Archive for July, 2009

Video Engagment and Online Advertising

blogI think that video will have a larger role to play in business promotion in the future and that targeted digital advertising spend will dwarf traditional broadcast media advertising spend in just a few years.

If you want to make a lot of money invest in an online advertising agency as they will be swallowed up by the big ad agencies at a premium in the next five years as they will need the skills.

Anyway

I have been shooting some promotional videos for my seven sales training courses running in August and September and I would value some feedback as – well – I don’t like them!

I am absolutely sure that video promotion and video blogs and video testimonials are the future but I would give my first attempts a B minus for the sales video and a C minus for the networking video: the camera angle is wrong it needs to be eye level, lighting is cold, sound is poor and I have gone on a diet and managed to loose 8lbs since I shot them (LOL) but any observations and ideas would be well received.

You can access them here http://www.box.net/shared/zkf3d59pb5

They say “the whole world is a critic” I hope so!

thanks

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

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Long Live the Blog Card

The business card is dead – long live the blog card

For years people have obsessed over fonts, the placement of information, and the size of logos: networkers like to have white spacMugger blog card no logoe on the back so that people they meet can make notes on their cards at events and creative people like to cover the card with images and art.

Vista Print has made getting a business card easy but it is not the free business card phenomenon that is killing the business card; it is that business has become more personal and engagement needs to be deeper than a bit of white card with your contact details on it.  Go to Google, type in my name and in 0.34 seconds you will get 32,000 results, ten seconds later you can email me through my Linked-in page or 15 seconds later see my mobile number on my website. Double those lead times and have how long it would take me to access the same information on you via my mobile phone after I met you at a networking event.   Now tell me – how does your business card help you engage on a deeper level, how does it convey your passion and your expertise, how does it help you generate the trust required to encourage a new prospect or new contact to take the relationship to the next level?

It doesn’t: The business card is dead – long live the blog card.

Let me explain: I started this blog to help people, to share my knowledge and experiences and to help companies adjust to the new social realities of business. When I meet people in networking situations or sales meetings I want them to know that I write this blog, I want them to see that I am an expert, that I have a vision and the drive to make change happen. I also want them to see my sense of humour and more importantly to see that I am innovative and forward thinking – because – well that is what people hire me for.

So I give them a blog card (still in its beta design phase) and I want to share my idea with you. On one side the blog card has my Golden Guy Intelligise logo and all the usual contact details you would find on a normal business card, + my blog and Linked-in details etc (I don’t Twitter I use the “Gordon is” function on Linked-in). On the other side it has a teaser from my blog.

So far every card given out has generated 10 views of my blog and 70% of Blog Card recipients email to say they liked the blog and a few have even posted comments. I have not yet categorised, optimised or promoted the blog other than through Linked-in and yet after only two weeks the blog’s readership is in the hundreds.

Have a look at my draft designs and see if this concept or a similar idea will help you to engage on a deeper level – if it works for you tell your contacts you have found a blog with brilliant advice on sales, marketing and business improvement.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Leadership and the New Golden Rules

Intelligise LeadershipIn today’s paper I read that the Chancellor has backed the £9 million pay and bonus package given to Stephen Hester the man charged with turning around the fortunes of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

This begs the questions:

1. What is a CEO of a big financial institution really worth?

2. What is the definition of a very modern major general any way?

I had a meeting with RBS this week at their spectacular Gogarburn headquarters (just outside Edinburgh) and it struck me that RBS a once great company actually is still a great company – it had been failed not by its people but by its system of leadership.

The human brain (amazing as it is) is extremely limited (if you don’t think so you are not as clever as you think you are) and a business as complex as one of the worlds largest banks can not be run by one man. With staff in the hundreds of thousands a major financial institution has almost unlimited brain power. Surely modern leadership is all about capturing and utilising an organisation’s shared knowledge? It isn’t about having one man make all the decisions and everyone else fall into line.

