Is it really possible to come to an agreement where everyone wins during a negotiation? Or does it come at too high a price for one side? An experienced negotiator can walk away from the table with a much better deal than someone less experienced. There are those that speak ‘win win’, but when they jet out of Dubai back to their head office, you could find you’ve given away much more than you should have just to achieve the deal.
So how can you ensure that you will walk away from the meeting with what you wanted? A win win strategy for negotiation brings everyone around the table to a point of mutual agreement. A point where nobody will walk away feeling they have given too much away, or didn’t get very close to what they wanted.
First of all, you must understand your own goals. Without a clear idea of what you want, it’s almost impossible to achieve a settlement. If you can’t clearly define what you need, how can you expect the other side to grasp your goals?
Also, by clearly outlining what you want ahead of time, you give yourself time to look at what options are open to the other side to help you win, and what you can offer in return.
At the outset, you have to be very realistic about the negotiation. Is it really possible for both sides to win? Will one of you have to concede too much to gain their prize? What exactly are you willing to concede?
You have to have a clear understanding of the parameters of your concessions. This is called the settlement range. Don’t go so far that you give away more than the deal is actually worth to your company.
Accept that not every deal is going to be a win win. That doesn’t mean you should give up before you start, but you do need to be realistic about your resources, your abilities at negotiating, and the other party’s negotiating skills.
And don’t be afraid to ask the other party what they want out of the deal. It’s a simple question, but many are afraid to ask it, in case it makes them look weak for not knowing beforehand. If you don’t know, then ask. Asking sooner will not only look better, but will save time spent dancing around trying to figure it out.
This questioning will benefit you as well. If you know exactly what someone is looking for out of a deal, you will know whether you can provide it. And don’t forget to return the favour. Tell them what your goals are.
However, there has to be a bit of tactical thought going on. If you reveal far more than they do, where does that leave you? Well, it could leave you at a disadvantage further down the line. Better to hold a little back, than give up everything at once.
And don’t let the other side know you BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) at the outset. This will certainly put you at a real disadvantage. Keep that knowledge in your mind until you really feel it’s necessary to push for it. Then hopefully you will be standing in your Dubai office lobby shaking hands on a deal well done.
Are you spending more than you are making? This is the absolute basic of budgeting for any start-up or non-finance manager in Dubai. Can you honestly say you understand where all the money coming in is being spent? And do you know which areas need less money and which areas require a boost?
At the heart of all businesses is the need to earn enough money to cover all the overheads and make some profit. Without a clear plan to ensure this happens, a business will obviously flounder. But assessing how this happens, and where to make changes to increase profitability, requires some knowledge of financial terms and how to implement them.
Here are some staples of a Finance Director’s daily routine. Understanding not only what they mean, but also how you can use them, will help a manager create a healthier department.
Cash flow Analysis: Shows where (and more importantly when) the money is coming into the company and how it is being spent out of the company.
Gross Margin: If it costs you 12 dirhams to make a product and you sell it for 25 dirhams, the gross margin is 13 dirhams.
Balance Sheet: This is a snapshot of your company’s, or your department’s financial situation. It shows the assets and liabilities on a specific date and can be used to show the worth of the company and to analyse its management.
Break Even Point: This is where your total income equals your total expenditure.
Income Statements: An important report analysing a company’s revenue and expenditure. This is also known as the profit and loss statement.
Return On Capital: Is the measure of how a company uses its resources to generate profit.
Key Performance Indicators: These help companies keep track on the success (or failure) of defined goals and targets.
Working capital: Is the money available to a company to pay the day to day bills.
It is the job of a department manager to do more than just know what these terms mean. A thorough understanding of how to read a cash flow analysis alongside the income statement, will allow you to plan better. You will see where the money is working hardest and where it is disappearing into a black hole of inactivity.
So instead of winging it every month, you’ll be able to place a strategy behind your department’s work, and ultimately increase profitability.
