Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Let's put a stop to gender violence, war, hunger and corruption. Those are my wishes for this Christmas Season.

My Wishes For These Holidays!
Usually by this time of the year, I write a post wishing you many nice and very cool things for the holidays, that are just around the corner, and for the upcoming Year, which we're about to receive.

As always, I wish you the very best the world has to offer you for these Holidays and the New Year 2016.

Obviously, this year I wanted to do the same thing but something deep inside of me said: "No. Not this time".

Then I realized this blog has already been out for a few years old and (thanks to all of you) has its small group of loyal readers, who come back regularly to share with me this space. Then I decided to do something different this time.

As a Catholic and a believer I am, I do wish the Holly Spirit floods your home this holiday season and fills your heart, and that of your loved ones, with His Peace, His Joy and gives you all the enthusiasm to start up the upcoming Year the best way possible.

But today I want to go a little further.

I want to ask God to grant us this Christmas everything we might need to eradicate from the world, or do our best effort to eradicate from the world certain things that are deeply rooted in our societies and prevents us from moving forward.

The first one is corruption.
I ask God to enlighten the minds of all those who get seduced by power and money, and brazenly steal money that belongs to those people they supposedly represent, because we must remember not all corrupt people are politicians as neither all politicians are corrupt people. I pray to Heaven so that this people may (and know how to) find the strength they need to do their jobs in the most honest way possible, helping us all to create a more balanced and transparent society.
Then there is war.
Yes. War. That pitiful scourge that has become a business for many countries, regardless of all people who are dying, especially innocent ones who, unfortunately, are in the wrong place at the least appropriate time. I ask God to help us all realize we should simply be ashamed of having war as a business and recognize that nothing in the world gives us the right to kill innocent people, regardless of the flags we hide behind.
I can't keep from thinking about hunger.
Millions of people die each year because they have nothing to eat. Children, women, elderly people. In brief, a whole disgrace that should resound in our minds every time we open our refrigerators to find it full of food that even sometimes goes spoiled by not being eaten on time. I ask God to help us be more solidary with the people who need the most. If we have no money to share, at least to offer something to eat, a helping hand, a word of encouragement and hope, but, please, may these Holidays be an starting point to live life in harmony with those who are not as fortunate as we are.
And finally gender violence.
I ask God to plant in our hearts true love. The kind of love which doesn't mean dominating and subduing our partner using force. As my children were told in nursery, we must learn that "hands are for giving love, and arms to embrace people around us." My Lord, I pray Heaven to enlighten the heads of all those who can only communicate using violence, beatings, humiliation and abuse. May God put in their hearts the seed of true love, affectionate love and respect for people giving them company.

And these are my wishes for this Christmas season and I do hope they grow abundantly for all of us. I do believe this way we can really build a better world the upcoming Year.

May God bless you all and enlighten your hearts during these holidays and throughout the New Year 2016!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Music To Your Sales Ear: "Sweetheart, Look What I Just Bought!"

"Look What I Just Bought!!"
During all the years I’ve working in sales, I’ve had the opportunity to close many deals. As with all things in life, some of them have been easier to close than others, as usual.

There have even been cases in which, despite having made every conceivable effort on my side, I couldn’t reach an agreement with my prospect, but on the other side there have also been situations where I’ve just meet a new prospect and, in the second visit, he has signed a several thousand dollars worth contract, although I didn’t need to push myself to my fullest performance.

And, without actually focusing our attention in any of those extreme situations, either an extremely easy sale nor the impossible one, I'm sure we can clearly identify two very different sales situations.

The first one is that in which I must admit I was able to close the deal by the actual use of sheer force, and by that I mean, sitting in front of my prospect and wrestling with him until, at the very end and after going back and forth several times, my prospect finally gave up, surrendered, gave me the approval and signed the purchase order.

