6 essential habits of successful people

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Habits-of-Successful-PeopleWhat makes someone successful?  You can dig through heaps of reasons and excuses: money, fame, wealth, hard work, or even luck.    We see heaps of posts everday on the “one thing that successful people do” or the 3 habits successful practice everyday, and indeed each one mentions different posts.  So I decided rather than reading online posts by some groups, magazines or Business Insider, I decided to read a book about this topic – “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals”.  In his book Thomas C. Corley talks about 10 habits.  For ease I reduced this to the 6 essential habits of successful people.

Please note, that I am providing them worldly-views and what I consider is important- so back to how accurate is it, remains for you the reader to decide.  Although I’ve used a book which has been quite reputated and gone through at least a basis of research, I would still highly recommend you purchase your own copy.  It wouldn’t take more than a day or 2 to get through.

quote-Bill-Gates-be-nice-to-nerds-chances-are-youll-89020

6 Essential Habits of Successful People…. by Nick H

Gratitude

I once read that a way to get more is to want less.  Food for thought.  I thought it very apt and indeed, Gratitude, is something I think that is very fundamental and something I, and hopefully im

Practicing a daily moment of stopping whatever you do, and give thanks for anything big or small.  This is, apparently, supposed to reduce stress, have a more positive outlook on life…. all of which when combined will make you more open to the opportunities that come to you, rather than chasing “the grass on the side”.  We all know – it only looks greener…..  The best opportunities come to us spontaneously and seemingly out of nowhere.

Set Goals – short / medium / longrichard bransom - successful people

Just sitting ride life wave can be a great way of ‘going with the flow’, but it also means you can end up
nowhere.  Creating some goals short (e.g. 1 month), medium (e.g. 1 year) and long term (e.g. 5 years) can be a great way of keeping some focus on where you want to go.

An example:

  • Short: Read 2 Books ; Save 10% of wage
  • Medium:  Attend one new course online; Save 2 months worth of living expenses
  • Long:  Buy an apartment ; Save 1 year worth of living expenses

Continuous self improvement

Invest in yourself is the most important recommendation that infamous investor Warren Buffet states.   That is spiritually, physically, and mentally.  Increasing knowledge, skills, abilities….. anything goes as long as its important to you.  Any of these will make you more rounded, more apt at dealing with the difficulties of life and keep your mind young and fresh.  It can also subsequently increase your market value on the job market.

Exercise

Healthy body, Healthy mind.  Fundamental to having a well framed mind, calm, free of stress is to also have the physical envelop supporting it in a good shape.  Poor diet and no excerice leads to imbalances in hormones, immune system, ability to focus and much more, resulting in an inability to practice: Focus on Goals, Feeling of Content and Gratitude, Focus on learning and self-improvement, etc… etc…

Focus on at least 30 min of exercise per day at least 3 times a week is a good start to keep the body young and reactive.

Moderation & Good Habits

habits of successful peopleAbuse of any sorts will lead to the wrong paths.  Being well rounded and dealing with life’s difficulties comes from the ability of moderating self-deprecating and destructive habits we all can have.  Its easier to spend all your weekends drinking and watching TV after work… but what true value do they bring apart for letting time fly by.

Moderating some of the bad habits can be easily part of the short and medium goals we can set for ourselves.  Example:  Short – only watch 30min TV per day;  Medium – Loose 5 KG

Building relationships

Social networking and your relationship stock is vital as part of a healthy mind and body outlook.  Relationships will help you grow as a person, by having external influences bring feedback and also, support in times of need.  Surrounding yourself in positive relationships and continuously nurturing these is essential for a feeling of belonging and fulfillment inlife.  Not saying you have to the be party and have 600 friends.  Build meaningful relationships both personally and professionally will help you grow all facets of your, both at home and at work.

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7 factors for perfecting your presentation skills

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If you ever thought that carrying out presentations was daunting, gave you butterflies in the stomach or that you just couldn’t get that response from the crowd – you are not alone. You are like approximately 80% of the working force.  An estimated of only 10% truly love it and likewise, an estimated 10% have Glossophobia – or fear of public speaking.

