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Authenticity and Influence in Sales

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The other day at a business gathering someone asked me, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?” Slightly offended by the inclusion of the word decades in the question I quickly brushed it aside by saying “nothing has changed” and moved on. Late at night, I lay wondering and thinking about my experiments and experiences in selling.

At my first honorary job with my father, which was to run errands and try selling for his small school-bag making business, I’d sell nothing at every interaction. I’d walk into his customer’s shops and stand against the wall; tongue-tied praying the shop-owner would leap out from behind his glass counter and beg me to send him school bags. That never happened. I sold zilch. Dad lost hair worrying about my future as a business person.

At my second job, after making it as an engineer, I was assigned to sales. Sales in the engineering company I worked for meant filling up a large wad of papers with numbers, descriptions and a covering letter called proposals. There were templates to follow, listed prices to tally up but there was barely any people to people interaction. The wheeling, dealing and the closing was done by those big-bellied guys called bosses.

At my third job selling futures in pork-bellies, orange juice, barley, copper and gold my then ‘balikbayan’ boss Ricky Ho saw me suffer at selling and called me aside and said, “Hey Raju, recognize this, people sell for two reasons: one to get rid of something and two to make a profit. What do you want to’ do?” I owned nothing and thus nothing had to be gotten rid of, so I supposed I’d had to make a profit. After that epiphanous moment I learned to sell.  The need to survive taught me how to make cold calls, how to qualify, analyze, integrate, pitch, offer, present, solve, offset objections, sooth, meander, negotiate, upsell, cross-sell, resell, negotiate, close, re-open, serve with maximum subtlety and suaveness.

Thus, decades ago, uh-oh, there is that word decades again. Decades ago, or before the turn of the century, the “ABC” selling was, as Alec Baldwin screamed in the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, was to “Always Be Closing.” But as the previous century began to wind up entered the ‘internet of things,’ and Alibaba, and explosions of access to all avenues of humongous information. The days of just selling to get rid of something or make a profit out of something began to slowly and steadily began to be replaced by terms like relationship selling, consultative selling, solution selling, ethical sales, selling to serve, selling to solve, selling to not just create value but to co-create value. Sales and selling had merged into resolving needs and serving customer desires. No, it really had moved beyond finding solutions and serving needs. The seller and the buyer had to tear down walls of privacy and secrets between themselves. It wasn’t just one against another but both, together, towards a faster, better and a cheaper world.

Individuals and companies which did not adapt to this reset got covered in cobwebs and then in white sheets. Rest in peace names like Kodak, IBM, Mattel, Tower Records, Sears, etc.

Yet there was a certain element of truth to my response of “nothing” to the question, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?”

Yes, the sales environment has changed. Yes, the rules of the game in the marketplace are different. Yes, the tools of the trade are niftier and swifter. Yes, even the attitude has taken a turn and is still transforming for the better. What hasn’t changed is that every transaction whether it is to get rid of something, to make profit out of something or to serve a need and find mutually beneficial solutions is that all of them require trust. Trust, raw and unadulterated trust.

The oldest profession in the world requires a certain element of trust. The used car salesman, no matter how sleazy, requires to become worthy of trust. Ricky Ho my former boss, needed to earn a lot of trust to sell bellies of pork upon which all his big time investors never laid eyes upon. The guy who sells Boeing airplanes to the airlines of all nations needs to acquire trust and so does every other sales and service professional that sits behind a monitor and hacks away at a keyboard to sell unseen products to unmet customers.

The why and the how of earning trust from one to another hasn’t changed and might never change till the end of time.

The prelude into earning trust is authenticity. Here, not just the salesperson but every person and every leader needs not just have an attitude but believe and act out of a hutzpah made out of originality, honesty, openness, courage and vulnerability. A person with that kind of a hutzpah stands out because he stands up and steps in the right direction consistently. He now becomes trustworthy. To earn trust he needs to blend consistency with competence and compassion for the customer, for the stake-holders. Overtime such a leader becomes a champion at earning trust.

The obvious postlude to trust is that your people, your followers, your partners, customers gently and surely move in the right directions that you and them take together. That is influence.

In the coming decades and eons all that we see and hear as innovation, may innovate further, but the backbone of all growth and positive change in sales or any service will always be authentic influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

http://twitter.com/RajuMandhyan

The Sensitive Speaker

It doesn’t matter whether I do basic presentation skills or advanced executive presence training, one question that constantly pops us is “How do I convert my being sensitive of others into confidence in self?”

My experience and beliefs tell me being highly sensitive of others’ presence, their thoughts, and their opinion isn’t a shortcoming but an advantage.

