• Why Training Doesn’t Work

    Many business owners and leaders believe that “training doesn’t work.”  They’re right: a one off, ‘quick fix’ 2 day or two week training session doesn’t work.

    Take tennis, for example.  I played in my teens, but nothing since.  Recently, I found a tennis coach and I’ve committed to two visits a week to the tennis court.

    I’ve made some advances. My coach showed me how to hold a racket so that I can hit the ball with the right timing. She developed my forehand swing so I am able to find the right position for maximum strength in the wrist.

    After six weeks of hard work, a light goes on. The various elements of the game begin to come together.  I don’t have to think about every little thing.

    I ask my coach, “Will I be ready to join the county team soon?”

    Her reply: “Well for someone who starts tennis as an adult, practicing for an hour twice a week, it will take about three years.”

    I was stunned but I realised that she was right.  To reach a semi-pro level was going to take work.  I wish I could fix my game by just attending a two day tennis boot camp, but I can’t.

    Today, we are influenced by the ‘quick fix’ society.  Neuroscience research confirms that our brain needs repetition over time to learn. Brain imaging studies show we do more unconscious practicing of what we are learning when it is spaced out and reinforced over time.

    This is true for whatever new skill we want develop, whether it’s to become a doctor, lawyer, and engineer or upgrade sales or leadership skills.

    It takes time to develop game changing skills.  A coach will put you on the right path and your determination and commitment will take your skills to a professional level.

    Neil Liddell

    Neil Liddell

    Neil enjoys premium recognition with leading decision-makers, he embraces the lifeblood of the Sandler™ methodology. As Managing Director of Sandler Training Central-England, he brings drive, passion and decades of goal-breaking experience to what he and Sandler™ do best; create world-class sales professionals and help CEOs drive lasting growth through training, counsel and ongoing support. Tel: 0845 0573563 Mobile: 07547 227442

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  • Are Your Prospects Wasting Your Time?

    Hello and welcome to this week’s blog.  I’d like to show you a straightforward way to save time, decrease your workload and increase your closing rates.

    Did you know that, on average, 52% of the prospects you engage with won’t do anything?  The ability to spot good and bad prospects could save you frustration and time.

    Recently we worked with a company designing and selling IT software.  When we looked into their sales cycles, we found they varied greatly from one project to another. The longest sales cycle occurred when dealing with organisations who had over 200 employees and several divisions or external partners.

    Not only were these their longest sales cycles, but they also delivered their lowest close rates.

    So what action did the company take?

    They made a conscious decision that if a prospect had over 200 employees with multiple divisions, they would not pursue it any further.  They knew that this situation was a bad fit for their business. They knew that pursuing these prospects would tie up their salespeople for many days (or even weeks) with little chance of success, causing them to become frustrated and demotivated.

    Once they removed these companies from their sales funnel, they were able to focus on the prospects that had much higher closing rates, and they saw business improve. At the same time, they saw work became less pressurised, with fewer late nights for key staff and improved employee morale, motivation and engagement.

    All this just from disqualifying difficult prospects.  Many businesses waste time chasing bad prospects but it takes guts to disqualify them!  When you do though, you can focus your time and energy on the best prospects for your business.

    Sandler Training is recognised as a leading authority on business development, offering sales and leadership consulting and training across all market sectors including professional services.

    Neil Liddell

    Neil Liddell

    Neil enjoys premium recognition with leading decision-makers, he embraces the lifeblood of the Sandler™ methodology. As Managing Director of Sandler Training Central-England, he brings drive, passion and decades of goal-breaking experience to what he and Sandler™ do best; create world-class sales professionals and help CEOs drive lasting growth through training, counsel and ongoing support. Tel: 0845 0573563 Mobile: 07547 227442

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  • Are you sabotaging your own business?

    Here’s Why You Might Be Sabotaging Your Own Business

    Running your own company can cause you problems. But are you unknowingly creating some of them? 

    Let me explain.

    Many recent surveys have shown that only one third of UK workers are engaged with their organisation. But should this matter to your business?

    It depends. Are you frustrated that your staff are often sick or fail to understand your customer’s needs or lack creativity or sometimes your top people unexpectedly leave? Do you feel that maybe they aren’t adding the value they should be to your business?

    Your business probably doesn’t have any of these issues but take a look at the below table which sums up recent research from various groups.

    Neil Liddell table

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It is clear from this research that there is a definite link between employee engagement and high organisational productivity and performance. But it goes much further than this.

