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Shane Gibson Keynote Speaker | Social Selling | Sales Trainer | Social Media Strategy

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  • Oct 15 / 2008
  • 6
Sales Blog, Uncategorized

Blog Action Day 2008 – Fighting Poverty

I registered for blog action day yesterday after being reminded of it while on twtter.  Today I will be blogging about poverty and how we can all take simple steps to help eliminate it locally and internationally.  To start off I must say that I am absolutely humbled to one of the 11,000 bloggers partaking in this today.  For many of them, they are well versed in what is really going on and steps we can take to help.  I myself as I sit back in my high back leather chair in my home office realise just how out of touch I probably am as a Canadian in this land of plenty.  Most of us are out of touch, something I didn’t know for instance that one in 5 children in British Columbia live in poverty ( stats from B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition).  This is in my own community?  I must say before I blog another line that I’m right now, making a public commitment to do more locally.  So if one wonders if this blog action day really will have an impact, it already has on me.

Growing up on the West Side of Vancouver and attending Prince of Wales High School I often compared myself to the son’s and daughters of some very wealthy people.  These kids drove to school in brand new BMW’s and Lexus’ (not all of them, but a lot).  I had a 53 Chevy Pickup that looked great but was truly held together with bailing wire and a prayer, I went through fuses like they were tic-tacs.  Funny I actually thought we were broke?  Then in 1993 in my first year of work in the family business we had some really tough times pretty soon we went from a new Lincoln, Turbo Volvo, and Whistler ski weekends to a new version of reality I wasn’t accustomed to.  All the things I thought I needed no longer seemed to matter.  We struggled to pull together enough money from our ailing business to buy groceries, pay rent, and utilities (in fact we survived by the grace of friends like Bill and Donna Pearson, Del Hughes, Dave and Lynn Ferris and Jim and Sharon Janz). Somehow I thought we were suffering, but by global standards we were still very fortunate.  We had access to a network of great people, mentorship and help in solving our financial problems, free medical care, and we lived right in the middle of one of the most livable cities in the world.  With my limited life experience correct or not I thought that this was suffering.  I really never understood what dire poverty looks like until I left Canada and moved to Africa for 2 years in 1997-1999.

Flying into Johannesburg (3.3 million people) was a big eye opener.  This wasn’t the Africa that Hollywood portrays (until recently).  In driving to the hotel in Sandton from the Airport my driver directed me to look out the window to my left.  There it was a somewhat unofficial settlement at that time. Alexandria or “Alex” as the locals called it.  A squatter camp that sprawled literally as far as the eye can see. Some paved some dirt roads, tin roofs and walls, much of it without electricity or running water.  I’m not sure of the figures now but at that time there was 60% unemployment, and many these unemployed people in the Joburg in Alex.  Some people claim there are over 1,000,000 people living there but there is no official census numbers for “squatters.”

Squatter Camp photo from Travelblog.orgI did not have the opportunity to go right into Alex when I lived there (worlds worst homicide and carjacking rates per capita at that time), but I did flirt with the outskirts from time to time, and spent a considerable amount of time in smaller townships that were equally as destitute in other regions in South Africa.  I found most Africans to be proud and kind regardless of their economic plight.  Resourceful, eager to learn, and they seemed to be hardwired for entrepreneurism.  In most cases it wasn’t just personal finances that were lacking, but access to a way out of their plight.  Education, mentorship, and the basics like clean water and electricity.  I don’t want to be seen as painting a picture of helplessness, there are many people who have succeeded in that environment.  For me though, it was an eye opener as to how much we have as North Americans, and how little gratitude I had personally had for all of those things I thought were my God given right to possess.  It was then that I started to realize that many people are possessed by their possessions.  We can do so much more with our talents than collect and hoard things.

