On Friday I was very lucky to attend a TEDx at Woking. The sponsor and host created a great atmosphere with the simplest of exercises.
He asked you take your phone out and show a picture that means something to you, to somebody you didn’t know.
I connected with a lady in front of me who shared a picture of her Mum with Reindeer ears on her head. She said the photo made her smile as her Mum had been ill recently and it was a lovely picture to show her better and laughing. In that 2 mins it took to show me that photo I connected immediately with a stranger.
It is rare now to be invited to get your phone out in a conference situation, however how effective to use technology as a basis for starting a conversation.
Imagine with all the stories we hear about troubled teenagers, we got them to use their devices to share and explain more, we would be connecting both worlds. There is a great deal of “tell” language in schools, the word “ban” and just even saying “no” is making technology more exciting than it is.
This really simple exercise was a great icebreaker but actually went to the very heart of who we are as people.
Last night in “I’m Celebrity get me out of here” we saw the most amazing team work. They were all involved in a challenge and there was no-one who did not have a role and no-one who did not perform. Albeit very different to an office situation we can learn a lot from a group of people who come together and focus on a common goal.
The 7 hallmarks of a highly effective team give you an idea of how those random celebrities are learning to work together:-
- Shared vision – food seems to be the ultimate vision instead of focusing on winning as an individual this group seem to be motivated by enjoying decent meals together.
- Clear objectives – the trials are all about getting stars and the instructions are very clear.
- Team resources used to their best – sometimes they don’t get a choice as to who to deploy, but when they do, they think about the physicality and the enthusiasm of every member of the group.
- Open atmosphere – the camp is surrounded by cameras although in previous years we have seen whispering, the team at present seem very comfortable with sharing all their stories and some of their more intimate rituals.
- The team regularly reviews its progress – there is a lot of encouragement during a trial and a lot of commentary as to how much time you have left. They chat about their experience and review their own performance.
- The team builds on experience – the trials get more horrific but the team know which critters are worse than others and seem tougher every time from learning from the last interaction.
- The team can ride out storms – when there are no stars or a camp mate is particularly down the group rally and morale lifts them. Last night showed how they can work together with tight time constraints.
The office might not be the jungle, however how many of the hallmarks can be applied to your team. As an exercise get each team member to give a score out of 10 as to where you are currently on each of the hallmarks. Revisit the score in 90 days to see if you can come up with actions to improve the score.
For a team workshop please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Our ability to sell correlates to our revenue, and yet it is hard to sell especially when in most cases it is yourself.
We must believe in what we are selling and therefore a good starting point is to decide what result the Client will get if they buy your service. Write down 3 results they will get if they buy from you:-
- By attending a nugget workshop you will think differently about the way you work
- You will look at your team with “fresh eyes”
- Practical actions from relevant training in a shorter period of time
By focusing on results you are giving them the WIFM factor (Whats in it for me?) and you have created a strategy of being customer centric.
Work out how many people you need to see each month to convert into a sale. The ratio will be high so make sure you book as many appointments or in my case coffee and catch ups. It might be 8:1, whatever the number keep a track of your conversion rate as it will help predict your cashflow.
When you get to meet them think of the flow of the conversation:-
- Build rapport
- Questioning – understand their world – empathy
- Reflect what you have heard
- Give examples
- Tell them how you can help them…
To build rapport really get to know them and remember the things that they value (holidays, family and health) very rarely is it their job.
Think of 3 key questions to follow the rapport:-
- What sort of training have you had recently?
- Who have you worked with before?
- What outcomes were you looking for from the workshops?
Reflect back answers – using case studies “From what I hear is…we have recently worked with …”
If it is not the right fit, don’t be afraid to walk away, it is not right to sell a Rolls Royce when they were in the market for a Mini.
We can appeal at three levels:-
- Aspirational – “other companies are buying our workshops”
- Emotional – “you will feel so much better having attended”
- Fear of missing out – “we only have three places left on the workshop”
Plan your new business meetings and most importantly enjoy them so that people want to work with you.
Coaching is … a process that enables learning and development to occur by the coach asking powerful questions which leads to different thinking and ultimately different performance. The coach requires a variety of styles and skills and techniques that are appropriate for each session.
