Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The ones who talk less are thinking more!!

In business, people tend to talk a lot! That's obvious as it would be difficult to do business with no words...
A sales person willing to sell a product/service will try to convince the buyer. He/she normally will be the one talking a lot and the buyer will be the one listening a lot. That's how business works in this world.

The issue there is that when the sales person talks, he/she is focused on what to be said. The buyer will be listening (sometimes not...) and will be thinking (sometimes not..) And as sales people like to talk, they hardly take time to listen and thus to think.

But after all, how much information can a sales person collect when talking too much. The clue is to let the buyer talking more. That could be a challenge as buyers are smart enough (not always...) to keep information for themselves. So once the sales person really understand that business is not all about the product to sell but also, and mainly, about the buyer's expectations, there will be less talk on his/her side and more thoughts.

Have you experienced when talking to someone who asks a question without granting you the time to answer to it as he/she goes on with talking. How frustrating is that!
The good thing is that you have got time enough to think that the person you are talking to is not respectful and does not really care about what you have to say.

In general, it is important to focus on what others have to say. The more a sales person will listen to the buyer, the more he/she will have time to think. From those thoughts may come the answer to some questions he/she had before the meeting. It is all about taking time to discover the buyer's need and expectations.

As a young driven salesman, I was the one who talked. I always had a lot to say about the product, the company, the pricing, the market, the competition, you name it...
 I thought I was a good salesman. Sure I booked successes but what I did not realize that I missed many opportunities to sell. That occurred when facing an experienced buyer.
They were the ones wise enough to let me talk. And I did!!

So, for the ones who tend to use their mouth more than their brain, try to talk less and you will think more. It's not harmful, believe me!
And when asking a question to someone, just ask it and then shut up! Allow the other person to answer you. He too has the right to talk :-)

Wishing you to do business a wise way.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Communication is a signal between a sender and a receiver. The key is to be tuned to the same frequency!!

We are all communicators !!

The way we communicate is mostly verbally. Although verbal communication is said to represent not more than 10% of the entire process (90% remaining is non verbal), words are what we generally call communication.
We are all acting as senders and receivers. Some of us have the capability to receive better than to send. For others, it is the opposite. Very few people are gifted enough to send and receive perfectly.

The key factor for a sender and a receiver is to connect properly in have them both tuned to the same frequency.
If not, it will be impossible to get a right connection. We all experienced that when listening to the radio in the car. When driving a long distance, one has to tune the radio regularly. This is the only way to be sure to stay tuned to the same frequency.
The communication process between people is the same. It is a constant switch between the sender and receiver. It may happen that both never really tune to the right frequency. The result is complete misunderstanding.

Is it that difficult to be tuned with the person one talks to? Yes it is for most of us.
All seems to be a natural process.

The ultimatum communicator is the one able to constantly scan the frequencies and tunes to the right one. And when the person he talks to suddenly sends with another frequency (i.e. change of emotion), he is able to stay tuned. Those super communicators are able to talk (send) and to listen (receiver) without any problem. Those are acting like multi channels scanners.

Communication is challenge. It is not easy to communicate with people speaking the same language.
It becomes an adventure when people speak different languages.
Understanding what one says is beyond the words that are used. It is much more the meaning of the words and the way (tone) those words are used.

Although we may feel that communication is a natural process since one is able to talk, I do feel that there is a need for all of us to become aware of what we say and how we say it. One should not assume that the other (in that case the receiver) will be tuned to the same frequency and thus will perfectly understand the message.

It remembers me the story of an Australian colleague who told me that although he and the English distributor spoke the same language, they could not understand each other at all! The issue there had nothing related to the words but much more to the attitude and the way (tone) words were used.
He also claimed that British usually talk with a sort of encoded language. According to him,  they would be too complicated in the way they formulate their thoughts. He claimed that Australian, in the opposite, are very straight forward and mostly take the short cut to say what they think.
Often I would hear him saying (when talking with the British distributor): "What is your point?"

Before learning kids about history and geography, they should first learn how to communicate with each other. Their future life would then become much easier.
What about us? we have not learnt at school how to communicate. Is it too late to learn that?
No it is not... we first should start being more aware about the way we communicate with others.
The second step is to not only to be focussed on what we say but much more on how to say it.
And ultimately, we should be more open to what others say.

Communication is more than words!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wisdom in business is to accept defeats, to learn from it and to move on!!

Business people strive to be successful!
They go for gold and would hardly accept to get bronze... But business is not always predictable.
There are numerous factors that influence the way business is done.

