• 7 Mistakes that Kill Sales Presentations & Free Talks

    sleep disorderBuilding a sales pipeline or broadening prospecting activity for many of us uncovers speaking opportunities in front of potential prospects. Here are 7 reasons why some SalesAmbassadors can unknowingly induce blind hatred & venom from even the gentlest, mildest mannered supporters

    Most of us use presentation time as an opportunity to impress. Once in full flight however, some people’s brains miraculously camouflage the looks of hate, sleepiness and disregard in their captives, replacing them with faces awash with wonder and awe. It can be the only explanation why the worst offenders can sleep at night.

    Here’s the 7 most hated offences voted for by over 50 clients, experienced in networking events throughout Beds, Bucks & Herts. Some are surprising:

    • The speaker doesn’t OWN the material. “These aren’t my slides but…..”.
      • True possibly but doesn’t make it right. Do what you need to and own your talk.
    • Colourless, dry, insipid, lacklustre, tedious, uninspired, vapid & wearisome.
      • Words drawn up whilst a decent pensions talk was being slaughtered. ‘Get a life!’ ‘Have more Sex!’ ‘Adopt a Canary'; but do something to invigorate yourself. Tonality and body language make up most of communication. If your soul has died, your presentation’s fried.
    • A ‘Pitch’ that’s irrelevant to me.
      • Listeners make an instant choice. ‘Are you relevant or not?’ A talk that’s self centred (clue, does it list your features & benefits?) pushes prospects away. Wrap topics into relatable, immersive, memorable stories and it will make you relevant every time.
    • ‘Time travel’, the miracle of compressing 120mins content into 15.
      • Epilepsy inducing PowerPoint is hypnotic. It’s the way Zombies are created. One or two key points offered properly gets you invited back.
    • Reading out the words on their own slides.
      • We read quicker than most people speak (hopefully). Props? Flipchart? A picture?
    • Too quiet? Too fast or eating dry biscuits?
      • Rule #1 Make sure you enunciate appropriately to everyone in the room
    • Overrunning the allotted time
      • Organisers LOVE speakers who keep to time. The only reason outside of poor preparation for over running is to massage under inflated, unappreciated egos. Unless of course the crowd is chanting for more?

    There’s more I’m sure, what are your worst experiences? Interestingly nerves and inexperience wasn’t mentioned by anyone.

    Speaking engagements are an effective way to prospect for new business. Just like a sales call, in 2016 leave ‘winging it’ for the birds as it’s the fastest way to blow all that effort and send prospects straight into the arms of your competitors.

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • Are you a Buzz Lightyear Manager?

    Are you a Buzz Lightyear ManagerAs Leader and Manager in your organisations, you have the toughest job. You are expected to motivate, guide and help your team(s) as well as having a deep understanding of each member’s typical behaviours, attitudes and skill sets. That’s in addition to your day job!

    For some (many) leading from the front, that also means fighting the voice in your head that may sound something like “I hired you to do the job, just do it!”, the sure fire way to torpedo your own Balance Sheet below the waterline.

    So today as you hurtle through your business ‘fixing’ things, pause for a moment and ask yourself, what does the word “Leadership” actually mean? What would be your definition? Difficult isn’t it! How about this from Peter Drucker? – “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

    When I come across a dysfunctional team (and I’ve worked within some of the worst as well as in my career creating a few of my own!), often its when an otherwise successful head of the business hasn’t acquired the understanding how to Manage their people. Or perhaps have the profile where its of no interest. ‘Inspiring’ can come naturally for some but for the employee it gets tedious watching individuals get away with poor performance just because the ‘Leader’ fails to grasp the nettle and actually ‘Manage’ their team. We can kid ourselves that a ‘Buzz Lightyear’ approach to Leadership will build a great business but it probably won’t on its own. There has to be more effort put in to ensure the good staff stay and grow alongside you.

