Posts Tagged ‘superb communication’

Pitch Perfect

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Have you ever met anyone who honestly wants to receive an “elevator pitch”? Why do so called experts persist in suggesting businesses and funds seeking to raise capital include one in their conversations and marketing collaterals? I’ll tell you why, their mindset is all about “selling” the individuals, business or Fund and snatching something in return (scarce capital).

Contrast this with suggesting the individuals, the business or the Fund draft a powerful value proposition. 1-2 sentences that dramatises the “value” created for the recipient and the singularity of their approach.

A luxury concierge business, “we help dramatically transform the lives of time-poor and asset rich families.”

An AI Venture Capital Fund, “we invest in strong and dynamic high growth businesses able to harness artificial intelligence to generate breakthrough improvements and superior returns.”

I am not trying to sell a thing, what I do urge you to articulate is the dramatic value and singularity.

1. Why should I delve deeper after reading your teaser or tear sheet? (self-interest, visible need)
2. Is it memorable? (Brevity, distinctive)
3. Does it immediately provoke my curiosity? (Human need addressed, a problem solved or the human spirit enriched)

If you are reading this and wanting “help”, call or write to now


© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

20th or 21st Century Business

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Many executives and managers in financial services, insurance, professional services, private equity and so forth presume that they have to go to great lengths to stand out from the crowd with their clients. I am telling you that isn’t true. Look around at your colleagues, peers, business partners, advisers, competitors and clients behaviour. How many of them regularly exhibit attitudes and behaviour that are informed by 20th Century operating beliefs some fifteen years into the new millennium?

In another breathe they quite casually pull out the latest iPhone, Blackberry or tablet device. By any rational count they are hyper-connected. They simply don’t choose to make their clients or customers THEIR priority. They hide behind the “shared” belief that their lack of responsiveness is reasonable and appropriate.

Pick your favourite:

“Sorry I am travelling I will need to call you when I get back from my trip” (are you telling me you have no access by phone, voicemail or email? Are you really in Mongolia?)

“Can you speak to my Assistant she manages my calendar/diary” (is your Assistant in charge of your life?)

“I am in meetings today, I’ll get back to you” (do you really not have 15 minutes to respond via phone or email?)

“He/She is in a meeting, can you send them details via email” (are you seriously suggesting an alternative that demands both of you accept a significant delay and greater labour intensity to decipher an issue that could be solved in one three minute call today?)

There is a perception in many business advisory sectors that a powerful brand = greater responsiveness. I have recently conducted a straw pole of senior executives in Top 5 global businesses in insurance, private banking, executive search and advertising amongst other sectors suggesting a genuine potential client opportunity.

The least responsive sector quite humorously is the executive search business. The average response is 7.5 working days! Well done Odgers, Korn Ferry, Heidrich and Russell Reynolds, you are joint winners of the “Global Customer Disservice Award” (GCDA). There are a great many other global brands who would be appalled at the behaviour of their senior and key executives.

Next time your colleagues tell you “it is tough to compete with XXX, they have such a powerful brand”, caution them that clients buy from individuals who are highly responsive to their needs.

There is a high probability that you can establish a competitive advantage if you focus on customising your people and systems tightly to your customers’ self-interest. You don’t need to be selling some predictive analytic tool, overly complex technology or big data process. You need common sense and enthusiasm.

Copyright James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Buying “Cheap” Votes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Here in the UK, 36 hours before an election, we have every political leader desperately promising “sweetners” to assorted members of the electorate to get their support in Thursday’s tight General Election. Am I alone in thinking the more these statements are lobbed from the political trenches the less impact they have on landing (perceived credibility and impact)? If the opinion polls and betting markets are correct, we will end up with an elected government where all these promises are up for negotiation in the hard bargaining that follows (largely worthless).

There is a similar effect in selling a business, when buyers in an auction start making last minute “promises” on investment, jobs and the preservation of cherished assets, when in all probability they cannot expect to make money doing so. The net effect is that their credibility is severely hurt when they need it most, at the closing and in the 90 days thereafter, to persuade key strategic areas of the business and constituents to support their growth plans.

Of course, if your only goal is to get elected or close the sale and not govern effectively or grow the business profitably, you have little to worry about.


© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.


Painting Investors Into The Picture

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

At a cocktail party earlier in the week at the London home of a major art buyer and industrialist, I asked where his passion for art started. Surrounded by some fabulous pieces of art hanging from the walls, I presumed I was going to hear how art had been a part of his life from an early age or when building his fortune and how he had acquired an “eye” for great art.

His response was was far more direct – a chance adventure around a neighbour’s home in St Tropez just 15 years ago (he is in his late 70’s) and the fact that art appreciates in value.

When you articulate your brand, do you spend hours trying to concoct a fanciful and complex story to about the perceived value or do you tell it as it is? Do your clients or customers come looking for a deep and meaningful story when their needs are often best met by a short and direct response?

My observation with many businesses looking to enter new markets is that they incorrectly presume that the “worth” of their brand and its’ differentiation, is wound up in an elaborate story about why they chose the market (geographic or product) and their “unique” methodology. Stories are only good if they are memorable. Motives don’t have to sophisticated or highly intellectual. The only story that matters is how the other party is better off or personally better supported (value and results).

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.