Monday, February 19, 2018

"Thinking of others to make selling as easy as ABC"/ Queenie Choo

Oct. 30, 2017 "Think of others to make selling as easy as ABC": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail

A time-honoured sales mantra over the years has been summed up in the acronym ABC – Always Be Closing.

It was actually tarnished by the stereotypical and somewhat unsavoury salespeople portrayed in the hit movie Glengarry Glen Ross, but Markham, Ont., sales trainer Jill Harrington says it lives on in the subconscious and actions of modern salespeople nevertheless.

“We dropped ABC from our vocabulary, but not from our mindset,” she says in an interview.

Today’s salespeople are busier than ever. They have little time to prepare for meetings – too often developing their plan and pitch on the way to visit a prospect. And their bosses are demanding they meet tough quotas.

She says they have to learn new behaviours by changing their thinking, including rethinking the notion of Always Be Selling. Instead, when you’re selling, you need to adopt these three ABCs:

Always Be Contributing

All activity on a file – every call, presentation, proposal, and meeting – must contribute value to the client. If you’re not contributing value, you’re just being a nuisance or a cost. And that value will be determined by the receiver. You are contributing value according to the buyer’s definition, not your own.

Always Be Curious

While Always Be Contributing is the fundamental ABC, she says you’ll fail at it unless you are always curious about your prospect. Always – in every interaction, as well as before those interactions – try to get inside their heads and figure out how to help them.

Unfortunately, most salespeople aren’t all that curious about customers but try to paper that over through asking probing questions, a central feature of most sales strategies.

“Who wants to be probed?” she says. “The word sounds bad – digging deeper and deeper into someone. Genuine curiosity is about being interested in people and their business.”

Always Be Connecting

In a wired age, it’s easy to connect. But are you truly connecting, or just giving clients an information dump in your e-mails and presentations?

She says that in every interaction, prospects expect you to bring three things:

An understanding of the customer’s world, relevant expertise, and the ability to connect those two items. Before you send that e-mail, consider how many messages the prospect receives a day and what in yours is special (and is that important element in the first sentence)?

“It’s hard to get out of our own heads, which is filled with [the message] ‘I’ve got to make the sale.’ I’m saying put that aside and think about the other person in the situation.”

This probably seems like common sense. But in the title of her new book, it’s often Uncommon Sense. It’s not how salespeople operate, given their pressures, so they have to shift their thinking.

She says they have to stop striving to be the best. In the interview, she tells about one company that put out a request for proposal (RFP) and the five bidders each announced in their proposals they were the best.

It was, according to the recipient of their bids, unhelpful and untrustworthy, “marketing fluff” – and since it wasn’t made clear how that specifically helped the client, a waste of words.

The Holy Grail of Selling has been the notion of “unique value proposition” – each seller needs to know what is unique about their offering.

But most company’s unique value propositions, she has found, aren’t very unique and often salespeople (and their bosses) can’t ever articulate one. Instead, she advises salespeople to develop value propositions unique to every client.

Stop generalizing. Be specific and relevant to the person across the table. Lead your proposal with what you know about the prospect and how you can help.

Uncommon sense is about relevance – not just of your product but also of the sales messages you create. It’s about kicking off your shoes and getting into the shoes of your customer (she will ask people in her sales presentations to put on her shoes, making the point that won’t happen unless they take off their own).

It’s also about viewing every interaction with your customer as a “once in a lifetime moment” – you’ll never have another chance to be with the customer at this time and in this context again.

Don’t blow it off. Make the most of it, unlike the company that was presenting to a group of buyers and when the presentation finished after 20 minutes, left rather than use the remaining 40 minutes to pose questions to the prospects.

Always be curious. Always be contributing. Always be connecting. It’s the new ABCs.

It’s hard to get out of our own heads, which is filled with [the message] ‘I’ve got to make the sale.’ I’m saying put that aside and think about the other person in the situation.

