If you’re anything like me, Christmas time not only means time to unwind, spend time with the family and drinks lots of craft beer, it also means time to catch up on some reading. While I try to read a number of business books I get recommended each year, Christmas is the time I can really put some serious effort into getting through my reading to do list.
If you’re looking for some reading inspiration for when you’re relaxing by the pool, sitting by the slopes, or trying to escape the kids, here is my list of 7 books that I think are essential sales and business reading. Books that have helped shape my thinking, and even contributed to the way that I work.
1 Why: How we do anything means everything – by Dov Seidman.
Recently I asked a group of people I was working with in an engineering firm what they think is one of the most overused sales questions of all time.
We were having a conversation about questions you can ask to unearth the other persons ‘challenges’, hopefully getting them to paint a picture of what is going on in their world, and where they might need some help.
They threw a few ideas at me, and eventually I put them all out of their misery and said that “One of the most overused questions in sales meetings is ‘what keeps you awake at night?” I then asked them “How many of you have used it recently?”. Amidst a bit of laughter, at least half the room put up their hands.
HALF the room are asking the exact same question of their clients. And you can be guaranteed that if they are asking it, at least 50% of all other sales people meeting with that same person are asking it too. Now, I don’t have any actual stats around whether this actually is one o [...]
December and January – two months in the business world that we either love or hate. We love it when clients decide that they ‘must get XYZ’ done before Christmas and inundate us with work. But we hate it when clients go on leave for a month (or two), no work needs doing, and no decisions get made.
While the first one presents its own challenges for resourcing, it’s a nice problem to have. The second one though can get business owners and managers nervous about their revenue and backlog, and how they’re going to keep their staff busy during a potentially quiet time.
Here are 4 ideas from me on how you can quickly generate some sales when you’re having a slow month:
1. Do some BD
People always complain that they don’t have enough time to do BD. Well, now they can’t make any excuses. If your team are having a slow month, set them some clear BD tasks to undertake rather than setting them to work on those long talke [...]
More importantly, have you given them good reason to?
One of the many barriers to building a great career can be your relationship with your boss, or perhaps those even higher up. Perhaps you never really get to mingle with your boss’s boss. If your boss says it’s better if they take care of this relationship, then there’s the first clue, they most likely don’t see you as a trusted partner. Because if they did they would share all their relationships with you.
So there are two important questions here: How do you know if your boss actually trusts you? What can you do to start building a trusted relationship if they don’t?
Tasks not conversations?
Insights on business, sales and trust from Ian Rourke of FB Rice – Australia and NZ’s most client-focused IP specialist for 2017
One of the most common themes I come across when I interview the various winners of the Australian Financial Review Client Choice Awards each year is the winner’s genuine inability to articulate why they think they personally were rated the number one client service provider in their industry.
Without exception, they usually point to external factors – such as working with a great team, the win being the result of a fantastic team effort, or simply being lucky enough to have clients that are easy to work with.
When I interview Ian Rourke from FB Rice, winner of the Most Client Focused IP Specialist for 2017, he is no different. For him, it’s a combination of all three, but is definitely the result of having ‘eas [...]
What is the main skill that helps people build great rapport within minutes in any given situation, and particularly in a new business meeting? What is it that the best business leaders, salespeople or even rainmakers do that enables them to get what seems like instant engagement? It goes beyond their mere physical appearance or a sharp dress sense. While clothes may give you confidence they do not “maketh the man or woman”. What they all do is have a natural curiosity, and an ability with their questions so they don’t just learn and understand more about the other person, they actually start to develop and build trust.
Think about an occasion when you have first met someone and it’s gone really well, and you’ve genuinely wanted to see them again. In short you have clicked. The chances are they asked you questions which showed they were interested in you, your thoughts, and what you do. So are these people blessed with an intrinsic magic gift of great questioning sk [...]
By Keith Dugdale
I have lived and worked in seven countries and travelled on business to maybe 25 others. One of the things that I love about the places I have lived and worked in is seeing and experiencing new cultures, mindsets and people.
The similarities encourage me, and the differences intrigue me.
What is the impact of culture on ability to change?
Often when I am helping an organisation embed a sales culture change program I’m asked about the impact of different cultures on sales approaches, and the ability of an organisation to embed change. There are clearly differences in the way people think and behave, however my view is that very few people do not want to be helped. The key is that you adapt the way you interact with them according to who they are and what they are trying to achieve.
I have, however, found over the years that I find more difference in the types of people at an individual level between different ind [...]
By Keith Dugdale
“It’s like banging my head against a brick wall.”
This is what one of my clients said to me recently, expressing her frustration at getting a group of engineers in the business to adapt their sales behaviours in order to improve their sales results. She is by nature more of a ‘stick’ person than a ‘carrot’ person, but no amount of pleading, cajoling or threats of being blacklisted to the CEO seemed to be working for this particular group.
This to me, and I am sure to many of you, was not a surprise. Rarely in my experience do I see sales behaviours change as the result of being whipped into action with a stick.
Why the stick approach rarely works
Never a better case of a stick approach not only not working, but being entirely inappropriate, are the recent claims that READ MORE
By Keith Dugdale
What’s 9 + 3?
If you have a traditional, school-based education like me, you’ve probably known the answer to this question since you were about 5, give or take a year or two depending on how ‘advanced’ you were. And as the years of your education progressed, you were expected to know the answers to lots of other questions as well – like being able to repeat your twelve times tables, understand fractions and derivatives, or know who is the fifth wife of Henry the Eighth (Catherine Howard who ended up being separated from her head, in case you were wondering).
In school we are taught that all that matters is knowing the answer. Knowing the correct answer gets us good grades, it gets us in the spotlight up on stage receiving academic awards, it gets us special treats from our parents and kind words and shiny stickers from our teachers, it gives us entrance to the University course of our choice. Then when we go to University, this cycle r [...]
By Keith Dugdale and Ben Paul
All images are sourced from the 20th PwC CEO Survey.
If you’re still on the fence about whether trust is important in business or not, the latest results from the PwC 20th CEO Survey should help to clear a few things up.
20 years ago, when the survey first started, PwC didn’t even measure CEO’s sentiments about trust in business. Trust first appeared in the 2002 survey, when a mere 12% of CEOs reported that trust in business was declining.
Fast track to 2013, after the business world has been tossed around by the Global Financial Crisis, and that number more than tripled. In 2013, 37% of CEOs stated that they were concerned about a lack of trust in business. But what is really interesting to us, is how much that number has grown in the past three years.