…I love ’em!
As a teenager Sunday evening was always mired with a cloud of dreary inevitability knowing that in just a few short hours it would be Monday again and that Monday brought with it a return to the never-ending tedium of school and then later work. [Read more…] about I don’t like Mondays…
I hope you house burns down…
As far as parting comments go, I would not recommend you use that next time you leave a sales meeting without the order. A recent run in with an overly aggressive hawker (door to door salesman) supports my belief that oftentimes people buy people not products.
I was busy with work when the doorbell rang, I thought it might be my elderly neighbour who occasionally pops over when she needs my help so was surprised to see a burly young guy in a tracksuit with a backpack clutching a crumpled piece of laminated card.
He proceeded to tell me that he was from [name of northern town] had previously been in prison and had been given a chance to get back on his feet selling door to door.
I was prepared to give him the time of day and so he showed me what he had in his bag, I mentioned that someone had been around a while ago and that I had bought something from them in the past. When he opened the bag I spotted the style of cleaning mitt that I had bought on the previous occasion and remembered that I had never actually used it…
Did I want a kneeling mat for gardening? No thanks.
Did I want an ironing board cover? No thanks the ironing board cover is still good.
Did I want a long handled windscreen cleaner for the car? No thanks my mother-in-law gave me one for Christmas last year (no, really she did).
It was getting awkward and he was getting tetchy…
I’m not sure I really need anything…
How about a radiator/venetian blind cleaner?
Err how much is that? £9.99
I didn’t have a lot of cash on me and was not inclined to spend £10 it on something I didn’t really need that I had been unaware of up until 2 minutes ago.
So I told him that and mentioned that I didn’t really need the cleaning mitt that I bought from the last guy but I bought it any way because I thought it might be useful.
This was probably a mistake because the conversation took a bit of a nose dive…
He got aggressive.
If you bought something you didn’t need from the other guy why won’t you buy something from me?
I told you I don’t have the cash.
I’ll take a cheque.
I don’t want to give you a cheque.
He launched in to a diatribe about society and prejudice. Asking why I felt that he didn’t deserve a second chance and how arrogant everybody was around here because most people hadn’t even opened the door to him.
Surely it’s better than robbing houses or stealing cars?
The fact that I had actually given him the time of day and stopped whatever I was doing to talk to him was not any solace. He repeated the question: Why wouldn’t I buy something I didn’t need from him when I had bought something I didn’t need from someone else in the same situation?
I thought better of breaking down exactly what he had done wrong and offering him some selling tips but he didn’t seem to be in a particularly receptive mood by that point.
Fortunately he realised that the conversation was going nowhere, so when I suggested that he should leave it was quite clear that he was pretty pissed off when he fired off his parting shot:
I hope your house burns down.
Unsurprisingly I was pretty rattled by that. I consider myself to be quite non-confrontational but if I am at home with my children and someone starts threatening me – the chimp brain kicks it and adrenaline starts to flow. After quick mental “coin toss” I decided that the best course of action was to close the door and move on (the alternative would not have worked out well I am sure).
The encounter took be by surprise, as I had only yesterday delivered a training seminar to a group of small business owners discussing the importance of developing trust and goodwill before you can sell. This was a seminar on branding not sales techniques by the way but there are some universal truths that apply in every situations from the doorstep hawker to the boardroom pitch:
- Get to the point
Leading with where he was from and what he had done was not the most important thing. I needed to know very quickly why he was here and what did he want.
- Empathy NOT sympathy
One of my first jobs as a 20-something graduate just back from travelling was working as a field agent for a marketing promotions company. I can make it sound important but I was just going door to door selling so I immediately empathised with him but that empathy dried up pretty quickly because all he wanted was pity.
- You can’t get out of a hole by digging
You can’t force someone to like you so insulting them and their intelligence is a very difficult place to recover from. If it isn’t going well the best thing to do is to walk away.
- I don’t have to buy it just because you want to sell it to me
His priority was to sell stuff, my priority was to get my work finished so that I could make dinner for the children. There is already a conflict that needs to be resolved but this cannot happen unless you disconnect yourself from the outcome of the transaction. This is the big difference between creating and opportunity to buy as opposed to being desperate to sell.
