• Why Change?

    How serious are you about growing your business, your profits and your services? Most businesses owners say they are doing ok so why do they need to change?

    Most business owners are great at delivering products/service but as they grow and develop the business they neglect the need for new skills, creating unseen inefficiencies and ‘grow themselves cash poor’.

    Why?

    We all have four devils within us: EGO, APATHY, IGNORANCE and FEAR.  One of these four prevents them from change, therefore managers become bottlenecks within their own company.

    Example…

    Just this week I spoke to a business owner, who on the surface is doing really well – and is just about to employ his 10th sales director! Unfortunately he hasn’t made any changes to the hiring or the on-boarding process.  He has not put in any systems or processes in place to check this decision so that he doesn’t make the same mistake for the 10th time.  Why? Because he would have had to do something differently and one of his devils stopped him CHANGING.

    Another example today, the owner of a business told me he just employed three BDMs. He has no on-boarding process, no framework to coach, train and mentor new staff. This is the first time he has hired BDMs. They have been there for 2 months and all they achieved is ‘getting to know the business’. With no targets, no direction and no accountability they will burn profits and quickly impact on cash flow.

    So what’s happening?

    Both these owners have a desire for success but have not committed to CHANGE. As a business owner it is your responsibility to educate yourself and your people. Managers who don’t commit to continuous education burn profits and don’t even realise until it’s too late.

    So what is commitment?

    Commitment is taking responsibility for where you are right now, reviewing the good, bad and the ugly and doing something about it. Commitment is asking yourself “what don’t I know”, what do I need to learn?” Recognise the devils within you and ask others for help.

    What’s stopping YOU from CHANGE?

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Worrying Trends

    Are you out of business and you just don’t know it yet?

    Managers are the bottlenecks for growth. How many businesses do you see hit a glass ceiling or their sales start going down hill?

    In a recent report by among sales managers in sales intelligence software supplier sales-i, 34% say that their main problem is acquiring timely information to use whilst selling, whilst 17% say that visibility into activities of the sale team is their biggest daily challenge.

    So what should you be looking for? Have a look at you team and ask yourself:

    • Do your people have desire and commitment?
You may ask, what’s the difference?  “Boss I need more money, you need to give me more money/bigger territory” (That’s Desire). Someone with desire and commitment will come to you saying,  “Boss I need to make more money, how do I do that? What do I have to do different to make that possible?”
    • When you have your weekly 1 on 1’s with your sales manager and he/she debriefs you about his daily 1 on 1’s with the team, what are the biggest conceptual and technical problems and what are their plans to overcome them?
    • What is your managers plan for training and coaching your people? You did hire him/her to train, coach and develop your people didn’t you?
    • When you have your weekly pipeline meetings with your sales manager, are they at least 80% accurate in what’s going to close in the next 30 days so you can plan sufficiently?
    • When your managers have their monthly meetings with his/her people to talk about their personal goals, especially the ones not hitting their numbers, do their goals tie into their monthly company goals?
    • How many hires does the manager have in his/her funnel? Knowing 1 in 200 are A players.
    • When you harvest your data from your CRM to look at the ratio between your lag indicators and your leading indicators to activities, what is the difference between your top salespeople and your bottom ones?
    • When your lag indicators aren’t where they should be, what do you change first, the leading indicators or the activities?

    On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being high, how would you rate the culture of your business?

    For a business to continually be successful it needs a sales driven culture built around a framework for success. This includes hiring and keeping the right people. Having a growth strategy that’s stress tested and one you know the team can achieve. Clearly defined systems and processes (a road map) that everyone in the company and new to the company can follow and self-measure. And a management team that can coach, train, mentor and support their people with new skills.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Want Change? Put a Shark in the Tank!

    Bear with me on this as I have to explain…

    People hire me to create change, create sales growth, so I’m known as a sales turnaround specialist…

    Many people will know I’m hired when a company’s Sales Operating Model is stale and failing to deliver growth. Or when the cost of acquiring new business exceeds 10% ROI. You do measure this don’t you…?

    I typically work locally with small to medium sized businesses and occasionally enterprise sales organisations in the East Midlands.

    So why am I telling you this? Well, when I walk into an organisation, I won’t be rude but I’m not hired to make friends or pander to your sales people, I’m hired to make a difference and turn your sales opportunities into profitable business and I’m looking for a feeling, those gut feelings that help me identify what’s really going on.

    So what are the signs of a poor Sales Operating Model? There can be (not all the time) a huge amount of activity at the top of the sales pipeline, working on projects that may never close, spraying valuable information, giving away free consultancy in the hope that someone will buy from you, but in reality very little actually turns into new business.