Without proper budgets behind purchasing and marketing decisions, a department can quickly descend into chaotic spending patterns that not only make it a drag on the company as a whole, but also puts a question mark against whether you are capable of running it properly.
If you are struggling to keep a tight rein on your business or department budget, it’s time to think about a financial course in Dubai aimed specifically at non-financial managers. The Institute of Sales and Marketing has a highly knowledgeable team of experts that are here to help you. On our Finance Management for Non-Financial Managers course, you will gain confidence in your abilities to effectively oversee budgets and understand basic financial principles.
Apps are not just profile raisers, they can increase sales when you consider them part of your marketing mix in Dubai.
If you’ve visited the Apple website recently you can’t fail to have noticed their 25 Billion App download Countdown. From the ever-popular Angry Birds to the incredibly useful Dubai Travel Guide, there truly is an app for everything.
Which is why every company, regardless of whether they are a SME or international corporation should be considering the development of an app as a marketing tool for their business.
Undeniably it can be expensive to develop apps for businesses, not only because of the time involved, but also because of the different software packages required to publish on different platforms. However, since the skill sets of graphic designers, programmers and software developers have improved dramatically over the last four years, the costs have come down somewhat.
In 2010, an American company, Miss Cayce’s Christmas Store, spent $20,000 on creating an app that gave Christmas decorating tips. The owners of the store, based in Texas, viewed this cost as part of their marketing budget and were very pleased with the results: “We have gained (customers) and have the potential to gain more.” They said in an interview with Small Business Computing.
And this is what lies at the heart of developing a company app: it is a marketing tool that can gain you more customers and re-engage old customers who may have forgotten about your business and what it can do for them.
Although the costs have come down, there are app development companies offering app development for as little as $2,000 now, you have to ensure that you know what you want from the outset. Only by having a clear idea at the beginning can you keep a lid on the costs of developing your company’s app.
Another consideration is your target market. Despite the fact that very loose estimates put Blackberry apps at around 30,000, a company who sells high-end business software in Dubai, will need an app that can be used by Blackberry users as well as iPhone users. An app that isn’t available on Blackberry is going to miss a chunk of your potential customer base.
And don’t be seduced by the thought of making money out of selling the app. Only rare games such as Angry Birds bring in the big bucks and they required a huge investment of over $1m to get the return you see today.
Think of developing your app in the same way as the owners of Miss Cayce’s Christmas Store did. By providing a really neat service showing their customers how to decorate a Christmas tree they provided a fun and useful app.
An app that is downloaded and then languishes on the home screen without ever being used is a waste of money. Consider your business and your customers, what is going to be a big benefit for them and for you?
* In December 2011, Apple announced there were over 500,000 apps available to download. It is impossible to get exact number of apps available on the other major platforms such as Microsoft, Blackberry and Android, however approximate estimates put them as follows:
Apple – 500,000
Android – 200,000
Windows – 40,000
Blackberry – 30,000
At ISM Dubai, a course we often run in-house and cover during our selling skills course, is looking at a sale or negotiation from the buying perspective. This holistic approach needs to be understood by sales people to help drive their own success. In this three part blog Bill Levell will cover buyer views comprehensively.
From the buyer’s perspective engaging with a potential supplier calls for detailed information gathering through whatever means are appropriate.
There are several key areas to explore in depth through desk research, asking questions and holding discussions to assess suppliers and their proposals in all relevant areas.
Here are some examples of these areas, not all are always essential, and there will be others which I have not listed which are industry/technology specific.
Does the supplier’s staff have the skills and experience, including specialised technical knowledge that they will need to meet the requirement?
Past experience should be examined in sufficient detail to give confidence that the supplier has the right ability. This may include visits to customers of the supplier or to the supplier’s premises. The principal objective is to assess how much of the supplier’s experience is relevant to the buyer’s requirements and how they can back up their responses with evidence that they have provided similar solutions before. Questions like:
It is important to validate the totality of the declared resource skills against overall supplier resources.
