• Why doesn’t your sales team perform?

    We hire salespeople who claim good past results and appear professional and competent at interview and then they fail to hit agreed targets. Why is that?

    Logically it must be one of or a combination of

    • We hired the wrong people
    • They don’t know what to do
    • They don’t know how to do it
    • They are not correctly supported
    • They are not correctly held accountable

    How can we make sure we hire the right people? There are no formal qualifications and past experience is no real guarantee of future results. Selling is a skill, not a step by step guaranteed process. When you first go into business and you decide who is going to bring in the revenue, you are very aware how that person is an entrepreneur with you, both of you trying to figure out how to make it all work. That does not change. Imagine how rigorous you would be with taking on a co-partner right now. That’s how careful you should be hiring your next salesperson.

    You would expect salespeople to know what to do. Unfortunately, a lot do not, and it is not helped by the fact that the company does not know what it wants them to do either; how much of what kind of business from what kind of client and by when? If you are unclear about what you really want, you will get whatever is easiest for your salesperson to sell.

    Salespeople are, in the main, untrained. They may have gone on the odd course for a day or so over their career but they have learnt “on-the-job” by experience and shadowing other salespeople. That often leads to the “blind leading the blind”. You cannot assume they know how to do the job, however good their results appear to be.

    Correctly supporting your team means Supervising, Training, Coaching and Mentoring.  You might not think you should do those things for your accountant, ops team, HR etc, but you need to do them for your sales team. In fact, if you want any team to perform well, it is down to their manager to give the right support.

    Accountability is scary. It looks like “micromanaging”. In fact, good salespeople will look for accountability partners as they know that distractions come along all too easily and they need the discipline of reporting behaviour activity, not just results. Managers do not like the idea sometimes because they do not want to hold their salesperson’s feet to the fire and they are not sure what behaviour they should be holding them accountable to or how best to do so.

    If you want your team to perform well it us up to you to make sure you have the right people doing the right thing the right way with the right support and the right accountability process.

    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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  • More freedom, not more prospects!

    Having sat through hours of counter-intuitive training, practised tools, techniques and processes time and again, one might expect someone newly-trained in Sandler to fly out of the blocks, closing everything in sight.

    Sometimes that happens. One client of mine was moving from account management to sales, worked with me for just a few weeks and was almost instantly lauded as their top salesperson. She is, however, more of the exception than the rule.

    So, what typically, is the effect of all that investment?

    Time and again it is the same message. Those that grasp the point of “Pain then Budget and Decision”  learn to disqualify prospects that could never hope to be a real client.  That means the effect is not an increase in the value of their pipeline, rather a significant decrease.

    The relief I hear from so many businesses that they can stop chasing after prospects!  We only want to be spending our time with clients, customers who want to and will pay us for what we offer. Why do we want to spend an extra minute with a prospect who does not want to or will not pay us for our product or service?

    Our role is to help both sides figure out, as quickly as possible, if they are not going to be right for us or not. That’s it. It’s obvious when put like that. But all our salesmanship is going in another direction; persuading through features and benefits. We think we should be building “pipeline”. In fact, we should only be talking to those who are going to buy.

    So the immediate effects of training with Sandler is increased freedom; feedom to choose our customers, freedom to spend more time with people who value what we have to offer, freedom from endless technical proposals. Does all that “freedom” end up in more clients and more profit? Most definitely.

    If you want more freedom from the tyranny of trying to close sales, maybe it would make sense to look at Sandler in a bit more detail!

    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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  • Prospecting: Don’t have time for it, not my job…hate it!

    Most of my clients hate the idea of prospecting. In any form. They either expect clients to find them as the industry experts or they have a team, internal or external, to do the prospecting for them.

    You might expect little sympathy from Sandler trainers. That is true; you won’t find much patience for little prospecting effort. However, here is a secret: Sandler trainers have to prospect too and we have exactly the same challenges as our clients and their people. We don’t ask our clients to do what we are not prepared to do ourselves.

    So what do we find works for ourselves and our best-performing clients? You might expect the answer to be “Cold Calling.” Well, it works, when it is done right and professionally. However, is that the most efficient way of getting business? Probably not.  Effective nonetheless.