    The conclusion from all the employment engagement research conducted by the major players is that employee engagement impacts positively on:

    • Moral
    • Absenteeism
    • Stress
    • Innovation
    • Retention
    • Motivation
    • Involvement
    • Advocacy

    Some business owners view some of these points as “nice to have”. But a Gallup study demonstrated that those with the highest employee engagement averaged 18% higher productivity than those with lower levels. 18% higher productivity, for any business, would have a significant impact on their bottom line not including the other benefits.

    The question is, if the benefits of employee engagement are so significant then why are so few doing so?  A major report just released in July this year from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management Commission puts it down to:

    1. Short term gains brought about by cutting budgets, making redundancies and, in some cases, reducing quality and customer service levels. This has lowered morale in many companies with the result being; employee disengagement.
    1. Old–fashioned pyramid structures stop employees from engaging fully with their company.
    1. Many businesses are still reluctant to invest in management training. This leads to reducing leadership and management skills which has a negative impact on employee engagement.

    So why is so little being done to improve matters?

    The recent recession is one possible reason why there has been a focus on short term gain and leadership and management training has been put on the back burner.

    So what can MD’s do now to improve their employee engagement and ultimately their bottom line? They can:

    1. Focus on the longer term goals of the business.
    2. Adopt a flatter management structure as this give far more employee engagement.
    3. Invest in leadership and management training.

    As business strategy adapts to the new growing economy it can either skill up or carry on regardless. However the research suggests that those who fail to cultivate an employment engagement culture by taking the suggested measures are likely to be the losers along with their company’s bottom line.

    Neil Liddell

    Neil Liddell

    Neil enjoys premium recognition with leading decision-makers, he embraces the lifeblood of the Sandler™ methodology. As Managing Director of Sandler Training Central-England, he brings drive, passion and decades of goal-breaking experience to what he and Sandler™ do best; create world-class sales professionals and help CEOs drive lasting growth through training, counsel and ongoing support. Tel: 0845 0573563 Mobile: 07547 227442

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  • Rich Ripples From One Tiny Pebble

    Would you like to feel more confident in communicating your opinions—to be able to “hold your own” in a meeting? Do you want to be able to express your feelings (whether positive or negative) in an authentic way? Or do you want to curb your habit of losing control and get angry at those who may not deserve it? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then why not throw one tiny pebble into the pond of ‘Assertiveness’ and watch the rich ripples appear.

    Being assertive does not come natural to many people, it can feel like being between a rock and a hard place, or what has been described as “a middle ground between being a bully and a doormat” (Barnette, 2000).

    Write the word aggressive on a piece of paper. Now list how you describe aggressive. Then do the same with the word assertive. Notice any difference?

    Most people find that the descriptions of aggressive are predominately negative. Assertive on the other hand, doesn’t have that negative connotation.

    I’d like to have you consider the notion that as a sales professional, you have rights. If you are denied your rights in a sales situation, you should be wondering whether or not you are sitting in front of the right person.

    Your rights include getting answers to questions that tell you: Does this person/company have issues that need to be solved? Does my company have a solution to the issues? Is there a budget to address these issues? How does this prospect go about making a decision to take care of these issues?

    Getting answers to these concerns means asking a lot of questions. To get the needed information, you will have to be assertive, but not aggressive. Being aggressive will usually get you a request to “send me some literature, and I’ll call you.”

    Being assertive means getting clarification on specific issues. For example, when a prospect tells you “We’re probably going to be replacing this machine soon”. An assertive reply would be something like “You mean you’re not sure?” Get clarification and you won’t find yourself in a chasing mode, leaving voicemails that never get you a return call.

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    You have the right to make sure you understand what the prospect is telling you. To make sure you don’t cross over into aggressive, use softening statements before asking for clarification. A softening statement is a positive stroke to the prospect’s ego that precedes asking for more specific information. For example, “That makes sense. When you say soon, do you mean this quarter?” When asking questions, you need to make sure you don’t put your prospect on the defensive.

    Bottom line is, you have the right to qualify a prospect. If you get clarification on the pertinent issues using softening statements with your questions, you should be on the road to being assertive without being aggressive. May the ripples of assertiveness spread throughout your business because the person with the most information gets the order every time.

    Neil Liddell

    Neil Liddell

    Neil enjoys premium recognition with leading decision-makers, he embraces the lifeblood of the Sandler™ methodology. As Managing Director of Sandler Training Central-England, he brings drive, passion and decades of goal-breaking experience to what he and Sandler™ do best; create world-class sales professionals and help CEOs drive lasting growth through training, counsel and ongoing support. Tel: 0845 0573563 Mobile: 07547 227442

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