The other one is that in which I wasn’t able to convince my prospect on the first few contacts, although I have done my best effort to showcase how my proposal would fit his expectations and budget. However, after a few days or even weeks, the prospect called me back to let me know he had finished analyzing all the information I provided him with and confirmed that, indeed, my proposal has satisfied all his concerns and doubts, therefore decided to do business with me.

Which of the two situations you believe has given me greater professional and personal satisfaction?

Bread for today, hunger for tomorrow: closing the deal using the force.

Although any vendor will tell you about the wonderful “I-am-the-best” feeling you’ll have when closing a sale after being for a long time discussing and negotiating with your prospect, properly solving all possible objections, closing all possible escape routes, making use of all your hat tricks and resources, until finally your prospect can’t take it anymore and drops down on his knees, defeated, on the floor. Let me tell you, my dear friend, such a wonderful feeling is completely temporary.

On one hand you have a salesperson leaving its customer’s office with a smile on its face, rubbing both hands and saying to itself: "hahaha ... finally I made it my way and got him to sign the contract". On the other hand you have a customer who is sitting back on his desk, dazed and tired, overwhelmed by not having had the ability to escape your seller’s clutches, and perhaps without even understanding what truly happened.

A customer who can only say: "What a persistent salesman! Look what kind of deal he pushed me to sign for"

And for you it ¡s a temporary victory because, as your customer recovers from the battle and reconsiders his decision, he’ll probably call you back to let you know he wants to cancel the contract he signed for, or even worse, simply call your office trying to get in touch with a supervisor to tell him how he feels you pushed him way too hard in order to get the contract signed, when otherwise he wouldn’t have made such decision.

Whatever the outcome of this situation is, it’s not at all positive or beneficial for a long-term business relationship. Your customer will never trust you because he’ll always look at you as a "relentless salesman," "a highly qualified, infernal machine capable of convincing anyone to buy something they don’t want" and that's not good.

The perfect sale: Helping your client make an informed decision.

The most pleasant sensation occurs in the second case I mentioned to you: When the prospect calls you back a few days after meeting with you, and tells you he’s completely convinced your proposal is the best fit for their needs, and has approved it therefore will be doing business with you.

The times I've had the opportunity to experience this feeling I can tell you it’s quite an interesting one: you feel flush running down your cheeks, your hands are shaking and then this sudden adrenaline rush.

You want to urgently share it with your teammates, you feel completely satisfied and proud because you know you've done an excellent job. You’re so excited that can’t keep yourself from telling your customer you’ll stop by his office in no time to sign all the appropriate paperwork.

The perfect sale occurs when your client says "I am confident your proposal is the best and I want to do business with you"

When you get to close a deal this way, you have a client who has endorsed its own  purchase decision. It was not your insistence but the fact that your customer had the opportunity to analyze all the information you offered him, had also all the answers you gave him during the presentation, and then has finally had the opportunity to say: “This is what we truly need”.

It’s what is called a "well-informed decision": There is nothing in the mind of your customer that can make him retract from his decision, because all the questions he had were professional and adequately resolved by you, without unnecessary pressure.

These relationships tend to last for a long time, and even often go beyond a merely commercial relationship, because your customer trusts you. You’ve won their esteem because managed to give a professional and honest answer to their problems, while given them the necessary room to make a decision, thereby demonstrating security and confidence on what you offer.

It is the famous "win-win" situation: you get the contract signed with the corresponding commission, and your client has successfully solved a problem. Both sides have won.

And that's the kind of business relationships that, ultimately, you want to develop for your business. Isn’t it?

Photo credit: bellemedia | See portfolio

I recommend you reading the following posts on this blog:
Already bought your product, now what?
Loyalty and CKCH: When is it that you really lose a customer?
How To Make A Successful Sale: Do We Create Needs Or Simply Discover Them? 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Egomaniac Business: Is Yours One Of Them?

Have An "Egomaniac" Business?
Over the last few days, I have had the opportunity to read a handful of interesting posts referring to "egomaniac business", ie, businesses run by people with really deep ego problems, and reflecting over the damage that having a boss like this could mean for any business’ own development, even for its very survival during difficult times.

