Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

Daily Inspiration From A Simple Gift

The road to business development success takes many turns, with many of those turns unexpected. Just as unexpected, can be the surprise source of a nugget that speaks to the mindset or habits that separate the real high performers from the rest of the pack. Finding one of those nuggets may require something as simple as tearing off the next page of a desk calendar filled with quotes.

Random Surprises

I’ve been grateful to receive just such a calendar from someone I’ve done business with, but more importantly have developed a valuable relationship with over the last few years. We met twenty years ago in one of those unexpected turns, and along the way have shared many conversations about the philosophy of success, raising kids, taking risks, running our businesses and just about everything else. His gift of a simple calendar each year has always provided me with random surprises of humor or insightful advice from the icons of history or contemporary life.

Courage

So, from the 28th of January, 2010 comes a classic thought as we all begin to get after it again day after day trying to make a buck and keep our families fed and our clients satisfied. In as true a statement about what makes business development efforts so challenging as I’ve read in a long time, I’ll close by sharing what that master motivator had to say 60 years ago or so. From Winston Churchill, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Like I said, a rare gem from an unexpected source. Thanks, Kevin!

What does the North Star have to do with Business?

01/27/2010 Leave a comment

I know where the North Star is with 100% certainty. It’s like death and taxes. Unless someone moved it, or everything written about astronomy over the last few hundred years is just a big hoax, it’s usually pretty easy to find if you know where to look. Sometimes when the conversation comes up with others, and I show them where it is, I’ll get a reaction like this … “No, that’s not it. It’s not the brightest. That’s not North”, or some other reason for them to dispute the reality. Although they obviously don’t know where it is, they are almost certain of where it isn’t.

What’s the point Smarty Pants?

So when we recommend to managers that are selecting sales people to use an assessment before making a hiring decision, we sometimes get a similar reaction like this …  “No, they don’t work. I don’t want to spend the money. I’ve done it before. I can trust my gut. But we know him or her.” … and all the other reasons.

OK, I’m alright with skepticism up to the point where it doesn’t fly in the face of the truth or the proof. The stats for our assessments are this: When you follow the recommendation to Hire, there is a 94% chance of success. When you ignore the recommendation Not to Hire, your chances of success go down to 25%. Those stats are based on hundreds of thousands of real life data points and have been back tested to confirm the validity. No doubt that 94% isn’t as sure as 100%, but it’s pretty darned good when it comes to understanding the future potential and production of a very important and expensive asset.

Is it really that simple?

No it is not that simple, so don’t believe it when you hear it. Nothing is that simple anymore. Using an assessment is just a part of a process. First, it has to be the right assessment. Too many products out there are marketed to have the same effectiveness, but the truth is that they do not have the same predictive validity. Secondly, potentially good sales folks can easily be de-railed by a weak on-boarding plan, mis-alignment of sales management, insufficient coaching, poor fit with the work environment or many other parts of the process. Being blind to these others factors is probably the reason that those who have used an assessment in the past no longer believe in their usefulness.

Next time you get ready to put on a new sales rep, can you please ask yourself how certain you are of the parts of your process?

Ice Cream for Breakfast?

01/20/2010 4 comments

The feeling of being denied the freedom to make your own decision is one of the worst feelings in the world. I don’t know too many people beyond the age of two that would argue with that statement. If I decide to go out and ride my bike, eat lunch at 1:30, have ice cream for breakfast or stay up until 3:00 AM, well, that is my choice thank you. So why should I change my mind if that is really what I want to do?

I’ll just sit here while you try to convince me

So when did it become fashionable to deny a prospect the choice to hear a pitch, stay with a current vendor or take advantage of special pricing from a competitor?  Is it that everyone we approach must be stupid or making a mistake if they don’t buy from us? Or is it just possible that we aren’t right for everyone? The tried and true process of spouting features and benefits is a tad “seller-centric”. .. meaning that those “can’t miss” benefits should work for everyone because that’s what the sales person is telling you. Just because you offer a car with fold down seats does that mean I should be thrilled even though I have no need for that particular feature that is so desired by someone else?


Just trust me, please

Someone once told me that feature and benefit selling amounted to “positive performance before trust” when used to fuel the sales process. I didn’t quite grasp that idea until I found myself as the prospect a few times. You could almost feel the salesperson telling me to just go ahead and trust him. And the funny thing was that the more he told me about this feature and that benefit that made no difference to me, the harder it was to believe I should grant him any trust at all.

So in an effort to find a more nurturing way to sell I began using a permission based sales approach that embraced the fact that either party could say NO, that allowed both salesperson and prospect to feel in control, and that used question marks instead of exclamation points or periods to drive the process forward. Wouldn’t we all like to work in an environment that felt that comfortable?

Confession

03/24/2009 Leave a comment

This is my first ever blog post. Yes, ever. It’s like being some kind of technology virgin. Sure I’ve read a few here and there but never really thought about what it would be like to write one. We do a little writing here at the office, but mostly contracts, emails (yuk) and other dry business stuff. My thinking is that some of the limitations of writing styles imposed on me from my 5th grade English teacher will be challenged. Should be interesting to see how it develops with time, as well as how it contrasts with the other authors from our little enterprise

A New Starting Point

03/20/2009 1 comment

This is where it begins …