In my first sales job, I had a sales leader whom many described as having the capability to sell ice to Eskimos.  I left that job because I found that what I was selling was not of any benefit to the potential customers especially if their jurisdiction was just Singapore. Now, I am in my second sales job and I am find myself better selling a refrigerator to Eskimos as opposed to just selling them ice.

Selling refrigerators to Eskimos is almost akin to selling them a solution as opposed to selling ice - a product. 

Refrigerators would be a good solution to Eskimos because given the current climate changes, you need to preserve and store food at a regulated temperature instead of depending on the unpredictable moods swings of Mother Nature.

With a refrigerator, Eskimos get to keep some of their perishables frozen or if they choose, just at a cooler temperature but somehow higher than the freezing point.
The refrigerator will allow Eskimos to drink chilled water rather than frozen water, if the need to stay chill crops up.

There are also opportunities to upsell with a refrigerator. Maybe isolated igloos would need to have power generators and these allow for bundling opportunities. Power generators also need fuel on a regular basis and this could mean constant revenue. 

In my current job, I get excited selling a solution as opposed to a product. I want to ensure that my customer gets the most out of what they bought and the fact that it is helping them with their daily operations. 

This solution I am selling is very similar to a refrigerator.  More than often, the customer, when they don't have it, will tell me they don't need. But after they used it, it struck them why didn't they get it earlier. 

I also like to challenge my customer to let me help them with their IT processes. Automation helps to improve productivity and given today's manpower crunch, if automation can help reduce five minutes of work, it is money well spent. 

Challenge me to sell you a refrigerator the next time we meet.

As we come to the end of 2015, I thought it would be best to end it with my quotes in The Straits Times.

Signing up for safer SingPass simplified; more streamlining expected, 22 December 2015 - Some SingPass users were pleasantly surprised by the change. Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 39, said: "The first step is so much faster now, involving fewer clicks."

Streaming service with new set-top box may shake up Singapore TV market, 29 August 2015 - Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 39, said VPN services are already available on the Web for as little as US$50 (S$70) a year and can be used on any broadband connection.

Consumers turning to telcos for phablets, 30 July 2015 Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 39, whose two-year mobile contract ends next May, said: "I'm holding out for the year-end launch of the new version of the iPhone 6, which will be more stable and offer better features."

1,000 free SIM cards for MyRepublic's mobile trial, 27 April 2015 - Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 39, wants to see the comeback of flat-fee generous data plans, no longer on sale here since September 2012. "Today, I'm already using more than 10GB of mobile data a month," said the avid app user, whose phone bills run to more than $100 a month.

I didn't do one for for 2014. Here's a catch-up..

Public Wi-Fi users, beware of Poodle, 18 October 2014 - Meanwhile, marketing manager Aaron Koh, 38, said he is not too worried. "I seldom use public Wi-Fi for online banking. Only to check my e-mail."

Debate over how one-time passwords are sent out, 21 July 2014 - Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 38, said: "Security does not have to mean inconvenience to the user." He suggested using newer 2FA technologies like the Google authenticator, a smartphone app that generates OTPs.

Consumers 'confused' over data protection, 2 July 2014 - Marketing manager Aaron Koh is unsure of his rights. "I thought companies have to ask for my permission to use my information for marketing?" said the 38-year-old, who had received notices from telcos and banks stating their new policies.

Heartbleed bug: To change or not to change your computer password, 12 April 2014 - Its failure to inform Gmail account holders infuriates users like Mr Aaron Koh, 37, who said he does not track vendors' blog posts.

"The very least Google could have done is to update users via an e-mail," said the marketing manager.

Home broadband now cheaper than ever, 17 Jan 2014 - Marketing manager Aaron Koh, who said he participates in a lot of conference calls from home, said he wished the new plan was announced before he renewed his broadband contract last week. "Fifty bucks for 1Gbps is very affordable," he said.

Anybody needs a spokesperson for 2016?

MOS Teo said he didn't post the following quote on Facebook-
"I learnt that some workers prefer to sleep without a mattress as they are used to it back in their home country".
The above quote that appeared with the photo in the Ministry of Manpower Facebook Page came under heavy criticism for being insensitive to the plight of migrant workers in Singapore.

