• A Christmas Carol for the 2013 Business Owner

    Christmas wreath with red bow

    The story of Ebenezer Scrooge is well known to many.  Scrooge is a mean-spirited miserly man sitting on his counting house ignoring the joys of Christmas.

    He returns home and is visited by 3 ghosts.  The first is the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Let’s pretend you were shown your last 5 years by your ghost – would you be pleased with what you see?  It is not healthy for us to live by regrets as Scrooge does but occasionally we can forget this.  Take a minute now and make a list of all the things you are grateful from this year.  Gratitude is something easy to over look but should not be ignored as it helps us to realize that even when things do not work out as planned,  we are incredibly lucky and fortunate.

    Secondly, he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present who shows Scrooge how the day will be if he does not change his ways.  Obviously hindsight is a wonderful tool, yet as business owners we often need to jump in and take the risk, and believe it will work out.  As 2013 rolls over to 2014, decide 3 things you will change.  Make them small, but make them something that has led to a negative behaviour pattern.  For example, if you have to keep correcting a colleagues work – don’t change it for them next time, instead make it a priority to spend 5 minutes with them so they can change it for themselves.

    Lastly, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come attends.  This is the one that Scrooge is most fearful of.  The scepter of things yet to come.  As business owners, this often applies to us.  We can be scared of the unknown. It means we pick what we know, what we’ve always done and stay there – our comfort zone.  Make 2014 the year you break free from your comfort zone chains!  Set your goals for 2014  and make them SMARTER!  Raise your game and don’t be scared of the unknown.  We’re with you. We believe in you.

    So remember, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

    Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”.

    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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  • In Sales, When Do You Become Superman and Superwoman?

    Many times sales people have what the prospect is looking for… Information that will help them solve their problems. Some sales people want to show their expertise. They feel good letting the prospect know from the start that they are the experts in their industry and they, their company and their products and services can take care of the prospect’s problems.

    They are Superman and Superwoman from the start. What might be the downside of that approach?

    If that attitude stops the salesperson from asking questions, getting details, and qualifying the prospect as a possible client, he/she may be giving away too much information. We call it unpaid consulting. Another possible downside may be that the prospect feels intimidated if the salesperson has an attitude that the prospect perceives as arrogant or way above their knowledge level.

    The worst possible scenario is the salesperson does a presentation or gives away the solution that the prospect now uses to either fix the problem themselves or they take your information and shop it around for a better price. This has probably never happened in your business, has it?

    Clark Kent, was the mild mannered reporter who was secretly Superman. No one thought he was threatening and his job was to ask questions, gather information, plan how to use the information and then go into action as Superman. Would that strategy work in business development?

    Through the initial stages of the selling system when you are developing the relationship, setting agreements and agendas, gathering information about the problems, the budget and the decision process you may want to be more like Clark Kent. At the point of presentation and close is where Superman should appear.

    Being an expert in sales can be a problem. If Superman/Superwoman comes out too early, the result may be the exact opposite of what you would like. Keep your super powers hidden until the prospect tells you he/she wants them.

    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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  • What are you unwrapping this Christmas?

    Will it be that wonderful gift you promised yourself for hitting your 2013 sales goals or will you be unwrapping a cup full of regret that 2013 didn’t end the way you had hChristmas-presentoped?

    The Christmas holiday period is typically the time we reflect on what happened in the previous year and vow to make sure that things will be different in the New Year.

    What is it about the beginning of a new year that makes most of us say that things will be different this year?

    My mother a stoic Yorkshire woman often refers to my father as the Gunner.

    “Gonna fix the bath rail”, “gonna creosote the fence”, “gonna take her out for a meal”. Sadly, rarely if ever followed through.

    Ask yourself, am I a ‘gunner’?

    Do I regularly set goals, then follow through with my resolutions, I really want to get fit, sell more, spend more time with my family?

    We all have good intentions, but how many people do you know that commit their goals to paper, share them with the people they trust and achieve what they set out to do?

    The answer is relatively few. Have you ever wondered why? People say they want to change and they set lofty goals with good intentions however, the part they forget to do is to build the plan. How are they going to achieve that lofty goal? In the sales world if someone wants to generate £20,000 of additional commission in one year one of the first questions they need to ask themselves is “Is this realistic”?

    If the answer is “yes”, then what needs to be done to achieve it? One of the biggest mistakes we make is setting goals in the first week or two of January thinking that we have the entire year to achieve them however, what we don’t realise is that our behaviour starting from the day the goals are set is what will allow us to achieve the desired outcome.

    Set a plan, break it down month by month, then take it a step further and break it down week by week and then the biggest step is what do you have to do on a daily basis to achieve your goal? We forget or may not realize that our daily behaviours or actions are what will allow us to succeed in achieving our goals. These daily behaviours then become daily habits.

    Sometimes we feel pressure from our bosses, friends or family to make changes however we may not feel the same way. Until we acknowledge that we have a problem, an issue, a situation that is totally uncomfortable and causing grief whether that be not selling what you believe you are capable of, losing weight, cleaning out that garage or any number of other things that we say we need to change, we will not change our behaviour. Think about the last time you committed to doing something. Did you take action within the first 24 hours of saying you were going to do it? Remember, set the goal, build the plan and do the daily behaviour and you will get the desired results.

