Sales

What’s your story’s formula?

Every great story ever told has a formula. These days we might like to call it an algorithm, a story algorithm.

Ever since I decided to major on whiteboard animation stories as my mission, I have been attracting more knowledge from the people in my network. 

One such attraction was Michael-Don Smith (Don), someone I’ve been connected to for 7 years. We met recently again at a networking event and he mentioned Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey (1949). And no I had not heard of it, remarkably!

(The word Hero in this article is being referred to a gender neutral form, which is allowed apparently, I looked it up!)

There are other story algorithms that came after, David Adams Leeming (1981), Phil Cousineau (1990), Christopher Vogler (2007).

And when I researched it, it made just perfect sense, something I naturally had adopted in my whiteboard animation stories for clients and now I had confirmation that my story approach was 100% correct. A polite pat on my own back and I know I have loads to learn still.

I will explain briefly. Every great story told tells the journey of hero. Their quest and their obstacles and villains to defeat. Pretty much like life itself really. Maybe that’s why we can all relate so well to stories. They all follow 3 basic steps and then more steps within those as per the table below.

But for us to really be drawn into the story, it will pivot back and forth between what is and what could be. There really is no point of a story to start with the hero, starting their quest, defeating the villain and then going back home. That would be too predictable and too easy. The hero will have several obstacles to face, making us believe that it’s almost impossible to come back from those. Every time the hero overcomes an obstacle or defeats a villain another one comes around the corner. 

We all love it that the hero has an almost impossible task to achieve and somehow, some way it manages to survive and come back from the dead, in some cases literally.

That’s why we all love movies so much, especially the biggest blockbusters, whether Star Wars, Harry Potter, Avatar and many many more. 

Now let’s take The Hero’s Journey into your own world. If you are in business or have a role in sales or marketing, your mission is to become a better storyteller. If you know that everyone and I do mean everyone loves stories then you already know that your clients will love stories too, it's a given.

We already know that most of us do not like the adverts and yes some of them are clever little stories too. Not all of them though, next time you’re watching TV just observe and count how many are stories and how many are just ‘buy me’ messages.

Awareness is the first step and although most of us are reluctant to change to start with, when we finally decide to change we will conquer our fears. 

Practice makes perfect.

Start by writing a short story about your product or service. Place a hero as the main character in your story, how was your hero affected by the problem or the obstacle being faced, present a couple more issues on top of the first one and then present how your hero overcame all of those obstacles by using your product or service. 

Often there is no need to share the full detail of your product or service and how it solved your hero's issue, it is enough to just imply it. Leaving people wanting more is often a good thing.

Try it out, send me your draft and I will be happy to critique it.

Success with your new story!

@stayingaliveuk

ps. Saw this great TEDx talk titled the magical science of storytelling

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 3

 @stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

It is said that narrative thought creates stories that are coherent of particular experiences, temporally structured and context sensitive (Baumeister & Newman, 1994).

On a day to day basis you take in millions of bits of data and in order to make sense of it all you literally develop your own daily story with all that data. 

You are actually the biggest storyteller yourself.

This means you are already very accustomed to stories and therefore anything that comes your way in the form of a story, you will accept quite readily and weave that into your own story with its own characters, outcomes and timeframes.

Let’s take your trip to the gym. Some of you go daily, 3 times per week or just at the weekend and some of you may not have made it yet.

However, we all have a picture of what a gym looks like. Lots of exercise machines, weights etc., maybe a pool, a cafe and many other amenities.

When you think about going to the gym you almost certainly create a short story in your brain. You see yourself getting up, doing whatever you do, changing into your gym wear, travelling there and doing whatever you like doing the most and travelling back.

You may not include the travelling part, you may just see yourself doing the exercise. Just enough to get you motivated to follow through.

Everything you think about, well nearly everything, develops in the form of a story.

What have you been thinking about lately? Share your answer in the comments below.

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #digitalmarketing #storyteller

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Are LinkedIn Missing Out?

 LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

Is LinkedIn missing out on communication? Yep BIG time!

About 3 years ago LinkedIn removed their event app with the usual statement saying that 'from time to time we review our services and adjust our offer to ensure the best experience for our customers' or something like this. Commendable I think?

It was quite a useful app I thought. I used it to invite customers to my external webinars or public training events. 

Now most of us use external apps like Eventbrite. 

Also at the time I was searching for a free webinar app and to my delight Google launched Google+ Hangout. 

