• Sales: How to hire a killer

    I bet you haven’t ever hired a sales person who seemed perfect at interview and didn’t work out. Someone who had all the right answers, was excited by your vision of the future and assured you they were a self-starter. Someone with a brilliant track record, who came highly recommended and yet …..when they started, seemed “off the boil”. Someone who didn’t deliver in the first month, and despite your hope that they would get “up to speed” has been a mediocre performer or has already left you. Mishires are bad for the person you employed and are expensive mistakes for you in time, money and morale.

    There’s a joke amongst recruiters that the best sales meeting many salespeople have is the one that gets them their next job. So how do you tell the difference between someone who will perform for you and someone who never could, or can’t right now?

    The hiring company gets really excited and feels they’ve found a hunter. The sales person is hopeful and excited too. Maybe they also get a shiny new car, phone and all the gadgets.

    The new hire asks all the right questions at induction and the managers feel they’ve hired right. The sales person starts with enthusiasm to prospect or go out to meetings.

    But then tumbleweed.

    Or some sales but way behind the management projections.

    Or forecasts slip into the next reporting period.

    Management say “Give it time. S/he’ll find her/his feet”. Two months. Three months. Eight months. How long?

    Mishire?

    Maybe they are a salesperson who can take complicated orders but doesn’t have that killer instinct needed to drive sales.

    Maybe you have hired a sales rep who is naturally good at developing relationships with an existing client base and finding opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell. They just aren’t that driven to go in cold and win new business.

    Maybe you hired someone better suited for long sales cycles that require patience, focus and structure. These people are careful not to let any details fall through the cracks. They can extend the timeframe to closing business so slow your numbers.

    Good salespeople – but not a fit.

    They just don’t have the traits they need to be successful with you.

    To be successful, get clarity on what will make a sales person successful with you. Here are 6 criteria for hiring a hunter, someone who is keen and driven to make sales for you – look for someone who:

    1. has strong fire in their belly
    2. creates value and demand
    3. takes control of the sales process
    4. takes action without requiring direction
    5. takes responsibility for their results
    6. adjusts how they deal with people

    You can train skills – but forcing someone with account management or long sales cycle mentality to hunt for business to close this month or quarter is an endless and thankless task for the sales manager. Read next week’s blog for more on how to identify those killer traits in your new hires.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies runs Sandler Training in East Anglia with monthly Master Classes in Norwich

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  • 4 Habits of Successful Professionals

    successful professionalsWhat do successful professionals do that amateurs don’t?

    Certainly there are many that could fall into this category, but right now we’ll focus on four habits that could make the greatest impact on your career.

    1. Study– Professionals are not born, they are made. Some may have a natural gift, but most maximize that talent by studying history, best practices and innovative techniques. There are plenty of talented individuals who never accomplish anything. Professionals often spend hours to years studying before engaging in their profession to ensure their success.
    2. Practice– like David Sandler taught, in his book “You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar,” you can’t learn how to do anything by merely studying. You have to practice. Doctors, athletes and other types of distinguished professionals spend countless hours practicing before they are called upon to perform. How do you get to Carnegie Hall, the Masters, the Olympics or whatever is the top of your profession? Practice, practice, practice.
    3. Invest in themselves–True professionals bet on and invest in themselves. They don’t wait for their parents, employer or anyone else to invest in them. Professionals continue their education beyond the classroom and invest in workshops, seminars, books, coaches and other resources that will advance their learning. They take responsibility for their own education and personal growth.
    4. Follow a system– Finally, professionals don’t just show up and wing it. They have a system that’s repeatable and reproducible – and leads to predictable success. To outsiders, if sometimes looks like superstition or obsessive compulsive disorder, but professionals know that only by following the proven system can they expect consistent success. Amateurs sometimes think it is luck when they win or lose. Successful professionals make their own luck, and they know that fortune favours the prepared.

    Successful professionals know that there is no magic bullet or shortcut to get to the top. They don’t waste their time with such things. They are too busy learning, practicing, refining their system and investing in their own success.
    What do you think are some additional habits of successful people?

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • How Much Time Should You Put into Prospecting?

    Time prospectingThe question is a bit of a puzzle. Ideally, there would be a reference book that lists, by industry, how much time you should invest in prospecting activities. Unfortunately, there’s no reference book.

    Why?

    How much time you invest will depend on the number of prospecting activities you plan, the nature of the activities, and the intended results of the activities.

