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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 Link Between Laughter and Tears

“Humor and pain, like comedy and tragedy, have subtle similarities. At the basic level, they are essentially the same. A person who has suffered great pain and tragedy in life also has the ability to transcend it and convert it into comedy. If you look at the history of those who have made the world laugh, you will note that they did, indeed, suffer great sorrow and pain before discovering laughter. Shakespeare created immortal masterpieces of literature but lived a personal life wrought with longing and loneliness. His every work is a constant dance between the tragic and the comic. The legendary Doctor Patch Adams, who proved to the world that, indeed, laughter is the best medicine, lived a life of hardship and struggle. His patients loved his humor because they knew that behind the façade, he understood and deeply shared their pain.

InSights on InSights

InSights on InSights

A few years ago, NBC held a prime time talent contest called Last Comic Standing, where Dat Phan, a young Vietnamese-American became the champion and attained instant stardom. Today, he lives his dream of making a living while making others laugh. As a kid, he and his mother lived on the streets of San Diego and slept on bus stop benches. Growing up, he worked as a waiter, a busboy, and a doorman at a casino and a comedy club. Phan is not hampered by his past experiences. His hardships have become an integral part of his humor, as has his upbringing in a poor cross-cultural family. “I do whatever it takes to do stand-up,” Phan said in an interview. “There is an abundance of material in struggling and poverty and trying to make it. There is so much humor in that, it’s unlimited. You have to be able to see it. You have to be very creative. In the beginning, I didn’t do real well, I bombed dozens of times. Something sick inside told me to keep on trying because I had nothing to lose. I kept exposing myself to different audiences. I kept bombing and failing and being disappointed until I got just one laugh. And that laugh gave me encouragement to continue and pursue a career and a skill that makes others happy. The pain of my past has been my driving force and I believe that no matter how hopeless it seems there is always something to look forward to. In life, you can get to the next level if you’re willing to give up everything and give everything you have in your heart to make it!” says Dat Phan.

Kahlil Gibran rightly said: “The selfsame source from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.” Very often when we are laughing uncontrollably, we find tears streaming down our faces. And, quite as often, after we’ve expressed our pain through crying, we find ourselves laughing joyfully. Both laughing and crying provide cathartic cleansing. Our facial expressions also mirror this kinship. That’s why, at times, it’s hard to determine if one is crying or laughing. Somewhere in the depths of our souls and somewhere in the recesses of our limbic brains, laughing and crying are separated by a very thin line, just as comedy and tragedy are.”

When speakers, trainers and other facilitators play hopscotch over this fine line that divides comedy and tragedy using personal anecdotes and situational humor they create rapid rapport with their audiences and transfer new learning deeply and powerfully.

To make being funny a part of your skill sets, come look me up in April in Singapore, I am running a one-day workshop where you will not just know the science behind humor but you master a few techniques to consistently employ humor in most all of your interactions.

 

 

 

Power of the Pause

TIME AND MONEY!

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There are in the world only two currencies-time and money. Discussions and forums, worldwide, about money happen in abundance but there are very few discussions about “Time Literacy” and the intelligent and optimum usage of time.

Time and Money

Yes, surely, from an extreme philosophical perspective there is no such thing as time and it is an abstract, a “construct” of society. But here on earth and in the marketplace of life for achieving measurable, tangible successes time, always, is money.

And, just like money it must be earned, saved and employed for personal and organizational growth and development. Unfortunately, like money, it cannot be accumulated and re-used as an investment. Through the banks of time we only pass once and this once must be used intelligently and wisely.

Now there are hundreds of opinions on how to use time wisely and productively. The top seven best practices being:

  1. Plan The Day!

Have a plan per day, per annum, etc.,

Just like if you were to invest a million dollars into a project, you’d need a budget and a forecast of how that money will be utilized.

Plan and budget a given unit of time. It can be a day, a year or even a life-time.

In my personal point of view, it should be a life-time.

  1. Set Time Bound Goals.

Get crystal like clarity on what exactly needs to be achieved and focus and work at one project, one task at a time. The idea of multi-tasking has been debunked a hundred times in recent months. Clarity and focus gives you speed, momentum and success.

  1. Optimize Technology.

Don’t do by hand, what can be done by a machine unless of course the quality requirements call for organic and low-tech processes. Also do make sure that you don’t drown yourself into technology such that the machine becomes your master. Yes, put that smart phone down if you are picking it up just for the heck of it. Yes, put it down a hundred times a day, its dope, not technology.  As and when you do pick it use it like you’d use a razor_to get a job done.