    The younger generation seems to have a pathological fear of the telephone and want to do everything by social media and email. Does that work? Well, yes, when done right and consistently, although it can take much, much longer to get the same result. Networking? As in talking to strangers in a place and environment you really would rather not be in? This can be powerful. Free talks? Unnerving and time-consuming, perhaps, but wonderfully efficient in weeding out prospects. Asking for referrals? This is often the best way into ideal new business. However, we are then trading on the good name of our clients and contacts and they don’t usually come fast and thick enough.

    The list goes on. “Walk-ins”, attending conferences, calling old proposals or clients, webinars, LinkedIn, email shot, mailshot and more. Some work better than others at different times in different sectors. In fact, I have an odd, personal, mantra. “No prospecting method works…until it does.” In other words, don’t write off any prospecting activity. Just do plenty. Stick to 3 or 4 main ways of getting business that you are at least prepared to do consistently (preferably “active” rather than “passive” methods). But just do it.

    The Sandler rule #7 is so true. “You never have to like prospecting. You just have to do it.”

    Unfortunately, that includes you. Not just your people. Good prospecting!

    If you want help getting you and your people more comfortable and better at prospecting, why not check with your local Sandler trainer?

    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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  • Active prospecting? You are joking!

    Now this might sound outrageous, particularly from Sandler Training, but let’s be honest…active prospecting does not work. Or at least it is highly inefficient. The worst culprit is “cold calling”. I mean, it is so much better to have qualified incoming leads just ready to buy than wasting inordinate amounts of time pestering people who then hide behind voicemail.

    Let’s work this out. How many dials do you need (real world) to get to speak to anybody? And then, how often are you getting the runaround? Even if you get an appointment they are unlikely to be ready to buy. Cold calling! Soul destroying stuff! And sales time can be so much more efficiently used.

    What about networking, asking for referrals, attending seminars, giving free talks, exhibiting? Well, actually they are pretty much nearly the same waste of effort. Huge amounts of effort required for almost no leads.

    So all active prospecting in effect does not work…until it does.

    Think of your largest income producing client. Not that one, the one that actually did come from active prospecting. Now, if you knew and knew for absolute certain you would get that client from doing that kind of prospecting, how much effort would you have been prepared to put in? My guess the answer is way more than the effort you actually did put in. So suddenly that time-consuming agony was worth it.

    But how can you be sure that doing more of that same activity will produce another fabulous client like that? Well obviously you cannot be sure. In the same way you cannot be sure of any prospecting activity. Until it works.

    Could you have got that client we are thinking of through incoming lead generation? Perhaps. Probably not.

    So the only way to be at least partly in control of our destiny in business is to do prospecting. Loads of it. As many different kinds of activity as makes sense (usually 3-5 different prospecting activity types is manageable). It is only with a long enough timescale that we can be sure that a certain prospecting activity is a waste of time. And even then we could have stopped just a couple of dials short of our ideal, dream prospect. Commit yourself to some hard work, doing stuff you would rather not do. After all, they say that if you claim to like cold calling you are either lying or never done it.

    Sandler has a rule

    “You never have to like prospecting; you just have to do 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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  • Salespeople don’t need regular training.

    Attending the BESMA awards run by the ISMM recently I was forcibly struck by a comment made by one of the successful senior salespeople attending.

    He works for a multi-billion turnover multinational manufacturing organisation. He was singing the praises of his company, in particular about their sales training. He told me that in his long decades of selling he had not been trained since he started his profession until his current company who insist on good excellent technical and sales training.

    “So what does your monthly programme look like?” I asked.  “Monthly? Monthly? I don’t want to waste my time in sales training every month!” He said. He had only been on a day or so training in the last twelve months.

    This got me thinking on two levels.

    On the first level, how many companies had he worked for? For how many years had he not had any reinforcement, refresher, sharpening, challenging, developing investment?

    From my own experience I know the answer. Big companies often hire good sales people and expect them to be and continue to be good salespeople.

    Bearing in mind they are the engine for revenue, would that same set of companies take the same view over any other delicate, mission critical tools? No upgrades. No maintenance. No sharpening and allow the cutting edges to go blunt. Would they? It would simply not make sense. And yet sales people don’t get trained regularly.

