Thursday, 26 November 2015

Everyday #Thanksgiving, Minding your Manners and Selling Etiquette

Thanksgiving should be a daily practise.

 As the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie begin to settle in the stomachs of many Americans today, some stores in the USA will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, marking the start of the holiday shopping season.

The 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation was where the early Pilgrim Fathers invited the local Native Americans to a harvest feast after a particularly successful growing season.

The previous year's harvests had failed and in the winter of 1620 half of the pilgrims had starved to death.

The local Wampanoag tribe taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, beans and squash; catch fish, and collect seafood.

There are only two contemporary accounts of the 1621 Thanksgiving, but it's clear that Turkey was not on the menu so to say. 

But the celebration was most certainly was about giving thanks.

For professional salespeople thanking on just one day is perhaps missing the point.

Thanking, being grateful, thankfulness to our customer is based on  the attitude of gratitude, thanks, appreciation, and recognition, giving credit and meriting them. This should  be a daily practise not just once a year.

As more sales professionals are being hired based on company culture fit and the quality of your communication skills, you can’t really afford to display ill manners or ingratitude. 

   Whether you’re trying to complete a great deal or finally nail that promotion, your manners matter much more than you might think.  Thanks -giving should be hard wired into your commercial DNA

Part of the Professional Salesperson’s make up is that of the face to face ambassador of the company they represent.

The attitude of gratitude

Unlike conventional office workers your manners are not judged solely in the dedicated work environment. How you conduct yourself in the public space , on client’s premises including the manner you speak to the gate house, in reception,  the shop floor up to the board room.

 Our behaviour is also not merely observed but judged at corporate hospitality events and even at what might be ‘off duty’ events. Even at a Thanksgiving Dinner it could be argued  our diplomatic hat is always on.

Here are 10 business etiquette rules you might care to practise the craft of your diplomatic skills-set on the 364 days other than Thanksgiving.

1       Introduce yourself with your full name. When first meeting a prospect or client, whether in a boardroom or a networking event, always introduce yourself with your full name.

No matter the environment, your objective is to be as memorable as possible. If you only use your first name, your new contact could well later struggle to remember which Hugh or Hayley you were. This is another additional reason why having business cards to hand are always a good idea, no matter the circumstance.

2.  Even how we sit conveys our manners. Much as man-spreading  when sitting on the underground train in London has received a certain notoriety so crossing your legs can be distracting, and even just a little bit too sexy.

3. Don’t overdo your “thanks yous.”  It’s great to be grateful, but you don’t want to be overly thankful.  The image of an obsequious ‘Uriah Heep’ does not portray confident sales professional. Saying too many thank yous in a single conversation can actually work in reverse to your meaning, diluting the impact of your initial thanks. It can also work to make you come off as needy and unsure of yourself. 

4. If you are working at a desk at the office, particularly in an open plan office, eat your lunch in the kitchen or outside. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at work and decide you don’t even have 20 minutes to eat lunch.  Instead, you end up eating lunch hunched over your desk glued to the screen looking at quotes, proposals and spreadsheets.

 Think of your co-workers. Most of your co-workers don’t want to hear you crunching lettuce or smell your reheated leftovers. Take the time out of your day to eat lunch in the kitchen or common areas, even if it means taking only a short lunch. Your co-workers, and your stomach, will thank you.

5. Always pick up the tab if you did the inviting. If you invited clients or co-workers out to dinner, don’t look for contributions when the bill comes. If you were the host of the evening, proper etiquette dictates it’s your turn to pay the bill.

6.  The vice of your devices Keep personal items off the table. Today, we’re all very attached to our smart phones…maybe a little too attached. Many of us will place our smart phone right beside us when dining, like an uninvited dinner guest.  Should you have to take a call , apologise and take the call away from the table. Having your smart phone can be like having  an uninvited guest. In fact, smart phones are great for sharing more than pictures and status updates, they’re also great for sharing bacteria.