  1. Eat the Frog!

Eat the frog, says Brian Tracy. If you keep putting aside a job, habitually, because it is hard, dirty, difficult to do or it calls for you to have a paradigm shift but your meta-intelligence and mind says it must be done because it will give a great leverage in the future then, by golly, do it.

Putting up and managing a personal website for me was a yucky, slimy, ugly-eyed frog. One day I put my foot down and swallowed the amphibian in one sitting.

  1. Just Say No!

Ayn Rand said there is a virtue in selfishness. And, yes I absolutely agree with her. Selfishness that is not mean, deceiving, greedy but selfishness that looks after me and the limited, finite amount of the treasure called time.

Take a class in healthy assertiveness and don’t commit yourself to things you cannot do, don’t want to do and do not fit into the big picture of your life, work and higher purpose. Say no to a couple of beers if you’d set that time aside for a jog. Go, jog first!

  1. For Heaven’s Sake, Delegate!

Here’s where you swap money for time. Here is where your accumulated money may buy you someone else’s time_psuedo-time.

And, here is the most important lesson that I wanted to share with you when I typed in the title of this article.

I repeat, there are only two currencies life and they are time and money. The quantity of time is finite but the quality of it can be worth billions if you learn to use it right. The quantity of money circulating in the world in all its forms is still limited and its value is directly proportional to how you use your time.

A wise old man once told me, “Raju, when you are young you chase money and when you age you chase time. Instead if you chose to mind and manage time better when you were young you’d ‘automagically’ be wealthy when you grow old.

Since that advise, I have been living out these seven tips that I, today, share with you. Hope you like them. They are inspired from the contents of my book, the HeART of the CLOSE.

  1. Fret Not Over Failure

Finally, should you fail at budgeting your time, setting the right goals, optimizing resources and making great choices in life then realize and recognize this that your idea of success is subjective. In your failure lays the wisdom to succeed at your next attempt.

Fretting over failure is like gunking up and, unconsciously, corroding the time that still lies is in your bank and stays available to you. There, that is the seventh tip_fretting is a gross waste of time. One needs to consistently get up and get going because lady time, she awaits you to live out your life’s purpose.

 

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

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

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

Five Ideas to Improve Meeting Productivity

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The whole world is constantly participating in meetings. “Let’s have a meeting,” “I am in a meeting,” “Call you right back after the meeting,”

Five Ideas to Improve Meeting Productivity

They are statements you hear all the time. Sometimes, it makes me wonder if most everyone I know is so often in one meeting or another who then, in heaven’s name, is minding the, proverbial, store? Who is building the bridges and who is baking all the bread in the world?

The truth is that a lot of time, across the world, is being wasted in and during meetings. Should we be able to salvage all the wasted energy from the din and noise generated during meetings then we would have no energy crisis. We’d be cutting down lesser trees, digging up lesser oil and, leaving lesser carbon foot-prints on the face of this lovely planet. The air will be cleaner, the oceans will start cooling down and the birds won’t always have to fly south.

A typical meeting usually starts late and it involves catching up with others, waiting for the late-comer, listening to his excuses and a traffic-report of the city; bringing him up to speed, ordering coffee, re-reading the minutes of the last meeting, plugging the computers, logging onto the net and rushing through the true agenda so as to catch up with the next meeting at another venue…ad nauseam.

If this is even partially true for you then here are five quick ideas to bash up the beast of bad meetings. Five ideas is a good number because it represents the number of sensory inputs and outputs and research in the field of neurosciences has shown that the conscious mind can only juggle and manage seven plus minus two chunks of information at a given moment.

Idea One: Email everyone, a substantial time before the meeting, a five-point agenda that is more illustrative than narrative. Use sketches, diagram and flowcharts because pictures are easier to remember than words. Assign expectations and tasks for every individual. Keep it simple and to the point.

Idea Two: During the meeting issue a little more detailed version of the same illustration to everyone with their roles and tasks color segregated. Allow space for that individual to make and takes notes. Look up Edward De Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ and use the science behind Five of those hats. Throw out one of the hats or use it as a pan to collect penalties from the late-comers and hecklers in meetings.

Idea Three: Choose one big, hairy goal for the meeting and less than three minor goals to be achieved as outcomes of the meeting. Hang a large sign of the big, hairy goal where everyone can see it before and during the meeting. The large visual aids focus, and like bees to honey, such that everyone will keep directing their conversations to the big, hairy goal. The minor ones will easily fall in place just like dominoes do. You have heard this, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Idea Four: Allow a few minutes before the meeting ends to stamp “Done!”on the big, hairy goal sign and the small illustrative notices that you sent out. Capture the outcomes of the meeting in an illustrative format and sketch out the measures and the next, big hairy goal for the next meeting. Oops, scratch out the last sentence! Your every meeting should be good enough for you and your team never to meet again.