If the supplier has high reliance on one major customer, this may present a risk to the project. This does not necessarily mean that the supplier must be rejected out of hand, but the risk should be analysed, considered and managed like other project risks. Questions like:
The next two parts to this comprehensive look at the Buyer’s perspective will be published in the next fortnight and if you have any thoughts on what else should be included please let us know.
Market Research and Marketing Research are not the same. Market Research is about finding out specific details about the nature of markets, competitors and potential customers. It involves researching a specific industry or market e.g. researching the mobile phone industry to discover the number of competitors and their market share. Market research will provide more global information – often carried out in focus groups often combining questions from several companies to obtain general market information on a broader scale.
Market research can more easily be carried out by an external company since more global data are required such as geographic information and the accessibility of a market and its potential together with general customer information.
Marketing Research analyses a given marketing opportunity or problem, defines the research and data collection methods to deal with the problem or take advantage of an opportunity, right through to implementation of a strategy. It is more systematic and seeks to find out the root cause for specific problem/s and determine solutions. e.g. research carried out to analyse and find solution for increasing sales revenues. Marketing research is about finding data on your products/services and your existing customers and provides more detailed information on the company’s product/service offer and the customers who buy them. All the information is used to better understand the reasons why customers choose your offer and in some circumstances to understand why not.
Marketing Research is essential in developing strategic decisions which are important for growth. It helps in making the right decisions by using statistical methods and as such reduces the uncertainty in the decision-making process and increases the probability and magnitude of success provided it is conducted systematically, analytically and objectively.
Depending on the specific needs and expectations for any research, market or marketing, its success depends on the correct use of the type of research, its preparation and the use of its results.
All of this can be daunting for those organisations and individuals who wish to conduct research and so it is vital to learn about the various methods of approach and analysis. The Marketing Research & Intelligence course presented by the Institute of Sales & Marketing, Dubai will help you choose the most appropriate research programme and design appropriate methods so you will be able to make critical marketing decisions with absolute confidence. Find out more http://188.8.131.52/courses/market-research/index.php
Businesses that market themselves successfully will in all likelihood have a marketing plan that is adaptable to a changing business landscape. A marketing plan will help you determine the marketing resources you will need to apply to meet your marketing and corporate objectives whether you have a small business or large company. The key purpose and focus of marketing planning is identifying and creating competitive advantage with intelligence coming from the market. It is about what you want to achieve (marketing objectives) and how you plan to get there (marketing strategy). A marketing plan can streamline the matching of resources to opportunity, enable increased coordination of efforts, develop a future market mindset within your company and help your business thrive through a combination of employing long-term strategic marketing and shorter tactical marketing.
So what do marketing plans involve?
Whilst this is an extremely simplistic view of a fairly complicated and lengthy process, the importance of market planning cannot be overemphasized since it will help your company survive, thrive, adapt and capitilise on emerging markets.
ISM training specializes in marketing training and will be running ‘Strategic Marketing Planning’ in Dubai, October 18th to 20th , please contact Michelle if you wish to book a place.
In the October Issue of the Harvard Business Review magazine Zenger, Folkman and Edinger (2011) describe a path for executives to take to enhance their leadership strengths using a cross-training approach. Leadership key competencies were paired with competency companions and when these companions were addressed the strength became more distinct to the employer pushing executives closer to the tipping point they needed for promotion into a leadership role. They argue that a single extraordinary strength can elevate you from the bottom third of leaders whilst two distinct strengths will put you in the top third of candidates.
In the cross-training approach strengths should be identified and selection of strength to focus on quantitatively made. This is based on your skills, the importance of that strength to the organisation and the passion you feel for it (do you actively and happily seek knowledge in this area outside your defined job role?). A complimentary behaviour to strengthen is then chosen to work on. Their example executive’s selected personal strength was ‘inspires and motivates others’, a recognised leadership quality. From a list of competency companions which included ‘develops others’ and ‘nurtures innovation’, he chooses to work on ‘communicates powerfully and broadly’. This skill was also important to his organisation and if he successfully masters it could emphasise his strength, namely ‘to inspire and motivate others’.
