Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sales 101 - Be Realistic About the Outcome.

SALES 101 - Be Realistic About the Outcome.

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting March 2009.

There is a huge difference between having an outcome that we want and the outcome that we usually get!  Not achieving what we want, in terms of sales can be devastating.  Our confidence goes for a ‘ball of chalk’, we feel depressed and worthless and worst of all is that our motivation takes a leave of absence and we have to ‘kick start’ ourselves every morning just to get going.

Cold calling and the difficulties associated with the constant rejection that is the reality of this method of sales can be very draining and soul destroying, particularly if our expectations are not in line with reality.

Here’s the thing though – even the top sales people on the planet are rejected on a regular basis.  That’s the truth.

Think about it logically for a moment, what are the chances that the person that you want to speak to, is unavailable to chat to you, when you are available to chat to them? How many times have you phoned a friend and had to leave a message because they did not answer the phone?  When that happens how do did you react?  Did you feel rejected and unloved?  Of course not.  Usually you would just leave a message, understanding that the friend is not available and then go on about your business.  So how about using that tactic when you ‘cold call’ a company.  Just leave a message for the person to contact you and go on about your business.

Then there is the person that you actually get hold of and for whatever reason, they don’t have the problem that your particular product or service can do anything about.  Once again you feel rejected.  Go back to the scenario of your friend.  You need to borrow a drill from a friend and you phone the first one that you think may have one, but he doesn’t – so now you have the sulks!  Of course not – you probably have a laugh about it and then phone the next friend who may have one.  You go about your business – you need to do the same thing here.  So this particular prospective client does not need your product or service – ok, but there are still thousands who do, so instead of sitting there feeling sorry for yourself, move forward to the next one.

Now what about the person who does have a problem that your product or service can definitely sort out, but he is currently busy with someone else or something else and cannot discuss anything with you right now.  So what do you do – it’s your choice you know.  Some will sulk and get all bent out of shape, some will try and force the conversation and the sale and of course, some will make a note to phone the prospect again.  Just a word of warning here, if you are the one who tries to force the conversation and the sale, all you end up doing is killing the sale even before you have started.  There is nothing more irritating than a salesperson who won’t listen.  They very seldom make it through the door a second time. 

Each time you phone a prospect, you should understand that there are several outcomes that could happen.  Be prepared for each one.  In fact, write down on a piece of paper all the different types of answers that you may get and understand that you may not get the one that you want.  Don’t hype yourself up and get yourself expectations that are so far from reality that they are preposterous.  The only person you will hurt is yourself.  Don’t take it personally – some times things are just what they are, and they are not always about you.  Your prospects also have lives that they are busy with and their priorities will be different to yours.  Understanding this will go a long way towards you reaching a realistic goal.

Setting yourself unrealistic goals and not achieving them is setting yourself up for failure all round.  Setting yourself realistic goals and then achieving them will only boost your confidence. 

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Networking 101 - Quality before Quantity

NETWORKING 101 - Quality before Quantity

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Making two or three good contacts at an event is good enough.  You don’t have to ‘work’ the whole room”.

Now she tells me!  This is one of the biggest mistakes that I made when I first went to Networking events and meetings.  In my enthusiasm I wanted to talk to everybody and ran around frenetically trying to get every person’s card and then afterwards trying desperately to get an appointment with someone!  That was really hard work and in many ways very soul destroying too.

You see many people don’t understand the value of networking and so they couldn’t see the connection or synergies that ‘could have been’ and the result of that of course was that they couldn’t see why there was a need to meet with me in the first place, let alone discuss ways in which we could help one another.  That, for me was, and still is, very difficult to understand.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I was spending a huge amount of time and energy on people who could not see the value of what I was doing – so quite frankly – why bother!

Nowadays, even if I only make one contact, that for me is good enough.  That one person, understanding what networking is all about and the value that I not only get from that person, but the value that I can give to that person, is worth far more to me in time, effort and good referrals than 100 people who cannot see the value and have no interest in what I am doing.

So be selective, get in touch with ‘like minded people’ – don’t waste your time and energy on those who cannot or will not see!

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at 

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Business Tips - Documentation and SARS

BUSINESS TIPS – Documentation and SARS

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2013

Please note that this pertains to South  African SARS (South African Revenue Services) requirements.

On a daily basis I meet with people who are either starting their own businesses or alternatively there are those who have been in business for many years now – irrespective of where they are in this particular journey called life, they more often than not, have no clue about the legal requirements around the retention of their business documents.

