Lie to people
It’s unethical. It’s immoral at times. But if you want to be the best salesperson around just lie to people. Stretch the truth, “you look great in that shirt!”, “You definitely need the F-350!”, “You should go with the full rebrand package, it’ll be the best for your company!”
Lying to people may help you make a sale but you’re ruining a future relationship. People don’t forget.
There was a story of Patagonia, the retailer. They are known for being kind to the earth, their customers, and employees. I heard a story about an all-star salesperson. She was easily making her budgets sometimes setting records in the company for sales. So much success that the CEO had to go see how this person was doing such a bang-up job!
The CEO goes to the store to congratulate the employee, but instead instantly fires her on the spot. He had just witnessed this “all-star” employee lie to a customer so that they would buy a jacket. The CEO explained in a heartfelt email that Patagonia doesn’t want to simply just sell products, they help people what whatever it is they need. Over-selling to someone is a great way to lose a customer forever.
Just help people, no questions asked
The problem is people trust you, when you’re in a position of power (yes any salesperson is in a position of power) people look up to you, they assume you have their best interests in mind. When you take someone’s trust and use it to increase your sales, you will lose. Maybe not immediately, but in the long run you can’t keep finding new people to sell to, you’ll run out of repeat customers and won’t understand why.
You’ll blame marketing or sales. You’ll put more pressure on your salespeople, they won’t like that, they either get sleazier and “make a sale at any cost” or they quit. Both terrible options for the long-term viability of your company. Every time someone leaves, they tell more people about what you’re doing. It’s easy to blame marketing or sales for business strategy problems. Maybe it’s time you took your team off commission based pay, it’s ruining relationships.
I still think the worst people are the people who lie to you to help themselves out. The worst. Putting money before people is wrong.
Stop blaming “sales” start reinventing “how you sell“
No one likes “selling”. I mean they probably LOVE the money from it but c’mon, convincing people to buy your wares? What is this? 1933? No one wants to buy from you. We want to be entertained, we want our friends to tell us about you, we want to fall in love what you do.
That’s hard, any new strategy in 2017 will be, but as long as your strategy is difficult you’re on the right track. Stop trying for the “easy sell”. The low hanging fruit exists in every industry, don’t fall for that, do what’s hard.
Go for the long sale. Don’t over sell. Remember, everyone has a much better memory now that you share on Instagram every day.
We remember when people fuck us over
It’s hard to forget when someone uses and abuses us and our wallets. If you do it, or work for a company that does it, be prepared for people to never hire you ever again. I remember people from 10 years ago that made a sale, not caring about the consumer (me), you just remember the feeling you got after. It’s very unpleasant.
You don’t need to make that extra recommendation. You don’t need to oversell to everyone, McDonald’s does that, you don’t need to.
How do you “sell” in 2017?
You be really, really, good. Give people a reason to hire you. Show the value in what you bring to the table and believe in yourself. Word-of-mouth has been and always will be the most powerful form of marketing, use it to your advantage.
Find moments to do the right thing, when there’s no monetary value
Caring about your people, helping other organizations in your community, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. This is the new competitive advantage. Leopold’s and Victorias group in Regina, every year in December give away thousands of dollars to charities in the communities they operate. Victoria’s alone gave away $12,000 last year at Christmas time. When you have a choice of when to eat or drink it hard not to at least consider going to Leo’s or Vic’s because you probably know someone who was affected by the give-a-ways. I know I was.
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A post shared by Victoria’sTavern (@vicstavern) on
Both Leopold’s and Victoria’s had to do something different this past December, so why not try help in the fight against drinking and driving? Yup, offered free rides during the month of December is what they did! These are pubs that serve food and all they do for marketing is try to be “a good corporate citizen” is what business school called it, I call it the new cool! Because caring about your community is the new cool.
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Hardpressed coming into the Queen city to sell their wares!? How do they get away with it? They are a Saskatoon company and people from Regina simply LOVE their clothing. Why? Yes it’s very comfy, yes it’s very stylish, but last year Hardpressed donated $8,000 to Carmichael Outreach after one of their pop-up sales. Do you want me to love you forever? Support the Non-profits that mean a lot to me. Hardpressed, Leopold’s and Victoria’s have done just that.
I’ll support these to organizations because at their very core, they believe in doing the right thing as a part of their business model. That’s something I can get behind.
Born out of necessity the Hat Farm has grown into an amazing example of Social Enterprise.