Whilst leaders should leverage their strengths it also behoves them to recognise and eliminate their weaknesses. Leaders that do not recognise their weaknesses are often dictatorial and egotistic, the type of leader that rules by authority and rank instead of knowledge, integrity,influence or charisma. Are you scrutinising your leadership skills and working on them?
“Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” –Peter F. Drucker
Zenger, J.H., Folkman, J.R., & Edinger, S.K. (2011, October). Making Yourself Indispensable. Harvard Business Review Magazine. Retrieved 4th October, 2011 from http://hbr.org/2011/10/making-yourself-indispensable/ar/4
There is an increasing amount of discussion about recession returning. All the media are gloomy about the continuing impact of recession on businesses.
This has an effect on businesses and their people, not only in terms of generating negative thoughts but believing them. These negative thoughts affect the way in which businesses see their prospects of future survival. It is vital, if you want to succeed in these conditions in any market to ensure that a positive outlook is maintained , essential marketing, sales and negotiation skills are energised and activities increased. In times of recession it is tempting to cut sales activities which can only lead to further limitation of sales results.
During such times customers place increasing importance on finding suppliers on whom they can rely and who provide them with valuable support.
When the going gets tough it’s not the time to withdraw but rather to become more proactive – increase marketing efforts, strengthen sales activities and sharpen negotiation skills. Even if the business potential is limited, it is essential to be even more active and more focused to ensure of being well placed to capitalise on the opportunities that will exist when recession is finally over.
Customers will be looking for ways to improve their profitability through negotiating better prices and value. They will be spending more time in analysing the differences between competing offers, however, this will not be limited to price alone. They will also be making comparisons of:-
Customers/buyers are not committed to buying at the lowest price – they know that the lowest priced supplier does not have 100% of the market and they recognise that there is always price differentiation. It is rare that the lowest priced offer secures the business.
What is more important, is for the customer to achieve the lowest cost of ownership of the product or service. Attempting to negotiate a single variable such as price will almost certainly lead to suppliers having to concede part of their profit to the buyer.
Effective negotiation requires suppliers to thoroughly understand the value proposition of the competition compared to their own. The implications are that it is essential to assess all of the variables on their values not just price. Think about the factors that influence the customer’s evaluation e.g.
When negotiating, it is in the interests of both parties to establish measurable, additional value by trading multiple variables simultaneously. It is much more effective to avoid reacting to price reduction demands and to focus on demonstrating how to help the customer achieve their internal objectives whilst getting valuable concessions from them in return.
Market recession provides great opportunities to increase credibility and customer acceptance through demonstrating a thorough understanding of their value requirements and trading all variables effectively.
The ISM Training Dubai courses “ROI Selling Skills “and “Advanced Negotiation” provide high skill building which will contribute significantly to maintaining profitably and securing competitive advantage during recessionary times.
On the hunt for more Augmented Reality (AR) in Dubai, I have recently come across a few more examples. The first is to be found at the tallest structure in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa. On the 124th floor viewers can use a telescope to view a live stream of Dubai. If a location of interest within the field of view is selected then additional information will appear on a screen. At the moment this is limited to tourist attractions. Panadol , also ran an AR campaign to launch their new packaging in Mall of the Emirates (Talk Partnership).
Mapping projection is more prevalent in the region with examples of the Fanta Chase and the recent unveiling of Green Line metro in Dubai. Nabil Moutran, the Regional Director from Ogilvy One explained that the reason AR hasn’t yet been strongly picked up in this market as in other regions , is simply due to the fact that the new world of digitalisation from a marketing perspective is still being explored. He expects rapid growth to come in digital marketing as a whole. However, he emphasised that Ogilvy One, whilst constantly looking for new technologies and methods to engage with consumers, considers the creative idea as central to brand marketing. If the idea then allows Ogilvy One to explore new tech such as AR, then it is proposed.
