Tag Archives: selling

Being Busy Does Not Mean That You Are Working

Busyness as Proxy for productivity: In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.
-Cal Newport (Deep Work)

Being in a meeting is not our job.
Having a conf-call is not our job.
Sending e-mail is not our job.
Being in front of computer late to suck up your bosses is not our job.

“Being busy” should never be an indicator of how well you are doing our job.

Our job is to think or sell: sometimes both and sometimes in reverse order.

If you are busy because you are thinking really hard and selling even harder, that is great.
If you are busy because you want to look like you are busy, I just feel sorry for you.

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The Art (or Lack) of Selling Pt.2

As you might know, I do not belong to “do-not-call”-registry.

Mainly it is because I have a strong belief that our business is about selling. Therefore you can learn from good salespeople and also from the more inferior ones. My morning today got started with the following call:

Salesman: Do you have a moment of time?
Riku: Yes, I actually have.
Salesman: Would you be interested in this extra insurance if you get terminal illness?
Riku: No.
Salesman: It also covers up to 200k outstanding balances, if you have accidental death. Would you not be interested in this product?
Riku: I already have life insurance. (Besides if I will suffer accidental death, I think my credit card balance is least of my concerns then. Not to mention that my credit limit is only 20k in any case. If I would have 200k outstanding balances, it means that you have messed up in some way.)
Salesman: Many of our clients have also life insurances, but they also have this product.
Riku: (Many of your clients are also morons, who cannot understand even simple arithmetics). I am not interested. It costs too much as well, especially because I am already covered by life insurance.
Salesman: But accidents can happen anywhere as you seem to be travelling quite a lot. And you only pay 0.49% of every credit card bill, as there is no fixed fee.
Riku: But if I would max out my credit card limit every month, which you also try to make me do, the actual cost would be over 1k a year. I think you can get quite a lot of insurance with that money. Also percentage is harder to predict than fixed fee.
Salesman: -Silence-
Riku: So, I am not interested. (As your product is total scam and you seem like a bona fide snakes-oil salesman)
Salesman: You might also get a terminal illness, don´t you want to think about your family?
Riku: I think I am getting terminal illness by being in this call.
Salesman: Well, if you change your mind..
Riku: Well, I won´t. Bye.

Fear is sometimes good way to make you buy something. I don´t really want to think about terminal illnesses or accidental deaths first thing in the morning. It is also not necessarily wise to try to impose guilt to total stranger on a phone about leaving your family stranded if you kick the bucket. The whole call got me really irritated and made me hate my bank even more.

Unfortunately this method is probably effective. Bank business is generally about screwing people who cannot count or do not understand how percentages add up. Throw some guilt in the mix and I can see many people sign on these dubious programs. So thinking in those terms, it is great selling!

It also makes my blood boil. You should make your customer feel good about buying your products. Then it is likely that he is willing to buy more to keep that happiness. Using fear and guilt should be the last resort.

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The Art (or Lack) of Selling

I got a call yesterday from one of my banks in Singapore (the whole banking system and credit card craze should be a topic for another post). As I see that persuasion and selling is close to my craft I will always listen the sales pitch. This time it was not that helpful:

Salesman: Hi, I am from your bank, would you have a moment of time?

Me: Yes, I actually have.

Salesman: As you have an account here with us, would you be interested in personal loans?

Me: No

Salesman: Ok, have a nice day.

Me: Bye.

I was tempted to start lecturing the caller about selling. The lack of persuasion made me almost angrier than too aggressive salesman. What a missed opportunity!

No one likes to forceful salesman, but don´t be such a pushover either! I had already indicated that I am interested (as I had time, otherwise I would just hang up on you), so surely you have something to sell besides those loans? Right? Getting personal contact with your bank customer on in this day and age is a luxury that you should not waste. I try to avoid that personal connection as much as possible. The salesman blew an opportunity. I might have been interested in investment products, new credit cards (as I don´t already have them too much) or whatever else bank could offer.

Probably the caller was only tasked to sell those loans, so I don´t fault him on keeping the eye on his prize. I think bank is to blame in here. It seems quite ineffective way to try to sell me anything, if I get an individual contact from every single product department. Actually today I was contacted about some dental insurance from the same bank. I was not interested either, so the discussion went following the same pattern as stated above. Probably by the time they have something that interests me, I am already totally pissed of their constant bombarding that I have deleted my account.

Although manpower is cheap in call centers and ROI might look nice on paper, no one ever calculates the harm what they also do to brands. I have to say I don´t really have any brand love for my bank to begin with and terrorizing me over the phone with sloppy sales lines does not help the matter at all.

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Digital Years are Dog Years

Someone opposed an idea, because it was “already” proposed three years ago.

Three years?

Are you kidding me?

Maybe three days, three months but three years!

Normally during three years in advertising, all of your clients and colleagues have already changed completely. How anyone can even remember what happened three years ago? I generally believe that if you have a good idea, you sell it as long until someone buys it. Or you are bored with it, which might indicate that it was not good idea to begin with.

Three years is a lifetime.

Digital years are like dog years. Things change and age faster. To get matters in perspective, here are collection of things that has happened during last three years:

I had to just write these as a reminder, so I can guide people here when they say something as stupid as that to me again.

Just because something has been done or proposed before, does not mean it cannot be done. Just do it better. Sometimes the proposed idea was right, but the time was just wrong.

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Judge The Book By Its Cover

My publisher said that there are two things that determine the success of a book:

  1. The Cover (front 95%, Backcover including the summary 5%)
  2. The Name of the book

Generally author does not have anything to say with either of these. Naturally first I was offended as an author by the comment. However, when I started to analyze my own behavior in library, this made perfect sense. If I don´t know the author, I skim the cover and the title quickly and move on.

I trusted my publisher´s judgment and both books sold well. Although I am marketing professional, my view of the product (myself) was jaded. I had basically drunk my own Kool-Aid for too long. You need people who have non-biased view of your business and brand. Therefore I am a little bit suspicious if same team works for too long with same brand. You start to become too attached to it and the same time distanced from reality. Majority of brands do not live in reality, but in their own imaginary brand universe. One of the most important tasks for the agencies is to connect the brands with reality.

Other important lesson with the books is the short attention span. Your magnum opus will be assessed in matter of seconds, and if you don´t catch the attention immediately, no one will buy it. When people don´t know you, they judge you quickly and based on superficial things. Majority of the people do not want to try new things, they just want to find slightly different versions of things they already like. That is why novels from the same category always look the same and everyone wants to have Nordic crime writer on their roster.

If you become successful author, the meaning of the book´s name and cover diminishes but does not totally vanish. There will always be people who do not know you, although you are New York Times bestselling writer. When you have attracted enough people with your cover and catchy title, eventually your name as a writer becomes the main decision criteria. To get there is a long journey.

For a newcomer, this is important thing to point out. You have to first establish the reference point, before you can show how you are different.

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