Either side of the three course lunch in the restaurant, ISMM delegates to Successful Selling 2010 were given the opportunity to attend two interactive workshops.
Delegates had to move from the main theatre out into the open air and then ascend the stairs into another part of the impressive Ricoh complex.
The first workshop I attended was a lively session on Body language and Body talk which was facilitated by Richard Newman.
Richard shared with us part of his story of how he got into the body language training world. He told us of an experience as a young man when he travelled abroad to teach a group of Buddhist monks English.
When he arrived on the first day he realised that they had no English whatsoever. So his teaching all had to start with gesture alone. Within months they were learning English and he had learnt some ‘Nepali’. It got him to realise how much humans communicate to each other through body language.
Richard had us on our feet jumping in the air to find our most centred stance.
He showed us that our eyes override what we hear. Apparently the optic nerve is really just an extension of the brain. It is 25 times thicker than a typical nerve.
We tried out varieties of different handshakes and reflected on how they felt and what interpretation we gave to receiving such contact.
Richard explained the importance of congruency in our body posture, voice and speech. To illustrate this he explained how unsteady legs were
“our fatal distraction”.( I confess I was attracted to Richard's Company Stand - or was I fatally distracted ? I was not standing still for sure!!)
Standing still gives us gravitas. He illustrated this by telling us that whenever James Bond in the movies says his name “My name’s Bond, James Bond…” the actor acts the out the line with absolutely stillness.( Richard standing still after his presentation)
He emphasised the importance of posture and how it creates a physical presence. He demonstrated how a centred stance adds gravitas to what we might say in a sales conversation and how off centered-ness looked as if we signalling subconsciously that we were a ‘pushover’.
It got me thinking how when we describe someone as a ‘pushover’ it originates from how we read a person’s body language. Just like phrases such as ‘keeping in touch' or making an ‘impression’ thinking back to our exercise on reflecting on handshakes - many phrases have an origin in our first language- body talk. Maybe I am bi-lingual after all! Click for link for UK Bodytalk
The second workshop I attended was the coaching workshop run by Olivia Stefanino. Coaching and its application to Selling can produce some amazing results in increased turnover if Olivia’s client case history are anything to go by.
Interestingly Olivia made a connection of the power of the mind and expression of mood through words that can change your mind set.
She showed how one can change one’s mood state through simple word exercises.
She contrasted a repetition of two different speaking/vocal drills.
First she got a volunteer to do a negative mantra ( “ I am weak, I am worthless and I am useless”) repeated five times ( She promised he would not be left in this state!) This was then contrasted this with a positive mantra
" I am Strong, I am powerful and I am magnificent".The change of state was palpable.
So I think I understand now why war cries work and fuel our courage and why the All Blacks ( New Zealand) rugby team chant the Hakka before the start of the rugger match.
Olivia said that it takes 30 days to change a habit.
She asked us to pick up an elastic band from the pile on each of the group’s tables. We were then to put the elastic band on our wrist. She asked us to think of a habit we would like to change. Each time we do the behaviour we wish to change we should ping the band.
(I am giving it a go. I will report on a later post what progress I have made.)
She then asked us to complete a diagnostic questionnaire of 20 questions which were to be scored from 1-10. The results then were plotted on the 20 spokes of the wheel answer sheet.
By joining the dots our own personal wheels they were jagged rather than uniform smooth rimmed circle. My wheel was more lie a cog-wheel.
The variances provided plenty of areas for analysis and where coaching could be used to help. Click for link for Be your own guru
Regrettably our time with Olivia was up and so we had to return to the main theatre for the final two presentations of the conference.
Firstly we were treated to one of the most entertaining, fast paced and energy fuelled speakers on motivation I have ever experienced.
Steve Head centred his presentation on the importance of Positive Reinforcement. His session was crammed full of funny stories and real life experiences from his family life and business experience.
As a Sales professional and as a national level sports coach in squash as well as a parent such experiences have proven to be a rich source of material for him.
Of all the speakers using the stage on the day, he worked the full width of the stage. His performance skills included clowning skills and comedic timing worthy of Lee Evans but with Geordie lilt.
Self-motivation and the investigation of success is a worthy and important endeavour for all sales managers and salespeople.