It created that much furore to have the story appear on BBC website.

The Ministry of Manpower has issued a statement that the post and the caption was put up by an unnamed Facebook admin.

The question of many, especially the government ministry, must be asking how to approve a post before it goes "live" on the Page.

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't allow this function for any of the roles assigned for the Facebook Page.

You could put a post on draft and get the other key stakeholders to sign off in the comments, but once you publish the draft post, the comments can be seen. With this method, the Facebook admin or editor could be prone to further gaffes when they forget to put the post on draft first and every Likes get to see the comments not meant for public consumption.

As each stakeholder is an admin or editor, you probably won't know who approved what.

Another popular method is to email the draft post, but that doesn't have the Facebook feel to it. In a government agency, waiting for an email approval might take tons of back and forth replies and the post becomes yesteryear's news.

So what can you do to get stakeholders to sign off or approve a Facebook post before it goes "live"?

All the state secrets in a Secret Group

The trick I have learnt is that you create a Secret Group and add all the stakeholders as members.

If you are the Facebook Admin or Editor, you can post the photo with captions or post into this Secret Group and get the Group Members to sign off or approval. Once the post is approve, replicate it in the Page for public consumption.

The good thing about a group is that you can see the real names behind the sign off or approval.

Since the group is Secret, any comments are confined to the group. Of course, if somebody choose to screenshot the Secret communication, he/she should be threaten for violating the Official Secret Acts.

Another advantage of creating the Facebook Group is it gives the look and feel of a Facebook Page but only visible by members. The Facebook Group app is also available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and stakeholders can be notified when post is up and requires approval before posting on the page.

This simple trick could probably save Singapore ministers from future social media gaffes.

So, you're welcome!

Andrea Chong, a Adidas appointed influencer, posted a photo of herself in the middle of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2015 and captioned how she was "all smiles" during the run.

Unfortunately for Andrea or the PR agency, one of her readers checked her bib number #75148  at the Marathon's website only to find it to belonging to somebody else.

That somebody else is Kuvin Kuar, a intern at Edelman PR and the bib number had a status "DNF" or did not finished.

This raised the first red flag as one of the rules stated that "A Participants is strictly not allowed to transfer his or her race entry to another party".

This cascaded into perceptions that Andrea herself did not even start or complete the race and was only "planted" by Adidas or the PR agency, Edelman PR, to look pretty in the marathon.

Marketing Magazine noted that Adidas declined to comment about the incident which lead to further speculation that Andrea was possibly just "faking" the run to look pretty on Instagram.

This incident occurred just as Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore announced they were starting to seek public input on the draft Digital and Social Media Advertising Guidelines. This gist of the guidelines look to "establish the levels of disclosure that are required of sponsored messages that appear on blogs and social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter".

Edelman PR isn't new to creating faux-pas in the social media influencer world.

Back in 2006, Edelman PR was found to have created a fake blog to promote Walmart in the US. Ironically, according to Bloomberg, the fake blog also featured "store clerks to photogenic executives".

If you are going to fake it, might as look good doing it.

New Notes On Facebook

Have you seen the new Notes on Facebook?

Notes was part of Facebook to provide for longer updates, however, the old Facebook Notes was kind of boring and stale.

Say goodbye to the old Facebook Notes

The new Facebook Notes now allows you to add a cover photo, similar to Medium,  and even allows you to select Bold, Italics, Mono, and even add links just be simply highlighting the words and the option appears above the words.

In comparison, the old Facebook Notes required you to know a little html that you have to enter before and after the text.

So far, the new Facebook Notes only allows you to add photos, but hopefully, it could allow adding of videos and even let users put HTML for more advance users.

Maybe Facebook should even allow users to add advertising in the post and earn from it, something similar to Google’s Adsense program.

The new Facebook Notes will give the various online blogging publishers, eg Medium, Blogger, a run for the money. Google’s Blogger seem to have lag behind the blogging publishers as I have yet to see any new innovations from them.

Hopefully the new Facebook Notes will give Google the kick it needs to wake up from the blogger slumber.

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