Saturday, 27 April 2013

Aleksandr Orlov , Ansel Adams inspires Springtime 2013 Battersea Park Photos


A couples of weekendings ago I, Aleksandr Orlov -Arts aficionado take Mr. Hugh to Photo exhibition of Ansel Adams at National Maritimes Museum Greenwich London.

Visit got him inspired to take some more artsy-fartsy photos on a Springtime walk in Battersea Park, London
The reflection thing - not quite Yosemite Park !
Not quite Ansel Adams but beginning to get there

Reflections again but Mr Hugh likes the way the Power station chimneys confuse the reflection
 the white of gunwales of the rowing boats


Mr. Hugh liked the way the yellow and orange flowers 'resonate'
with the T shirt springtime sunbather on the grass

Well, there had to be a picture of dogs since it was Battersea.
These are Leonberger Dogs taking their afternoon constitutional with their master.

Apparently a Leonberger's temperament is Loyal, Companionable, Fearless, Obedient, Loving, Adaptable.

Not such a bad example for humans or meerkats for that matter.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Selling Demise

Who said “The art of persuasion depends on credible Euphemism.” ?

 I don’t know. I have just made it up.
I apologise if some great guru actually did or has said this but my quick search on Google has rendered a blank so I am claiming it as original for the moment.

The polite expression where words or phrases that might otherwise be considered rather  harsh or unpleasant  for the customer to hear is known as  Euphemisms.

 We use them a lot in front line selling and customer care to break the bad news or to play down disadvantages of an offer and emphasise the benefits on offere to the customer.

What causes uproar is their use in a ham-fisted way. Certainly the recent press release from  HSBC using the word ‘demise’ has got people much exercised.

“… The integration of advisers means the role of financial advisers will be demised. The proposals also require the role of HSBC’s Premier relationship managers to be diploma qualified. As a consequence the bank will be demising the roles of 914 relationship managers who do not give financial advice…….”

It does of course take courage to say a ‘job cut ‘in straight forward English.

One doubts Lord Alan Sugar would beat around the bush, firing someone in the Apprentice TV show or in his real business using the D-word. Back on our screens  Starting May7th Series 9 The Apprentice

Having your job cut  or being warned of redundancy is a nasty message to both give or receive but it is definitely worsened by clumsy  management speak and jargon.

In additon condescending reminders that one is now free to "pursue other interests" and "spend more time with the family etc". places a positive spin more for the benefit of the sack-er than the sack-ee.

The banks are currently working hard to build back trust through both their actions and words

It seems hard to distance oneself from corporate jargon it :-

For example Antony Jenkins, the bank’s chief executive of Barclays

  “I want to de-layer the organisation – creating a closer day-to-day relationship and clearer line of sight for myself into the business. We will organise our activity into more clearly delineated client-focused product sets.”

Banks are facing a struggle to regain trust. But the world at large is hardly going to believe that banks mean what they say if it's impossible to understand what banks mean when they say it.

Yet of course mankind has been sugar coating its language from earliest times because it is found to be effective if well done.

I remember once listening to a sales presentation from a food flavouring company where the speaker used the description ‘nature identical’ food flavouring . It was all so convincing. It was not until some time later that I realised he was talking about artificial flavourings - isomers of the natural occurring compounds!

Similarly I remember passing a stand at the Farnborough Air show where the Exocet missile was described in the blurb as ‘ field tested’ which of course meant used to kill in a real war.

 What makes a  euphemism acceptable is a rather subjective matter. So I guess it is easier to describe what a cheesy euphemism sounds or reads like.  It tries too hard , is unsubtle and sounds inauthentic.

Effective euphemism is a craft we all need to develop and keep up to date.
 Since yesterday’s subtle euphemism becomes tomorrow’s corny cliché resulting in selling’s demise.

Further reading and Links

From my bookshelf recommend :-

Francis Wheen’s “How mumbo-jumbo conquered the world” – ISBN 0-00-714097-5  2004

Don Watson’s “Gobbledygook” – ISBN 1-84354-359-1  2004

Unspeak™ by Steven Poole –ISBN 0-316-73100-5   2006

Words that work Frank Luntz Hyperion ISBN 1-4013-0308-0
It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear 2007

Monday, 22 April 2013

10 tips to increase the number of meaningful contacts

If you are out and about with your smart phone and

you want tapas sized selling tips to go

,drop into the "The Tapas Bar".

Each post in the "The Tapas Bar" is less than 250 words.

(If you need genuine Tapas eat at Tapas Revolution
, Westfield, West London @tapasrevolution

 No. 2

How to increase the number of meaningful  sales contacts

Are you are after more meaningful contacts in your selling ?