Idea Five: All research, option generation, plans, milestones, measures are elements of cerebral thinking but true choices are made from the depths of our hearts. Treat each other with respect, kindness and empathy so as to nurture their emotional sides and also allow deeper experience and wisdom to evolve. Sure, shoot down the late-comers and the hecklers too!

Practice these five ideas if you like or chuck them out the window. It is best to just roll up your sleeves and bake that bread, build those bridges or chill by the beach instead of participating in meaningless, chaotic meetings.

Here’s hoping your meetings are always lean, mean and the rest of the year be happy, healthy and and very productive for you and your teams!

Raju Mandhyan
www.mandhyan.com
Unleashing Comunication Excellence!

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

Stories as Strategies for Selling and Marketing:the HeART of STORY

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Ever since the first salesperson stood up on a soapbox and plugged away the scripted benefits of a heal-all, cure-all and save-all snake oil, people have become wary of commercials. They are tired of producers and salespersons pushing new products with added features in their faces. Commercials have not just invaded our homes through magazine, radio, and TV ads; they have also appeared on our dinner place-mats, sports arenas, and our hand-held devices and phones.  A former actor-comedian John Cleese, now a professor of creativity and marketing, claims marketing professionals are aware that 70-80% of their commercials and advertisements have no direct impact on sales. Yet, according to him, marketing and advertising professionals continue plaguing the world with commercials for the sake of keeping their industry alive.

Connect, Engage and Influence your World Creatively!

The same is true about other forms of direct selling, whether to individual customers or large businesses.  Salespeople keep on making linear, unidirectional, hackneyed presentations about how useful, and beneficial their products are without being concerned if all the noise they make with their flyer distributions, PowerPoint presentations, and product demonstrations make any impact at all. The truth is buyers do not buy when they are told to or sold to. They buy when their minds, memories, and emotions do a pivot upon hearing a story. It is a story that reaches out and touches them, and it is that story that engages them and turns their hearts around.

A very simple example might be that of a salesperson talking about how good the location, the construction, the price, and the potential appreciation of a piece of property is.  The same salesperson becomes amazingly more effective when he explains how the former owner, Mrs. Anderson, personally supervised the construction of the place. He can follow with another story about how the present price–much lower than the current market value– helped Mr. Smith sell his property down the street with a whopping 25% gain within a year of having purchased it.

The whole tenet of wrapping real, valuable truth in the colorful images of a story promotes the truth easily and happily.  The stories, of course, must be relevantly parallel and put across a simple, honest truth—buying the product makes good sense.

So, next time on site visit to one of your properties:

  1. Dig through the history of the property and the people that used to live there.
  2. Who were they? What was their life like? What experiences did they have in that house?
  3. Chose the happy, productive and life-changing events that occurred in that house.
  4. Tell those stories to the new, potential owners.
  5. Back up the story with the numbers and paint a picture of a happy future they can have in that home.

For more such ideas and insights to hone up your influencing skills take up storytelling as a hobby and a practice.

Here’s the book Amazon: the HeART of STORY 

 

 

 

Warm, Cold Calling

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A week before last Christmas I was in the middle of a training session in Mumbai, India when my silent phone lit up with an incoming call. During the break I noted that it was from an unknown number from the Philippines. Instead of asking an impolite “Who is this please?” I sent an SMS saying, “I am in the middle of a meeting-how can I help?”

“You can help me buy a cocktail dress,” came back a prompt reply. This time, since I didn’t recognize the incoming number I responded with an impolite, “Who is this please?” “Pamela,” came back a quick response. Thinking this was someone from my family or friends, I responded with, “Right. Ha ha ha, and a Ho ho ho to you too!”

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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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Intention and Action in Sales

I am a big believer in the power of intention. Of course, believing in the power of intention does not, for me, cross out my faith in the power of action and my trust in taking action. Intention is the non-tangible seed and action is that aspect of all successes that is visible and measurable. Thus, without the right intention, your actions can be insipid and your outcomes can amount to zilch. Nada. Nothing!

In sales and selling when approaching new clients, analyzing their needs and presenting them with options or, even, solutions your true and authentic intentions will have a direct correlation to all outcomes and to the closing of the sale.

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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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