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When Sales People Lose Their Mojo


A few weeks ago I finally managed to catch an episode of The Call Centre. People have been telling me for years that I should be watching it, and it’s easy to see why – big guy from Swansea running a sales team of 600 odd misfits, how could I not enjoy it?

As it happens, I did enjoy it. For all the reasons why everyone does – Big Nev is mad (and a millionaire, don’t forget…), that girl that makes the tea is mad, even that humourless South African manager is a bit mad, but they’re all really, really likeable. More than that though, I liked it for personal reasons. Firstly, it’s great to see a self-made man from my home town running a flourishing business that employs so many people. Secondly, I think there are some genuinely valuable lessons that Big Nev can teach to sales people – both those in his call centre, and those watching at home. Continue reading

All Gear, No Idea…


I will be brief.

Once again I am back out in Fargo, North Dakota visiting my son and daughter-in-law. They got married a few months ago.

Brandy (Adam’s wife) was somewhat disappointed because she just got the wedding photographs back from the wedding photographer (who was picked out of a telephone book), and the pictures really aren’t as good as she would have hoped for. In fact, some of the pictures are well below par, and of course now that the big day has passed there is not much that can be done.

On the big day I came armed with my own DSLR camera and my new lenses, but felt that I needed to leave it to the professional to take the group photos. I didn’t want to cramp his style – and cheese him off. He had an amazing camera, a selection of high-end lenses, flashes, lights…. the works. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to have the skills and knowledge to match.

Ever heard the phrase ‘All gear, no idea’? Well this guy should have had it printed onto his business card.

I sometimes come across similar types in the world of work… Continue reading

Getting in Clients’ Faces: Respectful, Productive and Necessary


I worked with a sales team a few weeks back who texted their clients. A lot. I asked one of them when the last time they actually talked to their client was – on the phone or face-to-face – and he said “I don’t know Mark, but texting is easier”.

Now, text is a great medium for comms – it’s a quick fire way to send and receive information, 95% of all texts are opened with 4 minutes of being sent, and the response rate and speed leaves email for dead. But it’s a comms channel that sends more message than one… Continue reading

52 Monkeys on a Bus…


Eddie Johnston (an old colleague, customer & friend) once told me a very interesting sales parable as we were discussing the pros and cons of canvassing. Some of you may not know this but back in the late 80’s a sales person’s first few weeks in the job required them to go out ‘canvassing’. No…not on the phone…but on foot.

Canvassing involved collecting information about the companies situated on your territory. A Compliment Slip would give all the official info about the company, but what you really wanted was to get was the name of the “lady or gentleman in charge of buying photocopiers”. Back then in the copier business territories were small, and especially so in the City of London. My first patch was EC1R, EC1M, EC2R and EC2Y. You could walk from one end to the other in about 45 minutes.

Anyway, back to Eddie’s story… Continue reading

5 Reasons Why They’re Buying, 1 Reason Why You’re Selling

 A woman hand carrying a bunch of colorful shopping bags

This week I read a blog post that lists the full 50 reasons why people buy from Geoff Ayling’s excellent book Rapid Response Advertising. Normally I would have skimmed through it – it’s interesting stuff, certainly, but nothing I haven’t read before.

This week, however, I read through all 50 of the reasons, then sat and thought about them for a bit. The reason for this is that last week I read an article claiming that there were only two reasons why prospects buy. Geoff Ayling’s list was probably too involved and specific – there are certainly more than 50 reasons why people buy if you start getting in to the circumstances of an individual purchase – and the other article was a simplification too far – it’s important to be aware of ‘pains’ and ‘gains’, but not enough.

With that in mind I thought I would put together a short list of 5 reasons that I have seen time and time again pushing people towards purchase. I’ve also included the 1 reason why you are selling to them. A simplification too far? Maybe. Read on and find out. Continue reading

To Be or Not To Be a Manager… That is the Question.


Forgive the use of David Moyes as our poster boy for this month’s blog post – but in my mind he is probably the most talked about ‘manager’ right now. Right now, maybe he is questioning his own capabilities as a manager? Probably not. Maybe he is concerned for his future now that his tenure is looking weaker every day? Probably not – he’s on a six year contract which would see him receive a pay-off in the £10m + arena. Maybe he’s not actually up to the job of managing Man Utd? Bingo!

In many respects, David Moyes is living proof of the Peter Principle – whereby people are promoted into jobs with duties they cannot fulfil. In other words, they are promoted beyond their competence and into incompetence. Continue reading