Monthly Archives: February 2016

How Was Your Leap Day, Did You Pose the Big Question?

Leap Day, on February 29, has been a day of traditions, folklore and superstitions ever since Leap Years were first introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago.

So here are a few fascinating facts I have Googled for you: according to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap day balances the calendar.  Tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. You can read more about leap day traditions here

Reading this made me think that in many ways asking someone to marry you, whether you are a woman or a man – is similar to selling: in both cases you are mostly out of your comfort zone, you are taking a risk of being rejected and most of all you need to make sure that your proposal is well within context.

I am sure that like me, you have experienced a situation where you met someone, either at a date or indeed a potential customer, and immediately felt that there are strong synergies there.  However, in most cases, you did not pop the question straight away but rather waited until you got to know them a bit better, developed a relationship and got some buying signals. In other words, you waited until you had some context first in which to ask them the big question.

So, how do you create this context in which you can ask people to buy from you (or marry you if you insist on keeping the story going)?  Well, you have to work at it and build a relationship through creating interest and trust which step by step leads people to develop interest in you and your business. Following the process patiently, considering your products buying cycle, is vital as anyone who tried to propose after a two weeks holiday romance will tell you…

That’s why, and you knew this was coming, having a business development strategy in general and a lead generation plan in particularly is so important: First you create the right process to building the relationship and then you follow it up by applying the right activities. Simples…

Now, I am no marriage councillor but I would like to understand your attitude to business development better so I can offer a better service. Would you mind helping me out by filling out my survey?  No selling, just an opportunity for me to understand your attitude to business development in your business. If you like it, why not share it with your network as well?

Cold Calling is Dead, Said Fred

Cold calling is dead

I recently went to one of these networking events where you get to talk to people and then sit and listen to a speaker. The lecture was about sales and the speaker chose the rather interesting title: ‘The sales person is dead’. Not ‘dead as you know it’ or ‘must change or die’, just ‘dead’. As a sales person myself I was rather intrigued to understand why my profession is dead and was surprised to find myself agreeing with the speaker. Basically the message was that if all you did as a sales person was to present your company and product to your client without taking into account their needs you will not sell very much. Increasingly, said the speaker, companies are able to get as much information as required from your website and even request free demos before they book a meeting with you, making old fashioned ‘ me, me, me presentations’ irrelevant.

In addition to this theory, I am also reading and hearing a lot that ‘Cold calling is dead’, people are Blogging about it, Linked In groups are arguing about it, it’s everywhere. So, I took some time considering all of this and decided that actually, bad presentations and cold calling were never alive, it never worked because two things where always true:

  1. All clients only care about their problem and how to solve it, they simply don’t care when your company was formed or if you are a family business.
  2. Every selling activity needs context in order to achieve results. If you start from the middle, which calling someone directly is, without building your profile and gaining interest first, you may well waste much time and resources without much results.

So, here are a few ideas to take away from my seemingly focus less tale:

  • Know your clients problems and provide a solution to them
  • Become invaluable to your clients and prospects through providing them with useful, free information regularly
  • Don’t banish your telephone to a dark corner, use it to follow up with your engaged clients to find out if they would like you to help them further

Light Bulb moment

Find these ideas interesting?  Why not consider the following next steps to improve your lead generation:

  • Identify your target markets and decide on which you would like to focus on
  • Identify a specific area in which you can be very useful to this segment
  • Create a suitable strategy, content and design for a targeted e-mail campaign
  • Send your campaign to your identified segment
  • Analyse the campaign data and identify the recipients who were most engaged with your message
  • Pick up the telephone to them to see what they thought of your helpful advice and whether they would like to engage with you further

If you feel that I can provide you with some helpful insights to assist you with the process please contact me or find out more about my marketing support services here.

The secret of selling ice to Inuit

Einstein said: ‘Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving’.  This, I believe, is also true for business, any business, which is why it’s important to consider the following questions;

Q1:         Moving in which direction?

A1:         That’s an easy one, forward of course….

Q2:         How does one move forward more efficiently then?

A2:         This one is not as easy and there are many possible answers to choose from. I would recommend that you consider business development if you are looking for a good return on your investment and here is why:


Once upon a time there was a business owner, let’s call him Bob, who wanted to grow his business and started looking for possible strategies to help him. The business owner was overwhelmed with the number of strategies out there and struggled to choose. In the end, after many meetings and conversations with a variety of people claiming to help him grow, Bob narrowed all proposals to three possible individuals he felt would be able to help him:

  1. The marketer
  2. The Sales Person
  3. The Business Development Manager

In order to make a decision Bob asked every individual to propose how they would promote ice to Inuit. Here are their answers in short:

  1. The marketer proposed that they segmented the Inuit population to understand their individual needs and then devise a series of appropriate campaigns, using appropriate tools and platforms to send the message out.
  2. The Sales person suggested that they buy data of all the able Inuit who can afford ice and call them all directly to offer them some at a special introductory offer.
  3. The Business Development Manager suggested that they use all of the above: create a profile, send appropriate communications and then follow up with interested parties.


I hope that my tale ( I know, I should keep to my day job) demonstrates that business development is practical and cost effective because it is not concerned with the methods, not even the best strategy, but identifying the opportunity first and then the shorter way to pursue it. This way of working is very effective for SMEs because they are normally lean on resources and time so might find marketing expensive and slow and direct selling, expensive and fruitless.  Business development is not a magic answer, it also takes time and money to deliver, but it strives to achieve results and will deploy a variety of practical methods to get there.

So why not give business development a go this year?  You could take my test to get an idea of your first steps.

PS The last question is of course what happens if you don’t keep moving? You fall off your bike, silly…