marketing and advertising

Simplification Is The New Sales Sophistication

We live in unprecedented times and if you are a student of history, or perhaps eschatology, the human narrative is accelerating at a mind-boggling rate. We need wisdom as we navigate change and the unintended consequences of embracing technologies and dismantling borders. Every profession, including sales, is subject to disruption and many will lose careers they once thought to be safe.

Design thinking is an essential prerequisite in entrepreneurship and for creating 'Customer eXperience' (CX) that makes the buyer's life easier and the sales person essential. Clarity in the role we play and the value we deliver has never been more important for creating a prosperous future and a better world.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" Leonardo da Vinci (1492)

The enemy of simplicity is not big data. The Information Age is now being usurped by The Machine Age with Artificial Intelligence (AI) upon us – yes, the scary science fiction kind. The ‘web of things’ is linking cars, appliances, machines, assets and people. Wearable Bluetooth and mobility tracking are combining with beacons to create geo-context and proximity alerts via wireless networks and satellite communications that are ubiquitous. Big data is being leveraged for micro predictive analytics. Social media has already democratized the internet and cloud computing is enabling the most complex of capabilities for the smallest of enterprises. Meta-algorithms are creating their own priorities and financial systems have a level of interdependency that no-one truly understands.

It all seems to be creating an ever-consuming life of it’s own with real human interaction being pushed into the back seat. We have never had more access to information yet we drown in the data and suffer from digital distraction , drinking from the proverbial fire-hose, incapable of digesting all that is overwhelming us. We seek clarity amidst all the voices clamouring for our attention – there are a thousand channels to watch yet nothing is on.

Everyone seeking to influence others, especially those in sales, strives for cut-through. Sadly, many attempts result in cliched sound bites or sensationalist claims that try to play to our fears. But how do we represent the value we offer in way that resonates with our audience?

John Singleton is legend in Australia. He pioneered advertising in this market. Think Crocodile Dundee meets Mad Men. John Singleton knew that the more information you give people, the more they need to think about; and the more benefits you throw at people, the more difficult it is for them to see the one compelling reason to take action.

"My job is to simplify the complex and make the simple compelling" John Singleton (1980)

Every great musician, chef and designer knows a secret... Less is more. Entrepreneurs, marketers and sales people alike all need to adopt this ethos. What are the few compelling reasons to focus on? All the rest is mere support for the real message or conversation. We need to lead with why a conversation matters rather than with who we are, what we do and how we do it. No-one cares enough to take action until they have a compelling reason ('why?').

"Logic makes people think; emotion makes them act." Zig Ziglar (1986)

One-third of sales opportunities are lost to 'Do Nothing' which manifests as the status-quo / current state prevailing, or other projects having higher priority for funds and resources, or an incumbent supplier seeming to be less risk and effort. Change requires motivation yet bombarding people with facts does little. We must avoid confusing 'supporting information' with the primary message. Features and not necessarily benefits and proof of out claims do not equate to reasons to go ahead.

People are best motivated by reasons they themselves discover

We must help our potential customers discover why they should change state and why we represent best value and lowest risk through our insights and expertise.

  • How will you simplify your message to achieve cut-through in why a conversation matters?
  • How will you simplify buyer experience to differentiate in the way you sell rather with what you sell?
  • How will you take the vast array of data and myriad technology and tools to create elegant simplicity for your team, partners and customers?

Those who embrace technology and design thinking to drive simplicity will prosper. Never stop asking why things are currently done the way they are and reimagine engagement and processes to improve your customer's experience, and your own efficiency and market reach through automation and innovation.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main Image Photo by Flickr: Michael Heiss

Lack Of Emotion Kills Sales. Why Facts Paralyse

Anthony Robbins teaches that selling is about changing someone's emotional state. I agree and add that selling is first and foremost about the transference of belief. Another sales legend, Zig Zigar, passed away in 2012 and he taught me that logic and facts makes people think but emotion is what makes them act.

Professional selling can be compared with being a musician... endless personal rejection requiring a deep well of determination and you have to give your all to be successful... no holding back! At the heart of success is an authentic passion for making a positive difference in how we communicate and make a positive difference in the lives of our customers.

Passionate belief is the foundation on which success is built for entrepreneurs, sales people and those in the performing arts

We've all seen it on American Idol or Australia's Got Talent or The Voice – Keith Urban telling the contestant that they "didn't really sell it" or Simon Cowell on X Factor saying: "I didn't believe you." The greatest songs take us somewhere emotionally because they tell a story of love, tragedy, redemption... they reach in and tear our hearts out or lift us to heaven with happiness.

Johnny Cash is an amazing example of being authentic and he learned his lesson about being authentic during his first and only record company audition. He was performing gospel music but didn't really believe in the lyrics he was singing. It was disingenuous and the record company executive challenged him to sing about what he really believed. The darkness that tempered his belief in God was one the reasons that Johnny Cash dressed in black. This scene starring Joaquin Phoenix portrays exactly what happened. Watch the transformation...

