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the salesperson in all of us…

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I’ve spent most of my career in business being on the receiving end of suppliers selling products and services, so the idea of selling something has always been a bit daunting. However, I recently spent time with one of our new associate consultants pitching a proposal and found it truly exhilarating!

I honestly believe there is a salesperson in all of us! Andy Stanley, has a great series called “Your Move” in which he considers how to make sure we are making good decisions in life. As a warning to making decisions we may later regret, he makes a statement which is very true – “When it comes to selling ourselves on bad ideas, we are all professional salespeople.” We are great at convincing ourselves to do things, even if they are bad ideas!

So what is stopping us selling great ideas to other people – ideas that we believe will truly be beneficial?

Often it is our personal lack of confidence. For other people its their overconfidence that gets in the way. Sometimes its the fact that we don’t really believe in what we are doing or selling and many times, its just the fear of being rejected or stepping out into something we have never done before.

Here are three simple tips that I think may be helpful in selling your great idea or a proposal:

  • Love your idea/proposal/product – if you don’t truly love it and believe in it, you won’t be able to sell it and if you do love it, no one will be able to curb your enthusiasm for it.

Ask yourself: Would I buy my idea?

  • Don’t love it too much – in other words, be ready for feedback and be willing to adapt. Seeing your product from your customers perspective and taking on board their input can help you move from a good idea, to a really great one.

Ask yourself: Am I open to take on feedback and to adjust my thinking if I need to?

  • Make a connection – don’t jump into your proposal until you have truly made a human connection with the person you are engaging. Sometimes that may mean throwing out your original agenda and just listening for a while. In that process you will learn a huge amount about who they are, what makes them tick and what they really need. If there’s a good fit with what you’re offering, then you’re on your way to sales success and if there isn’t, you may need to adjust your offering or just walk away.

Ask yourself: How can I make a personal connection and consciously listen?

At Path to Peak, we are keen to listen you, hear about your needs and put together something that will add value to your business, helping you take the path that leads to your particular peak.

 

 

 

 

A journey of 1000km starts in Bhavnagar

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For those who have visited India, you will immediately relate to its description as “Incredible!” Just as you think you have seen it all, something else comes along that amazes you; an incredible temple that takes your breath away in its intricate detail and workmanship, incredible driving that leaves you wondering how the traffic seems to flow so seamlessly without traffic lights or stop signs, an incredibly warm and friendly person who doesn’t speak a word of English but is happy to make the effort to assist you all the same or an incredibly delicious curry that rivals any “non-veg” meal you have tasted.

We have just got back from a week long, 1000km road trip around Gujarat province, starting and ending at Bhavnagar. As we traveled, I kept finding myself saying, “Incredible!”

While the aim of the trip was to explore sourcing options, there were also so many moments for personal reflection; a fresh appreciation of the value of life, a reminder that relationships are what really matter, the value of “old people”, the mantra of  “don’t sweat the small stuff” just to name a few.

Now, back home in the comfort of my home, I am flipping through some of the quick fire shots we took and one stands out for me and instantly floods my memory with the sights, smells and sounds of activity. India is on the move; development of new dual carriageways is happening at pace in Gujarat province, linking the rural farming communities with “mandis ” or agricultural produce auction lots in different cities, ports to access global trade, processing factories that are making the food we eat and cloth we wear and opening up the state to a new flood of development.

While still very rural in many parts, we saw India harnessing some of best in class equipment and combining it with a readily available workforce; it is able to move at pace and at a cost difficult to rival.

The road above was literally being rolled out as we drove the route and the little girl in the shot is unwittingly watching her future evolve before her eyes. The road will make a simple detour around a holy shrine that happens to be in its path and the “goods carriage” truck will make its journey in double quick time on the new carriage way.

But the new roads will also bring other changes, ones not yet imagined for the people standing by and watching the progress with interest.

In this trip to India, we uncovered so many important insights and opportunities we hadn’t even imagined and of course, some obstacles we hadn’t anticipated. But as is so often the case, we didn’t know what we didn’t know and until we had taken the first step, we would never have discovered them.

The old adage, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step” is true and sometimes we need to just need to make a start. At Path to Peak, we will help you map out a path to success but often the most important thing is to step out onto the path – incredible opportunity and challenges await!

 

Path to India

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Sometimes our paths take us to places least expected! In less than a week I am heading off to India to explore business opportunities.

I have been working with an amazing client, serving a wonderful purpose in the world and in this particular case, our path has lead to investigating options in India.

While some of the world appears to be shrinking back into a protectionist mindset, resulting in tit for tat trade war tariffs that one can only assume will ultimately hurt both parties, Africa is looking ahead to opportunities to trade freely across the continent. Africans, including South Africans, seem to embrace the opportunities this will bring. No-one believes this will be without challenge but what is clear is that trade across borders can be beneficial to all but it may require a change in mindset and a change in business model.

An example which stood out to me is the South African company with expertise, business acumen and an eye for global opportunities who trades in design, after sales service and guaranteed quality but understands this may mean letting go of other parts of the supply chain that it once held dear and even considered a competitive advantage. The reality is, the business model of “designed in South Africa”, means that they are able to offer an incredible range of equipment, with unparalleled manufacturing capacity and are able to focus on what it is really good at: design, marketing and after sales service!

Given our unemployment in Africa, the question of jobs is always one that we need to face into but the reality is that, in an economy like South Africa, what we really need are better paying jobs – ones that will boost our economy and breed a new generation of entrepreneurial engineers and business minded people. South Africa has one of the greatest gaps between rich and poor and we need to create work that is both meaningful and rewarding.

Viva free trade, viva!

Are you starting a new journey?

New things are always daunting but also incredibly exciting. New ventures, projects, opportunities and challenges are a little like travel to a new country. I have always found taking someone along on a journey allows you to share the experience, making it richer and more memorable! It also allows you to reflect on what you are learning and get some input along the way. And if the person who is joining you, has been there before you have, they can help you get so much more out of the journey, pointing out the places you don’t want to miss and the ones that you definitely do!

In our beautiful city of Cape Town, Table Mountain always looms large, where ever you are. It calls to you – “Come and climb me!” The view from the top is breath-taking but the journey to the top is hard work. Sadly Table Mountain has claimed more lives than Mount Everest. That’s because people don’t understand the risks involved. At Path to Peak, I would like to come along on your journey with you and help you plot a path to achieve your target, using some of the experience I have gained along the way. Often the toughest times help build the deepest  experience. I have enjoyed great success in my career to date and have also had tough times. I tap into both of these pools of knowledge to help you craft the path to your peak.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Devils peak