Did you hear us on the radio? @cbcsask Afternoon Edition had us on, along with an online spread! Thanks for the support!—————————HAT FARM exists out of necessity; housing in Regina is grim. Racism rules, as we saw in recent housing listings in Prince Albert. Classism is rampant as many landlords refuse to rent to those on Social Assistance. People lack adequate personal and financial supports which are necessary for everyone to maintaining stable housing. Large populations are unable to obtain housing because the housing that could support their needs does not exist. HAT FARM exists to sell hats but also encourage discussion about what’s going on in your own neighbourhood. Get informed!
A photo posted by The Hat Farm (@thehatfarm) on
The Hat Farm started at Carmichael Outreach in Regina. Carmichael Outreach is a place where people can get clothing, food, a cup of coffee, help with housing, drug addiction, plus pretty much anything else people need when they have no where else to turn. In 2014 Carmichael Outreach served 53,689 meals to people in Regina. In 2015 it’s looking like that number will be closer to 70,000. They’re growing, and that’s not a good thing. I mean it is great people who maybe weren’t getting a meal last year have the chance to but as an organization they can’t just keep growing. Read more
Hugh MacLeod says the future of marketing is social objects. I wholeheartedly agree. That’s why I give away stickers regularly, I want someone to be inspired a week, a month, a year after I have met them.
A photo posted by Strategy Lab Marketing (@stratlab) on
There’s something special about seeing a sticker you gave someone displayed in public. It’s like a badge of honour. If you can make stickers that make people feel good or inspire them, bonus!!
We all have a vested interest in making the people around us happy, why not encourage the people on your team with an uplifting sticker, postcard or (fill in the blank).
1. The world is changing faster than you can imagine.
“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.”
On a single day on the Internet there are:
Over 2 million Google search queries
48 hours of new YouTube videos
684,000 bits of content shared on Facebook
More than 100,000 tweets
$272,000 spent on e-commerce
If you disappeared tomorrow, who would miss you? What distinct advantage does your organization create? Why is your mission a noble cause? Ask these questions early and often or else you may find your organization obsolete. To the Not-for-profits that take advantage of the changing online landscape and embrace technology your audience will adore you and you will attract a new smarter customer who (if you do your job right) becomes a loyal evangelist.
2. Every year, every month, every day, people have less attention than they did last year, last month, and yesterday. How are you getting peoples’ attention?
There’s a new not-for-profit starting up tomorrow who’s mission is better than yours, who help more people than you and who can do what you do for cheaper. What are you going to do about it? How will you stand out? How will you be remembered? How do you get to the point where people seek YOU out? If you don’t standout you definitely aren’t going to be remembered. You need to create a “Social Object” that people can associate with your cause.
3. You’re only as smart as the feedback you’re getting.
Not-for-profits are really bad at this. Trying to get feedback as an organization is a very forward thinking endeavour. Not-for-profits are not very forward thinking entities(rash generalization but true). Every year they talk about what they did last year and how well it went. No critical breakdown of what happened, no holding people accountable to goals set last year, and no wants to change in the future to get better. It’s that last part that bothers me the most. Because these aren’t profit generating entities it doesn’t make sense to adapt and innovate and strive to lead a market.
The only thing more risky than changing is staying the same.
Everything about business is changing at an alarming rate right now, your only hope in survival is ensuring you’re getting feedback from your customers and employees.
Since we were children, feedback has been the only way we learn. Why is that any different for not-for-profits? You need a feedback strategy, and an honest one. If you have a 56 Question Questionnaire providing your feedback for you, just know you’re basing your information on the sick twisted person that would fill out a 56 question Questionnaire.
4. You can’t change what people say about you, but you can influence it.
“Branding” in 2014 is what people say about you behind your back. As a Not-for-profit if your members smile to your face but bad mouth you behind your back that’s a terrible brand. If you have complete board turnover every year that’s bad. IF you have past board members that refuse to be contacted, that’s bad!
Your reputation precedes you. Google your name, what comes up? You have a personal brand whether you like it or not, most people don’t understand they can influence it if they want to. Not-for-profits usually have an advantage here, your reputation is what you’ve done, the people you’ve helped and the impact you’ve created. The RedCross is one of the most recognized “brands” in the world and I would argue it has nothing to do with their messaging (though the logo is pretty ubiquitous), it has everything to do with their impact. Otherwise when you see the infamous Red “+” sign you wouldn’t immediately attribute positive characteristics.
5. Face the brutal facts.
Yes this is stolen from Jim Collin’s book Good To Great. You must face the brutal facts about your organization and marketplace. People don’t have time to care about your organization, no one does. You have to pitch why your not-for-profit matters. I’ve been on a board where we only talked about the good things we did, how great every event was, and never brought up any criticism or created an urgency to get better.
Confront the hard facts, the longer you put off the truth the worse it gets when it finally becomes a reality. Business changes, Not-for-profits change. The only ignorant thing to do is assume we know what we’re doing and not seek out feedback.
