Tuesday, 26 November 2013


In the classic 1949 play ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller the hero Willie Loman’s cry of desperate despair in being made redundant after a long selling life of hard graft is

You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away – a man is not a piece of fruit.”

Negotiation specialist Clive Rich uses the analogy of an orange in a more creative way.

Remember to negotiate the whole package
Peel and all !

He tells a story of an orange on a kitchen table. Opposite each other across the table are two elderly sisters. Both desire the orange. The orange is cut in half and shared. 

Clive Rich’s clever twist on the story is to explain this was not the best result for either sister, since one wanted to eat the orange segments and the other the peel for a cake.

The moral being, if they had been better negotiators they would have been better satisfied.

here are some tips to be a better negotiator:-

·         Prepare and do your home work.  Setting Objectives and Preparation

·         Will the atmosphere be warm, cool, hostile or even playful? How will you adapt your negotiating style.

·         Are you dealing with the decision maker?

·         Are they relaxed or nervous?   Reading Body language

·         Are they trustworthy?      Selling ? Buying ? TRUST

·         Do you really know the strength of your position?

·         What is your  contingency plan  if the negotiations drag on or fail?


Think of the peel as your negotiating variables
 - little cost to you great value to them
  It’s not always about Price. You may want the orange –they may want the peel.  Peels could be flexibility on timing, level of guarantees etc

·         Don’t bluff or lie. In the long rung being deceptive usually back fires

·         Be the first to make an offer. If you go first get to set the agenda, tone and your stake in the ground.

·         Use more assertive words like “I want” or “I require” rather than “I prefer” but make your first offer reasonable.

There are a number of skills in Negotiation that Selling shares but they are not necessarily the same process.

Better negotiating skills means “your future is Orange” . ( Other mobile network providers are available ! J )

Related Links

Idea for post prompted by Richard Farleigh's column in City AM Monday 25th November

Monday, 25 November 2013

Who knows how to sell – regenerative selling

As melancholy Jaques might have said
“One part in its time plays many men*” 
As You Like It in 2013

Like playing the character of Prince Hamlet on the stage, James Bond on screen or Dr Who on the TV, the actors of these brand icons have all had to make their mark and claim the part  “their own”.
They have had to find something ‘new’ in the role and sell it.
With Hamlet the actor is restricted to the script supplied by William Shakespeare. Bond can be flexed a little more yet the spirit of Ian Fleming’s original should be evident but with Dr Who, regeneration allows the actors ( and writers) much more freedom.
Yet the Doctors must be ‘bought into’ by the viewers and in particular Whovians who know as much, if not more about the details of the worlds the Doctor travels.
“The Day of the Doctor” was broadcast last Saturday included 3 D screening in more than 1500 cinemas in 94 countries at the same time as it aired on BBC  TV One on Saturday night – it earned a Guinness World Record as "the world's largest ever simulcast of a TV drama".
The parallel universe of challenges in selling
 The actors have had to ‘sell’ their interpretation to their employers the BBC production team, and the viewing customers of fifty years.
Like salespeople they need to draw on some common attributes, skills and knowledge of the role, the market their competition
They have had to differentiate their offering to viewers ( existing customer base) familiar and comfortable with a previous player.
They have had to battle not only with Daleks, Cyber men and the like but those fans resistant against change.

The later Doctors have had to sell the character to customers who are more  often more expert than themselves such as  the Whovians .
 Today’s sales people .They have need to refresh the product, indeed the brand of Dr Who .
The writers, like many successful science fiction writers have also reflected story lines that relate to concerns to the times of current audiences even though the stories take place in far off lands..
Yet the product has always been about human traits of personality, morals and ethics.
There is no such thing as a typical salesperson as there there has been no typical Dr Who.