The talented and successful ones have worked hard to reach their position. They fought hard in the jungle of business. They often invested their own money, risking to loose it all. And sometimes they did loose it all!
The majority of the successful business people have lost before winning. They have fallen many times and stood up again and again. That what makes them so different from others. Their eagerness to win is like an engine that never stops.
What is their motivation, money? Not only. Those are people who enjoy challenges.
I am a believer that one can enjoy victories if ones has known defeats. It is important to have gone through difficult times in order to fully enjoy the good ones.
Many of those successful business people have gone through difficulties, have lost money, have gone bankrupt, but are still fighting... they are now the ones we look at. They are the ones who succeeded.
They are the ones who make the news.

Most of us judge on the result. We look at them and think they are lucky to have what they have.
But we do not realize the troubles they went through.

What make those people so different from others? We may think their bank account.
My answer to that question would be, their wisdom in the way they do business.
Those successful business people have known defeats, have learned from it and have moved on to the next challenges.
They have the ability not to stick emotionally to negative events that have occurred but rather to focus on the positive event still to come.

You may think that the other business people who are not successful are not acting with a certain wisdom? Luckily not! 
The most important in business is not amount one has on his bank account, but much more the fact that one can reach its goals in enjoying the work and the interaction with others. A business person doing business with ethics & integrity is already a successful one!

Wishing you to do you business with wisdom!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sales people often please their customers in saying YES. Don't say YES if you know you won't deliver. NO is also an answer!!

Sales people are paid to sell their products. Nothing strange so far...

The situation becomes a bit more complicated when looking at how sales people reach their sales.
Many times, their motivation to sell is so high that they say YES to their customers in knowing they will not be able to deliver. No doubt that you already faced that situation... I did!

Sales people are driven by results they achieved. Not only do they please their manager in reaching their sales target but they they please themselves too. A sales person enjoys the adrenaline produced by booking a success.
Sales people don't need to take drugs to feel well, their "drugs" is the kick of selling/scoring. They are addicted to the great feeling produced when closing a deal. Nothing wrong about that so far...
The result they book is enjoyable but the way they reached their goal should be taken into consideration too. In fact, it often happens that sales people wish to please their customers in saying YES. 
Do they lie when saying YES, knowing they will not be able to make it happen? 
I do believe that as their willingness to close the deal is so big, they are too much focused on the result and not so much on the way to handle the situation.

In my career, I faced the same situation where I said YES, knowing for sure I would not deliver. Although I enjoyed very much the moment of closing a deal, I then realized that the situation became not so enjoyable for both the customer and us (the company) as we had to solve problems I knew would happen.
Thus, it was not such a good deal as I disappointed the customer and my management. In fact, I disappointed myself too!

Is it difficult to say NO? It seems to be, for the majority of the sales people!
It is understandable that they like to please their customer. On the other hand, it is important to be honest too.
Why would they say YES if we know they would not make it happen? They simply postpone problems that would have to be addressed anyway.
In saying NO, they may loose some deals but would save themselves and their company to deal with issues to be solved.

You customer will respect you for saying NO as they will realize you respect them and their business.

Ultimately,  NO is also an answer!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Those are the 3 main questions to be answered before closing a business agreement: What do I want? What does he want? What do we want?

One of the most challenging part of a sales process is closing a deal! Not only is the timing crucial but also the accomplishment of all previous steps.
As we already described in a previous blog, it is important proceed step by step.

Many sales persons have one thing in their mind: selling! That's understandable as this is what they are paid for. Nonetheless, they may only focus on what they want, without wondering what their customer wants. Ultimately, how can two business people come to a deal if they both have drastically different visions and objectives?
Wouldn't it be wise for the sales person to explore the situation on the other side of the desk?
Don't expect the customer to do that for you! You are the one willing to close a deal with him...

Normally, a deal should be beneficial for both parties. therefore, one person's wish is not sufficient to come an agreement. The entire sale process should be focused on discovering the best way to reach a deal.

It is crucial to take time investigating what the customer's goals are, to compare them to yours and finally to come to a solution that satisfies both.

Business is all about coming to a compromise. It might not be 100% fulfilling your exceptions. Ultimately, what counts is that both parties are satisfied with the deal, making sure the target is the same.

My feeling is that it is better to close a deal in finding a compromise where both parties are 50% satisfied of the result, than not to close a deal at all.
In many situations, I did close deals and was not too happy not to have reached 100% of my objectives. But after a while, what seemed not to be a perfect deal, tuned out to become more attractive than I originally thought.