He had a key point to underline. Current selling today often treats sales as purely a process of steps but that has never been enough.
He related a sales process that he had been exposed to years ago pointing out how similar various sales processes are. He playfully shared with us I.D.E.A.L.
I ntroduction yourself
D etermine customer needs and Wants
E xplain how your offer will hep
A sk for the business
Not exactly rocket science. ( That was to come later with Charlie Duke)
Click for link for Steve Head
Motivation is a recipe made up of skills , desire and practice. In his introduction in the brochure for the conference he gave a recipe of motivation ingredients which are one cupful of self belief, 3 oz of clarity and 4 kg of building on strengths.
When I read that in the brochure I immediately zoomed in on the 'mistake' of mixing imperial and metric dimensions. Typical negative nit-picking by me. So much for my positive reinforcement. Thanks for sucker punching me again Steve!)
He quoted Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘ Outliers’ on high performing people where Gladwell discovered that top artists and sports people had practiced their skill for 10,000 hours before they were aged 20.
Just in case we all think this self-help motivation stuff is a modern phenomenon he quoted from Samuel Smiles book “Self Help” 1859 (Steve signing his book " How to avoid a near life experience " for a delegate)
“It is not eminent talent that is required to ensure success in any pursuit, so much as purpose – not merely the power to achieve but the will to labour energetically and perseveringly”.
As Steve got us rolling around with laughter during his session, the lyrics of that song “Accentuate the positive” was going on in my mind and inner voice.
The classic Johnny Mercer song performed by Bing Crosby and others puts it
You've got to accentuate the positiveSteve Head does not mess with ‘Mr. In-Between’.
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
With his captivating accent from the Boys from ” Auf Wiedersehn Pet”, he seeks out not the” black stuff” but as he would put it the “good stuff”.
Deservedly, Steve got a standing ovation.
The conference finished with the presentation by an American who has worked in the Beer Distribution business, in the recruitment business as the US Air force’s head recruiter and has walked on the moon.
Despite being a member of that very exclusive club he said he had never been recognised in public for example at the airport.
In our time of tawdry celebrity and world wide Media fuelled fame that comes as a bit of a surprise. Charlie Duke most assuredly has the X factor.
Charles Duke gave a captivating account of the Apollo programme.
As he came on stage Charlie gave us all a salute. An interesting early body language signal. He said it was an honour to speak to us.
Actually all our inner voices were saying 'No Charlie it is our honour to have you speak to us.'
Many presenters and trainers have ‘used’ the story of Apollo from John F Kennedy’s speech as the vision statement of the project to the achievement of the mission as a training metaphor.
But to have a real space man, someone who has walked on the moon was a colossal privilege to hear his true witness.
I thank the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management for giving me this opportunity.
What relevance had the Apollo missions to selling ?
Charlie Duke reminded us how many new materials, medicines, and new technologies were developed by the project. They rendered the world a remarkable return on investment.
Mr Duke got us to ponder how technology has progressed. The memory chip of the average Blackberry has 100,000 times the memory of the computer on the Apollo.
He talked us through the meticulous planning and preparation. The flight plans, he told us, were written out minute by minute. He illustrated his talk with videos for which he was both the cameraman for and the star of the movies.
There was the serious work of the scientific geological sample collection and other experiments but also the sheer joy of seeing guys jumping and running on the moon and playing with gravity.
I thought back to Richard Newman’s talk on body language and gravitas. Now I was listening to a man who had experienced weightlessness and some of the most severe G forces mankind has ever experienced.
Charles Duke reminded us that all human endeavours whether a sale or achieving the Apollo project to walk on the moon and get back safely depend on teamwork.
Over 400,000 people contributed to the project. Duke said it was important to him to meet and thank the lady who sewed on the zipper on his spacesuit. – Not done properly and he would have died.
Perhaps such genuine humility would not hurt today's salespeople adopt when they feel tempted to claim a sale as if it was just entirely down to their efforts.
When was the last time you and I thanked the equivalent to the lady who sews the zipper on our Sales spacesuit?
Thank you Charlie Duke and thank you ISMM. thank you fellow delegates for a memorable day at the Ricoh arena, Coventry.