Field Notes

Insights, inspiration and ideas. Observations on real-life challenges that our clients are facing and practical strategies to address them.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst and expect to be surprised

This title is two quotes combined – from authors Denis Waitley and Lee Child. It neatly encapsulates a “light-bulb” moment I had during an excellent briefing on Business Risk, delivered by Nick Moon of Applied Resilience. I know this is not as exciting as sales and  marketing, but if we are to run a successful and sustainable business we need to make sure we can weather any storms that come

How to spot a marketing dinosaur

We recently hosted a seminar at techUK presented by Grant Leboff of “Sticky Marketing” fame, and it was a revelation. Grant has the ability to put into words the things you might have been secretly wondering about, and he is not afraid to challenge conventional thinking. Here in a nutshell is his challenge to the “Four P Marketing Mix”: Product, Promotion, Price and Place. These were introduced in the early

What the food industry can teach us about GDPR, and it’s not what you might think

Despite all the coverage of GDPR, I am still hearing people say “I don’t think it applies to us, or “can we avoid it somehow?” The answer is: GDPR is just as relevant to all organisations, large and small, as food hygiene and traceability is to all food manufacturers. However, food manufacturers don’t just comply with regulations because they have to, nor do they comply because they might get a

There is more to listening than not talking

You can’t go through sales training without having the importance of listening drummed into you. “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason,” etc. etc. Yet I don’t remember ever being taught how to listen in those courses – developing an understanding of listening skills came much later, through management development and an interest in psychology. I wish I had learned before. My favourite sales quote comes

A-B-C Always Be Closing

Made famous – or infamous – by Alec Baldwin in the classic sales film “Glengarry Glen Ross”. It is associated with the hard sell, aggressive style of the stereotype snake-oil salesman. Sure, closing is important but an obsession with closing didn’t fit with my consultative sales style. Until the light came on. Another sales mantra I have picked up from several methodologies is the “Up-front Contract”. Put the two together

Why open answers kill your sales opportunities

On day one of sales training I expected you were told you have two ears and one mouth for a reason – you can sell more by listening. They explained how to ask open, rather than closed questions to get the prospect talking. Then there was the part about solutions rather than products, because our product is more than just a product, it helps the customer achieve something else. All

6 classic copywriting structures that still work today

Apparently John Emory Powers (1837-1919) was the world’s first full-time copywriter. Famous authors including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller, Dorothy L. Sayers, Salman Rushdie and Fay Weldon all spent time employed as copywriters. Writing copy that helps sell is not new, and many of the structures developed decades ago work just as well online and in social media today. Here are six structures that you can use to create interest

Why selling beads is easier than selling necklaces

Here is a scenario which will be familiar to many. You follow up a sales lead and have a meeting with the prospect. Your solution is a great fit for their business and you go away to prepare a detailed proposal. You put a lot of work into this proposal and the prospect is bound to be impressed. You go back and present the proposal. The prospect is indeed impressed,

How to read your buyer’s mind: handling the real objections

Objection handling is taught in every sales school, and we all have to deal with objections throughout our lives – from difficult customers to our nearest and dearest. I learned early on that an expressed objection was often not the real issue, and sometimes the individuals negotiating didn’t even realise what their underlying objection really was. Often we hear “it’s too expensive”, when the price isn’t the real issue but

A Guide to GDPR for business leaders and marketers (and 10 steps to take now…)

The new regulation The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been coming up a lot in conversations with business leaders recently. Although most people know it is very important, there are still many who don’t have a clear picture of what it is and what it means to their business. This short feature provides an executive-level overview and what you need to do about it. Hopefully it provides enough information