Consultative or Transactional Sales? Pick One!

Can you have your cake and eat it? Can you really expect your sales staff to be consultative and deliver real value to your customers if you expect them to play a pure numbers game and practice transactional sales?

It’s not that transactional sales are a bad thing (I personally hate them – but that doesn’t mean they’re an ineffective tactic), but when you position yourself as a consumer-centric brand, delivering the right solutions for your customers, you cannot live up to your statement or goals by taking a transactional approach to revenue growth.

I’ve worked with companies that claim to be be consultative, to be their customers’ partners, to want to be there for the long-haul, but ultimately nickle-and-dime customers with gimmicky “upgrades.” Now that I spend a lot of time consulting for an automotive group, I’m seeing this particular behavior from services across all of the digital spectrum.

I guess it stuck in my throat today after I heard a sales pitch that went from: “We want your dealership to grow. We want to be there for the long haul” to “But I need you sign up today. This offer is only for the next 24 hours and won’t come around again.”

I get that everybody is in it to make a buck, but pick a hat and wear it. I won’t respect a company that pitches as being consultative but always wants the quick sale; however, I may just respect the company they tells me “we’re a one-trick pony that solves x, want in?”

Decide which you are and stick to your guns. Your sales reps will be less stressed and confused, the companies you deal with will know where they stand, and you can truly start to build on an honest value proposition.

The Chilling Effect Of Poor Content Moderation – Looking At You Twitter

I’m back on Twitter after having my account suspended for 4 days because I posted a picture of myself, masked and proudly displaying my vaccination card, after receiving my second Covid-19 shot.

I don’t have a screenshot of the post, but it looked identical to this one on Facebook:

I had my account suspended until I either deleted the post, or successfully appealed it, for “violating our policy on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19”.

Deleting the post without question would have had my account restored within 12 hours. Appealing the decision took 4 days and despite Twitters own rules allowing for the use of satire, my appeal failed.

I understand the desire to protect your users from misinformation, but in what universe (besides Twitters), does a photo of someone proudly displaying their vaccination record (even with a satirical commentary) constitute the spread of misinformation?

Knowing that even satirical posts (which are explicitly allowed by their policy) will result in a suspension from the service has a chilling effect on my use of the service.

Since deleting my post in order to have my account reinstated, I’ve found myself wondering about posting to twitter at all. Should I drop the service, which I have been using since March 2007? Not even the normally draconian Facebook found my post to be an issue.

I even debated whether or not to mention Twitter in the title of this post for fear of falling afoul of the moderation gods.

Wearing Scrubs Outside Of The Clinic? A Marketer’s Perspective

It’s a debate almost as old as scrubs themselves: should scrubs be worn outside of the clinic? My take: perception is everything so, hell no!

Marketing is essentially the art of persuasion. It is the art of influencing the perceptions of others so that they buy our product, recommend our practice, take the steps we want them to in order to achieve our end goal. You’re persuading your customers that your product is the best, your cars are cooler, or in the case of medical practices (regardless of specialty) you’re attempting to persuade patients that you are professional physicians with high standards and that you deserve a reputation befitting the high quality of patient care you deliver.

Seriously, it doesn’t matter if not changing into your civilian clothing is more efficient when you want to run out and grab that well-deserved bite to eat during a busy clinic schedule. It doesn’t matter if some studies claim that wearing scrubs outside the clinic is not any less hygienic. What really matters is the perception that patients have, and that perception is that clothes worn in the clinic should be clinical, i.e. clean.

I have spent years working directly with medical practices. I know the reality behind the scenes, yet even I cringe a little when I see staff in scrubs huddled in a booth across from me at the Mexican restaurant, getting off public transit, or trudging out of the gas station with their much-needed energy drinks.

If I cringe regardless of my “inside knowledge,” imagine what less-informed patients are thinking and what that is doing to your overall reputation as a practice.

While I’m at it, this same advice applies to beauty salons and any other business where staff wears scrubs. The logo on your scrubs isn’t free advertising: it’s letting those who perceive clean scrubs as part of their care or treatment know exactly where not to go.

I’ll end where I started: when it comes to selling, perception is everything.

The Luxury Of Living At Work?

The Luxury OF Working From Home

I don’t work from home. In this pandemic, I am required by my employer to be in offices 6 days a week. Yet I don’t envy those who have the “luxury of working from home,” because it’s not a luxury. It’s quite the opposite in fact.

Let me make this a simple as I can. Pre-pandemic, the ability to work from home was a luxury. Sometimes reserved for employees as a reward, it was often seen as a perk. As I look around at my friends and family that are working from home, it’s painfully apparent that the only people benefiting from this “new normal” are employers.

Work-life balance is out the window. I see family working extra hours FOR FREE because they are unable to meet the requirements of their jobs during regular business hours due to the pressure of being at home, without a proper workspace, dealing with children who are not at school, other family members who are also working from home, and the myriad distractions that come with that.

“But Paul, shouldn’t they make up the hours for the work they don’t accomplish?” I hear you ask. “Doesn’t the employer deserve to get what they pay for?”.

