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Switch for Sales…

Profession “Sales” is as tough as any other profession. You have as many challenges as you will find in being a cab driver or CEO of an organization.  Not enough sales, not enough customers, Price too high, customer has standardized, customers buy from reputed vendors, competition, customer retention are some of the challenges we come upon.

To succeed faster professionals invest USD in mentors and coaches.  The limitation; is mentors and coaches are limited by their time and accurately comprehend the human emotions.  On the flip side BOOKS are a perfect Coach, Friend and a mentor. They are besides you, when you want them and even when you don’t.

Two months ago I bought the book “Switch” authored by Dan and Chip heath. SWITCH makes a fascinating study in CHANGE.  Fascinating because it is written in Simple, Unpredictable, Credible, Concrete, Emotions and Story format; ensuring that the book sticks and it’s lessons stick too.  The author says, supported by scientific research that for a successful CHANGE to happen three things should happen; 1st change should happen in head @ practical level, 2nd change should happen at emotional level @ heart and 3rd target should clearly see the road map with measurable results. In other words SWITCH takes an analogy of a rider riding an elephant and the path.  For example HEAD/RIDER knows he has to get up early in the morning and exercise to stay healthy, but on the flip side ELEPHANT/EMOTIONS that is huge wants to sleep a little bit more in the morning and probably exercise next morning.  Now in this case the two have to be motivated and also shown the end point to make an effective change.  This is the philosophy of Book SWITCH narrated in 9 principals.

The principals outlined in the books are common across Sales, Personnel development and everything which entails bringing in CHANGE for better.  Read my translation of applying “SWITCH” philosophy for Sales…. The 9 principals of CHANGE like the 9 lives of a cat……. Read on……..

  • Philosophy # 1 (Head) : “Find out what’s working and how you can do more of it.”
  • Sales perspective: Find a bright spot and replicate it. Find what is working in selling “that’s your bright spot”, duplicate it.  When you successfully sell a solution to a company, productise it and resell the package to other business in the similar business stream.

  • Philosophy # 2 (Head): Script the critical moves.  “Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviour.”
  • Sales Perspective: Decision paralysis – Never  give multiple options to your prospects.  Give them one option and explain why this option is better than others.
  • Script the proven and successful sales process and repeat it with your prospects to create new sales.
  • Breakdown the customers buying process into baby steps and address one step at time making it easier for your prospect to move forward – small change at a time.
  • Philosophy # 3 (Head) : Point to the destination.  ““Change is easier when you know where you  are going and why its worth it.”
  • Sales Perspective: Give them business ROI, when and how the solution will pay for itself?
  • Show them how it will benefit them in 6 months – in 12 months down the time line?
  • How it will enhance their business revenue, customer relations, reputation and others?
  • Philosophy # 4 (Heart): Find the feeling.  “Knowing something is not enough to cause change.  Make people feel something.”
  • Sales Perspective: Touch their hearts: Appeal to their emotions.
  • Show them how your product will help them increase the market share and what will it mean to them and to their business reputation.
  • How your product or services will attract new customers and what will new customers mean to them i.e more revenue – more payout to employees and promotions.
  • Philosophy # 5 (Heart)  : Shrink the change: Break down the change until it no longer spooks the elephant.
  • Sales Perspective: breakdown your sales process into small steps.  Provide OPEX model, provide easy payment terms. Extend a planned purchase plan thus reducing the financial and sudden change pressure.
  • Philosophy # 6 (Heart) : Grow your people.  “Cultivate a sense of identity and instil the growth mindset.”
  • Sales Perspective :  Educate your customers and become a consultant.
  • Educate your sales team make them consultant to your customers, instill a feeling of identity in your team and in your customer being associated with your business.
  • Philosophy # 7 (Shape the path): Tweak the environment.  “Tweaking the environment is about making the right behaviours a little bit easier and the wrong behaviours a little bit harder.”
  • Sales Perspective :Operate and sell when it’s convenient to your customers.
  • Make it convenient for the customers to make financial decision – easier payment terms, Opex, Bank facilities, onsite engineer, faster delivery, convenient packagining and integration with their exiting processes.
  • Philosophy # 8(Shape the path) : Build habits.  “when the behaviour is habitual its free—it does not tax the rider.  Look for ways to encourage habits.”
  • Sales Perspective : Simply your purchase process. Make it convenient and addiction for your customer to purchase from you.
  • Retain your customers and encourage them to come back again and again until you become the defacto partner.
  • Automate the purchase process extending better options, convenience and commercials.
  • Philosophy # 9 (Shape the path) : Rally the herd.  “Behaviours is contagious.  Help it spread.”
  • Sales Perspective: Request your existing customer to talk to your prospect.
  • Arrange a customer forum and invite prospects to meet with your existing customers and sell you and your services.
  • Referral selling, build customer case studies and customer testimonials and let these tools do the selling.

