Monday, 31 March 2014

#AWEurope 2014 Little Bogdan learns about Advertising from Uncle Aleksandr

Little Bogdan learns about advertising from Uncle Alekandr Orlov in a break at Advertising Week Europe 2014, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly London

Little Bogdan "What business are you in?"

Uncle Alekandr "I am account executive in Ad and  PR agency"

Little Bogdan and Uncle Alesandr
Little Bogdan   "Do you write the  ads?"

Uncle Alekandr   "No, copywriters do that"

Little Bogdan   "Do you create the ads?"

Uncle Alekandr   "No , art directors do that"

Little Bogdan " Do you do the Social Advertising like FB LinkedIn and Twitter?"

Uncle Alesandr " No we have a young intern who does that"

Little Bogdan   "Do you handle the press releases and product launches?"

Uncle Alekandr   "No, P.R. specialists do that"

Little Bogdan   "Sounds like fun job"

Uncle Alekandr  "It's not that easy - we do lot of research"

Little Bogdan   "Do you do research?

Uncle Alekandr   "No, we have the research people for that"

Little Bogdan   "Forgive me Uncle, but WHAT IS your job?"

Uncle Alekandr   "Well it's marketing really"

Little Bogdan   "You do the marketing for the clients?"

Uncle Alekandr   "No, not exactly they do it themselves"

Little Bogdan    "Are you on the board of Directors Uncle?"

Uncle Alekandr  "No, but I soon will be"

Little Bogdan      "Wow, what a great job Uncle Alekandr!"

5 minute Busy Busters Sales / Life Balance Tips #MondayMindfulness

Seeking some mindful balance right now ?

Treat yourself to ONE of these:-
  • Drink a glass of water

  • Do a guided meditation / deep breathing

  • Take a walk round the block

  • Stretch

  • Text or email a friend to say you miss them

For further tapas sized selling tips-to-go
,drop into the "The Tapas Bar".
each post is less than 250 words.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Mind your selling language - A treasury of Unbearable OFFICE JARGON -book review.

Title of Book:            Who touched base in my thought shower

Authors            Steven Poole

Publisher       Sceptre

ISBN               978-0-141-44245-7

 Rating 3 ***        Pearls of Wisdom

Genre:             Scathing  of Jargon , Bullshit Bingo Nominees,and Corporate-speak

Style:              Easy read

Contents page:       5 pages Chapters in alphabetical order

Index:           None see Contents

Flick through eye appeal:    Good flick through appeal. Good dip in type of book.

Time for a breather Stops :  Perfect for this. Take a break at each end of each chapter, .

Golden Nuggets:                 Robust, Drilling Down, Diarise, 

Topic Summary:         An set of funny explanations of modern office jargon. For those in Selling it might well warn us off those clichés, buzzwords and jargon that   contribute to Bullshit Bingo Words in our Selling pitches !

Illustration:               None                     


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Bad Hair Days and selling image "Let us trim our hair in accordance with our Selling lifestyle"

As someone whose shares the hairstyle of the prophet Elisha , I am somewhat wary of proffering advice on matters coiffure. As  a young student I vainly wanted the long hair sung about in the rock musical "Hair".

The appearance of one's hair is  an important signal to others. Coco Chanel observed that

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”

Sometimes the matter of hairstyle is not a question of personal choice. In North Korea 2014 hairstyles of students are dictated by the government. Only 18 styles for women after marriage ( less before marriage) are allowed.

For North Korean men 10 styles for are currently stipulated .  

The hair of the country's young men should be less than 5 cm long and they should have a haircut once every 15 days as longer hair apparently takes away nutrition from their brains.

 Older men, whose brains are presumably already rotting away anyway, are allowed  hair as long as 7 cm.The programme allows men aged over 50 seven centimetres of upper hair to cover balding. ( a redundant concession in my case !)

The edict stresses the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy.

Men should get a haircut every 15 days, it recommends.

The TV campaign  is entitled “ Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle.”

It got me wondering

 "What might be a Selling lifestyle hairstyle ?".

In the UK the comic character " Swiss Toni" comes too quickly to mind.

Charlie Higson’s character “ Swiss Toni” for  almost any situation in life he understood was  "like making love to a beautiful woman". Swiss Toni is usually depicted wearing a grey suit , pink tie with tie clip. His hair was exaggeratedly styled in a platinum blond bouffant quiff.