And reading those posts caught my attention because clear memories from experiences I’ve myself lived in my professional life on very recent years came to my mind.

Situations like those in which my colleagues simply lowered their heads and remained silent while coping with continuing violations from our boss who considered himself as the eighth wonder of the world, and who didn’t take any seriously timely paying his employees’ payrolls, and used to do it whenever he felt like.

Or the owner of a company I was collaborating with for whom his own ego made it impossible to objectively analyze its market, along with preventing him from recognizing that his product was simply another one in the crowd, and that his own company was just one more within an universe of much more prepared competitors, strongly recognized within their own niches, and with finely-put-together positioning proposals.

A company run by an egomaniac owner loses the ability to understand what the market, both internal and external, has to say.

It’s really a pity to see how your ego as a business owner can come between your company and its market, shooting down any opportunities for it to grow and develop as it could.

It’s very sad to see how your company could be moving forward, if you heard complaints your employees mean through their silences, and didn’t take their heads-down as a sign of approval or, even worse, a sign of submission which makes you feel more powerful and invincible.

It’s unfortunate to see how your company could be going further ahead, if you realized your employees, suppliers and customers, are the most important assets you can ever have, and didn’t consider your business as a place to vent your deep personal shortcomings.

Which should be your first shock treatment against ego? A large dose of humility.

Keep always in mind there are millions of businesses around the world. Millions. In your country, there are thousands of businesses as well. In your sector or industry, is exactly the same. Similarly, products like yours, there are plenty.

What I mean by this is that the worst thing you can do to yourself is to think that everything revolves around you and your product, because it isn’t true. The only one you’re cheating is yourself and nobody else. The thing happening here is that your ego doesn’t allow you to see the real thing.

To stop being an egomaniac boss, you should start by recognizing that the world does not revolve around you.

And if we go a little further, it’s not true either that the only customer your suppliers may have is you, nor is true that the only place where your employees can work, is your company. Just go figure.

Unfortunately, your egotistical personality simply isolates you from your environment, keeping you from seeing reality lying in front of you and doesn’t give you the opportunity to develop a real team, one talented and productive, simply because you’ll never be able to hire someone better than yourself because you either think someone like that doesn’t exist, or because you’ll consider such a person as a competitor who wants to push you to the side and take away your business.

Your business can grow only when you're ready to let your ego go, quit being so controlling, delegate tasks and trust the people around you will be able to do the job that is required.

I know this initial shot of humility is a very difficult act if you're an egomaniac boss, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to get your ego out of the way.

Don’t ever surround yourself with flattering people who always agree with you: they won’t help your business grow.

A phrase that kept on circling around in my head after the reading was the following: "The egomaniac boss surrounds himself by an entourage of acolytes who always agree with him".

And I felt shocked. Not only because it must be a truly lonely life to be on the shoes of the boss who is never confronted by anybody and believes he is at the top of the game, but also by the reference made to a team of professionals who have this attitude toward their boss, whatever the reason for that is, and get to be identified as a "entourage of acolytes". Truly sad.

How can you realize that you need to make a change, if the people around you tells you that everything is perfectly fine? How will you know you are an unbearable boss, if nobody tells you how annoying you are?

Always surround yourself with professional, capable people who are willing to confront you when necessary.

Remember, there is no sense in hiring smart people just to tell them at all times what they have to do. You should hire smart, talented people so they can tell you what to do, and then you must definitely be willing to listen carefully.

Never allow people working with you to become an "entourage of acolytes who always agree with you" because from that point on, your business is doomed to fail.

If you take a good dose of humility and leave aside the evil side of your ego, that so much damage can inflict to you and your business, you can then begin to build real, mutually beneficial relationships with the three most important assets your company can ever have: your employees, suppliers and, most importantly, your customers.

And it is at this time when your ego will be removed from your path, and you’ll be able to actually walk towards many positive things.

Post I recommend you to read on this blog:
The Oranges Bag Management Model.