Although the chance that you become a charming and orator like J.F. Kennedy or inspiring one like Churchill are close to nill (not to break illusions here), there techniques to at least counter many typical challenges.  A recent training I had the chance of jumping onto,”Presentations Skills” given by John May, structured these techniques nicely into 7 factors for perfecting your presentation skills.

mark twain quote on public speaking

The Message:  The first place to start is the message you will deliver itself.  Make sure you follow these 5 golden rules for an effective presentation when presenting: Attention 20/20, Interest, Conviction, Desire, and Conclusion

Confidence & Enthusiasm:  Confidence exhibits that you know and are comfortable with your subject.  People will trust more if you ‘seem’ like you believe in what you say.  Notice that seem is a key word – you can have butterflies waiting to pop from your stomach, yet still fake the illusion of confidence.  Appearances are important here.  Enthusiasm, likewise with believing, being enthusiastic or communicating the emotion will liven up your speech and communicate a positive feeling about what you are talking about.

exhibit confidence when presenting

Voice:  People only remember 7% of the message itself but 38% of your tone of voice.  The tone of voice and speed at which you speak are important in:  Conveying emotion, Highlighting what is important, and allowing people the time listen, process what is said, and let the important elements sink in.  Allow for enthusiasm and for pauses between sentences.

Gestures:  Crossing your arms, hands in pockets or hands moving every second will be distracting.   Envision that you are stable on your feet and hands visible in front of you with palms slightly facing your audience.  As with tone of voice, use your hands to express visually the important elements.  In this fashion you will combine, message, audio, and visual in expressing the important elements of your message.use hand gestures to express visually your message

Body: Being rigidly stiff or flailing about will both be counter-productive.  As tone of voice impact is greater than the message itself, it is estimated that body language accounts for 55% of the importance of your message.  Be stable on your feet, seem confident, stand upright (not like a stick though), and move naturally with your message.  Also, not to forget facing different parts of the crowd so that they feel included as your audience.

 

how much to do people remember from your message

 

Eye contact:  Eye-contact is critical in connecting with you audience and making an effort to try and cover the entire room and not just one area.  From research done on the power of eye-contact:  The research of Dr. Porges and Dr. Bensing reinforces another major tenet of Speaking Circles practice, which is that extended soft-focused eye contact is one of the quickest and most powerful ways for a speaker to build rapport and trust with an audience. (Source)

If you are in a room, just make sure to swipe left to right and connect with some in a soft-focused eye contact (in contrast to just blatantly staring at them).  If in a large audience room, split the audience into 4 regions and sweep your gaze at each quadrant throughout your presentation.

Practice & Practice:  This is probably the most important factor to reduce the anxiety.  Practice till you know your subject by heart.  This will increase your confidence, your appearance as confident, and most importantly if your slides or notes get lost – you wont be standing there speechless and succumb to the worst nightmare everyone always envisions!

importance of eye contact

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5 golden rules for effective presentations

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For some, Powerpoint is synonymous to presentations.  If this sounds like you, then you might just be like me – that is headed for trouble.  Don’t get me wrong, this is what I used to believe.  It’s one of the methods of dealing with the nervousness of public speaking, “The slides give me structure and help me stay on cue”…. is what I used to think.

Just recently I had the peculiar experience of seeing myself present through someone else eyes – so to speak.  And through these ‘fresh eyes’ , I learned that I needed to radically rethink how I used Powerpoint. And with this I wanted to share 5 golden rules for effective presentations that John shared with us.

Presentations that are slide driven or slaves to the slides, are just some of the many ways I recently discovered will diminish the value of the presenter, that is –  You.  Not only will it reduce the impact of what you are trying to say, it will also confuse or distract the audience.  Having to read a slide AND listen,  only has for effect of reducing the quality of information being absorbed.

