Lovely Sales Deals With Psychedelic Recipe

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The properties of illicit drugs are being harnessed for medicinal repair. I noted this reading the above broadsheet magazine supplement piece. In this specific case, eliminating PTSD.

The chemistry CEO profile pic caption boils things down to a straightforward recipe.

“Add X, stir Y, heat to Z. It’s like cooking.”

Is this a Class A sales formula?

I once gave a new product workshop introduced with a slide of the recipe for the then world’s most ‘liked’ dish.

The salesteam duly tasked to consider what ingredients and their treatments made for the most delicious implementation of their wares.

It’s fair to say we thought the results were tasty.

So here’s a cheeky little prod to ensure you have your recipes sorted. For perfect potential client. For successful client longevity. And for how you get from one to the other. That’s process.

With one final tip, the photo’s label above doesn’t feature the full quote. He continues, delivering this gem; “but to get a really good-quality end product, you have to experiment a lot”.


On Top Of Those Dastardly Dynamic Effects?

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I often ridicule forecasters. From the economic to pollsters to weather.

I cannot believe the amazing pay they shuffle into their ever-deepening pockets.

This week it’s the turn of the OECD to face the UK media ire.

And quite right too.

I’ll hold my hand up. I’ve never had time for those of their ilk. Their predictions of current UK economic performance yet again abysmally incorrect. Not just off by a small margin, but fail by a 180° opposite.

Apparently, as one commentator put it, they have trouble with “dynamic effects”.


And these are…?

Anything that happens. When it means their precious forecast gets ruined.

Honestly. It’s beyond parody.

Still, there is surely something in this for the salesperson.

Regards Brexit, where they were ignorantly dismissive of countries rushing to import more UK goods, our island nation feeling liberated prompting extra spending at home and underlying strength stubbornly refusing to melt away, we too have deal pressures that can curtail our plans.

What’s the list of dynamic effects that can scupper our bid?

From competitor price drops to executive musical chairs to techno-upheaval to empire building to change deniers to budget reallocation to spec rewrites to strategic reversals.

And at the micro-level, many more besides.

How factored in to your standard forecast routine are they?


3 Sales Traps Fixed By UK Taxpayer Money Pit

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The world is blighted by governmental infrastructure disasters. It’s a wonder anyone ever built anything sometimes. Ghost airports, creaking transport capacity, power outages, misfiring defence systems, crumbling schools and shoddy hospitals. Although that last one is perhaps UK-only.

I’ve blogged before about the current lack of a British aircraft carrier, the ballooning cost of much delayed new trainline under London (Crossrail, which everyone will love when open, at least) and airport inadequacy in the capital.

A plenitude of frustration grew with a recent Times Leader entitled Money Pit. They question widely, including the supposed £4bn cost of fixing the Palace of Westminster. Yet another finger-in-the-air wild guess. Along with the impossibly short project timeframe.

To précis the scathing findings of the National Audit Office;

Over-optimism in government projects spiral from short-termism, incomplete understanding, willful ignorance of complexity, failure to consult outside interests, willingness to overlook flaws evident even at early stage, with weak accountability of contractors and low penalties for their underperformance.

Quite the charge sheet.

Indeed, they state that of 149 schemes in the infrastructure portfolio today, successful delivery is in doubt or unachievable for one-third unless immediate action occurs.

My first solution selling point is that the list of seven ‘spirals’ down listed above would be a useful checklist for any big project on your current forecast.

Moving on, all this emerged on the day British tech firm Micro Focus spent a bewildering $8.8bn on the HPE software interests. Forcing some commentators to link the two maladies. With no-one able to succeed at the Autonomy software billion-dollar back hole before. Which makes me realise that you often need to nail down why your proposal will now work, where previous ones have failed.

Thirdly, I then heard a politician suggest a remedy for public sector woes with a useful framing.

He sought to switch 3Hs for 3Gs.

The three aitches being Hinkley Point nuclear power station (possibly the most expensive building ever attempted on Earth), Heathrow expansion (the third runway folly) and HS2 (a new rail link out of London where costs have just risen from a mere £55bn to an unimaginable £80bn without a single sleeper so far set).

His alternate trio of gees are provoking. Green energy, Gatwick airport expansion and a Great Northern railway.

A clear attempt to shift the argument onto new turf. A bold endeavour, even with chances of success slim. Yet if opponents of any of the H-plans could coalesce behind the slogan, then you never know.