“We believe in innovation, but our focus remains on developing strong ideas.”
A strong and effective marketing idea is vital to the successful promotion of products or services and at the moment AR may not be the best delivery medium. Marketing ideas should be responsive to changes in the local markets and be able to adapt to local tastes and preferences. However, if marketing firms in the region are not developing their digital marketing /AR expertise and looking towards the future then this may be a lost opportunity to become market leaders in technophilic Dubai.
Thanks to Roland for some AR spotting and Nabil Moutran from Ogilvy One ( responsible for Fanta Chase). An enthusiast at the top, Burj Khalifa.
Training is important and can potentially be life changing. Just ask Tom Hanks character Larry Crowne in the film of the same title. There are very real benefits to training:-
As a return on investment (ROI) ongoing training has an impact on productivity and consequently bottom line. In Dubai many companies understand the value of training and their training departments work hard to present options that meet their specific needs. For a better ROI they need to source training providers that:-
One of the major objections to training “I don’t have time” is actually indicative of the need for training. If well supported by management, training initiatives would not be the cause of employees breaking out in a rash thinking about all the work they are missing whilst on a training course. The importance of scheduling training in advance is a solution to this and most providers will have a yearly training calendar at least for their public courses and would only be too delighted to meet to discuss tailored programs. Booking in advance can also give employees the time they need to plan/arrange/delegate while they are in the training room. Most employees will want to engage in further training, especially if they are able to gain approval for courses they wish to attend.
Michelle Lewis-Smith the lead training adviser for ISM training recognizes this as a common objection she receives and added,
I can honestly say that getting my clients to attend their 2nd course with ISM is a matter of ‘when can I register’ rather than ‘I don’t have time’. It’s always great to see our clients progression in their career too, over the years you slowly watch their job title change from Sales Executive to Sales Manager to Sales Director to General Manager etc….. These are people that are not afraid to admit that they need a little help/guidance in their development and of course these people act on it rather than worry about it.
Now whilst that may be banging our own drum, it is true that the individuals that engage in lifelong learning do have an outlook that can keep pace and adapt to the many changes we all experience in our workplace . The staff that know the value of investing time in training will be amongst the most innovative, motivational , able employees with strong performance records and increased company loyalty.
The big question is how to keep your business sustainable and marginalizing the impact training can provide is terminal. If you aren’t constantly developing your own or your staff’s skills you can bet that your competitors are.
Key account management (KAM) is concerned with planning and managing the relationship with the customer but this is a means to an end if you have little business development to show for it. Key account managers are not just salesmen with good negotiation skills but apply clear strategy to select, develop and maintain their most important customers in order to profit from them. They need to constantly update their own skills and have a clear idea of company strategy, operations and marketing functions in order to build lasting relationships with their key accounts. Customers now have power over their suppliers and are looking for greater partnership, anticipation of their needs and customised solutions/resources to give them competitive advantage.
Even for a large company the number of key accounts should not become unmanageable (optimum 15 to 35) and the right accounts should be selected for inclusion. With high numbers of key accounts it is doubtful that you can successfully attend to them and failing to deliver can lead to them exercising their customer power and going elsewhere.
When selecting these key accounts bear in mind the following:-
If you have answered yes to most of these questions then clearly you are not spending vast amounts of time managing accounts that really are not profiting your company and don’t belong in the key account category.
Are you reaching out to your potential market en masse or do you use the more subtle, effective method of relationship marketing? Your transactional customers may not sustain your business long term and according to Pareto’s Law approximately 20% of your customers are going to be responsible for 80% of your business. So do you know who these emotively loyal customers are and how are you engaging and communicating with them? Does your business adhere strictly to the traditional marketing mix approach focusing on markets and products or are you developing a more holistic approach and developing relationships with your customers? Is there synergy between your customer service departments, quality management and marketing team and does your strategy recognise that each employee has a marketing function? Are the customers that are initially loyal to your brand about to jump ship because you are not cementing your relationship with them?