Consider the following stats. In communicating a message, how much does your audience remember?  A study by psychologist Mehrabian at UCLA on non-verbal communication, showed that after 6 months:

  • 55% remembered your behavior
  • 38% the tone of you voice
  • 7% what the actual message was

Albeit that I feel quite comfortable speaking in public, I still wanted to go the extra mile.  I attended a highly regarded training, given by John B. May (http://www.mayintl.com/) –“Presentation Skills”.  Initally I thought it would focus on PowerPoint slides and how to make them more effective.  I couldn’t have been any more wrong.

The first day was focused only on us, presenters. What our body language conveyed and our tone of voice.  In front of a group of peers, we each had the chance to practice 10 presentations over 2 days and gather immediate feedback from everyone. A 360 degree feedback review.  One of the most rewarding learning experiences I’ve experienced.  More actionable feedback was provided than ever by any customer or manager.

Without divulging too much (you would have to take the course to get that), I did want to share one of my key take-aways that provided me a clear framework for conducting presentations – with or without Powerpoint.  For many that deal in the circle of presenations, be it beginner, moderate, or veteran, there are some basics I wanted to share… or re-share for some.

5 Golden Rules

  1. Attention 20/20:  Whether in presentation or in impactful writing, you have to get the attention of the audience immediately.  When attending a presentation, many expect to be bored. Hence why they come ‘prepared’, with phones, laptops, notepads etc… Its not for you silly. Its to distract themselves if indeed they are right, and get bored.    The goal to aim for – secure the attention with the first 20 words in the first 20 seconds
  2. Interest:  Once you have the attention, you know have to anchor that.  Why should the audience keep focused on you?  Two dimensions should be considered: your Legitimacy (i.e. credibility) and how Genuine you are (i.e. connected to the subject and audience).  You need to establish you credibility on the topic (e.g. years of experience) and that you understand the problem and or audience at an individual level.
  3. Conviction: You now have their attention, you have to continue keeping it.  2 words: Relevancy & Clear.  Relevant, make sure that you know your audience and make the key points relevant to them.  Clear, not everyone has the same pro-efficiency level in a language. Using too long sentences, complex words, or phrases will alientate a portion of the audience.
  4. Desire: What makes them to take action after your presentation?  Knowing your audience is critical.  Demonstrating the benefits through a story is key here I beleive.  Storytelling is one of the greatest ways of getting your audience to connect emotionally with your presentation.  It helps them envision themselves with your key points in their own world. Emotionally anchored!
  5. Conclusion:  People tend to remember almost exclusively the beginning & end of anything, be it presentations, books, or conversations.  Its to do with the concept of Novelty & Recency.  Novelty, introduction of the topic gets their attention “Whats all this about?!”.  Recency, because, well, its literally the last thing that entered their minds.  So a good conclusion, clear with an action (what you recommend they should be doing or thinking) and a concise summary of key benefits, will ensure that at least they get the critical stuff.  Even if they caught some Z’s in the middle….

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4 tips to make your writing more memorable

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impactful writing scoreThe thrill of taking a new project comes with the challenges of trial & error, persistence and research.  Recently I’ve embarked on the project of active writing and blogging, here and on my LinkedIn Pulse.  On this journey I’ve being doing quite a bit of research to pick up guides, tips, and frameworks to see what is considered ‘successful’.  One of them has been how to make my writing more impactful.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but to make meaningful can be a real challenge. And so I wanted share 4 tips I’ve stumbled upon to make your writing more memorable and that I hope will help

 

 

1. Strong Compelling Headlines

People’s attention is relative short (shorter than that of a gold fish it is suggested). Compound this with the extreme amount of content that is distributed per second (consider 500 million tweets per day, thats 20.8 million per hour).  Standing out starts with a headline that grabs the attention within the first seconds.

why-to-spend-more-time-writing-a-headline

Consider there following two variants and think which one you would ‘Click-On’

  1. Ideas I wanted to share on better writing
  2. 4 Tips to Make Your Writing more Impactful

->  Here’s a neat blog that has 33 tips for more ideas on framing better headlines

2. Telling a Story

In over 27,000 years, story telling has been the first method of communicating.  Story telling engages more than just listening – it sends you on a journey, invoking imagination, thought, visualizing, and emotion.  It can work the whole brain, therefore making the listener more engaged and inquisitive.  Check here for more info on the science of why storytelling is more meaningful for humans.

impact of storytelling

-> Heres a neat blog that has 7 tips of how to better frame your story

3. Experiment with Media (video | picture | audio)

Content does not always have to be via pure text.  In some studies, it was found that students would recall only 10% of text only information.  Mix of visual and text could increase this figure to 65%!!