    Here’s a quick exercise: At a basic level, you may know the four hats we must wear to be effective leaders. Score yourself out of ’10’ against each one today:-

    • Coach ______ out of 10
    • Mentor ______ out of 10
    • Trainer ______ out of 10
    • Supervisor ______ out of 10

    How did you do? 10’s across the board? Its more usual to score well on one, maybe two points but get a slightly lower score against others. Hold on a second, though, how well did you do differentiating between Coach & Mentor? That’s a tricky one for many so here’s some help:

    • Mentoring is where a manager shares wisdom(?) from their past experience. The pitfall for some perhaps is thinking they are coaching but actually under pressure they end up telling / directing based on experience or what they think was the right thing to do. You’ll know if you are doing this as you will regularly be owning all the decisions on a daily basis and take the worries home whilst paying all your staff the same wage for them not to.
    • Coaching is the behaviour & technique that takes more time and patience, helps people discover for themselves the correct outcome and has a longer lasting effect. (ahem…..may take some longer to achieve than others).

    Considering this, does it change your scoring a little? Maybe not.

    All employees have choice, they can CHOOSE to be either Productive or Non-Productive. They can also choose whether they are productive all the time or just as a ‘One-off’. Coaching is the Leader’s opportunity to help their employee’s discover the best choices to make. A Coach operates as an ‘Adult’, is non critical and nurtures their employee’s so that they make the right choices and if they elect not to, are aware of the consequences.

    So coaching requires effort, skill, takes longer to effect and requires us to hold back with the answers. Undeniably, delivers the greatest results for longer effectiveness. Its easy to see then why ‘Buzz-Lightyear’ managers miss out.

     

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • Have you accidentally killed your own team?

    chris davies blog picRemember those early days managing your first team? Perhaps supervising one or two people? Maybe winning a hard fought promotion over a department? A small percentage of us will have been provided with formal training, others gently eased into the role supported either by management or the outgoing leader. Sweet!

    For the rest of us mortals, introduction to the task at hand was delivered with the beauty, skill and grace similar to that seen in a Tom & Jerry cartoon when the Frying Pan makes its first entrance….and the hits kept coming!

    It was about ‘month 4’ for me when I thought “Why the hell did I fight to get this job??” A few years later and things tend to settle down for the majority moving from knowing to owning the role.

    In my Leadership workshop this week, the room was filled with experienced 1st line managers from a variety of functions and companies. Interestingly they had in common an element in their team who didn’t seem to take any initiative, reluctant (if at all) to accept accountability, people who seemed to have the term ‘dead cat bounce’ written just for them.

    In discussions, it was clear everything had been thrown at the cause to make change! However on this occasion we had the benefit of the analysis available from the latest iteration of the unique platform we use in Sandler. Using these results we could replay the words used by one manager (I will call him ‘Bob’ (it’s always a ‘Bob’ isn’t it!)) as heard by the employee.

    Behaviors ‘Bob’ used when making decisions sounded great to him, used the same for many years but the analysis showed the following was being perceived:

    “He’s very careful with his decisions. He does not want to plunge into the unknown; he usually makes good, very restrained and traditional decisions. In insecure surroundings, he is not a neither good nor brave decision maker.

    • Helps rather than makes decisions
    • Makes sure of all possible outcomes first
    • Delays as long as possible

    No need to call for ‘Sherlock’, rigor mortis had already set in! Have you heard the term “Analysis Paralysis?” Without analysis, Bob’s management style would continue for years. The report identified way too much focus in his decision-making style on:

    • Providing very detailed instructions
    • Correcting own decisions until they are perfect
    • Providing very detailed instructions on how to follow the existing processes

    And

    • ZERO on Inspiring others to overcome their fears and become excited

    In Bob’s case, here are just three initiatives to help bring out the best in his team:

    • Try to talk about opportunities without talking about threats at the same time
    • Don’t dwell on small problems if the larger goals will be achieved
    • Be careful not to interfere with every detail – otherwise you cannot control the big picture

    Our own leadership styles often create more http://healthlibr.com work and problems within our reports. For example a fearless, gung-ho style can also create the same performance shortfalls but require a very different fix.

    Speak to your Sandler agent about the analysis available. not expensive, very quick to implement and might save years of hammering square pegs into round holes.

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • Is “selling” now an offensive term?

    I’ve just attended the launch of a brand new networking group targeting SMEs. The “Director Business XYZ” (salesperson) made their introduction stressing that both this and future events will definitely feature “no selling” but plenty of “networking” either side of educational presentations. In fact the host was “selling” the benefits of future attendance but without soiling the atmosphere with the “S” word.

    It struck me, if admitting sales intent was akin to harbouring an unhealthy interest in grazing animals or claiming experiences of experimentation by aliens in a spacecraft, why was anyone actually there?