The web conferencing web app is amazing and works like a dream. The only problem is that today still not that many business people are on Google+. This means I have to educate them on how to use G+ and then train them on how to use G+ Hangout. Time consuming and frustrating. It ways exactly the same when Skype came out many years ago. Nobody had heard of it and didn't know how to use it. Now potentially every business person has heard of Skype and uses it.

G+ Hangout also has a messaging facility, although not that great yet.

Within the last few weeks (April 2015), Facebook launched their dedicated messenger app for the browser. It was already well established as a separate app for mobile, despite some complaints from users in the early days when it moved away from the standard Facebook page. It works and it works well and looks great inside a browser.

I'm sure I don't have to mention all the array of other messenger apps on the market. Just have a look at the graphic below, where the number represents the number of active users in millions. Facebook with messenger and WhatsApp are pretty much dominating the space.

 Graph from statista.com - April 2015

Graph from statista.com - April 2015

What happened to LinkedIn? All they've got is a very basic email service, which only in the past month (March 2015) allows you to attach a file. Fantastic! Not really, I was being sarcastic then in case you hadn't noticed!

Can you imagine how amazing it would be if you had the ability to instant message your connections? Alright, I appreciate that you'd be worried with spammy messages, but they could make it so that you have to invite people to your instant messenger list and request permission in exactly the same way as connection invites.

I guarantee you that the current younger generation when it grows up will demand such a service on LinkedIn otherwise they'll be doing it on Facebook instead. The younger generation believes that email is too slow, they don't use it. Instant responses are something they've got used to and want to experience this when they enter the world of work.

If we were able to instant message than surely the obvious extension of that would be video conference calls. The need for group web conferencing, being able to share and discuss in real-time all around the world and carry out training is absolutely essential nowadays.

It just leaves the facility for events. Like Google+ the event facility would give you the option to schedule online meetings with connections or audio/video conference calls. 

How cool would that be? This is one massive way to get more eyeballs on your site Jeff Weiner

Conclusion: LinkedIn is definitely missing out on the massive explosion of messaging and web meetings.

I look forward to the day when this will change, really looking forward to it!

@stayingaliveuk

Have You Got Content Sorted?

Social Selling experts say that one of the pillars of Social Selling is our ability to demonstrate that we are experts in our industry/sector and thought leaders in our own businesses. One way to show these attributes is to share insights.

Firstly what is meant with insights? Relevant content. Content our buyers are interested in reading and hopefully they'll remember you all the more for sharing it.

The trouble is where do you find those insights/relevant content?

Well, I'm here to share with you that I've pretty much got this part completely sorted. Well in my own mind I have, because I've spent hours refining this and in the process discovering that app developers haven’t made it that easy for us, as of course they aren’t active users of their own apps so there’s no joined-up thinking. 

Until finally the day that joined-up thinking occurred and I'm soooo delighted that those wonderful app developers out there have just made my life even more productive, even though they don’t even know it.

There are just two apps involved and in combination they are my winning formula and very easy to master. If you master this, you will be able to share relevant insights quickly, regularly and easily, with the minimal investment of time and effort.

The first one is Flipboard. Flipboard is an awesome article and news aggregator. And with its magazine style format, it's a dream to browse and flip through the articles. But there are some key things to do, to complete the perfect setup.

  1. Connect all your social accounts in order to get the newsfeed from each of them flowing in your Flipboard. A tile represents a social stream or your selected stream inside Flipboard. Think of it as your individual social magazine.
  2. Do you have twitter lists? Create a separate tile for those.
  3. Have a favourite hashtag? Create a separate tile for as many as you like.
  4. Do you follow key news accounts on Twitter? Like LinkedIn’s Pulse? Add another tile for them.
  5. Create a tile for blogs you follow easy. Get the RSS feed and search for it inside Flipboard and create a separate tile for as many as you wish.
  6. You can create literally dozens of tiles.
  7. Complete the set-up in Flipboard.

The second one is Buffer. Buffer is the best social media sharing/scheduling app on the planet, really it is. Forget Hootsuite.

  1. Download Buffer, free account up to 10 future posts. Paid account $10 per month up to 200 future posts. Go for the paid account, I did.
  2. Connect all your accounts in there too.
  3. Buffer will give you a free email address so you can literally email anything to your schedule (Buffer)
  4. Once you have Buffer installed, I suggest that you learn how to use it properly.