Think of this, that while conversing, when you mind and monitor what feelings run through their minds is inside information. It is unspoken feedback and you’ve gotten access to it. Isn’t that an advantage?

Decades ago, a stern face or a disengaged audience member would scare and disrupt my chain of thoughts. And, when I’d approach them later, I’d be able to assess that most often than not there were other things on their minds and not just my performance. Soon, I began to challenge my own assumptions about their state of mind. Very soon I began to convert my being disturbed and disrupted into a turnaround in the conversation by creatively engaging the person that scared me by a quick question or by pausing and smiling at them. It was, for me, putting the NLP principle of “the map is not the reality,” principle into practice.

My thoughts and actions gave me an inside view of their state and my state changed for the better.  Not only did the technique change our state but also gave a power boost to whole performance with the larger audience in the loop. My being sensitive of others wasn’t and isn’t a disadvantage anymore but is an ace in my hand.

Being sensitive towards others isn’t a weakness.

To see, hear and feel acutely is the trademark of the alive and compassionate leader-speaker.

Raju Mandhyan

From the HeART series available at Amazon

Humata, Hukata, and Hvrashta!

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My school, the Sardar Dastur Hoshang Boys High School left major impressions in me about kindness, respect for others and personal presence.  The immortal words “Humata, Hukata” were encrypted on our school badges. It is in a language unknown to me but was kindly translated by the teachers. It means “Good Thoughts, Good Words.”

I was in my pre-teens and like most of the boys in school, I assumed it meant we must do away with foul language and vulgarity in our daily conversations and interactions. Not until I reached my 20s did I go back and ponder upon the depths, the simplicity and the precision of the philosophy embedded in those two words – Humata, Hukata.  Upon further research today, I learned that there is a third and more powerful word to complete that immortal affirmation phrase. That word is Hvrashta and the full motto is

.  Translated, it means, “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.”

Humata, Hukata,Hvrashta!

Humata, Hukata,Hvrashta!

Come to think of it, how many times in our lives do we brim with and demonstrate good intentions? No I don’t just mean the random thoughts of kindness flashing through our minds but also the love, the compassion and the desire to create filling our conscious and unconscious thoughts.  It is in our human nature to be made up of these feelings of kindness, compassion and the desire to grow and create the value.

These thoughts and feelings exist in all individuals. But how frequently does the world around us come to know about what individuals think and feel? How many times does the world read our mind and understand our hearts?  The good thoughts in our minds and hearts, or Humata, stay hidden. They lie undiscovered until they take some form of expression.

We can convert emotions and ideas into words, into pitches and presentations for the good we want to contribute to the world, for the value creation we want to bring to our markets, thus raising creativity and innovation to the next level.  Hukata -good words or empowering expressions can be seen, heard and felt. They are at a higher level more tangible than good thoughts, ideas and emotions. And yet, words and empowering expressions that claim competence, offer solutions and promise growth and innovation are rendered cheap and useless unless they can be converted into action, into something tangible which can be measured and accounted for.  Words can inspire hope and draw applause but it is real positive action, Hvrashta, that fills the stomachs of armies and builds the bridges that take us where we want to go and grow.  The pillars that measure success, growth and self-fulfilment are rooted in action.

Action and the execution of plans and goals are paramount both to improving business profitability and to achieving real results in personal development.  Action is where the rubber meets the road and where customer traction is acquired and gained.

Action is of two kinds. The first kind is action taken within the mind such as holding back our impatience, holding back our impulses and managing our anger. These internal “actions” are sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence. The other kind of action is where you roll up your sleeves, pick up the phone and call a hundred potential customers in a day. The power lies in the doing.  It is in taking this action repeatedly, day after day, that the proverbial Mountain begins to roll towards Mohammad.

Sales and the discipline of selling is a numbers game. It is about persistence and perspiration. It is about taking one rejection after another.

The ability to hold back anxiety, the fortitude to face repeated failure is laudable internal action that is sensed and felt, but it is un-measurable and not visible. Getting up and getting out of your comfort zone day after day is action that is physical, external, and visible. It is seen and felt by others. Both types of actions must be performed often and with undiminishing energy so as to grow, obtain results, and achieve massive success. This is what moves mountains and creates change.  When the mountains move, you, the salesperson, can then take a measuring tape and record your success, counting the times you walk into your bank with the fruits of success.

