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Business Growth Entrepreneur Leadership/Management Marketing Strategy Self limiting beliefs Talks Trust

Boldness in Business – Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman Cobra Beer

Boldness in Business  – Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman Cobra Beer
The first in the 2017 UWE Distinguished Address Series was from Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer on 25 January 2017.  The idea of Cobra beer evolved from combining the refreshment you get from lager with the smoothness of ale without leaving a bloated feeling; particularly good to accompany Indian food.  A simple big idea.  Cobra Beer now has won 88 gold medals. It is ingenious because it is less gaseous and is still a very fledgling beer of only 25 years! (Think Kronenbourg 1664!).  Not being a great lager/beer drinker myself, I tried it and I was pleasantly surprised.  Will be on the shopping list!
Lord Bilimoria’s lecture covered many aspects of being bold in business….. Here’s some of his thoughts on how to succeed.

Cobra Beer
Cobra Beer

How to succeed in business

  • You need boldness, creativity and restless innovation; boldness to adapt or die and the ability to persevere against all odds,  even when nobody thinks you stand a chance, including your own family.
  • You need vision “to aspire to and achieve against all odds with integrity”.
  • You need to Inspire people to become loyal brand champions
  • You need luck – when determination meets opportunity. Picture waves going past you – you might just catch one if you are lucky
  • Serendipity – seeing what everyone else sees but thinking what no one else has thought
  • Blue ocean thinking eg Cirque de Soleil – bringing together ancient art forms to create a new entertainment. Now a multi- million company
  • You need the guts to do something in the first place and stick with it when the going gets tough
  • Your business is not just what you do but how you do it.
  • Trust is key – Empires were built on trust
  • You need to be a great leader
  • The fear of pain is greater than the pleasure of gain
  • What do you do? play to win or play not to lose?  If you’re already at the top of your league for example, as was Alex Ferguson’s team, the biggest challenge was to get the team to play to win again
  • You need to deliver a unique and relevant consistent experience
  • You need to deliver extraordinary profits
  • Always hire for attitude rather than for skill
  • “Good judgement comes from experience ; experience comes from bad judgement”  attributed to Dr Kerr L White

To work in partnership and with others you need the same culture and the shared values of Integrity = wholeness . The former Archbishop of Canterbury,  once explained that “integrity” comes from the Latin word “integer” – the whole number,  thus “wholeness”. You cannot practise integrity unless you are whole.
Start your own foundation to give back to society.   Cobra Beer has a joint venture with Belu water where profits are donated to water aid to help transform lives through access to clean water and safe toilets in South Asia.

Categories
Sales/Selling Trust

The good, the bad and the ugly – which is your sales process?

The good, the bad and the ugly
I thought I’d share with you our experience this last month when wanting to trade in our car …. It was fascinating!  I love being the ‘fly on the wall’ observing others’ sales processes.
Background: Toyota owners – on our 5th, not counting the one when we first married!  So loyal. Last two purchased from one of the Bristol dealers as the penultimate car had come with a very good deal.   But it is a pain to get across there for services etc. so we thought we’d investigate closer to home as well as a couple of others comparisons.

  • The good: We popped in to our more local Toyota garage on spec. Spoke to a very pleasant young man who jotted down what we were looking for and promised to email some quotes that afternoon…. I have to admit I was somewhat cynical and wasn’t going to hold my breath to await said email.  But I was wrong.   It came when promised and all queries subsequently whether on the phone or email, have been answered fully and promptly.  We were advised that as a “loyal customer” we would be entitled to a £1K discount plus a further £2K for purchases agreed by end September. Professional follow up which wasn’t in any way intrusive.
  • The bad: We then visited a different brand dealership – the person to whom we had originally spoken to was ‘off’ on the day we visited so met with the Sales Manager. Very helpful and professional and said he’d get his sales person to call to follow up.  We’re still waiting (that’s why they’re down as ‘bad’!  The spec didn’t compare as well, however.
  • The ugly: We were invited to a VIP day by our original Toyota dealer Bristol – (remember we had purchased our last two cars from them). Our appointment was confirmed by quite an aggressive sales manager who wanted to make sure we were going to turn up and advised that this was an event for buying and selling, i.e. not a “jolly”.  We should have guessed what was coming when we were sent lanyards in the post with badges saying VIP customer.  On arrival we were welcomed into something that  was just not for us –  balloons, cardboard full size cut outs of famous film stars standing strategically by certain cars, two young very attractive girls brought in to offer coffee, and directed to a table on which was a plate of sausage rolls (really, on a hot afternoon?!!!)   A young man (really young – looked 19 or so and very much not knowing what on earth he was supposed to be doing) then sat down, with the sales manager hovering, who wanted to take our personal details eg name and address. This from the garage we had previously purchased two cars from.  Not good for first impressions – how long would it have taken someone to pre-populate their form?   And my husband had spoken to the sales manager to tell him more or less what we were looking for.  We were then told the price of the car which we were interested in and when we asked what deals there were, the sales manager told us there was £3000 off the car price for that weekend only and basically could we go ahead on that basis?   “After all, negotiating is just a big game, isn’t it”? he said. Absolutely no understanding of the sales process whatever.   Oh, and no follow up here either!   WHAT a waste.

So then it won’t surprise you to learn that we went with the ‘good’.   But how does this story connect with what you do every day in your business?

