Thursday, 26 June 2014

6 key challenges of @MarketingLive2014 from digital silos to holistic approach

Selfy at Marketing Week Live 2014 or should that be SELL- fy?
Marketing used to be uncomplicated.

 Then digital entered the fray and caused havoc for a while.

Now there is a return with no artificial distinction between off-line and on-line we are back to a holistic approach.

This year’s shows reflects some of the change in thinking about marketing over the last five years.

 There has  been a return to the  view of marketing being a generalist discipline rather a set of silo specialities .

  There are some subtle changes in vocabulary “ Suppliers” formally known as seller are described as 'partners', Selling ' Ideas' as ‘options’ and so on


The keys are integration and  return to a conventional (sales) process approach based on the challenges of 
1. Understanding ( Planning, Research and Objective setting)

 2. Engaging  (Purposeful listening and questioning  conversations with prospects,

 3. Converting Identified prospects to active prospects via on line, offline, mobile and hybrid models 

4. Experiencing Face to Face (Selling in all its forms to you and me)

The focus this year is on smarter strategy and tactics in today’s marketing era.

Even the 'S' word - selling is back

Selling Intangibles is on the list of 6 key challenges for Marketers at marketing Live 2014

Which of the following do you consider to be your biggest challenge at the moment ?:   

o             Equipping your business with a future proof marketing team and leveraging internal and external relationships

o             Selling your brand and business rather than just selling your product

o             Using measurement and analysis to effectively close the campaign cycle

o             Developing an agile marketing strategy to protect your business from potential variables

o             Integrating and automating your campaigns for a multichannel world

o             Selecting and getting the maximum ROI from your suppliers

Well, dear readers I'm off to Olympia to have a look round and will report on what is on offer.

In the meanwhile Good Selling.

Related Links:

Advertising Week Europe 2014

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Determination and Persistence in Selling - Virgin Trains

It was some two years ago when Virgin Trains challenged the decision of the Department for Transport on their awarding the North West Train Franchise to First Group.

At the time .......
the Dft said
"… the winning bidder (First Group) was decided by a fair and established process and no reason has been advanced to convince DfT not to sign the agreement."

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: "We are in receipt of a letter from Virgin Trains which is a precursor to legal action. We are reviewing the correspondence."

The Department is confident in the process it undertook and the decision made in awarding the West Coast franchise.” ( 13 year franchise)"

Tim O’Toole of First Group said “"Our winning bid is a deliverable proposition that is compelling for all who want to see a greater use of our rail networks”

Sir Richard Branson  noting that Virgin Group had spent £14m on its latest bid, said that

'based on the current flawed system, it is extremely unlikely that we would bid again for a franchise. The process is too costly and uncertain.'

Well, Virgin  courageously made a legal challenge.

That deal collapsed because a “swamped” Department for Transport got its figures wrong and didn't follow the rules.  The government eventually scrapped the award claiming there were "significant technical flaws" in the bidding process because of mistakes by DfT staff. Three civil servants were suspended.

The timetable for handing out other deals looked like it might overrun the government and they can't afford another mess. So  DfT are using short-term deals and extensions to stagger the whole process out.

Patrick McCall, Virgin Trains' executive co-chairman, said: "We're delighted to have reached a deal after some tough negotiations with the DfT. It puts the problems of 2012 firmly behind us and shows the clear benefits of a well-run franchise system.”

The deal announced today is part of a much bigger process to avoid a repeat of the West Coast franchise catastrophe in 2012.

The story is a remarkable example of PERSISTENCE a lesson for all in selling.


Nothing in the world can take the place of PERSISTENCE-          Talent will notNothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent-          Education will notThe world is full of educated derelicts-          Genius will notUnrewarded genius is almost a proverb Persistence and determination alone are all powerful !

Related Links

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The right Chemistry in selling - Neurochemical perspective

Do your selling  conversations stimulate the right chemistry  ?

Have you noticed that negative feedback and negative conversations fester in our minds so much longer than positive ones? 

I wonder if like me you have ever wondered why that is ?

Maybe you have received criticism from your boss,had  a disagreement with a work colleague or an argument with a friend – the hurt from any of these can make you overlook many days' worth of praise or harmony. 

Similarly if a client or manager has called criticised you, accused you of carelessness, or expressed a disappointment in you, you’re likely to remember and internalise it. The negative lingers longer.

It’s somehow easier to forget, or discount, all the times when people have said you’re talented or conscientious or that you make them proud.
'You win more with honey than vinegar'
and oxytocin than cortisol it seems !

