Gordon Ramsay is the @#$%^ hottest thing on television right now. Apart from the ubiquitous swearing, part of his appeal is his ability to tell the truth about the situation his restaurateurs are facing and then how, if they listen, they can build a fabulous business.
So, what can we learn about professional selling and negotiating from the man who looks like he's gone 10 rounds with a garlic press?
1. Dear client - do you know you have a problem? Despite looming disaster, Gordon has to get the restaurateur (read dope who thinks prawns go with chocolate sauce) to accept they are in the brown sticky stuff. In our corporate world, how often do we know the client has a serious problem in maintaining market share or is cutting costs or speed to market? How often do we hold back, suggest, allude or hint rather than say, hey Mr Banking, your customer service is about as attractive as Hillary Clinton in a latex bodysuit. Let's get in front of the decision makers and tell them the truth.
2. We can solve your problem. Gordon says change the @#$% menu: Keep it simple, rejig the decor and deliver quality produce at the right price and they'll come in droves. How often do we overcomplicate the sales process with jargon, synergistic strategies and customer engagement models (I went out with one once, but she dumped me for a spin doctor). Let's just change the client's menu and show them how it solves the problem - and simply.
3. New opportunities. Our civil tongue challenged friend then proceeds to several 'What ifs':
- What if we turn this rubbish heap into a Steak House?
- What if we change our clientele and go for a younger, richer crowd?
- What if we cook desserts at the table with more fire than an arsonist's convention?
In sales, proactive discussions with clients are often rare because many sales people claim "the client is too risk averse or we haven't built one of those yet". Bollocks! Let's show the client all the wonderful opportunities they could have access to if they bought software differently, or engaged in a longer term contract and used all of your services, not just a few.
There's a bit of Gordon Ramsay in all of us. Let's do it.
Elliot Epstein is the CEO of Salient Communication and has trained and coached over 3000 people throughout the Asia-Pacific Region on sales, negotiation, leadership and presentations.