Category Archives: Business

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.”

Invisible, Everywhere, Unlimited 

ipassomIpass – It’s really rather simple and very good at keeping you always connected.

I witnessed the alternative reality for myself just this afternoon. A simple presentation in a well known coffee establishment with Free Wi-Fi. And we all know that Free isn’t really free – right?

After attempting to log into the free WiFi with credentials that were…..Let’s tell it as it is….forgotten! The aforementioned presenter used a different email address and created a new account. (That’s another set of intell in the public domain). All seemed OK until I asked how secure the connection was…..hmmm – well he hadn’t considered that!

So onto the “demo” – All started really well… least until he opened another web page and he was asked for his log in credentials again (big sigh).  Ipass auto connects with invisible credentials to around 50 million hotspots globally with all you can eat data – no limits.

Out of office is dead – surely!

Mobility is nothing new. In fact email on the go has been a part of our lives since the late ‘90s and is now considered to be table stakes – it’s seen as a “given” and we’ve marched ahead with many new services available on the move.  
This ability to work from anywhere is of course predicated on the fact that you remain always on and connected.

It does therefore surprise the writer that there are still people using their out of office assistant to claim they are unavailable because they are not at their desk. Anything for a peaceful life eh?

I’m the first to accept that typing on the phone keyboard isn’t easy, and auto correct can prove embarrassing, but to have the technology and power that a modern smartphone provides and to claim isolation is rather poor at best.

Does an ooo have a place? Yes it does. Holidays are to be encouraged and switching off for some personal downtime is a must. Letting people know that you are traveling can also be helpful as driving and accessing your device is to be discouraged.

Common sense and good practice are live and well, and good judgment is still with us. Technology is still very much under our control and Skynet remains just a concern.

Created and posted whilst on the move from my iPhone – apologies for any typos