• I hired experienced Sales People, so my Job is done right?

    Small business owners tend to stay small because they do not install systems and processes into their business. Most owners want to hire “experienced” sales people. The mentality is to hire someone, teach them about their products and services, then expect the person to “go sell”. What’s the problem? If we hire experienced sales people, once they learn the product or service, they should be good to go, right?

    Wrong. Why do small business owners experience so many failed sales hires? Largely because there is too much left for interpretation between knowing the product and making sales. Owners hope “experience” will fill the gap. The truth is that a sales person’s experience in one company or industry most often does not transfer to another. The problem could be a different type of customer, a difference on the level of customer one should call upon, or a different set of competitive issues. There are countless reasons that explain why an “experienced” sales person will not succeed in a new company.

    What should a business owner do to overcome this issue? Creating a common set of expectations and defining the customer profile are great places to start. A customer profile may be defined in terms of geography, prospect type, industry focus, and appropriate level of contact within the client organisation. Clearly identifying the prospective customer base will keep your sales people focused in the right area. Holding sales people accountable to a common set of expectations ensures they will be completing activities that enable their success.

    Further, define your sales person’s role by clearly articulating how they should make contact with the new prospects. Teach them how to start a conversation with the target client. Help them understand the common problems your company solves for new customers. Challenge them to bring back quality information gathered in their sales calls. Make them qualify new prospects in terms of the customer’s ability to spend money and make decisions. The more detailed the activity, the more success your sales people will find.

    While hiring “experienced”, sales people is a decent first step, using specific selling systems and processes are the only way to put that “experience” to good use.

    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

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

  • Turn Bad Times to Your Benefit

    Yes, sales at the big stores are awful. The housing market in many areas is lousy. Consumer confidence is weak and may be even weaker by the time you read this. I don’t disagree with any of that. Facts are facts.

    What I do take issue with is the notion that this can’t be a time of strong productivity for the sales professional. It can be and should be a great time, no matter how discouraging the economic indicators may be.

    Pessimism may be contagious, but it shouldn’t be.

    There are at least two reasons this should be a period of profit and productivity for the savvy sales professional.

    First, most sales people are paralyzed in today’s environment. They don’t have a system for success and, facing a difficult environment, are only reactive. They’re shot-gunning their efforts. If you have a process or system, and you trust it and embrace it, you enjoy a distinct advantage over other sales people.

    Second, you need to identify the real issues facing decision makers in this environment. When you have identified those issues, you will be able to position your product or service so that your prospects must have it to resolve the problems they face. Most CEOs right now are trying to streamline processes, decrease expenses and increase revenues. So you will need to help them discover that your product or service is necessary to their success in meeting those goals. That’s how you distinguish your product or service. It goes from being a nice-to-have to a need-to-have.

    This is not a time to talk about your product or service’s features. This is a time for a pain-based approach. You need to identify your prospect’s pain and demonstrate how what you are selling removes that pain.

    Here’s why the prospect’s discomfort works to your benefit. A lot of expert salespeople have never learned this, but successful sales depend less on the sales professionals’ ability to talk rather than on their ability to listen. (Many sales people who rely almost exclusively on their own gift of selling tend to burn out quickly and needlessly.)

    The secret of selling lies in getting prospects to talk about their pain. That’s because the way to make a sale is to identify the prospect’s discomfort and then to show how the product or service you are selling makes that discomfort go away. Simple, isn’t it?

    And it is in down times like these that prospects are most likely to speak with the greatest honesty about the problems they face. Sometimes they will pour their hearts out to you, which is not often the case when they’re flying high.

    Plus, they’ve got the time. Now it’s up to you to seize it.

    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

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

  • DIG DEEPER THAN MOST

    In Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich, R. U. Darby learned the secret of success. When all seemed hopeless in his search for gold, digging three more feet uncovered riches beyond Darby’s wildest dreams.

    People who want to give up on a goal because of some short-term discomfort or temporary circumstances are invariably discouraged. They are rarely involved fully in what they are doing or with whom they are doing it, and have no idea how to move forward. They are often resigned, passive people who suffer from profound inactivity. And continuous complaining changes nothing.