The Chancellor explained “To earn his full £9 million Stephen Hester would have to generate £15bn profit” and here lies the problem. As I have pointed out above the logic is flawed, it is the combined effort of all the banks employees that will earn the £15bn and the new core skill of leadership is facilitation not the ability to enact a military style dictatorship by a solo super leader. To earn £15bn you bet the RBS will have to cut staff and given it is now a publicly owned company that will cause problems in public perception not yet unforeseen by government or the bank itself.

We now live in a society where you can find out when Stephen Fry is having a cup of tea even if you have never met him. The internet, mobile apps, knowledge management, social networking and 24/7 information access has given companies access in a previously unheard of way to the brainpower, opinions, experiences and attitudes of the workforce. Ignoring this and continuing with the “super leader delusion” that led the financial system to collapse is the very definition of modern major stupidity.

To be fair Stephen Hester may well see himself as a facilitator, a team leader, as passionate about his staff, and maybe he is. Put yourself in the shoes of any multi millionaire CEO and think about the lifestyle you would lead and ask yourself this question; How in touch with the lifestyles of receptionists, nurses, small businessmen, firemen, refuse collectors, teachers, even local bank branch managers, in other words your staff and your customers?

In every financial institution that failed there were dozens even hundreds of staff (frontline, middle and senior management) who knew what was happening but felt they couldn’t do anything about it. Even people outside the banks knew what was going on – I myself as a Director of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce had an opportunity to lobby David Blanchflower on the Bank of England Monitory Policy Committee to act quickly to head off a credit crunch led recession ‘this was back in April 2007’. He told me that “Scotland in particular had been performing well” and “he didn’t think that my premonitions of economic doom were merited”.

They called the leaders of the banks and fast growing financial institutions the “Masters of the Universe” we will get our economy back when we collectively reject the delusion of super leadership and understand that the real “Masters of the Universe” are you, me, the customers, the staff, ordinary people who have the conversations that create economies.

Is Stephen Hester is worth the £9m if he turns the bank round without loosing tens of thousands of jobs?  I don’t think one man or even a management team can achieve that but I will bet his staff know how. If he can harness their collective intelligence £15bn will be small fry but who gets the bonus?

Must we live in an upside down world?

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant

Top 10 Mistakes Salespeople Make – #4 Mugging the Buyer

#4 Mugging the Buyer

Mugger textSo when is the right time to close a sale? “Close early and as often as you can”, remember that little gem from sales class circa 1970. Things have moved on and the old fashioned closing techniques don’t work any more.

In today’s relationship and trust driven sales environment if you use a hard close you may as well have pulled out a gun and mugged the buyer for his wallet for all the long term value you will get from that relationship?

Everyone hates sales people! Admit it, when they call your home you can’t wait to hang up the phone, when they approach you in a store you insist you are “just looking” even though you need advice. That is why I train people to be Client Engagement Specialists it’s still sales but buyers WANT to do business with them.

The right time to close is when you have eliminated all the danger in doing business with you. It’s not when you have finished listing the features and turning them into benefits or when the buyer has asked five questions or when you have managed to get him saying yes to a bunch of dumb questions. It is when you have established enough trust for him not to perceive any danger in buying from you.

The Sales process THEN and NOW:
1. Then – In the past the process was different you called enough people to get a set number of meetings. Now – Cold calling is declining in effectiveness (it doesn’t work anymore). If you used to make 10 calls to get a meeting I bet its now 20-30. Training and recruitment sales (sold in most cases sold by cold calling) are suffering the worst with some companies laying off 20-30% of the sales staff.

2. Then – You turned up five minutes early to see if there was a brochure in reception you could have a quick look at (if you were really good you got the receptionist to tell you something interesting). Now- There is so much information about companies and on individuals on the internet, on Linked-in and Facebook etc, buyers will expect you to have done your homework and already be an expert on the company and its marketplace.

3. Then – You asked a few stock relationship building questions and launched into the presentation. Now – You need a relationship before you get the meeting, face time networking, online contact, referrals and recommendations are key and if you are old style they are hard to get.

