Sunday, 29 May 2016

Brexit or Remain, Selling will have to deal with it.

Nothing really happens in business before a sale is made. This of course  an exaggeration but however the Referendum vote goes, salespeople will have an active role with the consequences.

Brexit the implications for selling

Britain’s salespeople, much like the country at large, are being assailed as to how we should decide how we should vote in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU on 23 rd June.

A survey of 278 British senior marketers, conducted by email provider Mailjet in March, found that 

31% believe leaving the EU  – would be good for their business.

42% say Brexit would not be advantageous for their company,

and 27% are unsure.

How the campaigns match up

The battle between the two sides in the EU referendum is as much a conflict of selling skills as it is a clash of ideas. 

The two officially designated campaigns in the debate – Britain Stronger in Europe on one side, and Vote Leave on the other – are competing for airtime and the attention of the public through a range of marketing tactics, not all of which have proved successful so far.

In their Public relations efforts to date,  both sides have courted controversy in their attempts to dominate the headlines.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt ( FUD) have featured in both campaigns .

Back in March, Vote Leave published a list of murders and rapes committed by 50 EU criminals in Britain –  criticised by the ‘remain’ side as “scaremongering”. Similarly, the pro-EU camp has generated publicity by promoting economic warnings about the dangers of leaving, but faces claims from the Brexit side that it is running an overly negative campaign labelled ‘Project Fear’.

The remain side, on the other hand, has the backing of the Government, which spent £9m on sending pro-EU leaflets to every UK household last month.

 This use of direct mail reflects the remain campaign’s desire to reach older voters, who polls suggest are more likely to be against the EU and more likely to vote.

Both campaigns came in for criticism at Advertising Week Europe last month. Lindsay Pattison, CEO of media agency Maxus, argued that neither side had made a significant impact on social media. 

“Britain Stronger in Europe has got something like 25,000 followers [on Twitter] and Vote Leave about 35,000,” she noted. “Both of those numbers are pretty pathetic.”

The outcome of the vote could have far-reaching consequences for how salespeople perform their jobs and engage with their  customers and prospects. The uncertainty created by the referendum is already having an effect on businesses.

Consumer confidence is 18 points lower than it was a year ago, according to the latest index by GfK, while a Deloitte survey reveals chief financial officers at FTSE 350 companies are delaying the recruitment of new staff and other internal investments until the vote is decided.

Whichever way the referendum vote goes it will be up to we salespeople to make the best of the situation for ourselves, our families, our businesses our customers and our country.

Related links

Lessons for Sales literature from election manifestos

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Selling through Channel Partners , Distributors etc

I was working with some super Grads from Renold  last week in Hannover.  We were studying the challenges of selling to  ( En d Users and OEMs) and selling through distributors.

They ispired me to write a short post on Delegated Selling: 

Motivating your Channel Partners and their Staff. Here are some thoughts-

At the Mercure Hannover City Centre.
we took advantage of their pin board system
for a 'brainstorm' on the differences of selling to and selling through

You do not have any direct authority over your channel partners and their staff, unlike selling direct through your own sales force.  

The only way you can get them to sell more of your product is by motivating them.  This is one of the main differences between direct and channel partner sales, and one of the most challenging aspects of the job. 

You are, in effect, a 'sales manager without portfolio.'

 You are asked to manage a group of people (Channel Partner Principals) who by their very nature have decided that they do not want to work for anyone else.  In addition you have to influence their sales force and support staff, who do not report direct to you, and who may even resent your presence in their customers.

Remember that your end user is also your channel partner’s end user. 

Maslow described a Hierarchy of Needs which helps us to analyse people’s motivators. 

What are our most basic needs?  Food, drink, warmth, clothing:  These are all PHYSICAL/Physiological  needs, the most basic of all motivators, which, if you do not have them assume the greatest priority. 

 It is important to stress that as conditions change so do our priorities and consequently our prime motivators.
Your role as a a Channel Partner manager
is in the shadows not in direct control
What is our next priority need once we have satisfied our basic physical needs?  It is to find SAFETY AND SECURITY for ourselves and our families. 

 After we have done this our next priority need is likely to be part of the community, i.e. SOCIAL AND BELONGING (Companionship) 

Humans are not solitary animals, and they need others of the same species to relate to.  However, we do not treat everyone as an equal because we are looking for RECOGNITION and STATUS as a leader.  So this is the next step on our ladder of priority needs. 

The ultimate motivator on our ladder is the feeling we achieve to satisfy an inner demand in ourselves - a feeling of ACHIEVEMENT AND FULFILMENT.  This is the highest level of motivation in the human species.  This is the motivator which drives people to sail single-handed around the world or to climb the highest mountains.  