Now with both apps installed and working, you can literally share any article from your Flipboard direct to your Buffer.

Click on the square and arrow icon bottom right, to reveal ‘More Options’ for sharing from your iPhone or iPad. Click on the 3 dots to show more sharing apps and the Buffer logo will be visible. Just select it, be ready to insert a title or message, select the accounts you are sharing to and press ‘Buffer’.

I know it sounds easy and my journey to achieve this has meant that I spent a few hours to learn how Buffer worked and how Flipboard operated.

If you want to have a super-easy, fast, time efficient way of sharing content, this is by far the best route.

I wish you success and let me know when you have mastered it.

Sorry this article is only for iPhone/iPad users.

Does Business Networking Deliver Sales?

I am a small business (SOHO = single office home office) and I know how lonely it can be at times to work on your own. Therefore for years I've enjoyed going to business networking events. Interaction with humans and talking about what you do, makes you feel worthy and loved.

But actually it's a feeling that doesn't last very long at all. Almost immediately when you leave the networking event, you start thinking about what you've achieved. Usually nothing at all. Of course you've met some nice people, had a nice breakfast or lunch and exchanged some business cards.

So you have a few more extra business cards, which most of us do nothing with and even if someone showed some interest in your work you are unlikely to get a follow up email or call, from them. Why? Because they are their selling themselves and if you haven't bought from them, they are unlikely to want to go after you and buy from you.

Of course there are exceptions, but in the main, everyone is at the meeting trying to find business and an opportunity for an introduction at least.

Don't get me wrong I have had business through these events but my thinking is changing. I've been trying a different approach. So please read on...

You actually have no idea who will be showing up at a networking event and even if you did, they're probably the wrong people for your industry. Thinking that if you show up at regular events and people get to know you, it will eventually deliver business is a myth as well.

Then there are the BNI clubs or referral type clubs, where you are encouraged to find referrals for your club members. These only work for certain types of professions and it often ends up being very internal to the club where members are obliged to give business to their members in order to show that they are contributing. Actually excellent for people starting up in business, but no good for those who have all their business services covered. Plus it's expensive.

These clubs not only have high costs per year and weekly breakfast costs, over time they do not deliver ROI.

And yes there are exceptions, I know, but times are changing.

You can now find your leads through careful and considered searching on the web. And of course searching doesn't deliver sales either, but now there's LinkedIn.

With 500+ million globally and 23+ million in the UK, LinkedIn is the only and best business professional network. Here you can connect to your prospects and develop relationships like you've never been able to at any time in your business career. (I'm a baby boomer so I've been around for a while).

Now it's not easy and it's not that hard either, you just need to train yourself to be disciplined and laser focussed.

Sales is a process and not a game of luck. You have to work through the process with discipline and resolve and ensure that you don't give up on your efforts, even if they aren't delivering results to begin with. After all you've been going to networking events with no sales results for years and have kept going!

By the way I’m not advocating that you shouldn't go to any events, one or two per month will be fine. But some small businesses spend hours upon hours going to networking events. Have you ever worked out the costs? Lets do an example and I know it won't be right for everyone but maybe you can do your own calculation based on the following blueprint.

  1. Cost of event, lets say £20 (non-membership events)
  2. Cost of travel to and from, lets say £10
  3. Parking is free sometimes, I know, but City Centre events maybe £5
  4. Time taken to travel on average lets say 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes
  5. Time at event on average 2 hours
  6. Lost productivity time, stopping and starting project work 30 minutes
  1. Total monetary costs £35
  2. Total approx 3 hours @ a modest £40 per hour lost time = £120
  3. Total costs £155
  4. Across the month for just 2 events £310
  5. Total cost per year £3,720
  6. Add to that any club memberships if you have any or do the calculation for that instead

Actually I've been very conservative in my estimation and I believe the figure is closer to £5000 per year on average, because we add new events now and again and waste more time in the process too.

Feel free to use the link below to the calculator to work out your own costings.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Vt77AtGNYkwszXqYMER28KDHB3Uh8Kpv_QkpMEKJ-oc/edit?usp=sharing

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 13.03.57.png

I would like to get an accurate figure for this so I am doing a quick survey and will appreciate your contribution. Complete the survey via http://styin.me/networkingresearch2 or scroll the form below to complete it here.

Time to take on a different approach. My new approach!

