Time for sales staff to take the gloves off

By Jason de Luca

Fight night at the Budokan, industry-regulated ring size, judges take their seats, ring ladies and coaches ringside, announcer grabs the microphone to announce the fighters.

You did your roadwork, worked with your coach, it’s your 10th fight, you feel ready as you step onto the canvas. You squeeze your fists under your gloves; swallowing your fear, you ready yourself.

Then all the lights go out in the entire arena, and all you hear is screaming and yelling. After a tense moment, the lights go back on and the whole place is brawling, throwing chairs, beer bottles and making their way into the ring at you and everyone else.

Question: In that situation, would you keep your gloves on? “Of course not!” is the common answer.

Switching examples, ask your sales manager about his sales people. Are they trying to do business the same way they did back in August 2008 before the lights went out?

Honestly, look at what everyone is doing everyday in the office. Are they trying to fit their model to adapt to the market, or are they running around trying to find people wanting to do business like the “good old days?”

Blaming poor results on the “market” is like blaming the mob for not coming at you one at a time. Here are some tips for dealing with the mob (market) as it comes at you.

  1. Take your gloves off and stop fighting like a ring fighter. The rules have changed, and this ain't a one-on-one fight anymore.

  2. Opportunities from now on will be fewer and farther between; therefore prepare yourself for more smaller deals that require more leg work.

  3. “Unbundle” your big service packages and stop throwing the damn kitchen sink at everyone with your proposals. The point is to close business now and get more work in the future with this client.

  4. Stop saying “we don’t want to dilute our brand” and reject projects/simple requests, or I will hit you with a beer bottle myself. I heard that for months after the crash. Then these same people started calling me, asking to borrow money.

  5. Close deals, get smaller projects rolling, worry about your “artistic expression” and “unique market leverage” next year in Q3, after all the cowboys have packed up and moved out of Dodge.

  6. Focus your activities and offerings on what HELPS your client’s situation in the short to mid-term, if that’s what they are asking for. As a business partner, you must focus on HELPING and not being “right.”

  7. Reduce entertainment and all client expenses across the board. We all saw just how “loyal” many of our clients where when they were about to lose their jobs! Buy them a doughnut, no more fancy dinners! Just do business in good faith, that’s enough for anyone.

Next, ask yourself these questions before you start your day:

-- How can I help my client’s situation with my products/services? (Knowing those needs may have changed recently)

-- Which person has the pen to sign this contract?

-- What do I need to do, to get a meeting with that person?

Everyone is focusing on results; make sure in this new environment, you are too.

The writer is managing director of Smart Partners KK, a company that offers sales training, consulting, business strategy and financial planning advice.

© Japan Today

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Question: In that situation, would you keep your gloves on? “Of course not!” is the common answer.

This is the worst analogy! Firstly, if the lights are out you can't see to defend yourself and people can't see you. Secondly, if you were wearing gloves you would be distinguishable from others. Thirldly, how can this be a common answer when the question is completely obscure? Fourthly, this has almost nothing to to with business. Fifth, which sport are we talking about; boxing, K1, Thai boxing? Sixth, it takes forever to remove a pair of boxing gloves because of all the strapping. Can anyone find anything else, we might break a record.

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This article seems to me to be nothing more than an advertisement for his consulting company using inflammatory analogies and suggestions and not actually based on reality at all. Just my humble opinion.

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Thanks for reading. Clarification on Cow's comments: the lights on the arena came back on if you re-read the article you'll catch it. Yes, with gloves on you would be visible to the a mob, so please take your gloves off if a mob goes after you. Third, I asked both pro-fighters and business owners and the answers where the same. Fourth, this is a business article, please read the bottom part too. Fifth, I used a thai-boxing example, but boxing/MMA is just as good, Sixth, having fought several times in the ring myself, I know your cut-man can get your gloves off in about 10 seconds as they always have scissors in their kits, and often cut off the strings/taping when the announcer calls the fight results too quickly after the fight. Glove-strings cost 200 yen, you are not damaging the gloves by cutting them off :-)

KiraKira, there is advice here for you to use in your business if you own or operate one. Yes I own my company, thank you for reading.

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But if the lights went on, why would a mob be after you? That makes even less sense as they would be caught on video and arrested. Also, why would they attack the boxer/K1 fighter specifically? If they're busy fighting each other when the lights come on, why would they suddenly switch their attention to the boxer? Would they attack the opponent too?And I strongly dispute point number 3. Pro-fighters and business owners do not represent the community as a whole and therefore cannot constitute a 'common' answer. Point 6 is also debatable. Would you have 10 seconds for your cut-man to cut the gloves off with an angry mob breathing down your neck? Would the cut-man 'cut and run' (haha)?

As for the rest of the article, I realise it exists but with such a laughable opening I couldn't actually focus on reading it. I scanned it for about 2 seconds and got the gist though.

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I think it's best to focus on the process, not the results, just like this guy says.

If you do, and find a man with pen to sign the deal, you will get sales. Sales always follow the customer signing the contract!

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"Sales always follow the customer signing the contract!" very insightful. any other pearls of wisdom knocking around in there?

Personally i think "fists inside gloves" would be the more correct expression. Under gloves sounds like an axtra pair of gloves to go inside or rather under existing gloves that are both a bit too roomy and substandard to necessitate and acoommodate the addition of a pair of under gloves. you really should get one pair of gloves that a fit for purpose. even if that's a pair with removable washable inner gloves type linings. i think i had a pair like that once. Anyway, that's beside the point. Fight and sports analogies should be shyed away from as Rocky Balboa once said they are getting a bit cliched now. and he should know.

If i was asked about the above ring scenario i think i'd have kept my gloves on but taken the cricket bat from the cut man's kit. they always carry one. then i'd have had some Shaun of the Dead type fun.

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axtra pair of gloves

Do you mean "extra"?

How about a pearl of spelling for you?

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No. I meant axtra. it's a new type of glove used by internet hard men. i would have thought you'd know about them.

but i must say that this modern mantra on pseudo self help and self talk in order to do a job that let's face it add's no value and is just a way to keep us busy and out of trouble during the day. not refering to smartypartners in particular just the current situation that we all chase after careers rather than life.. we need more commentary articles on good places to busk and how to get hold of an alotment in Tokyo. (I suppose I could write one if i wasn't busy on my career.)

freddy5fingers: 6 spelling and grammar errors in my above post. hope you enjoy finding them.

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There are allotments in Ebisu.

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Overall, the article had some common sense ideas. nothing ground-breaking that other people aren't saying, but sensible nonetheless.

on point number 7, i'd say reduce not only client entertainment expenses, but also travel expenses by flying coach, staying in reasonably priced rooms, and actually reducing unnecessary travel altogether. cut down on unnecessary office supplies and decoration too. in Japan this is a fine line to walk though, because the face to face meeting is the be all end all of the business relationship. and cost cuts aside, it is still a relationship, so point number 6 is the best advice.

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