• Leaping Forwards

    I often ask myself: “why does business growth never follow a straight line curve on the graph?” Do you remember the (sometimes somewhat theoretical or idealised) business plan you wrote when you first set out on your business venture.  Perhaps the growth was modest, or perhaps wildly ambition, or perhaps something in but most probably in a straight line? And yet it never is in real life.

    For some, month to month sales look more like the chaotic line of a stock market. A roller coaster of sales success followed by sales drought.

    For other’s it looks more like “steps”. We seem to make “jumps” and then plateau a bit until the next “jump”.

    I don’t suppose these sound familiar?

    What cause those jumps or blips? Is it a big new client perhaps, new opportunities, new processes?  Possibly – More likely that jump was caused by something prior to the actual upward move. Your attitude or your beliefs.

    Self-limiting beliefs created downwards slides (to self-correct, since after all, I might be good, but not that good) and plateaus.  Moving off a plateau requires a belief that it is possible.  Sometimes the ‘rest’ gives you time for your attitude to catch up and then you are ready for the next step forward.

    Given this, it follows that if you want to smooth out the line and achieve consistent growth you need to focus on your attitude.

    Let’s test that theory. Given your current belief about yourself, your business or product or price and your market, can you succeed in your endeavour?

    Have you worked out why you do what you do? Do you know your real purpose?

    How will your life look like in 5 years’ time? Work, family, social, personal?

    Why cannot you have that life now? What stops you? What beliefs are holding you back?

    Now you can plan for the quantum jump.

    • Where do you need to be in business terms in say 3 years?
    • What do you need to change or do to hit that?
    • What are the markers along the way?
    • What do you need to do right now to start that journey now?

    Let your local Sandler trainer know if/when you made that jump. Or ask them for help to do so if you are still getting ready.

    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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  • Is your message getting through or lost in your words?

    So you have done your research on your big prospect, you have used LinkedIn and all other avenues to gain access to the account and, ultimately, the person you want to speak to. You have the appointment; perhaps you have even prepped your meeting.

    You could just be about to fail.

    While a fair few sales people fail because they can’t get appointments many more fail when they do have appointments.

    You see when they go in they are full of hope, full of their research, full of their company information, full of their assumptions and perhaps full of xxx.

    In my experience most salespeople fail because they don’t have a sales process and they don’t communicate well enough.

    You see communication is the response you get.

    The response you get will be influenced by several factors and this applies to both the salesperson and the prospect.

    Those factors are the filters they use (distortion, deletion, generalisation) and their beliefs and values.

    Our brain has so much information coming from our senses and our recollections and feelings that the brain has to shortcut the information to make sense of it all. Another way of looking at that is that it filters, looking for things that are important or useful or dangerous.

    The distortion filter is one we use to convert any information to suit our pre-existing views. All politicians are liars, there are no good estate agents, IT never works etc are examples of that. As is cold calling never works.

    The deletion filter is similar, we chose to delete information. When someone says they are happy with their existing supplier. What are they really saying? What is it we hear? Are they saying they are absolutely delighted with absolutely everything their current supplier does? – Unlikely. Does the sales person hear something like “no thanks we don’t want to buy from you?”

    Generalisations are used to short cut or pigeon hole. “No one ever got sacked buying from IBM”. “Your company never gives great service”. “Big IT companies overcharge”.

    So if the seller isn’t aware of his or her own filters and how they work against him or her and, is not aware of the prospect’s filters, then how can they communicate effectively?

    The seller’s job should be to spot these filters and ask great questions to get behind any statements or to test any generalisations they hear.

    Great salespeople are great communicators, but that is very different from the stereotype who could “Talk the hind leg of a donkey”.

    Great communicators get great responses by asking great insightful questions. Ones that the prospect may never have even thought to ask themselves.

    After all communication is the response you get. Great questions get great responses… ask them and you will win.

    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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  • 4 Habits of Successful Professionals

    What is a “professional” exactly?

