Mission content, eloquence and style.

So should our sales presentation have a touch of the 007 pizazz.

Step 4 of the SKYFALL 007 selling process 

FOCUS on your Presentation
Some of the props and costumes exhibited
 in the 50 years anniversary auction at Christies

·         Your sales presentation is best centred on  the added value your Unique Selling Proposition offers the client 

·         from the questioning phase the sales person will have teased out the circumstances, concerns, consequences and conclusions to what this is - the presentation should now centre on 'matching' the benefits of the product/services with the needs of the prospect so that the prospect is motivated by  the proposition

·         To progress to the next stage ,the sales presentation should demonstrate that the offer meets the prospect's both the wants and needs, priorities, constraints and motives

·         the above point becomes particularly  important to cover when the sales person has to present on more than one occasion to different people in buying teams, who will each have different personal and organisational agenda. The presentation will therefore be adapted to respond to different benefits (despite the core proposition and main perceived benefit remains consistent )

·         all sales presentations, whether  ad hoc elevator pitches or those as result of detailed preparation, should be well structured, clear and concise

·         sales presentations should attempt to meet the expectations of the listener in terms of the level of information and relevance to their own situation.

·         when presenting to influencers, it is important to recognise that the sales person is effectively asking the influencers to personally ‘sponsor’ the proposition and the credibility of the supplier and the sales person, so the influencers' needs in these areas are actually part of the strategic and tactical needs of the prospect organisation

·         the presentation should include relevant case studies, references from similar sectors and applications, facts and figures - all backing up the offer

·         business decision-makers buy when they become satisfied that the decision will either make them money, or reduce costs or time; they also need to be certain that the new product/service will be sustainable and reliable; therefore the presentation must be convincing in these areas
Props, costumes and posters auctioned at
Christies for the 50 years of Bond auction

·         while the presentation should always be weighted on the main perceived benefit, it is important to show flexibility that any other incidental requirements and constraints that arise are met if reasonable

·         use the language and style in your presentations  to your audience for example:-

·         technical people need technical evidence

·         sales and marketing people like to see flair and competitive advantage accruing for their own sales organisation

·         managing directors and finance directors want clear, concise benefits to costs, profits and operating efficiency;

 In general the more senior your contact, the less time you will have to make your point - scut the frills, keep to relevant hard facts and evidence

Should the you be invited to present to a large group and in great depth, then  enlist the help of one or two suitably experienced colleagues, from the appropriate functions,

 eg., technical, customer service, distribution, etc., in which case the sales person must ensure that these people are properly briefed and prepared, and the prospect  advised of their attendance.

·         keep control of the presentation, but do so in a relaxed way; if you don't know the answer to a question don't  ‘bull’ - say you don't know and promise to get back with an answer later, and ensure you do.

·         Don’t knock the competition - it undermines your credibility and integrity - don't even imply anything derogatory about the competition

·         if appropriate issue notes, or a copy of your presentation ( PowerPoint hand outs are often well received)

·         use  samples and demonstrations if relevant and helpful, and make sure they work !
Number plate prop for the submarine
 Lotus at the Christies Auction

·         during the presentation check for feedback, confirmation and agreement as to the relevance of what you are saying

·         invite questions at the end, if you are confident of controlling things at the outset invite questions at any time .

·         whether presenting one-to-one or to a buying team, keep a conversational  but business style .