• 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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  • 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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  • You didn’t waste your money on a trade show, did you?

     

    It’s that time of year; no, not pre-Christmas but trade shows and events.  At Sandler we sometimes get asked how to make sure investing time, money and resources is not wasted effort.

    Trade show picIf you are an exhibitor, what do you expect to gain from a whole day (or more) out of the office, your money, hiring the space and goodness knows what marketing effort in making your space sell? Typically we hear “leads, promoting ourselves and making sure our existing contacts see us.” These seem noble aims. Nothing wrong with these, surely?

    But supposing our goals were subtly different, would we approach the show and our investment differently? The real value in exhibiting has very little to do with our stand, our pitch, our marketing. Ideally we want to have prospects identify themselves as interested by finding what problems and challenges they have that we can fix. So that means asking a whole load of questions about them and their business. Suddenly our stuff recedes into the background, the spotlight is firmly on them.

    This also answers the inevitable dilemma of how we approach visitors to the show.  Being vacant on the  stand is not a good strategy. Pouncing on them also does not work.  Being welcoming and interested in why they have attended is far more likely to result in a constructive conversation.

    Once we are talking, we want to identify if they are a decision maker, or at least an influencer. And if it looks like they might be able to pay for our product and service, better still.

    If we have somebody on our stand who apparently has a problem we can fix, they can at least highly influence the decision to engage with us, and potentially have some budget they could spend on those issues, we have a qualified lead.

    Only now can we give them something to walk away with. Maybe that is just a business card. If relevant, and they have really convinced us they qualify, we might even give them some marketing material. At the very least they should go with a promise from us to phone them in the next few days. Even better if they go with a date in our diary for a proper meeting.

    Supposing they don’t meet all these criteria? We do not need to spend time with them.  Not today at least. The best way to politely disengage with people who are visiting and not buying is quite simply tell them something. Anything, really, just so long as it is precisely correct and full of all our benefits presented as technically accurately as we can. The first few words of technical language will allow them to realise they are in the wrong place and they will happily take their leave.

    Exhibitors are often keen to do draws and competitions to get just one more business card. Those cards are worth nothing to you if you cannot use them or you do not use them. Adding random data to your database adds nothing to your pipeline of business. There are plenty of those names and numbers available without spending a day out of the office to collect them.  Competitions for those who qualify to enter are much better. Great way to build rapport. Maybe in those circumstances all entrants deserve to win a prize.

    If you are exhibiting, that gives you the right to talk to other exhibitors. So when, all the public you were after goes off to listen to the next great seminar, and it all goes quiet, this is when you can make money. Often your best prospects or at least best  introducers are the other exhibitors.  You have immediate point of similarity, standing all day on your feet,  and natural conversation flows.

    There is nothing more annoying than being sold to by visitors to your stand when you have invested to get clients for yourself. However, some report having made the best contacts by being a visitor. “What do you do?” “I help businesses like yours with XYZ problem, but look, you are busy exhibiting today so not the right time to talk about that…” “No, no, go on, tell me….” If invited to explain, it would be rude not to.

    In summary,  when we have spent money on an exhibition we should be slow in giving out our stuff, quick to disqualify them and quick to follow up. That means we probably will end up with a handful of highly qualified leads and not a pile of business cards that we have no intention of following up. It does also mean we know we have correctly invested our time money and resources. We might even end up with some new clients.

    So you did not waste your money on  a trade show, did you?

     

    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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  • Does RDR Concern You?

    You would be hard pressed to find an IFA that didn’t have a concern about RDR. Some say large swathes of the population will go without advice as a result. They are worried that getting existing – let alone – new clients to be happy about paying fees is no mean feat. Ignorance is bliss; and the times when the fees were incorporated into commission meant that what clients didn’t know didn’t hurt them. But now it’s all out in open and many IFAs are facing difficult questions.

    However, it is possible to address these questions, resulting fee-paying clients and a new happy relationship with clients.  To reach this goal requires a simple process.

    It begins with the first conversation; explaining the change from commission to fees.  This needs to be done with confidence, rather than apologetically. More often than not the problem is in our minds, not theirs. The client is still getting value from the IFA’s advice and a happy working relationship is also in their best interest.

    Although, this does not mean becoming arrogant. Financial services have become a very technical sale. Gone are the days when selling products mattered over high quality advice. If you become arrogant in your approach as highly qualified specialists, you will not be referred.

    Rather, you need to engage your prospects to build trust. You need to demonstrate value by showcasing that you really understand your client’s challenges and pain. This can only be achieved by listening to your clients – to identify the real reasons why they need advice. Don’t even think about talking through products and services until you understand exactly what they need. Keep it relevant.

    By listening to prospects and advising them of how you can help, you will be giving them value and earning your fees. It’s no wonder that some are arguing that RDR is actually getting rid of “free consulting,” which has been rife in industry to date.  Yes, some people will choose not to work with IFAs in future. But the onus must be on demonstrating the value of using you; and thus why RDR is making the process more transparent and beneficial for the client.

    IFAs up and down the country are taking advice themselves. They want to know how to retain their professionalism whilst grappling with the issue of reluctant clients. The irony is RDR is making financial services even more professional and as a consequence that includes being more professional in acquiring new business.

    At Sandler Training, we believe that if you want to expand your business in 2013, if you want to take advantage of the expected exodus of advisers thanks to RDR, you will need to address the issue of new business acquisition in this new environment. Change is always uncomfortable, but with these changes come many opportunities for those willing to take them.

    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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  • My favourite….

    One of our trainers recently asked their Presidents’ Club what was their favourite technique or principle. Obviously the Sandler trainer had to have his. Out of all the hundreds of rules, the systems, the books, CDs, online talks, videos, documents and courses, one thing stood out as a summary of them all.

    Have the courage, the sheer audacity, the plain cheekiness if you like, to claim equality in the sales process. Therefore be prepared to end the meeting right now, perhaps even before it really gets going, if you are not convinced by the potential client, that he or she is going to do business. That’s right; be happy, prepared, willing to end the meeting and go now. In fact, if you get to do some sort of quote or presentation, some proposal or trial piece of work, you had better have a very good reason for doing so. Can you substantiate that decision by being able to point out to a third person how this prospect QUALIFIES for your crown jewels? No? Or have we just got desperate and dumped our information and expertise in a vain hope that they know they qualify?

    There is nothing more irresponsible than just laying out stuff, our features and benefits and hoping they will buy. Because what we have actually done is expected that prospect to go through a very complicated process (identify with the seller, understand the consequences of any decision right now, identify the real underlying emotional reason why they might want to do this, match all that to a possible budget, figure out how they might justify the money and time invested, ensure they have worked out their decision making cycle and followed it through) all on their own in a very short space of time. No wonder they have to pass up fabulous opportunities; the effort is too great, assuming they knew what was really required. Shame on us when we fall into that terrible temptation of answering “What can you do for me?”.

    So going back to the trainer’s favourite principle. How can it be summed up? “Go for the No.” “Stay unemotionally attached to the outcome” “Sell today, educate tomorrow” (Rule 21) “People buy in spite of the hard sell, not because of it” (Rule 26) But then again “Never help the prospect end the interview” (Rule 19) because really “There are no bad prospects, just bad salespeople” (Rule 41).

    Some strange ideas here. Intrigued enough? Don’t suppose you’d want to find out how you can do things differently? Or are you still happy to get your prospects to do all the work whilst they pass you by with a smile and a friendly “I’ll think 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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