4. Then – You present the features and benefits. Now – The buyers should be able to get all the information they want on features and benefits from your website and won’t be impressed that your machine has a red button or that you insist on presenting twenty minutes of meaningless drivel.

5. Then – You get them saying yes, mirror their body language, and destroy those objections. Now – Manipulation isn’t seen as a great way to get people to like you and start a relationship. Everyone knows these techniques and they are as obvious as a mugging and far more likely to kill the trust and kill the sale.

6. Then – Close with action questions like “When would you want me to deliver?” or “Would prefer that in black or red?” Now – Because of the new social realities of business you are not closing a transaction but opening a business relationship. The only close that still works most of the time is to “agree the next steps” and the buyer is as likely to ask for that as you are (they ask, you suggest, there is your close).

The social dynamics of business have changed yet many people are still refusing to change the way they sell. It’s a bit like trying to watch Digital TV with an analogue only set, currently you can still get a limited set of channels but soon the signal will be switched off and your TV will be redundant. Change and change now or you too will be redundant soon

No mater how good your pitch, if you haven’t established trust you haven’t removed the danger of buying from you.

The problem is that generating trust often can’t be done in the sales meeting as two thirds of trust is not directly related to the meeting.
• What people say about your company
• Your website saying the same thing as you do in the sale meeting
• Your Facebook not being about getting drunk and partying (for the younger guys and girls)
• Having more than two connections and no recommendations on Linked-in
• Doing your homework on the company and the buyer
• Making sure your blog doesn’t have spelling mistakes and grammatical errors (err no scratch that one!)
• And finally what clients say about you in their testimonials and were you referred or do you still need to cold call people?

Your personal brand, your company’s reputation, your professionalism and your genuine interest in helping the other person are what close the sale nowadays NOT an old style closing technique.

So stop mugging the buyer and start being the sort of person people want to do business with.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Top 10 Mistakes Salespeople Make #1 Asking Dumb Questions

#1 Asking Dumb Questions

Dunce with Dummy textLet’s list a few dumb sales questions and see if you recognise them. What does your company do? What do you do in the company? What is your best selling product? So how many staff do you have? Or how about calling up reception on the way to your first meeting with them to say you need directions? Why not hang a sign around your neck that says “I haven’t done my homework” or “I don’t care about your winning your business”?

Most questions asked by sales people are dumb questions they think it’s called the gift of the gab but in any modern day sales situation your brain and not your mouth is your greatest asset.

Dumb questions make you look like a dummy and people don’t buy from dummies! People buy from smart, involved engaged professionals whom they trust.

Want to look smart, make friends and build trust with a buyer? Ask smart questions, smart questions engage the buyer, smart questions make the buyer think, they show that you have thought about the company and about how you can help them, smart questions uncover the buying reasons and buying reasons are the key to generating more customers.

The smartest and most important question of all however, is the least asked question in sales and it should be the very first question in all sales processes and it is “How exactly will the buying decision be made”? I can’t stress enough how important this question is – some 50% of all sales presentations are delivered to the wrong person! Ever heard a sales guy say they had a great first meeting and they expect to get the order agreed next week, only to be told the following week that now the buyer wants a proposal to show his boss? The problem was he wasn’t actually selling to the buyer but someone who works for the buyer – the monkey and not the organ grinder!

Even if the contact says “I will make the decision” don’t believe it, not till you have asked the question several times in several different ways over the course of the meeting. Try asking “well who will help you make the decision”? and “who are the other stakeholders that WE need to get on board to make this happen”?

I got the idea for this blog as last week I got the same answer five times over the course of a sales meeting but my gut feel told me to keep pushing and eventually I asked “who will try to kill this deal”? The response was shocking he said “well just about everyone as the board is trying to push me out and I won’t be here within a week or two”.

Don’t worry if you get a response like that, it can be the best thing that can happen to you. Now you know this isn’t a sales meeting, the pressure is off both you and the contact. This now becomes the best time to show how much research you have done on the company and to ask those probing smart questions. Show a genuine interest in the person and his problems in business, if you can identify what is stopping the company from achieving his goals then you have the reason that the buyer will buy and a great chance of a sale once he gets you in front of the real buyer.

