The Sales Pitch: What NOT to do…

The Sales Pitch: What NOT to do…

Creating Connection, Customer Relationships, Selling
It’s been a heck of a ride, running a business for the past 19 years. So many mistakes, so many lessons, but what a joy it is to see it take shape, evolve, respond to today’s needs…but also to remind ourselves that the one constant is people. They are humans too, and when you need to win a piece of business, inevitably you will need to pitch to win that business, and if you are to win that business, you need to win the hearts and minds of those humans... I thought it would be interesting to look through the other end of the telescope for once and share with you what I have learnt about how NOT to win business. All you need to do is the opposite, to…
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Leadership….a much over-complicated skill

Leadership….a much over-complicated skill

Inspiring People, Leadership
I am lucky enough to have worked with leadership teams from large international businesses for over 25 years, and if I am completely honest ‘what leadership is’ mystified me for a long time; walk into the business section of any library, and there are large number of very impressive pieces of work about leadership. In fact, there are institutions that specialise in leadership. Leadership is big business. Leadership is a mystery But leadership is also a mystery to many and too difficult to access and apply, because is it just that…a mystery. It is also true, that poor leadership causes so much angst in our society (from our politicians to our CEOs, our middle managers to our teachers, and so many more)…surely we can think of it in simple terms,…
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Business storytelling – a story about telling stories

Business storytelling – a story about telling stories

Business Storytelling, Customer Relationships, Inspiring People, Presentation Skills, Selling, Virtual Meetings
Make an impact and stand out from the crowd to deliver your message I have been involved in helping others be the best they can be in front of groups of people for the past 25 years, and in my view, this core business skill is underrated, usually poorly executed, and probably one of the most significant ways you can make an impact on your colleagues, customers and stakeholders. It’s a question of; “what kind of impact do you want to have?” Is it lunchtime yet? Think of all the presentations that you have been in the audience for. Now, think of all the ‘virtual’ presentations that you have witnessed. Then, think of all the conference calls you have been part of. Be honest - how many of them stood…
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Becoming a salesman

Becoming a salesman

Customer Relationships, Great Questions, Inspiring People, Selling, Winning Habits
A story of a headmaster, the engineer and disappointment Imagine the scene; a budding mining and explosives engineer in his mid-twenties. The phone call to his proud father, a respected head teacher of a well-known school. “Dad, you know that career track I have sunk the past 8 years of my life into? The one where I get to run my ‘very own’ coal mine? Well…I’ve quit. I am going to be a salesman…..” The silence was deafening, the disappointment palpable…..I remember it like it was yesterday and that moment was 30 years ago. Sales people get a bad rap…deservedly so. So….what is really interesting about this tale is WHY? What is it about the ‘sales profession’ that so many people dislike? (I think I can actually hear you responding…
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It’s time to re-think webinars

It’s time to re-think webinars

Customer Relationships, Inspiring People, Virtual Meetings
Technology is improving; travel budgets are shrinking; people’s time is becoming increasingly scarce. Those three factors are leading more organisations to hold virtual meetings and training sessions, instead, or in complement to, face-to-face meetings and workshops. Great, right? …right? I'm not bored at all....!! Well, maybe not. If you’re like most of us then you’ve experienced terrible webinars and dysfunctional virtual meetings. Let’s face it: many things can make webinars uninspiring, boring and dull. Most often, it’s when they are treated as a ‘one-way’ communication tool. This is demoralising for everyone involved: the people ‘receiving’ the message get bored and find distractions elsewhere; the person ‘transmitting’ the information gets little feedback from the group and feels isolated and frustrated. These types of webinars rarely achieve desired outcomes and are often…
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Four ways to look fabulous on Webcam

Four ways to look fabulous on Webcam

Customer Relationships, Virtual Meetings
People often tell me, ‘Nick, you look fabulous’, and, of course, they are correct. It’s great to be me. Some possibly-important-context: those people are never in the same room as me when they say that. And they are not actually talking about my general attractiveness or rippling physique. (They are probably just too shy). What they are actually talking about is how I’m appearing in the Skype or other video meeting I’m participating in. The quality of the video image IS always fabulous (regardless of how fabulous I’m feeling that day)… Here are my four top tips to looking fabulous on webcam: Who said that? LIGHT IT UP – having a good quality light source positioned behind the webcam is essential. If you’re able to position yourself with a good-sized…
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WEBCAMOPHOBIA

WEBCAMOPHOBIA

Creating Connection, Customer Relationships, Virtual Meetings
Webcamophobia wastes time and money... it’s time to get over it! Webcamophobia! If you’d have told me five years ago that, in the future 90% of the meetings I would have with customers would be virtual, then I would have told you politely, but confidently, that you were wrong… and yet today, 90% of the meetings I have with customers ARE virtual, and they seem to like it! So what’s the deal with that? And, let’s think about this: all the technology needed to run high quality virtual customer meetings is free or low cost… so what stops people from using it? Using even the simplest virtual meeting platforms like Skype or FaceTime, people react in the strangest way (even people who use it regularly to talk with friends and…
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Customer Relationships – If you don’t ask, you don’t care.

Customer Relationships – If you don’t ask, you don’t care.

Customer Relationships, Selling
What’s real vs your perception? I was flying home to Dublin recently after a business trip & staying with my mother overnight. Taking off early Friday morning from London Southend (yes - London Southend, really!), we rapidly climbed above the Essex countryside. Despite a stag party, it was pretty quiet at that time in the morning. One of the ‘stags’ colleagues peered out the window and, seeing all the farmland, exclaimed “Wow, it’s not until you get up here that you realise just how big agriculture is. It’s huge & employs millions of people.” After that brief interlude he then returned to the true purpose of the day…..”2 cans of Stella, please”. Way too early for me….. It's all in the numbers... That got me thinking about something I’d read…
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The customer is always right…… wrong!

The customer is always right…… wrong!

Commercial Collaboration, Creating Connection, Customer Planning, Great Questions, Selling
Why putting your customer on a ‘pedestal’ serves no-one “I couldn’t say that to them”. “I know he was talking nonsense but I can’t challenge him”. How many times have I heard this type of language from delegates talking about their customer or boss; an internal customer? It constantly surprises me how often even experienced salespeople dis-empower themselves when it comes to their key customers. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, false statements or blatant contradictions, they just get left hanging there; dangling with the powerful potential to unravel deals that are in the interests of both parties. It’s just Fake News.... We see powerful figures getting away with ‘misspeaking’ (2019 for lying) constantly, so are we being trained not to challenge untruths? A few years back, during the…
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Customer Planning – Copy, Paste, Plus 5% won’t cut it.

Customer Planning – Copy, Paste, Plus 5% won’t cut it.

Commercial Collaboration, Customer Planning, Selling
Five tips which will…. Planning Time – ‘Copy, paste, plus 5%’ You know the drill, it’s customer planning time; crept up on you again like Christmas. Didn’t we finish the last one recently? Some helpful person has sent around the latest incomprehensible super spreadsheet template that you’re supposed to understand and complete. Of course, it bears no resemblance to your situation but hey, let’s open the plan from last year….copy, paste and, what’s the plus number that I know we won’t achieve but will save a whole lot of time…5% should do it. They’ll probably get the helpful spreadsheet guy to put a ‘management overlay’ on it anyway when the collective number doesn’t hit expectations. It’s not an inspiring picture but it is very common in my own experience and…
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