Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Common Problems We Face As Kenyans & How To Overcome Them.

A Critical Analysis Of The Problems We Face

Welcome to my blog if it’s your first time here, if you’ve been here before this article isn't just like the ‘normal’ ones I have published before. This is thought provoking, it’s going to annoy you, probably make you hate or like me more (You’ll decide at the end) just read through, hang on till the end this is a tough post!

As the title goes, being a Kenyan makes me understand Kenyans better. The few months I have published this blog I have met people (really interesting Kenyans) who have taught me a few things and probably you've also picked lessons from me too.

Are you proudly Kenya? Do you love your country? Wewe ni Mkenya Daima? Mwenye nchi? Umechoka/unavumilia kuwa Mkenya? If you’re anything of the above lets go on…read on!

Do you find yourself getting irritated when you hear the word corruption, ukabila, traffic jams, City council etc mentioned near you? Yes I think! So what do you do? Maybe YOU whine so much about corruption yet when you need something done faster, YOU bribe someone to speed up things at that office. See? When you park in town or elsewhere without a ticket and expect to get away with it,  CCN officers clamp you down (they are always looking for people like you). When you’re done with your business, they will be waiting for you, on seeing that ‘yellow thing’ on your new rims you start pleading with them….mostly it’s a case shika hii elfu moja tumalize hii maneno! Caught drinking before or past time? You bribe your way out! See how your behaviour is a good breeding ground for corruption? Next time you get a shoddy service insist on superior customer service from them, complain, seek to  meet their ‘manager’  or supervisor…everyone in government has one apparently! Bribing your way in creates a precedent, because next time you come/visit you’ll find a culture you cultivated in all departments. In some places everyone looks at you with those eyes “Toa kitu boss niangalie kama mkubwa yuko ndani”, from the guards at the gate!

While Kenyan-Asians & Indians (wahindi na ma Kalasinga) teach their sons and daughters lessons on money while they’re still young our fathers never wanted us to learn anything on money! It was always and still remains “Finish school, get a job and make your own money”. Did you do that dutifully? YES probably! Did you land that job easily? NO! While the Indians support their own in business, to set up, fund their son’s businesses and support their talents our ‘African’ fathers’ never help us! We somehow feel that supporting our very own makes us poorer! Well; your dad, mum, uncle, brother etc doesn’t own your future….if you want to predict your future the best way to do it is to create it! Take control of your future, wakilisha vision 2030! Sadly what I see in Kenya today is the exact opposite, is it the role of your family and relatives to secure you a job? NO! Go out there and get one yourself!  I have written articles on career advice before and what I got as feedback was CV’s from Kenyans asking me to help them secure jobs! Sadly I trashed all your CV’s! I am not a recruiter, agent or a Kenyan who helps people secure jobs! If I was any of the above then I’d help you at a FEE! It’s nothing personal, JUST business! The Trump way!

The problem we have as Kenyans is we mostly think that the world owes us! Well does it?  NO! Our universities are churning graduates annually, more and more Kenyans are out there looking for jobs. Can papers secure you work? NO! When you got good grades in primary school you went to a good high school or probably a national school, you may also have worked very hard and scored A’s to secure a place in our public universities through J.A.B program. If you didn't manage good a B, there were local private universities that took you in, Uganda, India, Malaysia etc are also other options you could have considered for tertiary education. However after campus grades no longer matter! Enter the workplace and you realize that papers are used to shortlist candidates, those are basic requirements; employers are looking for skills, competencies and talent, NOT papers! That’s the tragedy that befalls most book smart jobseekers today and then few months into seeking that elusive job Kenyans then think that it’s the work of the government to create jobs. A few ‘clever’ ones become activists/goons (You still earn money & lots of it depending on the level of your ‘noise’) Duh! Some will even blame the private sector for not hiring them, the truth is there could be corruption, tribalism, racism and nepotism in some places but show me one well networked Kenyan who is jobless. If you are then you simply don’t know how to use your network to your advantage. (Am not talking about asking your immediate family members for a job). You’ve got to go out there and get one for yourself, making 30 copies of your CV and leaving it with guards at the gates of multinational companies won’t earn you placement there! Same thing with just sending one to Hr@ & Info@ in all companies that have a website will probably not earn you a place anytime soon! Companies are in dire need of talent, they need brains that can take their businesses to the next level, establish regional presence, grow, turnaround so if you can’t package yourself as that person they are looking for then read 7-reasons-why-you-are-still-jobless-yet so qualified

The other problem we have as Kenyans is we tend to complain, whine and talk about all the bad things happening, talk so much about what we need to do but we GET NOTHING DONE!  Anything or everything rattles Kenyans from the maize scandal, NSSF saga, NHIF clinics scandal, Goldenberg, Ngong plane crash, drug lords, Anglo leasing and the youth fund scandal….but is anything done? NO! We tweet about for a week, get tired and move on to something else....we then set up commisions of inquiries to investigate. Does that make the corrupt government officials from misusing the taxpayers’ funds? NO!  The next time you want to tell the world in 140 characters why you are so disappointed as a Kenyan just delete that tweet and say something about what you want to do to correct the situation. Even if it’s by just telling us you’ll vote out the bad guys from office…..now that is doing something about the situation!

We tend to believe all we read on the newspapers, no analysis, no comparing sources, nothing! Then sit in a bar in the evening and talk about Miguna Miguna Vs RAO and how Daily Nation reported it! SAD! We don’t seek to hear the other side of the coin!