Our brains are largely geared to reacting to visuals and colors – in fact a large portion of our brain is dedicated to this.  So it is only normal that we process this information faster than just reading.  We can process an image with simple objects in under 100 milliseconds.  As the old cliche goes “A picture is worth a 1000 words”….

  • Clean and attractive pictures will be the first part in gaining attention.
  • Info-graphics are a great way of combining text, information, data, in a visual manner.
  • Audio can be considered too..  Although I find that audio is more difficult to integrate into blogging content.

impact of visuals

4. Being Concise & Clear

The previous 3 tips can be easily practiced and researched (as given with the reference sites and blogs).  But how do you better frame the message of what you want to say?  Unfortunately all my research, there’s no easy way.  Practice daily or weekly at least.  Inspire yourself from good writer and pay attention to how they structure their writings…. and especially dont give up.

Theres too much content, too little time, too little focus for any extra ‘fat’ in your writing.  Add to that whatever language you write in, your audience will not always be native speakers.  Keep thing simple and easy to read will go a long way in terms of audience engagement.

Though that said, I’ve come to believe that there are 2 dimensions you can work on:

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A story of change management: We just killed your product

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futuramaI’ve recently gone through an interesting, yet challenging moment when the basic message I got was “we’ve got a great product and you’re doing good, but, umm…. yeah, we just killed your the product”.  Fear, uncertainty, and mixed with frustration dawned upon me…. yet I’m sure its not the first time nor the last.

 A changing competitive landscape

Its been years the solution has been successful.  Then slowly the industry goes through spurts of integration – horizontal and or vertical – and then Boom! you have new competitors coming out of nowhere.  Sound familiar?

Next thing you know, your once king-of-the-hill solution is at the laughingstock of the courtyard. But its too late!  You’re too far in the product development to change anything massive, but you can’t financially continue.  Literally, a catch 22 moment (or stuck between a rock a hard place for others).

And then you wake up one morning getting ready for your monthly review and you’re slapped with: Great job so far, but ummm ….how to say… we just killed your product.

Change management when decommissioning an IT product, is a real challenge for any sales in the complex solution industry.  Not only is it a challenge for sales working in the acquisition cycle (new customer), its even more a headache for sales dealing in account management.  Those have to deal with breaking the news to the customer and deal with the wrath & backlash.

For someone dealing with the story of change management, the first questions that need to be addressed:

  • What is the timeline for maintenance mode (how long do we keep it alive?)?
  • What is the deadline for when its officially ‘game-over’?
  • Are there alternatives to to the solution?
  • If no 1-to-1 alternatives, what do you?

Answers to these are critical to answer your next most important following mission statement:

 

How are we going to manage: Customer Expectation’s, their Frustrations, while ensuring a smooth transition from point A to Point B?

managing customer expectations

A story of change management

Managing customer expectations is critical!  And effective communications is the starting point.  Complex solutions have profound impacts on a customer’s internal and external processes – any change to the solution has to be communicated and managed with care.  If not, you seriously risk alienating your customer and worse, with today’s open platform for voicing your thoughts and opinions (i.e social media) – the word spreads like fire.

customer opinions spread like wildfire

Having alternative solutions is manageable – you just have to make sure that you handle the delta between the old and the new, that you have an adequate pricing strategy that will compensate the “pain-in-a$$-factor” of having to change, and that the missing functionality (if) gap is handled.

In case you don have an alternative – well that leaves right back at the catch 22 phase.  Nothing to fix and you don’t want to loose the customer.  You can only hope that:

A) you have other complimentary solutions in your portfolio to fill a partial gap

or

B) that you have local partners that are not too threatening to your business model

Conclusion: Don’t go too far down the rabbit hole

Arrogance has a price to pay.  Typically corporations that get to such a corner have waited too long and sat too long on their laurels.  Dealing with these situations leaves the front line staff and customers in very awkward and unpleasant situations.  This can lead to unhappiness in the workforce, gossip, and worse – turnover.