    More importantly, different salespeople have different goals, and these goals will necessitate different amounts of time prospecting. Introducing a new product or opening a new territory may take more time than continuing to cultivate an existing market where you already have exposure.

    If your efforts are primarily passive, where you have little if any control of the outcome—direct mail or e-mail for example—you will likely have to do more and it will take longer to see results. If your efforts are more proactive, where you have considerable control—cold prospecting or generating and then calling on referrals for instance—you can invest less time.

    Since there is no simple formula, you must consider your prospecting objectives and then carefully track your activities and results. Then, you can decide how much time you want to invest and choose the activities that will allow you to achieve your objectives in that time period.

     

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Reflections on becoming 50

    So on the 4th of November I am 50. Seems like a time to reflect not so much on what I have done, good or bad but what I have learned. So, if your Facebook feed is a little empty perhaps you can allow me the self-indulgence of sharing my thoughts.

    I have probably learned more in the last 5 years, perhaps even the last two than all the rest put together. Learned that is about the fundamentals of the human animal that is us all.

    So in no particular order:-

    Listening: very few people can truly listen. When I say listen, I mean to be aware of every single tiny nuanced emotion that is triggered within you when the other person speaks. To be truly aware of our biases, our assumptions, our generalisations and our ability to distort, even subtly, what the other person is saying to suit ourselves, without judgement.

    That is listening. To be truly in the moment for the other person. Take that listening to another level and being able to see and feel how that other person sees and feels, even if what they say appears ludicrous or even insane to us, it is what they think. That person has a set of beliefs and biases that they may not even be aware of. It’s their model of the world. You can recognise it but don’t have to go along with it. However, it is them. I understand this may be called compassion. This is a new thing for me!

    Communicating: more of the time human beings are probably miscommunicating. If we can’t truly listen, if we let our beliefs cause judgements then we can’t communicate effectively. At a basic level this leads to disputes or misunderstandings between partners or on a global scale, leads to wars. Waring over religion is such an example. One set of brainwashing competing with another.

    We become the people we surround ourselves with: This is both positive and negative and probably quite a subtle and medium term effect. This has been a massive lesson for me in the last two years since I joined Glasgow Triathlon Club. I have not met a group of people so supportive, open minded and encouraging. No adventure is too mad or crazy. In no time at all this becomes infectious and you start to achieve more than you even imagined possible. You then share and support newer or less developed members.

    A fellow club member is also the coach of a woman’s Gaelic Football team. He has instilled a very simple but hugely powerful ethos in that team: be positive and have fun. In no time at all they have become the Scottish Champions, The British Champions, beaten the European Champions and will now play against the very best in Ireland. They love being surrounded by such positive people.

    Our body is amazing: If you give up on your body, it gives up on you but never lose hope, with a little bit of nurturing and patience it will repay you many times over. We often are in awe of the Olympians and para-Olympians but they are biologically no different from us. They have just put some time in. We don’t have to become super athletes but we all have an inner athlete which is bursting to come out. I was belted at school at P.E. I hated it, the teachers and sport in general but in the last year have participated and even won events.

    There are 80-year-olds who complete marathons and Ironman Triathlons, who ski, cycle and run. My better half was told by her GP she would need one or perhaps two knee transplants. She took up swimming, then cycling and now running. She no longer takes pain relief for her knees or struggles with bad knees. Give our bodies a chance and it repays with much better health, better sleep and a longer and higher quality of life.

    Our minds are amazing: For sure I am only on the early stages of this journey. Understanding where our motivation comes from or goes to. How our imagination works. What brings on depression and what improves it (exercise for me).

    Facebook offers us great lessons: some of the above thoughts have been triggered by seeing the posts of so many people. We learn that our friends who seem so “normal” can have very, very different views. Scottish Independence, Brexit, Religious views, even Rangers/Celtic fans re-enforce in me every day that there is no absolute. It’s just opinions and mine is as ridiculous to some people as theirs can be to me. I was a pretty black and white guy for a long time. The world is grey and ever changing. Reality is just an illusion created by our cultural brainwashing.

    Life is a series or stages of understanding: When you are a teenager you perhaps first become aware of what “childish” means. You have passed through “childish” and hence can look back. Then as you become a student you can look back at what being a “school kid” was. Same goes for your twenties, becoming employed, a parent etc. As we go through the various stages of life, up and down, we can look back and see what we learned and perhaps have some compassion for others in that “stage”.