Robert Alai today morning on Twitter was complaining of bloggers ( gave him 3RT's by the way for the good cause) that have been turned to PR machines by companies, well I see no problem with that. If you are given an S3 to write a good review about it then take it, go write one and get a few Kenyans to buy it using your influence. Perfect business; you both win! If they gave me one I’d do a very nice post on what an S3 can do! 
What Robert Alai didn't say is he also makes money from doing the exact same thing only that maybe this time he wasn't brought on board for reasons best known to Samsung and it's PR agency!  Or how does he survive? 
However the downside of this is ‘buying off’ bloggers, reporters, writers and journalists puts an end to the other side of the coin/story that you should know! Politicians have bought, others invested in media houses, editors in leading papers are making a killing now ‘sieving out on behalf’ of their clients what shouldn’t be published. Should this worry you? Yes! Are people making money? YES! Are you? Here’s how to take advantage of the situation at hand.

When the young people (me included) look at Kenya today, the posh houses in leafy neighbourhoods, big cars that drive out of those residencies, the $6000 suits that some if our cabinet ministers wear,  we all tend to think these people got their in two years! It takes time; some of us who won’t wait can rush to the bank (If you have a sizeable pay cheque) and get a car loan and a mortgage to prove a point to the world! It’s rather sad when we define wealth by cars, houses, women we date and clothes we put on! I don’t know much about finance but I read Rob Kiyosaki bestseller (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and I clearly know cars are liabilities and a house isn’t always an asset. I am a gen Y guy so this might sound a bit boring to you, once you’ve got that big ride on loan remember it runs on fuel, needs routine maintenance, spares don’t come cheap and remember guys who drive big cars eat at certain restaurant, live in certain areas, go to certain concerts and have offices on certain places so be ready to match the expectations from people that come with your newly found status!  All I am trying to say is the deal Instagram got from Facebook isn’t going to happen daily, Mark Zuckerberg probably won’t spend that much in an app again! Are you coding? Do you have big ideas? Be realistic, think globally but remember you’re Kenyan! Coders who have won previous hackathons at the I hub got some cash prize, PR on print and TV and that was all! Nobody will baby sit them to know what they do with their talents, maybe a MNC will hire them and utilize their gifts and talents properly for a monthly salary! 

TPF is a good case to refer to, with all the publicity, we’ve not seen much from their previous contestants and winners. You may complain about that, say the show should go off air for two years but is it really the work of EABL to ensure these contestants earn a living from music after life in the academy? NO! They are busy selling booze, ensuring you don’t get home anytime before midnight on a Friday night! That’s why they exist, open a bar, let them teach you how to make money with booze! That Tusker has made a few guys millionaires and other paupers….stinking poor, broken families, unwanted kids , accidents, etc so choose what side of this equation do you want to lie on!

Are you still with me? The next time you think of leaving that job because you’ve ‘helped’ your employer make so much money think again! Your boss doesn’t owe you, if you feel you’re underpaid ask for a raise, look for another job or resign and start your own company! Complaining daily about how horrible your boss is won’t help YOU, bad mouthing him/her doesn’t help too, trying to bring them down won’t work, sadly business tends to flow in when you are trying to mess up things at the workplace!

Next time you want to say “Tunaomba Serikali” think about it, think of what you can do right there and then before the government comes in! It’s not the work of cops to ensure we drive safely, should you do booze properly and decide to do 200KM/Hr on Thika road then go right ahead! It's your car (borrowed, leased, bought, stolen etc), you’re in control! Just remember you aint to cool for death, put on a safety belt, drive at reasonable speeds, get home safe!

The ‘government’ cannot be with us everywhere,however we can do so much to improve security in our neighbourhoods but we never tend to question the source of money ‘that guy who sleeps all day and leaves the house in the evening has' .He could be a gangster, kidnapper, serious thug or a pirate but all we tend to do is adore his money! Women run in like moths to him, they are turned accomplices slowly and the gang grows bigger! The next thing you hear is a nearby supermarket was broken into last night, car jacking incidents on the increase and you think ni wezi wa mbali! When your son dissapears while playing in the neighbourhood don't look further! The level of crime increases due to such people, youths in the slums want to join the trade to make money fast......and blow it fast too! We could put an end to all this by simply reporting these characters to cops, CID...even if they have cops on the pay roll he will be warned to go undercover for a while thus you'll be safe for a while! Do something! Don't be okay with everything! 

Finally next time you want to start a business, go right ahead and do it! With social media so many guys have become motivational tweeps, pastors on FB, social media self help coaches but one thing is common, NO ONE pays to read their tweets! Don’t spend a whole year strategizing, planning and then in December you tell us why you haven’t done anything! Don’t dream big, it’s good to also dream big by the way…..

Help me say LIGHTS ---->ACTION -- CAMERA….The world is watching you do it! Start, you’ll learn on the way! 

I know you're itching to say something now, you can follow me on twitter @KenyanMarketer and leave a comment on my handle. If you want to know what I do then follow this link.

If you liked my ideas, you can pass this article on by sharing it, if you found it flat and stupid, a better one is coming up tommorow or read a few others I have published in the past!  
Ooh I forgot to say that don't tweet about bad/good leadership if you're not going to vote for the person you think has the best interest in you....If there's none 'simama' utafute kura! 

