Who is coaching you?

Whether you are Jonny Wilkinson, Steph Houghton or Mo Farah, the one thing they all have in common is that they all had, and continue to have support to develop their skills and success – a sports coach – in fact probably several coaches with differing and complementary skills.

How about you? Are you so talented that you don’t need coaching? Maybe it’s more simple than that – you simply lack ambition?

No of course not, It’s none of the above is it….you just haven’t been thinking in these terms have you? But now that we are discussing it, it makes sense doesn’t it? In fact it’s rather more common than most of us might think.

So now you are thinking about it – what will you do differently?

Give me a call now – that’s right be a “do it now” person of action.

Success awaits you – the bold and audacious, I salute you.

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…..failure isn’t fatal…..

I’m sure you’ve seen that headline before and perhaps drawn some comfort from it as you’ve beaten yourself up for your own personal lack of success in some areas. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all been in situations where things haven’t turned out exactly the way we had expected. Failing is ok – it’s a natural consequence of attempting to be successful. The only time you do not risk failure, is when you do not try.

One of history’s most notable figures embraced failure, but in a way that was incredibly positive. Not something you often associate with failing is it?

Thomas Edison famously used failure as a stepping stone to success – each time his latest attempt to develop the light bulb was unsuccessful, he noted that he was another step closer to establishing what would work. His paradigm was that by finding out what didn’t work, he drew closer to what would work.

How about you? Are you trying hard enough to risk failure, or have you de-risked by simply not trying at all?

Sales – Art or science?

Selling – is it an art or a science? not giving in

In truth, it’s both. The process of a non- customer becoming a customer through their buying process, has a bucket full of potential twists and turns to arrive as a new customer to your enterprise.

The science of selling is in the planning and understanding of how to get from where you are, to where you want to be. How you reach your target audience and what will attract them to your online presence (the NEW Shop window). The art component is to do with your engagement with the potential customer.

However you consider customer acquisition, you need to attract or find new ones and take care of and nurture the ones you already have. Rest assured that someone will be trying to lure your customers away from you, just as you are attempting to encourage new customers into your care.

The one universal truth is that this does all take some time, so do not expect to have orders rolling in because you have launched your web site or because you have received 3 inquires this week. Building your business is a long game, so stay ambitious but realistic and keep trusting the process, and above all be persistent and professional.

No thank you – is a valid response

In a world of political correctness gone extreme, it is often very difficult for a business to establish what is a real sales opportunity versus what is simply noise, misinterpretation, over-optimism, and lack of clarity.

Why is this seemingly so difficult for us to manage?

My hypothesis is that more often than not, we fail to create the environment where our potential customer feels able to provide clarity (or a simple no thank you). So how do we create the right environment for good open dialogue, and who takes the lead?

Simply, I’d suggest that the seller should be taking the lead in pursuit of clarity. The buyer may provide a clear indication of the seller offer’s fit to the need, which is great, but my experience tells me this is the exception. So we end up with a “send me a quote”, “leave it with me”, “I’ll let you know”… None of which is helpful. The seller logs into the CRM tool to update and notes that this is a probable deal and it is duly added to the forecast. Misleading? Perhaps. Unhelpful? Certainly.

Ultimately, deals are done where buyer and seller have congruence and the detailed effort goes into working out HOW the deal is done, as the decision to deal is already made.

Business leaders are two-faced!

What the heck Graham!!!! Are you trying to alienate the business community? 
Not at all – but it does make you wonder how a business leader can insist that the sales team create a larger pipeline and close more deals…and when the inevitable sales pipeline reviews come about, that the sales team are scrutinised for the level of engagement….. You’re getting there ahead of me now aren’t you?

Business leaders – you avoid the sales people who continue to call and mail you requesting an audience with you, and at the same time push the sales teams in your own organisation to “call higher”. What do you do that supports your teams efforts and how would you suggest that your peers within your target audience behave when your sales and marketing teams reach out to engage?

I’d suggest that it’s somewhat hypocritical to ignore sales requests whilst pushing the sales team to do likewise.

So why don’t we get a little more sales sensitive and not only support the sales effort, but take a sympathetic view of the sales requests.

I’d welcome your views….

Has email made us lazy and poor communicators?

Like very many folks these days, and despite the promise that technology would free us up to leisure activities, I travel a fair amount – mostly by train (it’s convenient when I can get a seat). What this means for me (armed with my smart device) is that I can be very productive. I can catch up on unread emails and reply – especially to messages received overnight from my US based colleagues. I can also consider the day ahead and plan as much as possible before the day commences in earnest.
What I cannot do particularly well, however is hold telephone conversations. Most of the time, connectivity just isn’t up to the mark for real time engagement like voice, and more often than not, the call isn’t for general consumption. I also loath having to listen to others prattling on in their loud Dom Jolly (I’M ON THE TRAIN) voices.
All of this means that I am probably a net contributor to something I dislike most of the time – EMAIL!!!
How did this happen? Have I got more lazy than I dare to admit to I wonder? I’m not alone here I fear, but what’s the answer.
Well, for me, it’s not all bad news because I do think that email and online communication serves well as a first touch – an introduction if you like. The all important person-to-person piece via telephone and face-to-face is the critical part which we still seem to manage rather well as human beings, and as Bob Hoskins used to say during a very well known advertisement “It’s good to talk.”

Business or consumer?

It’s an interesting distinction often discussed related to the customers you serve with your products and services. The lines became blurred some time ago as the world changed. I’m referring here specifically to the market for communications and mobility. I’m clearly just a regular member of society and as such am clearly a consumer, however, for most of the week I’m a business man. During the week I constantly flip between personas dependent upon the thoughts and actions at hand.

Today is Sunday and I’m heading to a business meeting starting tomorrow morning and therefore my persona is probably more confused than usual, but I look around a very busy train into London, and it’s full of people using their mobile devices to access what’s important to them now. It may be that there are others like me who are travelling to a business oriented activity, or more likely (based on overheard conversation), they are heading to something more recreational. Whatever we are all doing, it’s clear that mobility in our lives is very much mainstream, whether for business or consumer oriented use. What else is clear is that on order to get the maximum advantage from technology on the go, the device needs connectivity. For me, about to embark upon international travel, I’m considering cost avoidance and inconvenience, so I’ll be ensuing that I’m connecting to WiFi wherever I can, and I’ll be relying upon my ipass app and service to do the heavy lifting. I suspect that the people within the Enterprise customer base that also use ipass are similarly taking advantage of this benefit when they are not “at work” or in “business mode” – well why not?