He has a slight window ajar here. In the same way that Brexit is felt to have won in part because of the very (and euphonious) word being coined. A complex issue summed up in one simple (new) word. There’s a similar element of “lingual determinism” here. Of which I’ve blogged several times. Own the syntax, own the bid. Where’s your opportunity to do the same?


Down With The Voters Politician Crib Sheet

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Who really cares if your candidate doesn’t know the act at number one in this week’s pop charts? I have no idea what a pint of milk costs today. Even though I can tell you the cost of a cup of coffee anywhere across three continents right now…

When I first became aware of The Economist’s Big Mac index, I instantly altered it with my friends to something way more accurate. It’s all about understanding the ‘real’ exchange rate. As exposed by non-traded goods and services price differences. Rather than spivs gambling on trading terminals.

So The Heiney Index became our guide. As the Dutch green-bottle beer really is everywhere.

In the wake of our the UK’s recently resigned Prime Minister quitting all politics, the pic up top is everywhere across social media.

Tracked down perhaps to discovery by the Lefty Guardian. Apparently part of his live 10-page “economic briefing” document;

“[it] appears to have been designed to prepare the then prime minister for awkward questions from the media – with the price of bread, milk, coffee, diesel, unleaded and a single tube journey in central London also listed … like the rates of VAT and income tax, fuel and tobacco duty … the disability living allowance, housing benefit and working tax credits, as well as GDP growth, unemployment rate and average earnings”

We’ve all squirmed at footage of wannabe world leaders come a cropper by not knowing such “everyday” facts. Yet I have a touch of sympathy for them. One victim the other day even had the guts to halt such interrogation with the pushback yelp, “don’t start pub quizzing me!”

Yet in similar proceedings your prospects may not be so forgiving.

What is your equivalent intel about your prospects, their market, their future?

There is an argument that it can be better to not know. So long as you ask. A genuine curiosity often rewarded with vital rapport solidity.

But this will only get you so far. Selling to engineers for instance, you might be able to get away with, say, not knowing the difference between a pump and compressor. Once. But amps and watts? Or chamfers and rounds? Most patience has a limit.

So have you an internal flashcard sheet about crucial data? Or as Number 10 called it, your “data dashboard”. Start with figures. Then progress through to the more subjective. Especially understanding the ‘big debate’ in their field. Framing the nature versus nurture, left v right, Batman or Superman split that’s taking all the airtime in their world at the moment. And get to know it very well.


How To Fix Your Bricked Deal Stuck In A Boot Loop

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Apple launched its latest operating system overhaul this week. As usual, early downloaders suffered ruinous disaster. The update crashing precious phones and pads.

They are not alone. I know what it’s like to be unable to book a help/rescue session in-store. Hugely frustrating when it’s the only hope of resuscitating your now unusable Apple toy post-upgrade. I’ve also happily kept using an aged version of Google’s Android through several iterations for much the same reason.

I did learn though, that when all you get is the logo stuck on screen, no sign of any normal homepage in sight, you are in a never ending boot loop. This seems to be called being “bricked”.

Anyone familiar with England’s playground slang will suspect they know the derivation of this term.

Several helpful souls publish how-to guides of the steps to follow for a fix when you are bricked.

I was struck by a similarity with selling.

Specifically, you feel you’ve got off to a promising start. They love it. Yet the deal stalls. It goes nowhere. All energy drained from it. No forward motion. Stuck in your own deal boot loop.

Are you great at First Meetings, but don’t get Seconds?

What’s the equivalent ‘restore’ or ‘update’ of your prospect? And what cables and itunes laptop connection will you need to get re-going?

Well. The best form of cure is prevention. A cheeky visit to your Genius Bar is no substitute for knowing your process. Virtually any deal stuck in this inoperable state cannot be resurrected.

Did you backup before the ‘new revision’? Preferably waiting until Boxing Day too, when the .1 version appears to prevent the pressured release’s bugs freezing your bid.

The classic meeting-end close to secure an “agreed next action” is indeed a staple. But on its own, in isolated use, these often drift. Better sticking to your proven navigation. There’s many steps to take. Some in series, others in parallel. They all count.

A fully fledged lengthy looking routemap can be off-putting to a freshly forming Solutions purchase. One selling school suggest that this very fact makes promoting such an essential qualification tool.