The Human Condition is unaltered
Consider the human traits of the various incarnations of the role.
William Hartnell : Mysterious, sometimes scary, wise yet otherworldly.
Peter Troughton    Eccentric Bumbling scruffy and affable .
John Pertwee    dandyish and elegant even in a crisis, he was a dab hand at Venusian Aikido and had an aura of  authority. An expert in handling objections
Tom Baker jelly baby aficionado, weird , dangerous and unpredictable and further regenerated into a museum curator
Peter Davison cricket loving friendly, accessible, charming, calm with a true sense of moral indignation.
Colin Baker who we were not meant to like for his arrogance  we were not meant to like yet grew on us.
Sylvester McCoy  Mysterious, wise and terribly sad
Paul McGann wild, energetic, heroic
Christopher Eccelston ‘normal’ looking Time Lord, played the role with an alien intensity, dangerous manic gleam and virile dynamism
David Tennant made us laugh but also delivered plenty of tear-jerking moments
Matt Smith crossed character both comic and tragic and back again. From physical slapstick and romantic smoulder to sheer existential angst.
As a study of branding human condition the players of the Dr Who role  make an interesting study and give encouragement to all in selling who wonder to how to sell themselves in an ever changing market. – fellow travellers in time and space.


* When oh when will Dr Who be a woman?  Selling has been ahead of the Dr Who brand for years

Related Links

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Selling to yourself first is the best Sellfie – developing a positive mental attitude for selling PMA

To Selfie or Sellfie ? that is the question

“The word of 2013”, according to the Oxford Dictionary ( On-line) is SELFIE.

It should not be too much of a surprise to us all, yet we may not all feel quite so comfortable about it. It does rather smack of our very human vanity.

Imagine for a moment that you are observing people at the party after a wedding ceremony. The photographer has already developed the first prints and displayed their portfolio on a table in the vestibule at the entrance to the wedding banquet room.

As the guests approach the table of photographs before entering the dining room, you might see them perusing the gallery of photos with puzzled expressions. Soon  you might notoce that instant relief which comes over their faces as they find a photograph where they recognise themselves wearing that “Hat” “ ‘Coat”, or with those ‘Shoes’ and “Gloves”” !.

Of course some of them deftly disguise this instinctive behaviour like a skilled conjuror by distracting your observing eye by swiftly gesturing to another part of the photograph or even another photograph “Oh  doesn’t the bride look beautiful”, or “ the groom look handsome?

But when you think back and consider, you realise that the first look they made was for themselves.

Looking out for No. 1

It’s human nature; we are number one in the photograph

I guess even in that now famous selfie of the Holy Father with the youngsters , the young folk would have looked for their own face first ,wanting to ensure they were captured in the company of the famous Pope Francis. Perhaps even the Pope himself looked for himself in the first fractions of a second as he looked at the selfie.

Such instant portraiture can be subsequently edited or airbrushed. Few of us have Oliver Cromwell’s courage and honesty to be painted ‘warts and all’.

Yet for professional salespeople taking a long, hard and  honest look at oneself is an important self discipline – arguably it should be done daily.

The reason for this is that the first sale one makes, is to oneself.

 For this you need to develop a positive mental attitude.

First thing in the morning you may wish to use an ‘old skool’ selfie  in the form of a bathroom mirror.

As you look at the bathroom mirror of a morning, look at the face and ask how excited it looks about it’s day’s work and what it will offer to the market?

Is it the face of one who is rearing to go because you’re totally confident that what you have to say/offer is something of great value that your clients need or want?

Or does that morning face look back at you like one expressing  just another day and, at some point, you’re going to have to try to convince some people that what you have to say/offer is something they need?

The difference between those two different attitudes/perspectives is significant.

Those with high PMA usually get to enjoy all the rewards that are earned by those who lead their field, while those in the other camp usually tend to struggle and wonder why they can’t achieve what the winners in the sales team are achieving.

One solution to this problem is to practise “The first sale is to yourself.” A “Sellfie” if you like

SEllFIE  PITCHIE -Your Daily Selling Credo

 What this means  is that you  begin EVERY DAY with the deep rooted belief that you have value to bring to your customers.

