About Me

It's not about what you can do, it's about who you are. This is me, warts and all, just a guy trying to plot a course through life.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Just Answer the Question!

Picture Credit: (CC) Randy Stewart, blog.stewtopia.com.

A recent ‘real world’ lesson for me was about clarity of communication.  I was listening to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on the way into work.  The article on at the time was discussing the up-coming discussions by members of the European Commission about reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

I didn’t catch the name of the UK politician being interviewed by Justin Webb but, true to form, the guy was incapable of answering a direct question.

Twice he was asked what would be the effect on British farmers if the CAP was just scrapped.  He was asked a second time because the first time round he completely ignored the question and spouted his own agenda.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Am I Missing Something Here?

It sometimes feels like social media is powered by lists.  You know the sort of thing:

…and so on.  (By the way, the only relevance these three have to this post is that they were the first three I came across in my Twitter feed whilst writing.  That’s three out of twenty one.  You get my point?)

I have no problems with lists per se but generally don’t look at them.  However, I did come across this one the other day:

OK, the combination of ‘sales’ and ‘Twitter’ is always going to make me look but I wasn’t expecting what I found.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

“As a sales professional can you REALLY turn it off on the weekend or after hours?”

This was a question recently posed in the Sales Playbook! group on LinkedIn.  (It’s a closed group so no link.  If you’re really interested, join the group as it’s a good one.)

It’s a US-centric group so, as you might imagine, most contributors fall into the ‘always on’ category. (That’s my confirmation bias on show there, folks.  I’m a regular one-man echo chamber.)

I did contribute to the discussion about half way through saying “When I started out in sales (all those long years ago) I was very much like most of the people who have responded so far – radar always on, looking and listening for the next opportunity.

However, within a very short time my friends and family got on my case and told me to ‘switch it off’ when I was out with them. Their main complaint was that we were all there to have a good time, not to see me practice my tradecraft.”

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Would good Teachers make good Salespeople?

It’s not such a stupid question, is it?  Our local schools are very keen on their pupils undertaking work experience as part of their education.  For the last two weeks I’ve been responsible for a 14 year old girl who, I was told, ‘wanted to work in sales and marketing’.

I’ve tried to make it as realistic and meaningful as possible because I see little point in doing otherwise.  Towards the end of the fortnight, one of my colleagues said to me that he thought I would make a good teacher.

Once I had stopped laughing, we talked around the whole subject of teaching (he thought about becoming a teacher a few years ago and I actually did a little when I first finished college.)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Book Review - Principled Selling by David Tovey

I’ve ‘known’ David for getting on for a couple of years – I don’t keep an exact record of this sort of thing!  Note that I use ‘known’ in its modern sense.  That is, I’ve read and commented on his blog, I follow him on Twitter and occasionally retweet him and exchange the odd DM, we’ve exchanged opinions on LinkedIn and even spoken on the telephone.  It is only in the last couple of weeks that I actually met him in the flesh for the first time.

The telephone conversation came about when David asked me if he could interview me for his then-forthcoming book as he wanted a view from the frontline of sales.  So when you read this book and see ‘Neil Fletcher’ quoted, yes that is me.

By way of thanks for my time, David gave me a copy of ‘Principled Selling: How to win more business without selling your soul.’  However, that’s as far as it went.  What you are about to read are my own words without influence by anybody.  So, to the book.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Desert Island Discs Part 1

 Tropical marine environments scenic landscape</a> by Margos Jim, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 Hello Reader!  Do you remember that post of mine from 2011 – If Music be the Food of Life?  No?  Well, go look at it now, I’ll wait here for you.

Down towards the bottom you will see a reference to Desert Island Discs and I thought I would expand on that and give you the whole list.  However, to avoid boring you to sleep I’ve been kind and split it into three posts.

When you have listened to as much music as I have (and still do), it can be difficult to whittle it down to just 8 tracks you would be happy to be stranded with on a desert island.  What criteria do you use?  I suspect they are different for every single person who makes up such a list.  What I have rediscovered in putting together this list is that it is the rhythm of music which appeals to me.  I don’t pay too much attention to lyrics and guitar twiddling often leaves me cold.  It’s the drum and bass lines which really get under my skin.

That said, it’s sometimes difficult to articulate exactly why a certain piece of music moves you.  You just know it does!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

All Aboard the Cluetrain!

I recently stumbled across the Cluetrain Manifesto, which I first encountered when it was published in 1999.

To put it in some sort of context, at the time the manifesto was written blogging had been around for about 5-7 years, MySpace was four years in the future, as was LinkedIn, Facebook was 5 years in the future and Twitter was 7 years in the future.

Even so, the authors were bold enough to say:

“Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them.”

Just consider how much more networked markets are now, with all the new, whizzy, social media tools available to them!