    What excites me is the thought that I am currently just in a stage and at some point, I will pass through to another level of self-awareness. Who knows how many stages people go though. I think many are stuck in one level or have very low self-awareness. I was stuck in a level of materialism for a long time. I now care far less for possessions and more for my health, adventures and a few close people.

    If you got this far, well done. Here’s to another 50 years of learning and growing and of course our good health!

    Alan Mackie

    Alan Mackie

    Alan has been in various sales roles for 25 years and works with businesses struggling to grow revenue and profitability to the levels they wish. Often their sales people are using excuses to hide lack of prospecting or perhaps saying everything is down to price when really it’s their ability. Often the business doesn't have a successful sales culture.

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  • You Can’t Manage Time

    Can't Manage TimeSo much has been written in various sales training blogs about time management that you hardly have the time to read about it. There are numerous time management programs, processes, and tools, and even with all this help, you still can’t manage time no matter how hard you try.

    There are 24 hours in a day, 86,400 seconds ticking away second by second as you read this. You can’t save these seconds or store them up; when they are gone, they are gone! Never to be recovered. Never to be recycled and reused, and although you can’t manage time, you can manage your activities-what you do in the time that you have and that will be your most effective tool for getting the most out of your time. To be a really good time manager, you simply need a process to successfully manage your activities and to manage your activities, you only need to know two things:

    • What to do first.
    • What to do next.

    Step 1: To identify what to do, take a piece of paper and create a three column daily or weekly to do list. Label one column “Must Do,” the next column “Should Do,” and the third column “Stop Do.”

    Step 2: In the “Must Do” column, list all of the things that are imperative to accomplish, things that must be completed, things that are directly tied to your goals and responsibilities.

    Step 3: Review the “Must Do” list; prioritize the items in terms of importance and difficulty. It is imperative to do the most difficult first.

    Step 4: Next, plan carefully and assign each item an amount of time for completion.

    Step 5: In the “Should Do” column, list all of the things that you would like to do because they are important, although not essential.

    Step 6: In the “Stop Do” column, list those items which tend to use/kill time that are not productive. The “Stop Do” list is a daily and weekly reminder of things you should stop doing that are getting in your way. There should always be items on the “Stop Do” list.

    So start with the “Must Do” list and begin with the highest priority and most difficult item, or the item you least like to do, and do it NOW! Today, without exception. When the time for that activity is up, STOP! And move on to the next activity. If you continue to work beyond the predetermined time limit, you are stealing valuable time away from the next important “Must Do” task. If that project suffers because of insufficient time, you will soon be in debt to countless hours of time that will never come. When you complete the “Must Do” items, you can move on to the “Should Do” items, but not until the “Must Do” items are complete.

    As time goes on, some of the things on past “Should Do” lists will transfer to the “Must Do” list, but you will evaluate them and move them, not chance or pressure or unorganized time.

    Most people have trouble getting the most out of their time because not only do they not prioritize their “Must Do” and “Should Do” lists, but they actually have too many things on their list to begin with that are neither “should do” or ‘must do”… maybe the Stop Do will be as important for you as the Must Do!

    Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Finish each day and be done with it-tomorrow is a new day!”

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • 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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  • Call Higher or Die Slowly

    In today’s environment, we have to stop acting and looking like beggars with briefcases and begin to recognise that the name of the game is taking business away from our competitors. Let the others wrestle it out at the procurement department and with the low-level influencers.

    In today’s environment, the best salespeople call on the decision makers-presidents and CEOs. Why? Because presidents and CEOs don’t have budgets. They make budgets. To connect a president or CEO of a company, you need to present yourself as having equal business stature. You need to learn to sell the way a CEO sells. You need to read their books and use their techniques. The only way to blot out your competition for good is to be in the ear of the CEO or president and become one of their trusted advisors.

    Now stop and count. Of all of your prospects, how many are you calling on at the highest level possible? If zero, expect to fail or have an excessively long sale process.

    The two most dominating thoughts for a salesperson are:

    • I am the CEO of my business.
      • I absolutely believe my product or service, along with my expertise, can make a difference in your business.
    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • The Streets Are Littered With Flat-headed Squirrels

    Last week, I found myself trapped in a fast food restaurant. This restaurant boasts that they have served more than six billion. Still, the people in front of me seemed to be having a new experience; they simply could not decide between meal one and meal two. To call them indecisive would be an insult to vacillators all over the planet.

