• We don’t need a Sales System. We already have one, thank you!

    I slapped my forehead in pure exasperation. “I don’t believe it! All these years, decades, when I thought I had a sales system! Turns out I didn’t” This was the painful moment as a Sales Director that I first saw the Sandler “submarine.”

    I am sure your company has a sales system. After all, you have a system for Accounts. You would hardly expect your accountant to say, “Well, some months we allocate these expenses this way, other months like that, and usually we just guess…” Nor would you expect Production to say “you see, normally we do it this way, but, if the client has asked for it, we re-build the whole assembly so it comes out twisted.”

    And yet, when we ask Sales for their system, we get an answer just like that. “Well, basically, once we have uncovered some interest, we do whatever the prospect wants and, if we remember to, we ask for the business.”

    Exaggerating? Try the experiment. Ask them for their system. Don’t forget to check consistency. “So, what happened with Prospect Z, then?” “Ah, well, that was different, let me explain…”

    So Sales is the one area that there is often no system. Not in the sense you expect from the rest of the business; Logistics, HR, Legal, Accounts, Production. And yet we treat Sales as having a predictable system. We need correct forecasting to plan our business. So we are forced to look at historical data for “conversion rates”. So many leads go in at the top, these few fall out the bottom. You would not accept such a haphazard forecasting strategy for any other part of your business.

    So it is all the Salespeople’s fault! Not really. They are following what they firmly believe is a system. Moreover, if your production machinery started to be a bit creaky, you would not say “No, we will not invest in maintenance and upgrades, the warranty promised years of trouble-free operation”. When it comes to Sales, the money-making bit, we often hear “No, we will not invest in upgrading our Sales and we will not regularly maintain it with expensive support. After all, in the interview they promised they were seasoned Sales Professionals.”

    So when you checked your sales system, what did you find? Now you have been shocked, what do you intend to do about it?

    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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  • What can Salespeople learn from Elite Athletes?

    Belief wheelI have played and following competitive sports from a very young age. Growing up in South Africa – a sports mad country- I followed most sports like Rugby and Cricket and Football, but my favourites were tennis and golf. I was always fascinated by what made some top sportspeople better than others – they all seemed to have great physical talent, but what was it that made some truly the best and others the also-rans.

    I recently came across the work by Steve Peters – he is a sports psychology guru and has helped many elite athletes (the British cyclist team, the Liverpool footballer Stephen Gerrard to mention just a few) hit the sporting heights. In his words, he describes himself as “working with the mechanics of the mind” i.e. he works with Mindset.

    The theory is that we all have thoughts running around in our mind all the time and these thoughts then affect how we feel which tend to define our Mindset. This then influences what we will do or often more importantly what we won’t do. When we do Mindset work, we “listen” to our thoughts and start the ongoing process of distinguishing between our dis-empowering thoughts and our empowering thoughts. Dis-empowering thoughts can then be re-framed to create new positive affirmations. Using daily journaling (described later) we can then consistently and effectively work to create a more empowering Mindset which is essential for success in area of our lives.

    Sarah Stevenson is the UK number one in Taekwondo and came fourth at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Steve Peters help her recognise that the mental aspect of sport is as important as the physical. Before she started working with Steve, she would be worried about things like “am I good enough”, “the competition might beat me” and this would stress her out and drain her energy. Doing Mindset work (including a five step mental warm-up) with Steve Peters, she was able to deal with these demons and achieve incredible international sporting success.

    So how can Salespeople use the Mindset work that Elite Athletes use to become more effective at selling? Well most salespeople (and everbody really!) tend to have negative or limiting beliefs that if not dealt with lead to feeling negative , fearful which in turns leads to inaction or not doing what needs to be done .

    When it comes to selling there are three areas that impact sales success.

    • What we believe about ourselves
    • What we believe about our company and what we sell
    • What we believe about the marketplace

    If salespeople believe that they are not good enough, or don’t deserve success, then that is precisely the outcome that they will attract. Likewise if salespeople have limiting beliefs about their company (e.g. the company is too small, the product is not perfect, etc) then that is what they will experience and focus upon. And lastly, if they feel that there are not enough potential-customers out there or that is difficult market to sell to, then that is exactly what they will find.

    The thing about beliefs is that whether they are negative or positive – neither can be proved. They are just thoughts in ones head – “what one think tends to become ones reality – A ”self-fulfilling prophecy” .

