• You didn’t waste your money on a trade show, did you?

     

    It’s that time of year; no, not pre-Christmas but trade shows and events.  At Sandler we sometimes get asked how to make sure investing time, money and resources is not wasted effort.

    Trade show picIf you are an exhibitor, what do you expect to gain from a whole day (or more) out of the office, your money, hiring the space and goodness knows what marketing effort in making your space sell? Typically we hear “leads, promoting ourselves and making sure our existing contacts see us.” These seem noble aims. Nothing wrong with these, surely?

    But supposing our goals were subtly different, would we approach the show and our investment differently? The real value in exhibiting has very little to do with our stand, our pitch, our marketing. Ideally we want to have prospects identify themselves as interested by finding what problems and challenges they have that we can fix. So that means asking a whole load of questions about them and their business. Suddenly our stuff recedes into the background, the spotlight is firmly on them.

    This also answers the inevitable dilemma of how we approach visitors to the show.  Being vacant on the  stand is not a good strategy. Pouncing on them also does not work.  Being welcoming and interested in why they have attended is far more likely to result in a constructive conversation.

    Once we are talking, we want to identify if they are a decision maker, or at least an influencer. And if it looks like they might be able to pay for our product and service, better still.

    If we have somebody on our stand who apparently has a problem we can fix, they can at least highly influence the decision to engage with us, and potentially have some budget they could spend on those issues, we have a qualified lead.

    Only now can we give them something to walk away with. Maybe that is just a business card. If relevant, and they have really convinced us they qualify, we might even give them some marketing material. At the very least they should go with a promise from us to phone them in the next few days. Even better if they go with a date in our diary for a proper meeting.

    Supposing they don’t meet all these criteria? We do not need to spend time with them.  Not today at least. The best way to politely disengage with people who are visiting and not buying is quite simply tell them something. Anything, really, just so long as it is precisely correct and full of all our benefits presented as technically accurately as we can. The first few words of technical language will allow them to realise they are in the wrong place and they will happily take their leave.

    Exhibitors are often keen to do draws and competitions to get just one more business card. Those cards are worth nothing to you if you cannot use them or you do not use them. Adding random data to your database adds nothing to your pipeline of business. There are plenty of those names and numbers available without spending a day out of the office to collect them.  Competitions for those who qualify to enter are much better. Great way to build rapport. Maybe in those circumstances all entrants deserve to win a prize.

    If you are exhibiting, that gives you the right to talk to other exhibitors. So when, all the public you were after goes off to listen to the next great seminar, and it all goes quiet, this is when you can make money. Often your best prospects or at least best  introducers are the other exhibitors.  You have immediate point of similarity, standing all day on your feet,  and natural conversation flows.

    There is nothing more annoying than being sold to by visitors to your stand when you have invested to get clients for yourself. However, some report having made the best contacts by being a visitor. “What do you do?” “I help businesses like yours with XYZ problem, but look, you are busy exhibiting today so not the right time to talk about that…” “No, no, go on, tell me….” If invited to explain, it would be rude not to.

    In summary,  when we have spent money on an exhibition we should be slow in giving out our stuff, quick to disqualify them and quick to follow up. That means we probably will end up with a handful of highly qualified leads and not a pile of business cards that we have no intention of following up. It does also mean we know we have correctly invested our time money and resources. We might even end up with some new clients.

    So you did not waste your money on  a trade show, did you?

     

    Paul Glynn

    Paul Glynn

    Paul’s experience spans over twenty years of selling, sales management and training. He has worked in the financial services sector including accountancy and has been responsible for the commercial success of sales departments at director level in advertising. His clients report up to 300% increase in turnover by working with him. He is dedicated to helping businesses grow through assessments, training, coaching and mentoring. Tel: 01784 390623 Mobile: 07866 518848

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  • 19 Lessons from Client Summit

    Uk CLient SummitWe held our first UK client summit on 10th October 2013.  If you turned up please let me know if there are any lessons you would like to add.  If you missed out – stay tuned for the next date and book your space.

    1. Feed the pipeline – a little every day.  Think of it as your new pet.
    2. Track unique conversations
    3. Know your top 10 lead sources – for you and your sales people!
    4. Never believe what a prospect says, watch what they do
    5. Add your “deal stealers” to your system ALWAYS!
    6. If you had no fear, how would you go wider and deeper into a company?
    7. Start active customer service improvements today
    8. Write down the key behaviours that make up the brain of an “A” player in your industry
    9. Your strengths hold lagging weaknesses that limit your success
    10. Write down the behaviours that make up the back bone of an “A” Player
    11.  Excuse makers are born or made.  Each need a different approach
    12. Your ideal prospect and ideal sales person should go hand in hand
    13. The extent to which internal or external drive success (its almost what you think)
    14. Successful happy people use their time far more wisely than unsuccessful people
    15. Go 3 wide and 3 deep in any company you work with
    16. Do the difficult first.
    17. “A” players have 3 things in common – purpose, a plan and desire
    18. Choose to live a more balanced life.  Commit to one change now.
    19. You can be part of your own plan or someone else.

    Pick your favourite from the above.  Act now.  Make it a great day.

     

    AnneliAnneli Thompson

    MD Sandler Training Oxford

    Anneli@sandler.com
    Linked In Profile http://uk.linkedin.com/in/annelithomson

    http://oxford.sandler.com

    01608 611 211

    Anneli Thomson

    Anneli Thomson

    Anneli is an expert in sales culture and talent management. She is a keen champagne drinker and triathlon enthusiast. The UK Franchisee of the Year 2014.

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  • How is your final quarter looking? Bad? In control?

