• What is your highest value behaviour?

    “Priority” entered the English language in the 14th century. It comes from a Latin. “A priori” means “first”. In the hustle and bustle of the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution, the drive to do more and multitask encouraged its pluralisation from priority, to priorities.

    Consider for a moment, is it possible to have many “first”?

    The bastardisation of the word can explain why we are often busy going nowhere with our sales.

    We exist the enable our clients to focus on their highest contribution so they can do less but better and get paid more. Isn’t this exactly what distinguishes the greatest salespeople from the average?

    I coached a client last year who was tracking at 23% of target. He was afraid he was going to lose his job and had a quarter to turn things around. He funded the coaching himself and over 6 months he went from a pipeline for the year of £600,000 to hitting just shy of £4,000,000. He ended the year at £9,000,000 on a £3m target.  He went from the lowest performing salesperson in his region to the highest. His margin was the highest in the company. He got so busy he gave away 81% of his accounts to other salespeople because his pipeline is already 300% over what he needs to achieve quota in 2017.

    We focused on the highest contribution behaviour of filling the pipeline with 3-5x the number and value of prospects he needed to hit his number. This required he plan how he would approach his territory around his Keep, Attain, Recapture and a Expand accounts. He built account plans, touch plans, pursuit plans to make hitting his target a predictable certainty instead of a wish.

    He focused on disqualifying the non-prospects early so he could focus all his time on those who can and will buy, rather than being distracted by those who might but won’t.

    Each day he focused on his highest contribution behaviour. In each account he focused only on advancing the opportunity or the relationship, be that moving ahead to a next step or developing a referral or another sponsor.

    He works less than any of his peers.  He works better than his peers. His pipeline has 21 times more value than the next highest performing salesperson in his region.  I don’t suppose less but better for more is the kind of outcome you dream of in your business, is it?

  • 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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  • Courage: Our free sales resource

    “Sales is a numbers game”.  How many times have you heard that?

    “Half of all marketing expense is wasted, we just don’t know which half”.  Is that familiar?

    What if they were just excuses to play it safe, not question our self-fulfilling beliefs, and continue to do what we have always done?

    Playing it safe.

    Experience tells us that if we want more sales, we have 3 options. Invest time and money and:

    Do more!   More marketing, more sales effort, more people.
    Do it better!   Up-skill the sales team, up-grade website and up-date the sales strategy.
    Do it differently!   Re-brand, re-position, re-vision.

    All of which work, but often just well enough to give us an excuse to play it safe and continue with what we know.

    Because of this, we can fail to consider using an infinitely powerful, free resource that is always available. Our inner courage.

    Courage. A three-step process.

    1. Ask yourself the following question. “What would I do if I had NO FEAR and knew I could NOT FAIL?”

    Who would you “cold call” that could transform your business?

    Where would you make a speech that would re-position you as an authority or industry thought leader?

    How would you talk to a prospect? To a customer?

    What stretch goal would you set yourself that would help you achieve the success you know you and your family deserve?

    What ambitious plan would you build to achieve your vision of success?

    1. If you think of something preposterous, something that you want to dismiss out of hand without really examining too closely, something that you want to back away from instinctively, don’t. Courage is acknowledging those things that scare us, but we do it any way.
    1. Share your options and your plan with a trusted advisor. Have them hold you accountable for taking action, learning a invaluable lessons from your failures and success, and encourage you to keep going.

    Success is the other side of the fear barrier- Sven Goran Eriksson

    Courage is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm- Winston Churchill

    No one achieves greatness by playing it safe- DH Sandler



    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand runs Sandler Training in the Midlands based at the Innovation Centre in Longbridge.

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  • Practice Makes Perfect

    Salespeople invest time developing their pitch, formulating questions, and preparing responses to expected questions and objections from the prospect. They rehearse, refine, and rehearse some more.

    Unfortunately, for some salespeople, the preparation becomes a roadblock to their success. How? The salesperson meets with the prospect and delivers his well-crafted well-rehearsed message. But, instead of paying attention to the prospect’s reactions, he is running through a mental checklist of important points to cover. He misses the look of puzzlement on the prospect’s face. He doesn’t notice the prospect casually glancing at phone messages.

    At a strategic point in the presentation, the salesperson asks one of the pre-planned “commitment” questions. Again, instead of focusing all his attention on the prospect’s answer, he is thinking about his response to an anticipated stall or objection. The meeting ends with the prospect promising to give the presentation some thought.

    The salesperson considers the meeting a waste of time and blames the prospect for not paying attention…and not recognizing the obvious value he presented. He was so concerned about delivering his message as he rehearsed it, he missed the expression of scepticism on the prospect’s face. He never recognized the point when the prospect lost interest. He never had a chance to recover.