In other words, if you don’t wake up feeling this way, your  number one task is to “sell to yourself”  what you have (or your company has) to offer the market.—that you have something of great value that you would be remiss if you didn’t offer to others.

When you really believe this to the core of your being, it’s amazing how that changes everything

As the late Steve Jobs of Apple once wrote :-

““For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

That first sale of the day

  • isn’t about a sales technique.

  • isn’t about a sales process.

  • isn’t about a new tactic or strategy.

 but it is about what goes on in your head.

 And once you have “sold” it to yourself, it makes it infinitely easier to “sell” it to others.

How’s it going today?

How are you doing on this?

 Are you totally convinced day after day that what you have to say/offer is something of great value that the clients in your target market really need/want—and that if you don’t offer it, they’ll be at a loss?

If not, and you’d like to do a better job of making the first sale to yourself, here’s an idea you might try.

Create a “My Daily First Sale Pitch,” for yourself? In other words, instead of writing a sales script to sell one of your products or services, why don’t you create a sales script to sell you on you?

For example, you might start with a line like this.

“The people in my target market will want to listen to what I have to say (or want to buy what I have to offer) because of …”

Then write a long list of reasons why you (or your company) are the perfect match for the people in your target market (a minimum of 10 reasons, but 20 to 30 are better).

For more ideas on this see  the link at end of this post.

Make this your affirmation list. Boost yourself up. Be your own greatest advocate!

And keep working on it until when you read it you think, “Anyone would be bonkers not to use me (or my company).”

Finally, if you want to get the most from this, Read your list every morning (hence the title, “My Daily First Sale Pitch”) until it sinks in and you really believe it to the core of your being.


 Because if you do, you’ll find that a month or two from now, you’ll be in a radically better place.

 Because the first sale is always to yourself.

So take an imaginary sellfie each morning and make the first sell of the day to yourself.
Focus on what is important
Capture the good times
Develop from the negatives

And if things don’t work
Take another shot

 And who knows , maybe the #Sellfie or #Pitchie will be a future contender for the Oxford Dictionary’s  word of the year !

Related links


Friday, 15 November 2013

4 tips for better Email tone

 We may all be sending many more emails than our predecessors sent letters back in the day, but this increased volume of communication has lead to more misunderstandings in what we type.

Due to the lack of face to face it is easy to misinterpret emails.

Here are 4 useful tips to reduce such misunderstandings

a.      Never reply immediately if the email causes strong (negative) emotions. You don’t have to sleep on it but give it a few hours.

b.   Beware forwarding emails
·         that contain jokes,
·         asides
·         or personal comments.

c.    Re-read your responses, particularly to emotionally charged emails at least once.

d.   Realise and accept  that not all emails get delivered.

Q:      “What is the value of avoiding just one misunderstanding?”

A:        “Well that is like trying to determine the value of a single light bulb.

Unlit it has little value.

Lit it can illuminate a room.

And one illuminated room occupied by one creative person can change the world! “

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

Thursday, 14 November 2013

6 tips to make your Emails sell

An exercise delegates find very helpful on courses is to email a sales email to me. For example the sort of email that follows up a sales meeting with a buyer is a good example.

The next morning the course looks at my  unopened in box as a customer would. The first thing that becomes apparent is that what you write in the subject box is critical.

It needs to stand out from the mass of  and other selling emails and internal emails.

            Tip 1 – Make the Subject Box ‘Sing’

Your Subject Box needs to be meaningful, clear and succinct for your reader.

 Make sure to include a key word that the buyer or their colleague is likely to use as a when searching

 e.g.Your Company name, Product, Problem or Issue to be solved.

Some find the use of <chevrons>  helps to make words stand out. Clearly it is not advisable to overuse this technique.

