Thursday, 31 July 2014

Seize the Selling day Thursday - Carpe Diem Day July 31st.

“ wise, be truthful, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have {already} fled:seize the day, trusting as little as possible to the future.”
 end of  Odes 1.11  Horace (translation)

(B x A) +C2 + N

F + Pr

Cardiff University's Centre for Lifelong Learning’s  psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, has come up with a  new planning day, called Carpe Diem Thursday.

He argues July 31st  July is a better day to make resolutions than dreary dark and cold January 1st.

We are 60% through the year and  the weather is fine. It is a better environment for the mind.

It is a fun and creative approach which I thought might appeal to many in selling in a slacker period of business or approaching the summer holiday season.


Boldness: Have confidence and trust in yourself to recover if a decision doesn't go according to plan.

Authenticity: Be true to yourself and don't worry about what other people think.

Clarity and commitment: Have a clear goal and seeing how to get there

Now: Don't get stuck in the past or be distracted by the future, as decisions are only ever made in the now.

N.B.       The positive factors have to be strong enough to outweigh the negative factors of Fear and Regret.

Dr Arnall suggests "The idea behind this day is don't get to 80 or 90 and wish you'd not had a go at something. Go with your instinct, your heart and make a small change, something you can control now."

For a moment consider what is involved in resolutions or objectives for sales professionals.

What will you continue to do ?

What will you do more of ?

What habits will you try to do less of ( or better still) drop for the rest of 2014 ?

The  real challenge of making resolutions

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

To keep focused and to contribute to your future success, answer the following questions of your selling resolutions for the rest of 2014.
You make like to use some of these questions to create a fresh checklist for any sales idea/resolution you wish to make happen in the last 1/3rd of 2014 !

1.       What is my objective?

2.       How important is it to me?

3.       What results do I expect?

4.       What will help me achieve this?

5.       Which decision maker / manager do I need to involve to achieve my objective?

6.       What will I need in order to convince them and gain their support?

7.       Who else do I need to involve [team and individuals] ?

8.       What do I need in terms of resources [ people , time, money, training, equipment]?

9.       Will I need delegated authority ?

10.   What are the actions required?

11.   What are the milestones ( dates and times?

12.   How and when will I measure my progress?

13.   Who will I involve in reviewing my progress?

14.   What could prevent me from achieving my objective?

15.   What is my next step?

Now make it happen!

Good Luck and Good Selling for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Selling Hand Brand - High fives, Fist Bumps in Sports and Leadership #Glasgow2014

 Notice the 'grasp of finger tips' style of handshake
Cook Islands Bowlers celebrating their victory in lawn bowls
Front page photograph of Times 26/7/14
In Glasgow they are currently holding the 2014 Commonwealth Games often called the 'Friendly Games'.

It's a chance to see great sport and observe non verbal communication traditions and cultures from around the world.

How handshakes are employed is an area of interest for those in selling.

Take a look at the handshakes of the bowlers from the Cook Islands. ( see right)

Another sport on show is boxing. Apart from the courage ,skill and athleticism that such a sport requires, the boxing match begins  when the pugilists  come to the middle of the ring and bump fists as a greeting before the bout starts.

Apparently this gesture goes back to the 19th Century. I guess if you are wearing boxing gloves, it is awkward to shake hands.  Fist bumps seemed a more practical alternative. 

Similarly in cricket today the batsman  often celebrate a good stroke or innings by a glove bump.

Handshakes are used to demonstrate politicians are 'in touch' with their electorate. 

London Times Saturday 26th July 2014 p.15
On a visit to a barbecue restaurant  in Austin Texas recently the President of the USA Barack Obama joked with an employee and then touched fists , which got his supporters raving again about how this was a different sort of president, unburdened by the formality of his predecessors.

The President of the European Commission , Jean-Claude Juncker attempted a high five when he met UK Prime Minister Cameron recently

Some consider the fist bump as a mark of equality as opposed to a handshake that they regard in some ways a kind of trial of strength.

Body language specialist Harry Witchel says “ In California in the 1970s, it was youth-culturish. It expresses connection and informality. You might bump fists first to express warmth, breaking that barrier of  contact without getting too close. A hug would be warm, but maybe not appropriate.”

The University of Chicago’s David McNeil says the fist bump gesture came from African-American street culture.

“It could be a modification of the open hand slap. There has always been an informal gesture culture. Professor Neil considers such gestures as more about ‘pop culture’ arbitrariness. 

“They are brands rather than authentic gestures. I don’t think they have lasting power, unlike the notorious middle finger , which has been used as an insult since the Romans.”
As Leaders we need to develop the 'common touch' in order to sell their message whether in selling or in politics. We meet people from many different walks of life and cultures. But the risk of damaging your image has also to be taken into account. Such informality as a fist bump could be construed as a lack of decorum and dignity. 

As we enjoy the festival of sport and culture of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games keep a look out for the different handshakes and body language. It's fascinating.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

80% of Company leaders and managers sales unaware –what’s your company’s competitive?

This is a good question to ask anybody in a business

“What did you sell today?”

