Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Event Selling the new season Sale

On Sales for Non Sales course many delegates at the beginning of the programme tell me that they " are not really in Sales". By the end of such a programme most have change their mind both about 'Selling' and the importance of their role in their business

The ‘S’ word ‘Selling’ especially in the UK,  holds a certain embarrassment  ; hence the proliferation of titles for Salesperson on business cards. e.g. Account manager, portfolio manager, 

Current poster in September 2015
 from Dorothy Perkins' window
As we enter the Autumn season ( today is the autumn equinox) I notice in my local High Street the word ‘Event’ is replacing ‘Sale’ in its shop window posters.

Many British people dislike the word “sales.”  The very thought of sales conjures up images of pushy door-to-door hawkers or less than scrupulous used car salespeople. There seems to be a common misconception that the action of “selling” implies coercion – trying to convince someone to buy or use a product, service or idea that they don’t really need.

The logic being   “ if they needed it, you wouldn’t really have to “sell” anything, right? “

 The truth about successful selling is that it is rooted in helping – relating needs with solutions.  In the professional services sector, however, such “helping” can be a far cry from how most perceive the dreaded “s” word.

Conventional and traditional professionals like lawyers and accountants do not want anything to do with selling – they want to believe that in-depth, specialised training precludes them from having to sell themselves or their work.  They want to focus on their area of expertise, be the best they can be in their field, and go home at the end of the day. 

Of course more and more of us are in the service selling business. We sell the benefits of what our offering does and means to the clients not merely the educational role of what our offer is. We sell the hole not the drill bit, the sizzle not the steak

So how does this relate to disliking the word “sales?”  In order for us to be successful in protecting and expanding existing client relationships and developing new ones, we need to re-engineer our sales mentality and redefine what selling actually means.

Instead of viewing “selling as telling,” we need to realise that a good salesperson talks less, and listens more?  What if the goal of selling wasn’t to force fit a solution, but rather to gain a clear understanding of the client’s need, so that we could help them find a solution – regardless of whether it was our service or not?

The reality behind successful sales is that if you help someone, you are selling – by giving them an insight of what it is like to work with you – and that is the best kind of “selling” there is.  In order to be successful in professional selling relationships, we need to demonstrate the belief that selling is helping.

 While  the feelings of fear and trepidation that surround “selling” for many,  others appreciate it can be done naturally and painlessly – and can be fun and enjoyable.

 So, let’s reintegrate “sales” into our daily professional language, and see if we can demonstrate “selling” as the respectable, value-added practise that it should be.

Re-badging the ‘S’ word is  fine- so long as we as professional salespeople do not delude ourselves or clients and deny we are selling by hiding behind a different word- which is a perfectly honourable and necessary activity

Maybe in the not too distant future we will see ‘Event enabler’ as another title on a business card of for a retail salesperson.

Good Eventing !
God selling !

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

#KeepitTea Keep it three #FindYourFlow Go man Go The Selling Power of threes

Whether you are communicating  in written or verbal English in your selling, it is very useful to appreciate the rhythm of the language as well as its meanings.
A particularly useful pattern is the rhythm of threes.

The new advertising campaign for Unilever's PG tips brand of tea ,starring Monkey, is a three word slogan "Keep it Tea". ( Keep (1) It (2) Tea (3)

Why the pattern of threes resonates so well,  is not known for sure , but it could be due to the early Christian writings and the dogma of the Christian faith of the Trinity that became embedded in the langauge.

God the Father (1), The Son (2) and the Holy Ghost (3)

This pattern of threes is sown in much of the popular liturgy e.g. The Gloria Patri finishes - .... as it was in the beginning (1), is now (2) and ever shall be (3)

in St Paul's famous letter to the Corinthians 1 :13 on Love "  Faith (1) Hope (2) and Charity (3)

In spoken English the pattern of three often occurs in basic narratives of jokes.

" There was an Englishman (1) , an Irish man (2) and a Scotsman (3)......

Selling Political campaigns

When political slogans are required to build a campaign the patter of threes again comes to the fore.