There in Africa I was first exposed to micro lending and what it can do as a force against poverty.  I would often walk past a kind man who sold oranges out of the back of a large wagon.  One day my brother stopped to talk to him.  We were mesmerized by his enthusiasm for his business.  He was unemployed for years before he started his orange stand.  A local South African Bank helped him get started, and when he started he didn’t even have a fixed address.  They loaned him money daily, to buy inventory.  He would buy his oranges, mark them up, and turn a small profit daily.  The daily loan was less than $25 Canadian, which he would repay and then get another short term loan.  I know there are several popular micro lending formats but this one to me was interesting because it was not a hand-out, and it also helped him learn about cash-flow management and build his credit.  A $25 loan helped him eventually move into a real address, eat healthy food, and begin educating himself on running a business.

http://www.kiva.org/ is one tool that anyone in the world can use to begin to participate in micro lending.  A donation of $25 can make a real difference, and a $1000 can help an entire village.  Muhammad Yunus founder of Grameen Bank was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his ground breaking work in taking this concept and making it work on a large scale.

One final thought or story in regards to how to make a difference is that money is great, but sometimes it’s not all that people need.  Mentorship, volunteering, and contributing by actually getting involved (in person or the way 11,000 bloggers are doing it today) is also needed.  Alfina worked for our family in South Africa, her son was unemployed and living Alex.  She asked me if I could help him get a job.  What he needed was help writing a resume.  He had no access to a computer, or printer and Alfina and her son had never written a resume.  He showed up 4 hours late, with no shoes on.  Someone had stolen them, and he had no money for public transportation, so he walked.  He walked from Alex to my place in Sandton, in bare feet, so someone could help him get a job.  I thought I was going to give him a lecture on being on time during the job hunt.  Instead he taught me a lesson on commitment and succeeding regardless of our resources.  NO EXCUSES.  We wrote his resume (his only job was “towel boy” for a soccer team) and it was pushing the barrier between non-fiction and fiction but we got it done.  He left with a pair of my shoes, some clothes, and big ambitions.  He canvassed every business in Johannesburg with no luck, so he hopped on a bus and with his very last resume in Port Elizabeth landed a job as a stock boy and eventually rose to cashier. Gainfully employed.

In giving we also receive, he taught me a big lesson on commitment. “Give to live for to withhold is to perish”  – Kahlil Gibran


  • Jul 26 / 2008
  • Comments Off on Question from Minto Roy of Careers Today Canada Radio
Blogathon 2008, Leadership, Sales Articles, Sales Blog, Sales Management Blog, Uncategorized

Question from Minto Roy of Careers Today Canada Radio

Blog Entry Sponsored by Minto Roy (donation to MSMF foundation)  of Careers Today Canada .com.

Dear Shane,

What advice could you give to employers that are seeking to hire top sales performers in what is still an employees’ job market (especially when we refer to top sales producers)?

Dear Minto: There are several factors that we need to look at when recruiting top performing sales people.  The first step in my opinion is to:

Write up a complete description of the type of sales job it is, including the following:

  1. Amount of phone selling, cold calling, proposal writing, group presentations.
  2. Geographical area
  3. Amount of travel
  4. Amount of time away from home
  5. Level of independence
  6. Hours expected to work
  7. Work culture of the company
  8. Reporting and paper work expected
  9. Client entertainment factor
  10. Type of customers or potential customers
  11. Level of acceptance by the customer in reference to
    • the company
    • the products and service
    • the industry
  12. Level of selling
    • Product/service focused
    • Relationship marketing focused
    • Customer and solution focused.
  13. Size of average sale
  14. Length of the selling cycle and any other important factors you can think of.
  15. Trade show selling and seminar selling etc.

With the above job description in mind, carefully describe the characteristics, behaviors, values, skills, experience and abilities you require in this person.

Secondly realize that top producers are rarely ever unemployed.  Being in the recruiting business you know that top producers are constantly being courted for other job positions.  My suggestion is hire in advance, network where these producers work and play, and even offer finders fees to your own internal sales team if they find you a winner.

My last thought is winners like to win, and they like to win quick.  If you’re recruiting top performers you better have a sales opportunity and a process that enables them to hit home runs early.  Showing up to a disorganized sales environment with no sales process or culture is something that will quickly repel most top producers.

Thanks again Minto for your contribution to the MSMF Blogathon!