Simultaneous pressing of the deal’s sleep and home buttons is a fraught command. Are you really going to progress by calling higher? Dropping in person for a cosy chat? Getting your boss to level-sell? Well. It can work. Maybe. Let’s rather go Process and win way more than we don’t.


When Your Team Is A Team To Its Core

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Yes yes. I know there are sales leaders who purposely ignore the ways of sport teams.

They cite the false allure of a passing management fad, the implausibility of a workplace world championship calling and the wild imbalanced reversal in the ratio of Training to Doing.

When they learn the competitor that’s just beaten them disagrees, it’s incredible how quickly they turn.

And in part, that’s why I write many a sport & selling post.

Today I’m drawn yet again to Sir Dave Brailsford.

From a piece written by someone similarly interested in high performance cross-fertilisation, Matthew Syed. Wonderfully sub-headed; treat people like idiots and that’s how they behave.

Here’s the key paragraph;

“When you give cyclists responsibility, you empower them. Bringing riders into decision-making, while retaining ultimate authority, has been one of the most important cultural changes we have made.”

Imagine swapping in ‘salespeople’ for his cyclists and riders.

This philosophy even coins its name; CORE. Standing for Commitment Ownership Responsibility Excellence.

There’s a suggestion this builds on military learnings from Iraq. The 2005-8 turnaround from The Surge. When commanders truly empowered soldiers; “the decentralisation of authority created intrinsic motivation”, and “people who make the decision are more invested in it”.

Also channel Women Hockey’s Team GB. Rio Olympic Gold Medal Champions. ‘Players decide the time of daily training and written rules and behaviour by which they’re held to account’.

And in what’s possibly the most beautifully damning prose of the whole piece, football gets its deserved kicking. “The class divide (gaffer-manager against player-labourer) is seen for the sordid anachronism it is”.

I can see eyebrows raising, cartoonesque beyond the pate, already.

Let a salesforce stipulate their own codes of conduct? Define their own targets? Self-police their own activities?

Are you crazy?


Do you want high performance, or not?


Sculpt Triple Stack Stanza From Politician Sell Speech

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On the airwaves I recently heard former speechwriter to the Left, Simon Lancaster.

With Conference season approaching, he outlined how to best rally the troops.

He singled out one former Prime Minister’s chosen style. I was most interested in how he saw the pattern of possibly their favourite element.

Three super-short sentences, three repetitive sentences, then three contrasting statements.

He even recommends this as part of the basic rules to make it breezy, which make for persuasive oratory.

By way of example, he supplies this delicious (if mislabeled) ode to the world-beating Full English.

“Fried eggs. Crispy bacon. Sizzling sausages.
I believe the British breakfast is beautiful. I believe the British breakfast is brilliant. I believe the British breakfast is the best in the world.
Not fatty, but fun. Not naughty, but nice. Not greedy, but a great start to the day.”

Feed me now.

At the risk of upsetting “Julia from Redborne”, a radio presenter sadly unsuited to his latenight talkjock role, patently in the wrong job out of their depth, gave him less than two minutes flat to conjure words in this precise style. He commanded him to exhort the “wonder” of his show.

Here’s what he wrote – on the spot.

Clear Speaking. Controversial. Cutting Edge.

Don’t you want to know what’s going on in the news? Don’t you want to feel and go on an emotional journey in the evening? Don’t you want to have active great conversation about the issues that really matter?

Whereas other radio stations will just give you clichéd blurb, we’re right there with the cutting insights. Whereas you can sit in tv and just go into a trance, we’ll enliven your senses. So what do you wanna be? A loser or a winner?

Whilst trade descriptions should certainly take him up on such misrepresentation of the subject matter, and it’s obviously a rushed instant unedited piece, it is readily apparent what he’s getting at.

A summation para along these lines will undoubtedly propel any sales pitch.

It won’t necessarily be easy to produce, but crack it and your audience will surely nod in tune.


Bin ‘Daft’ ‘Joke’ Countdown Visuals

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St George’s Park. Gleaming new tech-colossus/Bond-villain-liar style (delete as appropriate) HQ of English football.

Greg Dyke. A man “successful” in telly administration? He proved fish out of water running infamous meddlers, sporting body The Football Association.

He thought it a good idea to place a particular clock on display in the coach’s room.

Incredibly, it was counting down to his imposed target, ‘set’ in 2013. Of when England would finally again win the World Cup in 2022.