7. Don’t ask an overwhelming amount of questions in meetings. When you go to a meeting, it’s always good to come with a few questions prepared. The keyword here is “a few.” You don’t want to overwhelm the meeting host or overtake the meeting agenda by asking a barrage of 20 questions.  You are not a news anchor . Choose your most important questions and wait until the end of the meeting to ask. If you leave with more questions, you can always ask later over email .

8. Don’t just drop in to a client’s premises. Avoid the captain 'cup-a-call' demeanour. “Hey Tony, I was in the area, thought I’d just pop in to have a chat about...” Tony maybe too uncomfortable to immediately to shoo you away. By dropping in unannounced, you assume you have the right to interrupt a client’s time. Instead of just shambling in whenever you please, take a few minutes to call or email and set up a time to talk.

9. Avoid Mark Anthony  “Friends Romans and Countrymen” speeches: Use the reply all function on email with great care. Reply to all on emails only when it’s necessary. The “reply all” function can be dangerous. But if you forget to use it when needed, you’re creating a lot of extra, unnecessary work for others

10.  Reduce the chain gang: Before starting an email chain, make sure everyone involved needs to be kept in the loop on all work. If someone on the chain might not appreciate a barrage of emails, leave them off and only send updates when necessary. Update email thread respondents on email chains. Remove people from email threads who don’t need to be there. On the other hand, there’s nothing more annoying than getting stuck on an email thread when you’re not needed. You come back from lunch and suddenly your in-box is overflowing, except none of the emails are relevant to your work at all.

Proper business etiquette can help you move up the ladder by endearing you to your bosses and colleagues. Keeping an eye on proper manners can do more for your career than you might think.

Related Links:

5 Key actions of authentic selling

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Tis the season to make lolly - Selling and the Festive Season

Kellogg's  Norman Rockwell issue

Deck the malls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
'tis the season to make lolly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la. 

The countdown has begun – now is the time to put the measures in place that will make for a prosperous new year.  IT'S ONLY ONE MONTH UNTIL CHRISTMAS  FOLKS

Many independent retailers rely on the festive season. It can represent as much of half of their annual sales. However all of us in selling are affected by the Christmas season. There is much planning to be done whether it is planning around the factory holiday shut down, the 'quiet period' between Christmas and New Year, or organising sales meetings and trainings in the less busy time or organising and booking the Christmas Team lunch! 
 There is much we can learn from the selling skills of the retailers.

Christmas  tills ringing have an entirely different tone. The fear of things going wrong in this buying season  means it can be anything but festive for retailers.

The business of Christmas is significant because Christmas is typically a peak selling season for retailers .

Sales increase dramatically as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies to celebrate.

In the UK  the Christmas shopping season usually starts from mid November although some stores start selling Christmas cards by  September.

For most it starts around the time when high street Christmas lights are turned on.

The increased level of demand, through both on line and offline sales channels, puts pressure on retailers’ operational systems and processes. The infrastructure of a retail operation needs to be robust enough to cope with the influx of orders.

For example according to eBay, 79% of shoppers are likely to purchase from another retailer or brand when a product is back ordered or out of stock.

Mistakes and delays result in disappointed customers and missed opportunities.
A newer trend is that the shape of the holiday season has changed. 

On-line shopping and the import of  USA's Black Friday on Friday 27th of November  this year , such sales have fixed a host of new dates in the UK’s retail calendar.

 However Aldi is to follow Asda’s lead and not acknowledge Black Friday  this year– insisting its customers get the best deals every day.

For Vodafone self control of Black Friday
 was lost to Red Thursday to get ahead !

Prepare for the Christmas selling window

Retail is detail - Preparation

·        Don’t be caught on-the-hop : From customer service to handling extra stock coming in for promotions – make sure you don’t get caught out by being under prepared

·        Fine tune your inventory/ stock: Early season discounts  can significantly erode demand during the traditional January sales. Take this into account when stocking up.

Don’t let your discounting dim your sparkle out of Christmas : many consumers have become conditioned to wait for promotions before making a purchase due to the challenge of increasingly rapid retail cycle of product launches and sales. Analyse your data carefully to identify products you can afford to promote – then offer targeted reductions across your product mix to draw your discount hunters without sacrificing margins across your whole product range.