Jill Harrington Sales trainer and author of Uncommon Sense

The Ladder: Queenie Choo: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail

Queenie Choo is the CEO of Success, the largest non-profit social service organization in B.C. The organization provides settlement services to new immigrants through 25 locations in B.C. and three overseas offices, in Beijing, Seoul and Taipei. Before joining Success in 2012, Ms. Choo was executive director responsible for redesigning the home and community health system at Alberta Health Services.

I was born in Hong Kong. My father died when I was three years old. My mother raised my older brother and me. No words can express how grateful I am for how she raised us.

We weren't a rich family. Everything we had we had to earn it. My mother worked in a garment factory. She would bring me to her workplace when I was little because we couldn't afford a babysitter. I recall her ironing shirts with palm-tree prints on them before they were shipped out. It was a tough life in the 1950s. The economy wasn't great in Hong Kong at the time either.

During high school, I helped earn some money for the family by tutoring math and science for elementary school kids. My grades were very good.

I wanted to go university in Hong Kong to study medicine, but I couldn't bear the thought of my mother continuing to struggle for me to pay the fees. Instead, I went to the U.K. to study nursing.

Alberta was recruiting nurses in the U.K. and I decided to go. I arrived in Edmonton in December, 1980. I didn't realize how cold it would be. I was young, in my early 20s, and I thought nothing would stop me. Plus, they gave us a one-way ticket and a one-month honorarium to get started. If you changed your mind, you'd have to pay it back.

There were no services for new people to the country at that time. I didn't know how to access services, but I knew the language and I had a job. I got a car, which isn't a luxury in Edmonton in the winter, but two months later it got stolen.

That was a setback and I was very devastated. At the time, it was my only asset. That was the first challenge. The police eventually found it and it got fixed.

The second challenge was to get my nursing credentials recognized in Canada. I was asked to get my TOEFL [English language test], even though I was trained in English in the U.K.

Instead, I decided to finish my high-school diploma, in my early 20s, and then I got my nursing degree and later a master's in nursing from the University of Alberta. I was working as a nursing supervisor on the night shift while attending school.

I held various management roles in nursing until, in 2012, I was invited to be the CEO of Success in Vancouver. That was a big decision for me. I wasn't young in my career. I wasn't looking for a job. My family, including my two daughters, totally supported me.

I came for the job because of the values of diversity and inclusion, which are the values of our country. That helps me walk the talk. Every step of the way, I want to make sure what we do serves the country well.

I truly love the work that I do. My role is to ensure that we have adequate resources to serve the community well. My challenge is to make sure the service is impactful, value-added, appropriate, relevant and also cost-effective. We don't just serve the Asian community.

We have deep Asian roots, but we have an open heart. We aim to be reflective of the communities where we are. We have evolved as a very multicultural, multilingual organization.

This job requires someone who not only thinks corporately but is also a people person. I think that's a challenge for some people. For me, this is what I bring in. I started my career as a nurse. I am still a nurse.

I think people see me as a hard-working person, a fearless leader and someone who is passionate and speaks from the heart.

For future leaders, it's important to believe in your vision and to pursue it. Without the vision, you'll be hard-pressed to achieve what you'd like to see happen. If you don't get started, you'll never get there.

I believe, as leaders, that we have to be creative and to think outside the box. We also have to change with the times. If we continue to do the same thing we do every day, we only get the same result – or less.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

My opinion: I like this article because it was inspirational because she went through some hard times growing up with a single mom and immigrating to Canada.

Flashback: I have heard of the name Queenie before.  It was way back in jr. high school and I had a math tutor named Theresa.  She said she has a friend named Queenie and wanted to change it and get a nick name.

I said she should go by her the first letter of her name.  I get the name Queen as a name, and Queenie is a nickname.

I have mentioned this before.  I watched Blind Date and a black woman's name was Princess.

Princess: A lot of people don't think that's my real name and they think I made it up.

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