Searching on the web

Dave Alexander on suggests we consider practical recommendations depending on work environment such as whether we. work outside, undertake frequent  travel,

If you’re a business person “Stay away”  Mr. Alexander advises” from extreme styles and opt for something a bit more neutral -- especially if you are in a sales position or any type of job which requires you to deal with the public. A conservative investor may be put off by a broker with a Mohawk.”

What do you think dear readers ?  Care to comment ?

Subtle Selling - go with the current

The world of the 17th Century Aragon is not far removed from 2014 as the writings of Baltasar Gracian attest.

One of the important skills of professional salespeople is to mix with and work with many different kinds of people.

The guidance of the Spaniard is worth noting.

In his maxim 77 * he encourages us to “know how to be all things to all people”.

He suggests we should be a ’discreet Proteus’ . ( Proteus was the Greek sea god who was able to change his form)

He continues

“... with the learned, learned
With the devout, the devout...

...It is a great art to win everyone over since similarity creates goodwill."

This he writes some 300 years before our modern era of the arts of psychology, NLP and social economics!

Gracian encourages his readers to ‘observe each person’s temperament and yours to it.’  He continues to suggest we ‘tune’ in the sense of musical tuning in order to achieve harmony. 

Gracian ?Geese 'going with the current' on 
the river Thames
 at Fulham- on which they are dependent
He illustrates ‘with the a serious or jovial person go with the current, undergoing a transformation that is politic and essential for those in dependency.

As salespeople we are dependent on buyers, decision influencers, gatekeepers and the like.
‘Such vital subtlety requires great ability’.  

This is a skill to perfect.

It is less difficult for the universal man (or woman) with their wide ranging intellect and taste."

Good subtle selling, my brothers and sisters. 

For further tapas sized selling tips-to-go
,drop into the "The Tapas Bar".
each post is less than 250 words.

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Monday, 24 March 2014

The well said sell - verbal and vocal selling skills

St Pancreas Station ? 
The recent survey on mispronounced spoken English  by native born Brits from the PR team for St Pancras International Railway Station , London prompted me to re-examine how my spoken English has slipped.

This has nothing to do with accents but is about our sloppy pronunciation and is not a new phenomenon

“It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.” 
                                    George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion (1916) preface

In Shaw’s day it was  the class system.

 Whether such prejudice is right is neither here nor there. The rules are not equal for those who pitch  and those that sit in judgement of us .

The survey mentioned the following pronunciation errors.  No 3 and  6. being ones I confess that I make.

How well spoken are you on the top ten mispronounced words ? 
 1. Ely Mispronounced by 59% of people EE-lee NOT Ee-Lie

2. Keighley (West Yorkshire town) 40% keith-lee NOT ki-lee or kay-lee

3. Sherbet 40% shur-but NOT sher-burt

4. Et cetera 34% et-set-ter-eh NOT ecc-set-ter-eh

Aleksandr with Statue of poet
 John Betjamin at London's St Pancras Station
5. St Pancras 33% Saint Pan-krass NOT Saint Pan-kree-ass

6. Espresso 26% ess-press-oh NOT ex-press-oh

7. Bruschetta 25%  Brew-sket-a to be truly Italian NOT Brew-shet-a

8. Often 24% (traditionally offen, although off-ten has become increasingly common in the UK)

9. Prescription 21% Pruh-skrip-shun NOT per-skrip-shun or pro-skrip-shun

10. Greenwich 16% Gren-itch NOT Green-witch or Green-itch 
Some salespeople are unaware when they use slang, make grammatical mistakes, or pronounce words incorrectly. Having poor skills in speaking in whatever languages reflects badly on themselves.

Analysing the standard of your spoken English in Selling requires some courage to be open and self critical. 

It is rather akin to analysing your driving. Few of us appreciate a person criticising our driving .

Like driving we tend to be on an auto pilot setting .,  We are seldom conscious of how we are speaking.

Yet speaking well is an important asset to a professional sales person.  It encompasses many qualities. 

To pull you out of your subconscious auto pilot speaking mode here are some open ended questions which require you to give evidence of how well you speak.

Action :Grab a pencil and paper, give each question some thought and record your responses to the questions below,

o      What forms of phrases help you to speak with well-formed sentences in presenting your offer ?