Keep a humble view, be tough on your product, and always have a “get out of jail free card” for these situations.  It can happen that you go too far down the rabbit hole.  Just make sure you’ve already thought of the escape path ….. or you will end in a very unexpected and unpleasant situation vis-a-vis your customers and the market.

Easy said than done…. admittingly.

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A value proposition that changed the world

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poster of diamonds are forever

Writing value propositions is the bread and butter of any sales person.  It is one of the quintessential tasks that you have to carry out, in any form of selling, be it consultative or simple.

And you have 2 ways to do this: either package something you already have OR build it out of nothing! The latter is what I want discuss – a value proposition that changed the world.

I am always on the lookout for ways to improve the way I can show value.  Be it through better presentation skills, public speaking, or storytelling.  With that in my mind, there’s always been one value proposition – simple – but that persists till today and has rocked (no pun intended) the world ever since.

 

A Diamond Lasts Forever!

 

A topic already written about and probably part of the marketing toolbox every student probably has read.  Yet one that deserves to be discussed as I find it terribly inspirational.

Setting the Scene

Prior to WW2 diamonds were said to account for only for about 10% of engagement rings.  They were seen as something only the rich could really afford.

Why spend a fortune on a single rock, that ultimately didn’t bring much ‘value’ to your life.  At times when you have other more pressing needs, like a house, car, vacation – sprinting 2 months wages for one small rock would seem ludicrous.

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3 Lessons: How I failed my customer and they still thanked me

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increasing ROI of your IT solutionWorking in consultative selling is all about knowing your customers needs (almost better than they do), find a suitable solution that will solve a particular problem and ultimately delight them.  The first time I realized I had failed at that, wasn’t when the customer told me but curiously when I found out HOW they were using the solution. And because of that, their ROI on an IT solution was terrible!

 

I had unmistakably painted the wrong image of how & what the IT solution should be used for, but worse not identified inner conflict within the organization itself.

In my particular case, the IT solution was meant to reduce the need for IT infrastructure through virtualization of their operating systems but apart for that detail, the story and the lesson learned can be applied to virtually any complex sale or solution sale.

At the time I believed that I had done all the critical steps one should follow in consultative selling, including:

  1. Listen first, let the customer describe their issues and who they are;
  2. Present the value of myself, the company I represented, and the portfolio of all our corporate solutions;
  3. Investigate, brainstorm the root of the problems, and what they wanted to achieve;
  4. Solution building, draft proposals, and fine-tuning;
  5. Engage with decision makers and identify key influencers;
  6. Destory – I mean – out-beat, my competitors offering through value proposition & a story-line;
  7. Close the deal with a charming smile!

…… or so I thought.

I had engaged with the IT manager of the firm, but knowing he was a key influencer, I needed to get in front of the decision maker. I therefore made a move to get in front of the CIO, who was newly appointed. Perfect timing!

The CIO, with wishes to make his mark, wanted to change the way things were done – and virtualization was one of the many ideas.  His goal was to change the firm’s decaying IT infrastructure and lack of visibility of Total Cost of Ownership on their hardware.  Great I thought – right up my ally!

To cut the long story short, I was successful in getting selected as their IaaS provider (Infrastructure as a Service).  But to get things moving faster, the IT manager discretely mentioned that we should first get some testing servers up and running, so he could “get internal processes fine-tuned”.

I was clear in informing him that they weren’t as performant (lower SLA, lower speeds, and no backup of the data) and although cheaper than the standard enterprise version, would turn-out more expensive in the long-run since you would need more of them.   All was good, his actual words:

“Lets get this baby off the ground and then we’ll fine tune”.

I was a tad-bit suspicious and not wanting for all this to blow-up in my face (typically what happens when sales over promises and or implementation under-delivers), I made sure the CIO was also aware – in writing needless to say!  My back was covered in my perspective.