    People that want to escape uncomfortable territories often move away to imaginary places and the reality of real places often come up short in comparison. The problem is that they never make that imaginary place a reality so they end up nowhere, which is often dissatisfying and makes them feel empty and cheated their whole life.

    When fear, worry and self-doubt plague us, it’s going that three feet more that may uncover the riches and fulfilment you seek. It’s important to work through the grey areas, the set-backs along the way and get comfortable with the problems are often a set up for a comeback and are only ever temporary.

    Adversity is normal, it’s not something we can escape in life. When it messes with your goals and plans you have two choices. You can either complain till you can’t complain anymore which will not only make you feel worse about your situation but waste valuable time, or you can go back to the drawing board, readjust your goals and plans and take action. Disappointment should be our fuel, we all have to deal with it and some of the most successful actors, entrepreneurs and musicians have faced disappointment in some way or another.

    We always have a choice to make and the deeper you dig when life tries to throw you curve balls, the stronger your character and the closer you get to your success.

    And like famous actor Robin Williams says “Reality… what a concept, and it can be a barrier – if you let it.”

    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

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

  • Manage your behaviour, not numbers

    You can’t manage what you can’t control but you can manage what will influence what you can’t control.

    You can’t manage the number of sales you’re going to make but you can manage the behaviour that will help you make those sales. It is clear that you simply can’t predict who will and won’t buy from you. It is only the prospect who knows if they really want what you’re selling but on the rare occasion. The prospect isn’t very clear on what they want specifically but they know they need a solution (Which you can give them). Whether they have the budget and if they can make the decision to move forward is completely outside of our control.

    However, there are some things in your control, such as:

    • Strategically developing a plan based on the number of calls we need to make.
    • Creating questions that qualify the prospect for need, budget and decision-making.
    • Disqualifying those prospects who won’t or aren’t ready to move forward.

    We frequently let our persistence stall our sales development and this can keep us from identifying whether a prospect qualifies or disqualifies to be a client.

    If it happens that it’s the wrong timing for the prospect. We can ask questions to discover if there is a better time to approach the topic. Whilst this may be a good use of persistence it is of no use if the prospect is not completely engaged in the agreement to regroup at another time.

    Pipeline filling behaviour will improve your chances of closing business. The reason we hang in too long or bail out too easily when prospecting or in the middle of a sale tends to centre around three things:

    • Our Attitude
    • Our Behaviour
    • Our Technique

    Managing your behaviour and attitude is all about doing the things that will result in gaining business. It’s about taking control of where and with whom you spend your time and energy. It’s ultimately about developing a plan and following it through each time, and being part of your plan rather than the prospect’s.

    Remember: Some will. Some won’t. Who cares? Who’s next?

    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

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

  • 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.

    More Posts - Website

  • 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.

    More Posts - Website

  • Marathon Blog

    This is worse than cold calling! Or 5 Lessons Learned from running my first marathon.

    A few weeks ago I ran a marathon.  26.2 miles was certainly a challenge.  It seemed completely do-able when I signed up on Christmas Day 2014 (after perhaps a glass of champagne too many).  Up to this point, I had never raced further than 10km and many people suggested a half marathon first but I decided I might as well set a big goal, so a marathon it was.  Now that a few weeks have gone past, and the legs have stopped hurting and I no longer need to wince when going down stairs, I can reflect on what I learned from completing this.

    1. You cannot be too clear with your goals.

    A question people have asked me is, “Did you think you wouldn’t finish?” To be truthful at no point did I feel I wouldn’t finish.  I felt I wanted it to end quicker than the 26.2 miles, I felt my muscles were sore and I felt it was a stupid thing to have signed up for, but never that I wouldn’t finish it.  I had set out with the goal that I would complete this before they closed the race down and the time to complete the marathon I wanted to be between 4 and a half hour and 5.  I also decided before I started that I would really enjoy the first half.  And I did.

    2. It’s OK to rely on a support team.

    For those of you who know me well, you will be aware I am a rather independent person. It is one of the things I value about myself so it was tricky for me to admit that I could not have done this without the help of my parents.  They were stationed at every 5 miles and this simple fact made the miles just tick past.  The most it would ever be on the mile counter until I saw them again was 4 miles. It made the 26.2 miles seems like merely 4 checkpoints and then the end.

