Thursday, 21 February 2013

New Entrepreneur? Know Who is Around You (part 1)

If you are a new entrepreneur, you will hear all sorts of opinions from all sorts of people. Knowing who is around you and what they are thinking can be helpful.

One type of person you will encounter is the "Caring Detractor"

Cliff Turner / Mobile Minds

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

T-Rex, Sales and the Crying Game

Picture it, Mexico, 65 million years ago. T-rex looks up and says, "Crap." Then the 10 km wide asteroid smashes into the earth killing T-rex and all his pals instantly, creating the Yucatan Peninsula (thank you) and sending so much debris into the air it blocks out the Sun for years eventually bringing an end to the dinosaurs.

Is that an accurate account of the dinosaur extinction? I have no idea, but according to some random websites it is, and it works for the topic of this blog, so I'm going with it.

In the world of business and sales, the asteroid has already hit. Pressure sales is done, relationship marketing is king and the world is becoming a better place because of it. I'm doing my part in spreading the good news at so get out there with me!

The problem is, some of the dinosaurs are still out there trying to hunt down their last meals. Even though it has become cliche and the brunt of many jokes, you still hear lines like these "Cheesy Sales Lines Hall of Fame" worthy gems:

  • "What do I have to do to earn your business today?"
  • "Is price the only thing holding you back?"
  • "You don't actually have to consult with your husband do you?"
  • "Don't take too long. Someone else was in here thinking about buying it just before you arrived."
  • "A smart person like yourself can see the value here."

The dinosaurs believe things like:
  • If you create the pain within the customer, you can sell them anything.
  • If you get them to say "yes" to you 9 times (Did you watch the hockey game last night? Yes ...  That's 1!!!! Yessssss!), they will say "yes" when you ask for the sale. 
  • You can overcome "objections" by constantly pointing out the benefits.
Uuugh ... I can't do this anymore. I was going to give you more examples but I can't. I have to go sit in the shower while listening to The Crying Game. I'll be right back ...

I know all there is to know about the crying game,
I've had my share of the crying game.

Ok, I'm back.

Sales is no longer about trapping people, out maneuvering them and playing psychological games to get to the "yes". People don't want to be "sold" on things anymore. They want to make wise and informed  decisions.

People will buy from who they trust and trust is established through relationships. Generating sales and creating profit in a way that leads to long lasting business is done by giving people a reason to believe in you and your product as a genuine benefit to their life. This is done by building meaningful relationships with them. Here is how it works:

Instead of trapping people like a T-Rex looking for his last taste of meat, build relationships that make you into partners rather than hunter and prey. In the diagram above you can see two of the main things that must be overcome when you sell anything. People will be comparing your price to others and they will be looking at what your competition is doing. Simply put, the stronger your relationship, the less those two things will matter. 

If you are using lines like those I was typing before my shower (please don;t make me do it again) you will never establish a relationship with your clients. Those kinds of lines and strategies kill trust. Trust is the center of all healthy relationships so it just won't happen. You will always be under the scrutiny of your clients who will be constantly looking for the cheaper deal or the little extra offer from your competitor. "Well, T-Rex down the street is giving away chickens before he eats me, so I think I'll go with that."

If you get to the point where the customer feels a relationship with you beyond just being a transaction, they will pay less attention to what else is out there. They will appreciate that you treat them with respect. They will trust that you actually care about their well being and satisfaction and they will like that feeling. The more you bond with them as a human, the further you drive that wedge. Ultimately  they will end up dealing with you because of who you are and how they feel around you instead of how cheap you offer your service. 

So, dinosaurs ... accept your fate. The asteroid has hit. The sky is dark in your realm. Take your tricks and traps and go home. The sun is shinning on a new era. A peaceful time of mutually beneficial business transactions. 

Well, that is that. I'm off to listen to some Tragically Hip so I can get the Crying Game out of my head and you should visit for more of this kind of thing ... assuming you agree with this article. If you didn't, then I know some good dinosaur websites too. 

What are some of the worst sales lines you have ever heard? Feel free to vent in the comments below.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Leadership for Drones, Mercenaries or Partners

A leader leads by example, not by force. 
Sun Tzu

"Leadership is not something you take, it is given to you by those that willingly follow you."
Me   :-)

If you need people to support and follow you (ie. employees or volunteers), there are basically 3 choices in how you can motivate them. Depending on what you chose, you will create either drones, mercenaries or partners

1. To create drones - Use force. 
Sit in your office and hand out orders that come with just a hint of threat. Make people know that if they do not produce the desired result they could be fired, docked pay or "talked to" in front of their peers. Force people to do your will by attaching whatever threat you can come up with that will cause discomfort or grief. 

Will they do what you want? Maybe. 
Will they do a quality job? Only as much as they need to in order to avoid punishment. 
Will they be loyal to you if other opportunities rise? No.

You will have created an army (staff or volunteer force) of drones who go through the motions each day so they can get their reward and then spend the evening wishing they could get away from you.

2. To create mercenaries - Use money.
Dangle the carrot from on high. Let them know how much you have and how you will reward them with a portion of it IF they please you. People love that feeling of reward, so give it to them when you get what you want from them. 

Will they do what you want? Most likely.
Will they do a quality job? As long as the reward is good.
Will they be loyal to you if other opportunities arise? Only if your rewards are better.

You will have created a mercenary force. Loyal to the dollars or rewards that you have but ready to become loyal to other rewards elsewhere at the drop of a hat. Keep them working for you as long as they like what you are handing out.

3. To create partners - Use example.
Get dirty, do the job you want done and let people see you doing it with all your heart. Watch for those who want to join in with you. Tell them why you do it and let them join in for their belief in that vision. Treat them well and give them respect.

Will they do what you want? Yes
Will they do a quality job? Yes
Will they be loyal to you if other opportunities arise? Yes

You will have created a team of partners. They will be standing beside you with a vision of a common goal. They will follow you because they believe in you and what you show through your example. Value them and show them that you value them.

If you are a leader or entrepreneur, you have the choice to run your company any way you wish. Pick any of the above as your leadership style. "Profitable" companies exist in all 3 ways. "Successful" companies are built only under #3.