According to work by Judith E. Glaser and Richard D. Glaser  reported in Harvard Business Review Blog, neuro-chemistry plays a large role in this phenomenon.

When we face criticism, rejection or fear, when we feel marginalised or minimised, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that shuts down the thinking centre of our brains and activates conflict aversion and protection behaviours.

We become more reactive and sensitive. We often perceive even greater judgement and negativity than actually exists. Apparently these effects can last for 26 hours or more, imprinting the interaction on our memories and magnifying the impact it has on our future behaviour.

 Cortisol functions like a slow release pill – the more we ponder on our fear, the longer the impact.

Positive comments and conversations produce a chemical reaction too. They spur the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others by activating networks in our prefrontal cortex.

 But oxytocin metabolises more quickly than cortisol, so its effects are less dramatic and long-lasting.

I  contacted  Judith Glaser to ask whether  such research could be applied to the buyer seller interaction. She explained to me that

 “Yes - we spent the first 20 years of our business career examining the buyer seller relationship and found patterns of interaction that were closing down and others that were opening up the relationship.”

“I wrote about them in the Introduction of my book - Conversational Intelligence *…. and the work with them was the catalyst for the work I do today. “

This “chemistry of conversations” is why it’s so critical for all of us –suppliers and clients – to be more mindful about our interactions.  

 Behaviours that increase cortisol levels reduce what  Richard Glaser calls “Conversational Intelligence” or “C-IQ,” or a person’s ability to connect and think innovatively, empathetically, creatively and strategically with others. Behaviours that spark oxytocin, by contrast, raise C-IQ.

As sales professionals I guess we need to be specialists in raising C-IQ.

Although the Glasers'  recent research focused on management subordinate interactions the concept of Conversational Intelligence resonates well for certain supplier / client interactions in selling and negotiation.

The CreatingWE Institute,  partnered with Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics,  an online survey software company,  analysed the frequency of negative (cortisol-producing) versus positive (oxytocin-producing) interactions in today’s workplaces. They asked managers how often they engaged in several behaviours — some positive, and others negative — on a scale of 0 through 5, in which 0 was “never” and 5 was “always.”

Source :Creating WE  Institute Qualtrics          HBR.ORG May 2014

Richard Glaser reports "The good news is that managers appear to be using positive, oxytocin and C-IQ elevating behaviours more often than negative behaviours. Survey respondents said that they exhibited all five positive behaviours, such as “showing concern for others” more frequently than all five negative ones, such as “pretending to be listening.”

 However, most respondents – approximately 85% — also admitted to “sometimes” acting in ways that could derail not only specific interactions but also future relationships.

 And, unfortunately, when leaders exhibit both types of behaviours it creates dissonance or uncertainty in followers’ brains, spurring cortisol production and reducing CI-Q.

 Richard Glaser does not suggest that you can’t ever demand results or deliver difficult feedback. But it’s important to do so in a manner that is perceived as inclusive and supportive, thereby limiting cortisol production and hopefully stimulating oxytocin instead.

 We should be mindful of the behaviours that open us up, and those that close us down, in our selling relationships. Knowing that there are chemical effects at work reinforces good conversational practise. 

It seems wise to "harness the chemistry of conversations" stimulating more Oxytoxin than cortisol producing behaviours.

Or to use an old proverb you win more with honey than vinegar

Related links
The Creating WE Institute

Conversational Intelligence : How great leaders build trust and get extraordinary results by Judith E Glaser  ISBN 978-1-937134-67—9 hardback published by Bibliomotion available on Kindle   2014

Monday, 16 June 2014

3 key questions in business fashion, etiquette and courtesy at events - Handshakes, Business Cards, Mobiles

“A hat should be taken off when greeting a lady, and left off the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.” PJ O’Rourke

Back in the day, salesmen ( it was a while ago) were advised 'to get ahead- wear a hat'. Fashions change and with them codes of behaviour. 

The summer hails the corporate hospitality and events season, where networking is undertaken away from conference halls, exhibition centres to al fresco  sporting fixtures and cultural festivals of one sort or another.

 These events raise the questions

  1. What is appropriate dress?
  2.  What are the behaviours expected in business circumstances?
  3.  How should one address a client?

   We are no longer unsettled by professional cricketers wearing colourful pyjama  outfits in  the shorter versions of game, or surprised at coloured tennis gear worn at ATP tournaments like Queen’s Club AEGON Championships .

Formal corporate attire for spectators  has been relaxed to such events bar wearing the obligatory lanyard. 

Yet there are still occasions...

Yet uniform dress code is expected at premier sporting events in UK. The players still wear  whites at the test match at Lords, whites are worn at Wimbledon and even some spectators are expected to adhere to a strict dress code.

 Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday. The Royal enclosure expects certain ‘standards’.

Royal Ascot Dress Code and Business Dress

For those in the public eye , 'a faux part' could be most damaging to their image even their career. They might well feel the need to seek advice from a source such as Debrett. or even Wikipedia which explains how one should address a royal to millions who will probably never need to.

( Interestingly Debrett's declare they are the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, social occasions, people of distinction and fine style'. )

Similarly if Salespeople believe that "the customer is (their) King or Queen , Prince or Princess)" questions of behaviour or ‘what is the right way to…?’, are part of a salesperson’s everyday life.

What are correct ways to behave in such interactions ?

Business etiquette and netiquette have social conventions which have become increasingly important.

These rules are often echoed throughout the industry or economy.

The Debrett website has a section on mobile etiquette that maybe both sellers and buyers might find interesting!

The handshake is initiated when the two hands touch, immediately.

It is commonly done upon meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement.

In sporting contests or other competitive activities, a handshake is a sign of good sportsmanship. Its purpose is to convey trust, balance, and equality.

Unless health issues or local culture dictate otherwise a handshake should always be made using bare hands.

Shaking hands is considered the standard greeting in business situations.

It is considered to be in poor taste to show dominance with too strong a handshake; conversely, too weak a handshake (sometimes referred to as a "limp fish" or "dead fish" handshake) could also considered unseemly due to people perceiving it as a sign of weakness .

Business cards are cards bearing business information about a company or individual.

They are shared during formal introductions as a convenience and a memory aid.

A business card typically includes the giver's name, company affiliation (usually with a logo) and contact information such as street addresses, telephone number(s), fax number, e-mail addresses and website.

Traditionally many cards were simple black text on white stock; today a professional business card will sometimes include one or more aspects of striking visual design.

Related Links

Forbes Article 2014 May : Dining Etiquette: The Business Meal As A Test Of Character

Click for free summary of the TACK Buyers' Views of Salespeople Research .

Royal Ascot Dress Code and Business Dress

Friday, 13 June 2014

Selling -The Balance Sheet of Human Relations

To paraphrase the  German poet Goethe, 

"Most things have been thought of before, the challenge is to think of them again."

Founder of TACK International Alfred Tack referred to his original sales training company as a 'school of human relations'. The opening session of the sales course was about sustaining a positive mental attitude in selling. The final session was centred on the value of Human Relations.

 That was over 60 years ago - as good a maxim for today's digital age it was as all those years ago. Take a look at this slide. Consider how to eradicate the red words and increase the scores on the green human relations' credits.

As with a conventional balance sheet  it should be a “true and fair” representation you and I as salespeople.

The objective is to daily build up your credit side of this balance sheet and reduce the entries on the debit side.

What else would you add to your balance sheet on the credit side ?--Please add a comment.

I 'll add one myself right now- Gratitude. - Thank you for reading this blog post !

Good Selling

Tapas sized selling tips-to-go
,drop into the "The Tapas Bar".

each post is less than 250 words.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Selling and @FIFAWorldCup #Brazil2014 , Social Media and the shadow of 2022

"Obrigado Brasil pela recepcao calorosa", which translates as "Thank you Brazil for your warm welcome" read a banner held by the England football squad at their training centre in Rio.

 They were then serenaded with a version of 'We Are The Champions' and traditional music from a samba band from the Bola Pra Frente favela. 

Yet it was FIFA, the body responsible for the beautiful game of soccer who headed our football news last night. This story about alleged wrongdoing over the 2022 bid has emerged just as the soccer festival begins in Brazil.

The alleged bribery story was exposed by The Sunday Times.

 One of the FIFA Corporate Partners Sony has demanded an investigation into the alleged bribes.

Sony stated  "As a FiFA partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately."

"We continue to expect FIFA to adhere to its principles of integrity ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations," it added.

Sony, Adidas ,Coca Cola. Hyundai / Kia, Emirates, Visa are the six main FIFA sponsors who collectively paid around $180m last year. Most have now followed Sony’s lead.

Their statements have stressed  “principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of FIFA’s operation”.