    I think I understand why. When you hire a legal person or an accounting person and once they are qualified they don’t need more professional training. You hire them and they do the job. If they don’t, you fire them.

    So why should salespeople be any different? In fact salespeople are very good at claiming at interview stage (and beyond) that they are brilliant at what they do and need no supporting net as they weave their personal magic across the high wire.

    However, accountancy is a process that does not engage on a personal level. The success of the process is not intimately linked with what is going on inside the head of the person doing it.

    Unlike sales, bookkeeping does not rely on saying or asking the right things in the right way at the right time. Sales is a whole lot more to do with the quality of the person who is doing it than the product being delivered.

    You cannot just hire a salesperson and expect them to perform.  They will get into bad habits. Being accidentally “critical parent”, demonstrating way too early, being afraid to walk away from prospects that don’t qualify. The list goes on.

    On the second level, salespeople don’t want to be trained properly. That might look ridiculous.  But they have targets to hit so time spent in the “classroom” is time wasted, commission forfeited.

    What’s more to admit that training might help suggests they are not being honest about that claim to be able to run along the high wire with no net. They are not even honest with themselves about that. They cannot be.

    If they question what they are doing, try something different, admit to their weaknesses, basically look down for a moment….they might fall off the high wire… and  remember, there is no net!

    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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  • So you think you know Sandler?

    My new colleague gasped “But you are all so different!” She was talking about a group of Sandler trainers. That difference reflects in the flavour of Sandler our clients receive. All the same stuff, all professionally delivered, but everything from quiet nurturing to very challenging and all in between. So if you were not so keen on the last Sandler trainer you met networking, do not think all is over. There are over 20 centres for Sandler in the UK, hundreds worldwide. We might have the right trainer for you.

    Having met with us you might think you know what we do. After all, our famous counter-intuitive techniques, epitomised by the Submarine, is the arguably the last word on sales tactics.

    However, does your business imply long sales cycles, complex buying decisions, cross-functional teams, careful planning and constant re-appraisal of client relationships? In other words, does your business need a strategic approach to client acquisition as much as tactics? No system seems to attack both ends strategy and tactics, you have to choose one or the other. This is no longer the case, because Sandler Enterprise Selling is launching in the UK.

    Or perhaps your business is a less complex affair and you would be delighted with something a whole lot simpler than the reinforcement training Sandler insists on. Perhaps your people just cannot seem to close, are giving away profit margins, do not know how to convert a face to face presentation into business, or refuse to get on the phone as they should, hiding behind emails.  A short course on Negotiation and Closing, Presentation, Prospecting, even some tips on Beliefs and business attitude would be excellent right now.  We offer all those. Be warned; we will want to help you further than just that when the time is right.

    Then again, it’s not your salespeople’s fault. Who hired them? Who is responsible for training, motivating and developing them into the powerhouse you need? Do you need help getting the managers empowered to take your team to where you need to go? We are known as much for our Management Solutions as we are for our Presidents’ Club .

    So you thought you knew Sandler? Perhaps 2015 is the right time to look again. If you have the courage to do what it takes to take your business, large or small, to where it could go, we have the tools, the support and the dedication to take you there.

    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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  • So whose decision is it, anyway?

    So there you are, talking with this great potential client, right in your “sweet spot”. He has so much aching need for what you can do for him and he is prepared to spend time, money and resources to fix them.  Moreover you have the perfect solution within that budget which will make them pleased to have done business. What could possibly go wrong?

    Have you been there? And then, just as it is all about to happen, once they have details of your proposal, presentation and proof of concept, your potential client casually mentions that they need to review against competing providers, or take time to discuss it at board level; or they will need to get authorisation from the FD.

    I have been there. I am sure you have too. We can blame the prospect all we want or take it all on the chin as inevitable in business, but really it is our fault – Totally our fault. We get so excited about what we can do for the prospect and what that will mean for us, that we just plain slide over a major part of the client acquisition process.