Keep your delivery promise in check : Couriers are also under huge pressure over the holiday season. This can have an impact on the supply chain and on your ability to get  your goods into the hands of your customers. If you know your operations and those of your couriers will be under particular strain, you can always extend the delivery times you offer. It’s much better to set expectations a little lower and exceed them than the other way round.

·        Exploit  unparalleled on line traffic especially Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Being able to cope with the expected spike in visitors to your site is crucial for your success.

Postscript on 19th December The Daily Express front page

Photo of Daily Express front page on #panicsaturday
Who was panicking ? the retailer or the consumer

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Modi Manoeuvre Rhetoric's Bend it like Beckham - Prime Minister Modi's speech to UK Parliament Analysis of Rhetorical technique by a master

Sometime in the future ,you might have to make a speech where your central theme is not only to  explain, but  also motivate and persuade your audience of the importance of working together. 

The Collaboration speech
( working with, joining forces, teaming up, working in partnership , pooling resources, 
acting as a team, cooperating with each other )

For example it might be the importance of  one company collaborating with another, maybe a  supplier with a distributor, franchiser and franchisee  , HQ with regional sites, the Board of Directors with Stakeholders or simply the cooperation of a Supplier with a Buyer. It could be the Marketing team with the Sales team !!!

In effect 'Collaboration' was the central theme of India's Prime Minister Modi's address to UK Parliament last week . One important business aspect of his visit concerned the £9 billion of trade deals between India and the UK. This was as much a business speech as a diplomatic address.

It is a well crafted political speech  but I thought it would be worth analysing from the skills of rhetoric  Mr Modi undoubtedly has to teach us all about speech making and delivery. Later in his visit Mr Modi spoke to a crowd of 60,000 at Wembley Stadium. No politicians in the UK pull in such crowds. Mr Cameron now has attained this by introducing Mr Modi at Wembley.

I have added some observations of technique Mr Modi and his speech writers use in their speech to the UK Parliament I hope you find it interesting and can get to use some of Mr Modi's techniques for your speeches.
 N.B.   This is an analysis of rhetoric rather than politics.

Lord Speaker, ( of the House of Lords)
Mr. Speaker, (of the House of Commons)
Mr. Prime Minister ( Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

I am delighted to be in London. Even in this globalised world, London is still the standard for our times. (  light touch pun : Longitude Meridian / Greenwich Mean Time GMT and standard for diversity) The city has embraced the world's diversity and represents the finest in human achievements. And, I am truly honoured to speak in the British Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for opening the doors to us ( both in the literal and spoken sense ), here in this magnificent setting of the Royal Court. ( Westminster is a Royal Court) I know that the Parliament is not in Session. Prime Minister Cameron looks relaxed and relieved. ( Light touch of humour)
But, I want to remind you, Mr. Prime Minister, that you owe me royalty for an election slogan. I know that you are hosting me at the Chequers this evening. But, I also know that you will understand if I am fair to both sides of the floor. Especially since British MPs of Indian Origin are evenly balanced between the Treasury and the Opposition benches ( Factual Attention Getter maintaining interest). So, I also extend my good wishes to the Labour ( Party – Her Majesty’s Opposition acknowledged also). Indeed, since these are still early days after the election, my warm congratulations to the Members of the House. And, greetings to the eminent leaders of Britain and great friends of India present here today.
So much of the modern history of India is linked to this building. So much history looms across our relationship. There are others who have spoken forcefully on the debts and dues of history. I will only say that many freedom fighters of India found their calling in the institutions of Britain. And, many makers of modern India, including several of my distinguished predecessors, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr. Manmohan Singh, passed through their doors. ( Examples of India’s Good and Great who had been in Parliament)
There are many things on which it is hard to tell anymore if they are British or Indian: The Jaguar or the Scotland Yard, for example. The Brooke Bond tea or my friend late Lord Ghulam Nun's curry. And, our strongest debates are whether the Lord's pitch swings unfairly or the wicket at Eden Gardens cracks too early. And, we love the Bhangra rap from London just as you like the English novel from India. ( Pairings of examples keep the interest and prove his point of how things are not obviously British or Indian)
On the way to this event, Prime Minister Cameron and I paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi outside the Parliament.  ( Use of the link back attention getter)I was reminded of a question I was asked on a tour abroad. How is it that the statue of Gandhi stands outside the British Parliament? To that question, my answer is: (Patterns of threes) (1)The British are wise enough to recognise his greatness;(2)Indians are generous enough to share him; (3)we are both fortunate enough to have been touched by his life and mission; and, we are both smart enough to use the strengths of our connected histories to power the future of our relationship.