Taken from: the HeART of the CLOSE / Available on Amazon: http://goo.gl/OZSMj8

 

 

My upcoming public workshops:http://www.informa-mea.com/hrsummit

Advanced Selling Skills in Vietnam: http://www.hospitalmanagementasia.com/cacnhadienthuyet?page=5

Appreciative Leadership in Vietnam: http://www.vmi.edu.vn/news/pid/49/search/page/1/id/4544

InSpire Like a CEO: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/inspire.html

Appreciative Leadership: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/AL.html

Corporate Storytelling in Dubai:

 

Posts on Facebook: https://goo.gl/MXQEqU

Talks on You Tube: https://goo.gl/dVclfm

Choice Clips from the TV Show, ExPat InSights :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf3sHaZBSo

 

 

 

Beyond the Gift of Gab

I must confess that I didn’t just wake up one morning and discover that I had the ability to sell, influence people’s minds positively and thus create real value during execution and delivery of promises made.

Subtle Closing Strategies to Soar Beyond Your Sales Targets

The process from a distance seemed easy. It seemed all that you had to do was look good and talk good. In fact, I remember one of my

bosses sending me off to distant lands with a referral note to potential customers and claiming in the note that the carrier of the letter, yours truly, had the gift of the gab! It took me years, if not decades to figure out that selling and creating value was way beyond being just having a gift of the gab. Selling was and still remains way beyond looking good, listening good and speaking well.

 

Selling takes imagination, understanding, empathy, patience, open-mindedness, creativity, honesty, commitment, courage and a deep ability to lead, inspire and create value not just for yourself, but for the customer and the world at large.

After years of beating the streets, so to say, when I figured I had acquired a few of those above mentioned skills and competencies I plunged into a journey of learning the elements of fine communications, human behavior and the dynamics of diverse businesses in the marketplace called the world.

To teach, train and coach others into these principles and practices I dove headlong into the fields of neurosciences, neuro-psychology and discovered how they were all so related and intertwined. How efforts in one area would impact and improve human performance in another area and eventually into the marketplace.

This book waited years to be born and I must confess the labor pains were severe and excruciating. Now, as I lay my eyes on this finished product I feel like bits and pieces of experience, wisdom and the hidden sciences of success that lay in my bone marrow and my heart have taken form and can serve others.

Thus, I place this, the HeART of the CLOSE on the table, on Amazon for you, the reader, to feast upon and then go put on your super sales-person cape and create value in this beautiful world.

Raju Mandhyan

May 2016, Philippines.

 

 

 

My upcoming public workshops:

InSpire Like a CEO: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/inspire.html

Appreciative Leadership: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/AL.html

 

My books also available on Amazon: http://goo.gl/OZSMj8

Posts on Facebook: https://goo.gl/MXQEqU

Talks on You Tube: https://goo.gl/dVclfm

Choice Clips from ExPat InSights :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf3sHaZBSo

Seven Plus Minus Two from NLP

Have you ever walked into a meeting late, because of heavy traffic en-route, and been unable to concentrate on agenda at hand right away? Does a part of you want to focus on the work while another part of you is still anxious, stressed and testy about the traffic conditions you just recovered from?

Seven Plus Minus Two Principle from NLP

Seven Plus Minus Two Principle from NLP

Or, at times, have you tried to pitch a presentation to an important customer, behind a large desk, who is signing papers, taking calls, punching his keyboard, sipping coffee while politely asking you to keep on talking. He claims he can multi-task and is listening to you but at the end of your pitch you still feel let down.

Meeting maladies similar to these can be resolved by understanding, in depth, another principle of Neuro Linguistic Programming: At any given moment, our conscious mind, can only hold and juggle with seven plus or minus two chunks of thoughts.

For example, while driving through traffic, you are intensely navigating, formulating an explanation for your tardiness, reviewing your planned presentation, pondering upon discussions or activities you may have concluded earlier, reading your messages on your phone, planning the evening, regretting not having eaten a healthy breakfast, thinking of the family, etc;  All this is hyper-mental activity. And, some of the areas that we reactively think about can be switched off to be able to calm yourself and focus on what is crucial. Just like a computer, the desktop of our mind can be faster and more efficient if it is running fewer applications at a given moment.

Your obvious question would be how do I do this? That’s correct. For yourself, you need to become conscious of the fact that you are running in a hyper mode and then zero in on your breathing and focus on it. A few minutes of paying attention to your breathing will shut down several less important issues the desktop of your mind may be juggling. If your mind wants to react, stop and go back to focusing on your breathing. In the long term practice will make you perfect.

How do you handle the customer behind the large desk, who wants you to go on talking when you know he is running in a hyper-mode and may not be giving you a hundred per cent attention? Stop speaking, slow down your presentation, deliberate on your pauses, and politely ask him to finish signing the papers or answering that email. Like: ” I see you like answering off important emails promptly?” That’ll break his trance, his pattern and he will look up and give you attention.

