Archive for October, 2006

Thought for the week – 4

“Write a wise saying and your name will live forever.”


Do you like this one?

“I thought I was in danger of taking myself too seriously and it was time to lighten up”

If you come across any quotes or sayings that make you smile and brighten your day, don’t be bashful, lets share and enjoy them.

Thought for the week – 3

Quotations on procrastination abound – I’ve chosen this one:

“Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait. The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.”

(Dr Robert Anthony)

How often are we guilty of coming with all sorts of reasons/ excuses for not doing something that we know needs to be done? And what tends to happen while we’re procrastinating? It doesn’t go away. Oh, no. It niggles away at us, gradually assuming ever-greater proportions until it’s much bigger than when it started out.

By the time we finally decide something must be done, it’s huge! And then, once we actually tackle it, something really strange happens: It shrinks. It’s like a bully someone stands up to: Full of hot air and not much else.

How about determining for a whole week to eliminate excuses and just do what needs to be done?

And then extending that approach! What effect do you believe that would have in your life and on your business performance over a week, a month, a year?

Why not try it and find out?

Turn competition into collaboration

Once you’re happy in your brand you can help change competition to collaboration

I was recently invited along to a sales training workshop following a breakfast networking meeting I’d attended. Some people assumed I wouldn’t want to go as I’m an established trainer and the salesman running the workshop had a somewhat intimidating reputation that preceded him.

It was a small workshop made up of people already pretty successful in their chosen fields. As frank and open participation was encouraged and, as the trainer running the workshop and I had very different views on one of the techniques advocated, the session became extremely lively!

I had a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening three hours (thank you Marcus, you’re one of a kind) and got to know about a guy I’d be happy to recommend to his target market. He knows more about me and is prepared to do likewise as and when the opportunity arises.

It became crystal clear during that workshop and our ensuing telephone conversation that, partly because our approach and styles of delivery are so different, we’re not in competition at all! And we each stand to benefit from our collaboration.

Make contact if you want to know more about either of us – Marcus will self admittedly make you very uncomfortable but, boy, will he get you results. I take a gentler approach and draw out your strengths, and I get you results, too.

Thought for the week – 2

This one really caught my eye – see whether it ever applies to you!

I walk down the street.
There is a hole.
I don’t see it.
I fall in.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes a very long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is still a deep hole.
I pretend not to see it.
I fall in.
I pretend it’s still not my fault.
It takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is still the same deep hole.
I see it.
I fall in anyway.
It’s a habit.
I get out quicker this time.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole.
I see it.
I walk around it.
I don’t fall in.

I walk down a different street.

(Portia Nelson)

What is it that compels us to continue going about things the same way, long after we’ve proven to ourselves that it isn’t going to get us the results we want? Why do we figuratively have to fall into the same hole time and again before we take positive steps to avoid it?

The next time you find yourself in a familiar hole – take a tip from Portia and try a different way!

How do you respond to a cold call?

I took part in a discussion recently that started with one guy sounding off (understandably enough) about the fact that his business was still getting cold calls from assorted companies despite having registered with the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) ages ago.

Everyone had his or her own story about bad cold calls (me included). And it transpired that what annoyed people most were callers who

  1. Obviously hadn’t researched the nature of the prospect’s business
  2. Couldn’t pronounce the target individual’s name
  3. Didn’t demonstrate common courtesy and good manners
  4. Treated the target individual like some long-lost buddy right from the off
  5. Phoned the individual for the umpteenth time about something s/he had already said s/he had no interest in
  6. Didn’t even try to engage the target individual in pertinent, intelligent conversation to establish a possible need for what they were offering
  7. Talked at the target individual – or, in some cases, down to him/her

On a human level I have some sympathy for all but the very last one because they’re normally flung on to the ‘front line’ with little or no training, a name flashes up on the screen at about the same time the call is answered and they have no idea how many times this person has already been called and told the company they’re not interested.

Anyway, the discussion evolved into a lively debate with those of us in favour of the ethical use of the telephone in b2b marketing (in the minority, to be sure) arguing the case for it. I pointed out that you shouldn’t feel that you’ve been telemarketed at all if the target market has been sufficiently researched and the caller has any brains and competence. And, whilst it’s not a cheap way of marketing, it can be a very cost effective and profitable way when it’s done well.

To be fair, the guy who started the whole thing off conceded that maybe he had been cold called in the past without realising it. He volunteered that if the caller knew something about his business, had done some research, and got his interest quickly, without going through what was obviously a scripted routine, he would probably not have regarded it as a COLD call.

So what do you think? Is a well-researched cold call in b2b situation, so well executed that you might not even classify it as a cold call, acceptable to you? Or do you think there’s no place for cold calling, full stop?

Thought for the week – 1

“The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me.”

(George Bernard Shaw)

Ouch! How true is the latter of people in “sales” mode – “I know what the client/prospect’s priorities were last time we spoke so I’ll continue down that route”?

Are you guilty? Come on, ‘fess up! How often, when we resume contact with past or existing clients, do we take the time to recap and establish that our understanding of their situation still applies and is accurate?

It only takes a couple of minutes and we’d know whether or not we were still “on track”.

It’s a thought worth thinking, isn’t it?

6 tips on chasing payment

Did you know that more companies go out of business through cash flow problems than for any other reason?

And it seems the bigger the customer is the more it behaves as a law unto itself and the longer it can take to pay its outstanding debts. Even though the government keeps making noises about improving the situation for smaller businesses, little of practical value appears to filter through – not much help if that customer is your customer.

The best way would be to avoid the necessity of chasing payment altogether by only providing the product or service on receipt of money, or offering attractive discount savings to encourage prompt payment. But that doesn’t help if neither of these options is available to you or applicable to your business. Another thing you can do is to ensure that you make one to one contact as soon as payment becomes overdue.

The telephone can be a very useful tool in chasing money, second only to presenting yourself at the customer’s premises!

  1. Be prompt in chasing – you’ve provided the service or product
  2. You are entitled to the money by the agreed time
  3. The longer you leave it to chase your money, the further down the queue you’ll go when the cheques do get written out
  4. Speak initially to the Decision Maker who bought from you – three reasons for this:

    This is the person who values the purchase

    This is the person with whom you are building an ongoing business relationship

    In short, this person has a vested interest in keeping you sweet – I can remember numerous occasions when I’ve stood over Financial Directors and made them write out a cheque after I’d received a telephone call from a totally fed up supplier!

  5. Don’t back down – be prepared to state your case to the top man or woman
  6. Be pleasant but firm – no-one wins if a slanging match is allowed to develop!

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"I was very impressed by Linda's determination to help and the constructive, but persistent, manner in which she identified issues and then tried to resolve them. After recent progress I was again reaching a stage where I seemed to be spinning my wheels, and she has given me fresh impetus to start moving forward again."