2.     What are the components that make up your speech articulate when speaking to clients?

3.     How do you build up large and diverse vocabulary for presenting your offer?

4.     What  vocal techniques and exercises do you employ to help you speak clearly ?

5.     How do ensure you speak with a good pace, tone, and intonation ?

6.      What drills do you use so words  come easily to you to help you speak with fluency during a sales conversation ?

7.     What tips do you use to explain your offer easily?

8.     What disciplines do you engage in order to  speak in a  straightforward manner and meaning what you say?

9.     How  do you convey  thoughtfulness and courtesy  to the needs of your buyer?

1. In what ways do you avoid twittering ( as opposed to tweeting!) , blathering ?


First Impressions in your VOICE 

Friday, 21 March 2014

The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence Baltazar Gracian

Title of Book:    The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence

Authors            Baltazar Gracian       tr.Jeremy Robbins

Publisher       Penguin Classics  (2011)

ISBN               978-0-141-44245-7

 Rating 5 *****        Pearls of Wisdom

Genre:             Self Help Classic from 1547 Spain

Style:              Well written and easy to read ( thanks to the translator!)

Contents page:       300 short maxims

Index:           None but 12 pages of Contents

Flick through eye appeal:    Good flick through and dip-in appeal

Time for a breather Stops :  Perfect for this. Take a break at each end of each maxim, mark up with pencil and reflect - maybe create own index on back blank pages or inside covers.

Golden Nuggets:                  No. 150   Know how to sell your wares

Topic Summary:         Classic  book of wisdom from 1547 far too good and practical to be kept a secret by Academia

Illustration:               No visual – cartoons and photos  but each maxim conjures up a picture in your mind

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

Tips :                             

Dip into the meaty maxims straight away don’t be put off by the Chronology, Introduction and Translator's note .Don’t let those pages put you off. 

You can return to read those later.

 Have two bookmarks if you are reading the book in sequence. One for the part your are reading and one in the notes on pages113-122 . You can flick back and forth easier and not lose your place.

Broken links in the Selling chain of LinkedIn

Back in the day there was punched paper tape, 80 character cards and multi platter disc packs with the radius of a 14"  home delivered Pizza. 

This was an epoch long before you had your own, I emphasise,  your own computer screen.

 I was beginning my 40 years exodus in the wilderness of computing struggles.

 I was learning to write all manner ( should that be manna ?) of  languages with names that sounded like brands of disinfectant or a dietary supplement such as  ALGOL, COBOL and FORTRAN.

One exercise our class was set ,was to write a programme that would undertake statistical calculations such as the average , mean and median of a set of data. 

In those days your work was sent each week to the elites in ‘Central Processing’ .

The next week’s lesson began with what felt like reams of green and white lined paper with the  printed string of errors you had made which you then had to correct.
It was a frustrating business and not good for my impatience.

The problem of the ;

 As in my written English, so in programming languages , the problem was the requirement for accuracy.

My most common mistakes were either the omission or incorrect inclusion of the semi colon that had some particular purpose which I quite forget now.

By the end of the term I had managed to write the programme correctly. It had  taken a period of some twelve weeks. 

A new pet

The next term one of our lectures was postponed . The entire Department  of the College  ( Chemistry in my case) had  to go up to the large main lecture theatre to see a  new purchase .

Unveiled was a Commodore Pet. This amazing machine had a screen. ( It had less memory than today’s  pocket calculator)

 So an exercise such as the one above could be achieved in  just a couple of days of work at  my moderate level of skill. 

This would soothe  my frustration and impatience - I naively thought.

Forty years on today’s  modern computing is far more complicated .  I have reached the computer chapter equivalent to Leviticus with all its complicated Terms & Conditions,  rites ( or should that be rights?)  and purity laws.

 Yet two things still remain in my sojourn of mistaken related computing competence  which I laughingly describe as human experience.

  1. 1.       My impatience ( – the tears of Meribah moaning are ever within me)
  2. 2.       My inaccuracy -  GIGO

Garbage In Garbage Out GIGO      still reigns supreme today , even in the hallowed courts of Linked In.

Prophetic Goading

Prepare your day and stay in touch

Today I received a message from LinkedIn  on 21st March 2014. Prepare your day and stay in touch. Good advice to anyone in Selling.

LinkedIn prompts me:-

1.       Melina reaches 4 years anniversary with XXX ltd.  --------Only Melina left  XXX ltd over 2 years ago.

2.       I am yet again prompted by LinkedIn to congratulate Edward on his new graduate trainee job  ----------------which I previously did some months ago via LinkedIn.