  1. Use LinkedIn to grow your network and this doesn't mean connecting to strangers but it does mean uploading your current address book. On average you know at least 200 people and in some cases even loads more!
  2. They also know at least 200 people, so in one action your network already will be 40,000 people. Many more than you will ever meet in your lifetime of going to networking events.
  3. Do you think there might just be at least one person in that network, who you would be interested in connecting to? The great thing is that your connections already know that person, so asking for an introduction will be an easy thing to do right?
  4. Remember that it's not your connections that you are necessarily interested in, it's their connections where the money is.
  5. And we haven't even explored a myriad of other strategies you can adopt on LinkedIn to get closer to that ideal connection.

Now just making the connection isn't enough is it?

Most people that have connected to me, never follow up with me and I used to be one of those too. But not anymore. Firstly I always acknowledge a connection and secondly, I ask that new connection to have a Skype video call with me so that I get to know their business better. You may think, oh dear that's very impersonal! But actually it's not, having a video call is actually more personal compared to a face to face meeting and some people shy away from this method I know.

You see, in a public place there are more distractions so you don't have to listen to everything the individual says but on a Skype call you have to listen to every word and believe it or not you remember more about the person and get a better insight to what they do and what they are looking for.

Now remember that you are wishing to learn more about them and indeed you do want to help them find new business. Only when you come from a place of wishing to help does this work. If you are only there to sell, this will not work and people will see straight through it.

The response I've had from people has been wonderful, they've enjoyed the video call and are delighted too that they've not had to travel, get up at the crack of dawn, pay for fuel, parking, breakfast or lunch and not wasted 3 hours of their time in the process.

We have a much closer and better relationship from where we can build.

But of course that's not where the work stops. You have to keep in touch with each other, look out for each other and recommend each other.

To start with you can endorse their skills on LinkedIn, which will enhance their own profile and they will more than likely return the favour too. Writing recommendations can come later when you or they have done a piece of work.

Social selling has never been easier and by taking the time to strategically find your connections and develop them intelligently, you will transform your business. And just because your business may be successful with current busy customers, you have to keep topping up with more prospects, even if you don't need those customers at the moment.

I hope this will give you some food for thought and for more tips and advice, follow me on twitter @stayingaliveuk or follow my tips via hashtag #LinkedLectures.

Success with your LinkedIn Networking.

Are You Wasting Your Time on Social Media?

More than likely you are. Be honest with yourself, how much time are you now spending on social media compared to say 2 years ago? It's addictive right? Don't worry I am not judging you, and it's not your fault. All the social networks know that we as humans are curious by nature and very very interested in other people's lives. Yes you are, whether you wish to admit it or not. It's not an issue, really it's not. And...you just need to be aware of it.

The Power of Social Media.009

Peer pressure exists too, how many times have you heard someone say, you're not on twitter really?? Or...well I use Facebook to spy on my kids that's all I use it for. Liar!!

The majority of 16 - 24 year olds will be massively engaged with social media. Wind forward 10 - 15 years, what will the world look like?

OK so you're a baby boomer and don't think much of this social media lark and will not get drawn into to it. Wrong!

flickr | meijergardens

You are already part of it whether you like it or not. Whatever you say or do in business or in your private life, people (and family) around you may be tweeting, facebooking, linkedinning you (for real Michael??).

Yep, before you speak and if you don't wish to be quoted, tell your gathering that they haven't got permission to share what you say via their social media channels.

So whether you're part of it or not, resisting or engaging, annoyed or happy, you do have to get your time spent on it back in check. Become more targeted and laser focussed on what you wish to achieve. Random doesn't work any longer and you'll get found out. Just this morning I saw someone on LinkedIn (no names) who had posted 18 articles from their website in a matter of 2 hours. Wondering who's in charge of their marketing efforts?

I've been studying social media for 5 years now and after several years of intermittent study with the thought leaders in the USA, I've recognised where this is going. No I'm not unique in my thinking.

Firstly social media is no longer a new phenomena it's now part of the marketing mix, except that it should in most organisations expand into customer service, sales and the executive floor as well.

flickr | smi23le

Social media has expanded into social learning, social selling, social marketing. But in a few years the word social will start to disappear. You will be left with the originals, learning, selling and marketing.

The only difference will be that the major platforms that support these activities will become synonymous with them.

For example LinkedIn will be known exclusively for selling. Indeed what was once a recruiters website with employees CV’s is becoming THE most powerful lead generation platform in the world.