Mentoring is… helping an individual to make significant changes in their work or thinking. This can often be done remotely or face to face. Mentors look at the big picture and with no vested interest and can make bold suggestions.
Coaches can have first hand experience of the line of work or they can be a qualified coach from outside bringing new thinking in.
Mentors are normally more experienced or skilled in the field of work they are advising on.
Line Managers can use coaching techniques whereas the best mentors often have no prior relationship with the mentee.
Coaches ask powerful questions and don’t give advice, and the mentor provides direction and advice.
Mentors and coaches provide a neutral sounding board and total confidentiality, they are both invested in assisting an individual to reach their goals.
Coaching is about learning rather than “teaching” it is much more ask than tell. The insight gained by working with a coach will lead to enhanced effectiveness. Mentoring is helping individuals to develop their career by drawing on their own experiences.
Working with a coach and mentor can lead to new thinking and an enhanced performance.
If anyone tells you to do anything you want to resist. Recently some-one told me to do something and I was in a volunteering capacity and I was incredibly resistant. Asking for help and support always gets a better response.
A potential Client was explaining a team member’s response to attending a team meeting. The employee had called a colleague and said they would not bother coming back to the office to come to the weekly meeting. The Manager was obviously irritated and asked the colleague to phone them straight back and tell them they had to attend.
I asked why as the Manager they had not made the call. They could have asked
“Why do you think that your attendance at the meeting would not add value?”
The brain always has to answer a question, and questioning the value they would bring to a meeting is far harder to excuse yourself.
Ask not tell leadership style is much more empowering. Whenever a team member comes to you with a problem the best approach is to always ask them what they would do first rather than offer out a solution.
Another example is a request for holiday during a busy period, instead of an immediate no, ask how they think the company will survive with their absence. Asking is all about pushing responsibility and getting the brain to work for itself.
Telling some-one not to be late, will make the serial offender repeat their actions. Asking them what they think they can do to ensure they are on time, makes them do the thinking.
Ask not tell is more empowering to you as leader and to the recipient.
Recently found a fantastic mnemonic for sales:-
S – solve problems
A – ask lots of questions
L – listen more than you talk
E – empathise
S – share knowledge
Sadly a poor selling technique is to go straight to sharing the knowledge, particularly when talking about a service. Telling your client what it says on their website is the classic “Value snoozer”, why do I want to know something I know already.
The stage that is above the mnemonic and the most important is the rapport building. How do you make somebody feel really comfortable that they want to buy from you, as they have made you feel valued.
You initially find out the service or requirement they are looking for which is the problem and then when you reach the asking lots of questions, split them into two categories.
There are hard facts that anyone and everyone can give you but the soft facts go into identifying the personal requirement.
Working with property managers you can see the divide easily:-
- Where do you live currently?
- Where have you viewed already?
- What attracted you to the area you are currently living in?
- What did you dislike about the properties you have viewed already?
If you only collated the hard facts you would be providing them with the same properties they have already seen or rejected.
The balance of questions and listening should always be on the buyers side, remember the 80:20 principle. Ask an open question and listen empathetically for the detailed response.
Empathy is always understanding that person’s position at that moment in time, please don’t sympathise with them or make it about you.
Finally when you have collated enough data you can give a knowledgeable response about what service or product you have available.
Please do contact nuggets to explore behaviours around service email@example.com
Greggs went undercover to launch their new summer range.
To break the assumptions around their name they rebranded themselves to disassociate themselves from the “sausage roll” image. They chose an upmarket foodie festival where the audience would be connoisseurs of food.
We can learn from Greggs, how sometimes we need to break assumptions. In order to do something different we need to repackage it. They did this with the name change to Gregory and Gregory. It might be as simple as changing a bit of your look or being brave and presenting without slides. Being original and slightly different to the view people have of you might start them thinking about you differently.
Greggs conducted the exercise as they wanted people who did not shop with them, to start visiting them. Who would you like to see that you have never seen before or who would you like to view you differently.
Once people start thinking about you differently their perceptions change.
As an exercise write down all the assumptions you believe people have about you already and then challenge all of them. You might realise that some do not need breaking and others could be altered by one small action or others by radical steps.
Learn from Greggs about making assumptions…