Tip 2 – Tie in others involved in the decision making process

Copy in other decision influencers and makers

Tip 3 – Use a business related conversational tone

Address them as they address you. First name or Title

Tip 4 - KISS

Keep your email brief

Keep It Simple Salesperson

Tip 5 – Motivate your reader

Check whether your email attracts attention, stimulates interest, creates desire and asks for an action of the recipient.


Tip 6 – Make it easy on the eye

If there is a more than half a page/ screen of text consider using  an attachment but have some action point in the body of your email referring to specifics in the attachment.

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

10 Enduring Lessons of Snail mail for Selling emails

  • Whatever the long term future of the Royal Mail following its sale , will the art of letter writing disappear?

Author Simon Garfield’s  timely retrospective on the dying craft of letter writing 
To the Letter: A Journey Through a Vanishing World by Simon Garfield  published by Canongate might prove an interesting diversion for sales professionals who still correspond by email.

Back in the day snail mail was weighed in Imperial units Oz !
Although the focus of his book concerns personal correspondence most of these 'lessons' still have worth for our work emails and business communication

1.   Keep it brief, make it simple.
2.   Write as you speak
3.    Don't be afraid to grovel.
4.    Be spontaneous, be free.
5.    Tell it like it is.
6.    Write back swiftly, but carefully
7.     Think before your post
8.     Be more polite than you really want to be
9.     Don't forget the paper clip.
10.    What of those who can write but don’t

 He has researched some great quotes from the long history of letter writing.

For example Artemon, the editor of Aristotle's letters, maintained that 

"a letter should be written in the same manner as a dialogue".

A Latin tract dated  of 2000 years ago advised a  letter should be "restricted" 

"Those that are too long, not to mention too inflated in style, are not in any true sense letters at all but treatises." 

Graceful and Plain 

Correspondents were advised to be both graceful and plain.

"A letter's aim is to express friendship briefly and set out a simple subject in simple terms. The man who utters sententious maxims and exhortations seems to be no longer chatting in a letter but preaching from the pulpit."

 Author of a writing manual one Hugh of Bologna  to another scribe  12th Century suggests the the advantages of good letter writing skills :-
"the uneducated are immediately cultivated, the stutterers are immediately eloquent,
the dull-witted are immediately enlightened,
the twisted are immediately made straight".

How long will the public  red letter post last?

French 16th Century essayist Michel de Montaigne suggested that formality spelled death to authentic correspondence.

 He mistrusted letters that "have no other substance than a fine contexture of courteous words"

Montaigne really would have loved email suggests Simon Garfield, not least our growing tendency to dispense with formal greetings and endings. 

Fine edges and prefaces :

"The letters of this age consist more in fine edges and prefaces than in matter,"  de Montaigne argued. And for the closing niceties,

 "I would with all my heart transfer it to another hand to add those long harangues, offers, and prayers that we place at the bottom, and should be glad that some new custom would discharge us of that trouble"


In 1686, Philip, second Earl of Chesterfield, wrote a book of instruction for his eldest daughter.
Some of it concerned the layout of a letter ("If you write to a Queen, begin your first line within three fingers breadth of the bottom of the paper"), but there was also advice we may heed today. 

He advised his daughter to carefully re-read what she had written before sending it, checking her spelling with a dictionary and making sure not to repeat words. But above all be prompt. 

"It is a very great incivilitie not to answer all the letters we do receive, except they come from our servants or very mean persons."

Lewis Carroll in 1888 

•            " If you have written anything that may offend, put the letter aside for a day and then read it as if you were the recipient," he wrote. "This will often lead to your writing it all over again, taking out a lot of the vinegar and pepper, and putting in honey instead"
•             if your correspondent makes a severe remark, either ignore it or soften your response
•             if your friend is friendly, make your reply ever friendlier

Sorry forgot the attachment !

If you write that you're enclosing a cheque or someone else's letter, "leave off writing for a moment - go and get the document referred to - and put it into the envelope. Otherwise, you are pretty certain to find it lying about, after the post has gone!" 

For "cheque" read "email attachment".