The harsh reality is that not only is there a legal requirement in terms of what documents must be kept there are also requirements on how long these documents must be kept and they are not all just about the financial records either.  Some need to be kept for only a couple of years, others for up to 5 or 7 or even 15 or so years and others that have to be retained ‘indefinitely’.

Add to all of this the digital and electronic age and although in many ways this simplifies life there are also instances where this will complicate things.

Take for example the tax records . . . it has been promulgated into law that the tax records and financial documentation pertaining to these records can be stored in their electronic form provided that they are stored electronically in a physical location in South Africa.  Furthermore, if the taxpayer wishes to store and maintain their accounting or invoicing records using ‘the cloud’ technology or servers outside of South African borders, they will need to obtain written approval from a Senior SARS officiator.

Apparently though, obtaining authority to do this is not an easy achievement either, as the following requirements have to be met.  These are (but not limited to):-

- You have to be able to easily access these records here in SA.
- Irrespective of the location of these servers, this should not affect the access to the records.
- It is a requirement that the country where the servers are hosted has to have an international tax agreement with South Africa for reciprocal tax assistance.
- That the taxpayer in South Africa has to be able to produce an acceptable electronic form of the record – ideally it should look exactly like its paper hardcopy equivalent and
- The storage capabilities must meet all storage requirements.

Additional challenges that may be encountered are in the form of system description development should the software or electronic platform not be commonly used and/or recognized in South Africa, so beware of all the ‘off the shelf’ products that may have been developed in India or the USA as they may carry ‘hidden’ costs.

Be sure to have properly researched what you purchase to ensure that SARS requirements are always met – it will be cheaper in the long run.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Monday, November 20, 2017

Motivation - The Seed


This was not written by Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC.  In fact she has not idea who wrote it and where it came from – it is however, very pertinent to life!

A successful Christian business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. "The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued." I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!" All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!

His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. "How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today.

But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.

When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

*   If you plant honesty, you will reap trust

*   If you plant goodness, you will reap friends

*   If you plant humility, you will reap greatness

*   If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

*   If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective

*   If you plant hard work, you will reap success

*   If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

*   If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Friday, November 17, 2017

HR 101 - What to do When. . . Your Staff Want to Strike - Part 2

HR 101 - WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations and Best Practice requirements.

So what we now know is when the staff cannot strike – let’s take a step backwards though and define exactly what a strike is:

Section 213 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) says “The partial or complete concerted refusal to work or the retardation or obstruction of work, by persons who are or have been employed by the same employer or by different employers, for the purpose of remedying a grievance or resolving a dispute in respect of any matter of mutual interest between an employer and an employee, and reference to ‘work’ in this definition includes overtime work, whether it is voluntary or compulsory.”

What does all of this actually mean? 

This means that in order for it to be termed ‘a strike’ there have to be three definite components.

The first one of course has several parts to it and it revolves around the issue of work.  It is (but not limited to):

“Refusal to work”.  This means that any refusal to work, whether it is a ‘go slow’ or work relating to overtime or even if the employee refuses to ‘clock in/out’ and so on.   So let’s take the example of George, who is in a production line at a factory.  George’s job is to pack the finished product into tissue paper, place it back onto the conveyer belt and from there it goes to the next person who packs the wrapped product into a box.  George abandons his station at the conveyer belt and refuses to wrap any of the product thereby refusing to perform any of his duties.
“Partial refusal to work”.  In this instance George stands at the conveyer belt and wraps only some of the product into the tissue paper and then also refuses to place the wrapped items onto the conveyer belt.  In this instance he is only refusing to perform some of is duties but not all.
“Retardation of work.”  In this example, George continues to perform his duties but at a rate that is as slow as possible, without coming to a dead stop.  This is commonly known as ‘a go slow’.  George’s manager asks George to assist with the packing of the product into boxes, but George refuses as his contract does not specifically state that he must pack product into boxes.  This is known as ‘work to rule.”
“Obstruction of work”.  In this instance George does not wrap the product at all but does put the unwrapped product onto the conveyor belt which means the product cannot be packed but must be removed from the packing area and taken back up to the point where it should be wrapped by George, before any packing of boxes can continue.

The second component in terms of a strike, is that a single employee cannot strike and it therefore has to be two or more employees that refuse to work before it can be considered a strike.