 

Enjoy practicing……………

8 Weapons of Influence

This Article appeared in  “THE KHALEEJ TIMES” – OPENSPACE on July 27, 2011

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” Life reflects success once you bring change in others.  And the change equals Influence.  People of influence are prized and successful; the questions is “Is the influence part of the human DNA or it can be learnt?”

Robert B Cialdini in his bestselling book “Influence; Psychology of Persuasion “ identifies “6” weapons of influence and these can be learnt.  The knowledge of influence when applied would and should results in successful outcome.

The principals of Influence can be applied in selling, conducting business, delivering speeches and every scenario where a change is expected.  Hence it becomes a very powerful arsenal and the Book to be missed at your own RISK.  The six principal identified in the book are

–      Reciprocity

–      Commitment and consistency

–      Social proof

–      Authority

–      Liking and Scarcity

I have identified two more weapons to the arsenal of Influence and they are

–      Find a buddy

–      Become Story teller

Let’s take closer look at the 8 weapons of “Influence”

  • Reciprocity: This is part of the human DNA.  People tend to return a favor.  If you invite them out for meal they will return the favour by inviting you for the meal.  If you click LIKE on Facebook,  the other person is most likely to Click on Like on your post.  Hence people can use this weapons to influence change – make a sales, secure business and garner support.  The best strategy to deploy whenever you visit an audience is to ask who I can help and how can I help ?  The bigger or unexpected the favour,  the bigger is the return.    like Zig Ziggler said “ If you want to succeed in life , help enough people to succeed”
  • Commitment and Consistency: If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement.   Hence in any transaction work towards getting a compliance to a smaller request  that is in congruence with the your larger request to follow
  • Social Proof: People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. Hence utilize the weapon when making sale – use the customers testimonials to support your case.
  • Authority: People will obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts.  Because people trust authority.  Having said that to add human touch and make it more convincing it’s important that Authority figure also share the negative or the weakness and this reflects the human part wherein people perceive that authority is knowledgeable about strength and weakness and also a human thus resulting in influencing a change.
  • Liking : People  do business with people they like.  They are easily persuaded by people they like or share something in common.  Hence identify what is common between you and your target audience and share with them  to influence decision.
  • Scarcity: Scarcity creates demand and we all are aware of it. Christmas season limited toys availability creates lines outside the small.  Limited time offer, one time offer are a ploy to create demand and positively influence decisions towards purchase.  Hence during the sale process identify what is unique to your proposition that is not available with your competitor and highlight that to influence.
  • Find a buddy: identify a third party who would highlight your strength and sell your credentials. And once it’s done your job of influence becomes a cake walk.  Politicians and Hollywood/Bollywood personalities deploy this ploy to influence.
  • Be a story teller: Become a story teller. Put yourself in the story to connect with your audience. People buy from people and stories are the best medium to deliver sticky message and create influence.  Hence become an expert in telling your stories.

 

This Article appeared in  “THE KHALEEJ TIMES” – OPENSPACE on July 27, 2011

Science of Body Language – my choice

Albert Mehrabian said that total sum of our communications is 55% body language; 38% tone and balance 7% is the words.  Profound research and a meaningful wisdom for the students of body language.  There are numerous studies and books published on Body Language and everyone of them has some strength and few weaknesses.

I was introduced to the science of body language pretty late, during my first job, when my good friend Ravi shared the book on body language .  This book was more pictorial and hence it caught my attention.  Next day I went to Cannaught place and purchased the book for INR 35.00, a hefty sum that time.  For many years I read and re-read the book; and tried applying it in my day to day activities – when communicating with my customers and on the flip side when dating.  It turned out to be fun game.

