Five Thoughts For Thursday on Selling

If you are in business you are in the business of selling. Maybe not directly but in one way or another that’s what you do. The trouble is most off us HATE selling. We got into the business we are in to do the thing that do. Selling is just a means to end, we sell so we can do the thing we do and get paid for doing the thing we do.

There are people of course who love selling. It’s what they get up for, it’s what energises them. Selling is the thing that they do. In face what they sell is almost an irrelevance, as long as they can sell that’s what’s important.

So most of us don’t like selling but if we want a make a living and want to do the thing that most energises us, we have to at least try and sell ourselves and our wares. So here are my five thoughts on selling.

  1. Remind people of their need. When we are not into selling I think we miss this. We tend to remind them of what we have to sell. If I walk round IKEA I can see lots of things, sofas for example. I can clearly see what they sell.  I need to be reminded I need something to sit on. Something stylish. Something durable. Something in my price range. Something that will in some way, when I sit down, fulfil my innermost “sitting down” needs. Once I reach that point selling is easy and buying is a done deal.
  1. There is a big difference between you knowing the importance of something and a potential client knowing it. Try to think how a stranger thinks. Not everyone thinks they way you do. Just because it is perfectly obvious to you does not make it so to other people.
  1. Work hard at overcoming your fear of rejection. Nobody likes rejection. So when you offer something to someone and they say no it’s natural to feel rejected, as if your whole life has come crashing down. It hasn’t. They have not rejected you as a person, they have just declined your offer and there could be a whole host of reasons why they have done that. The best thing you can do is find out, as dispassionately as possible, why they rejected your offer and then learn from it.
  1. Make a commitment to deliver something to people they value. By reframing your mindset and understanding that your job isn’t to trick or manipulate the buyer into making a purchase decision, you’re freed up to focus on engaging customers, answering questions, and selling the value behind your products.
  1. Engage with people before trying to sell to them. This works in person every bit as much as it does online. Get to know people a little better. Understand what they do. You may come to the conclusion that they don’t need what you have but at least you will save the time and energy of trying to sell to them. I think The Apprentice has a lot to answer for the idea that sales have to be rushed. OK it’s a TV show and not real life. In real life, nurture sales and do not be in an indecent rush to close the deal.


Happy Selling. If such a thing exists.






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Five Thoughts on Mentoring

I was listening to a podcast the other day. I was struck by a phrase, “we all need to find our personal Yoda”. I presume he meant find someone who can mentor you rather than find a mythical character who utters wise words in an almost incomprehensible fashion. In another life I had a sort of mentor and I have had people in my life who, from time to time, have offered advice and direction. I have also had people who didn’t so much offer advice as tell me what a worthless piece of….but that’s best forgotten and I don’t think it come under the broad category of mentoring.

So what are my thoughts on mentoring.
  1. A mentor should be someone who is willing to share their skills, knowledge and expertise. Should mentors have the skills that are directly applicable to your industry? Personally I don’t think so.It might well help. If if they come from the same industry background they may possess a certain amount of insider knowledge but in any business arena there are transferrable skills. Someone might know nothing about how to edit a video but would know how to deal with people, how to stay focussed and a whole host of other skills that could benefit me.
  2.  A mentor should hold you to account for what you do but not be judgemental. Too many are fearful of seeking help and advice because they feel they will be judged. Helping you see where you can do better rather than pointing out where you are going wrong seems to me to be one of the prime skills of a mentor.
  3. Good mentors remember what it was like to start out and will understand where their mentee is on the growth curve.
  4. A mentor needs to guide and offer direction but not be controlling. It must be tempting to live life vicariously through one you are mentoring. Maybe even to the point of taking the credit for their success. It takes quite a person to mentor someone and then to take a step back and allow others to take the glory. Humility is surely a key trait of any mentor.
  5. A mentor needs the ability to reflect on their own journey. A mentor will have ability and knowledge but alongside the how of their success they will know the why of it as well.

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Is Barbie really a role model?

Yesterday I sat in a room with other creatives and watched s series of videos. The purpose was to share our thoughts and discuss best practice. I hope to share some of the others eventually. However this was the one the provoked the most discussion. This video has had almost 21 million views. Has it changed the way people feel about gender specific toys. Dolls for girls building kits for boys. I would genuinely love to read your thoughts so please leave a comment. But first watch this;


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Six Things videographers never tire of hearing – yea right

Six things videographers never tire of hearing these things
  1. Can you photoshop me? Other versions include, can you make me look 20 years younger, 20 pounds lighter, like Robert Redford, like Nicole Kidman. Delete or add as appropriate
  2. Will it be on the telly? If filming in a public place scores of people behind the subject waving, inanely smiling and/or on their phone
  3. I’ll just wing it. Quickly followed by.
  4. I’ll get it right eventually. Maybe I should have written a few things down. I’ll just write a few quick notes. Can you hold those notes so I can read them? Does this look like I’m reading this?
  5. Can I just take this call?
  6. That’s a nice bit of kit.

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Five things you should consider before you commission a video

five things infographic

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Viral or Niche, where is your audience?

Once again my eyes have been assaulted by claims that this, that and the other has become a viral hit on the internet.

On closer investigation I discovered they didn’t really go viral. At best they were shared a good number of times but not really viral. Viral suggests reaching an audience way beyond your intended one. Let’s face it having millions of people viewing your video, post or photograph must be brilliant but in reality what does it achieve?  A million YouTube views. All that means is one million people clicked play. They may have clicked off after 3 seconds, got distracted and just not paid any real attention to the content anyway.

I am not saying numbers are unimportant but that they might not be as important as we think they are.