Sales people should not rush closing deals!
They should keep in mind that the result is sometimes more important than the way to reach it.
When both parties mutually agree to reach the same target, then it is a successful deal, regardless whether you or your customer are not 100% satisfied.

Wishing you a wise business in aiming for win-win outcomes!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Business would be much easier if buyers would see salespeople as partners and not as enemies!!

It looks like doing business is as acting in movies. One is to be the good guy (the sales person), the other the bad guy (the buyer).
Most buyers, on our side of the world, are the same. They reckon that because they act as "the bad guy", they can obtain the best deal. They think that if they are dominant, sometimes nasty, they will achieve their goal. How wrong they are!!

The tough cookies ones are the buyers working for hypermarket/supermarket chains. French buyers are champion in that category. Those are the one feared by most sales people. They are so arrogant and dominant. They pretend to know what happens on the market place. How could it be when buying socks one day and electronic products the next day...? Yes,  majors like to move their buyers from one department to another in order to avoid the buyers to get on too well with the vendor. Buyer switching regularly from department. Majors continuously put pressure on the sales people who need to rebuild a relationship with the new buyer.
How outdated is that!!

On our side of the world, it seems that we are doing business in a way that buyers and sales people are enemies and not partners. In other countries like Australia, the relationship between buyer and sales person is different. There, they respect each other and work as partners.
They understand that a buyer need products to buy and the sales person needs a customer to sell the products. Although buyers will negotiate in making sure they get the best deal possible, they also realize this can't be done as enemies. They accept that a fair deal should lead to a win/win situation.
Why squeezing the sales person to get the lowest if after all, the sales person will not deliver?

The best recollection I have is a meeting with the head of buyer (stationery/gifts) at David Jones in Australia. David Jones is one of the main and most respected Department Stores chain there. I had a meeting there with the buyer, together with our local distributor. I met the buyer (a lady) for the first time. Where in Europe a buyer would hardly shake your hand, in Australia, the buyer we met with hugged our distributor. I was astonished but realized they knew each other for years and did great business together as partners. The buyer was clever enough to understand how crucial a good relationship should be.
I was so amazed by her approach of doing business that I mentioned that to her. She stressed that there is no point being nasty to the vendor. To her, the essence of business is the strong relationship between a buyer and sales person. Ultimately, they have the same goal!

What our buyers should understand is that they could do much better and easier business if they would behave as partners and not as enemies.
No need to hug... a good handshake will do :-)
So let's work with each other and not against each other. Let's get stronger together.
Reality is that it is tougher for a sales person to say No to a nice person!

So Mr/Mrs. the buyer, don't act as a cowboy! you are not are not on a movie set... this a business place where people should do business in a respectful way in seeing each other as partners...

Wishing you a wise business relationship!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wisdom is the bridge between rational and emotional!!

For ages, people have been struggling in finding a balance between the rational and emotional! Often ones says that emotions should not play a role in business. Do you share that point of vue?
I don't!

The majority of business people do business with their brain. Others with their hart. The remaining ones, the minority, combine both.
Is it good to use only the brain or only the heart? I am not here to judge on that. Fact is that if you do business your own way and if it works for you, just fine!

As we are dealing with people, it is not easy to be rational and not emotional about things. I must say that Dutch people (I am one of them now!) are very good business people. They are known to be excellent diplomatic people. Why?
They have the ability to disconnect or control their emotions and use extensively their rational side in order to take important decisions. People often say that it is difficult to get to see the real one behind the mask.
One day, listened to a programme on the radio and the speaker  talked about the way Dutch people are and the way they do business. He said: "A typical Dutch person is the one going to a funeral, and when going back home, telling to his wife that his proud of himself as he did not cry!!"
You would wonder how can somebody be that strong to control his emotions in such a difficult and emotional situations.

Another story brings us to south of Spain, where I met with a potential customer. The man was so emotional that he could not control himself and got angry when I announced that he would have to pay the goods before shipment. When he heard that, he smashed his glass of water on the table...
He could not accept a supplier would put pressure on him that way as no one did before.
Did he use his brain at that moment? I don't think so :-)

As a French/Dutch citizen I found the balance in combining rational & emotional.

Let's build-up bridges between our brain and heart. Let's cross the bridges from one side to the other.
The wise answer/reaction will probably be in the middle of the bridge.

Hoping you will do business in a wiser way!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

"The Guy in the Glass" by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934


Every single business person should read this wise poem, frame it and look at it several times a week.