6 months later, while going through a review of accounts with finance I realized that not only were they still on the test servers, but that they had fully deployed a part of their production onto it! …and paying full premium price! At this point some would say Why do you care?” or “Good for you, greater profits!” or even “Well, if they’re too dumb to figure it out!”.

I wasn’t of this opinion.  If you want to distinguish yourself from the competition and ensure customer loyalty, you have to make some concessions. Short-term loss maybe, but long-term win, in my humble opinion.

I set a meeting with the IT manager and the CIO, for account management purposes. When discussion about what they thought of the solution and how were things going, apart for a few support issues (when are there not), I got an all outstanding “Things are great! Why do you ask?”.

The solution was working as they expected, and not only that, they found their cost of ownership had gone down.  I had lived up to the expectation I had set and the customer was delighted.  What more could I ask for?

After a detailed discussions, I came to the following findings:

  1. They were comparing the IT performances vs their previous in-house solution, which had daily disruptions.  With us, this was only happening weekly  (FYI for testing servers this is ok, but ones destined for production this definitely should not be happening)
  2. A combination of factors, led them to see a brilliant increases in terms of speed, responsiveness, and flexibility setting the belief the system was upto to its standard (vs the old again).  Yet they were only getting approx. 60% of what they should have been.
  3. In terms of cost, their total bill turned out at over $4000 a month ($48,000 a year).  Under a standard yearly contract, this could have gone down to $2750 ($33,000 a year). In other words more than 30% premium!
  4. For them, a combination of internal financial analysis and misdirect, led them to believe that in reverse, they were in fact saving 20% per year!

But how could the solution be under-performing, be more expensive, and that on-top of that I had been explicit about it – were they still delighted?

After some more digging, I came to the following conclusions:

  1. Despite me informing them that the solution would under-perform and be more expensive in the long-run, they thought I was dishing the normal run-of-the-mill “Sales Speech”.  They perceived that the system was working better than the previous one and they were saving money.  Happy days!
  2. The IT manager had in-fact been overstating the internal costs.  In order to work free of the hassles of haggling with finance and keep a larger IT team, he had obfuscated the maintenance costs of the existing system.   Once costs were allocated to their correct budget line, it was apparent they had experienced no savings whatsoever.
  3. Finally, my sales speech had always discussed increased performances, better flexibility, and savings.  All of which were apparently happening, to a degree, – oh that, and that I was perceived as Sales Guy, so they would take everything I said with a pinch of salt.

My conclusion from all this? 3 valuable lessons….

  1. There always inner conflicts and agendas that simmer below the surface.  In my case, it was beneficial to my sale and my over solution delivery.  It can likewise just as go in the other direction. Uncovering it will ensure you position the solution in the right light.
  2. There’s always a degree of mistrust between buyers and sellers in complex solutions scenarios.  Sure buyers rely on your ‘free expertise’ to help them design the solution, but in the end, deep down, they still are wary of the typical sales-slingers pushing more than a customer needs. Let a customer discover the mistakes of some of their decisions so they can later see the value of your proposition.
  3. The Most Important! For point 2 above to work and not backfire, you must regularly follow-up with customers.  Either spontaneously or via an account management process, to ensure that the customer is getting the most of their solution.  In other words, that they are achieving significant ROI on an IT solution.  If not, this leaves a wide open door for any competitor.  Competitors will use that gap as an opportunity to displace you and point to all the ‘problems’ of your solution.  Wouldn’t you do the same? Providing some ‘free’ post-deployment reviews can lead to a long way in terms of revenue generation and customer loyalty.
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Life in the day of Channel Sales

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channel sales

 

Ever wondered what channel or indirect sales was all about?  Not always the easiest thing to explain to folks.  So here is a quick life in the day of channel sales, recapping a typical day.  This is not exhaustive but its a starting point.

First of all, a definition of channel sales:

A method of distribution used by a business to sell its products, usually by dividing its sales force into groups that focus on different selling conduits. For example, a company might implement a channel sales strategy to sell its product via an in house sales force, dealers, retailers or by direct marketing.