President Modi at Wembley Stadium 13th November 2015 

Whenever we talk about rupee bond, we always remember James Bond. If James Bond provides us with entertainment, Brooke Bond tea provides with freshness. In that order, it's (1.)James Bond, (2 )Brooke Bond, (3.)Rupee Bond.

 This applies to spoiler campaigns also such as Alistair Campbell's negative ABC Anyone (1) but (2) Corbyn. in the Labour leadership Campaign of 2015. Whether it worked- we will find out this Saturday !

The Republican Party across the pond is known by the three letters Grand (1) Old (2) Party (3) GOP. Its opposition derides it by describing its membership as  male (1), pale (2) and stale (3)- here we have both rhythm of thees  and a Rhyme!

Barack Obama's Presidential 2008 Campaign  " Yes (1) We (2) Can (3)" , " Labour (1) isn't (2) working (3) " for the Conservatives in 1979 - strictly speaking 4 words but to the ear 'isn't' is one word.
Lucozade'e patter of three slogan 'Find your flow'

Power of threes in Marketing

The pattern of threes has been used in brand slogans 

  • Snap (1) Crackle (2) and Pop (3) - Kellogg's Rice Crispies
  • Exceedingly (1) good (2) cakes (3) - Mr Kipling
  • Afore (1) ye (2) go (3) -Bell's Scotch Whisky
  • Finger(1) Lickin' (2) good (3) -KFC
  • Work (1) Rest  (2)and Play (3) - Mars
  • Never (1) Knowingly  (2) Undersold- (3) John Lewis
In the  rebranding field we have seen Google's new logos makeover in 2015 Tap (1) Type (2) and Talk (3)

Pattern of Threes in Social Media e.g Twitter and Facebook Posts in 'Brand Bolt'

Tweet by Usain Bolt after his 100m Gold medal at the 2015  World Championships in Beijing

Thanks for the love and support my FB peeps..

 TeamBolt all day everyday #‎Blessed (1)  #‎Thankful  (2) #‎ForeverFaster (3)

‪#A ‎Thankful Usain Bolt  tweet after winning World Championship Gold for 200 metres  27th August 2015

Unshakeable (1)
Unbreakable (2)
Unstoppable  (3)

In Business Journalism

The pattern of threes is often used to craft an article. For example from last Friday's  Business section, London Evening Standard the "Confessions from the City" column used the pattern of threes to book end an article on an insider's amusing perspective of the pitches of restructuring /turnaround firms. The author commented on a competitor's pitch using business bullshit in an opening pitch.

" We'll think the unthinkable (1) , we'll say the unsayable (2) do the undoable (3) - we're contrary thinking revolutionaries" Despite this fluent dross this competitor won the contract. In such assignments a struggling company can be charged an eye watering £1,000 an hour !

The article concluded with a classic rhythm of threes summary joke.

" Basically , restructuring experts  have a lot in common with a rhinoceros.

They are extremely thick skinned (1), their judgement often turns out to be short sighted (2), and they sure charge a lot ! (3). 

 Find Your Flow is Lucozade's rhythmic three slogan.

So in your commercial communication why not ' find your flow' and give it a go, try the rhythm of threes and see it pleases ;) .

Related Links

Six types of effective business narratives

Classic Speech Openings and Closings

Taking and Answering Questions after your presentation

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Logo Makeover lessons from Google in refreshing your sell

So we are into the last quarter of the calendar year. Pupils in the state sector are back to school. Time for fresh thinking.  Time to repaint. Time for a makeover.

The Designer Lo Min Ming has worked for the likes of Google, Dropbox and Microsoft

“The key to a good logo, is making it distinctive, memorable, and recognisable"

Google logo cut and pasted 
and processed on painting mode on Nikon Coolpix
After 17 years GOOGLE has refreshed its logo  which is now part of a new identity family that includes the Google dots and 'G' icon.

Users now require a world of seamless computing across the huge number of devices they have and  the different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).

To make a strong first impression on consumers, businesses need a logo with impact.