We know this because a first act of his successor was to get rid of it. Phew. Sense at last.

Our latest arranger of paperclips was promisingly quoted;

“That clock’s daft. If you’ve seen that nuclear clock back in the Cold War, it’s been one minute to midnight for the last 55 years! These things are a joke. I like a few jokes, I like a good laugh, so I’ll go up to St George’s Park and have a good laugh at the clock.”

I often blog on the crucial order of process over outcome. Dyke clearly did not understand this vital view.

And nor sadly do many salesrooms. For I have seen the self same style ‘clocks’ on their walls. Counting down time to the end of the world sales period.

This new broom seeks to improve England’s dismal recent record in tournaments. He realises that to highlight an arbitrary deadline is futile. It’s the same in Sales. The key is, what replaces such counterproductive visual?

Think Process

update: 21 Sep 2016: Oh dear. “Allardyce intervenes to save Qatar countdown clock”. The headline sent shivers throughout any lingering hope I held. Despite that stated goal of 2022 Champions remaining rightly now dropped, just when you thought England might turn it around, the new manager apparently argues “that the countdown may help to focus the minds of players during their limited time together”. He is so wrong.


Clunky Vision Check Turns Waffle Into Warmth

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Here’s a small piece from yesterday’s London Times print edition. Their précis of an Organisational Dynamics journal article.

In pinterest-style posting below, it pretty much stands alone.

We all have some kind of corporate banner we (must) attach ourselves too. Some costly, others naturally formed.

Such motto needn’t cause us to trip – like the tricky ‘what do you do?’ opener(‡) – and can be turned into a cool advantage. Especially by “choosing words that are not just evocative but also relate to objects that are easy to visualise”. A statement itself perhaps perilously juggling with jargon.

Does your sales mantra pass the test?


(‡) Here’s an assessment of one such floundering ceo on this question from earlier in the year. And here’s how Derren Brown suggests that if you ever ask this question of someone, then there’s a better way.


Will Knowing Your Deal Trigger Earn You A Ferrari In 3 Years?

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Tales of super sharp sales-ship abound online. Sadly far too many involve the kinds of frauducts from the Internet Marketing cancer. Which gleefully snatches cash from home laptop get-rich-quick hoodwinked hopefuls.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see BBC News promote a perhaps more real sample. It was as backstory to an epos provider. Under the shameless clickbait headline, The salesman who could afford a Ferrari when he was 24.

His key change from flailing battery-hen mobile phone corporate contract sobbing cold caller to supercar owner is recounted;

It dawned on him that the reason no-one was interested was because their existing contracts weren’t due for renewal.

So instead of trying to sell phones in the first instance, he would instead ask companies when their current contracts were due to run out.

He’d write this down, and soon built up a long list of forthcoming renewal dates.

Phoning back at a time when firms were indeed looking to upgrade their handsets, [he] says he started to win order after order.

“I was 500th out of 500 members of staff on the sales list, then all of sudden I was 200th, then 50th, then number one”.

If only it were that straightforward. It’s difficult for any successful seller to take this at face value. How would such a simple vital opportunity opener be shrouded from view?

What were management doing? How did knowledge of this supposedly stellar tip not flood across the sales floor? How many deals ever came home when this timing was not present?

Even more startling, what margin must have been made to enable such a vehicle to be bought? Precisely at a time when corporate packages ceased in preference of personal purchase.

Still, let’s not allow facts to spoil a sales truth.

I once sat in an East Coast office whilst an American cold called Californians. He solely sought when a particular type of project may be next due. An enterprise ideally improved with wares he plugged.

In the room I suggested that by the time any such began it’d be too late already. Asking when they’d start would produce a never nearing horizon. And why would anyeone volunteer potential sensitive intel to a stranger.

He, like our phone chap above, was on the right lines. Yet I felt could get more specific. Tighten up his rather vague questioning. Remove the tendency to be left dangling in open-ended false hope.

A contract renewal date is a hard piece of data. The actual assessment of which can be (is) done a long way in advance. They seldom arrive unannounced. Even when they do seem to creep up, it’s amazing how easily they can be slightly extended. Kicking the can down the road.

Yet when it dawns a decision must be made.

In all probability, the solution you sell encounters similar trammels.

Find that trigger. Drill into it. Get to spot it the day you suspects do. And maybe drive away your own “Ferrari” in three years.




My selling blogs this time last year