    If I want to socialise then bars & friends seem to have that sorted, if I want entertainment then the Arts probably have those bases covered and if I want feeding then Nando’s offers up something more satisfying than the (‘tho rather excellent it must be said’) 10p coin sized individual button mushroom & melted stilton bites.

    I appreciate many networking groups are not designed to attract Feature & Benefit laden pitches, a revelation born in the ’70’s. So “No Product Feature Presentations” I can understand on some occasions.

    But don’t we PAY £’s to meet as many people as we can, to lead us to others for whom it makes sense to see if there’s a fit between our products/services and their business goals. In my case, I quickly discover that there’s a distinct absence of an orderly queue forming after I burst into a room, therefore I have to do something about it and start selling. I’m not embarrassed about it as that’s what everyone else should be doing too. It’s OK. Really.

    Outwardly saying you’re not selling, giving it another name like, let me think, Networking? Then talking about themselves, their products and volunteering unsolicited advice to someone who is too polite to shut you up, isn’t that just really bad, untrained selling?

    Selling is about things such as communicating, listening, being adult, understanding & relationships. Now I could happily go along with that over a button mushroom.

    If selling is important to your survival but you don’t know what to do or the whole thing makes you so uncomfortable you hate it, invest in someone who can teach you. If I want to go Sky Diving, I don’t watch a video, look out of the window and witness someone else do it then have a go myself, do I?  What if they are rubbish at it? So why risk my own & family’s wellbeing by doing the same with my business as the odds of success are similar?

    It’s also OK not to be comfortable being seen in the role of “salesperson”, let’s face it there are PLENTY of examples many people would like to shy away from. One of the best salespeople I ever met was a solicitor. Never in a million years would she have stated she was in sales, but that’s exactly what she was. She was brilliant too. Every person in a business or practice who speaks on an organisation’s behalf is in sales. Full Stop.

    I cringe at unprofessional selling, even when they pretend it’s something else by giving it another name. Done well though, you can have a great deal, and your business or home-life could be enriched.

    To be good at sales, you really should be able to get along with people as generally we all buy from people we like, who seem to understand us, when it makes sense. But if you feel that’s not you or you are unsure about being :-

    • Comfortable knowing that not every prospect qualifies to be your client
    • Clear about the results you need, then getting out there and making conversations happen
    • Sure what to say and how to say it

    ………….. perhaps its time to seek solicited advice before buying that jumpsuit on eBay…..

    My name is Chris Davies and I’m in the selling business, just like you.

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • Dreadful presentations… I’ve started … so I’ll finish

    16860028_sWe’ve all been there, listening to another overrunning self-indulgent pitch. Blah blah blah. 5mins over time and the seat gets a little firm, you start to fidget. 10mins and you dream of an electrical failure to hide your escape. 15mins and you cogitate whether a harpoon or rubber handled mallet is the most appropriate tool to end their misery. Content? Well that’s long forgotten.

    But there’s a genetic flaw affecting many salespeople and entrepreneurs alike. Seemingly despite having experienced ‘time warp hell’ where a slow agonizing death becomes attractive as at least that would be interesting, as soon as we get an opportunity to speak in front of an audience, we are compelled to create a miracle. The miracle of “Delivering 2 Hours of material in 20mins”

    • “It went really well! I was only supposed to talk for 20mins but I was still there after an hour!”
    • “Sorry I’m going quickly, it’s a 3 hour PowerPoint & I’m trying to get it all in…”

    Just think how much it costs to present your products or service. All that time, emails, networking, brochures, referrals and family time lost in preparing. So why go to all that trouble to get a couple of dozen people to hate you? Wouldn’t it be better if they loved you, perhaps want to know more? Energised? Motivated?

    Rather than have people bring in an exorcist to have you removed, consider this : –

    If you’ve 20 minutes to speak, create enough material for 20 earth minutes – not salesperson’s minutes which as we know are in multiples of ‘5’

    • Remember the title of your talk? – GOOD! that’s what the audience expects to hear so make this your point.
    • Engage with your audience, look everyone in the eye and talk to them. No need to reenact the Nuremburg Rally of the ‘30’s, they didn’t end well.
    • Be radical! They will know your name so don’t repeat it. They know where you are from so don’t repeat that either…..or the words on your slides.
    • Call a doctor and have PowerPoint surgically removed or if you have to use it, show a picture rather than a 1000 words. Flipchart? Whiteboard? Props?
    • Have mercy, remember, you were a member of the audience once so speak clearly, be measured, smile. Its easy if you’ve rehearsed. REHEARSE!
    • Take questions at the end, not during, so that you can be sure you cover all your points. After all, it’s your opportunity to sell!

