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What makes a good story?

My wife, son & I are big fans of Mr.Harold Finch, Mr.John Reese, Ms.Root, Ms.Shaw & Mr.Fusco.

These people save people who are in danger by risking their own lives. They are selfless, true patriots, good at heart, efficient & fast. We will not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

We finished watching the last episode of the last season of #PersonOfInterest on Prime yesterday.

That’s, only the second time so far. With Covid-19 still restricting our social lives, that’s not a surprise.

We love the series. Yet, we are unhappy with certain parts of the story. We wanted the team of protagonists to win all the time. I hope #JonathanNolan takes note of this. 🙂

Here’s the snapshot of the #Story:

Harold builds “The Machine”, an AI that gets its feed from the Gov data, public cameras et al. It watches people, sees violent acts of terror, identifies the danger to people & then segregates those numbers [social security] into relevant & irrelevant [b’cos gov considers them so], sends relevant numbers to the Gov & irrelevant numbers to Harold’s team, who then get into the act of saving them.

The storytelling in this TV series keeps you on the edge of your seat & is definitely worth emulating in our marketing stories, to capture our customers’ attention.

Dissecting it further, I think, the framework for a story is:

  1. You need a purpose. [borrowed that term from Harold].
  2. You need problems to solve.
  3. You should become God. Ok, you become a saviour of sorts.
  4. But let them be the hero of your story. Or identify themselves with the hero.
  5. Show proof, maybe case studies.
  6. Be honest. Let truth be told. Flaws can remain. We are just humans after all.

Happy Storytelling!!

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #sales #marketing #business

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Cold call by an Edu Tech Co.,

I received a call from an education technology company recently. The lady who called said that she is calling from an xyz company. She then went on to say that we had made an inquiry regarding their coding classes. I said “we didn’t”. She insisted we did and asked me to check.

I patiently told her that we had enrolled our son into one of their programs at our apartment few years ago. Told her we didn’t like it after one or two classes and hence opted out immediately and that we had a tough time getting back the money paid. It was such a bad experience. But we never made any inquiry ever after. Told her that maybe they have the name & mobile number from that campaign.

Neither did she listen to that story, nor did she feel sorry for that bad experience. Instead, she went on saying that we had made an inquiry, but that wasn’t true. I normally encourage such cold callers. But, I had to disconnect this call since she yelled at me. Yes, she did.

I am lost. To what extent will these edutech companies go to get customers?

They are doing more damage by making such calls.

My advise to them:

  1. Teach your sales people before you teach others.
  2. Listening is an art. Learn that first.
  3. Be professional.
  4. Don’t yell at customers, even if they are wrong.
  5. Try and give a good customer experience.
  6. Turn a bad experience into a good one.
  7. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to delight your customers.

#HappySelling!!

#b2c #sales #coldcall

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What makes a good speech?

My son came up to me & asked me what makes a good speech. He had just finished his elocution @ school.

My thoughts went back to my college days.

That was an Independence Day in India but we had some special classes. Our class was the only one that was present that day in college. Our Principal asked us to join the Flag Hoisting. We did. He gave a speech & asked one student & one staff member to also speak. None came forward.

Yes, you guessed it right. It was ‘yours truly’ who had the courage to go on stage, extempore. I spoke something relevant. Then I got stuck somewhere. Then somehow managed & concluded it. Later my friend told me that our I year English teacher liked it very much [since she had clapped vigorously after my talk].

In the later years, I learnt about “pauses” during speech to drive home the point. It was supposed to be effective, I learnt.

In our Sales presentations, it is extremely difficult to keep the audience interested till the end.

I learnt to:

  1. Be objective.
  2. Keep it short & to the point.
  3. Stay on course.
  4. Narrate stories.
  5. Use humour.
  6. Engage audience. Connect with them.
  7. Be human. Some errors are fine. In fact, they are actually needed.
  8. Deliver tons of value.
  9. Give a reward to the audience at the end, for listening.
  10. Ask for feedback.

I did a presentation to GM Finance of a manufacturing company on data warehousing solutions long ago. I spoke the Finance language. End of Period reporting. Shortfalls. Budgets. Year-to-date. Month-to-date. Drill down. Roll up. Collate reports from various divisions. What the top management wants to see. Dashboard. KPIs. Etc etc.

He was mighty impressed. He asked me if I had a finance background. I told him, I didn’t. He was surprised.

Speak their language. Win their hearts.

HappySelling!!

salespresentations #storytelling #publicspeaking

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Rediscovering the “Art” of Prospecting!

John Barrows & M. Jeffrey Hoffman conducted the webinar “John Barrows Goes Back to School: Rediscovering the “Art” of #Prospecting” yesterday or today [depending on where you live :)].

I enjoyed it thoroughly. What an energy & insight. Learnt about “Why you? Why you now?” technique to turn cold calls and cold emails to hot ones. How to get them to call you back?

It is important to connect with the C level but start from bottom. Bottom-up approach. That Fedex story is going to stay with me forever.

My takeaways:

1. Fake it to yourself until you actually make it.

2. Connecting with the non-buyer first to learn something that you can use when you have the live conversation with the buyer.

3. Prefer live conversations with a non-buyer over email interaction with a buyer. [more relevant now, when all of us are getting thousands of emails]

4. Look for triggers while prospecting.

5. Energy and enthusiasm are important in Sales.

6. Keep yourself busy always.

7. Do not jump on the inbound leads at once. Give it some time before you do that.

8. Do not use all that you have learnt in an MBA when you interact with the C Level.

9. Have the maturity to walk out of a deal early if there is no fit.

10. During discovery & prospecting call, disqualify more than you qualify.

#Happyselling #b2b #sales #salesprocess #changethegame

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What Problems do you Solve?

Whether you are an Individual or a Business, in 2 short sentences you need to communicate what you are doing & what problems you are solving.

Let’s take my case as an example before we deconstruct this.

“I sell CRM Software. I help companies get back their focus on customers, increase Sales and meet Quota.”

In Sales, we call this elevator pitch. In 60 seconds or less, you should be able to communicate effectively what you do, what problems you solve, why should somebody talk to you etc.

If it creates an interest, I think it has done its job. If you are able to get an appointment for a meeting, it means you have got your elevator pitch right.

How you do what you do comes later. Or for that matter, Why you do what you do etc.

Let us say, you are looking out for a change of job & you are in a networking event, I think it helps to have an elevator pitch ready.

Keep a small notebook and a pen ready with you always. Even when you are sleeping. You never know when great ideas will strike.

Even this post was created like that.

In case you are re-writing your LinkedIn profile, it really helps.

Things to ponder over:

  1. You need to have a clear, concise elevator pitch. Not more than 2-3 sentences.
  2. Let the first sentence have not more than 2-4 words. It should be memorable. Something like “I code” or “I create great customer experiences”.
  3. It should
    • Grab attention & retain it
    • Create interest
    • Make you stand out of the crowd
    • Help you build your brand
    • Make you become known for what you do.

It is not easy. We are attempting to pack 10 years of work experience or more in 2-3 sentences. Make sure to pack it with Power and Punch.

Happy Pitching!!

Happy Selling!!

#sales #elevatorpitch

sales@zignalytics.com