It is important to know who your customers are to retain their loyalty to your brand, they are the ones that have developed trust in your brand and need individual attention. Analysing your consumer database offers insights into their needs and demographics. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is about understanding who your customers are through long term study, improving the way you communicate with them and is aimed at creating relationships that can increase profitability. Vital information about customers such as frequency, recency, type and amount of purchase will help you develop a picture of their Life Time Value (LTV). You can segment your markets and target them more effectively communicating with them about products they truly might be interested in, anticipate their needs and track their response to your personalized approach and promotions. The data from CRM programs should feed back to management to drive the marketing strategy forward and assess the most effective and convenient communication channel for your different customers whether it be point of sale or internet based. Indeed for this valued set of customers you should be acutely aware of how they prefer to be communicated to.
However, there is no point in having lots of data if you are not using it thoughtfully and allocating resources to maximize the return from your 20% of most profitable emotivally loyal customers. Businesses can use free (for basic features) internet data analysers e.g. Google Analytics or invest more deeply by using services such as Omniture or Webtrends. Businesses that choose to use a paid service may already be ahead of the game since they have signaled a deeper commitment to the process of customer analytics. CRM systems are the key to defining your customers; creating customer satisfaction; improving customer service brand loyalty; receiving their feedback; engaging them as brand ambassadors and can result in directed rather than mass marketing.
So how is brand Dubai doing these days? Well, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, set up the Dubai Media affairs office in 2009. One of its purposes is to investigate and enhance Dubai’s image and if recent reports are to be believed Dubai is rapidly overcoming the backlash the city saw in the wake of the debt crisis and more positive chat is appearing again . Sheikh Mohammed himself has 457,885 twitter followers and growing and it is clear that the relationship strategy for Brand Dubai has key leadership support.
ISM training will run the highly successful Marketing Masterclass public course from September 11th to 13th and also runs more focused Marketing Communications/Strategy courses both in-house and publicly.
“Oral delivery aims at persuasion and making the listener believe they are converted. Few persons are capable of being convinced; the majority allow themselves to be persuaded.” Goethe.
Unless you wave your arms around and alter the tone of your voice like Obi Wan Kenobi or can control minds like Professor Xavier, it may be that you need a few tips in the art of persuasion. As with most conversations in life if you listen to your audience and understand their motivations first, then you can offer solutions and a different perspective.
We have all sat through dull presentations, slide after slide delivered with all the passion of a stuffed animal. As an audience we try in vain to signal our disinterest flicking through material, checking our messages, shifting in our chairs. We really do want to be enlightened; after all we have given up our valuable time to be there. All too often the presenter forgets that as the audience the presentation should be all about us and not about them, their accomplishments, their company or their product. Of course it is about those things but if you fail to engage and involve the audience and listen to them you might as well pack up and go home.
The skill of being able to present yourself or your company in a professional, memorable and persuasive way does not come easy to most and needs practice and refinement to achieve objectives. If you have to speak at meetings and conferences; put up a case to the board; communicate company policy; pitch to prospective customers or carry out business development responsibility then you need to be able to persuade. A persuasive presentation normally starts with a story, statistics or facts to gain our attention from the beginning, connects the content with our needs and involves us, the audience, in developing a solution. However, when developing your persuasive presentation you need to first focus on analysing the audience. Ask yourself these questions to get you started:-
Thinking about these and embedding them into your presentation will persuade the audience you are there for them. Even Steve Jobs started somewhere, here he is persuading us to buy Mac’s in 1984 and he is still persuading us today.
If you are interested in developing your presentation skills please contact ISM Training, Dubai for further information on our public and in-house courses.