Everyone is a salesperson. Understanding this one fact could have the biggest impact on your career advancement.
Whether you know it or not, whether you want to be one or not, you are a salesperson. Don’t think so? Ever had a job interview? You were selling yourself. You might find yourself in a meeting discussing a new project. You had to sell your idea or opinion. How about at home where you need to convince your partner the family needs a new car? Shoppers coming to visit your garage sale? Yes, even though your official title may never come close to salesperson, everyone finds themselves in situations of selling on a regular basis.
There are two books I particularly like that cover this subject: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and Neuromarketing: Understanding the “Buy Buttons” in your Customer’s Brain by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin. (Terrible title, but great book). These books combined have a wealth of insight. These books and slideshare on the topic will help you understand where executives are coming from and how to give them the information they need in a manner that will maximize your impact and value.
I have been extremely busy lately, spending much of my time working on preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam (which I passed on Friday!), taking a class on entrepreneurship and small business management, and working on applying this knowledge in a practical way, at the sacrifice of my blog and sleep. But I thought I would take a quick break from my break to drop a few links for my MacFriends and to illustrate just how much this region is just like everywhere else when it comes to computer preferences.
If you recall back in November 2010, I posted this article on the grand opening of Microsoft’s store here in town. Well Apple responded by moving their store to a much larger space and in a dominating position upstairs from the Microsoft store. The first picture in my article is actually taken from what is now the view from the front of the Apple store looking down on the Microsoft store. Check out these articles. I will get some photos posted sometime when I find time.
Now back to my studies.
There is a lot of talk going around about BlackBerry Business Cloud Services on various blogs: Paul Farris’ Blog Volker Weber’s blog
First, let me say, unless you work(ed) for Microsoft or RIM, this is totally irrelevant and transparent. BlackBerry support has been available with Office365 for years. The big deal here is that RIM finally finished their cloud solution which was code-named “Contrail”. This has been long in the making. It’s not insider news, it’s just that few people noticed it when n4bb.com published it back in March 2011.
All it means is that instead of those BES servers sitting in Microsoft’s data centers, they will be sitting in RIM’s data centers. So what’s the big deal? It’s all in the cloud, so you don’t care where the servers sit. What’s more, this doesn’t really apply to all of Office365, only the standard edition for smaller customers. The bigger customers are hosted in dedicated environments and they won’t be moving their BES services for awhile. But it doesn’t matter. You won’t notice any difference and the transition is completely invisible to the customer, save that as it is RIM’s product, they will probably be more responsive to upgrades to the latest version and more savvy in troubleshooting issues. This is really more a positive press opportunity than anything for a company overdue for some good news.
If there were anything even mildly interesting in this story it would be that Domino isn’t mentioned. But I expect that’s just around the corner and they probably don’t want to confuse the message. If your company uses Exchange, you don’t care about Domino. (By the way, LotusLive AKA Smart Cloud also supports BES deployments) This will also give RIM a second press release of glory when they make a similar announcement for Domino.
Here is an interesting perspective on branding, marketing, and the idea of a brand elevating to mythology.
How true is his statement: “People use a Dell. They are an Apple.”
I think Seth is touching on something that could be applied to the marketing of
Lotus IBM software: “Isn’t that the dream of any marketer? To create a myth?”
As Lotus completes the long and painful process of being absorbed into IBM, could they, as Seth describes, invent a mythic brand with a story that promises to deliver an heroic outcome rather than just a product and a pile of facts. I believe it is possible. Ironically, by dropping the brand, it may elevate it to mythology. What do you think?
I came across this great article “Defining Quality” by Seth Godin discussing just what quality is and how it influences the success of a product. Seth describes the two types of quality: Quality in Design and Quality in Manufacturing. These two are as different as a brand new Bentley and a one-year-old Honda Civic. He also applies these concepts to the software industry.
What I find particularly interesting is his comment regarding these measures of quality:
“The balance, then, is to understand that marketers want both.
A short-sighted CFO might want neither. “
The issue that you may have experienced with corporate decisions about messaging software obviously carries over to just about everything else too. For those of us in the software industry who deal with CFOs who make seemly illogical decisions to switch software, (and make no mistake about it, it is the CFO more often than anyone else, who makes that decision) you are not alone. So if you find yourself trying to fend off the arguments for switching your messaging software, don’t think that they care whatsoever about which platform has more features or is easier to maintain or is more reliable. Before you try to make a case based on those points, you need to ask those most senior decision-makers just what really is important to them. Be careful of the mid-level managers filtering their responses too. They may be telling you what they think is important to senior management rather than what is truly important. If they really knew the pain points of the CFO, they would have already addressed them long ago. You can also read more about this factor in influencing decisions in the book “Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain” by Renvoise and Morin.
Regardless of your profession or position, you should arm yourself with an understanding of how those decision-makers make decisions and how they are influenced.
Is Lotus Notes the next Selectric Typewriter? This USAToday article about IBM turning 100 reveals some clues into the motivations that drive IBM which might tell us about their plans for the future.
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking IBM is a corporate old-timer that just watched technology evolve. It has remained at the forefront through the decades and tops several of its whippersnapper rivals in some regards. “
Of course we’re talking about the same company that totally missed some opportunities like the operating system for their personal computers that has gone on to become their nemesis. We’re talking about a company that has taken the once-famous brand of Lotus and made it disappear from the public eye better than a Harry Houdini magic act.
“This isn’t like the auto industry, where the combustible engine still exists, or oil, where many parts of the business are the same,” Iwata says. “We have to let go of what we have invented. We stopped making typewriters, punch-card machines, PCs. We had to move on.”
Hmm. Is this foreshadowing? When I was 8 years old I saw the movie “Old Yeller”. In spite of all the clues, I did not did not see that coming. I thought that dog would live forever. Have I gotten any better at reading the clues? Probably not. But here’s another one:
“•Ability to move into new businesses without abandoning core tenets. IBM is a classic example of a company that had to get into entirely new businesses, without turning its back on what got it to where it is, Collins says. If you consider what IBM’s mission is, it’s not about computers or technology. It’s about allowing its individual employees to create ways for its customers to solve operational problems, Collins says. Whether that’s a task best done with scales, typewriters or computers doesn’t matter; what matters is that customers’ needs are answered, Collins says. “
I don’t know how this movie will end. Maybe we’ll learn more on the Greenhouse webcast about the future of the Lotus brand June 28 at 10:00AM ET.
Meeanwhile, let’s get some popcorn and watch a few movie trailers.