I doubt there are any are surprises below but just ask yourself

When was the last time you actually

1.       …exchanged cards and given the other person two cards. One for them and a spare for them to pass on to other influencers or decision makers in their company? ( More decisions  today are made by groups of people)

2.      …pro-actively used  social media, followed their twitter, liked their posts, shared their posts, recommended their posts?

3.      …connected others other to others with no immediate benefit to you? (What goes round comes around)

4.      …used your institute /club membership to meet more folk ? ( So often  subscriptions are not renewed because we never made enough use of memberships)

5.      …get a prospect to draw their company organisation chart on a plain sheet of paper ? amazing what extra information this bring to you.

6.      …ask for an organogram / organisation chart of the client company ? this often can indicate corporate culture particularly if the prospect says it does not fully explain how things work in their company !

7.      … used Linked In for an introduction ? - working the degrees of separation ( connection principle.

8.      …saw this thought of you ? ( Send a link, a news cutting to a client /prospect on a subject you reckon they will be interested in) - the law of reciprocity will work to your favour over time.

9.      …..who else should I be seeing ? ( One of the most productive questions to ask if you remember to keep on asking it) You might like to precede the question with "Apart from yourself, who else...."

10.   …you did not have a business card on you ?  It can happen ! So keep a small stock on your wallet /handbag /travel card holder at all times.

Related Links -  "Bistro "level of detail on topics  longer posts.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sales Networking charming your prospect birds out from the trees

Learning to Charm the birds out of the trees

Click here for the robin singing
robin in a holly tree in Cremorne gardens Chelsea Embankment ,London

Spring has eventually come to London this year. The trees of the streets are bursting with pretty blossom.

You can hear the birds twittering but it takes a while to spot them in among the branches of the trees.

Once spotted you need to keep still in order to capture them with the click of the camera shutter.

The zoom on my Fujifilm was just enough to capture this robin and record its song on my you tube channel.

The skill in capturing birds on film got me thinking that it is quite a similar activity to what we do at networking events. We are quasi bird catchers.

The character Papageno in Mozart’s Opera The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflote) is a bird catcher.

 He charms the birds with his pan pipes and magical bells.

As networkers it is your challenge to charm your birds from your networking branches into your cage.

Perhaps you could envision in your mind , your business card capture or sales leads  as the birds for our  networking cage.

Poster for the current production of Mozart's "Magic Flute"
 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
In your networking aviary you may encounter a number of different avian  personalities perhaps rather more exotic than robins !

This a playful set of descriptions not to be taken too seriously but then again you might encounter them...

Avoid the social side of networking.  Ostriches are there but don’t want to join in. They will not approach you, but can still be valuable if you can manage to get their heads out of the sand !
Know who they want to speak to. Spot their victims from a distance and swoop fast when the opportunity arises !

Owls are wise but silent. They listen much more than they talk but they usually get the information they need.


They provide quantity of noise rather than quality! These birds can be difficult to get away from although sometimes attractive and amusing.


Kookaburras birds are also known as ‘laughing jackasses’. This is a good description of their contribution !


Clever, high profile and aggressive. 

In the classic film The Birds  Seagulls provide the terror for film director  Alfred Hitchcock .

 Their aggressiveness  takes over any conversation or person they feel will be useful to them and push smaller birds out of their way.


Confident, assertive, far sighted.  Eagles prepare well and survey the scene carefully, make intelligent decisions, and with carefully executed manoeuvres catch their prey.
Introductions, referrals, recommendations and ‘word of mouth advertising’ are the most effective, and most cost-effective, methods of new business acquisition in many markets.

Although salespeople cannot directly control them, or guarantee them, you can greatly increase your chances of benefiting from all of them by successful networking.

Good Luck and Good selling my fellow P-P-Papagenos and P-P-Papagenas

Papegeno and Papagena duet You Tube clip

The maestro at work:
Aleksandr charming Nina at a Southwest
London Business Biscotii meeting

Blackbird singing in a London Street SW6

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

How to work the room at Networking Events

If you are out and about with your smart phone and

you want tapas sized selling tips to go

,drop into the "The Tapas Bar".

Each post in the "The Tapas Bar" is less than 250 words.

(If you need  genuine Tapas eat at Tapas Revolution
, Westfield, West London @tapasrevolution

How to work the room at Networking Events


·         Always carry business cards with you and make notes on the cards you collect to jog your memory when following up with a contact you have met.

·         Remember the focus of networking is to establish mutual interest and build connections.

·         Paradoxically everybody at a networking event wants to sell. Yet successful networking requires you to buy as well as sell, to share information as well as gather it

·         Remember that networking like much in marketing is not a quick fix but part of a longer term strategy.