FB will become the product marketing platform in the world. Just imagine all those people on FB that could be watching your product advert on their 4G mobile.

FB has enabled message voice recording already and its just a matter of time that they will introduce video message recording technology. Your written messages will be video email instead. We are already tired of reading, but will we be happy to watch a short video?

Camera shy?? You'll get over it!

flickr | Rego - d4u.hu

I was involved with video email even before YouTube, the only problem was that most people were on dial-up then (2005). Now with 4G becoming standard and super fast fibre broadband, it will open possibilities we've not even imagined yet.

flickr | Gavin St. Ours

Video cameras in your smart phone or tablet are common now, but you've heard about google glasses right?

So just imagine a world where your glasses are connected to your smart phone and whatever the camera (in your glasses) sees it can find on your smart phone, of course no need to tap on your phone, you just do it via speech if at all. The mind boggles!

flickr | Stuck in Customs

I'd love to hear your views, good, bad or indifferent about social media, technology and where this is taking us. I'm excited, are you?

Success!

Do You Follow The Crowd?

If you are in business or working for a business, you are more than likely examining the results for 2012 and wondering what 2013 will bring. Reinvention? Examining the offer? Going in a new direction? Looking for new partners, sales channels, sales people?

These may all be questions that are being asked at the moment and maybe your business coach or business consultancy is asking you to think about those too?

Last question, why do we do this now when we have crossed this magical December 31st into a new year?

Shouldn't we be examining these questions each and every month? Maybe some of you do, but...

There's something in our human nature that causes us to be creatures of habit and we have a habit of following the crowd and when the world at large is doing it as well.

flickr | nationaalarchief

David Bowie decided to not follow the crowd. On the 8th January he released a new single and announced a new album, after a decade in the dark. OK so what is special about that? Well nobody in the music industry or press knew about the fact that he was recording, and they had no idea that the single was being released until it was done on the 8th January. So it made the national and international news instantly.

designspiration.net

Why follow the crowd? We do it most of the time and research confirms that we are hard-wired to follow the pack.

Gregory Berns [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Berns ] is an American neuroeconomist, neuroscientist, professor of psychiatry, psychologist and writer. He did some experiments with the ABC network in the US and below is a summary of one of the social experiments that he researched.

They invited a group of strangers to Jean George's Asian restaurant in lower Manhattan for a fabulous dinner -- and a surprise.

Party planner Colin Cowie and his friend, Donna D'Cruz, were in on the experiment. Their role was to exhibit outlandish behaviour most people wouldn't dream of while out at dinner with a group of strangers.

Cowie and D'Cruz licked their fingers, a dinner table no-no. Cowie picked his teeth. The guests initially seemed not to take the bait -- until dessert rolled around.

D'Cruz told everyone they should pick up pieces of mango face first, using their mouth. Eventually, people who were total strangers at the beginning of the evening were passing fruit back and forth, mouth to mouth.

Only Harold and Maria, a Canadian couple, passed on the gustatory familiarity. Finally, Harold was the only one who dared to ask, what is the point of the dinner?

Cowie explained the experiment to the group. "I think because we broke the rules, and we made things possible at the table, several of you followed suit with it."

One woman at the table said: "I think the majority of people will look to see what others are doing and follow their example."

Conforming Can Have Dangerous Consequences

This test is an example of our human need to conform. In fact, Berns' experiment is a variation of one done many years ago by another scientist trying to decipher an extremely vicious instance of conformity -- why so many Germans followed Adolf Hitler down the path to death and destruction. Berns says there are two ways to explain conformist behaviour.

"One is that they know what their eyes are telling them, and yet they choose to ignore it, and go along with the group to belong to the group," he said.

The second explanation is that hearing other opinions -- even if they are wrong -- can actually change what we see, distorting our own perceptions.

Berns wanted to see what was happening in the brain during his experiment. Using an fMRI, Berns found that, during the moment of decision, his subjects' brains lit up not in the area where thinking takes place, but in the back of the brain, where vision is interpreted.

Essentially, their brains were scrambling messages -- people actually believed what others told them they were seeing, not what they saw with their own eyes.

flickr | library_of_congress

"What that suggests is that, what people tell you -- if enough people are telling you -- can actually get mixed in with what your own eyes are telling you," Berns said.

And for those who went against the group, there was another intriguing result: Their brains lit up in a place called the amygdala, which Berns calls "the fear centre of the brain."