Despite the importance of a logo,  Many smaller businesses often struggle to design a memorable one ,with their limited budgets compared to the likes of Google.

A 2014 study from a cloud-based platform solutions provider Endurance International Group  discovered that 15 % of small businesses with five employees or less have no logo at all, with 56 % of businesses having designed their own logos without any professional help.

Google logo cut and pasted and processed
 on painting mode on Nikon Coolpix
A logo which stands out and a Web presence  makes an impression are an important part of building your brand.

The research revealed that more than a quarter of small businesses were planning on changing their logo  in the net quarter. 

(The study was based on surveys of 491 small businesses with fewer than five employees. )

Businesses  should choose a design that has staying power, but it's important to be open to subtle changes over time.
 Brands may need to refresh their logo as the company protects, expands, and develops new audiences – As your Brand evolves  you need to protect your Brand’s DNA. Don't lose sight of what makes your brand recognisable – whether it’s a signature colour, graphic or font.

 3 tips.

Google logo cut and pasted and processed on painting mode 
on Nikon Coolpix
Ask your audience. Social media makes it easy to communicate directly with your customers. Engage them in the process by asking for their input and even allowing them to judge potential designs.

Keep it simple salesperson. A complete brand overhaul may alienate some of your  customers, so less is more when it comes to a makeover. Focus on one or two elements and make subtle changes.

Communicate the change. To avoid confusion, the refresh should be consistent at every touch point or moment of opportunity with your customers.

Ensure a seamless experience by communicating the change well in advance with your employees and updating marketing materials.


“Design is thinking made visual.”  Saul Bass, Logo Designer

Related Links

5 key actions of Selling Authenticity LIVING your real deal

  "Narrative' is passé, Authenticity is the new currency." 

Authentic process: In UK Politics the main opposition party-The Labour Party has a Leadership campaign that has self imposed a crisis in the vetting process of voters.  Registered and affiliated voters it seems, are now to be examined for authenticity. The twitter hash tag #LabourPurge has been doing the rounds. Inauthentic applications have been revoked if their “values have not matched the values of the Labour party”.  

Authentic  security claims of Internet has also featured in the virtual world of Internet dating on two counts. Firstly the much stressed promise of privacy and security of Ashton Madison  was subjected to by a hack making 36 million email addresses available, and sensitive data such as credit card numbers.  Secondly it has been revealed that 36% of the email addresses were FAKE which has done little for the quality of the Ashton Madison Offering.

Authentic performance from the world of Sport following the Sunday Times exposé
 of suspicious blood measurement from many athletes in track and field much as the scandals in Cycling. 
The earning of a reputation, of personal authenticity is a daily challenge to sales and marketing people in trustworthiness in
  • commercial and client confidentiality,  
  • their sales performance, ( not just sales number but activity)
  • and  the claims of their offer.

 Of course it is not only the sales’ side whose authenticity is questioned. Authentic buying is similarly challenged. 
It is not unknown for a ‘influencer’ to put on a 'big time act'  as if the final decision rests with them , or to claim they can afford something when they don’t have the final authority to do so  or the budget oversight .

In our work to build up our authenticity it is helpful to first examine the word. A dictionary definition of Authentic  goes as follows:    of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine

synonyms :genuine, original, real, actual, pukka, bona fide, true, veritable; sterling; attested, undisputed, rightful, legitimate, lawful, legal, valid;

 informal expressions : the real McCoy, the genuine article, the real thing, your actual, kosher, honest-to-goodness; 

How would your clients,your boss and your company measure your ability to authentically sell with a client serving approach, while influencing effectively without manipulating?

Here are some aspects, qualities they might look for the authentic sell
  • Your capability and true intention
  • Your approach to focused  and genuine enquiry
  • Your collaborative crafting of your offering
  • That you are the 'real deal'
  • That you actions are truly client oriented
  • That you use authentic approaches
  • That you are constantly developing, adapting and improving your influence and persuasion skills
  • Tat you say no to manipulation
 An Authentic Client Serving Approach to Sales is not 'new' - see Baltazar Gracian and the virtues of the courtier. Balthazar Gracian and virtues of the courtier

The maxims should be well known to us but doing them is the challenge!