So, I stand here today, not as a visiting Head of Government, given the honour to speak in this temple of democracy. I am here as a representative of a fellow institution and a shared tradition. ( Mr Modi is fond of this device. He disclaims a preconception which is actually true. For example  he is a visiting Head of Government given the honour - so that  contradiction draws in our attention .Then he subtly shows his audience he is one of them. a representative  from a similar institution and tradition. I notice from other speeches at Wembley and elsewhere Prime Minister Modi uses this technique which I will nickname the "Modi Manoeuvre" .It has a touch of Mark Anthony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. “ In the famous " (1)Friends, (2)Romans , (3) Countrymen"   speech where Mark Anthony  ends up sowing the seeds of doubt on Brutus and actually praising Caesar. -----Cunning these politicians !!!)

And, tomorrow, Prime Minister and I will be at the Wembley. Even in India, every young footballer wants to bend it like Beckham. ( familiar film  directed by Gurinder Chadha  and now a musical currently playing at London's Phoenix Theatre and using the Brand Beckham  Name !!  brilliant use of shared cultures and linked to current show . This illustrate how keyed into London Mr Modi is.) Wembley will be a celebration of one-half-million threads of life that bind us; one and half million people - proud of their heritage in India; proud of their home in Britain. ( repeated pairing proud of...   proud of)

It will be an expression of joy for all that we share: values, institutions, political system, sports, culture and art. And, it will be a recognition of our vibrant partnerships and a shared future.

(Then a set of powerful factual statements)

The United Kingdom is the third largest investor in India behind Singapore and Mauritius. India is the third largest source of Foreign Direct Investment projects in the United Kingdom. Indians invest more in Britain than in the rest of European Union combined. It is not because they want to save on interpretation costs, but because they find an environment that is welcoming and familiar. ( Another example of a Modi Manoeuvre that Mr Modi favours. He states first what is a rational fact but says it is not the main reason , followed by an additional cultural /emotional reason. Mark Anthony eat your heart out again !)

It takes an Indian icon, Tata, to run a British icon and become your nation's largest private sector employer. ( Powerful fact)

The UK remains a preferred destination for Indian students. And, I am pleased that an Indian company is taking a thousand British students to India to skill them in Information Technology. ( Two exchange)
(Another pattern of threes)
 (1)We are working together in the most advanced areas of science and technology. We are finding solutions to the enduring human problems of food and health security, and seeking answers to emerging challenges like climate change.

(2)Our security agencies work together so that our children return home safe and our increasingly networked lives are not prey to the threats on cyber space.

(3) Our Armed Forces exercise with each other, so that they can stand more strongly for the values we represent. This year alone, we have had three exercises together. ( Fact)

And, in the international arena, your support has made it more possible for India to take her rightful place in global institutions and regimes. And, it has helped us both advance our common interests.

Mr. Speaker,
( Pattern of threes e.g. two...two....two...)
Strong as our partnership is, for a relationship such as ours, we must set higher ambitions.  (1)We are two democracies;(2) two strong economies; (3) and, two innovative societies.

We have the comfort of familiarity and the experience of a long partnership. Britain's resurgence is impressive. Its influence on the future of the global economy remains strong.