Ultimately, Business is a matter of People!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In critical situations: STOP - THINK - DO!!

The word critical is used on purpose! Although we may associate that word with danger and high risk, there are times when companies are facing critical situations. People's life are not in danger but their personal situation can be. What about the credit crisis we are facing since 2008? There are numerous companies and employees who faced critical situations. Companies went bankrupt and employees lost their social position: job, house, ...
What to do in critical situations? How to behave? The first and easy answer would be to say: Don't panic!

What's for you a critical situation is for others a difficult situation. We are not here to define what a critical situation is. The purpose is to define the steps to be taken in order to go through it in the most safely way.

As a diving instructor I learnt from PADI (, the world's largest scuba diving training organization, that in critical situations the golden rule is: STOP - THINK - DO.
Scuba diving is not more risky than other sports, provided people respect the rules. What makes that a diver can face a critical situation is for example if his regulator (breathing device) fails. With continuous training, a trained diver can overcome to be in danger when implementing the STOP - THINK - DO rule.

STOP     - Calm down
THINK   - Evaluate the situation rapidly and think of a plan
DO        - Problem solving in a wise and efficient way
I  faced one day a critical situation during a scuba diving training I was giving to other instructors.
A combination of events (to long and complicated to mention) made that I started drowning at a depth of 35 meters (approx. 115 feet).  The other instructors failed to assist me and so in a few seconds I did implement the STOP - THINK - DO rule. Luckily I did!!
I am so thankful that an organization like PADI did stress how important that basic behaving is.
In many situations, people risk their lives in not applying the 3 steps.
Since my diving accident in 2000, I have been like a messenger explaining people (during coaching & training) how important it is to approach any difficult or critical situations that way.

You may think that business is a total different story. Well, you might be disappointed as it is not!
What about an important discussion with your employees, business partner, manager, supplier or customer, that turns to a major conflict. How would you handle that? You know that if you get angry, the business and/o relationship will be damaged. Will you get angry? or will you wait the other to be angry?
If you STOP - THINK - DO, you'll probably be the one putting water in your wine. You will be the one calming down your 'opponent'.
A conflict is a difficult situation and could become a critical one. What you will say or do will have an impact on the outcome. You can make the difference.

It is so important, regardless how difficult the situation is, to try taking a bit of distance in evaluating the options you have in front of you. Once you have define the best direction to take, just go on in wise way!

We even could add an important step between STOP and THINK that could be BREATH a few times.

Wishing you to behave wisely in future critical situations you may face!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reading books is not the best way to learn how to do business. Reading people is!!

For the ones who learnt to do business at schools or universities, the most of us, we had to read many books about management, marketing, sales, finance, ... you name it!
Once the knowledge out of the books (theory) got into our brain, it was time to put into practice what we had learnt.
Quickly, we realized there was a huge gap between theory and practice. Didn't we?

How was you first business meeting? Mine was not as expected. I has struggling between the present and the past. Let me explain that. The present was my meeting with a potential customer. The past was the theory I learnt at school, the business models, etc..
It was challenging to put in practice what was in the books. Rapidly, I realized that the theory was belonging to the books. 
Every single person I would meet with was so different. I was selling the same product but all sales meeting were so different and challenging. Although I could implement a certain core strategy, I had to adapt it to the person I was talking to.

Ultimately, years of experience proved that the best business school is life experience (practice).  
Don't get me wrong, I am not motivating people not to follow any business studies! What I mean is that real business is to be learnt on the field like other working activities. 
You probably have known teachers who never put into practice what they were teaching.
I remember a short story about a top trouble shooter appointed by a major car manufacturer. The board contracted him in order to reorganize the company as sales were far below budget. The first question the consultant asked the board members was: "Whom from you ever sold a car?". No one from the board had ever sold a car in his life. So the answer was clear: "No one!" The consultant then said:
" I will start cleaning-up and reorganizing your company once each of you will have personally sold a car!" No comments...

The more people I meet with, the better I am be able to understand their behaving, their needs. Even after 20 years of intensive practice, I am still learning.
I started my own personal study over people's behaving during the selling process.
What did I learn?
- to scan people in the first 5 minutes of a meeting (golden minutes!!)
- to listen more and talk less (that was a challenge..)
- to observe every single details
- to understand people's body language
- to learn that Yes can mean NO
- to decode what people would not say
I have learnt to READ PEOPLE!!

It's not about me but about us. If I have been able to learnt that, you can learn it too. It's not a rocket science.

In business, what people say is import, but what people don't say is even more important. Reading people is very much using all human senses in order to get a complete picture. The difficult part and risk is to be judge mental.

To better understand what reading people is, you are invited to read a book written by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius (Ph.D) and Mark Mazzarella "reading people" - ISBN 0-345-42587-1

Again, this is a book and it is up to you to put in practice with your own personality and in specific situations. The good thing is that it is a book written based on people's experiences and not on theory!

By being more conscious and open to your business partner, you'll be able to better understand what's  in his/her mind. By learning reading people, you'll see the real face. The illustration shows a man shaking someone's hand. He has no idea who he is dealing with. Will he be able to see the real face?
This is our common challenge. To do better business, we should spend more time reading people. That's what business is all about!

The exciting thing in reading people is that it is an ongoing process that never stops. 

You comments and experiences are welcome!

 Enjoy reading people!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Empathy is to be able to stand in your customer’s shoes even if the size is not yours!!

To the question: What is empathy? Alvin Goldman answered: "The ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and feelings".

The challenge of doing business is that we have to convince a customer to buy a product/service and to get paid for that.
Business is done by people with people! Every single sales person has a goal to reach, sell his/her product to a potential customer. But the buyer has a goal too. It's up to the you, as a sales person, to identify what he/she exactly wants and how he/she wants it.

Unexperienced sales people are behaving like an elephant in a porcelain shop. They don't listen at all to what the potential has to say and talk without listening. Is it that difficult for a sales person to ask questions and discover what's it is all about? Yes it often seems to be!!
Even experienced sales peoples do the mistake in focusing too much in closing the deal, forgetting the crucial phase of discovering the customer' needs.
Above that, sales people should use their eyes and observe what the customer does mean, not in words but with his/her body language.

One of the most important aspect in a selling process, is to be bale to stand in the customer's shoes for a moment. Don't be judge mental and try to see, smell, feel, hear like him/her.
It's so difficult!! That's right, but the ones having that ability of doing that are the ones who make the difference. Why would you decide to sell a product to someone if you identify that the person you are talking to has very valid reasons not to buy it. Instead of loosing your and his/her time, you should better leave it as it is and move on. The potential customer will respect you for that.

Empathy in business is a quality that not many people have, unfortunately. Nowadays, most sales people are finding challenging to consider what their customers may think. We live in a world where people are more and more individualistic and selfish.

A good sales person is the one with empathy!
So if you are not ready to stand in your customer's shoes even if the size is not yours, you'll never be able to get the complete picture. You may are right in what you say, but he/she too may be right in what he/she says.
The truth might just be in the middle!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

With a smile, one can obtain a lot and it’s free!!

You have probably heard people saying that communication is about action/reaction.
When we look at somebody who is laughing, we tend to laugh to.
Laughter is a way of communication with no words! The power of communication is mostly in the body language than in the words.

Sales people have goals to reach, they are under pressure. When visiting customers, they mostly focus on their sales target. They are mainly acting with their brain (rational) and not with their heart (emotional). What a pity!!
One of the most important aspect of a selling process is the first step when starting a meeting:  to take the temperature, the greetings & to establish a relationship with the customer.
How can that be possible when the sales person is too serious and emotionless??
How can he/she fine-tune with his customer with no empathy? Well, he/she could if he realized that with a smile, the entire process would be easier (for both parties).

Is is difficult to smile? Yes, it is for some of us... but in general it is not. We do it regularly with friends, family. Why not in business?
Well, some people are finding it challenging to be nice to others. They are finding it difficult to smile thinking they might not be taken too seriously.
It is possible to smile and at the same time be serious. Of course one should avoid to be seen as  clown... Business is so great when done in a good and relaxed atmosphere.

In my career, I experienced how crucial it is to smile to others. As communication is action/reaction, people you give a smile will smile in return. And they don't, no worries, you will have created such an atmosphere that it will be hard for them to remain emotionless.

I remember a meeting with 4 buyers from a major hypermarket chain in France. My agent and I entered the room and the buyers were so aggressive, talking like dictators, that my agent was so impressed that he hardly could say anything. I was not impressed at all by their show. I was relaxed with a smile on a face. I would not accept to be treated like a soldier being humiliate by 4 officers...
I kept smiling and realized they were becoming "nicer" and less directive.
Ultimately, we kept on talking and reached a level that we all were acting as adult and not as parents/child relation.
I guess my smile was strong enough to let them see that I was not impressed by their game. They realized the meeting would go nowhere that way. They obviously had not too much choice than to act normally. At the end of the meeting, 3 of them had a smile on their face. When shaking their hands to say goodbye, I could feel how glad they were that we all were ourselves  :-) After the meeting, we evaluated the situation with the agent. He was amazed how powerful a smile could be!