Subsequently I came across numerous books on Body language and will like to share few of them that impacted my observation and outlook. These four books comes from four different genre and written in different style reflecting the same subject.

Manwatching by Desmond Morris. He is an amazing author who has authored numerous books on body languages on humans, apes and others.  His every book is a treat to read.  If you can lay hand on any of his book, do grab and read in leisure.

Body Language by Julius Fast. This is also a brilliant book on body language written in simple language and easy to understand.  Once you open up you don’t shut unless you are on the last page.

The definitive book of Body Language by Allan & Barbara Pease.  Another brilliant book from the team who writes in story format.  Must visit their web site to explore others books written by the couple. http://www.peaseinternational.com

The Secret Language of Success by Dr. David Lewis.  This book is written in a format wherein you can pick up the sentences and apply them directly to interpret the body language.

Body language has emerged an important science.  The press predominantly applies the science of body language to predict & write the outcome of Charles and Diana relations; the heat of relations between the Hollywood couples and the negotiations outcomes when two opposing parties meet to negotiate.

In conclusion I believe every professional should become a consummate student of the science of body language to apply and understand better the Success and Failure of social interaction.

 

Experiences sell

This morning when I visited Spinney’s supermarket; I purchased USD 60 worth more items than I had planned for. On my way back,  kept wondering how did I get CONNED into spending more.

All great organization sell, cross sell, upsell through providing a better experience to the consumers.  No wonder the money flows out of consumers pocket without hesitation.  Great organization makes it very convenient to transact business. They think customers and they continue thinking and applying practices that will make customers experiences unique and momentous.

On the flip side People pay for EXPERIENCES, people come back for better EXPERIENCES and they continue coming back for an experience.  Like change, EXPERIENCE is never constant and always changing.  Unlike change, EXPERIENCE is in the mind, a good experience or not so good experience; its all in the eye of the beholder.  But you as an individual sometime hold the magic wand to contribute to others EXPERIENCES.  And the more successfully you contribute towards others experience; the more successful you emerge.

 

Enjoy Experiencing………

How to over achieve your sales targets ?

Sales profession is a self driven profession wherein you got to get up early and meet prospects day after day.   It is a number game,  the more customer you meet the more successful you are.

But How do you motivate yourself to do so ?  Simple get a sales buddy, who will follow up with you at the end of every day.

  1. Did you call upon “10” prospects ?
  2. Did you visit “5” customers/prospects ?
  3. Did you send  “5”  quotations ?
  4. Did you read your sales script and improve upon it ?
  5. Did you read & improve your education on your products?

With buddy on your back,  you will realize that you are beginning to practice the best practices and sooner you will find success.

Great Team; Great Product; Great Organization

 

Sales leaders are continuously exploring, how to improve the sales revenue?   When I focused on the question, the answer began to appear.

If you ask your customer why did he buy your product?  You will get back an answer in absolute terms.

–      I bought it because of your SALES TEAM.

–      I bought it because of your ORGANIZATION brand image.

–      I bought it because of your PRODUCT brand image.

Now if you sit back and ponder over the answer; you will realize that at any given time there are two pillars to capitalize on.  If your customer crossed his cheque because of your SALES TEAM, it reflects that there is a room to capitalize on  your Organizations and Product brand.  And if he crossed cheque because of your Product brand image, then there is potential to capitalize on your Sales team and your Organizations brand image.

A great organization would work on all THREE PILLARSGreat Team; Great Product; Great Organization..………..to realize their Vision & Mission.

 

10 Greatest Salespeople of All Time

Copy Source:  Inc.

John H. Patterson: The founder and CEO of the National Cash Register Co. was known to be a stern control freak. He was also the father of modern sales training. He was among the first entrepreneurs to organize sales training programs and retreats. His company provides salespeople with scripts, and encouraged them to view the sales cycle as a four-stage process that identified the key milestones as the initial approach, the proposition, the product demonstration, and closing the deal.