"And what we are seeing here, we think, is the fear of standing alone," Berns said.

So why do people follow the pack no matter how ridiculous it seems? Perhaps it's not so much about good and evil, right and wrong, smart or stupid. It might be, as Berns' experiment suggests, that our brains get confused between what it sees and what others tell us.

Just knowing that might help us guard against it.

What product or service are you planning or considering that can be kept a secret until you are ready to launch it to your prospects and customers?

Keep your powder dry, have less fear about rejection and more resolve about success.

Stop following the crowd and be DIFFERENT in all areas of your business.

Success!

Are You Killing the Sale?

Guest blog by John Rees, sales and marketing consultant, mentor and creator of the Holistic Sale model of business development. You’ve read the book, seen the video and maybe even have the T-shirt so you know how the story goes … “This is Sales 2.0. and we will build momentum by using Social Media, Sales Automation and CRM to reduce the cost of sale and improve sales productivity.” This sounds great in theory and some businesses think the technology can and should take over. I don’t.

This approach may work well when selling to consumers, but selling in the business (or B2B) space is different, because trust and credibility are even more important. The strength of a story and the way you tell it, plus an ability to build a relationship can best be achieved by direct human contact. This can, of course use technology called a telephone or a video conference call. Face to face is not always possible, but it is still the best way to connect with others.

We all know that automation is excellent at making mundane tasks more efficient, but some businesses have taken this to extremes. They have lost that human touch. And it’s getting more complicated as Sales Automation and CRM systems connect with Social Media platforms to build automatic sales engagement models. Maybe the aspiration is to do business without having to make a sales call, give a presentation or even shake someone’s hand!

Many businesses use systems to ‘process’ potential buyers. They send predetermined emails at certain stages based on the actions people take. They only actually make contact with those who jump over enough hurdles at the right time to warrant a call from a human being.

The real danger in all this is that while you wait for the buyer to reach a certain stage of ‘sales readiness’ the opportunity may have passed. Either they are fed up with receiving obviously system generated emails, or a competitor beats you to the punch and has already engaged them in conversation.

Evidence shows that this automated approach is becoming less effective. According to recent findings, trust in online content including blogs and tweets is plummeting fast. Marketing-speak is widely used and most platforms have now become bloated advertising channels. It’s easier than ever to build a following of thousands on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but what does this prove? Is this an endorsement of the quality of your brand, or evidence that you know how to use Social Media to maximise your exposure?

I’m not a Luddite though because I’ve spent all my working life in the technology space, so I know how it helps people become more efficient. The problem arises when it’s used as a replacement for human interaction and this is happening more and more.

During my career, I’ve used various sales processes that were far too complicated and convoluted. The emphasis was on ‘strategic selling’ by building power maps, identifying buying personas and preference grids and looking for blind spots and red flags. Many processes have now been automated and systems tell salespeople when they should actually call someone. It sounds crazy and it would be funny if it wasn’t true.

I’m not saying you don’t need a sales strategy because you do, but it should be as simple as possible. While some businesses spend far too much time strategising and waiting for the system to tell them the time is right, others are seizing the initiative and actually talking with people.

Let’s be very clear here, the ability to build trust, inspire confidence and develop deep and meaningful relationships can never be achieved by a sales process or a piece of software. People will always make the difference.

Social Media and automation definitely does have a place in business because it enables us to connect with many people at the same time. It’s excellent at building a profile and sharing ideas, but don’t rely on it as your primary means of sales communication. Don’t allow it to dictate how and when you engage with people. Use it to share your big ideas and attract attention and when someone shows interest, call them and start a conversation. That’s where you make a connection and that’s where the selling starts.

John Rees is a sales and marketing consultant and mentor, who specialises in helping businesses who either want to bring a new idea to market or build momentum with an existing one. 

During his career he had sales and marketing roles in the Information Technology sector across Europe, India and North America. He worked with global technology leaders and start-ups who defined new market sectors.

He sold mainframes and minicomputers and witnessed the explosion of new markets created by the development of software application packages.

During recent years he worked with fast growth companies, start-ups and spin-outs and established businesses in many industry sectors. He learned a lot about how to succeed in business, and that’s why he created the Holistic Sale model of business development. This defines world-class ideas that can be used to simplify processes, create a compelling sales story, build a vibrant network of sales opportunities and improve sales performance.