1.    Concentrate on your buyers' success and not your own.- Be Buyer oriented
2.    Let the client tell their story before you tell your story. -  Shut up,listen and pause
3.    When the client tells their story, forget about instant fixes, get to fully understand it.
 4.    Listen with patience and interest .Avoid arguing and lecturing your client.
5.    Find out the relevant circumstances  concerns, consequences and conclusions that your buyers are seeking.

Know your authentic  ABCU
 Move from conventional  'always be closing' to being always be commercially useful 

 An authentic sales conversation involves you asking questions.

 As you listen to your client responding to the questions you ask, your brain will give you ideas about how you might help. In a typical conversation, you’d probably offer these ideas as they occurred to you. In an authentic sales conversation with your client,  don’t blurt out your ideas as they occur to you. Wait and "stay in the question."

 Once you put your idea out there, it’s hard not to defend it which not a persuasive way to start  a productive sales conversation. Ideas arising after you have deeply understood the client’s situation, are likely to be better than those you have as instant knee jerk reactions.
Traditionally selling  has focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck.

Today,  authentic sales success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others.

Are you a T , an M or a G?

 Most salespeople operate as either a. takers, b. matchers, or c. givers

 Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of salespeople who contribute to others without expecting immediately anything in return."
Giving styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and even burn out, most achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of markets.

Here are 5 steps to bring out your inner Giver
a. Learn to research and source buyers who are likely to have the problems you can solve 
b. Learn to effectively message (aka, talk about) the value you bring to buyers, which includes your problem-solving approach and willingness to explore their situation and share your insight and experiences, including what others in similar situations are doing to address the issues they face. Done well, this should get you more meetings.

3. When in a meeting, focus on the buyer – their situation, story, challenges, opportunities, impacts of not acting and outcomes for taking the right action. In a perfect-world, it’s better to do this completely independently of your solution, at first.

4. Go in with beyond Google plus info:-

With impatient buyers who have researched their options well before talking to you .So if you’re not creating your own opportunity with a proactive approach, it’s more difficult sometimes that it should be, to conduct a deep discovery, drilling down to your client's real needs wants attitudes feelings and opinions etc.

 In those cases, bring data, insights, experiences and outcomes into your interaction as needed, to earn the right to have the deeper dialogue.

5. When it’s time to discuss solutions, personalise them based on the buyer’s situation and both their business needs and personal motivators.

At every point in the process, abstain from manipulative tricks 
Be authentic.
Be transparent.
Be willing to walk away, especially if you can’t really help (although perhaps you can refer someone who can).

Think from the Buyer's view

 In the Buyer's world, it’s rare to find a solution that is absolutely perfect in every way. 

Buyers often need to compare solutions that are close, but each competitive offer may do something the other doesn't. or perhaps the services seem similar but there is a value-add with one who also charges more. 

There are dozens of mismatch possibilities, but  buyers make compromises on what they want and are often forced to select between multiple good options. 

Professional buying isn't any easier than Professional selling.

In these situations, do you know what often makes the difference? 

Yep… it’s you ! 

And yes, to be clear, this “you” includes your colleagues in your company who have interacted with the buyer, too, but a great deal of it is you. When all else is equal, the experience the buyer has with you, your approach, your relationship, their trust in you and your company/solution… they matter a great deal. This includes your (above-board, principle-centred) ability to establish authentic credibility, develop relationships, influence, persuade and negotiate.

Next Actions and related links
  1. What’s your mindset about your buyers and selling to them? 
  2. What are your skill levels for selling, problem-solving, influencing, persuading, and negotiating without manipulation?  Take this sales knowledge and skills audit
  3. Where you can improve the most?
  4. How can you bridge the gap between your knowledge and field practise ?
  5. For those in your company who interact with your clients and prospective clients… how well do they do the above? Selling skills for non sales
  6.  How can you (and your colleagues, manager, and sales support team) raise everyone’s level this year?  Add this blog to your favourites
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