Ask him non-probing questions about the biggest chunk of thought he may be juggling on the desktop of his mind. Do or say anything that you feel will help him switch off some of the activities and give you better attention. A word of caution: Don’t be cheeky or obvious about it because that may embarrass him.

In summary, powerful leadership conversations are also about understanding and managing the subjective state rather than just what is on the surface. Practice these methods and you will find yourself achieving a lot more in half the time and at half the cost.

 

Find more insights like this one in my books on Amazon

Connect with me on Facebook/Raju Mandhyan

Assessing Sales Coaching Outcomes

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So we are onto the third of all the five questions raised during the 5th public run of the HeART2HeART Sales Management & Coaching workshop at the Ascott in Makati, Philippines last July, 2013.

The question was, “How does a Sales Manager know and measure the effectiveness of a coaching session he might have conducted with one of his salespersons?”

Well, here’s the hearty deal! As and when the Sales Manager is concerned and is conscientious about his own attitude and actions towards the development of his people then, automatically, his performance improves, his outcomes are better targeted and the interaction takes on a holistic and an empowering hue.

Confused? Rightly so! My fault, I jumped the gun a bit.

Assessing Sales Coaching OutcomesOf the several competencies required by a coach is her ability to be aware, to be authentic, and to have the agenda of his “coachee” on the top of his mind and to be adaptive to the growing needs of his learner. This is powerful because it is only in the development of others, only in the progress of her client and only in unleashing the potentials of her team members lays her own success. A sales manager turned coach lives and breathes to evoke the best out of others and deliver team and organizational results.

Now, how we do assess every single interaction and every little session?

One, is the salesperson/coachee hungering for growth and self-mastery every time you have an interaction with him? Ask him. Have him respond to simple questions. Listen, observe and feel. Does he trust you? Does your “coachee” walk away from a session challenged and/or empowered? Yes, both states are important—challenged and/or empowered.

Two, were most of the conversations within the coaching session targeted towards the salespersons goals and also, subtly and surely, in alignment with the sales team’s objectives. Yes, this is an essential difference between life coaching and sales coaching. There has to be a strong alignment of goals between the salespersons personal goals and the team goals.

Assessing Sales Coaching OutcomesThree, the sales manager-cum-coach also needs to keep his eye on improving corporate revenues and profits. If the coaching and learning sessions with the sales “coachee” are going well and he feels empowered and excited by his own progress but, overtime, all the activity is creating little impact on the company’s financial bottom-line then there is something amiss in the process. In this case have a another look and have another think about mutual agendas and the coaching process, keeping in mind that product/service quality, internal systems and market conditions are not derogatory to progress.

There! That’s how to assess the effectiveness of coaching your sales personnel. That’s the HeART2HeART way!

Yes, it also does help the sales manager to maintain an efficient tracking of the regular sessions and the overall performances of the sales people, the team and the overall profits.

Attend my upcoming workshop, go build your teams and grow your profits!

Also, if you wish, watch this clip about telling stories as a sales coach.

 

 

The Map & the Reality

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One of the principles I put across in most of my workshops is that it is fine to mindlessly mouth the adage that change is the only constant in the world. What we do not realize that change is not just a constant but that there are multiple realities and all that we perceive to be realities are also constantly changing. Thus, everything we perceive or “map” to be our reality is not what others perceive it to be. And, not only do these internal maps or perceptions differ but they are also, always, in a constant, frenzied flux. It’s as if all our individual minds are like frenzied snow-globes of different kinds and then we all live, work and progress inside a huge snow-globe called life.

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Five Questions on Sales Coaching

It has been an interesting day one at the 5th HeART2HeART Sales Management & Coaching workshop at the Ascott in Makati, Philippines. Though I have talked many times about the various aspects of coaching at several venues still the questions that come up from a brand new audience create brand new opportunities for deepening and broadening my understanding of the field.

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Sales Coaching, a Calling

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The real value underlying coaching others, especially your sales teams, is the fact that while you are helping, guiding and nurturing others into being their own best and unleashing personal resources for personal success, is that you as a coach, as a leader learn thrice as much. These are just three of the things that happen to YOU when you coach others:

  • Your own insights into the finer nuances of selling skills multiply exponentially.
  • You become a more cautious and a careful person and develop an uncanny ability into seeing what others need, what others say and how others express themselves.
  • You also learn to assimilate information in a dynamic and a holistic way.

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26% at 3 Hours Per Month, Per Sales Rep

The three major ingredients for expanding and increasing company wide sales are:

1.) Flawless Sales Planning
2.) Employing and Deploying Slick and Self Motivated Sales Personnel
3.) Training and Coaching everyone on the Team and beyond.

Of these three ingredients for expanding and increasing company wide sales the least understood and executed well is the discipline of coaching our sales forces.

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