6. You can tell people’s priorities by the way they allocate their resources (time, money).
I’ve met people who give their time selflessly year in and year out. I look up to these people, they truly understand priorities in life. They put relationships before money. People before work and organizations over themselves. These people are the builders of our communities. You have no idea how much these selfless people have given in time to ensure that people they don’t even know get to enjoy (insert community event, sports team, or club here). From Brownies and Scouts to Hockey and Basketball organizations, boys and girls clubs and sports clubs. The one thing they have in common is people like you and me built them.
The unsung heros are the people who tirelessly volunteer their time to work, coach, organize, plan and do all the things that it takes to make Not-for-profits tick. If you meet someone who’s been a part of a Not-for-profit for a while just assume they’re amazing, you have no idea how much they’ve given.
If you want to find out about someone’s work ethic ask somebody they volunteered with on a board or an organization. Reputations go a long way. I find myself recommending people I’ve volunteered with and coached with a lot. You trust someone on another level when you know they believe in giving their time back to help others.
7. At any given moment, one or a few people can ruin it for everyone, you must ignore past these people.
People love to complain. You have to constantly remind yourself that it’s easy to be a critic and it’s hard to take negative feedback and actually act upon it. On volunteer boards I find this to happen a lot. People LOVE to complain without offering any other solutions. People love to tell you you’re wrong. People love to say “it won’t work”. You have to ignore these people.
Create a culture of proactive feedback, never are you allowed to say “I don’t like it this way!” without providing another plausible way.
8. There’s nothing more important than having a clear vision that everyone understands.
Those who built the visionary companies wisely understood that it is better to understand who you are than where you are going – for where you are going will almost certainly change.
-Built to Last by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras
Many business folks I’ve met underestimate the power of a vision. But most companies try to explain “everything we’re good at” without “pissing some department” in their mission statement. Effectively making it useless. Einstein said you only truly know a subject when you can explain it to a six year old. that’s my philosophy when it comes to your organizations vision, simply down to a few words that you could explain to a six year old.
Regina Volleyball Club: Lets grow Volleyball
University of Regina Alumni Association: Build Pride
Regina Police Service: Public Servie First
Creative Options Regina: Gentle teaching
9. Fun can be a competitive advantage.
In the future the best organizations will have done the most important thing, attracted the best people. To attract the best people you have to have an amazing cause, but not just that, you have to create a work environment that people would seek out. A workplace to love. People will take a pay cut and make other sacrifices just so that they can work with people they like, and people we like are the people we have the most fun with.
Fun can be a competitive advantage.
Think about it, at a board meeting have you ever asked: “how could we make our meetings more fun?”. Most don’t bring that up because they still think doing what they’ve always done is enough to attract younger, smarter, better talent. If your meetings are fun it’s going to be easier to attract better people in the future.
If you encourage your employees to have fun more often they will respect the workplace more, tell people about how great it is to work there, and when shit really does hit the fan, employees you’ve encouraged to have fun will be there for the organization. It’s when we’re at our worst our allies matter the most. Make strong supporters out of your members, encourage them to be themselves and have fun.
that’s why most events aren’t that good. How many presentations, conferences, lecture’s, speeches, keynotes, and guest talks have you been in that have completely bored you to death? It’s become an epidemic, and I hate it.
If you don’t intentionally try to create a memorable event why do you think people will remember it?
Start with: why will people remember this? Why will my event be different? How do we get people walking out after the event saying “holy $#!& that was amazing!!”. Maybe therein lies the secret: to create “holy $#!&” moments.
Most events aren’t meant to be remembered, but why not? Don’t you want your next event to go down in history as one of the best _________ of all time?
When planning you must ask how are we going to get people to remember this? If you don’t you’re almost guaranteed that people will do the opposite.
Today on walks with Jeph we talk about Westjet and the social object they’ve developed; being the “fun” airline. They tell jokes on flights, are extremely friendly, and just seem to care more than the other airlines.
Do you remember the first time you flew Westjet? I sure do. It completely blew my mind that this airline actually wanted to make my flight more enjoyable. I went home immediately and told my parents about it and have been a loyal Westjet supporter ever since. You see, just the fact that I had to tell someone about my first experience with Westjet makes what they offer a social object. They’ve baked the marketing right into the product and I don’t think anyone can argue the success they’ve had.
So here’s your excuse to have a crazy, wild, loud, awesome idea for your company. The next marketing meeting you host tell everyone to think about the Westjet story and how it all started. Someone had the idea of telling jokes on flights. Even more importantly, someone high up in that company liked the idea and gave them permission to try it.
A smart culture breeds smart ideas.