·         Try to select those events that will attract your customers or people they want to get to know.

·         You need time to build trust and cultivate relationships before a prospect can be converted into a sale.

·         The more networking events you attend the more likely you will build up relationships and gain visibility.


·         Listen to other people’s needs with the aim to help.

·         Express succinctly what your organisation offers.

·         Don’t spend too much time with one person.

·         Aim to spend 70% of your time with people you don not already know.


·         Keep up the momentum by following up your contacts you have made within 24hrs.

·         Tailor each follow up highlighting  your conversation at the event

·         If you didn’t get the chance to meet a particular person why not drop them a line after the event ( remember that they may have been on the list but did not attend)


For real tapas Aleksandr recommennds @tapasrevolution

Need a bigger meal?

Related links with more detail

A simple 5 stage approach to networking 

Aleksandr saysTapas is a great way to meet interestings people
 and have nice chats
'My new friends are experts in the risk assurance world.'

Thursday, 11 April 2013

ROI from sales networking - Stacking up sales from networking events

Aleksandr Orlov freeloading at the Business Biscotti event at
  Gloucester Road  Casino, London
He networks everywhere !
We had a really good time at the South West London Business Biscotti meeting  April 10th .
We celebrated its first year so now  it's onwards and upwards to its second year of being ( hence the modified card see photo left).
Not only were there Biscotti  biscuits with the coffee  and refreshments but a lovely slice of Birthday cake for members attending at the Gloucester Road Casino !

Talking with a number of fellow Biscottiers it was interesting to find out how  they use such networking clubs  to help develop their businesses.

I'm sure you attend several networking events, the same as I do and find that you can spend a great deal of time with people who don't necessarily operate in the same business space that you do.

The skill is to find the right events to attend; although this sounds obvious, it isn't easy  there are no instant results.

We meet several people and collect a lot of business cards.

What is the best next step ?

I have adapted and developed a system for following up  which is comprehensive and you probably do some of it anyway.

This is simply a structured way you might find works for you also.

As with many business clubs you get out of it what you put into it.

Some of the folk I met Business Biscotti were experienced net workers ( dare  I say serial networkers) ,one or two were new to the whole process of networking and it got me to think about how fellow sales professionals follow up networking events but also with following up exhibition stand visitors and seminars etc. - so I share these with you.
I have a adapted a process from the classic "Get Clients Now!"™ by C.J. Hayden but also updated with social media approaches etc focused more for the UK market.
Prototype for my Nifty Networking ROI tool
The approach is to sort out your leads in various stacks

e.g. Prospects which you grade into hot, warm and cold leads.

Another stack consists of cards with which you can see no direct link. The  actions just prompts you by asking what can you do for them as a fellow net worker?

Experienced and effective net workers will also act as active sites for others to connect as well.

Hard sell pitching turns most people off at such events.

Often the  universality of the norm of reciprocity * (see below) repays your kindness and they help you connect with the people you would like to meet.

 We feel obligated to repay others what we have received from them. The norm drives us towards fairness in our everyday social interaction, our business dealings and our close relationships, and it helps build trust with others
And then a stack for directly useful contacts to be split between leads to clients and marketing opportunities.

Cards sorted out for action using the nifty
 networking ROI tool prototype
I have made an A4 landscape version of the flow chart which makes for a useful administration tool as the various boxes are about the same size as a business card.
I am trialing a prototype with fellow biscottiers and getting their feedback for the final version.
If you would like to try out one, Nina Tujak ambassador at Business Biscotti South West London has a pdf version or you can get one from me. ( I need to learn how to place a download button of a pdf on Blogger any help on this would be appreciated in the cooments box)

I have nicknamed it the nifty networking ROI tool

Further reading
  *  Norm of reciprocity - Ch 9 of Yes 
 by Golstein, Martin and Cialdini ISBN 978-184668-016-8  also Regan Coke can study by D.Regan 1971  'Effects of a favour and liking on compliance' Journal of Experimental Social psychology 7:627-39

Since social epidemics have a role to play in networking a re-reading of
 the Tipping Point
- by  Malcolm Gladwell  ISBN 0-349-11346-7 especially Ch 2 The law of the few

Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen p30 -88 is worth it

Related Links

Business Biscotti

Marie Cure cancer care

15 key things to find out while networking

Are netwoking clubs worth the bother for salespeople

The 5 stages of networking at Sales networking events

Monday, 8 April 2013

Advertising effectiveness Selling short and long term campaign Swings and roundabouts

What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts

- the positive and negative results of a situation or action balance each other.

