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Using Images & Metaphors in Sales!

What you stand to lose by not using metaphors in your communication?

Before I get to that, let me talk about what happens in a typical sales process.

We generate leads, qualify them, nurture them & when the timing is right, we take them through the sales process. We expect to move that prospect from stage 1 to final stage of the sales process by qualifying them at every stage & by generating sufficient interest on our products. Most of us tend to forget the buying process of the client or do not think about aligning with the prospects’ buying process. Deals fall apart. If we are lucky, accidentally everything falls in place and we win the order.

To create an emotional bonding with our products just like how a magnet attracts iron, we need to use some techniques. Branding is one. One of the tools of branding is communication. And metaphors are an important part of communication.

If you look at any High Value Sales, you can’t miss the images. Without images, Sale does not happen. Think of a home – a villa or an apartment. Ask the sellers/builders to try to sell without using any image. They cannot.

  1. Their print ads consist of images.
  2. Their TV ads consist of pictures/video of their beautiful properties.
  3. Their websites host videos too.
  4. Their brochures are full of beautiful pictures.
  5. Apple understands this well & they use stunning images.

For those of us who sell high value items that are not tangible, like for example, Software Services / SaaS, we can either show some images from our previous work / show some end user screens from our SaaS product. Alternatively, you can use word imagery, in other words “metaphors” to create images in the minds of our customers.

For example, if you are selling holiday resorts, you may want to say this to your prospective customers: “Leave your jewels in your bank lockers; we will give you stars to admire.” That’s a metaphor your customers & prospects will remember whenever they see you.

Happy Selling!

#b2bsales #metaphors #kkrocks

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Steve Jobs’ Pirates Metaphor!

Pirate skull emblem illustration with crossed sabers.

In Jan 1983, Steve Jobs along with Apple employees were at an off-site retreat in Carmel, California. Jobs, to motivate the developers, offered a maxim: “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy”.

“Being a pirate meant being audacious and courageous, willing to take considerable risks for greater rewards.”

The group was in the midst of developing the Mac, the company’s hugely ambitious personal computer and the group was losing its spirit. That’s when Jobs came up with this metaphor.

Rest is history.

But like all startups, Apple also became a navy though they started off as a pirate. And that’s another story.

Happy Selling!!

#b2bsales #innovation #entrepreneurship #startups #metaphor

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You know sort of…

“You know sort of”

A colleague was drawing lines in the scribbling pad given by the resort while the sales conference was on. He was drawing four lines and a fifth one slanting and making it a bunch of five lines so that it would be easy to count later on.

He was drawing a line whenever our chief [Managing Director & CEO at that time] said / repeated “you know sort of”.

Those are called fillers.

You can hear these fillers often, in Zoom calls & Virtual conferences these days.

My son’s online classes are such a big nuisance. There’s a girl in his class who makes it a point to say something every minute. And it is so annoying because of her fillers – “eh eh umm eh ah”.

Years ago, I gave a talk [extempore] at College on a Republic Day and I was lost in between for the right choice of words. I used gesture to fill the gap. That turned out to be a pause during a speech. The pauses are so powerful, I read later.

These fillers are,……wait……..”you know sort of” a pain.

My colleague, at the end of the conference, counted the lines and found it to be 1131 lines. That is, our CEO had used that phrase [or filler] that many times during his talk. A big round of applause, please.

Did you like reading this post? Show your love by clicking on one of the buttons that are made lovingly by LinkedIn, just for your use. That will help me share such snippets from my life more often. Even if you don’t show your love, I will still share them. Because, I love writing. 🙂

#freestylewriting #unofficial #funatwork

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True Stories!

Two true stories, today:

  1. Customer Care team at a food products company received a call.

Customer: I recently bought a pack of your Parota. This is not the first time I am buying this. I love your parotas. There is no complaint on the quality even now.

Agent: Thank you so much Ma’am. Please continue.

Cust: This is such a small thing. I feel bad to report it. But since you should correct it, I am reporting this.

Agent: No problem Ma’am.

Cust: Always, you pack 6 nos. of Parotas in each packet. But this time, there were only 5 nos.

