Talking HR by Pauline NG
MOST of us can recall at least one bad experience with a sales person who pushed too hard or tried to sell us something we didn't need, let alone want.
Given that situation, it is quite easy to come to the conclusion that most people would not have aspired to become a sales person.
Perhaps this is why some companies choose to call their executives, business development, or strategic account management managers instead of the traditional sales manager title.
However, I would concede that sales has become much more complex over the years just as some other functions such as human resources and finance have also evolved.
For instance, human resources used to be much more administrative and some of us who have been in the workforce for the last two decades or so would recall a time when human resources was called personnel.
But I would like to suggest that we are all sales people at the end of the day.
A colleague of mine related a recent conversation she was having with a client. The client said that all executive search consultants are in fact sales people.
To her credit, my colleague did not give an evasive, diplomatic answer but openly admitted to the client that we are indeed in the sales profession and she also pointed out that the client, who is the CEO of a manufacturing company, was also in a sales role.
She told him that he was selling his ideas to his management team and board of directors to get their buy in. She also mentioned that even the receptionist who picked up the phone when she called to make an appointment with the CEO was selling the branding and perception of the company.
If we are in agreement that we are all sales people, then how do we start selling? The first step will be to understand the customer's needs. Personally, I don't think I have ever bought a product from anyone whom I didn't feel I have a connection with.
What I'm referring to here is, putting ourselves in our customer's shoes and trying to understand the need from their perspective and looking beyond the obvious circumstances.
In a recent conversation I had with a client, they were looking for a general manager to head a department and wanted someone with a specific number of years of experience. They were very insistent that they would not interview anyone with less experience than what they had requested.
Upon further discussion, the client clarified that this individual would need to manage a very experienced team and the risk of bringing on board someone who had not had sufficient opportunity to lead teams and manage departments would jeopardise the business unit.
By taking the time to understand the customer's needs, we were able to present some suitable candidates who either had the number of years of experience required or were slightly younger but were able to demonstrate maturity in successfully leading teams consisting of older, more experienced team members.
So, after we have understood the customer's needs, then we can proceed with the “why.” In 2009, Simon Sinek authored a book titled Start with Why, which advocates what he calls the “Golden Circle.” At the heart of the “Golden Circle” is just one word, “why.”
Sinek's philosophy is, “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This message resonated with me because I strongly believe that CEOs make decisions based on why and to a lesser degree “how it needs to be done” and the “what needs to be done”.
The “why” question
More often than not, people in an organisation will not be able to answer the why question or they ask the question too late in the sales process. The earlier we answer the “why” question, the sooner we would be able to make a strong persuasive argument to our customer.
For instance, AirAsia's success started with its founder wanting to make travel more accessible and available to Malaysians. Why do we choose to fly on AirAsia? We do so because it is convenient and affordable. As such, we are not even bothered about the “how” and the “what” anymore.
It matters not, or very little, that we need to go online to buy our own tickets and choose our seats for an additional charge. We also don't even see flying via AirAsia as a hindrance or stigma, in fact I have met some CEOs on Air Asia flights.
Art of negotiation
Even when we negotiate we are making a sales pitch. Both parties want a favourable outcome for themselves and they will put forward their points in the most persuasive ways available to them. I find that the same principles that apply to the art of negotiation can be applied to selling.
For instance, a phrase commonly used is “to leave one's ego at the door” when negotiating. I find that if I were to take offence with the numerous clients and candidates whom I have been in contact with over the years, I wouldn't have had much success in the business that I operate in.
Instead, I've often put myself on the other side of the negotiating table to gain a different perspective and admittedly it also helps to take a breather before coming back to negotiate further.
I recall from some management courses I took earlier in life that another principle in negotiation is to build the “golden bridge” for the other party to walk across to you. I'm not entirely sure why the bridge has to be golden other than the fact that it is should be so attractive an option that the other party would have to take it or walk on it in this case.
As an example to illustrate this point, I'll use the job offer stage in the recruitment process. When an organisation is trying to entice a good talent to join them, the organisation may offer the candidate an overseas assignment or a handsome sign-on bonus to sign the offer letter.
If it is a compelling enough gesture, which is aligned to the candidate's personal or professional goals, the candidate will in most cases take the offer and in doing so, cross the golden bridge.
I came to the realisation that I have been in sales very early in my career. It made life a lot easier to acknowledge my purpose in the organisation. In fact, it was probably in that moment that I decided to embrace the executive search profession and not seek other career opportunities.