This is blogathon entry number 28 for the MSMF Blogathon. Visit this page to learn how you can support this cause.

  • Jul 26 / 2008
  • Comments Off on Faith Based Selling – Blogathon Entry 16
Blogathon 2008, Sales Management Blog, Trevor Greene, Trevor Greene Vancouver, Uncategorized

Faith Based Selling – Blogathon Entry 16

In our book Closing Bigger Trevor Greene and defined selling as “Creating an environment where an act of faith can take place.” Faith is based upon trust and trust is based upon credibility with the client. Credibility is about being more than a sales rep, it’s about being a business person that sells. Credibility is also about asking great questions, and having a high level of insight into the client, their company and their industry.

Over the past couple of years I have found that there is another way one could look at our definition.  “Sales is about creating an environment where an act of faith can take place .”  The first enviroment we need to create so an act of faith can take place is within us.

Faith is a belief, and intense belief.  We first must be able to truly visualize ourself succeeding and wholly believe in that picture.  World class athletes from skiers, to ice skaters to rowers at the Olympic level use visualization as a tool for mentally preparing themselves to win.  The difference between Gold and Bronze in giant slalom is usually less than .5 seconds.  With all of these skiers basically around the same weight, level of fitness and level of training it eventually boils down to a mental game.

There are many factors that effect our ability to intensely believe that we can win (some of them we will discuss in future blog entries and podcasts) but here’s the shortlist

Self-Esteem and Self-Worth: A sense of our own value and ability based upon mutliple belief structures

Training: Repeated feedback and on-going progress offers proof of success and mental conditioning

Self-talk: The constant dialogue we have with ourselves, the questions we ask, and we respond mentally to what happens to us impacts this as well.

External Models of Possibility: Mentors, Leaders, and other performers that we can model our strategy after assists us in seeing what is possible.

Association: Once again, who we associate with on a regular basis will impact our standards and our concept of what is possible (Olympians tend to train with Olympians).

So before we put our “out-side world” plan together for success we need to make sure that we have put together a solid internal plan for mental and emotional fortitude.  The bottom-line is that our business development plans must have a personal development plan connected to them if we’re going to perform at our best.

This is blogathon entry number 16 for the MSMF Blogathon. Visit this page to learn how you can support this cause.

  • Jul 26 / 2008
  • Comments Off on Ethics in Selling Part 4
Uncategorized

Ethics in Selling Part 4

Genuinely Ethical:

The genuinely ethical person has a well-calibrated moral compass—a compass only points in the right direction. Genuinely ethical people not only see the right direction, they consistently choose to follow that direction. Their motivation is based not upon avoiding punishment or being “found out.” They realize that true stable wealth and success is built upon timeless principles and a solid foundation built by the application of these principles.

Often a strong ethical foundation starts with putting non-economic social values ahead of economic drivers or personal gain. This can also be seen as a short-term definition. People in a sales environment who consistently take ethical action maintain their personal integrity and reap other somewhat intangible rewards for taking this path over time.

Principle 1: Trust is the number one sales currency

Cost: A client can have every logical reason to do business with us, but if they do not feel you are trust-worthy and you lack a professional or community reputation, very few will work with you. Without trust, it takes many small trial runs, small purchase orders, and often ironclad legal agreements before we can move forward on a deal. This lack or reputation or brand goodwill slows deals down and often makes them smaller and less lucrative. If we make statements that are untrue, only partially true or withhold important information, the client will eventually discover it and either sever the relationship or micro-manage us in every aspect.

Benefit: People, who make promises, keep commitments, disclose the whole truth and effectively represent the interests of their clients and the company, will over time build strong personal goodwill in the marketplace. When clients trust us, they share more information with us. With that information we can then provide them better results with our products and solutions. Also, with increased knowledge of the client, we understand how to better help them and serve their needs. With better results, we get an increased level of trust in relationships and then even more information—it is a cycle that continues.

With trust in us, our clients do not have to doubt and worry—they can focus on other business or personal activities. This adds a lot of emotional value to the client. In addition to this, orders are often more frequent and larger as trust enables the client to make more accurate projections on what we are capable of delivering.