Agent: We will definitely look into it Ma’am. First, our sincere apologies for this goof-up. Thanks for bringing it to our notice. We will ensure that this doesn’t happen in future. As a thank you, we will send you a fresh pack of Parotas. Please message us your name and address. Please send us the batch no. also for us to correct this at our end.

Cust: Sure, I will do. Thanks.

Call disconnected. End of story? No.

Now, the climax in the story.

After 5 minutes, same customer calls back the cust care team.

Cust: I called just a while ago and reported a problem reg Parotas.

Same Agent: Yes Ma’am, I remember.

Cust: I am sorry. There is no problem. The pack had the right number of parotas as usual. My husband had eaten one of them, which I didn’t know. I am sorry for this. Please close the ticket & do not send me a replacement.

Agent: Ma’am, we thank you so much. However, we will still send you a replacement as promised earlier as a thank you for your contribution & your precious time to add value to our services.

Takeaways:

  1. Most customers are honest.
  2. Most forward looking companies trust their customers.
  3. Great companies really solve their customers’ problems.

I always trust my customers & address their issues. In return, I win their hearts.

I will write about the other true story in my next post. Watch this space!

happyselling #b2b #b2bsales #customerstories #trust #customercare

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Two University dropouts…

Two university dropouts had a dream. They dreamed of making computers that the average person could use. One of them had a family garage. Both of them started working in that garage. One of them sold his Volkswagen and the other sold his expensive Hewlett Packard Scientific calculator and raised US $ 1300.

They started their company with $ 1300. They took that money and convinced the local electronic suppliers to grant them a line of credit and started the production of their computer.

I am sure you would have guessed what happens next. They went ahead and revolutionized the hardware and software industries. They released their first computer for $ 666 and earned $ 774,000. Do the math. They sold 1162 units of their computer.

But their initial capital was only $ 1300 which is equivalent to the selling price of just two units of their computer.

2 years later, they released their next version and earned a whopping $ 140,000,000 in the next 3 years. Subsequent year they went public and on the first day of trading they reached a market cap of US $ 1.2 billion. #Unicorn

The following year, one co-founder left the company. The company went ahead and launched the next version of their computer 3 years later. The following year the other co-founder also left the company. 13 years later, he was brought back to revitalize the floundering company. Then there was no looking back for this company.

When this company became an unicorn, I was in my fourth grade at school and had never seen a computer. And the only #apple I knew then, was the delicious fruit red in colour.

When you believe in your dream and have the resolve to make it happen, (sh)it happens. When you simply don’t agree to live the life handed over to you, you go on to make the life of your dreams.

Make (sh)it happen. Now!!

The universe is with you in your dreams. And you have to work hard only till the first success. I am not saying you can get complacent after that. But I am saying that that first success will take you further and propel you into greater success because:

Nothing Succeeds like Success!

Happy Succeeding!!

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #business #entrepreneurship

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What makes a content, good?

I understand the difficulties involved in creating good content.

Here are some tips for creating good content – be it a blog post / a podcast / a video:

  1. Be objective.
  2. Keep it short & to the point.
  3. Stay on course.
  4. Narrate stories.
  5. Use humour.
  6. Engage audience. Connect with them.
  7. Be human. Some errors are fine. In fact, they are actually needed.
  8. Deliver tons of value.
  9. Give a reward to the audience at the end, for reading, listening or watching.
  10. Ask for feedback.

Happy Selling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #content #storytelling

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#tech in #sales

Young couple. Jus’ married. That was their first movie together [b’cos it was an arranged marriage]. They went to the theater early, to beat the crowd. Stood in the queue & asked for corner seats when they reached the counter.

Not anymore. You can book seats of your liking online. Thanks to #technology.

You make your own pizza online & get it delivered in flat 30 minutes. You use their kitchen as if it is your own.

You assemble your own computer online. Dell revolutionized this concept long long ago. #directmarketing

In future, you will make your own coffee in your coffeemaker @ your home. You are already doing that. Aren’t you? What’s the difference, you ask. I hear that.

You will start brewing your coffee @ your home just before you leave from office. It will be ready when you get home. Just the way you like it.

And the AI in your car will look at the traffic & suggest you the best route to take to get home faster, easier, in style & with comfort.