In All The Year Round, the Victorian journal "conducted" by Charles Dickens, a contributor wrote a letter-writing guide that contained the one nugget common to almost all the guides that had preceded it - write legibly. 

But what of those who can write but don't?

"This is more generally the fault of young people, and arises chiefly from thoughtless selfishness. Their thoughts and their time are engrossed with their own pleasures and pursuits. It is more amusing and interesting to write to young people of their own age than to write duty letters to parents and relatives."
"Do these terrible people not write at all? "

"A shabby, ill-considered, stilted letter is written at wide intervals to those whose whole life has been spent in their service, while folios of trash are lavished on bosom friends to whom they owe no duty whatsoever."

Enclosing / Attaching a free gift     PS If all else fails, send a bike !

In 1938 in China, and its authors were Chen Kwan Yi and Whang Shih.

For a promotion in the legal profession, 

 "Sir, I learn with pleasure that you have been admitted to the bar and have established yourself in private chambers. Please accept the accompanying bicycle as a slight token of my wishes for your future success."

This gifting advice has a modern equivalent in the form of  e-cards and text emoticons writes Simon Garfield.

Mr Garfield's book will fill quite  a few stockings this Christmas

Related links

Selling eloquence book review

Selling Eloquence – Book Review

The Elements of Eloquence – How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase

Title of Book:            The Elements of Eloquence

Author            Mark Forsyth

Publisher       Icon

ISBN               978-184831-621-8

 Rating 4 ****        A page turner,  easy on the mind and a fun read

Genre:             Entertaining Educative

Style:              Well written and detailed but easy to read

Contents page:      39 short Chapters

Index:           None ! This is huge pity. The  editor should consider this for subsequent editions

Flick through eye appeal:    Easy entertaining and witty read but really has to be read in sequence

Time for a breather Stops :  Take a break at each end of chapter, mark up with pencil and reflect - maybe create own index on back blank pages

Golden Nuggets:                  every chapter – it’s a treasury

Topic Summary:         Figures of rhetoric succinctly and accessibly expressed

Illustration:               No visual – cartoons and photos would help but plenty  of  quotes are offered

Quotes:                                  Every page ( a trainer’s delight!)

Warning :                              I would have been put off by the Jargon /Labels Chapter headings of the contents page but luckily  I heard Mark Forsyth interviewed on the radio, so I got the point of the book.
N.B. I would recommend you read the epilogue page 203 first ( Epilogue concerning Terminology), especially if you are like me and  find long  ancient Greek derived academic words off putting.

Review :

In a world of business communication where you are bombarded by messages, where you now process more words than ever before and live in a business period where there is an unbalanced obsession with content, perhaps it is time to redress that balance with improved eloquence to leverage your competitive advantage.

After they have listened to their client first, Salespeople then spout on twitter, comment on facebook or linked in,  reply on email or speak over the phone or conference call or spiel face to face ; what issues forth is judged by clients  not solely on the substance but also the style of communication.

Mark Forsyth’s latest book The elements of eloquence is an entertaining and informative journey through some 39 short chapters on individual figures of rhetoric whose power salespeople would recognise today even if we are not familiar with their academic labels. 

If you have ever wondered why certain advertising slogans stick, why some days your tweets are successfully succinct or pondered why sometimes your presentations flow particularly well, a study of style and the practise of style will be an important element of future sales success.

Learning the ‘flowers of rhetoric’ is like learning good recipes. You advance from relying upon one signature dish to becoming an accomplished host or hostess. 

If you have ever wondered why we remember ‘the lady loves milk tray’‘this is not just food this is M and; S food’  recognise ‘ I’m loving it’ or puzzled why “the world’s local bank’ is such a neat line this book will unravel the puzzle for you.

Salespeople have always known how important a nice turn of phrase is  in their vocal and written communication. Although not primarily aimed at Salespeople  The elements of eloquence should be downloaded onto their e-book or be on their bookshelf or in their Christmas stocking this year.