    I see lot of unsold stock on the shelves. Often the marketing and sales department (the growth department) are under resourced and treated as a necessary evil, under funded, money is tight and the people are stretched. Other signs can be cash flow concerns and infighting between sales people and departments.

    This happens when you haven’t got a Shark in the tank!

    Here’s and example: back in the 70’s someone came up with the bright idea of catching live fish in the Pacific, putting them into a tanks and flying them across America so they could sell fresh fish to the fancy east coast restaurants and get 5-10 times the price.

    They converted planes into flying fish tanks for this purpose. However upon arrival lots of fish were found dead, floating upside down by the time they landed.

    The loss was killing the business so they consulted a marine biologist. The biologist looked at the problem and quickly said,  “That’s easy! Put a Shark in the tank. Nothing so large that it will do them harm, but large enough to put some tension in the tank.” And it worked!

    If you’re managing a Growth Department (Sales and Marketing team) you need a Shark…

    What do Sharks do?

    I believe Marketing and Sales should be as one. Marketing ideal clients but driven by a sales focus, not the typical fluffy stuff you see out there…

    Sharks have a Sales Operating Model (SOM) the rules of engagement are clearly set out, a common sales language is in place so everyone knows and understands. Sharks should make the internal sell twice as hard as the external sell, the salesperson has to demonstrate the project is profitable and feasible before the company takes on the new business. They can only do this by having a ‘cookie cutter’ – a systematic way of identifying and qualifying opportunities.

    You can’t and don’t want to do everything offered. A good sales team may present 20 projects all with varying degrees of profitability, resource and time requirements. However the organisation may only be able to resource 4 to 6 projects at a time. The organisation has to have a system to be able to weight the opportunity and one that free’s up the team to move quickly as time kills sales opportunities. The team needs to quickly identify unprofitable projects and pass these onto the competition instead.

    Good SOM’s enable the sales leaders to measure the cost of the sale at each stage of the selling process, especially when pursuing costly bid requests and adapting to changes in the market.

    Without a common language the organisation is exposed to ‘woolly’ information and undermines the whole system.

    As a sales leader your job is to make the best salespeople work on the best opportunities. If you fail to do this you will fail to generate the desired results.

    Shark’s bring clearly defined accountability that includes rewards and consequences, as salespeople easily lapse into bad habits.

    Blog written on this topic taken from this video by my mentor Marcus Cauchi and Nick Ayton.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Leadership Skills Shortfall is Holding Back the UK Economy

    A lack of leadership and management skills is hampering the growth potential of small businesses and acting as a brake on productivity, according to a new report published recently by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

    The report found that while three fifths of small business owners (59%) say they update their business knowledge and skills at least once a year, specific management training is often lacking.

    Only a quarter of small firms questioned (25%) had undertaken management training in the last 12 months. One in four (26%) had never undergone any form of management training at all. The FSB also found few smaller businesses seek external management training for staff, with just a fifth (19%) offering such training to their employees.

    Currently just under half of all new UK start-ups fail in their first three years. Studies suggest that a leading cause of failure is poor leadership and management skills. This skills shortfall partly explains the growing productivity gap, with the UK consistently trailing behind its competitors, falling a full 18 percent below the G7 average. This is the widest productivity gap with the G7 since comparable estimates began in 1991.

    Here at East Midlands Sandler we specialise in training and developing leaders and managers – this is our core business.  We do this through re-enforcement training, using proven methodology which is guaranteed to work.  We get results – great results – every time.

    A recent example is a client who came to us after been stuck at £3.5m turnover for the past 7 years.  Everything they tried failed. They joined Sandler and after 18 months being on the programme they had increased their turnover (and profits) to £7m.

    This is the type of success story we have all the time, for varying sizes and scales of businesses of course.

    Don’t be one of the 75% of businesses who are standing on their own foot and holding the business back.  Make your first positive step and come to a complimentary Sandler Masterclass.  Click here to find your local Sandler Trainer.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Tomorrow’s Managers and Leaders: Goal Setting

    Businesses are like gardens and people within companies are like flowers. Sometimes those carefully sown seeds lie dormant because they lack the appropriate environment for growth. Often they produce shoots but aren’t nourished sufficiently to ensure that their full potential is reached.

    Goals are set; targets aren’t met.

    Plants that are provided with suitable support and are fed the correct nourishment will continue to blossom and grow.

    January is the time for planting seeds and setting new goals for the coming year. As managers, whilst acknowledging that your staff engagement is ever changing will be mindful of developing a more specific coaching and mentoring process through which your co-workers will achieve the company’s goals.

