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Superbowl Ads, Without The Pesky “Football”

2015 January 31

For many people it’s the ads that make the SuperBowl special, well, the ads and the snacks.  So if you want to save time to build and demolish your Snack Stadium, then watch a few ads ahead of time.  Here’s some of our favourites:

The inspiring story of Amy Purdy played under an inspirational soundtrack of Muhammed Ali is a real treat, though completely disconnected from the Toyota in the ad.  Never mind, you can’t buy it in Europe anyway.

Pierce Brosnan manages to be British, without being evil on American TV.  It’s OK though, he’s self deprecating and immaculately dressed:

For those of you old enough to remember having to get your head around what the internet and email were, you’ll enjoy Katie Couric having fun with the now infamous clip of her trying to understand both, and what that funny little @ sign was for, as she rides in a new-fangled BMW – how do you get a wind powered car anyway?

Mercedes Benz play with the Hare and the Tortoise theme, and Lexus choose a STOMP approach.  Car ads are strange.

McDonalds ups the schmaltz with a family based ad around “Pay With Love”, it may have been secretly underwritten by Kleenex:

Keep those Kleenex handy, you may need them for Dove’s “Daddy” advert, or the next installment in the Budweiser Clydesdales and puppy commercial.

Snickers carry on their “Not you when you’re hungry” idea, but if you didn’t grow up with the Brady Bunch, it won’t hit the spot.  If puppies and cuteness really aren’t your thing then watch the ad GoDaddy won’t be showing for a more dystopic world view.

It’s not all shameless commerce. Given NFL players reputations off the field, the public service announcement that viewers will see is challenging, but well worth a watch:

We’ll leave you to discover the Kim Kardashian one on your own.

The Dreaded Cold Call

2015 January 26
tags: ,
by Prosperos World

Even if you are good at selling in a face-to-face situation, using the telephone for a introductory call needs additional, different skills.  Known techniques must be applied in a new way.  If you normally work in an office in a sales function, you may not see yourself as a salesperson.  For you to make an introductory sales call you also need additional different skills.

Concentrate  on doing the job professionally by:

  • Doing an amount of simple research.  Have an idea of what they do.  That will give you an insight into their likely problems.
  • Getting the name of the buyer. During the call use it.
  • Holding fire until you speak to the buyer. You will get nowhere trying to sell to those with no need or buying power.
  • Giving brief details of your company – and showing that you know about theirs.
  • Collecting and recording information about their present situation. To do so avoid asking closed questions which result in yes/no answers.  Use open questions.  Those are questions which contain the words why, what, where, when, which, or how.  That way you will be given more information.
  • Exploring past problems and future worries.
  • Underlining Benefits – what’s in it for them if they buy from you?
  • Finishing with an order or a commitment to the next step – for example an appointment for a salesperson to call.
  • If possible get an order number.

Do these things and your cold calls can be more effective.  Don’t – and you’ll be wasting your time and everyone else’s.

To make effective introductory sales calls on the telephone avoid:

  • Rushing into the call without preparation
  • Trying to sell to the wrong person – assistants, interns, etc.
  • Wasting time with irrelevant chit-chat
  • Making no notes of the call and its contents
  • Asking questions which call only for a yes/no answer
  • Running down their existing supplier
  • Failing to convert interest into an order or other form of commitment
  • Not tailoring the information you give to the person to whom you are talking
  • Inviting rejection
  • Rushing into your sales pitch

A Fresh Approach To Complaint Handling

2015 January 23
by Prosperos World
Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, Californi...

A complaint is filed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a standard procedure for handling a complaint:

  • Show sympathy but only for the fact the customer is upset. Do not apologise for the complaint itself until you know it is your fault
  • “I’m sorry you are upset, tell me what the problem is”
  • Listen – do not interrupt let the person get it off their chest
  • Ask questions – open (what, when, where, how, who, why) not closed (Yes or No)
  • Establish the facts. Do not make excuses or justify why
  • Agree a course of action that is acceptable to you and the customer
  • Make sure the action is carried out
  • Keep the customer informed
  • Complete the complaint paperwork and return it to the correct department

When dealing with complaints be solution minded, do not say what you cannot do, tell the customer what you are going to do.

Own the problem – do not pass it on.

A  dissatisfied customer tells 11-13 people about the way they feel; whilst every happy customer only tells 3.

In the UK people complain with their feet.  Having no complaining customers does not mean all your customers are happy.  It means things are not quite bad enough, yet.

Research conducted by McGraw-Hill revealed that the reason why 68% of customers changed suppliers was nothing to do with the quality of product or service.  It was because the customers felt:  “The company did not seem to care and did not communicate with me”

The way you handle unhappy customers should not be seen as a separate ‘problem’ area.  The complaint handling procedure should be laid down and worked out with clear reporting and feedback systems.

A Complaint Handling System

The system should reveal:

  • How many complaints
  • Nature of complaint
  • Justified or not
  • Was the complaint product centred (material service) or person centred (personal service)
  • proposed action
  • customer attitude post-complaint handling

Many customers see the way you handle a complaint as the test of your commitment to the things you practice and preach about customer care.

Terminology is very important in the way you (a) handle complaints and (b) the way complaints are treated inside your organisation.  See complaint handling form as an example of turning a complaint (problem) into action (opportunity).


Building a Picture Over the Phone

2015 January 22
by Prosperos World
"Kellogg" brand "candle stick&q...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Business can be easily won on the telephone – or more easily lost through bad telephone manner or technique.  Remember that people form a PICTURE of us simply from how we sound on the telephone so make that picture a positive one!

Try telephoning a few of your competitors with an enquiry. Most of them will sound and behave about the same as you do.

Think of how much more business you could get by being better on the telephone than all your competitors:


Pitch Of Voice: excitement or annoyance can make your voice higher and often louder.  This can cause distortion and grate on the nerves of your listener.  The deeper sounds of most people’s voices are generally more suited to the telephone – so try to pitch your voice in the lower range.


Inflection: Your voice should ‘rise’ on a question and ‘fall’ at the end of a sentence.  This helps understanding and gives texture to your voice, also try stressing different words of sentence “I never said he stole that money”


Clarity: Whatever you say – it must be said clearly.  Good diction and proper articulation are essential.  However loudly you speak, a word will be difficult to understand unless you pronounce it properly.  It helps, too, if you hold the receiver in the right place!


Tone: aim to mirror (not mimic!) the tone of the customer – If it is at all appropriate to do so, smile.  This will help to give your manner the warmth needed to be effective in telephone selling.  At the very least, you should always ‘think a smile’.


Understand: or appreciate their point of view/circumstances, also check for your understanding, repeat back, summarise, confirm Spelling of names or difficult words can often be of vital importance.
The following identifying of letters is used by police etc:
Alpha Echo India Mike Quebec Uniform Yankee
Bravo Foxtrot Juliet November Romeo Victor Zulu
Charlie Golf Kilo Oscar Sierra Whiskey
Delta Hotel Lima Papa Tango X-Ray


Rate Of Speaking: Unless your speech is naturally on the slow side, it is best to consciously slow down the pace at which you talk.  This will enable you to articulate more clearly; it helps the person who is not familiar with your voice; it calms down the person who is upset or irritated or domineering; it gives you more time to think and you don’t sound so excitable!


Enthusiasm:  If you speak in a colourless way – nothing stands out and the impact of what you say is lost.  Your voice should have ‘light and shade’ in it.  Make your conversation sound more interesting by giving extra emphasis to the more important words and phrases.  Allow for lack of visual impact

Be Smarter, By Thursday

2015 January 20
by Prosperos World

Can you really be cleverer next week than you are today?  What about if you could be even smarter the following week?

Study will probably do that for you.  We know training will.  You’ll be better at the specific skill you’ve been working on, but what about genuinely becoming better at thinking, more flexible in your problem solving and having better strategies to cope with new situations?

There’s one sure-fire way to do this, which is easy, accessible and cheap.  You can start today.   Here’s how …

What You Searched For In 2014

2014 December 18
by Prosperos World

As we come to the end of 2014 we took a look back at what you’ve been searching for on Prospero’s World this year.

It seems people are really looking to get to grips with a global economy.  We’ve seen plenty of searches for MINTS, BRICS, PIGS and HIDeCs as well as the G7, G8, G19 and G20 – gotta catch ‘em all.

You’ve been looking at connecting with people, and notable amongst those searches has been How to engage with people who have different learning styles.

As ever, getting settled in a new role remains a high search area, The First 100 Days and 10 Things Every New Manager Needs To Know are always popular.

On silly street, Experiencing the power of a BookBook was this year’s viral favourite.


Christmas Reading List 2014

2014 December 15
by Prosperos World

If you’re about to take a nice long break from work then do feel free to relax and enjoy it.  We often find it’s a good time to catch up on some of the reading we just haven’t got around to since the summer.  There’s a pile of MAN Booker nominees to get through, as well as some business, economics, innovation and leadership books.  Here’s a few from that realm that we think you might enjoy.

The Shifts and the Shocks by Martin Wolf Shifts and Shocks

Regular readers of the Financial Times will recognise Martin Wolf’s clear and fact based style in reporting the financial crash that started in 2007.

This book isn’t a re-rash of what happened when and to whom, you can find that in plenty of other publications, Wolf instead focuses on what we can learn from the crisis, or crises if you believe there’s more than one.  It’s a fascinating read, but you may see it as a Christmas horror story as there are so many lessons that don’t seem to have been learned by anyone – maybe even not by you.


Business Adventures Business Adventures by John Brooks

This is not new news.  Business Adventures was first published as a book in 1969, but even then, it wasn’t new.  IIt was a collection of articles written by Brooks for the New Yorker.  It’s been re-published in time for Christmas 2014 because Bill Gates listed it as his favourite business book.

This is no dull account of business structures and accounting practices, it’s full of stories of real businesses and how they found their way to success.  Reading it 45 years on from first publication is a delight – you can see the changes coming, but the businesses in the book can’t – you may want to shout “invest in communications technology” but at the time, new ways of printing on paper may have looked like the safer bet.

Get reading, and thinking.  What will people think of your business decisions in 45 years?


Economics Economics – A User’s Guide by Ha-Joon Chang

It’s not always in the best interests of Economists to demystify their art.  Some even claim it’s a science.  Ha-Joon Chang takes a different approach.

Whilst he teaches Economics to bright students at Cambridge University here he explains all the key economic theories and principles in a relaxed and approachable style without every dumbing down.

If you’re enthused by the topic and want more he includes helpful reading guides at the end of each chapter so you can give yourself a Cambridge education at home.







The Happiest Season Of All?

2014 December 10

With Christmas fast approaching the songs on the radio and in the shops are reminding us that we should be of good cheer.  Retailers assure us that all we need is to buy more things and we’ll be happy, whilst other people  may try to explain that all you need to do is stop buying things and you’ll be happy.

So can shopping buy happiness?  Are rich people happier than poor ones?  What does being rich mean?   What does being happy mea?

The people at Happy Planet Index have been crunching the numbers, and they think they have it cracked.  They’ve worked out the happiest countries in the world, they’ve worked out the ones with the best quality of life, the lowest carbon footprint (a good indicator of low consumerism) and the best health outcomes.  Guess who’s happy?

Just click on the image to get to the data.

Happiness Index Around the World

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