I was having lunch with a good friend of mine last week. She is a web developer and Social Media Guru. She relayed to me the story of one of her clients who was so delighted with their new website that they did not need their Sales people any more. They had been 'let go' as an unnecessary overhead.
Delegates that I train or mentor often have difficulties in asking for referrals. They feel that it is asking too much from their relationship. They feel uncomfortable because they are asking for ‘a favour’. I suspect that this is a particularly British problem. I have heard that our American counterparts have no such trouble. Maybe some of that is to do with culture or confidence. Either way, here is a tip which has helped countless delegates of mine overcome this unnatural and unhealthy fear.
Many of the Business Owners I deal with are so busy with the day to day issues of running that business that they only realise that they need help when they approach a crisis. They know what it is when it approaches because it tends to keep them awake at night. The fact that they lose sleep also means that they are uncertain about what the solution(s) might be.
How do we value ourselves and how do others value us? If we work in large organisations this tends to be measured ultimately by our remuneration package. Our salary may not meet with our personal expectations but it is usually set by market rates. Where the company gets this wrong, it can leave to staff leaving and being head hunted by their competitors or them simply leaving because of lack of engagement.
In the UK over the last 4 years of the recession, large organisations have cut back on their costs in order to retain their profits in declining markets. This has been most visible in retailers like Tesco and the other multiples where our journey now from entrance to exit often involves no human interaction whatsoever. I accept that automated tills require investment but this short term pain is offset by long term gain from having fewer ‘heads’ in store.
I was working with a client yesterday and coaching a couple of their Sales people in the effective use of social media. It was great fun but it struck me how difficult it is to keep our various persona on the internet consistent.
“You are in Sales?” she said will a look of contempt bordering on disgust on her face. I was introducing myself to someone at a social event and I realised that I was talking to an unbeliever.
A friend of mine has a Ferrari. It is a beautiful machine and his pride and joy. He keeps it in his secured garage and, if the sun is shining and he is in the mood, he will take it out for a spin to enjoy it. It is a wonderful car full of history and envied by many who see it.
January. A time when we all tend to take stock about what we have done in the previous year and what we want to do in the new one. It is also a great time for retailers of all types to capitalise on this ‘open to change’ mentality and woo new customers. But Retailers need to get their offering right if they are going to turn these opportunities into ongoing sales.
I read a story recently which outlined how tough it was to leave certain companies from the customer’s perspective. The headline was “Sky vs Customer” and it outlined the 96 minute conversation between the two parties as the conversation became more agitated. Needless to say, Sky came in for a lot of flak and have had to defend their position subsequently.
Are You Charging Based On What You Know, Or On What You Imagine?
The whole issue of pricing is a dilemma to many small business owners. In fact, I’d say it’s the area where most people have doubts, uncertainty and sometimes downright fears. “Am I charging enough?” or, “Am I missing out by being too expensive?” are questions many business owners ask themselves over and over again.
One of the best Managers I had early in my career was Bob Jones my Sales Director at Homepride Foods in the 1980’s. He was a kind and gentle man but with a presence and wisdom that was almost tangible. He had answers but they did not come from him without work.
Running a Management Consultancy focusing on client’s Sales growth, I am often asked to go and visit a company or person to determine how I might be able to help improve their people and processes. Helping people is part of my DNA and one of the key reasons I love what I do. It is also human nature to help those who ask for it.