Another person has kindly endorsed me in a skill area which I am pretty certain they did not know I have experience in. I have contacted them since and they say they did not endorse me in any case.

I am losing confidence in LinkedIn.I guess GIGO works for Algorithms also.


My kindly  and wise computer lecturer ,Norman,  was to me a kind of computing Moses.

He gave me one piece of advice  to calm both my frustration and impatience that still seems to hold true as I strive to promised land of milk and honey of truly  'computer friendly'

“  Hugh, you need to understand, a computer is merely a swift idiot”

I am intrigued how often I still have to re-learn that lesson !

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Bingo Stingo How to Patronise in less than 140 Characters – A Twiiter Selling Lesson from Politics

No one would advocate a salesperson should be



Patronising towards a customer.

Such tones would be most obviously picked up in face-to-face and phone spoken communication

Although  Twitter is text ,it is really speech.

The ‘Tory Bingo tweet’ furore yesterday highlights this

 The accusations of a unpleasant patronising tone has been levelled at the Conservative Party Campaign Chairman who tweeted this unofficial advertisement appealing for action to be taken by twitter readers ( hearers?) to re-tweet.

The fact that twitter has no sense of tone, pitch or stress does not help.

The challenge is to imagine how your intended audience will hear or interpret your tweets especially when you request your message to be re tweeted.

I guess it all must have looked OK when Mr Shapps pressed the send button.

 The content read/ spoke:-

Cutting Bingo Tax and Beer Duty To help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy.

The furore seems to be that many people read the stress and tone in a particular way.

Cutting Bingo Tax and Beer DutyTo help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy.

How some interpreted the message
This  implied to those upset in the twitter land (which can be a very quick tempered environment)  a  tone of a disconnected political party a class apart , a perceived subconscious superiority from the political message .

Of course discrediting political policies and political personalities is all part of the brutal world of party politics. 

But this tweet was a sales message whether official or unofficial .

Who are the Patronisers ?

Ironically those seemingly coming to the defence of others they deem to be being patronised can themselves be accused of being patronising to the 'victim' also.

We can all choose to take offence if we think we are in some way subordinate to the other person’s view which we deem to be patronising us.

 In such behaviour of course we are in effect being passively accepting that we inwardly feel somehow not as good , intelligent, educated, informed,  of a different class (lower)... etc. to the patroniser.

“You can only be patronised if you let yourself be."
 Maybe that is true psychologically but for sure you don’t want to risk to patronise, or be seen to patronise your customer. Likewise patronising probably isn't the best approach of a client towards a supplier if you want the best deal.

Lesson for Selling

Before sending in a tweet particularly if you are excited as Mr Shapsp was with his Bingo tweet, is first to PAUSE and REFLECT. Could your written tweet sound different to others ears?

As political pundit Frank Luntz subtitled one of his books  “Words that work”  Publisher: Hyperion (3 Feb 2007) ISBN-10: 1401302599 ISBN-13: 978-1401302597

“It’s not what you say but what they hear.” 

A point that is relevant to  politicians and salespeople  alike when communicating on Twitter.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Yoof only sell once YOSO#

Fellow Meerkats they usings to say that you don't get  second chances to make  first impression. But clearly that  as Sergei says  "old skool" now it's YOSO# apparently.

I.B.Youngnot aka Little Bogdan
Little Bogdan has now joined Meerkat sales team but has lots learning to. Here is first efforts reply email to procurement department of keys account client who had incorrect orderings. Bogdan selling under pseudonym  IBY

Hi M8S

Re: You only sell once  YOSO# ?

I feel so quiche right now in Sosh’ media selling ,life is like a big loliday.

Excuse my  persiflage WUBU2/Wyab ?

Soz about the cockup on UR order  no. AH7DEE 42– my bad !

In the kingdom of irrefutables,  forealism is king.

He maybe deflowered  but he is not devalued, forealismos.

As a gang of digidivas and  ebabes, hooked on emojiis like my other gorgeois punters wot U said to  R customer service team was unretweetable

Is my procrasturbating the best use of my selling talent ffs ?


IB Youngnot

Looking dope again and down with the kids

(Idea sparked off by Nimrod Kamer , Evening Standard Feature Friday 14th page 20)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Selling Trust in 2015 and the 17th Century

The Art of Worldly Wisdom, by Balthasar Gracián 1647 contains some 300 maxims some of which are still relevant to professional selling in 2015. 

