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I live in a world where I am required to continually raise the performance of my sales team worldwide.

Any time I come across an idea that I find successful in my own business I like to write it up as a blog post to share it others who are also focused continually on raising sales performance.

Here’s a selection of those articles…

HOW TO MAKE SMALL TALK

HOW TO MAKE SMALL TALK

Does your small talk ever let you down – do you ever struggle to keep a casual conversation going? For some people small talk and engaging in casual conversation comes absolutely normally – it’s as natural to them as breathing.  Nothing fazes them.  Is it nature or nurture, genes or upbringing – who knows? What I do know for sure is that if small talk and casual conversation doesn’t come naturally to you then, from time to time, you find yourself at a disadvantage if yours is a life in business – especially if you aspire to be either a leader or a salesperson. I’m one of those people who used to struggle with small talk.  I have never had much difficulty speaking when in front of a group, but for smaller casual conversations with strangers I used to have to work hard at it.  But not now – mainly because of a simple piece of advice from my Dad many years ago. The 3 small talk subjects everyone likes to talk about In ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, a book which has dominated the bestseller lists since 1932, Dale Carnegie said ‘Speak in terms of the other person’s interests’. My Dad’s simple advice took this idea very much to heart – he said: “If you ever get stuck for what to say next to keep a conversation flowing, son, always remember the three subjects that everyone wants to talk about – me, myself and I”.  Never a truer word spoken – when you’ve got a tough conversational nut to crack, say with someone who’s reserved, someone who’s simply not... read more
SPEAK IN PICTURES

SPEAK IN PICTURES

Charismatic speakers share a few things in common – things we can all learn from.  Here is one of the most important pieces of advice for someone aspiring to be a charismatic speaker – speak in images. Think of the most powerfully charismatic and persuasive speech you ever heard.  Got one?  Now try to think of another.  And another.  Now stop for a moment – what did these great speeches have in common that made them so memorable for you?  What made them so emotionally impactful, so charismatic, so persuasive? You’ll find that what such speeches share in common more than anything else is the use by the speaker of rich emotional imagery to convey his or her key messages. Three-part series Those speeches were memorable because they create in your mind a clear picture of the what the speaker wished to convey – whether it was Martin Luther King’s ‘I have been to the top of the mountain’, Winston Churchill’s “…we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets…” or Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries” , the use of image-rich words light up a speech and make it instantly impactful and forever memorable. Whether by instinct or conscious design the most charismatic and most memorable orators from history have always harnessed the power of images to convey their messages in a... read more
Simple Proposals Sample

Simple Proposals Sample

Here’s the ‘simple’ proposals sample discussed in “A Simple Business Proposal – Writing a ‘Letter Proposal’”. If you’ve arrived on this page without checking out that module then I’d very strongly suggest you delve into that page before continuing to read here. Take a look at the letter proposal below (Figures 1 – 4 below – to see a full size PDF version of this letter proposal simply click here or on any of the page images below).   This sample business proposal was written in letter proposal form to address precisely the same case study requirement as the larger, more elaborate, multi-section proposal we wrote in “Writing the Proposal Content”, and which is illustrated by the sample business proposals elsewhere on this site. The only difference is that the proposal writer here decided that (s)he required a less elaborate proposal and so the entire content is built into a single letter. Figure 1: Case Study Letter Proposal – Page 1 Do you notice that this is example of a business proposal is essentially just a letter version of the Executive Summary produced in the module entitled “Writing an Executive Summary”. Figure 2: Case Study Letter Proposal – Page 2 …The thinking is the same, the process of developing the proposal is the same (just smaller scale), and the impact upon the client is the same. This Requirements-Solution-Benefits-Costs-Proof response to your client’s requirements will always impress with its businesslike, consultative, solution-oriented approach – whether you’re writing a full blown proposal or a more simple business proposal like this one. Figure 3: Case Study Letter Proposal – Page 3 Figure 4:... read more
A PROVEN LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUE FOR ANGERING PEOPLE

A PROVEN LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUE FOR ANGERING PEOPLE

“I don’t listen to them – it drives them crazy, and it works with everyone: I can get anyone mad with me in a minute or two just by refusing to listen to them.” I spoke at a conference in Istanbul recently. In the coffee break I met a man with an interesting profession – a freelance union negotiator. If you have tough employee negotiations he’ll take them on for you. “Every negotiation has two main phases”, he told me, “in Phase One the union reps tell me what their people will give my client – more productivity, longer hours etc. In Phase Two I tell them what my client is going to give in return”, he explained. “My first objective in Phase Two is to get them so upset and mad with me, so out of control with rage that the walk out of the negotiations – and the earlier that happens in Phase Two the better.” His reasoning? “They’ll offer tiny concessions and expect me to make huge concessions – I want them to be aware that this will not be an easy negotiation. I want them to be in a frame of mind to properly understand the value of any concession I make, however small.” Ignoring my thoughts on the rights or wrongs of his approach I was fascinated enough to ask him how he got people so crazy, so quickly. “Oh, that’s easy – for the first few minutes they talk I look at my watch, out the window, shuffle papers, even send a few SMS messages. I eventually apologize: ‘sorry, what was that you... read more
HOW TO A WRITE BOOK TO ENHANCE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND – STEP 1

HOW TO A WRITE BOOK TO ENHANCE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND – STEP 1

This is the second in a series of posts on how you can get started writing that business book you’ve always wanted to write – without putting your life or career on hold. For an overview of the process of how to write a book you should read through the first post before continuing to read about this first step in the process. Spend some time putting this first step in place today and you could go to bed tonight with your book already started. In the first post we laid out the content of the 7 posts that will guide you in creating your book.  Step 1 is about getting you started on building your book’s content as soon as possible – without burning up a huge amount of your valuable time.  Step 1: Set up Step 1 consists of 5 simple actions: Set up a ‘war room’. When preparing major proposals I always suggest that writers set up a semi-permanent space in their offices to serve as ‘project central’. Do the same for your book. This can be as simple as a corner of a bedroom or office with a decent amount of wall space.  It should ideally be close to your PC and the area where you’d expect you’ll do any book planning or writing. It should also ideally be somewhere that you’ll come across it every day – without having to go out of your way.  This is critical: one of the keys to success with this approach is consistency – and I find that passing through my war room area daily helps keep the project planted firmly... read more
HOW TO WRITE A BOOK TO ENHANCE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND – STEP 8

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK TO ENHANCE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND – STEP 8

Writing a book will enhance your career prospects and dramatically enhance your personal brand. This is the last in an 8-post series on how to write a book – without putting your life on hold. If you’ve stumbled across this post without reading the previous posts, I’d strongly suggest you check out the first seven posts in the series on how to write a book – starting with the introduction to the series. Here are the last three steps in the process I have used to write my own books: 1. Build in Transitions Transitions are words or phrases used to smooth the borders between one idea and another, one statement and another, one section and another. They include words and phrases like “therefore”, “happily”, “consequently”, “however”, “yet”, “nevertheless”, etc., or can be questions like “but how is this achieved?” or “why is this?”.  There are many more examples of transitions here.  Every idea or point that you present should lead readers towards the next point, should encourage them to continue to read and follow the line of your argument. Quite apart from saving them effort, good transitions also ensure that readers do not make the wrong connection between the various points that you are presenting. Begin to read through the sections of your outline.  Consider how easily you are drawn from idea to idea, how each idea fits under its heading. You will find many ideas which present themselves as isolated paragraphs nestling under your remaining headings. Consider the message which the heading suggests this section will convey and begin to build transitions between each of the separate ideas... read more

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