  • Do you always send information to your customers and prospects by or preferably before the day you promise to do so?
  • Do you understand the sales process?
  • Do you ALWAYS follow up with prospects no matter what? If not what could you do to ensure you do.  Is it fear of the ‘no’, or is it something else?  Maybe turn it around and ask yourself what your prospect will think of you if you don’t bother to follow up?
  • If you’re putting on an event, do you ensure that it is ‘geared’ for the demographic who will be attending?
  • Do you always update your CRM with conversations with customers and prospects so that you don’t let yourself and your company down when a customer turns up for a meeting and you are ill-prepared?
  • And the biggest of all – do you understand the importance and value of TRUST. As soon as the sales manager in the ‘ugly’ scenario said that the offer was only valid for that weekend, when we knew that wasn’t the case, there is absolutely no possibility that we would have continued with a purchase there.  Nor will we go back there again.   See a blog I did before on Trust here. (in which was the wonderful mnemonic S H I T)

September 2016

Categories
Customer Trust Trust

Do your customers trust you?

Do your customers trust you?
For me, trust has always been one of the most, if not the most important factor in any relationship with clients.  Whenever undertaking any sales training and running through the most important qualities of anyone working in sales, trust invariably comes out on top.
This time the issue is about the Charity sector and a Mr Rae who forgot to tick a box when he filled out a lifestyle survey in 1994.  It seems that the company behind the survey sold his personal information to charities which then bombarded him with requests for donations and some then proceeded to pass on Mr Rae’s personal information to other charities, data brokers and companies – over 200 times in total and resulted in him being scammed as well. No-one deserves this and the Data Protection Act is very clear – the very first principle is that your data is only processed fairly and lawfully.
Again, it comes down to trust and expectation and not simply down to the fact that 20 years ago Mr Rae didn’t tick the box to say ‘don’t share my information with ‘like-minded’ companies’. An interesting discussion yesterday on R.4 commented that part of the issue was too much short term thinking and too high targets for the sales team on the phone and a lack of understanding that the charity/donor relationship is very much long term and very much dependent on trust.  It is critical for donors not to feel bad if they can’t up their giving. Every donor should be encouraged to give to their comfort level but never beyond, they should never be made to feel guilty. This is a negative emotion and not at all productive.
So this then leads into emotion v logic not being understood, and perhaps processes in the business not being as robust as they might be. Are yours sound in your business?  Are there any that could lead to customers or clients feeling that you are not being transparent and perhaps not worthy of their trust?
I love getting process right. Call me if I can help.
3rd September 2015

Categories
Leadership/Management Trust

Trust in Business – who needs it?

Trust in Business – who needs it?
was the title of an excellent lecture given by Ian Powell, Chairman and Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as part of the Distinguished Executive Address Series at UWE in February which I attended along with Sue Stockley from 3 in Partnership Ltd.
It is clear that the current implications of trust across business, government, BBC, NHS, Church, even our food are huge. Society can’t function without trust, which takes decades to build and seconds to lose. Common understanding is founded on trust; it’s the most powerful asset.  Trust can impact throughout the company and is absolutely critical to the economy and prosperity. It can’t be bought or sold. You have to earn trust through consistent behaviour.  Small things set the tone – pretence won’t do – gaps will be exposed.
More and more actions must be accounted for to millions of people and behaviours need to demonstrate trust.  Businesses must display clear communication so as to eliminate any doubts.
At the 13th annual Edelman ‘Trust’ barometer meeting in Davos, having surveyed more than 31,000 respondents in 26 markets around the world, measuring their trust in institutions, industries and leaders, the results showed just 17% trusted in business, 16% in government and 22% in non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
This slide shares gives you the results for Trust in Financial Services and suggests 16 Attributes to build trust

And what about legal enforcements?  The UK has probably the highest regulations in international trading but this then sometimes comes ‘at a cost’.  Professional businesses account for 8% of the UK economy,  with the area around the City of London full of professionals.  The legal system in the UK is viewed by many as the best in the world, with many contracts running under English law and many Russian oligarchs choosing to fight legal issues in London!
Mr Powell then spoke about trust and ethics within PWC  –  some 200,000 staff across offices in 776 locations in 158 countries (according to Google)
Their mantra includes from their code of contact includes

  • Acting professionally.
  • Doing business with integrity.
  •  Upholding our clients’ reputations as well as our own.
  • Treating people and the environment with respect.
  • Acting in a socially responsible manner.
  • Working together and thinking about the way we work.
  • Considering the ethical dimensions of our actions.

Summary of their ethics questions
1. Is it against PwC or professional standards?
2. Does it feel right?
3. Is it legal?
4. Will it reflect negatively on you or PwC?
5. Who else could be affected by this (others in PwC, clients, you, etc.)?
6. Would you be embarrassed if others knew you took this course of action?
7. Is there an alternative action that does not pose an ethical conflict?
8. How would it look in the newspapers?
9. What would a reasonable person think?
10. Can you sleep at night?
Growth is an important business issue for them – seen as the key for the retention and development of talent.   They receive 30,000 enquiries p.a. for their graduate programme, interview 7,000 and employ 1,200 graduates p.a.   Several of the graduates are now gaining their experience in parts of Eastern Europe or Middle East where there continues to be 25% growth.  In addition, in line with their aim to ensure the future of diversity within recruitment, they now employ 100 school leavers with good ‘A’ level grades who will be given exactly the same opportunities as graduates after training.
Sue and I both came away from the lecture full of Mr Powell’s ethos in business.
And, I think my favourite mnemonic  sits rather well here…..
S  – H – I – T   Sincerity, Honesty, Integrity and Trust