    3. Preparation – not hitting wall

    As I have competed in triathlon for a number of years, I have consulted a professional sports nutritionist to help me with endurance races.  She has helped me with the calculation for race preparation and also for the nutrition needed whilst racing.  This meant that with the help of my amazing parents (see previous point), every time I saw them, they handed my next nutrition pack.  The beauty of this was I did not hit the wall (when your body runs out of fuel to keep going).

    4. Hills occur. Whether you want them to or not

    The marathon I completed was hilly.  I knew this before I started but still the sheer amount of hills surprised me.  Coming from Oxfordshire, we have a few hills but not like these ones on the outskirts of Bath.  One of these “hills” went up for over a mile and a half – surely, surely that counts as a mountain? It’s not dissimilar to when we set ourselves goals, we know there is likely to be something that makes it difficult but still we are surprised when it happens.  The main point is the hills didn’t last forever.  They certainly weren’t easy, but they finished.

    5. You are unremarkable.

    This comes down to some advice someone gave me the night before the race.  At the time, I didn’t think it was very helpful but it turned out to really help.  They said, “you’re not going to come first, you’re not going to come last.  You are just there as a grid filler, a body to make the race go ahead. They need lots of people like you.” From about mile 14 onwards, when the whole race became less enjoyable, I thought about this.  I thought about how hundreds of thousands of people complete marathons every year if not more and there was nothing special about me. This helped me to keep going as if all these other people could finish it, I was just like them, there was nothing special about me that would make me not finish, so I did.

    So that all important question…. Will I do it again?  Absolutely!  Not this year though and on a flat course by choice – I mean why make more obstacles than you have to!

    Anneli Thomson is MD of Sandler Training in Oxfordshire.  She ran the marathon to raise money for Myton Hospice as a family member had been helped by them last year.  If you would like to check her progress or sponsor her – the link is here (http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Annelismarathon).

    Anneli Thomson

    Anneli Thomson

    Anneli is an expert in sales culture and talent management. She is a keen champagne drinker and triathlon enthusiast. The UK Franchisee of the Year 2014.

    More Posts

    Follow Me:
    TwitterLinkedIn

  • 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

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterLinkedIn

  • Courtship. Marriage. Divorce.

    Typically I hear from Business Owners that their problems are either ‘process’ or ‘people’ related. But a lot of time it’s their ‘process of attracting people’ that’s the real problem.

    What do I mean? Well, think of this. You want a business full of A-players. The people who get things done. Quickly, efficiently and effectively. These A-players excel and take responsibility for recruiting more staff into your business. But an A-player will only accept other A-players into the business. They won’t recruit B or C-players because their performance wouldn’t be up to scratch. But if your processes are wrong (or non-existent!) you might miss an A-player and recruit a B-player, but that’s OK right? Wrong. The B-player will never recruit an A-player into the business, because they’ll feel threatened. So B-players recruit C-players and the downward cycle continues.

    The cost of getting it wrong when recruiting isn’t just a few months’ wages to the person that didn’t work out. It’s the wages, recruitment fee’s, on-boarding, lost sales opportunities and so on.  So wouldn’t it be better to invest some time into getting the next hire right?

    So what to do? Well we all go on training courses – sales training, management training, tech training, communication training, presentation training etc etc – but we never go on ‘HIRING’ training!

    Traditional recruitment follows an all too familiar path; resignation of key member of staff, panic, quick job advert, interview applicants and take someone on because we can’t be without someone! Well firstly we need to consider attracting the A-players to our business even when we’re not recruiting. And so your management team needs to coach to a common process, giving you tangible results to evaluate current staff performance levels. This also allows you to see if you are happy (or not) with the performance of the team – most likely highlighting some skills-gaps that need addressing. If we see an A-player who we know can complement what we’ve already got and bring these skills – do we really need a vacancy to justify bringing them in?

    Before you hire anyone though you need to be clear about the behaviours you will measure and the tools to measure them. Utilising platforms such as Extended DISC and Devine allows you to take an objective view of a potential employee, not just throw caution to the wind because you liked them at interview!

    Talking about interviews … make sure you have a clear up-front contract with the interviewee about the agenda for the meeting; setting clearly defined objectives and outcomes at the start helps you to both decide if you want to pursue things at the end, and helps to eradicate the time-wasters. Use a mixture of direct, assumptive, situational and competency based questions to evaluate suitability and know exactly what behaviours and attitudes you’re looking for. Remember, no mind-reading and do not accept wishy-washy answers.

