15 Business Skills Lagos Business School Can’t Teach You
15 Business Skills Lagos Business School Can’t Teach You
Lagos Business School is arguably the most prestigious business school in Nigeria.
Several of my business associates have passed through their tutelage and are doing fine in corporate Nigeria and in their businesses.
Recently I came across a book I had read some years back called “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School”. So I did survey among my entrepreneur friends and was shocked to see how only a few of them have read this awesome book.
I recommend that everyone reads this book. It has abundant treasures for all every entrepreneur and business executive. Authored by Mark McCormak in 1986, this book is one of my top 100 books and it was the inspiration behind this post tailored.
However, this blog post it has been tailored to the Nigerian equivalent of Harvard Business School — the prestigious Lagos Business School.
1. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to read people
Reading people and understanding body language are very important to succeeding in business and in life:
You have to learn to listen to what’s being said and how it is being said.
You have to learn to listen to what’s being said but not being vocalized.
You have to observe people “aggressively.”
You will have to talk less to automatically learn more.
You will have to notice first impressions.
Most importantly, learn to use what you’ve learned.
2. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to create lasting impressions
You need to learn how to make business gestures that will be appreciated and remembered by the other party like:
Asking about and then doing something for one of their kids on day one.
“Freeing” people after you both have an agreement but circumstances have changed and they honestly can’t keep up.
Bargaining softly on deals important to the other party so that more long term opportunities can be created.
Make business mentors and confidants — people you trust who you can seek advice from. Be totally discreet- anytime you talk about another person, the person listening will wonder what you tell others about them. Respect confidences.
3. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to follow your intuition
Every entrepreneur who has been successful will understand winning through intuition — when everything isn’t quite right except that inner feeling. Nothing in a textbook or case study can explain this.
Being intuitive means knowing what people want before they know they need it and finding a profitable way to give it to them. The perfect example is the late, Great Steve Jobs and the iPod he gave us.
4. Lagos business school can’t teach you humility
Humility is a great business attribute. It can win even the most negative customer over. As an entrepreneur or business executive, you have to learn to say these phrases:
I don’t know: it is best than presenting a know-it-all approach. It also shows your humanity and your clients will trust you more for being truthful. Not knowing something isn’t a crime however, offer to refer clients to someone who does.
Help me: one big reason businesses fail is because someone wants to do everything alone. Learn to delegate because it is foolish to insist on doing everything yourself.
Sorry, I was wrong: We all make mistakes. It’s human nature to however, what matter is how you handle them. Readily admitting you were wrong makes a far greater impression than making excuses or outright denial.
5. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to close a sale
Closing a sale starts from your first meeting with a prospect till when you get a cheque for an order. Selling is the fastest way to the top of the company.
However, reaching the top without exceptional knowing how to persuade is almost impossible. The art of Salesmanship is a life skill.
6. Lagos business school can’t teach you the art of timing in Business
This, you learn from experience. You have to know:
When to pitch a business proposition in an informal setting
How to pitch it
When customers wants you to sell them
The best time to sow the seed of an idea
When to send a “Thank You” card
When best to ask for a pay rise
When to close a deal based on the customer’s body language
All these and all have to do with timing in business and you can only develop it intuitively.
7. Lagos business school can’t teach you “The Art of Silence”
Learning how to use silence is a skill not taught in business schools. However, Silence is a powerful tool you an use to know what is on your prospect’s mind — the real excuse for not wanting to buy NOW.
It either lets the prospect or client to talk or “forces” them to person to talk. Generally, the first person to talk is the more “uncomfortable” party in business negotiations.
8. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to market yourself
You need to learn how to connect with people on a human level — way beyond the generic business networking concepts. You have put your humanity behind your product and the people who buy it.
You have to learn to dress the part
You have to know your product at subconscious level or people will resent your efforts to sell it. Every fibre of your being has to believe in it; nothing can hide that.
9. Lagos business school can’t teach you adaptive sales strategies
In sales, you cannot stick to one strategy. You have to be very adaptable and use various strategies.
I mean what happens when as you are about to close a deal, your prospect receives an unexpected call that disrupts his mindset?
You have to adapt so well and so fact and be vast in various techniques so you can switch to the one that hits the right notes with your prospect, and helps you close the sale.
You need to learn to blow your trumpet subtly by mentioning your triumphs of the past. We all gravitate towards winners and buyers hope that you can perform the same feat. Talk about your great past.
10. Lagos business school can’t teach you the hidden skills in negotiating
Negotiating in sales is different from political negotiations or other types of negotiations.
In the typical negotiation, you already have list of what you desire ranked from what you cannot absolutely not compromise on to what you desire but can let go totally if the other party rejects and still come out a winner.
Negotiating a sales closure involves getting into the mind of the prospect by asking questions and using the answers proactively. Proper negotiation in sales is a win-win situation if you want your business to around for the long term.
Negotiation is not a stamina competition where the last man is standing. The aim is to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Reducing it to a contest of egos will always work against you.
You have to learn to stoop to conquer
You have to know how to ask for a sale at the precise time.
You have to know how to give credit to competitors while showing your products’ superiority.
You have to know how to divert attention from a highly priced product to greater benefits.
How exclusive will your product be from the buyer’s perspective?
How much money or time will be involved?
11. Lagos business school can’t teach you Stick-to-it-ive-ness in business aka GRIT
GRIT is the genius behind business success. Most successful businesses became so because they never gave up even in the face of apparent failure and then things take a positive turn.
GRIT, perseverance, determination, persistence, consistence are all things no business school will teach you. You develop them from within.
12. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to identify and hire Genius
The secret to success in building a business is to hire people that are smarter than you are in their particular area of expertise. This way you can concentrate on selling the company’s products and services. You become a manager of experts.
Running a business should not become so complicated that you lose sight of the main objective — to be profitable.
13. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to Say “NO!”
“NO” is one of the best answers in business and in Life. It is the best time saver ever. Saying No does not mean being rude. Neither should it be said rudely. The truth I have realized in business is that people appreciate an assertive NO — No states your stand in relation to some idea or proposition.
To be successful in business, you have to be an almost instant decision maker. Don’t waste time studying a business proposal before deciding on it. Decisions in business in the long run are more intuitive than analytical.
14. Lagos business school can’t teach you the Inner Game of building a business
Every successful business built is as a result of creating it on the inside first — starting from the end and working all the way back to the beginning — before building it in the physical. What you see on the outside is the reverse engineered end of the business in a mind that has done multiple options and processed various scenarios.
Most people aspiring to build a business are more concerned about the money they are going to make instead of the exact details of how they are going to make it.
Your chances of success will be increased if after conceptualizing, you start small, keep it simple and basic — meet needs with a human face. Most of the biggest success stories of all time started small and worked up in the process of time.
15. Lagos business school can’t teach you how to bond with and keep employees and clients for life
With regards to your staff:
Pay them in proportion to your level of growth and profitability at first
Offer a generous bonus, increased salary etc if they do something that brings in profits.
Sell them on the future of the company, their possible roles
Offer them part ownership in a written contract.
Most importantly, keep your end of the bargain.
Business is has service at its foundation. The paradox of business is that if you think you’re doing well, be concerned. There should be an insatiable desire to improve and serve more people.
The best businesses are:
Always dissatisfied with their own performance, and turn successes into stepping-stone to greater results. Celebrate successes but never bask in them.
Perform at their highest levels. They are able to peak at the right time, instead of constantly trying to maintain a performance level.
Never feel like they are ahead of the competition because they see themselves as their biggest competition. They are on-the-edge and forging ahead regardless of great results.
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