    There is one factor that will shape your business more than any other, and that factor is your ability to make decisions. Whether it is a hiring issue, a pricing issue, a customer service issue or any of the myriad decisions that we all face on a daily basis, your ability to decide and move forward will impact your business more than any other factor for the next 90 days.

    Truth be told, this ability to decide has already shaped the business you currently have. The decisions you have made (or have avoided making) have consequences.

    Next time you are out in your car, take a look and see if you can find any members of the squirrel family who happen to be indecisive. They will be the flat-headed ones squished in the middle of the road. They saw the car coming–they just were not able to figure out whether they wanted to move left or right.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • The Success Code  

    People define success in different ways: some by money, some by job importance and others by work/life balance.  Whichever way we view it, do we have both the aptitude and the ability to succeed – ‘can’ we succeed versus ‘will’ we?  As business people, there are four key areas which must be in place to ensure that ‘can’ becomes ‘will’.

    1.Self-talk

    Opinion has it that over 70% of the thoughts in our head are negative or limiting.  Negative thoughts create fear and hesitation, which prevent us from taking the critical actions necessary for success.  Take the time to reframe your self-talk from negative to positive.  Every time you have a limiting thought, develop a positive one to neutralise it.

    2. Baggage

    We all carry baggage around with us which holds us back, such as wanting to be liked, struggling to ask for decisions or being uncomfortable talking about money.  We need to understand our own baggage and make a commitment to learn new skills which will help us overcome it.

    3. Risk

    We all have a risk quotient that guides our actions.  Somewhere between risk everything or risk nothing is the right choice for all of us.  Stretching comfort zones allows us to take appropriate risks and achieve growth as a result.  We must examine our comfort zones because they create a success trap and we must decide to take bolder actions.

    4. Beliefs

    These are thoughts that have either been programmed by others, originate from past experiences or are based on judgments made through observation.  We should regularly and systematically test our beliefs to ensure they are based in reality, not fiction.  We must challenge outdated beliefs and create higher performing ones to free ourselves from mediocrity.

    Here are some pointers to success:

    • Examine your level of self-awareness. How large is the gap between where you think you are and where you really are in terms of success? Be honest!
    • End each day with a review of lessons learned and create a plan to utilise them the following day.
    • Review your skills toolbox and make sure you have the right tools for success. Where are the gaps?
    • Understand your ‘killer’ weaknesses and make sure they’re not hiding in your blind spots.
    • Every morning, ask yourself, “What would I attempt today if I had no fear of failure?”

    Melissa Arnot- the 31 year old who has climbed Mount Everest three times said “Out here, we face the consequences of our decisions every day.”  In business, this statement is no less true.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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  • Success is Permission to Fail

    Failure is part of the human condition.

    Despite this, we understand from childhood and as we enter the world of work that it is only when we succeed at something that we are rewarded with praise or personal gain. Yet failure is something to be celebrated and should not be feared or frowned upon. I would even go as far as to say that if you’re not failing then you’re missing out.

    I was reminded of this recently when listening to the story of Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. In 2002, Brunel came second in a BBC public poll to determine the ‘100 Greatest Britons’.

    Amongst Brunel’s greatest accomplishments, (the Great Western Railway to name just one) were numerous and sometimes catastrophic disasters. With each of his designs, he sought audacious solutions to long-standing engineering issues and this is what made him one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution. Brunel had an unrelenting determination to step outside his comfort zone, push boundaries and conquer personal failures.

    Business owners (and sales people) can learn a lot from the likes of Brunel. Typically we live our lives in one of two ways; we are either risk adverse in the way we do business or operate within our roles (often because we worry too much about perceived consequences) or we do take risks but when the risks don’t pay off, we look to apportion blame to others or cite external factors as the cause.

    If we are not failing, we are repeating the same patterns of ‘safe’ behaviour. When you passionately champion something that stretches you, of course, mistakes are bound to happen. Accept these mistakes and take personal responsibility for them, otherwise golden opportunities are wasted.

    If we are ambitious and want to create growth or change, then we must learn to fail and accept our part in the consequences constructively, in a way that doesn’t make us risk adverse.

    Learn to see failure as a tool to improve performance. It is not our successes that help us grow and enrich our lives; it is the lessons we take from our mistakes.

    Give yourself permission to fail and you’ll feel better for it.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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