    If you were going to spend £100,000 on new capital equipment you’d be pretty sure to do your due diligence. Hiring a new employee is no different, take references! Hire slowly but fire quickly.

    But if it is going to end in divorce don’t forget the Exit Interview. This is the time to learn what went wrong so you can avoid the mistakes next time.

    So ask yourself this: “Are you and your management team following a process to attract A-players, or are you winging it and hoping for the best?”

    Andrew Pickersgill

    Andrew Pickersgill

    Andrew is Managing Director for Sandler Training North East. A business development and sales coach with over 20 year’s practical experience giving advice to ambitious companies and individuals. Primarily Andrew has operated with owner-managed businesses who want to accelerate the growth of their business, or simply improve the results of their sales team. After a career selling everything from technology, financial services, logistics, recruitment and coaching Andrew is perfectly placed to help with your sales needs. Andrew is passionate about changing your attitudes to selling, allowing you to understand that a ‘no’ can be a good thing. He also plays an active role in increasing the employability of 16-24 year olds, attending a reception dinner at the House of Lords as recognition of his on-going work in this area.

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    Twitter

  • New Light through Old Windows: a new approach to selling…that works!

    Selling has been going on since the beginning of mankind. The challenge remains the same: how do we cost effectively and efficiently find people to buy from us and not from our competitors.

    Thus the “window” is unchanged, and to be frank it is now slightly grubby.

    The image most of us have of a sales person is someone who is pushy, does not listen, interrupts what you are doing, does not understand your business, tells you what they can do for you and so on.

    The literature does not help us either.  I put ‘Define Sales’ into Google and found this:

    “Selling focuses on the needs of the seller and the need to convert product to cash….To put it another way, it’s sales’ job to influence the customer to buy what the company has produced.”

    Whilst I can’t say I agree with this definition it does support the idea that a salesperson is selfishly motivated, potentially manipulative and only interested in money.  Furthermore, they talk a lot, mostly about themselves, or their products or services and why people should buy; they rarely listen.

    Understanding the reasons for the generally negative perception of sales is critical to understanding how to fix the problem – selling and buying has been going on for hundreds of years and both sides have long established behaviour patterns and expectations.  At Sandler we have found that these do not serve the best interests of either the buyer or the seller.  Thus the need to shine “new light” through the old window of sales; to adopt a different approach where the expectations of both sides are openly shared thus allowing a genuine exploration of whether or not the buyer has a need and the seller can best meet that need.

    STOP START
    Doing what sales people do Doing the opposite
    Selling features and benefits.  People don’t buy them. Establishing rapport and continue to build rapport and trust throughout the entire selling relationship, not just during the first five minutes
    Acting like a salesperson Behaving as an equal and being authentic
    Playing games and withholding information Adopting a direct, no-nonsense approach to selling that frames the sales meeting as a business meeting between equals, where the sales person facilitates an honest, non-manipulative exchange of information
    Relying on your presentation skills to seal the deal; you can devote a lot of time and energy to a sales meeting only to discover that the necessary interest level was never there Focusing on qualifying the prospect; do they have a compelling reason to buy which is personal to them?  Are they willing and able to spend the necessary money, time and resources to fix the problem? What is their decision making process and is it acceptable to you?
    Focusing on handling objections.  By doing so you perpetuate a system of “positive selling” in which the sales person pitches and the prospect assumes a negative role. Accepting that only the prospect can handle their own objections.  Your role is to facilitate their doing this for themselves, not trying to do it for them.

    Lisette Howlett

    For twenty years Lisette Howlett lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the USA where she held senior positions running global programmes in some of the world’s leading companies. Since leaving corporate life Lisette has been successfully running her own consultancy for 8 years. Typically her sales training clients include entrepreneurs, CEOs, start-ups, Sales Directors, MDs, Senior Partners and business owners – often these are people who don’t consider themselves as traditional sales people but are committed to growing their businesses and thus recognise the need to sell more effectively and more authentically. Visit her Huffington Post Blog Tel: 020 7484 5556

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

http://healthlibr.com