“Where’s the manual for this thing?”

Our businesses are all run by people, yet nobody understands how they work. When I was a boy every car came with a Haynes Manual. This was mainly because cars were quite unreliable and most people did their own repairs and maintenance. Humans are much more complicated than old cars and yet Haynes don’t do a manual. So in the absence of a manual we do what we did in the old days; we wing it. Unfortunately that usually results in a bigger problem than we started with; it usually ends up in the human equivalent of a handful of  “spare parts” left over. “Winging it” when dealing with human personality scares the life out of me. It’s like watching someone tear into their new Mercedes  to adjust the timing with some tools they have never used and without a manual. It’s not going to end well. If I continue the car analogy; just because we drive about in cars every day, doesn’t mean we can get under the bonnet and do our own repairs and maintenance. The good news however is that an understanding of personality is possible. It is accessible. There may not be a Haynes manual but I have the next best...

When is a sales person not a sales person?

Working with a great bunch last week. They deliberately do not hire traditional sales people and yet all their people are paid on commission. Why? Because they outsell traditional sales people by ten to one. Their training course shows you how to ignore buying signals, avoid using closing techniques, avoid making a presentation, avoid talking about the product and most importantly of all, avoid trying to sell anything. Bonkers right? . . . .Wrong. These guys have conversion rates you can only dream about. They have built a huge business which has grown year on year, when ALL of their competitors are declining or going bust. Why does it work? Because they focus on one thing . . . .the individual. They understand the importance of the individual. They realise how important each individual personality is. They focus on making a positive improvement in the individuals life. They take an interest. They focus more on the individual than they do on their commission cheque. We can all learn from...

Pulling your finger out

Been having a chat with @TracyBrinkmann on Twitter. It started like this My initial answer went like this I suppose we are both right. It is really difficult coming up with goals that genuinely motivate you. Coming up with a bunch of stuff you would like to have is easy but it doesn’t empower you. The danger is that it just frustrates you. Have you ever came across “a man on a mission”? You know when you do. I heard Eddie the Eagle, the UK ski jumper from the 80’s interviewed this week. What a guy. He took a lot of stick for being the worst ski jumper in the world but he had to go through hell to get there. He travelled all over Europe to compete. He slept in his car. He borrowed equipment. He ate food from the bins. He was a man on a mission and did whatever it took. He had an empowering goal which was so powerful that none of the hard stuff mattered. It didn’t upset him. He was so focused on doing what he needed to do that the tribulations were not really a problem. I think the difference is between having a goal and having a list of stuff you fancy having. One empowers, the other frustrates. One will see you walk over coals, the other will see you...

What’s your companies personality?

All companies have a personality. And just like the people we meet; some of them we like and some of them we don’t. For instance, I really dislike the power / utility companies. If they were people they would be referred to as “eeejits” (a Scottish word). It doesn’t matter what they do, cause everything they do upsets me, annoys me and makes me want to scream. The exception is Scottish Gas maintenance team. They quietly delight me every time I have to deal with them. Their call centre people that phone occationally don’t really help things but the team in the field, the ones that actually turn up and do a great job, are just brill. They are “Good Guys”. What you have to ask yourself is “is your company an Eejit or a Good Guy?” The amazing thing is that you have a choice. Why anyone would choose to be an Eejit is beyond me but many of them do, particularly the utility companies. How do you avoid coming across as an eejit? Simple, don’t act like one. Don’t do anything to customers or prospects that you don’t like done to yourself. Don’t phone them uninvited to talk rubbish when they are having their dinner. Instead , knock some money off their next bill – that will earn you delight and make you a “Good Guy”. Don’t talk rubbish and confuse the issues. Talk straight. Be truthful. Your company has a personality just like you and me. It starts from deep inside and comes to the surface. It’s not something you can cover up with a bit...

Personality Comb Over

It’s a hard fact to face but my hair is thinning. (That’s not me in the picture, that’s Scottish Comedian Gregor Fisher). So I am cutting it shorter and shorter and coming to terms with it. It’s no big deal really. I have decided against going down the comb over route, for there lies the road to madness and eternal bad hair days. It has made me realise however that we all participate in the “Personality Comb Over”. We try and cover up the obvious bald spots in our personality with something that really doesn’t belong. The Personality Comb Over is about as appealing as Gregor Fisher’s. Are we really kidding anyone? Are we a joke and are we coming across just as ridiculous as if we were using our eyebrow hair to comb over our bald nappers? It’s ok to have bald spots both on our napper and in our personalities. It is better to accept it and embrace it. It is better to be honest and authentic. Comb overs never look cool. Comb overs aren’t kidding anyone. So be who you are. Be happy with it. Say goodbye to bad hair days. Say goodbye to worrying about the wind and if people can tell that you are bald because they can and you are not fooling anyone but yourself. Embrace the bald man inside you, don’t deny who you are. Be confident in your own skin. Some will love you, some will not and no amount of personality comb overs will alter...