Our deputy editor, Francois Badenhorst, is off Interrailing around Europe like a wet behind the ears gap year student. In his stead, I’ve been handed responsibility for this week’s What we’ve been reading.
So, let’s take a trawl through my Pocket account together, from why women outperform men at sales, to the sparkly lie that’s your Instagram account and millennials’ obsession with bailing (case in point, this column).
Yes, people can be taught to sell, but could the vast individual nuances of sales people align themselves by gender?
This fascinating research analysed 30,469 B2B sales calls through Gong’s “self-learning conversation analytics engine”, itself an incredible feat. Two key findings:
- Men interrupt their prospect 4.2x per hour. Women interrupt 6.3x per hour - about 50% more than men
- When men go off on a monologue, they average 116 seconds. Women average 130 seconds, by comparison
In short, women appear to break the traditional rules of selling, but women’s win-rates were 11% higher than men’s. Read the article to find out more about why that could be the case.
For businesses, the temptation is just to charge into influencer marketing headlong. It seems simple, right? Put up some cash or some freebies, get some attractive people to snap it and create hype.
But, as with everything, it comes with a caveat. There’s the ethical side, then there’s also effect it’s had on whole industries and the ensuing bubble.
Take a look at the food and restaurant sector. It has become awash with “over-the-top, intensely trend-driven, and visually arresting, Instagram food”, writes Amanda Mull. As a result, “it is almost always something to be obtained, rather than cooked or created. It’s elusive and aspirational, something instantly recognisable yet only minimally available.”
And, as Mull (and others) point out, consumers are catching on the inherent vapidity of the influencer practice. The hype, the gaudy extremes; it has stripped food of its basic, sensory joy and businesses are beginning to suffer.
The increase in the importance placed on products’ provenance has been incredible over the last decade. It’s spurred independent retailers and small manufacturers to great heights, playing a key role in the entrepreneurial revolution.
So, it’s with much chagrin that we see large corporates pretending to be independent, whether it’s Waterstones’ fake local bookstore to Tesco’s Harris and Hoole.
This article has a look at the battle going on in the craft beer world, as multinationals move into the rapidly growing segment by either buying small brewers or starting their own brands. It’s a great read for those interested in brand and authenticity, or good beer.
And, it also contains this excellent pun: “The usually good-natured trade body for Britain’s craft brewers has turned from mild to bitter, with Carlsberg’s takeover of the London Fields brewery proving the final straw.”
The New York Times’ columnist section has its share of critics. Largely populated by older, centrist voices sharing the conventional wisdom. But the pages do have the habit of churning out some really thoughtful surprises.
In this column, David Brooks examines the cultural act of bailing. That is, ghosting on or cancelling pre-agreed plans (often to do nothing else in particular).
Instead of becoming another the-kids-aren’t-alright millennial thinkpiece, Brooks argues for a slight recalibration of our non-committal tendencies. Bail, sure, sometimes it’s unavoidable (who hasn’t sloppily double-booked things) - but don’t treat a social commitment as a “disposable Post-it note”.
“Reliability is a core element of treating people well, that how you spend your time is how you spend your life, and that if you don’t flake on people who matter you have a chance to build deeper and better friendships and live in a better and more respectful way.”
Read anything interesting this week? Leave us a comment below or tweet @BusinessZone.
About Christopher Goodfellow
Journalist and editor with nine years' experience covering small businesses and entrepreneurship (ChrisGoodfellow.net). Follow his personal twitter account @CPGoodfellow and his events business @Box2Media. He has written for a wide range of publications in the UK, Ireland and Canada, including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent and Vice magazine.