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Wednesday, 18 November 2015


The Three Value Conversations: How to Create, Elevate, and Capture Customer Value at Every Stage of the Long-Lead Sale (Hardback)

How to Create, Elevate, Capture
Customer Value at Every Stage of the Long-Lead Sale
Erik Peterson, Tim Riesterer, Conrad Smith & Cheryl Geoffrion

McGraw Hill Education 2015
Cover Price: $32.00

“Salespeople need to understand that, at their core, they are storytellers. Salespeople who think of themselves as salespeople will fail.”

I have had a long career in business management and in the course of my work I have encountered dozens of salespeople who have been robotic in their approach to selling and predictable in their lack of understanding of my role, my business and my needs. In short, they did not do any homework to prepare for discussions and they often allowed their ego-engines to move to overdrive as they dominated meetings.  As a potential customer, I lost interest very quickly, had to stifle more than a few yawns and sometimes cut things short just to ease my pain. I can remember a few exceptions but most salespeople in my experience presented rather than conversed.  As you might have gathered, not much business was agreed with those lacklustre sellers.

‘The Three Value Conversations” book addresses this boring, mechanical and pointless approach to engaging customers and doing good business by promoting and encouraging customer conversations. Most of us love stories, be it gossip, anecdote, fable or whatever, especially if the storytellers are confident, knowledgeable and memorable through what they say and how they say it.  If stories are told with natural ease and are made relevant to the listener, then that is a great package with which to develop a meaningful relationship.

The book talks of salespeople preparing themselves with the right message, the right tools and the right skills.  In a sales conversation, there is no room for blether or baloney. We are taught about creating value – how salespeople can convince buyers of products and services that their solutions are different from and better than those of competitors. We learn about elevating value and how salespeople can justify the investment in products and services as financially viable and lucrative options.  We understand how salespeople can capture value, the so-called maximisation conversation, not by blatantly negotiating to seal the deal but by convincing the buyer that what is being sold is the only sensible option practically, operationally and economically. Selling should not be about talking at buyers. It should be about offering insight rather than heavy-handed pitching. This modern world is not about ticking boxes and hoping for the best. Sophisticated selling techniques learned, mastered and delivered with personality, professionalism and determination are the new ingredients for success.

The authors have come at the subject from research done in neuroscience, social psychology and behavioural economics but don’t let that put you off. Yes, this is a serious book written by serious people about a serious subject. But it is written in an accessible way. It is not a textbook to frighten people with high falutin’ terminology. It is a very readable book to be embraced and absorbed by anyone serious enough about being the best at selling.

There is a downside to all of this but it has nothing to do with the book. The downside is that a lot of salespeople and their managers will not read it because they will think they know better. “The Three Value Conversations” is too good an opportunity to miss. Selling solutions are served on a plate and all it takes is the price of the book and a hunger for a different, more adept approach to how salespeople think and how selling is done.

This is a book that can help transform business thinking and I urge everyone from the enthusiast to the sceptic to take the time to refresh how they think and do the selling job.

Thursday, 14 May 2015



I'm concentrating my efforts on my other blog http://droppedthemoon.blogspot.co.uk/ and will not be back on here for a while......unless something interesting comes my way.

Thanks for all the views, so far.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


I am very grateful to Grace Hartnett from Kaizen Search for sending me some excellent and interesting research - The Rise of the Pound Shop.

Here's the link to the main Kaizen Search website - https://www.kaizensearch.co.uk/

Here's the link to Grace's research - https://www.choice-loans.co.uk/poundshop/

Grace says in her email:

"As Poundland just turned 25 years old, I created an infographic on the meteoric rise of discount stores across the UK. 

For example, I found that Pound Shops last year made £2.1 Billion Pounds in revenue, and the industry has created 25,000 UK Jobs across 1400+ stores to date.

It also features statistics and a timeline on each of the major discount store brands, yearly revenue, employees and numbers of stores."

I am sure Grace would be delighted to hear feedback/questions from interested parties

This blog post has been shared on Reddit, Digg, Twitter and Facebook

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


I'm concentrating my efforts on my other blog http://droppedthemoon.blogspot.co.uk/ and will not be back on here for a while.

Thanks for all the views, so far.