Below Gracián shows us that the likes of Libor , PPI, Horsemeat for beef, rate-fixing type behaviours Eurozone leaders  Brussels summit.
'the most important currency has been lost and that is trust.' 
Angela Merkel   Brussels  12/07/15
 Talks focus on new conditions for possible Greek bailout of up to €86bn - have the equivalents in 17th Century Spain

No 8. Be Trustworthy.

"Honourable dealing is at an end: 
 trusts are denied:  
few keep their word: 
the greater the service, the poorer the reward:  
that is the way with all the world nowadays." 

So writes Baltasar Gracián in 1647 and continues

There are whole nations inclined to false dealing: with some treachery has always to be feared, with others breach of promise, with others deceit. 

Yet this bad behaviour of others should rather be a warning to us than an example.

The fear is that the sight of such unworthy behaviour should override our integrity.

 But a man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.

Other Tips from Gracian

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

Spread Selling - Is 'Yummy goodness * an oxymoron ?

Some years back I was in a queue for a cheese counter in Pimlico, London behind a lady who asked the artisan proprietor for a “really low fat but very tasty cheese. “

“I regret madam, “ said the specialist purveyor explaining  “ It is the fat that makes cheese tasty”.

Such forthright honesty does his business no harm as can be seen from the queues spilling onto the pavement to his shop entrance on a Saturday morning.

 Because of his direct relationship with his customers he even advises customers not to buy certain cheeses until they are ready.

Food Multinationals cannot quite issue the same type of candid counsel directly. Although their web sites offer more than can be given in a thirty second advert or brand slogan. 

Their advice has to be given guardedly especially in the area of claiming healthiness and health advantages. They are targets for expensive legal battles and media scare stories. 

So what am I or you ,dear reader, to make of the information on a carton?  More importantly are the claims relevant even if they are true ?

“45% less saturated fat than olive oil”

“Helps keep your heart healthy”

“85% less saturated fat than butter”

The fight against heart disease gave a big boost to the margarine industry and the 1960s saw a rush of new products.

Flora was launched in 1964 and advertised on TV in 1965.

 By 1970 Unilever had begun promoting its use direct to the medical profession, and through the 70s and 80s Flora built a following as the brand that was high in polyunsaturates and better for you.

Yet even the BBC’s medical correspondent Fergus Walsh had to do a bit of a double-take  this week when he read some Cambridge-led research about fat consumption and heart disease.

Contrary to guidance, there is no evidence that changing the type of fat you eat from "bad" saturated to "healthier" polyunsaturated cuts heart risk.

Uh Ouh

So does that mean my choosing of Flora spread because it is healthier choice than butter misjudged ?

Flora explain their yummy goodness* as:-

*Sunflower oil naturally contains omega 6. Flora contains omegas 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and 6 (linolenic acid), which help to maintain normal cholesterol levels. The daily intake needed to maintain a healthy cholesterol level is 2g of omega 3 and 10g of omega 6. Two portions (2 x 10g) of Flora a day contribute a significant amount to this. Enjoy as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle

Yet Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury at the University of Cambridge and his colleagues found in a British Heart foundation funded study, as reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that higher omega-3 consumption had very little effect on heart disease rates.

In fact, rates for people eating more of the omega-3 fatty acids, or taking omega-3 supplements, were similar to those who consumed lower amounts.

So why does Unilever continue to focus on promoting healthy spreads, the latest of which contain cholesterol-lowering ingredients ?

“The brand has consistently and effectively campaigned on issues such as heart health and cholesterol awareness – for which we make absolutely no excuses,” a spokesman  said.

According to their estimates  city analysts JP Morgan reason in their report on how the food industry is responding to the obesity crisis. , Flora pro.activ fat spread sells at a premium of more than 300% on standard products.

Well I like Flora , olive oil,  butter but try to follow Marie Lloyd’s advice.

The risqué Victorian singer Marie Lloyd who was initially refused entrance to the USA in 1913 for ‘moral turpitude’ was not issuing dietary or nutritional advice in her double entendre hit – “a little of what you fancy”.

I don't suppose anyone present at her performances back in the day imagined that Lloyd was singing about fats whether they be unsaturated, hydrogenated or trans-.

The chorus of "A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good", goes:

I always hold in having it if you fancy it

If you fancy it that’s understood

And suppose it makes you fat?

I don’t worry over that

‘Cos a little of what you fancy does you good.
Perhaps the same applies to tasty cheese that the woman in the Cheese counter queue desired.

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