A smile should be the first tool to be used by sales people and business people in general!
It is easy to put in practice...and it is free! A smile is like a magnet with a powerful effect.

So don't forget to SMILE... and take time to read the text below!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Networking is all about giving without expecting something in return!!

Since a few years, our world has drastically changed. Not only are we able to connect to the World Wide Web, but we also connect with each other.
That's what we call networking. for ages people have linked connection with other people. Networking was done via school, sport clubs, social clubs, work, you name it...

We would connect with people who would be introduce to us via family or friends. One used to say: "My friends' friends are my friends!!". Nowadays, we connect with not only friends' friends but with totally unknown people. Social networking platform as LinkedIn enable us to built-up a social/professional network of millions of people. Is that not impressive?

But why do we network? We want to be in picture as we look for a job. We want to be part of a big thing what social networking is. What ever the reason we may have, it looks like we all network.
Is that a trend? I don't think so. It is the way our society evolves.
Most people who network are disappointed to get no results. They think that by linking to 100 new people, they will get results (job offers, feedback to their post, etc...). Nowadays everything goes fast. We are in a roller-coaster that does not stop. We want things now and not tomorrow. We are not patient. WE WANT MORE!!

My vision of networking is that we all contribute to build-up a piece of the net. It takes time!
Each individual brings its own skills and experience. All together, we are part of a great knowledge tank. And from time to time, we may benefit from others' experiences. I am a believer that things happen for a reason and that we can't force events to happen or not to happen. By being ready to give , there is a moment we will receive.
Have you ever seen a farmer putting seeds in the ground and expecting a crop the next day?

I do believe that networking is 80% investment and 20% result. The ones who connect to others in expecting direct results will be more than disappointed.
The seeds I personally put in the ground 2 years ago start to generate contacts now. Did I loose my time in networking? I don't think so!
Ultimately, it is enjoyable to give without expecting something in return. And if I get something back, then it is great.

When I started on LinkedIn, I deliberately chose to become an open networker. I consider that the network I belong to is not mine. I am open to share it with others. I am an open networker as my will is not only to link with people I may need but also with people who may need me. What about students starting their professional career? Are we going to leave them alone as they don't bring any added value to our own business?
My choice is to give them the chance to build their own web in taking advantage of the network I am belonging to.

It is rewarding to give. What I get in return is satisfaction that people linking to me could be helped out by others.

That's my vision of networking...!

What's yours?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Business is all about ethics & integrity!!

When talking business, one thinks money! Indeed, doing business is selling a product / service and get paid accordingly. Money has become so import in our society that people doing business are always looking for making more money. "WE WANT MORE!!" nothing wrong about it as long as people do business in full respect of people they deal with.
A successful business person is not a swindle. Although there are are some walking around, we could assume that the majority of the successful ones have worked very hard in order to reach their goals.
Unfortunately, there are others who see business from a total different angle. They choose not do act with no business ethics or integrity. What counts is MONEY!
Those are the ones not respecting any business rules. Those are the ones damaging the image of business.
I guess business ethics and integrity can't be learnt. You have it yourself or not.

So whether you are the one belonging to the second category of people who choose not respect any basic business ethics and integrity rules, be ware that your business practice has an effect on others businesses.
Like others, I have dealt with such people. In a difficult economical situation, it seems that business is done with less and less ethics and integrity. When money is hard to get, it looks like some people behave a different way. Or have they always behaved that way and it is now becoming obvious who they really are??

One day, a student I coached and I had an interesting and constructive conversation. He was wondering why people would decided to be honest when others are not and earn more money. I was surprised by his view of business and also shocked that a young talent would asked himself whether he should be doing business is an honest way or not. At that point, I simply gave him some examples of what happens when doing business without ethics and integrity. Although he was struggling, he clearly had the answer.

By doing business with ethics & integrity, you will be respected by your business partners.
A business person with a good reputation has already become successful!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A top sales person is not the one who sales ice to Eskimos, but the one who decides not to, knowing Eskimos don't need it!!

