Finance Monthly May 2019 Edition

45 SPECIAL FEATURE - BUSINESS LESSONS PUT THE CUSTOMER AT THE CENTRE One of the most valuable business lessons from a self-help book comes early in Richard Bandler and John La Valle’s book on selling, Persuasion Engineering. It is quite simple to make the customer the centre of the process. It sounds obvious, and yet many startups are so focused on making money they miss this crucial step. Dr Bandler describes how one company boss told him. “We’re not interested in what the customer wants. We’re interested in giving our salespeople selling skills so they can sell more of what we already have.” This naive and inflexible approach to sales is something you find in some companies that don’t understand the transactional nature of... transactions. They think of sales as a series of techniques which flip people into purchasing mode rather than a more complex, human interaction. Down that road, Bandler warns, lies buyer’s remorse, along with a poor reputation. The big and obvious message is: “Think about what your customer wants, not what you want your customer to do.” VISUALISE YOUR ENDPOINT Change Your Life In Seven Days by Paul McKenna is essentially a crash course in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), an approach used in life-coaching, mentoring and therapy. Mental exercises give powerful lessons on taking charge of your life and are invaluable in enabling you to make your business goals happen. By combining strong emotions of excitement and anticipation, alongside detailed steps to a desired outcome, you can set an expectation and a direction in your mind toward your goal. Paul advises first imagining in detail your endpoint, then working backwards from there, visualising particular scenes and filling them with sensory detail. In this way, you give your conscious and unconscious mind a direction to follow, and realistic steps to take. For those not used to planning, it’s a powerful tool. It certainly seems to have worked for Paul, who has not been out of the bestseller list for more than a decade. GET PROACTIVE In 3 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey makes a clear distinction between proactive people (who tend to have more success) and reactive people. Proactive people aren’t dependent on the events and context around them, he writes, but on their own initiatives. Reactive people respond to their environments and events and habitually behave in a similar way to the people around them, either because of a feeling of inadequacy or an unconscious desire to fit in. Covey says it is not simply what happens to us that holds us back, but whether we conform and consent to the events that happen to us. That is key to being reactive. Covey observes that people spend their energies either thinking and operating in a Circle of Concern - which includes events and circumstances we can’t influence (such as war, weather, economic shock and so on), or in a Circle of Influence, comprising events we can directly affect, (such as deals, relationships, our health, etc). The proactive person puts their time into the Circle of Influence, meaning they are continually operating with matters they can affect. Thus, they are engaged rather than passive and take more responsibility for their lives, rather than avoiding problems and thinking about matters they cannot influence. It’s a useful tool to think about if you have a tendency to worry or waste time on matters you can’t affect, and by changing it, you will become more effective in your life generally. 1 2 3

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