Relationship Selling is like Selecting a Life Partner

Relationship Selling is like Selecting a Life Partner

There is an old saying in the sales community that if you can’t sell yourself, you won’t be able to sell anything else. I see this happen in every salesperson’s life when they use their relationship selling skills in personal day to day life. Any long term project in sales needs the same amount of patience as required in selecting a life partner. This theory is easily understood if the sales process is applied to selecting a life partner as seen in the following process of selling to a new  mining project.

Objective

In both cases (whether it be applied to relationship selling or selecting a life partner) you have a clear objective in mind. The objective in sales for a new mining project is to sell your products and solutions to new green field mining job and in the second case is to select a suitable life partner.

Identifying

This is a critical first step in either mining sales or selecting a life partner. Identifying a mining project starts with networking and seeking geologists that inform you which project sites are under evaluation. Another form of seeking a new mining project is through different media channels, such as TV and newspaper. On the other hand, when you start searching for a life partner, your friends play the role of the “geologists” by introducing you to possible partners. Also, media channels such as social media and dating websites are used to search for the perfect partner.

Prospecting

Once you identify a new mining job, you start prospecting by finding who is the owner, EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) and financiers for that job. Similarly, in the case of a life partner, you start gathering data about his/her personality, parents, friends, family friends and professional life. In both cases, you normally stop chasing either the project or the person at this point if it is not the right fit for you.

Presenting

This is the point where you use all your sales skills. You start working with all stakeholders in the mining project who you identified at the time of prospecting. You discuss their needs, present your products and solutions, show them your references and finally discuss financials. Similarly, in the other scenario, you mutually understand each other, present yourself to each other’s family, introduce your family and friends and discuss your financial standings.

Knowing your competitors

This is the most important step in both scenarios. In mining sales, you always want to be aware of your competitors. Any kind of relationship (any applicable past contract) the company is having with any competitors which can affect this project. Similarly, in other case, you also want to know from your future life partner about their present commitment level and make sure that they are not interested in someone else.

Finalizing

After you’ve finished handling all objections in the mining job, you finalize the deal and get an order through a negotiation. Also, in the case of looking for a life partner, you mutually decide about the marriage date, expenses, size and perhaps the value of the ring, etc. The time taken in winning a mining project can take a number of years or sometimes the project becomes dead at any step. Similarly, in the other scenario, it also takes times and in some cases a relationship doesn’t achieve soul mate status.

Handling situations

A good relationship selling sales person never gets depressed in the initial stages, as he is always working on multiple opportunities; but, in the other scenario, it all depends on each individual whether he is working with others before completing the prospecting stage.

Relationship selling is fun and you use sales in almost all aspects of your life. The only difference in the scenarios is that you stop prospecting in real life after you select a life partner unless the deal goes bad after a few months or years, but in mining sales, you are always working on new sales.

Photo: Yoann Boyer

Sanjeev Neb, CME, CSE, Sales Account Manager- Siemens Canada, Director-Sales and Marketing Executives International Inc. (SMEI)

Dare to be Edgy for Profitable Growth

Dare to be Edgy for Profitable Growth

Profitable growth is found by companies looking over the competitive landscape and moving away from the arena where their rivals squabble. Reinventing thus a business with bold and visionary thinking comes with huge risks as well as rewards. On the other hand, some companies have a tendency to over-rely on their core business. It can lead them to a blind spot where they miss growth opportunities. Sometimes for success, we need an in-between strategy that is neither a disruptive innovation nor a radical transformation but cautious and incremental changes. Alan Lewis and Dan MacKone articulates such a mindset through their “Edge Strategy” based on a three-year research of innovation strategies of 585 international brands. It advocates three ways in which businesses can profit by looking for opportunities that lie hiding in plain sight. It involves rethinking the edges of your company that has proven to deliver 15% higher returns.

Accessorize your product: Understanding what your core business is essential for profitable growth. Equally important is discerning what features would augment the product by altering the elements of a core offering that would appeal to the target market. Stretching the merchandise may appeal to the target market that can lead to revolutionary results. One way is to offer value-added services to your product by way of add-ons and upgrades. Another is to include service options with the core product being offered and price it correctly so that people would be willing to pay for it.

JetBlue was on the brink of collapse a few years ago due to operational failure. They toyed with the idea of mergers, alliances and code shares that are practiced by some international carriers. A thorough analysis helped them realize that their market consisted of value-added travellers. They decided to apply the product edge strategy. The company managed to revive its business and stay in the market. They reduced the fare of the core product drastically and introduced paid accessories and add-ons such as extra legroom options and additional charge for a preferred seat. Passengers were willing to pay for that extra convenience and comfort for a pleasurable air travel. It generated more than $75 million in incremental profit. All because JetBlue accessorized their core product with bells and whistles.

