Thursday, 29 November 2012

If It's Not Working...

I recently spoke to a company who engaged a telemarketing agency to make cold calls for them and secure sales meetings.

The company made 2500 calls.

They secured 14 meetings.

Even though that sounds terrible, it's not so bad in this day and age. Their success rate was 0.56%, and for getting from a cold contact to a meeting, that's not bad going. Statistically. For the sales industry.

The agency would argue that from those 14 calls, the client could maybe win 5 actual sales deals, which more than pays for the cost of the project.

But what about those 2,486 calls that didn't result in a meeting?


Book Reviewers

I'm now looking for reviewers for Genius at Work - people to read it , use it and say nice things about it, to be honest.

Not just anyone though, I'm afraid, I'll need to be choosy.

Some people will get the paperback version of the book to review, others will get an electronic copy.

If you'd like to take part, leave a comment.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Learn How to Sell More and Support BBC Children in Need!

I was again interviewed on BBC Radio earlier this week as part of the BBC's Children in Need annual charity fundraising event.

Mike Zeller wanted to know how they could make more money in an Apprentice-style cake selling competition.

So I draw on all of the best performance that I could think of, across the various industry sectors I've worked with as well as The Apprentice itself, to give Mike and Sara a head start and of course raise a lot of money for a great cause.

Listen to the radio interview here and find out how you can sell more too!

And of course, if you're in Carlisle on Saturday 16th November, go along and buy some cakes - and tell them that I sent you!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Sales through Service

I've been talking to a few companies lately about training programs, and one of the factors that often comes up is paradoxical - that they need to sell more without selling.

For example, service staff in an insurance call centre need to provide support services, but since the insurer makes money out of those services, there's a sales target involved. If their staff focus on making the 'sale' by getting the customer to agree to having the services, which are free to the customer, then the customer could begin to feel pushed and accuse the advisor of 'ambulance chasing'. But if they don't sell, they don't make money.

In another company, a contract catering supplier, restaurant staff need to sell more but the host companies don't want their staff feeling 'sold at'. Not to mention that selling more means getting people to eat more, not exactly a message which fits with their 'healthy' brand image.

The solution in both of these cases is one of the most important things that you'll find when modelling excellence - that the intended output isn't the same thing as the intended outcome.

In short, sales results should never be the focus of attention - they should be the measure by which the right focus is judged. For example, the focus for the contract caterer should be on providing excellence in customer care. When customers enjoy and value the service that they receive, they'll visit the restaurant more often and spend more money. Sales are the result, not the aim. Sales figures are a measure of how well the staff take care of their customers.

For the insurers, demonstrating genuine care and reassurance is what will encourage customers to accept the services offered. Sales results are therefore the measure of how well staff provide that reassurance, not how well they 'sell'.

This doesn't just apply to sales, there are many other measurement criteria which become confused with the activities which lead to those outputs.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Counter-Intuitive Behaviours

About ten years ago, I wrote a story - an article in the form of a metaphor - to illustrate the value of coaching and modelling excellence within a team environment.

By a strange coincidence, the exact same process, and the exact same 'counter-intuitive behaviours' are the subject of research into self-driving vehicles which are learning how to drive from expert human drivers.

"What human drivers do consistently well is feel out the limits of the car and push it just a little bit further and that is where they have an advantage," said Prof Gerdes.
He added that follow-up work had been done to record what the best human drivers did with the car's brakes, steering and throttle as they drove so this could be incorporated into the control systems the Stanford team is developing.
"It's not so much the technology as the capability of the human that is our inspiration now.”
Prof Chris Gerdes
For instance, he said, in situations where the car is being driven at the limit of the grip of its tyres, the car cannot be turned via the steering wheel. Instead, said Prof Gerdes, race drivers use the brake and the throttle to force a car round a corner.
"We're learning what they are doing and it's those counter-intuitive behaviours that we are planning to put in the algorithm," he said.

Man beats robot car on race track

And if I can find the original story, I'll post it here.