And, Mr. Speaker, India is new bright spot of hope and opportunity for the world. It is not just the universal judgement of international institutions. It is not just the logic of numbers: a nation of 1.25 billion people with 800 million under the age of 35 years. ( Facts Facts  Facts in a pattern of threes)

This optimism comes from the energy and enterprise of our youth; eager for change and confident of achieving it. It is the result of bold and sustained measures to reform our laws, policies, institutions and processes.
( action verbs e.g.  igniting  ...making...making... moving...creating....building)
We are igniting the engines of our manufacturing sector; making our farms more productive and more resilient; making our services more innovative and efficient; moving with urgency on building global skills for our youth; creating a revolution in Start up enterprises; and, building the next generation infrastructure that will have a light footprint on the Earth.

Our momentum comes not just from the growth we pursue, but from the transformation that we seek in the quality of life for every citizen.

Much of India that we dream of still lies ahead of us: housing, power, water and sanitation for all; bank accounts and insurance for every citizen; connected and prosperous villages; and, smart and sustainable cities. These are goals with a definite date, not just a mirage of hope. (“... goals with a definite date not just a mirage of hope”  that would be a useful phrase for the Corporate world to make . Will they attribute that to Mr Modi I wonder !)

And, inspired by Gandhiji, the change has begun with us - the way the government works. There is transparency and accountability in governance. There is boldness and speed in decisions.

Federalism is no longer the fault line of Centre-State relations, but the definition of a new partnership of Team India. Citizens now have the ease of trust, not the burden of proof and process. Businesses find an environment that is open and easy to work in.

In a nation connected by cell phones, Digital India is transforming the interface between Government and people.

So, Mr. Speaker, with apologies to poet T.S. Eliot, we won't let the shadow fall between the idea and reality. Mr Modi quotes TS Elliot “Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow”  TS Elliott The Hollow Men )

If you visit India, you will experience the wind of change.               ( Clever resonance for Conservative Politicians – Harold Macmillian’s wind of change speechThe wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact” and a gentle reminder o India’s independence )

(Evidence for this wind of change we would see if we visited India today. Verbs of change  Reflected.... Enhanced   then in a pattern of three facts)
It is reflected in the surge of investments from around the world; in enhanced stability of our economy; (1) in 190 million new bank accounts of hope and inclusion; in  (2)the increase in our growth to nearly 7.5% per year; and, (3) in the sharp rise in our ranking on Ease of Doing Business.

And, the motto of Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas ( My Google translate of the Hindi reads Everybody's company will help in everybody's growth with another pattern of threes !), is our vision of a nation, in which every citizen (1.) belongs, (2) participates and (3) prospers.
( and yet again a pattern of threes)
It is not just a call for economic inclusion. It is also (1) a celebration of our diversity; (2) the creed for social harmony; and,(3) a commitment to individual liberties and rights.

This is (1) the timeless ethos of our culture; this is (2) the basis of our constitution; and, this (3) will be the foundation of our future.

Mr. Speaker, Members and Friends, (Rhythm of threes)

The progress of India is the destiny of one-sixth of humanity.  And, it will also mean a world more confident of its prosperity; and, more secure about its future.

It is also natural and inevitable that our economic relations will grow by leaps and bounds. We will form unbeatable partnerships, if we combine our unique strengths and the size and scale of opportunities in India.
(Pattern of threes with a one more for luck – the exception to prove the rule )
(1) We will see more investment and trade. (2)We will open new doors in the Services sector. (3) We will collaborate more - here and in India - in defence equipment and technology. We will work together on renewable and nuclear energy.
(Here Mr Modi uses the three rhythm pattern to stress the young nation we will...we will.. Our youth will...)
We will explore the mysteries of science and harness the power of technology and innovation. We will realise the opportunities of the digital world. Our youth will learn more from - and with - each other.

But, a relationship as rich as this, with so much promise as ours, cannot be measured only in terms of our mutual prosperity.

Mr. Speaker,

Ours is an age of multiple transitions in the world. We are yet to fully comprehend the future unfolding before us. As in the previous ages, it will be different from the world we know.

So, in the uncharted waters of our uncertain times, we must together help steer a steady course for this world in the direction that mirrors the ideals we share. ( metaphor of uncharted waters and and steering)

For, in that lies not just the success of our two nations, but also the promise of the world that we desire. We have the strength of our partnership and the membership of the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the G-20.