Sony's sponsorship agreement expires this year, which gives it particular leverage as it negotiates a new deal.
“We expect FIFA will take the appropriate actions to respond to the report and its recommendations,” said Melissa Cassar, a spokeswoman for Foster City, California-based Visa, in an e-mail. “We will continue to monitor its internal investigation.”
Hyundai Motor Co. is “confident that FIFA is taking these allegations seriously and that the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee will conduct a thorough investigation,” the South Korean FIFA partner said in an e-mail.
“Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup is a concern to us, but we are confident that FIFA is taking these allegations very seriously and is investigating them thoroughly,” Alison Brubaker, a spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Coke, wrote in an e-mail.
Anheuser-Busch inBev NV also is monitoring the situation, Laura Vallis, a spokeswoman for the Leuven, Belgium-based company, in an e-mail. “We expect FIFA to take all necessary steps to address the issue”

The real world factors of the marketing model PESTLE will still play crucial role for the main sponsors. The world cup in Brazil and after will be affected  by factors such as politics, economics, society, technology,  legal issues and environmental which will bubble on during the tournament and beyond.

For the 2014 tournament it is expected there will be a big increase in brand promotion via social media.
Artist Paolo Ito's powerful mural - ethical/political  dilemma of the World Cup 2014
Courtesy of Paulo Ito at

A number of social media pundits suggest Digital consumption will be central to the 2014 World Cup. Paolo Ito's mural went viral.

Twitter and football go hand in hand : in the UK specifically, research from @globalwebindex shows that

•         90% of Twitter users in the UK will be watching the World Cup

•         Over two thirds of UK users use Twitter for something football related

•         43% of people on Twitter in the UK follow football clubs, with all 20
PremierLeague clubs active on Twitter

•         54% of football lovers say that news breaks fastest on Twitter

•         40% of UK users tweet when there is a goal, and 61% tweet post-match

Apparently Brazil is  Facebook's second largest market and provides YouTube with its second most unique visitors. There will a tsunami of engagement   which sponsors will no doubt be geared up to exploit.

Yet brands are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of showing the public they are aware that there is a social aspect to being a sponsor for such huge sporting extravaganzas.

Some of the Brazilian political protesters may see an advantage of pointing the finger of guilt around the World Cup costs onto the sponsors if conventional strikes and protest don't get media coverage.

The sponsors have paid anything from an estimated £8m to £120m to have their names associated with what is one of the biggest events in global sport.

Meanwhile, FIFA has  benefitted. Selling the rights

 By selling the rights for firms to be associated with the event, it is estimated to make some £850m over a four-year World Cup cycle, making up the majority of its non-TV revenues during such a period.

With the 2014 tournament just days away, it means it is not just the 32 national teams competing that are fine-tuning their plans, but also the 22 corporate sponsors. FIFA will want to kick the 2022 bid issues into the long grass...........( depending on announcements from Sepp Blatter or Mr Garcia )

Good luck to Roy Hodgson and the England team (especially 'Lamps' if he plays) on Saturday, against Italy in Manaus, Brazil. 

Let's rejoice in joy of  football and Brazil not forgetting  the  sponsors  Vauxhall, Mars, Budweiser, McDonald’s,   and William Hill, Carlsberg, Nivea for Men, Samsung, Lucozade Sport, EE, Marks and Spencer for the team England!!!!.

Good selling ,Good Samba, Good Football
Better get some cachaca for those Caipirinhas folks ! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

6 effective types of Selling Story

Whether or not Professor Richard Dawkins at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival of Science  did say that " fairy stories harm children" and should be withdrawn or that as later reports state that he believes such stories stimulate the imagination of children  -  one thing is for sure –  he like us all , know story telling can be extremely powerful.

In  Selling, the skill of storytelling  can been used to improve your podcasts, white papers, blogs, presentations, slide shows, you tube clips as well as conventional sales calls.

Content maybe key, but so also is the way you tell the story. You would  think by a lot of the hype in certain training quarters that 'story telling is the next big thing'. Yet salespeople have part of this communication from earlier times

 For example salespeople in the form of merchants feature in some of the earliest stories:-

After the framing prologue of the tales  of the 1001 Arabian Nights  where the brave Vizier's daughter, Scheherazade needs to tell a story to the King to live another day, the first three stories involve the experiences of merchants :- 

  • The tale of the Ox and the donkey, 
  • The tale of the merchant and his wife , 
  • The story of the merchant and the demon .

Well told tales engage. How many times have you been engrossed in a good story?

You couldn't put down the book, close the eBook, had to go to the next level adventure of the computer game or  you couldn't switch off the movie? 