Smoothen the customer journey: Time to time it is imperative for company officials to walk in the customers’ shoes. Their missions differ at every step of their decision-making journey. Look out for these pain points throughout the journey the customer takes in the process right from the awareness of the product until the purchase and even post-purchase. Try to support this trip by alleviating the pain points in an innovative way. Information-sharing and educating them on how to relieve pain is an excellent way to walk them through the voyage.

Greengrocer is a case in point. Over time they have realized that customers are not only looking to buy green vegetables but they also want them washed, cleaned, chopped and even ready to be prepared. The beauty of it is that customers are willing to pay the marginal price in exchange for the convenience it offers. Whole Foods went a few steps further by offering shoppers different food stations such as pizza ovens, salad bars, and home-prepared meals and even appealing seating arrangements that they claim now on an average generates one-fifth of their total revenue. And shoppers never seemed to complain when the mundane weekly grocery purchasing turns to lifestyle family experience. Thus Whole Foods have smoothened the customer’s journey every step of the way in an impressive and innovative manner for profitable growth.

Leverage enterprise resources: Make an inventory of all the business assets. Find new ways to unlock value through putting to use the company’s under-utilized assets or untapped resources so as to create a new revenue stream that would generate more income. Industry pioneers routinely sell their valuable expertise to the outside firms while still staying in business. By exploiting such possessions and using them in different contexts, companies have diversified and have amassed vast sources of revenue.

Amazon rents out its web services, its technological infrastructure, to third parties since the company realized that it would add value to other businesses. By doing so, Amazon built added a sustainable cloud computing business to its core product and enhanced its profitable growth. The competencies it had at its disposal was valuable enough for which they could command a good price. A critical assessment of their asset inventory enabled Amazon to recognize the potential of one of its untapped opportunity, and they capitalized on it. When company resources are being put to use in different context wealth is created and not destroyed. It does not have to be at the expense of disruptive innovation or blue ocean strategy but in tandem with them. And it adds to the bottom line of the company by way of generating additional revenue.

The authors of “Edge Strategy” reckon that pursuing any one or all of the above strategies can lead to a myriad of opportunities for extra sources of income from which companies can choose depending on the profitable growth potential and feasibility of implementation. Think harder about the periphery or the “edges” of existing businesses. The strategy is not new. However, very too often when thinking about company growth business executives are obsessed about pursuing industry disruption or inventing the wheels that come at a huge cost. Instead, look under your noses, and you will find several opportunities to earn extra income by making incremental changes to the existing businesses. Or they stay too focused on their core offering that they miss out on the changing trends thus rendering their products obsolete and redundant. Adopting an Edge Strategy® not only unearths inherent capabilities to create wealth but can also be rapidly implemented because it is a low-hanging fruit.

Photo: Greg Rakozy

Promote Your Brand Facebook Live

Promote Your Brand Facebook Live

Live video streaming is critical to brand growth in 2016 and it has really taken off this year in part due to the launch of Facebook Live. Live videos are real time video posts on Facebook and they can be a great way to promote and boost your brand. You can use them to communicate brand stories, to enhance relationships and to share your knowledge and expertise.

People love watching video and Facebook Live lets you connect directly with your friends and followers and to get more interactive with a younger demographic.

Right now the easiest way to broadcast on Facebook Live is using your iOS or Android device from your Facebook page, profile, or group you manage. You can also use your desktop but that’s a little more complex.

How To Use Facebook Live Video14425479_10155239402623662_4259300246151475752_o

To go Live simply login to Facebook, go to your page and click the publish icon as if you were going to publish a post. From there you click on the red video icon. As you complete this process a couple of pop ups will show up asking you to authorize the app to use the camera and microphone on your device. When you are ready to go live then click on the blue go live button!

Getting Ready to Share Your First Facebook Live Stream

There are a few key things to think about first though:

  • Promoting your Live event – tell people in advance that you will be going live. You can use your timelines, other social feeds and Facebook events to do this. Give them plenty of time to put it in their schedule.
  • Get ready – prepare your outline and presentation in advance so you know what you will be talking about. Facebook live should seem spontaneous and natural, but that doesn’t mean it should be completely unscripted. Set up your location too. Choose a quiet spot with little background traffic.
  • Make sure you have a good connection – video takes up a lot of bandwidth.

When to go Live on Facebook

What time you go Live will depend on your audience. Noon till 3pm is the best time to catch people at work and 6-9pm is optimum otherwise. It’s a great idea to coordinate with a popular event (industry conference) and tap into their event too (as long as you have a good connection there!).

After you are finished, your video is published as a post on your timeline so it is available for those who missed it to watch it later. Your video should be at least 10 minutes long. Broadcasts can last up to 90 minutes.

Below there’s a link to our first SMEI Facebook live event by Gregg Frederick, CSE, principal of G3 Development Group. Gregg used Facebook Live to explain how to use this powerful new social media tool to create engagement around both your personal and business brand.

What’s next with live video, YouTube live is now emerging too so make sure that’s part of your brand strategy for 2017.

Watch our first SMEI Facebook Live video on our Facebook feed.

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