Maybe we need to examine them a bit more. If you make a video of a friends birthday party and post it to FB and everyone of your 600 friends on the platform viewed it, then you can say your video was a success.  It reached everyone of your intended audience. Beyond your Facebook friends your video has no audience.Maybe we need to re-examine what we deem success in the social media world. Huge audiences does not necessarily imply huge engagement.We need to define our audience better and assess the success of the video or campaign, not by how many random people have watched it, but by the engagement it generated with our intended audience. At a recent Charity Comms event Joe Hall, online campaigns and communications manager, The Climate Coalition/ founder, Woo Hoo Yeah Yeah! shared this slide.


It shows an event was trending, surely a success, but the sharing was only amongst activists. As the next slide showed everyone else was unaware.


Numbers only tell a part of the story. It seems to me having plenty of committed activists engaged with your message is much better than a large mildly interested one.

How you define your audience is up to you but define it and reach it you must. Viral isn’t everything engagement on the other hand.

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Five Thoughts For Thursday – the one about promotion

5Thoughts on Thursday Logo

Five things that occurred to me as waded through the internet this week.


  1. It’s OK to blow your own trumpet. Why would you want to blow someone else’s anyway’?  It’s probably not that hygienic. Remember though not everyone is a trumpet person, some are violin people others are piccolo people. Make sure your message is suited to your audience.
  2. Big yourself up by all means but visiting a couple of places does not a tour make. “By popular demand” does imply a demand beyond you, your friends and your dog.
  3. You are most certainly a unique person but it’s unlikely that your business or your offering is. Don’t claim to be the only one and only, leave that to Chesney Hawkes.
  4. Don’t make a claim to be a leading something or other unless you can back it up with hard evidence. Make sure you are the leading expert in your own house before claiming it for your street, town or world.
  5. Don’t promise what you have no idea how to deliver.  Stretch yourself by all means. Remember, what you don’t know you can learn.  What you can’t do someone else can and collaboration is a strength not a weakness.

Happy Thursday!


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Five thoughts on Friday – the one before Christmas


This is my last “Five thoughts” for the Year. Seriously you didn’t expect me to write on Christmas or New Years Day. I suspect on New Years Day I will be unable to string more than two words together. So here are few thoughts as I reflect on my week.


  1. Remember one person’s improved cash flow is someone else’s delayed invoice.
  2. Some business gurus haven’t even the slightest clue how to run a business. Watch out for ex-Apprentice contestants handing out business advice over the next year and remember you watched how bad they were.
  3. Some of the best ideas are the simplest but making something simple is not easy as you think.
  4. There is no system around that guarantees success. Hard work and determination or simply wanting it more than others is not enough. Sometimes things just don’t work out.
  5. It’s Christmas, whatever you celebrate, wherever you celebrate it and with whoever raise a glass with, enjoy, relax and put the out of office email ON.

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Email, what’s the ********* point?

email what is the point

I’m not sure I really mean what’s the point but why do some people bother having an email address since they never seem to actually use it!

A few weeks ago I read a lot of chat about how you should address someone in an email. Particularly, if they were not a personal acquaintance, you were unsure of their gender or title. My issue is why some people do not reply to emails?

Hands up. I plead guilty to leaving emails unanswered in my inbox for weeks, OK months, I’m sure it never got as bad as years, but after this blog post I intend to turn over a new leaf, electronically speaking.

We all get emails, sometimes hundreds of them and some people do seem to relish boasting about the size of their inbox. They probably have a big car and a 50” inch TV as well and probably an inefficient spam filter. The psychologists among you can draw your own conclusions.

The issue is not getting an email but what do we do with it once you get it.

Let me explain.

I sent an email to someone I had met. We had a conversation about what I do and about what they do. We exchanged email addresses. A third party, who did the face to face introduction, also initiated an online connection via email and encouraged us to get together for business. So my email was not exactly spam or out of the blue. Three emails – no reply. Not even, thanks but no thanks.

The person in question no doubt has their own reasons for not replying and I am not about to speculate as to why. It did, however, get me thinking about my own responses and actions to email. I admit I do not have the bulging inbox some of you seem to have, not sure if this makes me a lesser person or not, and thus my thoughts on how to deal with email may fall on deaf ears or tired fingers.

Let me categorise my inbox and the actions I intend to take.

SPAM – ignore and delete

Newsletters – tempted to say ignore and delete but maybe read and certainly, unless something catches my eye, no response is needed. I have set up an email address that I use solely for signing up to newsletters. I know that unopened emails in that box are not urgent.

Clients, friends etc – read, reply as soon as possible. I will often try to send a quick reply to acknowledge I have received it even if I am not able to deal with the content specifically at that time.

Prospective clients – holding email at first if busy then reply asap.

People looking for work – I regularly get CV’s etc. At the very least I reply and thank them even though it is unlikely I have anything for them. Most reply thanking me for even acknowledging their email. It can be a pain to get these emails but imagine how devastating it must feel to be ignored. I also sometimes reply with a little advice about researching the companies you email looking for work.

Sales emails – I don’t mind receiving these and occasionally I have found and bought a product because of them. A quick read and then delete. Cleary these emails are not expecting you to email them back.

So there it is, my plan for dealing with my inbox and keeping the lines of communication open. It is unlikely to force people to reply to my emails but at least I feel as though I am doing my bit. If you are in business you are likely to be busy but remember so is the person contacting you. The excuse “I am just too busy to reply” implies you consider your “busy-ness” as somehow superior to theirs. If you are so busy that you cannot reply or communicate with people you need to find a better business model.

If you ever come across a person who says I only check my email once a week or I never really use email then probably best to walk away before you do them physical harm.

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