Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Selling into Early Markets with Precision Language

Had a lively discussion with Jonathan Bowder (Performance Partnership) in London today. One topic that got a bit brusied and bloodied was the use of Precision Language in the context of selling Complex Products into Early Markets.

Pretty clearly there's a revolution going on. For the first time there are now frameworks and tools that all salespeople can use to be infinitely more sophisticated in eliciting client needs, and optimally communicating a product's features and benefits. Any training in the use of these Precision Language skills will produce positive results both at the individual salesperon's level (they'll make more money), and for the parent company (more quality deals, shorter sales cycles).

From my perspective, the point of debate had to do with how Precision Language tools are actually used in real-world settings. The most notoriously difficult area for salespeople is penetrating early markets with technically complex products - the so called "market chasm" problem. Under these conditions Precision Language patterns are just one component in an arsenal of skills needed to be successful over the long term. In particular there's a deep need for a Messaging Architecture that supports the needs & value elicitation processes. As a trainer I feel we run the risk of sending our clients to a gun fight armed with a scalpel unless we coach them through language Patterns specific to their needs!

In fairness, this presents, in and of itself a much greater challenge when dealing with corporate clients... there's always a desire to find a quick, short term fix. Time will tell how these challenges are best addressed.

Reference: Geoffey Moore "Crossing the Chasm" (revised 1999)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Introduction to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Part II

I like to practice Language Patterns every chance I get. Practicing on people I don't know is best - people you know are too easy. Strangers are "like a box of chocolates" you never know what you are going to get! Sometimes strangers can be pretty damned strange.

This morning I said "G'Day, you look great today"
I got "Why today?" "Didn't I look good yesterday!?" "... you have some nerve telling me I look good"

Sheesh! Mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce!!!!

OK, So, after I'd stitched up the last of the claw marks on my butt I began to think... what just happened to me?

Here's the thing - selecting the correct words to construct an effective Language Pattern is just the beginning. Words carry the message but it also matters what kind of operating system is at the receiving end. Are you a PC trying to communicate with a Mac? Language Patterns also need to be wrapped in the protocol of the receiving party in order to be truly effective.

How exactly is this achieved? The good news is that humans can be divided, like Macs and PCs, into two broad categories. These are frequently referred to a Left-Brained and Right-Brained. The left brain deals with Logic, Language, and Analysis ... the right brain is a silent partner, and deals with holistic and creative insights. Left-brained behavior is characterized by a literal interpretation of the Physical world. A right-brained individual is driven by Emotional undercurrents that may not be immediately apparent.

Clearly I'd make the mistake of wrapping my Language Pattern in a left-brain protocol but handed to a right-brained receiver. Lesson learned, as they say.

Significantly, although right-brained people relish metaphors, analogies and secret meanings, they are identified by their blunt and direct style of speech. The reverse is true for left-brained people. They prefer direct literal language, but habitually communicate in dreaming, rambling speech.

Watch, and listen to, the couples you know. Almost invariably, you will see a Physical communicator associated with an Emotional communicator. They find each other irresistible....!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Introduction to NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming

I have posted a pdf version of a short presentation I recently gave -
Introduction to NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)

I hope you enjoy it - and by all means send feedback.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hook, Line, and Sinker

So ya wanna be popular on the Web, eh, punk?!

A great post from Todd Malicoat "The LinkBaiting Playbook" over at webpronews

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Social Networks that REALLY Work

This just in from The Guardian... and yes, I have applied for the Director's position

NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the flip side of SNA?

SNA is primarily about discovering the relationships between people. The intriguing (obvious) question is WHY certain members of a group become hubs and WHAT personality/behavior characteristics they exhibit in common with other hubs. Not surprisingly I'm not the first to ask this question! (doh!)

Unlike digital networks ("a series of tubes") which process information in a hierarchical and rigidly predictable way, humans communicate using idiosyncratic rules. As a rough guide only about 20 percent of the communications we produce are under our conscious control. Eighty percent is guided and shaped unconsciously. We blush, guffaw, stammer, fidget, look into the distance, as we select terms and expressions based on our unique history and the impact we hope to produce in those we are communicating with. Similarly, 80% of the messages we receive are unconsciously filtered, generalized, and distorted.

Clearly, great communicators have some heightened ability to understand others and be understood by them in turn.

Since at least the 50's (Noam Chomsky) and many others have attempted to understand the sources, structure, and use of language. In the broadest sense these original insights have been absorbed into the NLP movement, and if you can get through the humbo-jumbo it's worth the effort.