It is not just a question of front line sales, nor just about closing an order. It may be simply asking –“What was your contribution to progressing the company’s sales process today?”

Whoever you are in the organisation- how well or how badly you do your job will directly or indirectly affect the business otherwise what’s the point of your role?!

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) know that when a company has effective management, the organisation’s performance can be boosted by as much as 23%. 

However only half of the people they surveyed say their managers are effective. Clearly this is an issue for our country’s management and leadership.

In the recession much of the focus for many firms has been survival.
 One for the chief actions to achieve this has been cost saving.

As we come out of recession many businesses are feeling the under-investment of their talent during the downturn which has led to a skills deficit. Yet the solution to the problem is not going to be as simple and going out and hiring talent.

The war for talent has returned. No longer can companies rely on rewarding high performers or tempting people to join with the promise of long-term financial incentives.

The right people are not always available and competition for the best hires is very competitive. Again businesses will have to turn their mind to invest in the skills of their existing staff.

What would be the differentiator of your company
 that you would put on your placard ?
So far as selling is concerned not only sales skills need developing but sales mindsets throughout the organisation.

I guess many of us were surprised to see in October 2013 senior executives from the Power Companies discomfort and lack of fluency  on justifying their prices  at the hearings at Parliament’s  Energy and Climate Committee. This is part of a day to day job their field sales and desk based sales people have to do.  Skill set link -Handling Objections Effectively Handling Price and other common Objections

Let’s start at the top!

  •       Is the board sales-savvy?
  •       Do they know their role in sales growth?

On 8th July 2014 The Evening Standard’s Niki Chesworth  trailed some  survey results due to be published in a book “The Success Formulae- The CEO’s Road map to Value delivery. "    The  data suggests  a lack of sales nous within the boardroom

  • ·         8 out of 10 directors did not know why certain colleagues sat on the board.

  • ·      More disturbingly, 8 in 10 could not agree – or did not even know – the competitive advantage of the firm on whose board they sat. Skills set link :   Differentiated Value Proposition

  • ·         33% are often caught in continuous and damaging in-fighting- a “ disharmony that often means the business suffers”

  • ·         66% find it hard to talk about uncomfortable issues even if they seriously impact on the business.

  • ·         Only one in five newly appointed managers has received any management training.

Related Links:-

Chartered Management Institute

For video clips of managers responses to price objections and challenges from the energy and climate committee October 2013

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Big Sell Le Tour de France La grande vente - La Caravane

Liberté egalité velocité
Le Tour de France 2014 Stage 3
Everyone wants to catch the riders as they pass. Put this photo into painting mode care of Nikon

Selling of Silks and spices and other exotic luxuries years ago depended on supplies from organised caravans, which go back to the 2nd millennium BCE.

The domestication of camels allowed Arabian nomads to control the long distance trade in spices and silk from the Far East to the Arabian Peninsula.

The word Caravan is still used today in the world largest sporting event Le Tour de France Cycle race.

Today Monday 7 July, Stage 3 will take riders of Le Tour de France 2014 from Cambridge to Essex with a finish on The Mall in Londres.

The Grand Départ began in Yorkshire last Saturday.  The beautiful Yorkshire countryside made for a wonderful couple of days.

 With a worldwide television audience of 3.5billion people watching the Tour de France over 188 countries around the world broadcast the Tour de France . 

121 different television channels across the world show the race every year.

Yorkshire Building Society use the tour de France 2014 Caravan
 to give exposure to their new logo and signage and re-brand.

Good for local business:

1,200 hotel rooms are reserved each night for the teams, staff, press and tour personnel along the route. 

The Tour de France attracts 12 million spectators along the route in a typical year's race

It's estimated Le tour in 2007 brought £88m to the south-east economy generating £35m worth of media coverage for the area.

Nuffield Health linked promotion of their brand with a competition  for those wearing their promotional T shirt winning prizes. Getting people to be seen on the local CCTV . Plus a particlualry cuddly bear .

Interview with Nuffield Healthcare at
Trafalgar Square at Le tour de France 2014
The V.I.B.  Bear was very popular with
 the crowds both young and adult

Skoda one of the tour sponsors

The actual race is just a small part of the show. 

Starting some two hours before the race, the "Caravan" is a cavalcade of floats, decorated cars and other vehicles moves along the route, throwing out goodies and free samples to the spectators; it is a massive advertising stunt. 

The Caravan gets the attention of the crowds and keeps
the excitement going at Stage 3 at the  I km to go mark
for 2014 Tour de France in London
The advertising caravan, made up of the Tour's official sponsors, and is followed by a long line of official cars, technical vehicles, media and motorbikes, lights flashing, horns sounding, all warming up the spectators for the actual event itself. 

Clever play on the strap line of previous
 Renault ads of some years ago and current British cycling star.

Then, at last, the riders will come by - and are gone again as quickly as they appeared, pounding up the Mall at speeds that can reach 50 mph or more

There will be many French ex pats who now work in London, who will appreciate a little bit of 'home' coming to the city via this caravan.