The difference between RECOGNITION/STATUS and ACHIEVEMENT/FULFILMENT is that the former is what we look for from other people, while the latter we feel within ourselves. 

Of course we can satisfy these needs in a variety of different ways, not necessarily through business.  In fact they can be satisfied through our DOMESTIC LIFE, SOCIAL LIFE, and BUSINESS LIFE, and sometimes these can be in conflict. 

 We know that we are looking at motivating our Channel Partners in the business scenario but need to remember that within their social and domestic lives they may have different priorities.  

Friday, 6 May 2016

Successful Proposals using your DVP

The focus of this post is EFFECTIVE SELLING PROPOSALS

If you sell a complex product or one that involves the delivery of professional services, writing effective selling proposals can be critical to your success.

Some proposals are written in response to an RFP (Request for Proposal) or RFI (Request for Information).

Client organisations that have gone to the bother of writing RFP's want to receive highly structured proposals, which make it easier for them to compare responses from various bidders.

A fifth of the Buyers Views of Salespeople Survey said they use a Request for Proposal (RFP) protocol to which they invite suppliers to work to in accordance with the stipulations of their process.

For the remaining 80% a formal proposal is often required.

Regrettably some proposals are churned in what appears to be a "Generic Grenades" factory. Standard word processed tempates with only cursory modication are lobbed indiscriminately across to the client in the vain hope of success.

"Never mind the quality - feel the width"

These generic grenades also tend to be long, boring, and tedious to read. Often they are produced under the incorrect assumption that quantity of pages outweighs quality of content is what makes a proposal effective.

Question: Is it worth wrting a proposal in the first place?

The single biggest mistake in proposal generation is the lack of proper opportunity qualification.

Suppliers waste incredible amounts of time and resources preparing proposals for poorly qualified opportunities in a knee jerk response to unqualified buyer's requests. These resulting proposals have little chance of achieving sales.

Once you have qualifed the opportunity and made a conscious decision that the opportunity warrants the investment of time and resources required to generate a quality proposal, you are ready to write an effective selling proposal.

Proposals today should be be lean, focused, client-specifics and written to sell to anyone that reads them.

How does a written proposal accomplish this?

Through words that motivate and provide compelling reasons that support a buying decision.

This is where selecting the key points from your DVP is so important.

Formal Proposals : A proposal sets out your offer in terms of its recommendations and costs. It shows how your recommendations meet your client's objectives, and gives details of costs and savings.
It is best presented to your client in person, or the buying group, and continues to sell after you have left.

When is a formal proposal most appropriate?

- When your recommendation is based on information from a variety of sources; it serves as a summary of that information.
- Following an extensive survey of clients's needs.
- When your recommendation is a large complex solution. In this case it will help your client understand all the details and implications, and provide a document which justifies the cost.
- When you cannot meet the final decision maker, for example, a board of directors; it can continue to sell in your absence.
- When you are selling to a buying group, or whenever more than one person is involved in the decision making process.
Never use a formal proposal as a prospecting tool. Such a proposal is bound to be a poor one, as well as being a waste of time and money.

The appearance of your proposal should reflect the time and care taken to prepare it.
- Make sure the proposal is logically organised and that the major points are easy to locate
- Make each page visually attractive:
- Do not put too much information on each page
- Have equal width margins of at least 1"
- Have all pages equal in size
- Use pictures and diagrams whenever possible
- Highlight important points
- Use a good quality word processing software/printer/photocopier
Esselte's Leitz Files brand has just launched a great new product in Germany where thier quality files can be customised to order. Just think of the effect of a personalised file enclosed with your proposal. What a great first impression! Click for Leitz Create product

- Proof read three times (if possible by different people) to make sure that the proposal is error free
- Put your proposal in a cover which is attractive, personalized, and allows for easy turning of the pages.

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Happy May Day 2016

Song of May Morning (1632–33) by John Milton

NOW the bright morning-star, Day’s harbinger,    
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her

Farnham, Surrey

The flowery May, who from her green lap throws              
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.             

Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire           
  Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!        

  Woods and groves are of thy dressing;  
  Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.      

Thus we salute thee with our early song, 

And welcome thee, and wish thee long

The Milkmaid's Life  

Upon the first of May,

With Garlands fresh and gay

They nimbly their feet do ply,

In honour of Th' milking paile

-c1640 (Anon.)

Children dance round the Maypole in Farnham , Surrey

The Humours of May Day
What Frolicks are here
So droll and so queer
How joyful appeareth the day
E'en Bunter and Bawd
Unite to applaud  
And celebrate first of the May

-1770 (Anon.)