Carter's steam  fair at Eel brook Common, Fulham
This way of thinking is often raised in the tension between  arguments for short term and long term marketing campaigns. It turns out that the best balance is not exactly 50:50.

Lawrence Green in his think tank marketing piece in Sunday Telegraph’s Business section 7th April 2013 considered the end game where client/ agency relationships are properly tested . It is where soft ideas meet hard opinion.

The challenges to an advertising  creative presentation could well include :-

1.       Will it work ?

2.       How will it work – How exactly will it work ?

3.       When will it work ?

No 3. Particularly focuses on short term and long term marketing plans

Carter's Fair at Eel Brook Common
At the current stage of the economic cycle marketers are increasingly asked to drive for short term sales yet expected to be good custodians of  the brand.

A new book to be published next month Advertising effectiveness  - the long and the short of it weighs up short term and long term campaigns. The authors Les  Binet and Peter  Field studied the sales and profit performance of 1000 advertising campaigns over the last 30 years.

According to Green they conclude that long-term campaigns secure the biggest payback for advertisers and that the sum of a series of short term campaigns falls appreciably short of the total gain of the long-term investor.

Short term campaigns can generate sales it is true but driving volume is not usually enough for advertising to pay back because price effects typically make up more of a contribution than pure sales to brand profitability.

Price effects are the most important thing brand building can do but take time to come through often 3-5 years.

Put simply Profitable Growth will always take time and over hasty expectations will be disappointed.

Short term initiatives can even harm long-term return on marketing investment. This is due to the fact that strategies that maximise short term effectiveness e.g. a price promotion to trigger behavioural change will typically harm long term effectiveness by increasing the brand’s price sensitivity.

Carter's Steam Fair Eel Brook Common
On the other hand an unremitting focus on long term creation of brand equity  will have least effect on short-term sales.

So the authors propose

1.       Priority your brand equity plan since it is the source of profitable growth. Commit 60%  of your marketing budget to this and keep your nerve.

2.       Find short term activations that flow from that brand idea rather than undermine it. Commit 40% of your budget to ‘milking’ of brand equity. Expect immediate but not persistent  or profound results

Enjoy the fun of the fair fellow marketers

Good Selling

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ply for hire - Selling the Hackney Carriage way

One of the ‘cries of London’ that I guess has been heard every day for nearly 400 years has been members of the public hailing a taxi.

The first documented 'hackney coach'—the forerunner of the more generic 'hackney carriage'—operated in London in 1621.

April 7th 2013 saw a cabalcade drive in convoy from Chelsea Harbour to Marble Arch.


I guess cabalcade is a  good collective noun for this wonderful collection that the LVTA put on display in London. The reason for the event was to celebrate

The FX4 is for me the classic Black Cab. Whilst the majority are black, there is in fact no requirement for them, or indeed any other make of London taxi to be black. Over the years, the FX4 has been sold under a number of different makers' names.

London Cab drivers are a special breed among salespeople in that the description of the sale is  to “ply for hire”

"Ply", being an abbreviation of the verb  to "apply", meaning "to apply, work busily at", and in that sense "ply one's trade" was once used of any kind of  selling occupation. "Ply for hire" is still a technical term in the UK, used in taxi licensing regulations, etc.

To 'ply for hire' means the driver is making their taxi available for hire, by waiting on a taxi rank, or driving, or waiting in the streets in an empty taxi, usually with a 'for hire' light on that indicates they are available to be hired. When a taxi is 'plying for hire', it means they can be hailed ('flagged' or waved down - to a halt in other words) by a hirer

Outside the offices of Frost and Sullivan is one of those distinctive Green huts – a cabman’s shelter in Grosvenor Gardens.

I laid in wait for the arrival of the cabalcade  on their way to Marble Arch. Much like the various kinds of sales people such as agents, franchisers, direct employ etc. so there is in the cab trade.

‘Musher’s own their own cab . As well as all the licensing and certification and regulations cab drivers have to pass a very tough exam called the “ Knowledge”.

Those have recently passed the test are known as butter boys ( and no doubt now butter ladies)

Many black cabs have a turning circle of only 25 ft (8 m).

 One reason for this is the road configuration of the  Savoy Hotel: The hotel entrance's tight roundabout means that vehicles needed the small turning circle in order to navigate it.

 That requirement became the legally required turning circles for all London cabs, while the custom of a passenger's sitting on the right, behind the driver, provided a reason for the right-hand traffic in Savoy Court, allowing hotel patrons to board and alight from the driver's side

The cab has had many incarnations over the years in London, the FX4 merely one of many.

For sure we will continue to hail them on the street, we can dial a cab and even hail them via an app.

Related links

Dial a cab