    I decided to look into it a little more because the word seems to have a wide range of definitions. Obviously, it comes from the word “profess” meaning to declare publicly, but these days it seems like anyone with a social media account can declare publicly they are a professional or expert at one thing or another. It made me think that there must be more to it, and I stumbled upon this definition: a person who engages for his livelihood in some activity also pursued by amateurs. That makes sense and is probably the most common definition today. However, I want to share with you some habits of people with a little higher standard, skilled practitioners, experts, or the extremely competent.

    What do successful professionals do that amateurs don’t?

    I am sure there are lots of things that fall into this category, but right now I would like to share four of them with you.

    1. Study – Professionals are not born. They are made. Sure, they might have a natural gift, but they maximize that talent by studying history, best practices, and innovative techniques. There are plenty of talented individuals who never accomplish anything. Professionals often spend hours to years studying before engaging in their profession to ensure their success.
    2. Practice – This one parallels study. David Sandler wrote a book “You can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar. The fact is you can’t learn how to do anything by studying alone. You have to practice. Doctors, athletes, and every other type of highly paid professionals spend countless hours practicing before they are called upon to perform. How do you get to play at the master’s, compete at the Olympics, or whatever is the top of your profession? Practice, practice, practice.
    3. Invest in themselves – Most people get that you are going to need to become good at what you do to be a professional, and some are even willing to put in the practice, but a few chosen professionals are willing to invest that time on their dime. True professionals bet on and invest in themselves. They don’t wait for their parents, employer, or anyone else to invest in them. Professionals continue their education way past the classroom and invest in workshops, seminars, books, coaches, and any resource they can find to keep learning. They take responsibility for their own education and personal growth.
    4. Follow a system – Finally, professionals don’t just show up and wing it. They have a system, a repeatable and reproducible process that leads to predictable success. To outsiders, it sometimes looks like superstition or obsessive compulsive disorder, but professionals know that only by following the proven system can they expect consistent success. Amateurs sometimes think it is luck or god given talent when they win or lose. Successful professionals make their own luck, and they know that fortune favors the prepared.

    These four habits: studying, practicing, investing in yourself, and following a system are fairly easy to do. Anyone can do them, so why do 90% of people fail to realize the level of success they want in their life? The answer most often lies in their attitude. While amateurs look for shortcuts, get rich quick schemes, and the easy way out, professionals have the desire and commitment to do whatever it takes. Successful professionals know that there is no magic bullet and no shortcut to the top. They don’t waste their time with such things. They are too busy learning, practicing, refining their system and investing in their own success.

    Martin Hall

    Martin Hall

    Martin Hall owns Sandler Training in the West Midlands based in Walsall. Tel: 01922 458 403 Mobile: 07741 312 567

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  • THE BATTLE BETWEEN YOUR ROLE & IDENTITY

    Sandler’s I/R Theory (Identity/Role) represents the dual nature of our lives. Each of us has an “I” and an “R.” Our “I” represents our values, beliefs, principles, desires and emotions–our inner selves. Our “R” is made up of the many roles we play in our lives, or our outer selves. These roles include son, daughter, friend, student, salesperson, etc.

    The I/R model was developed to define the relationship between those two parts of our whole and to help distinguish between them. Although they are separate, they affect each other.

    If we confuse our role performances with our values as a human being, our self-image will go up and down with each performance. Regardless of the level of our self-image, we constantly work to bring our performance into line with that self-image. Therefore, if we translate our “I” perception as a rating between 1 and 10, without a 10 rating for our self-image, our role performance will be limited.

    How do you rate your “I”?

    If you rate your “I” between 8 and 10, you are a winner: you have a healthy self-image. You feel good about yourself most of the time, no matter how you are performing in your roles.

    If you rate yourself between 4 and 7, you are an at-leaster: if things go fairly well on your “R” side, you feel pretty good about yourself. If your role performance goes badly, you work to get back to average. People in this position tell themselves, “I may not be a winner, but at least I’m not a loser”.