Principle 2: There are no secrets
Cost: Secrets, lies and half-truths; if you know about any or have figured it out, somebody else will too. If you and someone else know about a “secret”, you have to assume that more people will be told and/or know. Very few people are able to keep a secret from their spouse, friends, and coworkers. Whether you live in Kipling, Saskatchewan or New York, New
York, you are living in a place too small to not be found out! News travels fast through business and social networks, professional associations, religious affiliations, and Internet communities such as chat rooms.

Benefit: Do good, keep your commitments; consistently make your decisions with a social and environmental conscious. When people trust you, they talk favorably about you, and the end result is they build your good reputation for you. A famous quote by William Shakespeare encapsulates what most people believe: “Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.” In other words, be empathetic, be friendly, but be careful who you represent and support. Before people endorse us, they must implicitly trust us or risk tarnishing their own reputation.

Principle 3: The end goal is to be happy

Cost: We can cut corners, lie to people, cheat and get the financial prize but the prize will never be enough. They sacrifice their dignity to get there. Most people think “I’ll be happy when _____________________!” (Fill in the financial or career goal). When they get there, they are still not happy. Inside they feel like a fake, they carry with them remorse, bad press, and
damaged relationships, some even have to leave town with their prize after they burn their socio-economic bridges. Their end goal was happiness—they thought happiness was a new address, a financial figure, or the kind of car they drive. Happiness is a state of mind and this is something alone money cannot buy. This is where the statement “it is lonely at the top” comes from!

Benefit: When we authentically achieve success and contribute to the well-being of others, it creates a sense of peace and confidence. We develop a real sense of self (or self-esteem) and can confidently determine what we are capable of. Our success feels real, and we are free of remorse, regret, and have further strengthened our socio-economic ties in our community. We get our end goal and peace of mind too. The big bonus is our social networks stay intact—we can share our success and bring people with us!

Example:

One question that a Board of Trade often asks their new members is: “Are you in business for a year or a decade?” The reason they ask this question is to get people to realize the long-term impact of their sales and marketing activities. Often people measure success so short-term that it is a detriment to their career or business success in the long-term.

This is Blog Entry #6 for the Vancouver Blogathon. A 24 hour blogging marathon for charity. Please check out my charity the MSMF foundation and help us bring hope and prosperity to children in rural India.

  • Jul 26 / 2008
  • 12
Blogathon 2008, Sales Articles, Sales Blog, Uncategorized

Ethics in Selling Part 2 – Sales Blog Entry

There are various categories of Ethical Behavior:
• Unethical – me motivated
• Situationally Ethical – contextually motivated
• Genuinely Ethical – greater good motivated Unethical
Unethical people are solely motivated by what serves them. Depending on the degree of selfishness, level of crime, or moral rules they break, these people are often referred to as “Sharks, Hedonists or Corporate Psychopaths”. These people knowingly lie, manipulate, cheat, or steal, both in the workplace and in their personal life. They view people as objects to be used and exploited, then disposed of after they are finished. The most extreme are the corporate psychopaths who leave a trail of corporate carnage. Purposefully broken promises, intentionally lying to staff, clients, and the authorities to advance their career and or their corporate bottom-line with a win-lose mentality, they lack a moral compass. They may be psychologically incapable of empathy; their behavior is driving share value, revenues, and crushing competitors, using all means possible.

Those who hire unethical people often revere them for a short period of time as they tend to be results-oriented people. Without the confines of ethical, environmental, or legal restrictions, profits may appear in the short term. However, the company eventually suffers for collecting funds without a conscience, and inevitably lawsuits, government intervention, criminal charges, and consumer backlash all follow. There are a series of high-profile ethics cases in the United States where people are now spending a lifetime in jail, while the corporation sits in receivership (bankruptcy). One such case is the Enron Scandal.

Next Blog Entry “The Situationally Ethical” person.

This is Blog Entry #4 for the Vancouver Blogathon. A 24 hour blogging marathon for charity.  Please check out my charity the MSMF foundation and help us bring hope and prosperity to children in rural India.

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