Maybe a story about a work colleague's success inspired you to push yourself a little harder. Perhaps you changed your opinion after reading a story in a newspaper?

Stories can change the way we think, act, and feel. 

Often that is what we need is to  do change the way clients to think, act and feel.

Story can form the foundations of an entire company culture, and they have the power to break down barriers and turn bad situations around. 

Stories can capture our imaginations, illustrate our ideas, arouse our passions, and inspire us in a way that cold, hard facts often can't.

Stories can be powerful business tools, and successful salespeople use them to engage their clients. 

So, if you want to motivate others effectively, you need to learn how to tell a good story.

 How and when  should Salespeople  use stories.

 Today salespeople have to tell stories in a shorter time span. 

Clients don’t have the time for the old road warrior selling sagas of old.

When you tell a story well, it can create an intense, personal connection between your audience and your message.

Salespeople tell business stories to communicate and connect with, customers, Business stories differ from conventional stories, in that you tell them with an objective, goal, or desired outcome in mind, rather than for entertainment.

You can use stories to achieve a number of different goals. For example:

Reference or testimonial story:

A professional salesperson might tell a story to a prospect who knows little about what her organisation offers. She tells a story about how one of her products helped reduce another client's  costs by 20 %. The prospect is impressed with the product's effectiveness, and places their first order.

"Are you sitting comfortably ?"

 But using stories should be only considered once the salesperson has given the client a good listening to.

Back in the day...

 The BBC radio story telling programme for children which ran between 1950 and 1982
"Listen with Mother" opened with the phrase

"Are you sitting comfortably?                 Then I'll begin."

 The question, originally an ad lib by Julia Lang, became so well known that it ended up in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

So first assess through listening to the client - are they ready to receive ? Are they sitting comfortably.

Here are 6 different story types that you can use.

1.  The "This is us" Story  ( 'Long, Long ago there lived...)

These stories explain who you are as a person and your organisation. They tell others about your dreams, goals, accomplishments, failures, motivations, values, or history.

"This is me" stories  when well told are key to building trust. They tell a back record. They establish a pedigree. Tell these stories when you need to establish a connection with a prospect e.g. first meeting, networking, prospecting.

2. "The reason why we’re here" Stories   (Today's briefing)

" The reason why we’re here " stories convey why you're here, and their aim is to replace any misgiving with trust. People want to know, "What's in it for them?" but they also want to know, "What's in it for you?" These stories explain that you don't have a secret agenda, and that  both parties will get something fair out of the situation.

You can use " The reason why we’re here " stories in fundraising, sales, and situations when you need to build trust quickly, or where you want to reassure someone that you're on a level playing field.

3. Teaching Stories  ( Just so stories)

Teaching stories create an experience that transforms listeners or readers. They show how a change in their behaviour, perspective, or skills can lead to meaningful results.

You can also use teaching stories to illustrate a situation, such as a best- or worst-case scenario.

4. Envisioning Stories    ( A better future)

Vision stories inspire people, and encourage them to feel hope or happiness. Here, you convince your audience that their hard work and sacrifice is worth the effort. You need to link their actions to a specific, valuable, and worthy outcome.

Use envisioning stories when you need to motivate people to change their behaviour. They can inspire people to overcome the frustrations, obstacles, and challenges that come with change, so that they can achieve a worthwhile goal or ideal.

5. Values-in-Practise Stories ( A short pencil is better than a short memory)

Values-in-action stories reinforce the values that you want your audience to demonstrate or think about. These stories can be positive or negative. For example, you can tell stories that demonstrate integrity, compassion, and commitment, or tell ones that highlight attitudes that you don't want to see - for example, cynicism, a corner cutting approach to quality, or a weak work ethic.

6. "Mind reading" Stories  ( If I could read your minds right now)

" Mind reading " stories allow you to address others' objections, suspicions, questions, or concerns before they express them. With these stories, you need to anticipate your client's point of view, so you choose a story that deals with their unspoken concerns.

When you tell this type of story, you  acknowledge and validate the client's perspective or worries. This allows them to feel that you're on their side, and that you identify with their emotions. These kinds of stories are valuable in sales, negotiations, or pitches to key stakeholders  .

ACTION Related Reading suggestions  - Readers are leaders:-

Why not read or listen to audio tapes of well told stories and then using the models above prepare examples you could use in your selling.

1001 Arabian Nights

Aesop's Fables

Kipling  -Just So Stories

Study how advertisers get the story over in just 30 seconds

British Library Boewulf