So let's all take a moment to evaluate which parts of our jobs involve sales and it may surprise you that while your job title tells you that you are in human resources or operations, you are in fact also a sales person.
By Farnoosh Torabi, Yahoo! Finance | Financially Fit
Women are making incredible strides. For the first time in history, we are more educated than men and hold a majority of the advanced degrees. We represent 50% of the workforce, up from 35% a generation ago. And, we make most of the household decisions, everything from buying items for the home to managing household finances.
But of course, as women, we still face unique challenges that need specific attention and advice. Here are my top money tips every woman ought to know.
Contribute More to Retirement
First, sorry to say, we need to save more for retirement than men when you consider we live an average five years longer. If you haven't already, it's best to automatically set aside close to 15% of each paycheck in a 401(k) or other retirement plan, a bit more than the generally recommended 10%.
Prepare For Higher Expenses
As we recently covered, it costs more to be a woman. Research shows women pay an average $1,300 a year more than men for everything from haircuts to home loans. We can always refuse to buy higher priced goods and services, but it never hurts to have a cash cushion filled with six to nine months of living expenses.
Now I know what you're thinking: How can we save more when we still earn less than men on average? The solution: earn more. While the average annual income for working women has jumped 74% over the last three decades, today's female worker still earns 23 cents less for each dollar her male co-worker makes. So we've got two choices: Either speak up and ask for more money on the job or develop an additional revenue stream on the side.
Ask For Help
Perhaps one of the hardest things for women to do is my next tip - establish a support group. While we can be exceptional at managing multiple tasks on our own, when it comes to our money, it's smart to invest in some professional help from time to time. Start with a fee-free certified financial advisor to help you establish goals, budget and build wealth.
Invest in Life Insurance
Next, if you have children or other dependents, life insurance is a must as it can help to protect your family's future. But as it stands, some 43% of working women have no life insurance and when we polled our Yahoo Shine Facebook viewers, 40% admitted they were uninsured as well. How much do you need? More than you think. Currently, the average life insurance policy for women covers just $130,000, about one-third less than the average male life insurance policy. But considering we earn less, live longer and tend to have higher expenses, you'll likely need much more.
For example, if you're a healthy 30-year-old with a child and bring home $50,000 a year, aim for a $500,000 policy, which shouldn't cost more than $25 per month.
Leave a Positive Financial Legacy
Finally, speaking of family, a recent survey discovered that children learn the most about money from mom. According to Creditcards.com, about one in four young adults said their mothers were the biggest financial influence growing up. Roughly 20% picked dad. So my last tip is to remember to leave a positive financial legacy for the next generation. Whenever you're clipping coupons, heading off to work or using a credit card, discuss what you're doing and why it matters. Encourage your kids to seek financial advice when they need it.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In finance, an investment strategy is a set of rules, behaviors or procedures, designed to guide an investor's selection of an investment portfolio. Usually the strategy will be designed around the investor's risk-return tradeoff: some investors will prefer to maximize expected returns by investing in risky assets, others will prefer to minimize risk, but most will select a strategy somewhere in between.
Passive strategies are often used to minimize transaction costs, and active strategies such as market timing are an attempt to maximize returns.
One of the better-known investment strategies is buy and hold. Buy and hold is a long term investment strategy, based on the concept that in the long run equity markets give a good rate of return despite periods of volatility or decline. A purely passive variant of this strategy is indexing, where an investor buys a small proportion of all the shares in a market index such as the S&P 500, or more likely, in a mutual fund called an index fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF).
This viewpoint also holds that market timing, that one can enter the market on the lows and sell on the highs, does not work or does not work for small investors, so it is better to simply buy and hold. The smaller, retail investor more typically uses the buy and hold investment strategy in real estate investment where the holding period is typically the lifespan of their mortgage.
Definition of 'Investment Strategy'An investor's plan of attack to guide their investment decisions based on individual goals, risk tolerance and future needs for capital. The components of most investment strategies include asset allocation, buy and sell guidelines, and risk guidelines.
Investopedia explains 'Investment Strategy'Investment strategies can differ greatly from a rapid growth strategy where an investor focuses on capital appreciation to a safety strategy where the focus is on wealth protection. The most important part of an investment strategy is that it aligns with the individual's goals and is closely followed by the investor.
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