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!!