The final component in a strike is that there has to be purpose to the strike which is usually to resolve a dispute or to remedy a grievance.  To resolve a dispute is usually around the issue of salary increases or benefits and a grievance is usually around issues of perceptions of unfair dismissal.  In this instance George is dismissed for dishonesty in that some of the wrapped product ended up in his pockets or in his home without any of it being paid for.  George is disciplined, found guilty of misconduct and dismissed and his colleagues feel that he has been dismissed unfairly and go on a strike in an effort to force management to give George his job back.

Please remember that a grievance of any nature can be and is anything that is between the employer and the employee whether there has been a collection bargaining process or not.

Next week we will look at protected and unprotected strikes.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sales 101 - Finding the Right Prospects

SALES 101 - Finding the Right Prospects

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting 

As much as you need to have a really intimate knowledge of your product or service, so to do you need to know who your prospect or target market is.

Many small business owners like to think that their particular product or service is something that every single person on the planet has to have!  Well as much as that may be true in a Utopian world and as much as they would like to think that, the reality of the situation is that that is simply not true for a number of reasons.

There are those that will not see the value of what it is that you are offering, those who just cannot afford what you are offering, those that are just not in the right demographics to know what you are offering  and of course those who have no clue what you are offering.

Then from your side, you have to actually understand who it is that you need to target.

Think about sitting in a restaurant – the place is packed, waitrons are rushing around trying to get everyone fed and watered.  Some people are upset because they have been given the wrong food or it has not been cooked to their specifications, others are tired of waiting and are ready to walk out – on the other hand there are those who have really enjoyed their meals or are enjoying their meals.  Some have finished and are leaving, others are arriving.  Some are young, some are middle aged, some are grannies and grandpas.  Some are European, some are oriental, some are from right here in South Africa, some are from other countries.  Some come from rich homes and others from poor homes, some are male and some are female.  Do you get the picture yet?

You see, even though the restaurant’s target market are ‘hungry people’ there are different kinds of hungry people.  People who have different tastes and have different expectations.  Some who want fish and others who want meat or chicken and then of course those that only eat vegetables.  The chef has to understand all these different variables and ensure that he can accommodate all the different taste buds.  The restaurant manager have to make sure that their waitrons are properly trained and that they can handle the pressure of serving difficult clients as there are patrons that enjoy being fussed over and others that don’t, but still want good service. There are diners that want ice in their drinks and others that don’t and still some that want a single ice cube or two – the waitrons have to remember all of this, get the orders right and delivered on time to the correct person and so on.

Understand a little better now?

So, make a list of who your target market is, then for each target market that you have listed, draw down and make a list of all the sub-groups.

Once you have identified all of your sub-groups, make a list of the best prospect or the person that you would most like to deal with and why you would like to deal with them.  Once you have done that, make a list and select the top three things that your product or service has that would win them over and another list and select the top three problems that they may encounter that you would then be able to resolve. Don’t try and fix things that you have no control over – focus on what you can fix.

The list with the things about the product that would win them over becomes the focus of what you sell to your target market and the list of problems will ensure that you are ready to respond to any problems that you may encounter.

Do you see how you have narrowed your prospects down?  If you have followed these suggestions, in all probability you have found the target market that is most right for you.

Now all you need to do is get selling – and remember, always have fun!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Networking 101 - Don't Confuse Networking with Friendship

NETWORKING 101 - Don’t Confuse Networking with Friendship

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Don’t confuse networking with friendship.”

Actually, whilst we are on the subject, don’t confuse business (of any kind) with friendship either – they are two different issues that should inhabit two different spaces in your life – if they don’t and if you confuse or blur the line the result could mean the loss of business or the loss of the friendship – so be careful about what you are doing and make sure that the lines and boundaries are very visible and very clear to all parties concerned.

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with social networking, in fact you can make some really great contacts and even do some really good business on places like LinkedIn or even Facebook but I wouldn’t rely on them as the sole focus of my networking commitments.  I would use them rather as tools to enhance what I already have.

There are a huge number of other Networking opportunities out there both from a local perspective as well as internationally. There will always be some that feel a whole lot more comfortable than others – it’s a matter of choice.  I would not say that one is necessarily better than the other – it’s about what works for you at the end of the day.

Having said that however, you need to take the first step and actually get onto the site or get to a meeting and get going!   Networking takes work, it doesn’t just happen!

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or