We don't need to be all 'sunshine and light' to cause people to act. Numbers and facts are important for supporting a decision and building a business case but too much information simply causes the person say 'let me think about it'. The music video below has had >65,000,000 views and presents important facts in a way that evokes emotion. Watch this and shed a tear... another performance will lift your spirits at the end of this post.

Emotion has far more impact than 'production values' in any performance. Passion takes you further than mere professionalism. Yes, you've got to be able entertain and sing pitch-perfect... but that's just the ticket to the dance concert. It's ability to tell powerful true stories and transfer emotion that creates Grammy winners and sales legends.

You've got to believe in yourself, especially when others don't. Don't let the song inside you go unsung or as Wayne Dyer profoundly puts it: "Don't die with your music still inside of you." Stop telling and start selling what you passionately believe. Show it and dare to wear your heart on your sleeve!

As you put emotion into your message be sure to lead with why your audience should care. Have purpose in what you do by Leading with insight, building relationships of trust and creating real value

We must stop leading with who we are, what we do and how we do it and instead "lead with why". Simon Sinek masterfully communicates the importance of this, even with bad sound equipment. 

Why should someone meet with you? What do you believe and why should it be important to them?  What's the difference you you can make in their life or business?

Pharrell is another performer who gets the concept of building in a unique differentiator and it won him a Grammy in 2015. His productions with N.E.R.D. cemented his prowess as a producer blending rock, funk and hip hop. He didn't sound like anybody else that came before: the hybrid synergy created an 'original' sound. Differentiating your product and service in sales is paramount. You can differentiate your own selling style by pulling from old school and new school approaches.

Pharrell understands the Ogilvy "one-word" brand equity. Just check out his signature hat by Los Angeles hat designer Nick Fouquet. The hat has become an icon as has his sound. Some sales people I know wear a pocket square or rock a theme color for their company. I'm not suggesting a gimmick but if it's an authentic point of flair it may make sense. In no case am I the arbiter of business fashion but I can equate his hat to something that makes you say: 'wow, how cool'! What part of your solution, product or service stands out from the crowd? How can you work to uniquely differentiate yourself in the marketplace?

The last piece that makes Pharrell a master salesperson and performer is his ability to be a super networker. He is one of the most connected men in the entire music industry. His productions were in such hot demand because he helped pioneer a new technology called Reason by PropellerHead software that made tapestries of sound against canvases and mash-ups all digitally emulating analogue capabilities. He pushed the software to the limit and everyone wanted one of his tracks as a backdrop. You need to become a super networker in your industry, test out cutting edge software for B2B lead generation, trigger event tracking, drip campaigns and marketing automation and push the envelope as a B2B content marketer with LinkedIn Publisher. Think to yourself: What would Pharrell do here? How might he innovate?

Now it's your turn: What's your song inside? What metaphorical music is dying to get out? What other parallels do you see between music and selling?  How do you embrace positive emotion to cause others to act?

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main Image Photo by Flickr: Dima Doskoch - Souls reflection (Autoportrait)

Jaw-Dropping Marketing That You Won't Believe

Have you ever wondered if we will look back at this period in time and shake our heads in disbelief... how did we allow technology to make us dumber and create societal disengagement. If you had a career in sales... how did I allow the product to be the message?

Every bad idea seemed good at the time

 Do we now live in the age of digital narcissism? Are we witnessing the destruction of good manners and etiquette? Is written language being butchered by social media shorthand? Is the facade of 'social following' masking the absence of human connection? Is the avalanche of content across our screens driving digital distraction and destroying our ability to ponder and learn?

This short clip from Mad Men is more documentary that entertainment... and the advertisements below it are from the same era. They will make your jaw drop with laughter or anger... yet they are all 100% real. The appalling thing is that these types of ads are still happening today in many third world countries! 

How anyone can look themselves in the mirror while they sell a product that kills their customers is beyond me. Advertising reflects the values of society and wow we have changed. I never knew that my dad wore his business shirt and tie to bed so my mother knew who deserved breakfast in bed the next morning!

But at least wives had Pep to get them ready for the evening after a day of house work... I think I am digging a hole I may never escape from...

And for the children in the home who were not satisfied with second-hand cigarette smoke, there was always cocaine gum to stop the whining and get them off to sleep...

Or maybe beer flavoured breast milk to help them sleep through the night... not to mention the nutritional benefits of hops and malt. Who would have ever known that beer is an appetizing and stimulating tonic?

And to get them going in the morning, nothing works better than a massive sugar hit... adding caffein is all the better.

No-one in marketing or sales should push anything they don't believe in. Here is a brilliant example of how marketing and sales can make products attractive to consumers. It highlights how the talent of those who know how to influence can be used for good.

Make sure you believe in what your product, service or solution does for your clients. Be a force for good in world and be clear about the positive difference you make for all stakeholders. Then transfer emotion rather than information.

Click here to see why the power of belief is truly amazing

Join the conversation here. How do you make sure your sales and marketing efforts are completely ethical and that they will remain so after the passage of time?

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website: