To content | To menu | To search

Monday 16 October 2017

Les choses vont-elles être faites? Comment savoir.

blog-pic.jpgÀ ma connaissance, il existe très peu de systèmes d'organisation personnelle qui peuvent estimer quand les tâches en cours et en suspens seront terminées. Je vais vous expliquer pourquoi il s'agit d'une omission troublante et comment elle peut être comblée à l'aide de Google Calendar et Google Sheets (ou d'une technologie similaire).

Continue reading...

Monday 9 October 2017

Will Things Get Done? How to work it out.

blog-pic.jpg To the best of my knowledge, there are very few personal organization systems that can estimate when outstanding tasks will get done. I’ll explain why this is a troubling omission and how it can be removed using Google Calendar and Sheets (or similar technology).

Continue reading...

Sunday 26 March 2017

A Picture of The Authenticity Paradox

authenticityparadox3.png« Authenticity has become the gold standard for leadership. But a simplistic understanding of what it means can hinder your growth and limit your impact », writes Herminia Ibarra in her widely read article, « The Authenticity Paradox ». I could not agree more, and I enjoyed the article immensely.

As well as my drawing of authenticity extremists, I would like to add just one other thing to Ibarra’s well-argued case: the Authenticity Paradox applies to much more than just leadership.

Continue reading...

Monday 13 March 2017


SAGEst-ce?Il était une fois un gourou de la vente qui s'adressait à ses confrères en attirant leur attention sur les effets d'internet sur leur profession. « Vos clients », prévenait-il, « connaissent tout de vos produits avant même de vous rencontrer »...

Et chaque jour, il voyageait aux quatre coins du monde, transmettant cette sagesse (SAGEst-ce?) à de nouveaux auditoires.

Continue reading...

Friday 3 March 2017


WISdumbOnce upon a time, a sales guru stood in front of a conference audience and warned them about the effect of the internet on their profession. Clients, he said, knew all about a salesperson's products even before they met.

Every day he went forth into different lands, spreading this wisdumb to new audiences.

Continue reading...

Monday 13 February 2017

A Self-Development Model and the Need for Space

TOOL9I would like to share a model that was developed in the context of customer-facing work, then greatly enhanced through collaboration with Séverine Hessel, a coaching colleague. It’s called TOOL9 (for reasons explained later), and it’s made of flesh and blood. It's me, myself, the most important tool that I have when facing a client.

Continue reading...

Sunday 29 January 2017

If it's Right, it Can't Be True

TrueFalseRightWrongSome things are either true or false, according to objective reality. 'This is a dead parrot', for example. However, for something to be right or wrong, we first have to agree on a frame of reference. The statement, 'It's wrong to sell dead parrots', falls into this category.  

Yuval Noah Harari explains in his book Sapiens that Homo Sapiens experienced a cognitive revolution about 75 thousand years ago. For reasons that are not fully understood, we developed the ability to communicate about things that are not real.

Continue reading...

Monday 28 March 2016

Sales, CRUD and The Situation is Hopeless

thesituationishopeless_cover.pngAttempts to promote new products and services, no matter how well intentioned and matched to the prospect’s needs, are rarely met with open arms. Sales, Marketing and Field Applications Engineers know this all too well: Cynicism, Resistance, Uncertainty and Doubt (CRUD) are their daily bread. I have already written about CRUD in the change cycle and how it affects customer training. Of course, CRUD affecting Sales has the same underlying causes, since Sales is all about introducing change.

A marvellous book by the renowned psychologist Paul Watzlawick, ''The Situation is Hopeless But Not Serious (The Pursuit of Unhappiness)'', gives us insight into the origins of CRUD, and how to deal with it.

Continue reading...

Saturday 27 February 2016

I Need Performance; I Get CRUD

Learning_Program_CRUD_Big_Title.pngCynicism, Resistance, Uncertainty and Doubt (CRUD) are inevitable reactions to Learning Programmes set up to deal with performance challenges. Working out ways to avoid the CRUD is therefore essential to the success of such programmes, which are themselves critical to the success of organisations faced with change. This includes adjusting to markets and technology, meeting the challenges associated with growth or decline and coping with changes in key personnel. And so it concerns all businesses, most of the time.

Continue reading...

Sunday 21 February 2016

Client Encounters

linkedin_ce_ad3.pngThanks to much trial and error, experienced field engineers have acquired a certain "professional common sense" - in this way, they are all alike.

Client Encounters attempts to capture and structure their valuable know-how.


Continue reading...

Tackling Technology Deployment Challenges

andy_video_quote.pngAndy Betts (ICONDA) and Jack Dunnigan (Xilinx) talk about what's now needed for effective technical sales and support in B2B.

To see the video, please click here.

Continue reading...

Real World, Early Morning Coaching

Slide1.jpgThe toughest coaching challenges are often closest to home. Here's an example from a few minutes ago: trying to convince my son to do some maths revision during the holidays ...

Continue reading...

Technical Presentation Realities

tech_presenting2.pngIn general, engineers don't like selling. In their technical roles, they have to be precise and objective. There is no such thing as an approximate computer program or a parachute that only works on PowerPoint (for Darwinian reasons).

However, if precision and objectivity are not negotiable, it's hard to endorse a product, praise my company, or even to highlight my own achievements.

So what's the alternative to selling or, in more general terms, to promoting my own interests?

Continue reading...

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Email versus free speech: an exception to the rule

down with free speechI am grateful to Mike Rebane and Sélim Abou Samra for their help in developing the following observations.

It’s well-known that small miscalculations in an email message can cause big problems. It’s often better to talk to people.

However, the exception to the rule is very instructive. The great advantage of email in delicate situations is that the writer can choose their words carefully, reread them, and have them reviewed. Sending someone a carefully worded email just before tackling them face-to-face can therefore be a good way to mitigate the dangers of freely flowing speech.

Continue reading...

Thursday 3 December 2015

Going Beyond Needs: The Challenger Approach

challenger front coverChallengers do not rely on just understanding their clients’ needs in order to move business forward. They provide strategic insights, adopting a ‘trusted advisor’ role. In this sense, the Challenger model goes a step beyond SPIN, which finishes with a discussion of Needs and Payoffs (i.e. the value of potential solutions, rather than strong advocacy of any particular solution).

Continue reading...

Sunday 25 October 2015

SPIN for Nonviolent Technical Support

SPIN coverIn larger sales, just as in Technical Support, salespeople are successful if they bring value to the customer during their interaction with them (even if they do not achieve their immediate goals, their investment is usually worthwhile in the long term). For this reason, Customer-Facing Engineers (CFEs) can learn a lot from a clear explanation of how to approach the client conversation, as given by Neil Rackham’s book, SPIN selling.

Continue reading...

Friday 11 September 2015

Nonviolent Communication and Technical Support

NVC Front CoverIn Client Encounters of the Technical Kind, I make the connection between a tool called the SUBROUTINE, of use in all sorts of customer conversations, and Nonviolent Communication (NVC). In this article, I give a short introduction to Marshall Rosenberg’s seminal book on NVC and, in doing so, try to clarify the link with Business to Business (B2B) Technical Support.

Continue reading...

Saturday 23 May 2015

A Two-Link Slide-Reuse Trick

ppt magic trick If you find that your presentations only vary by a few slides each meeting, and if you prefer to keep them short and sweet, then the following trick may be for you. I’ve had it for a while and it came in very handy on a recent contract.

A multinational wished to deploy a considerable quantity of rapidly-changing technical information to its field staff. At the same time, it wished to discourage the use of large, detail-rich presentations—a common but detrimental practice in customer meetings.

Continue reading...

Sunday 12 October 2014

Revue du livre Questions-de-temps de François Delivré

delivre_qdt_coverMa tache est facilitée par un résumé de ce livre qui a été fait par GREYC, qui est un associé au CNRS sous forme d’une UMR CNRS/UCBN/ENSICAEN:


Ce dernier est factuel. Il ne donne pas d’opinion sur le livre. Il n’essaie pas d’identifier les points considérés les plus importants. Il ne se compare avec aucune référence. Je vais tenter de complémenter le résumé de GREYC avec mes commentaires subjectifs ...

Continue reading...

Monday 30 June 2014

Review of Miller Heiman, The New Strategic Selling

MH front coverMiller Heiman’s 400+ pages “The New Strategic Selling” describes concepts that, I am convinced, can be of practical value to sales people. “Strategic Selling” was first published in 1986, and a lot of the content was certainly original at the time. However, as I mention later, it is difficult to know which bits!

Miller Heiman defines the following concepts:

  • Buying Influences
  • 4 Response Modes
  • Win-Result
  • Red Flags

Continue reading...

- page 1 of 2