David Ogilvy: The legendary advertising executive who created iconic campaigns for Hathaway, Dove, Schweppes, and Rolls-Royce began his career in sales, moving cooking stoves door to door. He was so successful the company he worked for asked him to write an instruction manual that it then distributed to other members of its sales force. Filled with timeless advice, it became a cult classic. Among the advice: “The worst fault a salesman can commit is to be a bore. Foster any attempt to talk about other things; the longer you stay the better you get to know the prospect, and the more you will be trusted.”

Mary Kay Ash: A successful salesperson in Dallas, Ash quit her job in 1963 because, she said, a man whom she had trained was promoted above her at twice the salary. She planned to write a book, but her notes became instead a business plan for a beauty and cosmetics company that relied on women to sell merchandise to their friends and acquaintances through direct sales (otherwise known as multi-level marketing). She also pioneered the use of sales incentives, turning her company’s signature pink Cadillacs into a sign of women’s economic self sufficiency.

Dale Carnegie: The son of a hardscrabble Missouri farmer, Carnegie began his career selling products and correspondence courses to ranchers. He eventually landed in New York City, where he began to offer a series of public speaking classes that were frequented by many budding salespeople. His landmark book How to Win Friends and Influence People instructs readers to become more effective communicators who focus on fostering healthy team dynamics. Carnegie was also ahead of his time in exhorting his followers to pursue work-life balance

Joe Girard: This Detroit native made a name for himself as the greatest car salesman of the post-war era. As a young boy, he sold subscriptions to the Detroit Free Press door-to-door and learned that sales operated according to a law of averages all its own. The more doorbells he rang, the more money he made. He carried that philosophy forward when he graduated to selling big-ticket items. During a 15-year period that began in 1963, he sold more than 13,000 Chevrolets at a local dealership—at one point selling 18 cars in a single workday.

Erica Feidner: Despite a long sales cycle and little volume driven by repeat purchases, this legendary piano saleswoman sold more than $40 million in Steinways before retiring a few years ago. “It is not unusual for Feidner’s customers to describe her as a force of nature,” the journalist James B. Stewart, one of Feidner’s clients, wrote inThe New Yorker in 1999. “This is not because they feel pressured by her but because after they meet her many soon find themselves in the grip of musical ambitions they never knew they harbored. These ambitions often include buying a specific piano that they feel they can no longer live without, even if it strains both their living rooms and their bank accounts.”

Ron Popeil: The Ronco founder pioneered the process of selling consumer appliances and other products by infomercial. His exuberance created a market for The Solid Flavor Injector, Mr. Microphone, and the Showtime Rotisserie. “If I create a product, I can market it as well as or better than anyone on the planet,” he toldInc. in 2009. “I have the confidence and the passion. People see that, and they know it is real.”

Larry Ellison: The king of aggressive corporate technology sales, Ellison seems to be one of those people who would rather be feared than loved. The database company he founded has for years been criticized for offering over-the-top discounts to win new business, followed unexpected fees larded on to cover the costs of additional services. Ellison himself is credited (or blamed) for creating a culture of winning new business at any cost. He is famous for calling sales managers late at night and on weekends to ask pointed questions about stalled deals or lost accounts.

Zig Ziglar: One of the leading motivational speakers in recent years, Ziglar has helped shape the modern vocabulary of sales as much as any other sales expert. In particular, he encourages salespeople to commit to a lifetime of learning and training; to be extremely shrewd when it comes to setting (and thereby exceeding) goals and quotas; and to maintain a heightened level of motivation by constantly visualizing success.

Napoleon Barragan: The founder of 1-800-Mattress was a genius at using technology to open new sales channels for his Simmons and Sealys. He was one of the first and most successful adopters of the 1-800 number, correctly predicting that consumers would be perfectly willing to have mattresses delivered to their homes sight unseen. Soon after the advent of e-commerce, he registered the domain name mattress.com, and derived significant online sales at a time when few retailers were thinking about the Web. Fun fact: The Ecuadorean-born Barragon got his start in 1950s Colombia selling beer and soda from the back of a burro

 

Copy source: Inc.

change

“Nothing is constant except change” and no one disagrees with it.