    One of the interesting things about making change is that the drive has to come from within. Perhaps in the past you may have said you were going to change however never followed through with the plan to make it happen. What if this year you make that commitment to change just one thing and you share that with the people that are close to you. The exciting thing about sharing it with people is that you may find they are willing to help you achieve whatever it is that you’ve set out to do. Someone may be able to introduce you to a company that needs your product or services or offer to help you sort out that garage.

    Changing our behaviour whether that be in our business life or our personal life is a commitment only we can make to ourselves. So, what are you unwrapping next Christmas?


    Mark Wormald: Before launching Sandler Mark spent the previous 20 years notching up engineering, sales and sales management successes in blue-chip companies in the technology sector and in the IT industry. He dropped out of corporate to run his own media business, publishing obscure science and technology magazines. An engineer by profession, Mark spent his whole career sceptical of salesmen, sales methods and has the firm belief that 99% of sales training simply does not work. His team helps business professionals win business by breaking the rules.

    Mark Wormald

    Mark Wormald

    Before launching Sandler Mark spent the previous 20 years notching up engineering, sales and sales management successes in blue-chip companies in the technology sector and in the IT industry. He dropped out of corporate to run his own media business, publishing obscure science and technology magazines. An engineer by profession, Mark spent his whole career sceptical of salesmen, sales methods and has the firm belief that 99% of sales training simply does not work. His team helps business professionals win business by breaking the rules.

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  • Being Smart about Attitude.

    There has been plenty written about the importance of attitude in determining the outcomes you enjoy and the direction your life will take.signpost

    We are no different in Sandler. Attitude sits firmly at the peak of the three elements of our ‘Success Triangle’ – in fact, your attitude will determine whether you will read this any further. Whether you will settle for ‘average’ or strive for excellence.

    Think of something you want to change – could be your house, your job, how much you earn – your aspirations in respect of these and what you are prepared to do about it. All come back to this thing called ‘attitude’.

    Given it’s so important, isn’t it worth spending a few minutes considering what is meant by ‘attitude’ and how you can develop your attitude in a beneficial way?

    Changing Attitudes

    To develop yourself means to be at least open to the possibility of change. This involves a degree of humility – being open to the idea that you can learn from others. If your belief is genuinely one of having no need to change, you won’t.  Of course at its worst this can come across as arrogance, the balance is to blend confidence in yourself with the humility that acknowledges you may not currently have all the answers.

    Changing your attitude is usually not a one off event but happens gradually as a result of continuously ‘challenging’ the beliefs you currently hold. It requires commitment and a reason to get out of your comfort zone.

    In a business sense it is useful to think of your attitude in terms of three key areas; you, your company and your market. You must feel good about and believe in these three.

    You

    This is about your self-image. This has the most influence on your attitude, it determines how you respond to situations.  People with a low self-image tend to blame external factors for set-backs. A strong self-image means that people take responsibility for situations and look to themselves for solutions. They also recognise that life has bumps on the road. Its not the bumps that determine your life but how you choose to handle them.

    Think of development in this area being like investing in ‘You Ltd’. Below are some key areas where you can focus on improvement. It’s worth remembering if you are not growing, then in relative terms you are going backwards.

    Principles

    What are the principles you operate by? Are they serving you well? For some their principles stem from a religious base, for others it is their own intrinsic life philosophy. Whichever it is,  it’s important you are clear on these and strive to live by them.

    Mind

    What you are currently doing to develop yourself mentally;  your life is a manifestation of your thoughts and you will not be served well by thoughts are negative, anxious or fearful. Consider meditation, affirmations or other techniques to help you keep control of these and not allow them to become barriers to your development.

    Body

    Are you taking care of yourself physically ? More and more research is showing how exercise & diet directly affects mental well-being. Are you paying attention to your diet and exercising?

    Company

    Outside of your concept of ‘you’, your attitude will be influenced by your feelings for your company – are you proud to be part of what they do? Do you feel you are treated fairly, and have good relationships with your colleagues, or do you feel uncomfortable when you think about going to work ?

    Market

    What beliefs do you hold about your market? On the one hand you could hold the belief that the market is limitless, on the other you could impose limitations through your beliefs. These limitations are not real, just something you have formed and decided to accept. What are your beliefs about the economy, your competition, the region you operate in? In many cases and for most companies it is their belief about these things that affect their performance. For example, a colleague has a client who runs a printing business that has doubled in size in one year and plans to do the same in the coming year. Their belief is that with so many print companies struggling, this is the time to invest in plant, process and skills. The economy for them is no different to the economy their failing competition are in, yet they are growing revenue and profitability.

    “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” – Charles Swindoll

    You hold the power over how you choose to develop your attitude.  Be aware of the emotional, victim based reactions which feed negative attitudes.  By adopting a more adult response you will see different outcomes which will support your attitude change program.

    Gary McKinney

    Gary McKinney

    Gary McKinney runs Sandler Training in Yorkshire, based in Leeds, helping business owners regain control of sales and achieve significantly improved sales results.

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