Do you know how, any time you call a call centre, they play a pre-recorded message informing you your call might be monitored for training and coaching purposes? Well, your humble correspondent has recently been stuck in Taskmaster Towers listening back over some of those blasted inbound sales calls. Then again, while it might be a nuisance to handle calls internally (or more the point, to have to listen back to them), you tend to get better sales outcomes and customer service than if you outsource in Old Taskmaster’s opinion. But I digress. During one of these sales calls, a younger member of our sales team receives a query from a small business owner about our widgets. The sales rep asks the prospective customer a number of open-ended discovery questions about their business and then suggests a particular model of widget that best suits their needs. They explain a key feature of the widget and how that feature will benefit the customer's business. However, when they try to close the sale, the potential customer has a sudden change of heart. “Sounds good but – erm – I’m not too sure… Uhh… yeah, can I think about it and get back to you?” says the prospective customer. They chicken out of going that final step, like Kevin Rudd in a leadership showdown. The sales rep is cheerful, positive and polite in dealing with the situation. “That’s okay, when you’re ready to order a widget, just give us a call…” says the sales rep. Old Taskmaster’s blood pressure shoots up dramatically at this point – and yours should too if you hear something similar. Seriously, you’re not going to just accept a customer backing down from a sale at face value, are you?! Face value is something you should not accept from Phil Collins, let alone from your customers! What this sales rep failed to do was any kind of objection handling. Objection handling is where, instead of just accepting the customer isn’t going to purchase a product they enquired about, you ask them why they decided not to purchase it. What the customer will give you in response is a reason why they are doubtful about agreeing to the purchase. Perhaps they’ll say “it’s too expensive” or “what we’re really looking for is a product with features x, y and z”. This is where you ask some more discovery questions. In some cases, what the prospective customer really needs is reassurance that they’re making the right decision by purchasing the product from you. If that’s the case, you might talk the customer through some of the ways the product will bring them value – the extended warranty you offer or how this particular product is cost-competitive for the features they’re after – before again asking for the sale. Alternatively, it could be you didn’t ask the right discovery questions at the start and missed some vital information about what the right product for the customer is. Perhaps you have a different product that better suits their needs? Of course, if the customer continues to object, you might ultimately propose that you post out some leaflets and give them a call back later in the week. It’s essential to follow up on promise – but that’s a rant for another day. So make sure you – and your sales reps – do some objection handling first. Don’t take sales rejection at face value. Get it done – on every sales call!
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to announce a new small business minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle, following the mass-resignation of ministers aligned with Kevin Rudd. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has named Jason Clare, Sharon Bird, Mike Kelly, Andrew Leigh and Gai Brodtmann as potential beneficiaries of the reshuffle. Aside from the small business portfolio, other key ministries to be filled include resources, tourism, tertiary education, science and research, local government and the arts. Cyprus set to re-introduce one-off bank deposit tax The government of Cyprus is set to reintroduce plans for a one-off levy on bank deposits, with the government needing to raise $7.74 billion in order to obtain a $13 billion bailout package from European banking authorities. While the tax would not affect people with deposits less than $125,000, all deposits above that amount at the Bank of Cyprus will be taxed at 20% under the revised plan. The original proposal, which was voted down amidst large protests, would have seen all deposits impacted by the one-off tax. Tougher loans for “at-risk” businesses: Report Banks are imposing tougher loan conditions on businesses in sectors deemed to be at risk, according to a new survey of more than 30,000 businesses published by Macquarie and research company East and Partners. Around 10% of business in the mining sector surveyed for the report have seen their loans re-priced, compared to a national average of 6%. Businesses in the “at risk” retail, manufacturing and media sectors are also burdened with tougher loan conditions, according to the survey. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.63% at 14,512.26. The Aussie dollar is steady at US104.38 cents.
Labor is in turmoil today after senior frontbencher Simon Crean called for a leadership spill, and announced he’d run for deputy. Refresh for rolling updates … 4.46pm: Julia Gillard remains PM. No one challenged her. ALP spokesman Chris Hayes MP has emerged from the caucus meeting to formally announce that there was only one nomination each for the role of prime minister and deputy prime minister; Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan respectively, “Both were duly elected unopposed and unanimously by the parliamentary caucus,” Hayes said. ”It puts beyond doubt the issue of leadership in the parliamentary Labor party.” 4.21pm: Kevin Rudd has just faced the media to announce he will not stand in the leadership ballot. Flanked by supportive colleagues in the corridor of Parliament House, Rudd said he had previously pledged he would only stand if the overwhelming majority of the party requested his return and the top position was vacant, circumstances, he said, which had not been met. Rudd said he would adhere absolutely to his commitment; “I take my word seriously”. He called on the party to unite to ensure Tony Abbott did not walk into the Lodge. 4.16pm: Labor MPs are expected to start filing into the leadership spill any minute. Meanwhile, spare a thought for the people affected by the forced adoption of children in the 20th century. They received a heartfelt and long-awaited apology from Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott this morning, but that’s been eclipsed by the #spill. 3.40pm: We still don’t even know if Rudd will nominate for leader at the spill at 4.30pm. This update from ABC reporter Latika Bourke: SkyNews reckons the following Labor MPs have been spied in Rudd’s office: Ed Husic, Tony Zappia, Richard Marles, Stephen Jones. Confusion reigns in Parliament House. Normally MPs would be getting ready to head to the airport and leave Canberra as the sitting week wraps up. Not this time. They’re frantically phoning around and changing their flights. 3.25pm: Sportsbet has Rudd the frontrunner at $1.30 with Gillard at $3.00. But she’s fighting back — she was at $6.00 half an hour ago. And she just now dropped to $2.80. And she’s got this vote sewn up — outspoken Labor MP Steve Gibbons tweets this (Gillard’s winning the race on Twitter FYI): 3.11: Treasurer Wayne Swan weighs in. He is highly likely to go down with Gillard should she lose today's ballot. 2.56pm: Bernard Keane writes: Question Time has come and gone, with an attempt by the opposition to suspend standing orders to move a motion of no confidence failing. The motion was supported by independents Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie but failed to achieve the necessary absolute majority of the House. A motion of no confidence — Tony Abbott’s first — may not have been particularly interesting given Gillard remains Prime Minister and thus her agreements with Oakeshott and Windsor remain in place. Wilkie has indicated he will only vote no confidence in the case of a major scandal. The Prime Minister’s speech in response to Tony Abbott’s motion to suspend remarks contain little of her usual back-against-the-wall fire, but relied on outlining her achievements and warning that she had more left to do. Meantime the counting game is on in earnest, with attention focusing on how many numbers Simon Crean can bring over to the Rudd camp, estimated to be no more than 35-40 MPs. The problem for Gillard is that a victory will do nothing to address Simon Crean’s defection or the persistence of a core of Rudd supporters of around a third of the caucus. 2.42pm: Julia Gillard has shut down question time after Abbott’s move to have a no-confidence motion in her failed. 2.25pm: Tony Abbott, in question time, tells Gillard: “I say to the current Prime Minister, for your party’s good you should go. For your country’s good, you should go.” Gillard is now firing back at Abbott. Note that Kevin Rudd is in the chamber, as is Simon Crean; but Crean has gone to the backbench after precipitating today’s dramatic events. Remember the last time this happened, when Rudd and Gillard faced off in February 2012? Key Rudd supporters were Anthony Albanese, Martin Ferguson, Chris Bowen and Kim Carr. Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Wayne Swan, Stephen Conroy and Simon Crean all backed Gillard. Crean has now shifted — and who else? 2.17pm: We’re in question time. Tony Abbott has moved a no-confidence motion in the PM, and is listing what he says is a litany of Labor failures. Meanwhile, Labor MPs have started to tweet how they’ll vote. Here’s ACT Senator Kate Lundy: 2.04pm: News Limited journalist Phillip Hudson tweets: 2.01pm: Prime Minister Julia Gillard tells question time there will be a ballot for the leadership at 4.30pm today. 1.45pm: Labor frontbencher and former leader Simon Crean has pulled the trigger on the Labor leadership crisis, calling for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to spill all leadership positions and backing Kevin Rudd with himself as deputy leader. Crean’s intervention comes as the climax for an extended leadership dilemma for Labor, with Rudd’s camp unable to muster the numbers to defeat Gillard despite a dreadful start to the year in the polls. However, there are important process issues to be addressed. Crean has indicated he doesn’t expect the Prime Minister to accept his plea to spill leadership positions, in which case it will be up to her opponents to muster the 35 votes to successfully call a spill in caucus via the caucus chairman before MPs leave tonight (prospects of Parliament sitting tomorrow have evaporated with the withdrawal of the media reform bills). Crean, who has been a strong supporter of the Prime Minister, said he wanted a circuitbreaker for the continuing destabilisation and that Labor’s problems would not be solved by simply swapping leaders. Labor needed to demonstrate it believed in something, he said. The move by the former leader (and persistent critic of Rudd) breaks the impasse Labor found itself in with the Rudd camp unable to muster anywhere near sufficient numbers to defeat Gillard and Rudd himself repeatedly, in private and in public, saying he would not challenge under any circumstances. With a leadership spill initiated by Crean, Rudd now has the chance to stand; indeed, there is no way Rudd can avoid standing. Crean also portrayed himself as a deputy capable of ensuring Rudd, whose wretched management style was one of the key reasons for his downfall in June 2010, would be a more inclusive leader if he takes over again as prime minister. That has been a persistent problem for Rudd backers, with the memory of Rudd’s behaviour as leader still strong in many backbench minds, as well as being a reason why a number of cabinet ministers indicated either publicly or privately they could not work with him again. Crean also ruled out seeking the treasurership, which has long been rumoured to be promised to the New South Wales Right’s Chris Bowen, who backed Rudd last February and is his highest-profile ministerial backer. There are disputed media reports that the NSW Right will back Rudd, which combined with Crean’s support would make Rudd very difficult to stop in a leadership contest. Crean has said he wishes to retain his ministerial position pending the outcome of the current contest. This story originally appeared on Crikey.com.au.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is fighting to keep proposed media reforms alive, following an interview on the ABC’s Lateline program where independent Tony Windsor expressed concerns about the package. "I don't think the numbers are there for a great portion of this to get through," Windsor said. Meanwhile, Fairfax media reports that the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, and Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr have shifted their support away from Prime Minister Julia Gillard towards leadership rival Kevin Rudd. Cyprus crisis shakes Australian markets The government of Cyprus has postponed a vote on a controversial tax on savings, which forms part of its austerity package, leading to more than 2% being wiped off the value of Australian shares. The vote would have ratified a deal struck between Cyprus, the IMF, the European Central Bank and other lenders to levy a once-off tax on all bank deposits of 6.75% for amounts up to €100,000 ($A124,000) and 9.9% for deposits above €100,000 as part of a bailout package. ASIC report says high speed trading risk is overstated The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has released its report into computerised high speed trading. While the report from the corporate regulator recommends some reforms, it also finds that the impact of the practice in Australia has largely been overstated. “There is a belief by some that high-frequency trading is manipulative in a legal sense, or at least predatory in nature, and there is a perception that high-frequency traders uniformly have less regard for market integrity. That perception is not supported by our study,” the report states. Overnight In New York, the S&P500 is down 0.64% to 1550.65. The Aussie dollar is up to US1.0391 cents.
Here you are, dear Taskmaster reader. For ages, you’ve made excuses about how difficult or expensive it is to set up a blog, whinging and crying like Kevin Rudd after a Labor Party leadership spill.
For many people, the Mayan end-of-the-world prophecy is simply a hyped-up event that will come and pass without notice, just like every other prediction of its kind.
The US has its ‘fiscal cliff’– but Australia has its own version, according to the chairman of NAB, who has claimed the country is set for a “growth cliff” following the end of the resources boom.
Malcolm Turnbull, the Opposition communications spokesman, has urged start-ups to do more to promote their own successes, claiming that Australia needs to start celebrating the “creative destruction” of industries in order to foster cutting-edge innovation.
The first year of a Coalition government would cost Australian businesses $4.57 billion, according to a Treasury forecast.
Global financial markets have reacted with relief after Germany’s top court backed a $600 billion eurozone rescue fund that is aimed at staving off the region’s debt crisis.
The top leaders of the trade union movement have discussed the prospect of Kevin Rudd returning to the leadership of the Labor Party as they prepare a battle plan against Coalition leader Tony Abbott.
The eurozone’s four largest economies have agreed a new economic growth package that is aimed at turning around the fortunes of the debt-ridden bloc.
The founders of Smart50 entrant Catch of the Day, Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, have been revealed as being among the country's richest people, with a fortune of $240 million, according to the latest figures from BRW.
The reputation of the Federal Labor Government among businesses continues to falter, new figures show, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard attempts to cuts her losses over the Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper controversies.
I know this is going to fly in the face of all the advice you receive from the self-help and positive thinking gurus.
Business groups have welcomed Brendan O’Connor’s appointment as Small Business Minister, but expect the former union official to quickly get to work on meaningful reforms in the sector, especially when it comes to cutting red tape.
Julia Gillard has retained her position as prime minister, defeating bitter rival Kevin Rudd 71-31 in a Labor caucus vote, with business groups urging the government to return its focus to “real” issues.
There’s nothing quite like a good leadership tussle. The Taskmaster still gets a little nostalgic remembering the pitch battle I fought for the right to be school captain of my grammar school back in form five.
Got a Rudd vs Gillard fight brewing in your workplace? Here are five ways to stop office politics before it gets nasty3:09PM | Tuesday, 13 March
The battle for the prime minister’s office is getting nastier. Not only are Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd sniping at each other, but their Labor colleagues appear desperate to stick the boots in too.
Labor’s leadership battle could cripple the already-fragile state of business confidence, business groups warn, with concerns raised over how Kevin Rudd’s potential return would affect conditions.