    A key part of this process depends on individuals identifying and achieving their personal goals, which in turn will have a positive impact on corporate triumphs, whatever the size of your business.

    Now is the time to introduce your employees to a world-leading new system aimed at increasing staff motivation and engagement, improving accountability, reducing the hidden cost of staff retention and avoiding the expense of an ineffective job-holder.

    Sandler Training can help you to achieve this through a structured system that teaches SMART goal setting as a means of ensuring both personal and corporate growth.

    Sandler Training is an internationally renowned company which has been working with professionals and their teams for 30 years, helping them to develop, execute and achieve their goals.

    The Sandler Goal Setting System is designed to address all areas of life so that goals are engaging and work in harmony with each other, thereby accelerating success rates.

    If you want to motivate your team, improve staff engagement, reduce staff turnover and implement a new and effective accountability process, contact your local Sandler Training Centre.

    Be an intelligent gardener and grow something new!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • No Pain… No Sale.

    In Sandler, we have a rule: No pain…No sale. It means that unless you can find an actual pain a prospect is experiencing that you can solve, you won’t be able to sell them anything. Pain is the reason someone does business with you.

    If someone has pain, you have to figure out a way to have an interaction to solve it as quickly as possible. If you don’t, it may not hurt enough tomorrow.

    One of the best analogies to think about is waking up with a toothache. If you’ve ever woken up with a really bad toothache, you were probably ready to pay anything to get into the dentist that same day. Then you may have called the dentist, and heard over the phone, “Oh, we can’t get to you for two weeks.” In two weeks, there’s a decent chance it didn’t hurt nearly as bad, and you may not have even bothered going.

    Everyone’s world has those types of situations.

    A plumbing client of mine recognised that and made a change to his schedule. He tightened things up a bit in order to shorten his sales cycle, and so that he could fit emergencies in last-minute when needed. In a ten day period that client sold seven boiler repairs, two boiler replacements, and three maintenance contracts. Some plumbers don’t even do that well through the winter months!

    In your world, you probably have something like that too, it’s just not about teeth or plumbing. There is tremendous business to be had out there if you’re proactive. Don’t sell like a dentist, but set yourself up so that you can handle extreme pain quickly.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Is there any advantage to following conventional wisdom?

    Is there any advantage to following conventional wisdom? Or, by doing so, will you only be following rules made by other people? Rules that may no longer be appropriate…and may actually work against you.

    Let’s examine some conventional sales “wisdom.”

    Cast your net wide – “tell your story” to as many people as possible.

    That’s an excellent strategy… for the barker at the fair ground. Everyone who walks by and everyone at the fair ground within earshot is a potential customer for the attraction he is promoting. When was the last time you had the luxury of standing in one spot as potential customers drifted by; or sitting at your desk as prospects, eager to obtain information and place orders, clogged your incoming phone lines?

    For the most part, the carnival barker expends the same amount of resources – vocal energy – regardless of the size of the crowd that walks by or the likely interest of the individual crowd members. But, for you, the professional salesperson, the amount of resources used, of which time is likely the most precious, should be directly proportional to the size of the “crowd” to whom you attempt to tell your story. Telling your story to people who don’t have a high probability of interest is a waste of those resources. Casting a narrow net, being selective and narrowing your focus to prospects that fit a profile based on specific criteria is a more efficient strategy.

    Emphasise the unique aspects of your product or service.

    The unique aspects of your product or service differentiate it from that of your competition. Isn’t that a good thing? Well, yes, if there is a distinct connection between the unique aspects and the acknowledged needs of the prospect…and the prospect recognises the connection. The prospect is likely to view the “unique aspects” that don’t address his needs or are introduced too early in the selling process for him to make the connection as added expense to be avoided. Your unique aspects may facilitate your unique exit.

    Make polished professional presentations.

    What could be harmful about a polished and professional presentation? Often, they are too polished. They are so well rehearsed that they come off as robotic displays of concepts, facts, and figures, complete with supporting charts and graphs. Technically, they are precise and complete…and cold. They lack the human element. Yes, prospects buy based on the facts and figures, but they buy from people with whom they are comfortable and whom they trust – people who can share information rather than just present it.

    Presentations can also be too professional. That is, they encompass every conceivable aspect of the product or service – including those in which the prospects have no interest or need. Such professional presentations divert attention from the core issues around which prospects are prepared to make decisions and instead, give them reasons to put off making those decisions.

    Focus on the benefits and advantages for the prospect.