    So in fact we can choose what beliefs you want and if we choose new empowering beliefs over dis-empowering limiting beliefs, then these dis-empowering beliefs will in time become our new our reality i.e. our Self Fulfilling Prophecy

    When salespeople go on sales training courses, they mainly undergo Technique training. At Sandler Training, we understand the holistic nature of what makes sales success. So we not only work with Technique (Tactics and Strategies), but also Behaviour (Goals and clear defined actions) and Attitude (Mindset). One of the Sandler Training Attitude principles is doing a Daily Attitude Journal – Mondays to Fridays. This journal takes no more than ten minutes to complete and the rule of the thumb is that is takes 90 days to change a limiting belief into a new empowering belief that will drive a new Attitude (Mindset). Of course in order to achieve successful sales one needs to take action (can’t just do Mindset work alone!) , however Mindset work will in turn help you take the appropriate actions to achieve the sales results you are looking for.

     

    Luke Davies

    Luke Davies

    Luke Davies runs Sandler in London. For 9 years he has helped many business growth through improving their approach to selling and management. He also has a solid track record of start-up businesses; building up businesses from 0 to multi-million pound revenues and then taken them through to exit – and now a variety helps industry leaders and business owners to do the same thing.

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  • Are you sending literature. What’s the cost?

    I was greeted in reception by Tim as a delivery lorry turned up and started unloading boxes of shiny new promotional literature. Tim picked up one of the shiny high quality professionally produced 26004736_sbooks and in his frustration Tim said “These damn things cost me a fortune and all they end up doing is sitting in a pile on someone’s desk and sooner or later being thrown away however the customers insist I send them literature!”

    I’m sure this has happened to you at some point because it’s a natural response to a salesperson. It’s an easy way to reject the salesperson without getting personal.

    I asked Tim, before you agree to send literature, did you ask yourself, “Why is the prospect requesting literature? Is this a sign of no interest?”

    Ask the prospect, “Maggie, it’s no problem; I can send you some literature. But before I do, I need to ask you a question. Okay?” (Notice the up-front contract: You’ve made an offer to do something – send literature – but you need to understand the situation better, thus you want to ask a question. And, you’re asking for the prospect’s acceptance.)

    Maggie agrees to let you ask a question, so you continue, “Sometimes when people ask me to send literature before they know anything about my product (or service), as opposed to inviting me in, what they’re really saying to me is they just don’t have any interest. But they don’t want to hurt my feelings. Is that the case here Maggie?”

    If Tim decides to send literature to a prospect, he shouldn’t do it without an up-front agreement that explains what happens next.

    “George, I have a tremendous amount of literature which may or may not be of interest to you. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions to make sure you’ll be reviewing the right material before I send it?”

    The questions you will ask will do one of two things:

    1. Narrow down the literature you need to send the prospect; or
    2. Stir up enough interest in the prospect’s mind to give you the opportunity to try a second time to set an appointment.

    If you’ve got to send literature, then continue as follows: 

”I’m going to send you the literature, George. It’s on its way. It should arrive by Thursday. How much time will you need to review it?”

    Wait for George to respond, and then say, “Let’s assume you do get the literature by Thursday. You say you’ll need 24 hours to review it, so I’ll call you Friday. And here’s what I’d like to have happen, if you’re comfortable with this. I’d like you to be able to say, ‘John, I read the literature and I have some questions,’ or you can say, ‘I’ve read the literature and there’s absolutely no reason for us to get together.’ If you tell me you have some interest, George, then I’d like you to invite me in for a face-to-face meeting. Is that fair?”

    Does anyone have any idea how much money is wasted every year by salespeople who send literature to prospects only to never hear anything from the prospects? It’s got to be enough money to cure the national debt! Don’t contribute to the waste. Set an up-front agreement before you mail your literature.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Mediocre Standards Will Kill You

    Regardless of how well you performed on the last appointment, you can always do better, right?  It’s amazing how many sales and management “pros” lull themselves into believing that there is absolutely nothing they can do or change to improve results.  Average salespeople (i.e. the 60% sandwiched between the winners and strugglers) quickly shirk accountability for the outcome of their actions and behaviours…and average managers accept their excuses.

    Let’s face it.  The majority of us come from average stock.  The difference for some, however, is that at some point in their life and career they “get it”.  They get the fact that they will never be perfect and strive to get better all the time.  Those that “get it” can admit there is room for improvement and are open to the possibility that they can grow and continually achieve extraordinary results.

    Less successful individuals will never get there because they think they are already there!  They have closed themselves off from opportunities to find out just how much better they actually could be and fail to maximize their true potential.

    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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