Once you have agreed it is not a sales meeting then the contact will be more open and willing to share information with you that you just wouldn’t get otherwise. The late great Dale Carnegie said “everyone’s favourite topic of conversation is themselves” so get them talking and learn all you can about them and the company, engage on a deeper level. When 80% + of the meeting has gone match your product or services to your new found knowledge and explain how your service or product can really help the company meet its goals. Then ASK “when is the best time to make the sales presentation to your boss”?

Consider the alternative:

1) One maybe two sales meetings with someone who can’t make the decision
2) Hours preparing a proposal that might never reach the real decision maker
3) Your boss (if you have one) will wonder why your predicted sale stalled
4) Your pipeline will be weak as you spent two weeks closing the wrong sale

OR by asking the smart questions and realising that it’s not a sales meeting you can:

1) Gather more information about the prospect company than any competitor
2) Start to create a valued relationship with a key influencer in the buying process
3) Get a quality introduction to the real buyer who might not have agreed to meet you in the first place
4) Most importantly of all you will probably get the sale and many other follow up sales!

Want to look smart, make friends and build trust with a buyer?

Ask smart questions – Get the sale.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Suit in a box anyone?

blogJust met Toby Luper of Hemingway Tailors of Wakefield http://www.hemingwaytailors.co.uk/suit-in-a-box.htm and had the most fascinating conversation about suits. Toby made the bespoke suits worn by the team at Enlightened Training and has a knowledge of suits and the garment business that not only makes for an interesting conversation but made me think about knowledge in the sales process.

Now I usually dress casually but I do have a few good suits mainly for corporate presentations and awards dinners but I have always wanted a bespoke suit but have been put of by the price and the fact that I just don’t know how to buy one, what to ask for and who to go to.

If you are selling a product that is high touch and takes a lot of skill to deliver then you ARE an expert and in sales expertise is worth its weight in gold. Toby is a real expert and a lot of guys and girls in business would love to find out more about real tailoring. I would love the chance to attend an event where Toby talked about the history of tailoring, explained the difference between bespoke and made to measure and talked us through the process of making a suit simply because it would be interesting and you bet I would want a Hemmingway suit after the meeting! You wouldn’t need to close people at this kind of event they would be closing you and what a great networking event that could be.

Take a minute to think about what expertise you have and how you could turn that into a client engagement event.

Instead of hard selling to potential clients one at a time, soft sell to dozens all at once and leave them grateful for the experience.

It works for web design, training, wine retailing, electronic equipment, you name it, people are hungry for knowledge and don’t want to be sold to but they often need help to buy.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Enlightened Training Launch in Glasgow.

blogI attended the launch of the Glasgow training centre for Leeds based Enlightened Training last night http://www.enlightened.it/ The Enlightened training facilities in the “hub” in Glasgow’s Media Quarter http://www.pacificquaydmq.com/dmq-thehub.htm are fantastic and more importantly so are the people.

The IT training industry is full of companies that see training as a faceless numbers. Most have no plan to engage with clients and have a habit of cancelling training days again and again till they get enough people to hit a profit target rather than enough to deliver the learning experience they promised to the customer in the first place.

Enlightened look different, it was refreshing to meet a great bunch of people who were really passionate about the training industry and about their company and the image it presents. Importantly they are really keen to engage and build long term relationships and that will make the difference for them in Glasgow but may also be why they are being so successful when others are cutting staff and closing offices!

The venue is cool, Glasgow waterfront by the Science Centre and overlooking the Seaplane Terminal, all the latest equipment and good people who are passionate about training, you can count this as a recommendation.

I was fortunate enough to join the team after the event at Rogano http://www.roganoglasgow.com/ the world famous fish restaurant for the best Cullen Skink and Monkfish Kedgeree I have ever tasted. Many thanks to Alex, Sue, John and Michael from Enlightened and good luck with the new training centre.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp