Sales communication and entrepreneurship
Andy Bounds: The Jelly Effect
The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds claims to be the guide for you if you want to know how to make communication stick. Basically the whole meaning of the ‘’Jelly Effect’’ is a comparison of someone’s selling technique either during a sales pitch or sales negotiation and a bucket of jelly. The person supposedly is throwing a lot of unnecessary information at his or her clients hoping some of it would be relevant to them and catch their interest. It’s like throwing a bucket of jelly at someone and hoping some of it would stick.
Reading ’’The Jelly Effect’’ made me think about a new approach to sales. To be honest, I haven’t had much experience with b2b sales encounters. I have had b2c sales experience through my mother’s company when meeting customers face to face at different expositions around Finland and also through my job at INCH” denim store, where I contact customers and make face to face sales. I also had prior experience with promoting products and convincing people to buy them when working with a marketing company and giving out free samples to customers in different stores around Tampere. Even though Andy Bound’s book is mostly targeted to b2b selling I really think some of the techniques can be used in b2c as well.
What I learnt from reading the book was selling skills and how to attract your customer’s attention immediately without boring them. I also learnt about perfecting a sales presentation – what points to concentrate on and how to be prepared for one. It was also interesting to learn about how to spot the real ’’big fish’’ at sales events, which means the ideal type of person to meet when networking such as potential customers, potential suppliers or potential recommenders. These points I will keep in mind in the future. I have had serious thoughts of becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own personal business. Even though the business would work mostly with photography services, I still have to network and be in contact with customers and sell my talent. The tips and tricks listed in this book will surely help with that!
During the time I was working as a sales promoter giving out product samples at stores I was always given clear instructions exactly what to say about the product. All the small details about the product had to be memorized. It might really have helped the promoters to have also been taught how to sell the product by telling the customers how they would benefit from it and therefore why they should buy it – in other words by telling customers the AFTERs.
Bound writes about AFTERs being the secret ingredient to jelly free communication. He says that the audience in fact do not care about what you say. In his words, they only care about what they are left with AFTER you have said it. The AFTERs stand for five rules of communication which are (1) to always say context first, (2) the topic should be a frame of the other person, (3) being thorough is key, (4) asking after if extra info is needed and (5) then answer questions (if required). These five steps really sound simple to me. This made me think that selling can actually be simple if I remember these.
I have always tried the personal approach when selling something and to me I think it really works. When asking about the customer and being truly interested in their needs you can truthfully sell your offerings without having to “throw any jelly” at them. I think that this factor is also what is appreciated with small companies and stores. You have a better connection with the customer and truly are interested in them.
Bounds states in his book that the only skill you really need to master is the ability to persuade others how good you are. In a way I agree with him. When you are in a situation where you have to convince a customer, it really does help when you are confident about yourself (or at least make the customer think that you are). Looking back again to when I was a consultant I remember a few times when I got a job last minute and had to learn materials in a matter of a few hours. Even though I didn’t feel too confident about remembering facts by heart, I thought that the customers don’t know that. I thought to myself that I will act happy and show that I am confident about myself and everything will go fine. At a large extent a good attitude has a lot to do with selling. (Bounds did point out later in the book that learning materials before a presentation is vital – he has a point there too.) Confidence is needed when being an entrepreneur. You will not be successful if you are not confident about what you do and if you do not believe in yourself.
Another point in the book which I agree with is the idea of not only selling something to a room of people, but that you should think of selling as seeking relationships. When changing plain selling into relationship seeking it makes you see things from a totally different and new perspective. When seeking relationships, you get new motives and you have to think of ways how to sell so that you can create long lasting partnerships with your clients or audience. In my opinion, this is a very important part when thinking of ways of helping your own business. Take time on building relationships that will help your business grow and in return help others.
Something I have to disagree with, on the other hand, is when Bounds pointed out that everyone is born with two core skills that help when selling something. He says that everyone has possessed two skills that are manners and the ability to chat. When thinking about sales and salesmen I really think that not everyone can do it well. Of course everyone can try – but getting good results is another thing. To be good and confident when selling you also really need to have interest in what you are doing.
In ‘’The Jelly Effect’’ there were some parts that I didn’t truly understand. For example, Bounds gave tips on how important it is to place your nametag the right way. To me, small things like that should not have a huge effect on you being a good sales person. Bounds also compared marketing your business to finding your first love at school. Some of his points were slightly absurd to me, but I understand that he might have wanted to think of relatable points to compare situations with.
As I stated at the start, I haven’t had much experience with b2b sales before, so the book wasn’t very relatable in general. I do think, however, that the book will have an impact in the future when I start my own company and even now, with my future studies. It gave me some insight on what business to business sales are and what to do and what not to do. It is true that business people tend to say a lot of irrelevant things and it is important to minimize that in the future to gain effective sales.
The most important, golden rule of selling that Bounds stated was to shut up when the customer says ‘’YES’’. According to my experiences, in Finland, however, it is best to shut up even before that moment, just in case.