Related Links

10 enduring lessons of snail mail for email

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Twitter and its Antisocial Social Selling Challenge

Are your 140 characters a taz , a slogan and does that really matter ?

Maybe it is still early days for Twitter.

Of course the launch on the NYSE profitably underwritten by Goldman Sachs  (GS) making Twitter a more conventional business..

 GS did a good selling job but the world of investor finance is a mile away from the day to day world.

Have the old business rules changed ?

We used to be told :-

Sales turnover is vanity
Profit is sanity and
Cash flow reality

Sales statistics like 80 million sign ups over three months but only 3 million daily users would suggest quite a wasteful sales funnel or leaky leads bucket.

77 million dormant accounts look a little worrying.

(However maybe the sign ups are ‘listening’ to the twitter sphere first before entering any ‘dialogue’.)

Twitter has some major selling challenges we can all relate to

  • Protecting exciting customer user base

  • Expanding within that customer user base

  • Developing new customer user business.

The overall spectacular and growing  numbers of free subscribers and users still seem to excite investors on the advertising potential but how to insert more advertising without ruining the user experience will be a challenge.

Twitter is a real time broadcaster deriving 65% of revenues from mobile .

It’s revenues have doubled in 2012 and is expected to repeat this feat for 2013-11-11

But it will have to achieve solid user engagement with actual advertising revenues sooner or later.

As the old proverb of 91 characters goes

“When all is said and done, more is said than done”

For ‘said’ read  tweeted’

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Twitter the microblog of Selling Slogans ,Graffiti Taz and Gos

Twitter we are told in selling, is best used for  ‘listening to customers’ and ‘interacting with them’ yet the majority of tweets I see from suppliers do not ignite that many true conversations.

The tweets are in the main, a one way communication. Telling is not  always the same as  selling despite the public stereotype.

Maybe many of us still don’t really ‘get’ social or we don’t have time or just don’t want to make the time to be ‘social’.

The minimal effort required to ‘ retweet’ , ‘Share’, ‘follow’ and ‘like’ etc is deemed sufficient.

Yet even a simple request to retweet ( RT) can backfire as in the recent campaign of Kellogg Cereals and the unintended consequences of  #'1 RT =  1 breakfast for vulnerable child' tweet.

This was a most unfortunate unintended consequence for  breakfast cereals manufacturer Kellogg and their charity campaign for breakfasts for vulnerable children.

 It  might quite  possibly  a problem for Twitter as Twitter looks for increased advertising revenues after its spectacular NYSE launch.  

A client advertiser that has been 'once bitten twice shy ' as big as Kellogg is not good for the microblog site..

Commenting on twitter takes more effort – just take a look at twitter log entries and its proportion of written comments to re-tweets, shares etc. Few of us have a talent for eloquent tweets.

Twitter rely a lot on their mobile audience so for cack-handed all thumbs folk like me  mobile social  is too difficult and too much hassle. – maybe an age thing !

To the purists in social media and quite possibly Twitter itself all this one way communication is a misuse or poor use of the microblog.

I am not entirely convinced by the purists' argument  yet.

The one-way  so called ‘mis-use’ still gets you out there in the twittersphere and just as with junk mail , flyers etc  some messages do stick to the wall.

Maybe most business tweets are nearer to Graffiti Taz than  professional advertising hoardings slogans but  if integrated with other media perhaps it works sufficiently.

But as with most sales key performance indicators  in the end it is all about ROMI (return on Marketing Investment)

Effective Tweets have many similarities to  sales slogans

An effective sales slogan

  • conveys product benefits (or brand benefits) for users (or potential buyer)
  • differentiates  your product from the competition
  • makes a simple, concise, clearly defined, and appropriate statement
  • is eloquent, witty or takes on a distinct "personality"
  • gives a credible impression of a brand or product
  • makes the consumer experience an emotion; or creates a need or want
  • is hard to forget — it sticks in your brain