Does Selling Exist Anymore?

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I’ve been in sales for a long time, so much so that I believe we are all in sales; I’ve written a previous blog about that. I love sales probably because as a consumer I love buying! I love a great sale, when the salesperson really listens to what you want and wows you with their level of attentiveness and personalised service.

I detest bad sales.

And unfortunately, over the years, more of us experience bad sales than good sales. So it’s no surprise that so many consumers view salespeople as possessing some very unsavoury characteristics. Most of us see sales people as pushy, privacy-invaders, cold callers, or those who will go to any lengths to close the sale.

Companies seek to attract and retain people who are ‘hungry’ for the sale, driven, ambitious, entrepreneurial. These are not bad characteristics – I admire them in people – and when combined with someone who is an excellent listener, make for amazing sales potential.

Unfortunately, whilst sales techniques have developed over the years, they perhaps haven’t changed and developed as much as the consumer base has.

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The Cost of Time

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One of the most common challenges in today’s workplace is the perceived lack of time that we have to complete our work. As the pace of work is getting faster, this pressure never goes away. Unless you can change the laws of physics you are never going to get more time, so the only thing you can do is to change what you do with it, how you invest it…

As Benjamin Franklin said, “time is money,” and I’m sure that’s a phrase most of us have heard. Well, here is a little equation I’ve used over the years to help illustrate the point…

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Full Front Loaded Costs + Budgeted Income / Time

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“How we do things around here”

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“It’s how we do things around here…”

“That’s what we’ve always done…”

“This is how the business works…”

You’ve probably heard these or similar phrases at some point in your working life. Perhaps you’re hearing them today.

When people use these phrases, what they’re actually talking about is how things are working right now. It isn’t how they have always worked – that would be a ridiculous position to be in and one in which a business couldn’t sustain itself. To survive, businesses have to change.

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The Cost of Customer Centricity

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Lately, the financial services industry seems to have been rocked by its fair share of scandals. As someone whose career began in banking, I’ll confess I’ve felt more than a little let down by some of the activities which have come to light in recent years.

Nonetheless, it was in one of my early banking roles that I first came across the term ‘customer centricity’- meaning selling to customers needs, being focused on what the customer wants. Basically, putting the customer at the heart of everything.

As soon as I was introduced to this term I became a firm advocate of the concept. I believed in it.

A bit about me – I love sales. I love selling. I think it’s an exciting and fun area to be in – no matter what the business is. Over the years I’ve sold all manner of things – from pizzas to pensions, cakes to cameras. I have an innate interest in the process and the psychology of selling.

But above all, I’m passionate about ethical selling and customer centricity. But that can be tough if you find yourself in an environment where people ‘talk the talk’ but don’t seem to understand the language they’re speaking…

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