Monday, 30 July 2012

8 Tips To Help You Generate More Retweets

Social Media is transforming the way the world does business. In your town and your city, this week. Today the implications are huge and the prizes are enormous for those businesses with the wisdom and foresight to get involved – properly – right now. Fast forward to how to generate more RT's; well a retweet is that little reward that says somebody liked what you shared. 
To some Tweeps it may mean an endorsement while to others it may not. But what makes people retweet? 
Here are some practical ways that will get you more retweets.
1.Tweet something humorous 
Over 84% of retweets tend to be something funny. Whether you're making fun of Doreen TPF5 or Alex BBA there’s a good chance it will get retweeted.Having a good sense of humour in your tweets could get you many RT's. 
I wouldn’t abuse this, but if you occasionally end your tweet with “plz retweet” you are likely to get some retweets out it. Should you ask for RT's kindly ensure you don't over do it. It may seem like self promotion to some people or spam to others. Make it engaging!
3.Time your tweets 
Getting more retweets happens when the most people see it. That’s why you have to remember that 48% of Twitter users are in EST and that 6% of all retweets occur at 5 PM. And keep in mind that Wednesday is the best day to tweet. If you're pushing serious content tweeting in the morning may get you RT's. Sharing content when your followers are not on Twitter may not earn you RT's.  Use Tweriod  to see when you tweet and when your friends tweet. Then tweet during those times to increase engagement.
4.Share quotes 
It seems that people love witty quotes and like to RT them. They could be inspirational, business, motivational, self help, success and quotes on life. What’s nice about quotes is that you don’t have to think them up. Somebody has already done the work for you. Always remember to acknowledge the author too!  
5.Add links 
In Dan Zarella’s The Science of the Retweets he pointed out that nearly 19% of all tweets contained a link. What’s interesting is that nearly 57% of retweets contained a link. People like to RT links…so tweet links. As you tweet links remember to include a catchy headline/brief eye catching/ attention arresting description of the content contained on the link. Most people RT even before they open the link!
6.Mention a high profile Twitter user in your tweet 
Write a tweet in which you say something about another user and they may RT it. For example, tweet, “Hey, @KenyanMarketer, I loved your article on Under30ceos on untold reasons why businesses fail and I will most definitely RT it!
7.Use simple words 
The average number of syllables in a retweet is 1.62. It seems that people prefer simple tweets to complex ones when it comes to retweeting. Avoid using technical language or jargon in your tweets, just use words that the average Twitter can understand. Seek to be understood. Avoid using Swahili, Sheng or languages that most of your followers will not understand too. Remember it's not about you, if you want to build a huge following on Twitter your content (including Tweets) should be understood across nations.
8.Use hash tags 
A million to two million tweets include hash tags…meaning your tweets are more likely to be seen if you include a hash tag, thus causing more retweets. Whether you are tweeting about #Tpf5, #BBA #StarGame #TeamKenya at the #LondonOlympics do use hashtags so that others can follow or join the conversation.

Finally I need to share something very important with you. I came up with two hashtags to help the Tweeps learn from each other on a few aspects of social media to increase our effectiveness and realize the full benefits from these platforms.  Start using Be A #SocialPro on guys and companies messing, doing things the wrong  way hence annoying people on twitter, brands that don't respond to your inquiries and those with inactive twitter handles etc. On the contrary give #SocialPro for those doing a good job. Guys who clearly understand social etiquette, personal branding, those who respond in real time and brands that give you amazing customer experience on twitter! Do so for those who share useful links with others and people that share useful information on what's happening!
Follow me @KenyanMarketer, lets have a chat over there.....kindly follow our social tweets @SocialAfrika and lets help you engage the world on social media.
Kindly click here to LIKE  Social Edge Africa on FB  

Friday, 27 July 2012

7 Lessons I Learnt From Ordinary Kenyans Running Succesful Businesses

It’s been a while since I published on this blog, lately I have been working close to 15 hours daily, focusing all my efforts on getting Social Edge Africa on its feet. It can be crazy when you are building a company from scratch, since you are ‘everyone’ in the company before you get a few people to assist in some roles. I can happily say that we are now off the ground (thank you team awesome for the support) the grace of God too has been abundant. When I was thinking of what to share with you I found it important to highlight on a few business lessons I had learnt from ordinary Kenyan entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things today so that I also transfer that knowledge to you. Setting up a successful business isn’t all about having the money to do it, it’s not just having that great idea, but having the skills, character and a team to help you achieve your vision. So here’s five business lessons I learnt from entrepreneurs who are going to be the next generation of business leaders in the continent.
1.Turn your Passion to Profit- Frida Owinga. 
By listening to Frida Owinga and subscribing to her passion profit digest I have been able to turn my love, enthusiasm and passion for social media to a business. Back in 2009 I started being an avid user of social media platforms mostly Facebook. I loved being ‘social’ thus connecting with people was interesting and intrigued me. I have seen companies start on Facebook, to a small office in town and finally grow to something huge. My major lesson here is please looking for gaps in the market that you can fill with your passion. You could be a great cook, designer, talented singer or just love fashion but that alone can't swing business. After you’ve identified your passion, kindly ensure your skills, strengths and level of education, experience can back you up when you launch what you love doing most. It’s one thing to love singing and to sing properly! Don’t quit school to become a DJ just because you love music, successful DJ’s and MC’s that have big entertainment companies have the business skills, education and loads of other things you need to swing business. If you’re still stuck with what I am trying to put across here talk to Frida Owinga of passion to profit school of entrepreneurship and she’ll help you discover how to profit from your passion.
2     2. Treat your team well- Perminus Wainaina.
Perminus Wainaina is a good friend of mine who has taught me how to motivate, nurture and retain a good talented team. Although his background is finance and accounting he clearly understands the issue of human resource recruitment, developing human potential and managing talent in small and medium sized organizations. Every time we meet, he talks about how he grew his company (Corporate Staffing Services) through referrals and how he has grown with his employees, your success as an entity depends on your team. Don’t place your bets on cool strategies; place your cash on the people. I would say that this is one person that has helped me set up Social Edge more so because he made me understand that the people I hire matter. If your employees are happy, they’ll make the customers happy, a happy customer brings in another (referrals) and thus your bank balance changes! Invest in a good team,should you fire someone, be graceful and professional about it. Most important hire character, values and morals then train the skill.Through him I have been able to write for career point kenya.com and share my knowledge on careers, entrepreneurship and jobs with thousands of job seekers! Out of that I have been able to help a few Kenyans secure jobs, meet new interesting people and get business out of that. Thank you Wainaina!
3      3.Quality work attracts good clients- DanNduati
When I joined Brand 2D; a digital agency I met the most awesome people on earth, (Still miss you guys) one of them is Dan Nduati. I learnt a lot of things when I worked at the agency and from Dan specifically, he taught me first how to do good presentations and reports! Simple right? Those soft business skills most of us lack cost you a lot of business. You may have a great idea but if you can’t present it out there properly then people won’t buy it. He even ensured the tone and wording of my emails was right! I was that dumb (Juakali). Dan is keen on details, very patient and wants to ensure everyone does the right things. Anyway the most important thing I learnt from him is the power of delivering quality work. He charges quite a good amount for services they provide but most important they ‘wow’ the client. When you do something nice, deliver beyond their expectation your clients will recommend you to others  (attracting the right clients). Working with specialists (the best people in their game) isn't an easy task, first they don't come cheap however in as much as managing and retaining these talented employees can be tough, don’t hire cheap interns or zombies. Thank you so much Dan and keep on doing it!
      4. Personal Development- Ande Kenya Team.
Did you know that people buy people before they even buy your service or product? Do you look or sound trustworthy? Can you deliver? Do you have the right mix of skills? By attending the monthly Kenya Youth Coaching Forum series organized by Ande Kenya I was able to develop as a person, network and gain valuable knowledge. For you to climb up that ladder, grow regionally as a business you need to sharpen your skills as a person. More MBA’s and PHD’s may help but if that education doesn’t develop you as a person then it’s useless. Multi tasking doesn’t mean doing more; it may translate into reduced effectiveness. Ande Kenya team (Bikundo, Rex, Carl, Dick Omoro, Juliet, James etc) taught me all this. Just to sum it up they also helped me understanding the position of the brand called ME! My very own personal brand! Guard this jealously, because if your personal brand dies, loses trust or credibility then you’re good as dead! Invest in your personal image and place your place in the right places.
        5.  You’re the Best-My Mother!
I am the only boy/ man in my family so that tells you that am really close to mum. My mother is the best, I know you’ll say the same about your mum; so anyway let me show you why my mum is awesome. She has stuck with me all through, when I had problems in high school she managed to negotiate all through and plead with my case. Thank God I managed to score an A in KCSE. Come to campus, I got into partying so much, mum still believed am the best! She never gives up on me, this year in December I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce marketing major…! She’s very happy by the way! To cut the long story short, my mum gives me all the support I need, once in a while when debtors don’t pay on time I turn to her. She terribly believes in my vision and my dreams. Ooh did I say that we also celebrate our small achievements in a big way? Having a support framework as an entrepreneur is very important, could be your spouse, business partner, mentor, pastor, VC etc. For me my mum does it for me, so go out there and look for a person who can stand by you through the thick and the thin of this world. Business can and will always be tough, you need someone you can talk to when you’re stuck so look around for a genuine person who will always be there for you.
6    6. Give Back To the Society- Evans Muriu.
This is one guy I admire, he’s a young brilliant Kenyan but most important I like him for what he does for the society. Back in 08 I used to be part of a programme called C4C (Communication For Conflict Resolution) in an NGO he founded called Kuna Vijana. Today he still runs it alongside Wanadamu Initiative, a blood bank database that helps match blood donors to those that need blood in Kenya during accidents, operations, terrorists attracts etc. Besides all this, the 20 something year old entrepreneur runs a successful business. Check out all he does here
This guy taught me to give back, not just money, but my time, skills, expertise and knowledge. I joined Mama Watiri Trust Fund to help alleviate poverty and educate kids, currently the fund is building a school and a dormitory for the physically handicapped and deaf kids in my village! Do I feel good? YES! Am I happy? YES! When I started this blog I wanted to share what I knew on entrepreneurship, careers, and marketing with the young people, to share content and information with the world to make the globe a better place. I also started MK voices to nurture and equip students in universities with skills on social media and blogging. By giving back in one way, first of all you feel good about yourself, you also help one or two people out there. By doing that you meet new people and network into a deal.By giving back you get more in return, giving to God doesn't always mean tithing in church! You should place your money where you are sure it's going to be used properly.
7.  Just DO IT! START- James Karundu
James is an amazing success coach, Motivational Speaker, Business Growth Mentor for Entrepreneurs,
Author of 7 Keys for Success Beyond Chance, GO FOR IT and Stepping Stones for Top Achievers
The reason why so many people remain poor and in bad jobs is because they don't want to let go what they are currently holding on! Sad right? Do you have an idea? ambitions? big dreams? start working on them right now! Think BIG, start SMALL and most important James taught me to START NOW! Be ready to pay the price of achieving your dreams....
I have certainly picked a lesson or two from everyone I meet, each one of us is beautifully and wonderfully created, this is just but a few people that I could write on today. Follow me @KenyanMarketer, lets have a chat over there.....kindly follow our social tweets @SocialAfrika and lets help you engage the world on social media.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

7 Common Sales Mistakes You Should Avoid In Your Next Pitch

Image Source; Capital McKenzie
Gloria Achola (was my classmate at UoN marketing class of 2012) called me this morning after going through all articles I have done on this blog looking for something on service marketing. Sadly there was none she could look at, so I did this article specifically for her and for everyone else out there who is in the business of selling services. My approach to this was to look at the mistakes people make since I assume you've definitely gone through a product training and a sales programme at your workplace. 

If you want to make money through selling,you just need to avoid these common mistakes.
1.Don’t forget to qualify
Before you can sell, you have to find someone to sell to, right? Whether it’s someone coming to you or whether you are finding someone to sell to, the first thing you have to do is qualify your potential customer.
If you forget to do the qualifying step a large percentage of your time will be wasted on potential customers who don’t really need your offering, or can’t afford it.
Every opportunity isn’t equal. Through qualifying you’ll get a better understanding of what each customer wants, when they want it by, their budget, and most importantly you’ll be able to figure out if you are talking to the person who can actually make the decision. Work with prospects, don't just sell to anyone!
If you aren’t sure how to qualify people, all you have to do is ask them simple questions such as:
  • What are you looking for specifically?
  • What’s your budget?
  • When are you looking to start?
2.Don’t be a “yes” man
Do you know what the biggest sales mistake you can make? It’s saying “yes”. When a potential customer makes a request, you’re naturally going to want to say “yes”. And once you say yes a few times, you’ll realize that you’re walking on a slippery slope because the customer will keep on making requests and each one will not only cost you money, but it will let the customer know that they can be demanding and walk all over you. When I handled social media for Coca-Cola Kenya some crazy ideas were 'thrown to us' (Digital agency) suggested by guys who certainly did have any background in digital marketing & social media. At times we'd just say "we'll see what we can do" but certainly did nothing!
If you can do what a customer wants and it is profitable for you, say yes. If the request is unreasonable, say no. By setting this precedent early on, you’ll have more happy customers.
When I first started selling years ago, I had a tendency to constantly say yes (I was desperate for the sale) even when I couldn’t deliver. This caused us to have unhappy customers and it added unnecessary stress to the business. So don’t do what I did.
3.Don’t offer too much information
The more information you offer to people, the more likely they’ll be confused. And when people are confused, they won’t become a customer. Learn to get your message out in a quick and short way as it will be easier to understand. Trying to look smart by using sophisticated language or talking in technical jargon is just dumb.When pitching customers, make sure you only tell them what they need and want to know. I’ve found that when you tell them more than they want to know by trying to throw in something that’s mind blowing, sometimes you’ll increase the likelihood of closing the deal, but in most cases you’ll just bore them to death. People have short attention spans, so be careful about dragging things on. Just address their pain points by talking about what you're offering is beneficial to them (your prospect) and finally do not forget to ask for a sale! Always approach the client from a 'what's in it for them' angle, get them to the edge and finally offer them a solution!
4.Don’t over sell
Similar to offering potential customers too much information, you shouldn't over sell. If you’re too pushy it’s a big turn off. You have to think of sales like dating. Don't stoop so low, because you end up looking desperate and shoddy, no one will be attracted to you! You have to be casual with your sales techniques and really act like you don’t care to make the sale. Because at the end of the day, if your product or service is that good, the person you are selling to should be privileged to use it.
If you are one of those people who want to be a bit pushy instead of just waiting things out, you can always create a sense of urgency to close the deal… plus it won’t seem like you are overselling.
Secondly do not sound like you are just after the cheque alone, seek to build relationships, don't focus too much on that one transaction!
5.Don’t lose sight of the goal
You’re in sales meetings to make sales, right? Well of course you are, so why would you waste your time chit chatting about random topics with a potential customer?
You don’t have people’s undivided attention forever, so make sure you are keeping track of time and you get your message across as quick as possible. If you have spare time after that you can start chit chatting about common interests as that will help build a stronger connection, but you shouldn’t do that until you get all of your major points across and have the person on the hook. I know of sales ladies who meet a group of guys for a sales pitch and the meeting turns into a date;ensure your prospect doesn't take control of the pitch! The same applies if you're doing a pitch over beer, food or coffee, focus on the major reason why you're meeting these people. (The $$$$ plus offering them a solution from Company X not about you and how cute you look)
6.Don’t delay your sales
If your product or service isn’t ready, you’ll have a tendency to not sell until it’s ready. The big problem with this is that you can’t predict when things are going to be ready! You don’t have to give your customers your product or service right now, you can give them access to it in the future. And by having them sign up right now, you can always give them a discount to entice them. Or what I like doing is to close the sale ahead of time and tell companies how there is a 30 to 60 day implementation time frame as this buys me time. This works really well in a service oriented business. Start selling a conference or a training 3 to 6 months months prior as you plan for it
7.Don’t talk past the sale
After you close a deal, you need to learn to stop talking. I’ve seen people lose deals a countless number of times because they keep on talking after the potential customer is ready to become a customer. They do this by saying something stupid which makes that person think twice.
Learn to keep your mouth shut after someone tells you they want to be a customer. If you can’t, this is the best time to chitchat about random subjects like sports, music or the Nairobi traffic; kindly note that your views on politics, religion and such subjects could also cost you the SALE!
You don’t have to be a good sales person to close a deal, you just have to avoid the mistakes I talked about above. If you can do that, you’ll start to close more deals and make more money.
So don’t focus your time on trying to become an exceptionally great sales person, just focus on avoiding the common pitfalls I discussed. If you liked this article kindly share your comments with me on Twitter @KenyanMarketer and Like my business page on Social Edge Africa

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Peeling Back The Mask; 5 Business Lessons Startups Could Learn From Miguna Miguna

Miguna Miguna's new book "Peeling Back The Mask" has generated so much buzz in the media in the last few days. Hate him or love him, we are all talking about this guy, he's got Kenyans talking, writers & journalists have and will write and say more about this guy. We are tweeting about him, his book and giving our side of the story/analysis. Thank God for social media we can all use #ComeBabyCome to tell the world whatever we have to say but as an entrepreneur and a blogger I chose to focus on a few lessons I could pick up from this whole hullabaloo. Miguna was ‘spitting fire’ on the bench last night; word after word, this guy knows what he’s doing. He’s got his facts rights and he has more lined up; Daily Nation has also serialized his book giving him more coverage (good pre launch) for his new book.
There a few lessons all entrepreneurs, start ups and Kenyans could learn from Miguna, well this guy is smarter, intelligent and understands the rules of the game. Miguna has strategy and he has so far executed his idea well better still the guy is set for anything that may come out his expose’.
1      1.Grab attention of the media/ Be newsworthy!
Let’s face it, you always experience a little envy when you see or hear people on television and radio. You wish it was you… in fact; you’ve been working so hard you know that it should be you. But when will your time come? And the sad part is, you know that when your clients see one of your competitors on television and don’t see you they often wonder if they should go with him or her instead. You need to establish yourself as an expert, and getting interviewed by radio, podcast or TV hosts can help you do just that. Never underestimate the value of networking with people in person,you could run into journalists even on Twitter and all you need to have is a great product or a service that can generate buzz, get journalist fighting to interview you first. Chief Kariuki has done that and you too can do it!
2.Have your facts right/ understand what you are doing.
Miguna Miguna definitely has a story to tell. He has promised to expose more in his upcoming books. He has enough information, know what he’s up to and understands what he is doing. He has a strategy that will make him famous and bring in some cash too. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to know the rules of your game. To be competitive you’ve got to know exactly what you’re doing, your target market and have a product that people can buy. You cannot get away for so long by offering a shoddy product or service to your clients because your clients will switch to your competitors sooner than you think. Before you venture out to start a business, have a plan, do thorough research, understand what you’re up to and then roll out what you want to do.
3.Launch at the right time.
Miguna Miguna has ‘peeled back the mask’ at the right time, it was an idea that was brought to the market at the right time. Some people may argue he’s being funded by enemies of RAO but when you look at all this as a business person/ entrepreneur if you launch your product at the right time then attracting funding from investors will not be a hard task. Instagram was acquired by Facebook at a staggering price of 1Billion. Ridiculous?  Right?
As an entrepreneur you’ve got to scan for gaps in the market that you can fill profitably, once in a while we bring ideas whose time hasn’t come to the market, in other times we copy and paste what others are doing and launch. I am sure you know we operate in a world where people copy & duplicate ideas. Evaluate your business idea, see the market and sales potential and tap into it boldly. Miguna is definitely a bold guy, he isn’t afraid of the challenges he may face in future so when you have that great idea, DO IT….. Start! There’s nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come!
   4.Keep people guessing!
When DN began serializing Miguna’s book before its launch we all wanted to know what next will be on the paper the following day. Miguna also promises us that he’s got more lined up for publishing in the reproduced version of his book; he even has two more books lined up for publishing. In as much as Kenyans may dismiss this guy what he’s doing is ensuring that Kenyans keep waiting for more from him. Apple Inc does that with its launches, we all wait with bated breath to see what new gadget Apple will be offering to the world (good strategy).  There’s nothing as bad to an entrepreneur as sending you best soldiers first into a war, because should you lose round one of the battle then your best men will be gone. What this all means to a start up entrepreneur is keep doing the best to your clients, you may not have the best resources, offices or machines but you beat all the big dogs when it comes to customer service. Do the best, amaze your first few clients, and show them the best you can do. Deliver excellently, but just how do you keep your clients guessing? That comes as a result of constant innovation; you got to read widely so that you remain competitive. Secondly do not empty your strategy out there, have a solid game plan, you don’t want to let your bigger competitors what you’re up to days before you launch a new service or a product. ODM is definitely going to come up with a strategy to counter what the book says about RAO, politicians allied to the G7 alliance have something to talk about in political rallies. The headache RAO is facing is what else Miguna might expose and how to counter that in good time. Miguna may not have much left to expose but he has definitely intimidated a few men in the country.
5.Know your friends well!
Finally RAO definitely now knows he can be betrayed by anyone, it’s a crazy world, in one moment someone could be praising you and the next moment the same guy is spilling all the dirt he/she knows about you. In business you’ll have employees who once they resign or they are fired work tirelessly hard to bring you down. It’s a crazy world,  you can’t trust anyone in business and in life. Guys have ill motives, not everyone out there is genuine. Do not trust everyone, what you see as someone trying to help could be what brings you down. A partnership with a bigger brand maybe a plot to take over your business.  Watch out for guys who want to offer you help, could be financial or otherwise. Seek to know who these people are to avoid headaches in future.  My advice to all entrepreneurs is “Hire character, you’ll train skill”. Watch out for people who might 'peel your mask' after you they leave!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

