My next guest works in B2B, serving universities throughout England with an award-winning primary resource collection and leading technology. Tom English has a wonderful philosophy in his approach to sales.
Talking about coping with the challenges of COVID19, Tom offer this advice:
To focus on the things that that you can control yourself, within yourself. It all starts in your head and what thoughts you are going to give time and space to what you’re going to provide energy to because there are so many movable parts in relationships, not just a pandemic, but the global situation in general. We live in a time of turmoil and turbulence. Practice self-governance on what it is that we think about what it is that we give energy to, what it is that we give focused and how it is that we spend our time, how we behave and how we act. COVID19 was a massive opportunity because we are forced to slow down and, in some respects, had a mirror put up to ourselves and to reflect on our lives. These moments when the music stops, so to speak, can be empowering. So, Tom doesn’t think that it’s all doom and gloom by any means, moving forward and moving on from lockdown, focus on what it is that we can do. The change that we want to make within ourselves, then we can affect real change and can have a more significant impact outside of ourselves as well as we get our own house in order.
Tom, through Three Stewardships, transformational mentoring, talks about the pursuit of pleasure as an end in itself can lead to a life of chaos, disconnection, and despair, and I wanted Tom to explain more:
It is an interesting paradox, said Tom, because you would think at first glance that if somebody is pursuing pleasure, that would be a good thing. He said if that’s all we think about is our pleasure. We can get pulled about in all different directions, and we can be very easily manipulated by so many external forces, whether they are distractions, temptations or just the challenges of life.
If you think about marketing and advertising, for example, they’re trying to get us to take action in a way that makes somebody money, and they are going to tap into for your emotions. So, if your mindset is focused on getting the instant gratification and pleasure without really thinking about the bigger purpose, then you could be pulled about all over the place, and you find yourself in a chaotic situation. Whom are we serving?
Success only comes through serving other people, whether me, as an individual or an organisation, company or a movement. People and organisations are only successful through serving others effectively those that can do that consistently and have rock-solid foundations in place to do so continuously, they achieve sustainable success. Success is wholesome, that is lasting and sustainable.
I asked Tom, how he take his philosophy through to selling to other people?
Tom’s company name is Three Stewardship, and the principle of stewardship is caring for the others based on self-governance. So, it is not that you care because somebody else is telling you to, you voluntarily want to do it because it’s the right thing to do.
In sales, there are so many extrinsic motivators because selling relates to money. If you make sales, you get bonuses, you get paid, which is good for you. Achieving sustainable success comes back to those principles. If you can integrate stewardship and care not by trotting it out on a website saying it is one of our core values, but through lived habits practised at every interaction, and conversation with the customer.
How can we help? You know X Y and Z is going on in relations Covid19. Are you struggling? How can we help?
Not just thinking about what the highest ticket item is that you can sell, but genuinely listening to your customer and understanding their needs and how you can serve them. If you adopt the approach as salespeople of serving, then sales success comes quite naturally.
You don’t have to force things. You don’t have to manipulate people. You don’t have to backslide on our agreements. You don’t have to do all the bad stuff that has given sales such a bad reputation, which is unfair to good salespeople that deliver the best value. It’s really about taking those principles but integrating them into habits that are acted on a daily and a weekly basis.
Gale is an interesting company People like you, for instance, with your MBA, or anybody that has used the Times Digital Archive will have used the Gale products. Gale gathers primary source materials from across the globe.
Whether it’s historical newspapers like the Times, and we’ve recently got the mirror, the Economist, the Financial Times, etc.… We digitised these materials putting them on platforms cutting edge, which gives excellent user experience. Technology plays a massive part in Gale in terms of what we do to serve our customers. I work customers, for example, what the librarians care about their user’s needs, their customers.
Recently Gale released Digital Scholar Lab, which enables mass analysis off historical newspapers and historical documents. Going back to the early modern period, it’s just incredible, said Tom. It can find trends in language, sentiment analysis, topic modelling and dig into these millions of pages of primary sources that we’ve digitised.
Tom says it’s essential to understand the sales process and how it directly relates to the buyers buying process. It’s all very well having a sales process that you devised internally with sales and marketing. But if it doesn’t relate to how buyers buy and how they want to buy, it is not very effective. So Always make sure that you understand how your buyers want to buy and what their processes are.
Always ask the question, why? Get a deeper understanding of what their situations are and what their particular needs are, and then you can serve those needs accordingly.
As well as engaging with the customer, I also engage with the customer’s customer— the academics and students. However, there is a potential grey area; they don’t want me as a salesperson, going along making big promises to end-users about what they might be able to have and what’s on trial. It is crucial in serving customers to build trust by stating your intentions. Such as, I’m happy to talk to academics to determine what the case is. It’s not by looking at what the biggest ticket items or thinking we need to sell more of that this week, so I’m going to double down on that and not tell them about some other thing which can add value. It’s about genuinely trying to get the information and genuinely trying to find out what the needs are and when we are genuine in showing the empathy and care in terms of what it is that they need and how we can meet those needs. Then we will build trust.
The second that we instead start to prioritise the things that are good for us. Then trust is destroyed. When trust is gone, it’s tough to rebuild. If you show somebody that you the self-interested and you are sorry because you were caught. Then are you really sorry? If you do it again, how does the customer know that you’re doing it again?
It is vital to act with the best intentions and to state those intentions and then act in a way that genuinely intends to serve the needs of the customers and in this particular case, the end-users as well.
Adopt a collaborative approach. It is not about sitting on the opposite side of the table from each other. It is moving the table around so that you are sitting next to each other, sharing notes and ideas, rather than competing against each other for value. All of a sudden, you are trying to find a solution together and genuinely trying to find win-win.
Please make sure you listen to what Tom would take on a desert island with him, and he talks about the benefit of journaling.