Yes, they do. But frankly, fuck’em. Let’s talk about what they employer is getting out of everyone working from home, shall we?

In most cases (and yes, I’m sure there are a handful of excellent employers who deviate from the norm,) the workloads have not decreased, but do you know what has? The employers’ costs.

Some have reduced the amount of space they are renting, but others, even if they keep the space in hopes of the full workforce returning to the office after the pandemic, face dramatically reduced costs for that space. Water, sewer, heating (or air conditioning), electricity, office supplies, insurance, cleaning, hardware /furniture /equipment attrition costs have all dropped dramatically. That’s to name just a few.

Those costs are now borne by guess who? That’s right: the employee.

Most people did not have an office in their home pre-pandemic, and those that did usually didn’t have it set up as a long-term work environment.

No matter how cheap you choose to go, it costs time and money to set up a long-term workspace in your home – assuming you even have the space to do so. Who pays for that? Do you get reimbursed for the desk, desk chair, laptop stand, monitors you had to purchase in order to be in any way as efficient as you were in the office?

Who pays for the additional water, sewage, heating / air-conditioning / office supplies / company coffee costs that come with being in your home instead of the office? You know, the normal costs of doing business, those unspoken items that are part of your employment, that are now being dumped on the employees.

Let’s not even talk about the cost of internet usage in America and its “no real choice is an actual choice” approach to broadband providers. I can’t get unlimited where I live. I have a 1TB cap, and we come precariously close every month to passing that cap because one of us is working from home. If we both were working from home, then we would blow through that cap in no time, and then come the overage fees.

And don’t get me started on those who offer advice to others without realizing that their reality is simply not the reality for the majority of folks. Nor could they make it such if they wanted to!

“If you have a standing desk, recreate that at home. You also want to make sure that your chair is ergonomically comfortable and that it’s an ergonomically friendly keyboard,” Mathew said.
But that doesn’t mean working from home can’t convey some extra benefits. For Kvinta, that includes regularly working outside.
“So, I do have an office — a dedicated office inside. But on beautiful days like today, I haul everything out, put it on my table on the porch, and I can work all day on the porch. It’s pretty awesome.”

CNN HEALTH

Sure Kvinta – We’ll drag the desk, two monitors, laptop, dock, and everything else out on the back porch, and set up a canopy to stop the Alabama sun from glaring off the screens. Let’s have the cabana boy bring margaritas while we’re at it. Christ on a cracker, at least I have a deck. What about all those poor wretches paying through the nose for studio apartments? I’m sure they can drag all their stuff to… Wait, what’s open and safe, with free wifi?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all great for employers, but my blood boils when I hear that even the richest of the rich (almost) want to reduce employee wages because they are working remotely.

It’s a fucking global pandemic people, and despite the existence of vaccines, the end is not yet in sight, for so many reasons.

If employers want to show solidarity with their remote workforce, maybe they should reduce expectations and increase pay. I’m certain it won’t inconvenience the shareholders all that much. It will go a lot further than platitudes at engendering goodwill with employees and improve retention when we come out the other side of all this.

Your home is supposed to be your castle, your sanctuary. I find it pretty fucking offensive: that the majority of employers just started squatting in people’s homes without so much as a “by your leave.” Fuck, most squatters would at least offer a reach-around to stay…

Facebook Is Correcting Username Misspellings on Login

Spotted this earlier today, in the Outlook app on Android, while I was reconnecting my Facebook calendar to my Outlook calendar.

Facebook Is Correcting Username Misspellings on Login

It looks like you entered a slight misspelling of your email or username. We’ve corrected it for you, but ask that you re-enter your password for added security.

I see this a potential security issue, especially if someone is guessing which username / password you’ve used but has the password. Thankfully it’s not too much of a problem if you have two-factor authentication enabled, but it’s still a potential security issue.

Fear Is The Mind Killer

Be Brave Enough To Be Bad At Something New - Jon Acuff

Fear of failure, fear of what others may think, fear of being unable to do something. It affects all of us in different areas of life. It can lead to stagnation, not achieving anything from over-preparation, and leads to so much unnecessary stress and lost potential.

You’re not alone. It happens to me more than I’d care to admit.

Let’s be brave! Let’s start that new project, take that trip, ask that person out, learn how to salsa.

There is no failure, because even if things don’t work out we will have new experience to build upon so that we get it right the next time.

Who’s with me? What will you start today?

Facebook App Mis-Attributing Posts To Other Users?

Maybe it was just a glitch in my app, but this morning I received a notification on my Facebook App that Sara had commented on a post (why I got this notification I’m not sure, as I was not following the post) – only to click through and see that it was her own post, except it wasn’t.

The Facebook app was displaying someone else’s post from 19 hours earlier, as Sara’s from three minutes previous.

Facebook glitch - mis-attributing posts
Here is what I saw on my phone.
Facebook glitch - mis-attributing posts - original post
Here is the original post from 19 hours previous.

This issue was not occurring on the website version. Has anyone else experienced this in the app today or lately, or is it a glitch confined to just my app?