No More Blow Jobs; Insist On The Real Thing

This is a story of companies & individuals that offer poor services but have excellent PR to counter the complaints and negative feedback they receive. The sad thing with this scenario is most of these entities continue investing more in their PR efforts rather than improve on their service delivery. However as Kenyans we also seem to be okay with this, when we send our complaints we get automated responses and brands promise us to 'look into' the issue and get back to us which doesn't happen. Forgive me for the dirty headline but it simply captures my disappointments, pain and agony as a Kenyan consumer who has been shortchanged. 
NIC Bank Story
So finally here comes the part 2 of the story of NIC Bank. After highlighting the customer complaints on this blog on NIC bank moved in quickly and acted. They of course made a lot of calls to ‘investigate’ the issue and basically that was it. My client 'ABC ltd' was served and he is very happy as at now, (They had a meeting at NIC head office) in Upper hill and their pleas were sorted out by ‘very senior people’.
This left me with a few questions and thoughts; why did NIC bank take that long;from March to June to respond to a customer complaint? Yet ABC ltd had made frantic efforts to call all their land lines, send emails that to no success? To a point when I had to do a blog post on them to swing into action? Well someone was sleeping on their job but thank God they’re now awake and working very hard to retain a client!What amazed me is how they 'talked nicely' pleading with me to edit some bits in story (PR) yet they could have invested in excellent customer service to avoid the embarrassment. Those smartly dressed underpaid guys (tellers & customer service reps) you see in banking halls really annoy me. Some of these guys are a traumatized lot! How does it feel handling millions day in day out and then take home 30K a month? At Equity bank for example they have seen 'dirty men & women' with little or no formal education with huge accounts and I bet that's why some of these frustrated bankers choose not to support hardworking Kenyans who want to take their businesses to the next level with credit facilities. All in all my point is, seek answers should you feel you have been shortchanged, do not join the premium banking club to access services that are supposed to be offered to you at no extra charge, seek to know why the bank deducts certain figures from your account monthly or annually because some of these hidden charges eat into our hard earned savings. Basically insist on the REAL DEAL!
The Breakfast show on Classic 105
I have complained about that morning show on Classic 105 hosted by Maina Kageni & Mwalimu King’angi on the dirt that is discussed. The show has really good ratings in the media thanks to its wide reach and affinity however if 14 passengers can listen to that damn show just because the driver of the matatu loves the show why should statistics from KARF show Kenyans love the show? Everyone who does something in terms of business, work or anything to build chances are you’ll be on a Matatu traveling at around 8am when the dirt begins! The advertisers love the numbers (Audience) which as figures show cuts across LSM’s (Living Standard Measurements) meaning the poor & rich, Young and old all listen to this show! Good stuff but then at the end of the day breaks our families. Its time CCK handled this issue, NO MORE BLOWJOBS!
TPF 5- No standards, no growing talents
I can write for days about Tusker project fame however just to summarize my story in a few words let me just say that Tusker never cares about the contestants that much, what they do after the competition and where their career turns to. TPF5 isn’t something I want to watch, I only know Doreen who has become so popular, the show lacks the talk ability, it’s no longer what it used to be. Tusker may claim that its turning ordinary Kenyans to superstars but seriously since its inception how many winners or contestants have become superstars? All Tusker cares about is the numbers (audience) watching the show which is good for the brand. It’s a perfect case of a brand blow jobbing Kenyans rather than giving us the real thing. This show has been used by Tusker to enter/penetrate new markets in the East African region as they recruit talent in these countries. Maybe it’s time Tusker thought of doing something else and giving up TPF to start something else. They let go the sponsorship of rugby sevens and TPF is turning into a failed project.
The Government-Corruption
The corruption in the government stinks, the dirty deals that happen in the corridors of power are huge but what happens after their cover is blown is just one thing; set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the issues and that’s the last thing we hear about the issue. KACC has been there for a while but it’s a toothless bull dog that cannot bite, when someone tries to touch the big fish he/she is axed for lack of competence. NTV is running “In the Footsteps of Kabuga” on how the genocide financier has been given a safe haven in Kenya by the high and mighty; this is one of those things that really show a few people in government are misusing their offices and power to help fugitives. Wasn’t it the same thing with the Artur brothers? All the sagas from Youth Fund Scandal, NHIF, NSSF etc etc are all being investigated but shall we hear anything from them? Justice Kalpana Rawal is leading a team to investigate the plane crash that killed Hon George Saitoti & Orwa Ojode but shall we get a report? What if we get a report can people linked to their deaths is brought to book? NO! The post election suspects at The Hague have been traveling around Kenya doing prayer meetings to sanitize what they did, they claim ‘wanaonewa’ but is it what we really want to hear? As a Kenyan I want justice for all those victims who died, not blow jobs from government, I want the real deal!
Our politicians are not accountable to the Kenyans; they promise us one thing during the campaigns and deliver the exact opposite. As Kenyans we seem contented about whatever happens, we are OKAY with just anything that they do! As the electorate we’ve got the power to get rid of all these non performers in the government today using our voter’s card, however we don’t vote and thus we the bad guys get into parliament and the cycle of complaining begins again. Lecturers in public universities do not attend all lectures, the students seem okay with it because they enjoy the free time, extra hours in bed watching a movie but we forget that we’ve paid for all the classes we miss.
I can go on and on landlords tend to hike rent we pay whenever they feel like, Matatu industry ‘ni wanne wanne’ during rush hours, worse still we are overcharged yet we are so squeezed. This overloading, overlapping & all the craziness on our roads is what has led to the increasing incidents of road carnage. Yet we all seem to be okay with it, it’s not the work of the government to crackdown on un roadworthy vehicles, arrest drunk drivers it’s our duty as citizens to ensure we do the right thing. Whenever you let your buddy over speed on Mombasa road just because it’s cool or it’s a new Subaru just know you could all land in a ditch in split seconds. Should we really do all this madness just to feel nice about it? Just because the car is insured? Yet whenever there are these major accidents in the country our politicians steal the show just to get some PR coverage promising Kenyans that the police will be on the lookout? Why do we fall for such ‘blowjobs’ yet it’s our duty to ensure our safety on the roads? Are we that cool to not even belt up on the roads?
Bottom-line I think it’s time we all insisted on the real deal; a cafĂ© should serve hot coffee not a hot mug from the microwave, Coca-Cola should come out clean and tell the world what the secret formula we’ve been consuming for centuries is, next time you complain about bad leadership don’t tweet about it, do something. Seek answers! Don’t board a matatu that is full, when its driven recklessly ask to alight or tell the driver to slow down, when you receive a bad service, buy a faulty product always seek answers and a refund. Let’s stop this insanity! Kenya is ours, why all the craze in going to middle east or Europe to search for jobs or business opportunities yet the world is all eyeing Africa?  As Kenyans we should stick around and solve our problems, when you complain about corruption just think about it, why should we pay a bribe, tip or pay a facilitation fee for a service that we deserve in government offices? If we don’t pay bribes and ask for superior service then we can get rid of corruption. When that matatu conductor pays a bribe to the cop just because the Matatu is overloaded just think about it! If we don’t board full matatus the conductors have no reason to pay bribes, if our ma threes are serviced well, fully insured, ply the right route and in good condition then they don’t have to pay bribes! What’s cheaper? Pay bribes daily or have a matatu that’s fully compliant to the traffic laws? Do the math!Always insist on the real deal, we need that for a better Kenya! No More BLOWJOBS!  Follow me @KenyanMarketer and leave your comments and opinions on my handle. Lets have a chat.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Social Edge Africa Is Hiring