We live in a world where instability in a distant region quickly reaches our doorsteps. We see this in the challenges of radicalisation and refugees. ( Alliteration pairing rradicalisation and refugees)

The fault lines are shifting from the boundaries of nations into the web of our societies and the streets of our cities. And, terrorism and extremism are a global force that are larger than their changing names, groups, territories and targets. ( The new world order)

The world must speak in one voice and act in unison to combat this challenge of our times. We must adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN without delay. There should be no distinction between terrorist groups or discrimination between nations. There should be a resolve to isolate those who harbour terrorists and willingness to stand with nations that will fight them honestly. And, we need a social movement against extremism in countries where it is most prevalent and, every effort to de=link religion and terrorism.
( Ocean Cyber space and outer space)
Oceans remain vital for our prosperity. Now, we have to also secure our cyber and outer space. Our interests are aligned across many regions. We have a shared interest in stable, prosperous and integrated South Asia, drawn together in a shared march to prosperity.

We want an Afghanistan that is shaped by the dreams of the great Afghan people, not by irrational fears and overreaching ambitions of others.

A peaceful, stable Indian Ocean Region is vital for global commerce and prosperity. And, the future of Asia Pacific region will have profound impact on all of us. We both have huge stakes in West Asia and the Gulf.

And, in Africa, where, amidst many challenges, we see so many promising signs of courage, wisdom, leadership and enterprise. India has just held an Africa Summit, in which all 55 countries, and 42 leaders participated. ( Example Facts)

We must also cooperate to launch a low carbon age for a sustainable future for our planet. This is a global responsibility that we must assume in Paris later this month. (presaging a future meeting)

The world has crafted a beautiful balance of collective action - common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

Those who have the means and the know-how must help meet the universal aspiration of humanity for clean energy and a healthy environment. And, when we speak of restraint, we must not only think of curbing fossil fuels, but also moderating our lifestyles.
(Declared targets and strategy)
We must all do our part. For India, a target of 175 GW of additional capacity in renewable energy by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity of 33-35 % by 2030 are just two of the steps of a comprehensive strategy.

I have also proposed to launch during the COP 21 meeting an International Solar Alliance to make solar energy an integral part of our lives, even in the most unconnected villages.
( local experience UK  audience -we use umbrella for rain - India  a parasol then modern example – Solar Alliance  )
In Britain, you are more likely to use an umbrella against rain than the sun. But, my team defined the membership of the Solar Alliance in more precise terms: you have to be located within the Tropics.

And, we are pleased that the United Kingdom qualifies! ( Joke ) So, we look forward to an innovative Britain as a valuable partner in this endeavour. Prime Minister Cameron and I are, indeed, very pleased that cooperation on affordable and accessible clean energy is an important pillar of our relations.

Mr. Speaker,
(Action verbs seize...remove...instil... remain...)
This is a huge moment for our two great nations. So, we must seize our opportunities, remove the obstacles to cooperation, instill full confidence in our relations and remain sensitive to each other's interests.

In doing so, we will transform our strategic partnership, and we will make this relationship count as one of the leading global partnerships. Ever so often, in the call of Britain's most famous Bard that we must seize the tide in the affairs of men, the world has sought the inspiration to act. And, so must we. ( Bard – another word for Poet/Playright in this case William Shakespeare. “Julius Caesar “Act 4, scene 3                 
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries  ,  I think Julius Caesar as aplay may be a favourite of Prime Minister Modi)

 (He then leads into his conclusion)
But, in defining the purpose of our partnership, we must turn to a great son of India, whose house in London I shall dedicate to the cause of social justice on Saturday .(10 King Henry's Road in Primrose Hill North London Where Ambedkar lived in 1921-22 as a student of the LSE ). Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, whose 125th birth anniversary we are celebrating now, was not just an architect of India's Constitution and our parliamentary democracy. He also stood for the upliftment (uplifting) of  (1) the weak, (2) the oppressed and (3) the excluded. And, he lifted us all to a higher cause in the service of humanity; to build a future of justice, equality, opportunity and dignity for all humans; and, peace among people.

That is the cause to which India and the United Kingdom have dedicated themselves today.