    We are now in the final quarter of the year. So what is going on in your head. Panic? Relief? Delight?

    How are your numbers stacking up against your goals? How are you and your team performing? On track? On target?

    So many questions. But, never the less, how many times are you asking yourself them and what sort of answer are you getting?

    As businesses enter their final quarter, really all the ground work should be in place and you start thinking about the year ahead. What do you mean the year ahead, I still have this one to close out!?

    How to avoid a bad quarter.

    1. Know your numbers.

    How many of us really know who our perfect customer is? Do we have their profile absolutely nailed down? How many of them are we prospecting? Of that number, how many conversations do we need to have to finalise the sale? Do we really know the conversion numbers? Sales is often described as a number game but the prospecting funnel suffers from garbage in and garbage out. I worked for a big company who kept piling garbage in the top and guess what… the final quarter was a mad panic as it was realised all those great deals were vapour.

    2. Set goals but not for revenue!

    We are all used to sales people being measured on revenue, profit or margin but is that really the best measure? And we know that you can’t manage anything you can’t measure. So what should we be measuring our sales activity on then? How about activity itself? How many calls, visits, networking sessions. How many first appointments? How many “on profile clients” identified and put in the funnel?

    3. Create success out of habit

    If you know your numbers and know your activity goals then you are almost there. What is needed is that this is habituated in an organisation. At least on a weekly basis. The great thing about habit is that habits are automatic, easy and self sustaining. As a sales leader creating your organisational habits are absolutely core.

    So perhaps you can start your next quarter with a clearer of picture of how to make sure it ends well and builds nicely into the next one. The right habits are what will build a consistent and predictable business. And don’t we all want that?

     

    Alan Mackie

    Alan Mackie

    Alan has been in various sales roles for 25 years and works with businesses struggling to grow revenue and profitability to the levels they wish. Often their sales people are using excuses to hide lack of prospecting or perhaps saying everything is down to price when really it’s their ability. Often the business doesn't have a successful sales culture.

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  • Five Things Salespeople Must Have

    There are lots of different qualities and attributed that contribute to sales success.  Sometimes the list is so long that it feels outside your control, or simply too daunting.

    To this end I have had a think and come up 5 things that salespeople must have.  All of these are something that you can develop and hone or fine tune … thus putting sales success within your reach.

    You must have a system.  By system I mean a process for identifying, qualifying, and developing selling opportunities. Time and mental energy are two things you need to conserve if you are going to be successful in sales.  Pursuing anyone who expresses a casual interest in your product or service is a poor investment of your time and energy. I will go a step further and say that even pursuing only those who have a real interest in your product or service but not the ability to buy it (no money or not permitted to sign off an investment or purchase), or the ability to make a decision to buy it (personally struggle to make a decision, or not the decision maker), is a poor investment of your resources. In order to obtain the greatest return on that investment, you must be able to systematically qualify opportunities quickly using appropriate measurable criteria. Having a system also means that you can benchmark and continually improve your approach.

    You must have skill.  You need to have the skill to implement your system. And, the most valuable skill is the ability to communicate: to get your point across—succinctly and meaningfully—using language appropriate to the situation; to ask meaningful questions that keep the conversation focused on topics essential to qualify the opportunity; and, to listen…really listen to not only understand the content of what the other person is saying, but the intent of their words, as well. Our job when selling is not to persuade or convince the other person to do something – even if we know it will be good for them – but to facilitate their own understanding of their need.

    You must have belief
    .  Specifically, you must believe in yourself, in your company, in the market place and in your product or service. Because you can do no more than what you believe you can do, you must believe in your ability to tackle the job at hand and succeed to whatever level your skill and tenacity will take you. You must believe in your company’s intention to treat its customers fairly and fulfil its obligations to them. And, you must believe in the ability of your product or service to deliver to the customer the results promised. You must believe that it is possible to sell your product and service at your chosen price in the current market and economic conditions.  If you do not have this belief you need to ‘act as if you do’; otherwise, you will not be able to sell.

    You must have the desire to improve
    .  You need to have an improvement orientation, a desire to improve even if you are at the top of your game. There’s a saying in the aviation world—A good pilot is always learning. The same concept is true in the sales world—A good salesperson is always learning…to be more efficient and effective: identifying, qualifying, and developing opportunities; representing his or her company; and serving customers. Every sales conversation is an opportunity to learn.  To learn and improve our skills in selling plus the ability to learn about the challenges faced by our prospects and what they need to help fix these, once and for all.

    You must have a 100% commitment
    —to doing the very best job you can, and to providing the best possible service to your customers, your colleagues, and others who depend on you. Your personal value is not measured by the amount you earn, but rather by the quality of service you provide to others. When you are committed to providing the best service you can…all the people you touch benefit.  You also need to be committed to following the sales process to the best of your ability.  If you focus your commitment to doing the best job possible in selling, the sales will look after yourself.  Every prospect should find that a sales meeting with you is both memorable and beneficial even if they do not buy.  Not in terms of free consulting or free advice but in terms of how you got them to think about their business and their industry in a different way.

     

    Lisette Howlett

    For twenty years Lisette Howlett lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the USA where she held senior positions running global programmes in some of the world’s leading companies. Since leaving corporate life Lisette has been successfully running her own consultancy for 8 years. Typically her sales training clients include entrepreneurs, CEOs, start-ups, Sales Directors, MDs, Senior Partners and business owners – often these are people who don’t consider themselves as traditional sales people but are committed to growing their businesses and thus recognise the need to sell more effectively and more authentically. Visit her Huffington Post Blog Tel: 020 7484 5556

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