Are you always wanting to do more, always looking for more responsibility and are highly self-motivated? Then help expand a super successful business with extraordinary potential! Social Media is transforming the way the world does business. In your town and your city, this week. Today. The implications are huge and the prizes are enormous for those businesses with the wisdom and foresight to get involved – properly – right now.
There is a window of opportunity now open which is likely to close rapidly in the near future. Even if you are one of the (very small) minority of business owners who has the technical knowledge and knows what to do to properly utilize social media across the different platforms to build your business, the reality is that you almost certainly don’t have the necessary time to devote to social media to do it properly.
Who are we & What do we do?
Social Edge Africa is fast becoming recognized as the “go to place” for all social media needs in Kenya.
We offer Strategy|Monitoring|Management| of social media which is a 360 degrees approach to social media. We specialize in B2B and B2C social media, giving you unprecedented access to a wide range of audiences with a high level of interaction-->Get on the EDGE & engage the world.
To Be East Africa's Leading and Most Preferred Social Media Consultancy Company by 2015 by providing our clients with innovative, organization-specific social media solutions that deliver superior online presence.
Description-More Details about us!
Our primary business is to put your company on the Social Media Map! Through careful planning and research, Social Edge Africa allows you to fully exploit the potential of this powerful medium. We Work Collaboratively with Our Clients to Create and Execute a Comprehensive Social Media Strategic Plan that Will Ensure the Business Enjoys Superior Online Presence that Supports its Business Goals. Our team comprises of social media enthusiasts from such diverse backgrounds as Finance, PR, Marketing, Graphic and Web/digital design whose main focus is helping your business succeed by designing and managing an effective social media strategies.
This is an important role for someone that’s hungry to get stuck in, learn and progress personally in a fast paced and exciting environment.
We are committed to providing exceptional levels of customer satisfaction and there now exists an opportunity for a new member to join the team in the capacity of Administration Assistant.

Our Office Really Needs YOU!
Just before you read one kindly note you’ve got to love & understand the basics of social media! YOU’VE GOT TO BE A #SOCIALPRO!

In this role, your awesome duties in this awesome role will include: 
  1. Supporting the Business Partners on upcoming projects
  2. Act as the focal point of dissemination of information flowing within the business
  3. Providing all-round administrative support including first point of contact for inbound telephone inquiries, diary management, meeting and travel co-ordination and support, document preparation, organizing agendas, raising Purchase Orders and  minute-taking.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience:
1.      Educated to degree level or equivalent(Diploma or Certificate) with relevant experience in a professional environment
2.      Excellent administrative skills.
3.      Klout rank of 50+
4.      Possess excellent communication skills - both oral and written
5.      Strong interpersonal skills with the confidence to forge positive relationships with people at all levels
6.      Excellent customer facing skills
7.      Well organized, with a good eye for detail
8.      Presentation and research skills
9.      Demonstrate a high level of discretion, diplomacy and use of judgment to handle confidential material
10.  A highly-motivated, proactive and enthusiastic approach
11.  Able to work with minimum supervision and with the ability to meet strict deadlines
12.  IT skills – proficient use of Microsoft Office, PowerPoint and intermediate Microsoft Excel
13.  Demonstrate Minute taking skills

Salary & Remuneration will be negotiable
Are you who we seek? We don’t want your CV! Just write to us telling us about yourself and what makes you awesome in a maximum of 250 words! Kindly send this to our page inbox http://www.facebook.com/SocialEdgeAfrica and holla at us @SocialAfrika on Twitter!