Thursday, 7 May 2015


25 Amazing Business Books From 2014

"25 Amazing Business Books From 2014"
I'm always on the look out for great business-related books and here's a link to Entrepreneur website with a few ideas - http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240061 including

1. "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership" by Richard Branson

2. “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” by Walter Isaacson

3. “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


The decision by the BBC to not renew Jeremy Clarkson's contract is right beyond a shadow of a doubt. In pure Human Resources lingo, he was bang out of order. But, he might appeal......so, let's see.

He duffed up an employee and there is no way he could have or should have escaped the ultimate punishment.

In my managerial years, I have dismissed employees for stealing a can of pop.

The dignity award goes to the producer, Oisin Tymon, who was abused and subjected to physical violence.  He could have gone ballistic publicly but he didn't and that is to his enormous credit. He might do the circuit now, but I hope not.

I think about the back room boys and girls, the support crew and feel very badly about their employment, once reasonably secure but now in the balance because of a bloody tantrum over dinner.

Clarkson is a brilliant presenter and writer, sharp, intelligent and able to explode the absurdities of life. But he is also, as his friend and colleague James May said to journalists "a knob'. He pushes and pushes and pushes and seems to enjoy negative feedback, banter and notoriety.

Top Gear is a superb show, based on cars but laced with capers. The trio of presenters is a broadcasting gift, but sadly, it seems, the chemistry is soon to be changed.

The social media bleugh about who might replace Clarkson is rife. But that is social media's reason to exist. Names mentioned include Chris Evans, Johnny Vaughn, Dermot O'Leary, Jodie Kidd, Steve Coogan.....all, in my humble opinion, ugh candidates. I'm sure a Martian and a Klingon are being considered too.

But it all misses the point.  The current trio gel. Top Gear is, as we have known and loved it (most of us), wonderful entertainment and I speak as someone who couldn't care less about cars. 

Taking someone out and parachuting someone else in just will not work, especially if we are talking about a ten-a-penny presenter, which Jeremy Clarkson was not.

Have a car show, yes, but don't call it Top Gear because that is what it surely will never be without its key catalyst.  However, Clarkson will not be short of a crust, so don't weep too much.

As a manager of nearly 40 years, the BBC did the right thing. As a viewer, I am upset because one of my favourite shows is in the melting pot.

I could give you a long list of Clarkson replacements that would appal me but.....I can't be bothered.

Whatever happens, I think humanity will get over it......especially as I write this, a rescue mission is under way in the Alps following a devastating plane crash. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015


These are trying times for organisations and leaders in so many walks of life.  The Internet has opened up many channels of communication and accelerated the speed with which a hint, a rumour, a newsflash or a lie can be transmitted around the world in seconds.  Reputations can be enhanced or destroyed by a few words shared, repeated and retweeted.  These are exciting and dangerous technological times too, exciting because innovation is fascinating and dangerous because, as with most inventions, evil intent eventually rears its ugly head.

Celebrities, politicians, corporate executives, religious leaders, creative artists, teachers, clinicians, enthusiasts, fanatics et al use the world wide web to promote themselves and their causes and, in turn, must brace themselves for criticism,  advice, support, sarcasm and threats.  Harry Truman’s famous phrase: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” can now be rejigged for this cyber age: “If you want a quiet life and a clear head, stay out of the bubbling social media cauldron.”

But, it is religion that I turn to because it has and continues to hog the headlines for proven and suspected associations with sexual abuse, terrorism, sexism and a whole lot of other negative and damning baggage.  There is much to resolve.

I am, however, thinking about ordinary members of religious faiths and groups, the ones who believe with absolute certainty that they are following the right paths and that their God or focus is there for them to revere and refer to in times of need and gratitude.

Specifically, I am narrowing this down and I am thinking of my mother who passed away in recent years.  Her faith was always important to her as a link, a lifebelt , especially in her fading, dying days.
What the headliners seem to forget is the extraordinary amount of people who live below the media hype – no matter how justified and concerning it might be.

For my mother, and many, many others, the thought of touching the hand of Jesus when her time on Earth was up, was a relationship of joy and security until her last breath.

Her connection with St Teresa’s Catholic church on the Glen Road, Belfast, was a sanctuary to her through a life involving a deserting husband and seven young kids to raise.  She was devout.

Twitter and other social media cynics and critics revel in the destruction of religious establishments and cultures.

I would respect the devout, the faithful, especially, the individual that draws comfort in dying days from whatever they believe in.

The leaders, administrators, proven or yet to be proven criminals of religious orders are up for scrutiny. But do not neglect, forget or disrespect the ones who BELIEVE for all the right, good, positive reasons you can imagine.