Sales people are generally looking for sales... yes that's what they are paid for!
Selling a something to someone is exciting and challenging. Especially when the potential customer is not looking for to buy something. A "normal"salesman will do its utmost to close the sales. Ultimately, it's his job. Have you ever met with a salesman who sales nothing? 
I did! The problem is that they don't work that long for their employer...
In many companies, sales people are rewarded on their sales results with what we call a commission or a bonus. The more they sell, the more they earn.
Would not you be motivated to earn more money? They are!!
Therefore, they will try to sell more and more with the motivation of making more money.

I did it myself when I started more than 20 years ago. My earnings were only commissions on sales.
One time, I did sell an expensive product to a prospect,  knowing he did not need it. At that time, my only motivation was money. A day later, that customer called the office claiming he had made a big mistake buying my expensive product. He stressed that the salesman was so good and convincing that he could not say no and had to sign the contract!
Was I such a good salesman? Sure, I was convinced I was!! 
We finally decided to cancel the sales and refund the customer.

Years later, I was giving a training to young talented sales people. I used the above example as we were talking about talented sales people.
No, I was not such a good salesman in my early years. Although I could sell a lot and was always winning sales contests, I did not always sell the proper way.
I was the one able to sell ice to Eskimos. Not a n ice cube, not a kilo, but tons ice...
With more life experience and wisdom, I quickly realized that selling was not about scoring at all time.
Selling is all about fine tuning to what the customer's needs are and adapt the offer to it.

Ultimately, a top sales person is someone with empathy who really is able to analyse and understand his customer's needs and behaviours. He is a top sales person not only because of the results he/she achieves but much more in the way he/she does business.
A top sales person builds up his/her reputation on: trust, credibility, business ethics, integrity, professionalism, commitment, ... but not on how much he/her is selling.

So don't waste time selling ice to Eskimos!! You should better buy some from them and resell it to the ones who need it...!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A sales process is like climbing a ladder. It’s not possible to go directly from the bottom to the top!!

There are 7 basic steps in a sales process:
  1. Preparing the meeting
  2. Taking the temperature: The greetings & Establishing a relationship with the customer
  3. Qualifying the needs
  4. Presentation, demonstration & information
  5. Transforming "I like" into "I want / I need"
  6. Overcoming objections
  7. Closing the sales
  8. Delivering --> From "Talking the Walk" to Walking the Talk" 
A sales process is like a recipe. All ingredients have to be used at the right moment in the right proportion. It is common to assume that some people are born salesman. Although that statement is true, there is no good salesman without learning sales skills.
I have never met with a salesman who could close a the sales without demonstrating a product or even without mentioning the price of the product!

A sales process is to be compared to a ladder. Our salesman (picture) was maybe too enthusiast and thought he could jump from the first rung to the 7th one (Closing the sales). Unfortunately for him, he hangs on one harm and it is a question of minutes and he will fall on the ground...
He could have climbed the ladder safely if he had taken the time for it and if he had climbed rung by srung. It's all about timing and patience!!

So although you may think your are the best salesman on earth, climb the sales ladder the proper way. You'll then be able to reach the top and enjoy the climb :-)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trust used to be the keystone in business. Deals were closed with a handshake...nowadays with a thick contract and a few attorneys!!

Business has drastically changed since the beginning of the 20th century!
In the past, business was done in such a way that people would mutually agree and would shake hands. That was a done deal! It was quick and efficient. the tradition of closing a deal with a hand shake has nearly disappeared. Only some cow traders still close deals that way. They would agree on a price, and would shake hand. The deal is closed and both parties know their agreement will be respected..
The main reasons of the change is that people have become less and less trustful in their business partners. The other aspect is that money has become so important that business is done with less ethics and integrity. The shift in the way of doing business has had a positive effect for attorney's. They are the ones who take advantage of the situation. They are the ones who generate tons of paperwork!
Business is getting more and more complicated as more and more people are involved.
What's the point of signing contracts that no one can understand them?
What's the point of signing contracts that will not be respected?

Let's bring trust back in business!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Entrepreneurship is like spinning plates on a stick. No time for rest, you have to keep them spinning!!

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. All starts from an idea! But the way to the market is still so long...
You will need to take several aspects into consideration like: marketing, finances, logistic, legal, human resources, production, etc...
An entrepreneur does not have to be a specialist in all area's but certainly need a good understanding in order to start his venture. All those aspects are linked to each others like a mechanism. If one does not work, it will have an effect on others.
Entrepreneurship is to make sure that all runs smoothly, from the idea till the implementation.
It is a on going process that never stops. The entrepreneur will have to keep an eye on literally everything in order to make sure the project comes to reality. And when the idea is marketed, the story does not stop, it just begins!!
Like on the drawing, an entrepreneur is a showman is able to combine many tasks making sure the process never stops. Entrepreneurship is top sport!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A business deal is like a central square in a capital city. There is more than one avenue leading to it!!

Imagine a business deal looking like the "Arc de Triomphe" in Paris. This massive monument is localize in the middle of a famous central square, "La Place de l'Etoile". There are 12 avenues leading to that square.
When negotiating a business deal, your aim is to come to an final agreement. Your business partner expects the same. Nonetheless he might want to reach the deal in different way as you.
Does that matter?
You are convinced your way is the best and he too is convinced his is the best. Ultimately, what counts is that you both meet each otter at the central square.
So, although you may think your option is the best, take also into consideration other options that lead to the final agreement.
What's important is the result!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Look into your business partner's eyes, observe his body language. Then you'll find out who is hidden behind the mask!!

What is communication?
We may think that verbal communication is the answer. Communication is also and mostly non-verbal.
Think about body language. Someone's attitude and gestures can tell even more than words.
Words are commended by the brain, whereas the body language is driven by emotions, it is an unconscious process. In our education, we have been told to think before talking.
We have been trained to control our verbal communication. Nonetheless, there are some well trained people who can control both the verbal and non-verbal communication.
Although your business partner tries to hide himself behind a mask, you still can look into his eyes.
Both the way he looks at you, his eyes movement, and his gesture in general will tell you a lot about the real person behind the mask.
When talking to someone, it is crucial to learn from observing the person who talks to you.
Go behind the words in decoding someone's body language. Then you will be able to see the real one you have in front of you!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Doing business with no vision is like walking with a blindfold on!!

We are born with two eyes!! So we should use them in a proper way...
Doing business is not an easy activity. Vision enables business people to plan and anticipate what business will be in months or years time.
Bill Gates is a good example. He is the one who, in the 80's, started a company developing computer software. He was a man with a vision as he could foresee how the market would evolve. He was so talented that he could foresee that every family would use a personal computer.
Luckily for him he had no blindfold on as he never would have built up such an empire. 
So open your eyes and try to see further than the few meters in front of you....

Friday, September 17, 2010

It’s hard to innovate, it’s easy to imitate!!

It takes years of hard work to think a new product or concept. It does not take too long to knock off that product or concept.
Unfortunately, the majority of people doing business are not creative at all and spend their time in copying ideas from others. And when those people have money, they even become more successful than the creator himself...
Business is getting more and more challenging. When you start innovating, it is difficult to stop as you always need to be ahead from the competitors.
The reality of business is that there is a place for the innovators and for imitators.
Most of the time, inventors are no businessmen. The challenge is to bundle innovative ideas with  business vision. That way, innovators will always be a step ahead...

Being talented is a free gift, becoming successful is a costly hard work!!

We all have some talents. The challenge is to identify them and use them in a proper way.
Like in sport, we all need to develop our talents. It is demanding but without hard work, it will be difficult to reach our goals.
Successful people are the ones who identified their talents, developed them in working hard with discipline.
So the gift you got should not be put in a draw. Do something with it and you will be rewarded!!

Business is not a rocket science ... it 's just a matter of common sense!!

What is business?
It is selling a product or a service and get paid for that. 
We all make business more difficult than it should be. By sticking to the essence of business, all becomes easier and more pleasant. No need to be an Einstein to understand the simple rules of doing business.
The challenge is that business is done by people and their ego's!

Learning by doing is the best business school!!

It is known that there is a gap between theory and practice.
People who spent years learning from books have collected an enormous amount of information. But are all those informations useful?
Frequently, the literature used is old and does not match the reality of business. On the other side, teachers are used to teach in a more traditional way and have difficulties adapting themselves to the business of today. Therefore the theory is far from the practice.
Business happens on the field! Nowadays, the main challenge in companies is that strategic decisions are
made by people who never worked on the field. They expect the opertational people to put in practice their theory.
If you have never sold a product yourself, how can you tell your sales people how to sell it?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don’t spend too much time looking back at the deals you lost. Look forward to the ones still to be won!!

Although it is important and constructive to understand why you lost a deal, why spending too much time on what is history. Why not focus on what you can achieved instead?
By sticking to the past, you may never find the answers to your questions. Avoid to built-up frustration, accept the loss and concentrate to the win still to come.
History is a fact and can't be changed. The future is still open. That's the opportunity you should focus on!!