    All anecdotes appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Hertfordshire networking circuits is purely coincidental.

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • My number 1 most requested topic – Gatekeepers!

    Now we all have an image in our minds what a gatekeeper looks like, does this come close?10698854_s

    I remember being 16 with my mates and trying to get into pubs. I was useless! In my efforts to look older I managed to look 12, shrank to 4ft tall, reversed puberty and could sing “I’m walking in the air” so high only dogs could hear it.

    A strange thing happened though. Faced with the prospect of going home we tried again at a different pub. Second time round just as hopeless, but this time we changed a few things and by the fourth place, viola! Confidence, bravado, a bit of fun trying and the camouflage had worked.

    So now to Gatekeepers (Gatekeepers are people too). Their job is to smoothly filter calls to the right people and maintain efficiency by dealing with 1st level enquiries. For salespeople this sounds like “Send literature”, “Leave your number and if xxxxx would like to speak with you, they’ll call you back”, “Ill put you into voicemail…” and so on.

    When tackling this with clients, there’s stacks of things we cover from Tonality, vocabulary to rescuing, to Colombo (!). In the meantime, how about trying to learn a few tricks from teenagers too? If you were a Gatekeeper, which is the salesman & which would you feel you would be happy to let through?

    Lets face it, traditional salespeople are easy to spot! So here are a few tips: –

    • Remember your goals, its important you get through and don’t give up.
    • Don’t say or sound like a salesperson, visualise yourself as someone who would be put through
    • Be confident and PRACTICE
    • Relax, there is NOTHING to lose as you have nothing yet!
    • Don’t be afraid to let yourself be rescued
    • Expect to be knocked back a few times, it happens!
    • Start to build your confidence on accounts that are not critical to your business, approach these when you have built up your selling ‘muscle’.
    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • Manners make money

    9222592_sCome on Business types, let’s take £2,000 out of our bank accounts today and flush it down the loo or burn it. If you are worried about CO2 then lets shred the £20s and use it for Penguin nesting material.

    No? Stupid? Madness?

    If you treat Networking as just a lead engine then you are leaving free ‘£’s’ on the table!

    We all know the rules, “And what do you do….?” How many of us though, have already prejudged the answer? How many of us are guilty of switching off when the answer isn’t what we want to hear? How many of us are handed a lead and don’t provide feedback of how it went? How many of us see opportunities that help others but we don’t bother, as they don’t fit our client profile?

    I spoke to a Leisure company Operations Director this week who’d accompanied me to an Institute of Directors event in 2013. “I contacted a Web Designer from last years event”, she tells me. “Which one?”, I ask. Turns out of the two we met, one had switched off and his eyes started scanning the room for other “victims” mid sentence when she told him she studied Hypnotherapy, which is her hobby. So the quotation circa £10k has gone to the one who was courteous. The former’s card had been left behind, he will never know.

    In February I attended a Network event and spoke with a Doctor from a major University. Sadly, we had little in common as she was from the Energy Institute rather than The Business School but on my travels I met 3 small businesses with “Eco” credentials. So I wrote an introductory email to everyone so they could form a mini network. Outcome? Not one response from the SMBs leaving £8k in grants & coaching for others. Me? I’m invited to deliver commercial coaching in May – to the businesses that did respond.

    The Sandler Team all include Networking Skills within their training but today, have a thought for the things you should do for yourself.

    • Speak to everyone with an open mind and be genuinely interested in what they have to say. No need to invite them round for Christmas or adopt, just simple respect and active listening.
    • When you see an opportunity to pass on a lead/connections to others follow it up & do it. You will be the first they think of when an opportunity in your sector is mentioned.
    • If you are handed a lead follow it up regardless and let them know how you got on. It doesn’t matter if it’s any good or not, the next one might be and they are free AND save you a cold call! Don’t feedback and another supply of leads dries up.
    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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