    Prospects have their own reasons for buying specific products and services. And their reasons may be, and often are, different than the reasons you perceive or the reasons your company’s marketing/advertising department chose to spotlight. Focusing on any specific benefits and advantages before determining their relevance to the prospect’s goals and initiatives and the importance the prospect places on them is likely to work against you.

    If your product or service has more than one set of benefits and advantages, you need to carefully test the waters with your prospects before focusing on any particular set. It’s better to get their attention slowly than to lose it quickly.

    You can follow conventional (conformist, conservative, predictable) wisdom and achieve conventional results. Or, you can chart your own path, follow your own rules, and achieve unconventional (unusual, original, exceptional) results. There may be some real wisdom in that.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Are you sending literature. What’s the cost?

    I was greeted in reception by Tim as a delivery lorry turned up and started unloading boxes of shiny new promotional literature. Tim picked up one of the shiny high quality professionally produced 26004736_sbooks and in his frustration Tim said “These damn things cost me a fortune and all they end up doing is sitting in a pile on someone’s desk and sooner or later being thrown away however the customers insist I send them literature!”

    I’m sure this has happened to you at some point because it’s a natural response to a salesperson. It’s an easy way to reject the salesperson without getting personal.

    I asked Tim, before you agree to send literature, did you ask yourself, “Why is the prospect requesting literature? Is this a sign of no interest?”

    Ask the prospect, “Maggie, it’s no problem; I can send you some literature. But before I do, I need to ask you a question. Okay?” (Notice the up-front contract: You’ve made an offer to do something – send literature – but you need to understand the situation better, thus you want to ask a question. And, you’re asking for the prospect’s acceptance.)

    Maggie agrees to let you ask a question, so you continue, “Sometimes when people ask me to send literature before they know anything about my product (or service), as opposed to inviting me in, what they’re really saying to me is they just don’t have any interest. But they don’t want to hurt my feelings. Is that the case here Maggie?”

    If Tim decides to send literature to a prospect, he shouldn’t do it without an up-front agreement that explains what happens next.

    “George, I have a tremendous amount of literature which may or may not be of interest to you. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions to make sure you’ll be reviewing the right material before I send it?”

    The questions you will ask will do one of two things:

    1. Narrow down the literature you need to send the prospect; or
    2. Stir up enough interest in the prospect’s mind to give you the opportunity to try a second time to set an appointment.

    If you’ve got to send literature, then continue as follows: 

”I’m going to send you the literature, George. It’s on its way. It should arrive by Thursday. How much time will you need to review it?”

    Wait for George to respond, and then say, “Let’s assume you do get the literature by Thursday. You say you’ll need 24 hours to review it, so I’ll call you Friday. And here’s what I’d like to have happen, if you’re comfortable with this. I’d like you to be able to say, ‘John, I read the literature and I have some questions,’ or you can say, ‘I’ve read the literature and there’s absolutely no reason for us to get together.’ If you tell me you have some interest, George, then I’d like you to invite me in for a face-to-face meeting. Is that fair?”

    Does anyone have any idea how much money is wasted every year by salespeople who send literature to prospects only to never hear anything from the prospects? It’s got to be enough money to cure the national debt! Don’t contribute to the waste. Set an up-front agreement before you mail your literature.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • Do Boy Scouts Make The Best Salespeople?

    Are you Prepared?

    I’ve seen and heard this all to often, salespeople booking appointments and then forgetting about them until the day before the meeting… Is this something you do?

    Is preparation a last minute activity often consisting of quickly looking through your scraps of notes from the last conversation or meeting you attended… And perhaps a quick review of the company website, advertising or marketing materials and/or you think to yourself ‘I’m good at what I do, don’t worry I know my stuff’, and ‘wing it’ through the meeting and then when your preparing a presentation that’s been requested from the prospect you look back you realise you didn’t ask specific questions?

    You maybe asking yourself ‘isn’t that enough, or what more can I do?’

    Ok, think forward to the meetings you have booked with a new prospect and ask yourself these questions…

    • What are the three questions you’ll ask the prospect after you say, ‘Hello’?
    • What questions will you ask to create rapport and get to know the prospect?
    • What questions will you ask to explore the prospects need and hone in on the underlying reasons for, or events that precipitated the need for this meeting?
    • What commitments will you ask for if there is a fit between what the prospect needs and what you can provide?

    If you haven’t identified and rehearsed the questions you’ll need to ask to start the meeting, explore the prospects requirements, qualify the opportunity, and systematically move the meeting to an appropriate conclusion, THEN YOU’RE NOT PREPARED!

     

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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