    Before we do anything, before we waste time, hope, money, resources, (more hope), we have to fully qualify our prospect.  Who else is involved in the decision? Who will be affected by it and might put a spanner in the works? What needs to be decided? It could be that a whole raft of things has to happen internally or with us before the decision can be confirmed. When would that be? Are there critical time lines that we are not aware of? Is the timeline they gave us at the outset real? Where geographically or in the organisation will the decision be made? How will that decision be made? According to what criteria: Price? Return on investment? And why is the decision being made at all or at least, why is the decision being made that way?

    What difference would it make if we knew all this before we got excited and emotionally involved? Would it change the way we present our solution? Perhaps we would stop in our tracks right there. We could save hours of everybody’s time if we had the courage to ask for this detail. “Mr Huge Potential Client, will it be OK if I asked you some questions about how you make a decision like this, who tends to be involved, that sort of thing?” How long does it take in the sale interview to ask for this detail? Perhaps as little as four or five minutes. Five minutes versus enormous waste of resources including false hope.

    Do not forget this important disqualification step. If you do forget, you may wish most heartily that you had spent more time with a Sandler trainer to help you with some techniques and even, perhaps, to instil the required courage.

    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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  • Finding pain

    Finding “pain” is core to the Sandler sales process. At first I found that offensive. Why would we deliberately look for what is making our potential clients uncomfortable? Is that not really creating dissatisfaction? Have we not swapped persuading people to do something through our positive merits for making them squirm so they have to act?

    Then I realised that the real offence comes when we arrogantly assume we know what the prospect wants when we unilaterally decide what the solution should be and then get assertive when the prospect dives out of sight.

    If we do not find out what the real issue is, we cannot be effective in fixing it. If the prospect does not know, or cannot articulate, the real seriousness of the problem, the client-to-be cannot appreciate our expertise. If we are determined to avoid painful questions but retreat to the safety of features and benefits, then we cannot have the right to be the only organisation they are talking to.

    So “finding pain” is simply finding out what the problem is, how serious the problem is, and how that problem impacts the decision maker in front of us.  They are unlikely to have experienced this ever before.

    How we do that is through a simple set of questions, the famous “pain funnel”. To make sure the prospect understands that the best option to help create a solution with us, we need to go through those questions more than once, two, even better, three strong pains and the need to shop around starts to dissipate. Budget is easier to find, decision cycles are easier to implement, and the need for detailed presentations often disappears entirely.

    Do you want to get good at these gentle, yet powerful questions? It needs a complete change in habit, but perhaps worth asking your local Sandler trainer?

    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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  • 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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  • More sales, but no more effort? What is the secret?

    When you last used psychometric assessments with your commercial team, what was the result?

    In particular, what did you find in terms of each individual’s “ambition and drive” or similar label? Ambition & Drive is a very strong lever (or brake!) on sales success. It therefore warrants working on. Indeed focusing on Ambition & Drive can have amazing results both at the individual and organisation level.

    So, what can you do? Is it something you are born with? Or can it be improved?  The good news is that it can be improved.  As Sandler trainers we have numerous examples to prove this. Indeed, a business contact of mine took on a franchise and their score was worryingly low. Six months later it was high! He had not done much more than be aware of it. And also to take some time to dream.

    As seasoned adults we often have lost the habit of dreaming. We have set too many failed targets, set too many wishy washy “if only” style goals, got beaten down by experience, other people and fear.

    Let me give you a challenge.  Ask yourself “What do I want?” Make a list. No, much longer than that. Take a risk.  Write down 100 things you want.  It might take you a few days, you might find yourself questioning yourself but go for it.

    But it is wrong to want, right? Arrogant to expect the best for ourselves? Where does humility fit in? However, if you are going to become the best version of “You” you can be and were meant to be, you have to allow yourself to Dream it. Create it inside first, and then you can start getting a little bit closer, then a little closer still.

    Now you are dreaming you can start on your 21 written goals. No joke, 21. Seven areas of Life (business is just one of them) over 3 time periods; Dream, 5 years, 1 year. Notice the order; the Dream fuels this year’s goals which cement the Dream in real practical activity, right now!

    With inspiring Goals (not imposed demotivating Targets) what has happened to “ambition and drive?” Gone up? And that means? More sales!

    If you want help with assessing yourself or your team or with practical steps to more sales with no more effort or cost, would it make sense to contact a local Sandler trainer?

    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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