    It’s OK to plan and rehearse your meeting. Practice, practice, practice until you have internalized the message you want to get across and the information you need to obtain – then let go. Sales meetings rarely go as imagined. After all, the prospect isn’t working from a script…and neither should you. If you’ve thoroughly internalized the information, you won’t have to worry about delivering it in a structured manner.

    You can direct your attention to your prospect and let the information flow based on the prospect’s interest and reactions.


    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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  • Sales Training for the Prospecting Marathon

    Prospecting MarathonWhat does a marathon runner know about making prospecting calls?

    Probably very little. Maybe nothing! However, the strategy the marathon runner uses to prepare for a race can help you become a better prospector. No runner started out as a marathon runner. They trained over time to build their strength and endurance to go the distance. The first day they couldn’t run 100 yards before gasping for breath. The first week was torture. The second week was a little better. The third week better yet, and so on. With continual practice, desire and effort, they became a marathon runner.

    Take a lesson from the marathon runner. If you are struggling with 10 or 15 prospecting calls a day, how will you ever make 30, 40 or whatever number your prospecting plan calls for? If the novice marathon runner is gasping for breath after 100 yards, how can he eventually last for two miles, eight miles, 12 miles or 26 miles? He must condition himself.

    While marathon runners may have their own trainers, you’ve got me and the rest of the folks at Sandler Training to give you a little sales training advice:

    Pace yourself, and you’ll get there.

    You may not get past six calls the first day without gasping for breath, but the next day you can do seven, the next day eight, the next day nine or 10 and continue that practice until you can go the distance.

    An average sales cycle to move a new prospect beginning from your initial introductory call to closing a sale takes an average of 12 quality touches (and that is not 12 irritating voicemail messages) over an 18 month period. That’s at least, one meaningful connection every 45 days. Remember, it’s 12 touches over 18 months on average. You can be better than average if you get better at your technique and better at your strategy. You don’t have to be a marathon prospector right away, but you better start your training program, rest up and get ready for the long road ahead. As long as you have a contact schedule and strategy in mind, you’ll see that finish line

    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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  • 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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    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

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  • More on goals

    January is the time for setting goals.  Indeed, many business professionals are familiar with writing business goals for the upcoming year.  Unfortunately, it’s common to find these well intentioned goals tossed in a file drawer not to be looked at or referred to again.  What was intended to serve as a guiding force or roadmap for positive behaviours and change has been forgotten.  Does this behaviour seem flawed to you?

    Goal setting is all about creating balance. Goals need to address the whole person, not just the professional person.  If attaining a goal means sacrificing in other areas of your life, (health, family etc), one risks creating imbalance.  This imbalance can jeopardise not only the success of attaining the goal but risks creating a negative impact on other areas of life.”

    Sandler training has been working with professionals to develop, execute and achieve goals for more than 30 years.  By utilising a proven ten step methodology, people are able to identify, organise and plan activities designed to move them towards goal attainment.  The Sandler Goal Setting System is designed to address all areas of life so that goals work in harmony thereby accelerating success rates.

    Sandler’s 10 Steps To Goal Setting

    1. Label eight sheets of paper each with one life goal area: 

    Social, Physical, Financial, Mental (Educational), Professional, Family, Personal, Spiritual. Reflect on your current status within each life goal area and write it down.

    1. List everything you would like to accomplish for each life area

    Don’t pre-judge your thoughts, write them all down as if nothing is out of reach

    1. Prioritise goals in each of the eight areas from most important to least important.
    2. Create a master list of the top three goals from each of the 8 areas.
    3. Prioritise the master list.  Check for balance and any possible conflicts
    4. Write a detailed description of each master list goal and how you are going to achieve it.

    Goals must be SMART:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
    Goals are made to make you stretch so don’t make them too easy.

    1. Develop a timetable for each goal

    Break down long term goals into short-term activities with deadlines
    Include daily, weekly and monthly activities

    1. Share your goals with others – Hold yourself accountable.
    2. Review your goals regularly and track your progress
    3. Be persistent – DO NOT QUIT
      Priorities change over time so be prepared to redefine or realign you goal
      Only abandon a goal if it becomes irrelevant, never because it’s too difficult

    There are 68,899 books on goal setting listed on Amazon.co.uk so if you need more specifics on the process, any one of them can provide them. Experience, however, tells me that it’s not about the “how”, it’s about the “whether”.  My hope is that people reading this article will be motivated to take action, either setting goals for the first time, or setting more challenging goals, or scheduling time for review and refinement … and ultimate success.

    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

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  • 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

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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’.


    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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