#Sales has changed as well. We have bots answering our customers & taking care of them. Whether they like it or not, we don’t care. Jus’ kidding.

We now know when our #customers are opening our #proposals, how long they looked at it, whom did they forward it to, their email ids, what will be our revenue next Qtr, what our competitors are up to, who our customers are talking to, what’s the latest news about our customers, who in my target segment are ready to buy / looking for products that I sell, what our customers are talking about, what our customers are saying about us etc. We know much.

But as long as emotions & feelings are there with humans, sales cannot be on autopilot. Beyond a point, that is. You still need to sell. At every touch point.

I receive many automated emails. The senders don’t do any homework on me. Why should I then bother to reply?

Your customers have a need to feel special. And they are special, aren’t they?

We can / should use #tools & #tech [b’cos this is 2020] but it is our #humantouch that will make all the difference.

#standoutfromthecrowd

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #business #entrepreneurship #innovation

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What makes a good story?

My wife, son & I are big fans of Mr.Harold Finch, Mr.John Reese, Ms.Root, Ms.Shaw & Mr.Fusco.

These people save people who are in danger by risking their own lives. They are selfless, true patriots, good at heart, efficient & fast. We will not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

We finished watching the last episode of the last season of #PersonOfInterest on Prime yesterday.

That’s, only the second time so far. With Covid-19 still restricting our social lives, that’s not a surprise.

We love the series. Yet, we are unhappy with certain parts of the story. We wanted the team of protagonists to win all the time. I hope #JonathanNolan takes note of this. 🙂

Here’s the snapshot of the #Story:

Harold builds “The Machine”, an AI that gets its feed from the Gov data, public cameras et al. It watches people, sees violent acts of terror, identifies the danger to people & then segregates those numbers [social security] into relevant & irrelevant [b’cos gov considers them so], sends relevant numbers to the Gov & irrelevant numbers to Harold’s team, who then get into the act of saving them.

The storytelling in this TV series keeps you on the edge of your seat & is definitely worth emulating in our marketing stories, to capture our customers’ attention.

Dissecting it further, I think, the framework for a story is:

  1. You need a purpose. [borrowed that term from Harold].
  2. You need problems to solve.
  3. You should become God. Ok, you become a saviour of sorts.
  4. But let them be the hero of your story. Or identify themselves with the hero.
  5. Show proof, maybe case studies.
  6. Be honest. Let truth be told. Flaws can remain. We are just humans after all.

Happy Storytelling!!

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #sales #marketing #business

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What makes a good speech?

My son came up to me & asked me what makes a good speech. He had just finished his elocution @ school.

My thoughts went back to my college days.

That was an Independence Day in India but we had some special classes. Our class was the only one that was present that day in college. Our Principal asked us to join the Flag Hoisting. We did. He gave a speech & asked one student & one staff member to also speak. None came forward.

Yes, you guessed it right. It was ‘yours truly’ who had the courage to go on stage, extempore. I spoke something relevant. Then I got stuck somewhere. Then somehow managed & concluded it. Later my friend told me that our I year English teacher liked it very much [since she had clapped vigorously after my talk].

In the later years, I learnt about “pauses” during speech to drive home the point. It was supposed to be effective, I learnt.

In our Sales presentations, it is extremely difficult to keep the audience interested till the end.

I learnt to:

  1. Be objective.
  2. Keep it short & to the point.
  3. Stay on course.
  4. Narrate stories.
  5. Use humour.
  6. Engage audience. Connect with them.
  7. Be human. Some errors are fine. In fact, they are actually needed.
  8. Deliver tons of value.
  9. Give a reward to the audience at the end, for listening.
  10. Ask for feedback.

I did a presentation to GM Finance of a manufacturing company on data warehousing solutions long ago. I spoke the Finance language. End of Period reporting. Shortfalls. Budgets. Year-to-date. Month-to-date. Drill down. Roll up. Collate reports from various divisions. What the top management wants to see. Dashboard. KPIs. Etc etc.

He was mighty impressed. He asked me if I had a finance background. I told him, I didn’t. He was surprised.

Speak their language. Win their hearts.

HappySelling!!

salespresentations #storytelling #publicspeaking