    If you rate your “I” between 0 and 3, you’re in the category of non-winner: you allow your role performance to affect how you feel about yourself. That poor self-image affects your performance, putting you in a cycle of self-defeating attitudes and behaviours.

    The I/R Theory demonstrates the importance of separating “who you “I'” from “what you ‘R.'”.  Essentially, if you want to fix your performance, your earnings etc (your R), you need to first focus on and fix your self-image, view of yourself (your I).

    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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  • Networking – Passive or Active?

    A lot of people belong to a formal networking group – one that meets regularly, weekly or monthly, with the same attendees (plus guests) with one of its stated goals being sharing introductions and referrals.

    Networking is a prospecting activity.  At its heart, it is all about finding new clients, and growing our business.  Do not get me wrong, this does not meant that we should be pushy and salesy when we network.  Nor should be anticipate or behave as if we anticipate direct selling to the room.

    Let’s first define prospecting in the context of networking.  A prospect is a potential customer, client or purchaser or sales lead which has been qualified as fitting certain criteria.  Prospecting is therefore the search for and qualification of potential customers, clients and purchasers.  Prospecting is the act of finding prospects.

    We talk about cold, cool, warm and hot prospects.  At its simplest this defines both their degree of qualification and also the degree to which you have moved along the continuum from untrusted stranger to trusted adviser.

    The goal of networking is to increase our leads and convert them to prospects and ultimately to sales.  One of the reasons networking is such a preferred form of prospecting is that for the majority of participants it does not feel salesy.  It feels much ‘warmer’.  First we get to know people and build trust, then we share our contacts.  By definition, an introduction to a prospect via a networking contact has already begun the journey along the continuum of untrusted stranger to known and trusted adviser.

    The problem people have when using networking as a prospecting vehicle lies in its very attraction, namely that it can be a social activity and not a sales activity.  This can be for a number of reasons but they divide into conceptual and technical.  Technical is that people do not know how to effectively network; conceptual is that they are uncomfortable with selling so avoid it and over play the social side of networking.

    The result is that networking does not deliver the anticipated benefits.  Additionally people can have overly high expectations of results from networking, especially in terms of the timescales and when they do not appear they blame the network rather than look at how realistic the expectations were or what they could be doing to improve results. The challenge – and blessing – of networking is that it is the way we network that impacts on its effectiveness and this is pretty much within our control.

    At Sandler we use the idea of passive and active prospecting.  When applied to networking here are the results:

    Passive networking looks like this:

    • You attend most of the meetings but if something comes up you are not too worried
    • If you need a Sub you are happy (potentially even expect) someone to find them for you
    • You give your sub your “60 seconds pitch” but do not speak to them in advance
    • You are polite and if asked to do a to one to one you accept; you are not diligent in timekeeping so are sometimes a bit late for them
    • You do not actively follow up with people
    • If someone helps you, you thank them at the meeting but you do not spend time in advance of each meeting thinking about how you can help people

    Active networking looks something like:

    • Attending every meeting unless totally impossible
    • If you have to send a Sub, ensuring you find one yourself (perhaps using someone who has used your services or knows you well and can therefore combine your 60-seconds with a bit of a personal testimonial). Even putting together a short list (2-3) of contacts who you have talked to in advance who would be willing to Sub for you at short notice
    • Taking the time to talk to your Sub before and after the meeting
    • Preparing in advance of each meeting (your 60-seconds, your testimonials, your referrals)
    • Researching other attendees and working out things that you can say to each of them which will demonstrate your credibility and position you as someone worth knowing
    • Setting and following a schedule of one to ones (or group one to ones)
    • Working hard on making introductions and nurturing them through to business and tracking this
    • Bringing visitors and starting to get known for someone who is well connected
    • Tracking your time and results from your networking activities

    You cannot control whether or not someone needs your services or product but you can absolutely control whether or not you are someone that people want to do business with.

    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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