This diary log is one from a channel sales position in a large IT solutions corporation with a global reach.  Working in IT solutions involves complex or consultative sales techniques.

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Tips on writing meaningful content

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power of story telling

Writing can be be easy – but writing that meaningful content is defiant. And what defines meaningful content anyway??  By no means do I pretend what I write is meaningful, I would like to think so – but practice remains my quiet challenger.  I merely refer to “awesome” as an attempt of content-type that is meaningful in some way to a certain audience.

In a previous post “Want to be awesome? Engage and create your social media footprint”, I outlined the need:

  1. To managing your social media footprint – over 75% companies carrying research on a candidate’s social media profile in their hiring process.
  2. Creating a coherent image across all channels an inconsistent image will undermine your credibility
  3. Stand out by creating unique and ‘awesome’ content -> the goal is go viral so that the reader will self-share it without the need for extra marketing

This is the ultimate goal.  With an approx  of over 1.5 billion pieces (est. 2014) of content written in any single day:

Standing out is the first challenge; Being remembered is the second.

 

First, find your inspiration! Finding a continuous source of information is the first hurdle to tackle.  I find that to achieve this you must chose something you are doing on a daily, weekly basis and naturally (i.e not forced).  For example:

  • Following blogs, articles, or specific news clips you are subscribed to.  Read, Read, Read and then mix into your own view…..
  • Following post-graduate courses to fuel new content into your own life.  Following up on new trending subjects and how this mixes with other elements of your life…

Once you have found a way of fueling your content pipeline, the second phase is making it stand-out and be (hopefully) memorable.  The following is tips quick hit-list of some top elements to continuously integrate into your writing that I’ve picked up over time and that I am constantly playing with….

 

  1. Strong Compelling Headlines  – the attention is short – grab it within the first seconds
  2. Telling a story –  Since 27,000 years this has been our first method of communicating
  3. Experiment with media type  – media is constantly evolving. tex-only can be boring.
  4. Cutting the bull$hiT  – time is of the essence, be true and straight-to-the-point
  5. Actionable content –  can the reader apply to their life?

 

Finally, the media-type you use is critical!  Text only is a classic, but surely there are other ways to stand-out.  Personally in text-only blogs, I tend to skip-read and miss out on about 40-50% of the actual text (being honest here).  Bolding and highlights help to anchor my eyes to certain areas yes, but visuals grab my attention the best!

Certain studies showed that a student would only retain 10% of text-only studies, while those that included a mix of visual or verbal would increase this figure to 65%!  Your content being retained is a sure way to being remembered in the longer run. No?  Check the infographic below and see how much time you spend reading it!

Let’s not hide – it is a continuous process and there are no one-time wins. Time, practice, and hard-work will only get you there…. or not.  But you miss every shot you don’t take

9-Awesome-Reasons-to-Use-Infographics-in-your-Content-Marketing-v21-2

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Do you want to be Awesome? Engage and create your social media footprint

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being awesome pictureTrying to being awesome and creating your social media footprint is now a must-do for today’s actors in a sales and marketing elusive industry.  Its no longer a trend or just the cool thing – it’s a necessity for surviving the tangled social web of sales.  What used to be attainable only for the elite or early adopters, in a matter of years has become an established standard.  To put in perspective, radio took 38 years to get achieve 50 million users. Facebook attained 200 million in less than one year!

We are a dime a dozen out there. Sprawling and kicking-about, each of us trying to grab the market’s attention (how many are even reading this post?? If I get 20 readers I’m delighted).  How do we distinguish one another?  One tactic is by engaging in social media Engagement Tactics and creating, what is refereed to as meaningful and “awesome content”.  It’s a must-do if you wish to support your sales teams by creating a recognizable brand and drive your sales objectives.  Mind you, all this can apply to both corporations and individuals – a personal brand being also considered a commodity that has its own unique value.

In front of an informed buyer with the power of information at his or her fingertips, today sales people are no longer truly in control of the sales cycle. They are at the whim of any web search….

Check out the article on LinkedIn Pulse

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