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.
We went shopping. Our son, who is 12 years old, noticed something during the trip.
Once we got back home, he asked:
Why Domino’s & Pizza Hut are next to each other everywhere?
That’s a good observation, I told him.
This is called as #NashEquilibrium named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr.
In game theory, let us say, there are two players – Alice & Bob. They choose strategies A & B respectively. Then (A, B) is a Nash Equilibrium, where the players don’t have any other better strategy other than (A,B) that maximizes their pay-off in response to the other player. [credit: Wikipedia]
NE applies to a #zero-sum game whether there are two or more players. If you add up the profits of all players & subtract their total losses then it sums up to zero.
You don’t gain by changing your strategy in response to your competitor if they also don’t change theirs. On the contrary, you stand to lose if you change your strategy. The optimum level is discovered and each party sticks to the same strategy.
This is the reason you find,
KFC next to Taco bell [& Burger King & Mc Donald’s]. Pepperfry next to Urban Ladder. Max Fashion is followed by Reliance Trends & Pantaloons. Petrol bunks located next to each other. Starbucks, Costa Coffee & Barista next to Coffee day. Restaurants are grouped together. Jewellery shops in the same location. Silk Saree shops all lined up together.
You may want to watch a TED-Ed video titled “Why do competitors open their stores next to one another? – Jac de Haan” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jILgxeNBK_8]
This is the reason you find Amazon’s “The Great Indian Festival” overlapping Flipkart’s “Big Billion Days”.
This is election season everywhere. Some countries have two players whereas we have multiple players, in India. 🙂
Find your Nash Equilibrium Vis-a- vis your competition!
#Perspective roughly means “a feeling or opinion about something or someone” according to the dictionary. In other words, it’s a viewpoint or standpoint.
It has something to do with a person’s cultural background, age, qualification, experience etc.
Now, what is perspective in #sales?
It is the seller’s point of view.
According to a 2018 #CSO #Insights report, “The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study,” the buyers are most likely to reward sellers who provide insights & perspective during the sales process.
“To do that sellers must understand the buyer’s business, demonstrate excellent communication skills and focus on post-sale success”, according to #MillerHeiman Group,
They say, “perspective is the best way for sellers to differentiate themselves from the competition. They further state that the ability to deliver informed insights separates top sales teams from the rest of the pack in today’s marketplace.”
Miller Heiman group further says, “Perspective could be data, insights or information that helps buyers see their challenges and solutions in a new light or causes them to think differently. It could be a case study or an innovative idea.”
They are of the opinion that “by providing buyers with the right combination of mindset, insight and experience, you can differentiate your sales organization from the competition and develop more meaningful relationships with customers.”
So, we get it. It is perspectives all the way. Conveying your perspective to the buyer, making the buyer to think differently, helping them solve their problems & helping them grow their businesses will see you through.
On the lighter side, here is an example of perspectives in life:
I drew this picture today [can’t believe, I did]. What are your thoughts?
You might imagine that this is a picture of a twenty something woman with big eyes, a bright smile & full of energy. That’s your perspective.
On the other hand, someone might look at it and say “this is someone with grace, kindness & full of love at an age where her warm smile beats the best make-up kit ever made.” So, that’s another perspective.
Coming back to Sales, offer the right perspectives & insights that benefit your buyers’ businesses.
I received a call from an education technology company recently. The lady who called said that she is calling from an xyz company. She then went on to say that we had made an inquiry regarding their coding classes. I said “we didn’t”. She insisted we did and asked me to check.
I patiently told her that we had enrolled our son into one of their programs at our apartment few years ago. Told her we didn’t like it after one or two classes and hence opted out immediately and that we had a tough time getting back the money paid. It was such a bad experience. But we never made any inquiry ever after. Told her that maybe they have the name & mobile number from that campaign.
Neither did she listen to that story, nor did she feel sorry for that bad experience. Instead, she went on saying that we had made an inquiry, but that wasn’t true. I normally encourage such cold callers. But, I had to disconnect this call since she yelled at me. Yes, she did.
I am lost. To what extent will these edutech companies go to get customers?
They are doing more damage by making such calls.
My advise to them:
Teach your sales people before you teach others.
Listening is an art. Learn that first.
Don’t yell at customers, even if they are wrong.
Try and give a good customer experience.
Turn a bad experience into a good one.
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to delight your customers.
I started my career selling Publishing Software & High Resolution Laser Printers before moving into Enterprise Software.
Working with Printers & Publishers & also coming from a Mech Engg background, I quickly developed an eye for precision in printing.
The first line in this post is a Pangram – a sentence that contains all of the letters of the English alphabet [not Google’s parent company]. 🙂
This is to check the typeface or fonts. Initially, I used to wonder what the meaning of this sentence is.
My clients looked at the samples I gave them, with lenses kept close to their eyes.
I gave them both image & text samples.
I met clients in their shop floor where printing was on. I have seen the printing units of many newspapers / magazines / security printers / big printers / small printing shops.
At one point, I started thinking like the way they think. Call it “mirroring customer’s mind-set”.
From then on, I was forever on the “Problem solving mode”.
Some lessons learnt:
Understanding market needs
What’s your expertise?
What’s the [one] problem that you are solving?
Who is your customer?
Who are his current vendors?
Why should they buy from you?
I strike the best conversation with customers when they are at work but are little relaxed & are in a vacation mode.
These festive times are one such time if your clients are from the manufacturing sector.
I met a Senior editor at a magazine at a time when he was just then blessed with a baby girl. He gave me a box of sweets. That was my first meeting with him. I came back to office & shared the sweets with my colleagues.
Before I get to that, in today’s world, you exist only if you are in #Instagram, #LinkedIn, #Facebook etc. Right / Wrong?
Couple of things to do:
Post regularly on your subject matter.
Share other people’s insightful posts. [like this one :)]
Like & Share valuable comments on other’s posts. [I encourage you to start with my post :)]
Have a social media playbook.
Have social media goals.
Create a content calendar.
Stay on course.
LinkedIn Social Selling Index is a measure of how effective you are in:
a) establishing your personal brand
b) finding the right people
c) engaging with insights
d) building relationships
B2B buyers like to deal with Sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know or trust. So, it is important to connect with people in your industry and build trust and confidence. They may be referring you to someone they know who might fit your buyer persona.
Here’s my SSI in this pdf. I dropped from a score of 78 to 72 now. This is computed daily.
You can find yours here: https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi
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:
Keep it short & to the point.
Stay on course.
Engage audience. Connect with them.
Be human. Some errors are fine. In fact, they are actually needed.
Deliver tons of value.
Give a reward to the audience at the end, for listening.
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.