- You are not selling the product you are selling the benefit
Below is a link to a masterclass in instant rapport building from an exceptionally charismatic salesman who skilfully mixes wit and humour with classic sales techniques.
It is a truism but people buy from people and if they can pick up on the “what’s in it for me” the product sells itself.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.
I’m off to buy a fire extinguisher..
It is hard to know what is a distraction and what is a truly useful tool.
We are bombarded with new apps and devices every day and it can often take all our will power to resist OSS (aka Oooh Shiny Syndrome) and be fooled into thinking that the latest productivity tool or labour saving device will be just what we need to reach organisational nirvana.
It can take quite a while to find a set of tools that work together in the way that you want them sometimes you need to take the time to discover what one tool can’t do before you can really appreciate what another tool can.
So in a bid to save you some time and effort searching here is my shortlist of favourite digital tools for business.
This is effectively the backbone of my business and something I have been using daily over the last year. I had been looking around for an alternative to the full blown bells and whistles of Infusionsoft and having found one system that I could work with but that involved compromises I was recommended to try Active Campaign and was immediately hooked. It is in my mind the perfect combination of email marketing, marketing automation and Sales CRM.
If you are looking to level up your marketing efforts and Mailchimp isn’t quite cutting it the I highly recommend you give AC a go.
If your office is filled with piles of paper and every vertical surface is covered with post it notes and whiteboards covered in scribbles you will probably raise a knowing smile when I tell you that I have decamped to boardroom to write this rather than tackle the paper storm that is my office. I know that I will never be truly paper free but there is a chance that one day soon there will be much less of it.
Trello is a simple online system that uses boards, lists and cards to organise pretty much anything and everything. Without the steep learning curve and complexity of some other systems Trello allows you to be up and running in seconds. As is often the case I used they system for a couple of years before I really appreciated what it could do.
If you have a bit of time to spare here is an interesting article about the Kanban Board principle behind tools like Trello which was developed by Toyota and is used to organise everything from car parts to groceries, but in the meantime why to try it out for yourself.
The problem with all in one tools is that there is never one that does everything the way you want it to, so you often end up making uncomfortable compromises in expectations or you have to manually move information between different systems. But what if everything worked seamlessly? How good would that be?
Zapier (rhymes with happier and not rapier as I am reliably informed) does just that by getting different systems to talk to each other. There is an ever growing list of supported applications that can be set up to work together using simple recipes (or zaps) that you manage from a central account. This tool has allowed me to move one step closer to full automation and I am constantly finding new ways of using it to connect my main systems.
Why not try these tools out yourself and feel free to comment below if you would like to share any that you think need to be on the list.
P.S If you need some help getting your systems and processes sorted out I can highly recommend having a chat with Sarah Gathercole from the Office Fixer. She is a process specialist – tell her I sent you!
In October 2014 I was approached by Onkar to guest on his onkarpurewal.com podcast. I said yes of course and jumped at the chance to share my thoughts on one of my favourite subject – the importance of branding for small business. What I didn’t actually get around to doing was share the audio on here so when it came to recording episode no25 I realised that there must be one episode missing and so here it is!
Please be aware that this episode contains salty language so do not play in the presence of minors or those of a sensitive disposition.
Discover how extraordinary companies transcend commodity and defy comparison
There is a ton of good stuff in Joe Calloway’s book Becoming a Category of One. So I have taken the liberty of extracting the 5 key leanings and sharing them with you in this video.
If you are really going to differentiate yourself in an ocean of sameness, becoming a category of one company needs to be at the heart of your plans. This is not just a case of making up attributes and hyperbole, three category of one companies don’t just stand out in a category – they create a whole new category.
This is a recording of a webinar aired in early December 2014. Although the time-sensitve offers are no longer valid, the learning is.
If there is anything that comes up in the video that you would like clarification on or you would like to have a chat about how the brand gladiator approach can help you to define your category of one, just click the button below to schedule a one to one with me.