Progress is also change and I would like to share three best sellers books on CHANGE that have inspired millions including myself.  The three books are

–         WHO MOVED MY CHEESE by Dr. Spencer Johnson

–         OUR ICEBERG IS MELTING by Dr. John Kotter

–         SWITCH by Dan and Chip Heath

The three best sellers are simple to read and grasp.  There is no age bar for the books and even a 10 year old child will grasp the wisdom shared in the books.  It explains change and touches a different cord.

“WHO MOVED MY CHEESE” was published in the year 1998. It’s a short book written in story format wherein the characters are two mice and two small people.  There is beautiful dialogue between the four regarding how they respond to the changing environment around them; specifically their work environments.  It inspires people to take action before it’s too late.  It inspires people to be vigilant to changing paradigms within the organization and continue taking action.  The book has inspired me and millions of others to keep smelling the cheese and respond before the pie of the cheese shrinks and becomes extinct.

“Our Iceberg is melting”

The second book “OUR ICEBERG IS MELTING” was first published in the year 2009.  It is a short book written in a story like format that includes conversation between the penguins of a colony.  It reflects what steps and personalities are required to bring about change successfully.  It is more directed towards organizational changes and change within societies.

SWITCH:

The third and final book that inspired me to write this blog also complements the circle of change. The book is called “Switch”.  It was first published in 2010 and I personally find it entertaining and also a fascinating study. The book identifies strategies and reflects researched stories for every type of change strategy.  I strongly recommend this book for every leader, Manager and Employee to self analyze and explore how change can be brought in; be it a habit, be it an organizational level change.  It also simplifies why few changes take time where few just happen.

 

 

How to achieve more value with less

THE World is aiming for VALUE whereas VALUE for the materialistic world is sliding down and VALUE for time is climbing up.  To realize more VALUE the mantra is Achieve more with less”.

And people who Achieve more with lessare the most successful people.  They continually practice POWER OF 10”………………………

  1. Automate routine processes. [The 4 HOUR WORK WEEK – Timothy Ferris]
  2. Be creative – use disruptive technologies and ideas. [BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY]
  3. Duplicate successful processes and improve. [MICROSOFT]
  4. Focus on high impact activities. [TIME MANAGEMENT]
  5. Get more done from their team. [GOOGLE & ZAPPOS ]
  6. Grow people around. [JACK WELCH]
  7. Increase productivity – fail faster to get faster experience. [JIM ROHN]
  8. Leverage connections, strengths and skills. [JOHN LAFLEY – P&G]
  9. Outsource less paying jobs and activities. [ NIKE & DELL]
  10. Use scientific tools. [IBM & INTEL]

And continuallyachieve more with less

 

How to lose 40 Kilos

On November 29, 2010; accompanied by my technical consultant, I arrived at the customers site for a technical solution presentation.  No sooner had we set up our notebook, customer’s team walked in.  I was happy to see them since one of the team members was a good friend and an old business acquaintance of mine.   Having said that, I complemented him “You have lost weight; how much did you lose?”  And he replied.  Acknowledging his answer I said, “Fourteen kilos, how did you do that?”  He replied back by saying that he had in fact lost 40 kilos. I gasped for breath and retorted, “40 kilos?!” as if to reconfirm whilst I lifted 40 kilos of disbelief.  “How much time did it take for you to lose 40 kilos?”  And once again his reply left me astounded; 10 months! I.e. from February 2010 onwards. ..

Now, I was more curious to know how he achieved it.   He shared a simple but effective formula that made sense.  And it was no secret; we are familiar with the formula and still go about in circles searching for it in books, training classes, gurus and quick fixes.

His formula to lose weight was simple; an hour of brisk walk every day, avoid large meal and break your large meals into small 8 – 10 portions and spread them across the day, So that you are never full neither famished.  Cut down and eliminate sweets and carbonated drinks.  Discipline yourself to practice the guideline every day.  And  if we breakdown the formula into simple steps it moulds as such

  1. Process…………….. (Define the process and visualize the end result in your minds.)
  2. Discipline
  3. Baby steps
  4. Practice ……….… (Repetition)

It struck me that this simple yet powerful secret could be applied to achieve anything and everything in life.   It starts with a definite process, work with discipline, progress by the taking of baby steps and repeat them. Over time, you are sure to experience a compound effect.

Having said that; I am reminded of a quote, “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”

Enjoy Reading……

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