• Selling the legal profession

    Are lawyers also salespeople? Selling the legal

    If you asked one of them directly, they’d likely scrunch up their face as if they’d just heard an awful verdict from the bench.

    But the truth is in this day and age the legal profession is as competitive as any other (if not more so) for new business. Why do you think that every non-profit board contains, at least, one lawyer? It’s likely just not out of the goodness of their collective hearts.

    So why do many lawyers and firms resist the idea of sales training to get an advantage over their competition? Especially when their industry and its marketing is so tightly regulated and scrutinized?

    Maybe it’s the word “sales” itself? In many cases, law firms and their partners just can’t get past the “head trash” of thinking of themselves as salespeople using “sales techniques” to get new business. Perhaps, they think to themselves “after all the hard work in law school and as an associate, now I’m just a salesperson?”

    The truth is the future of their firms and their livelihood is based on their ability to acquire and form lasting relationships. While they might not want to view it as “selling” it does include basic sales and Sandler principles including referrals, networking and yes even direct prospecting.

    We need to help lawyers reframe the way they think so they can get comfortable with the idea. Instead of sales they might be more comfortable with the idea of developing relationships.

    In either case, the Sandler Rules apply.

    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

  • Refine Your Sales Process with a Sales Template

    Refine your sales processA sales template is defined as the step by step set of interactions you want your prospect to go through because it will give you a clear competitive advantage or otherwise increase the chances of you winning the business. An efficient sale system enables you to consistently achieve a desired outcome or set of outcomes without wasting time, energy, money etc. The most effective sales templates are basic enough to accommodate for change (focused on each stage of the sales meeting). Having critical reviews of each step is important because it takes out the guess work and decreases the time of reinventing the process.

    Ways to develop your sales template:

    1. Develop a flow chart of your sales process (make the chart dynamic with options).
    2. Get specific – develop the script and questions to ask your prospect during each phase. Use the Sandler Submarine as a guide.
    3. Establish an internal and external sales template. Internal: used only within the organisation and external: detailing your process to the prospect. By doing so, it keeps all parties involved on the same page during the process.

    Still think it’s painful to sit down and establish a sales template for your business? Remember the Sandler Philosophy:

    1. Professional Selling is a noble profession. Do not let the prospect treat you with disrespect.
    2. Be sure to understand the prospect’s issue, budget and decision process before you try to convince them of anything.
    3. Help the prospect discover the real Pain and that you are the solution.

    Armed with the reasons to establish a sales template, the ways to go about doing so along with the reasons behind the why, are we at Sandler Training charge you to take action! Start and complete your sales template. Go as far as implementing and adapting your sales template until you establish a sales process that works well for you and your organization.

    You can follow the prospect’s plan and feed your ego. Or, you can follow your own plans and feed your family, but you can’t do both. The choice is yours.”

    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

  • 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.

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    LinkedIn

  • Do you pay staff commission?

    Paying Commission

    Paying Commission
    Companies paying commission and overtime will need to review their holiday pay arrangements and possibly the way they pay commission.

    Following a European Court of Justice decision and subsequent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in Lock vs British gas Trading, a case that was first heard in 2012, employers will have to pay commission as part of holiday pay. For more details of the case read on here: http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/holiday-pay-case-eat-confirms-employers-must-pay-commission/

    Commission, guaranteed overtime and overtime where an employee may be required to work will have to be included in holiday pay. It will affect staff who normally receive commission and overtime and are paid less when on annual leave. The details of how payments should be calculated have not been decided yet.

    British Gas have requested permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal so that there can be a definitive ruling on the issue so the case is likely to go to Appeal.

    So what should you do in the meantime?

    You can do nothing. You can get legal advice and change your commission and holiday pay structures. You can make financial provision for back pay.  Your lawyers are sure to be providing their clients with a briefing soon – so read it and then decide.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterLinkedIn

  • How many accounts can each person handle?  

    The “Dunbar Number” from Professor Dunbar, the Cambridge Psychologist suggests that the average number of “relationships” per person is 150. He concluded this from looking at the average number of Christmas cards each person sends, this included friends, family business associates etc. (Google him for more details).

    I’m not that sociable!

    What sort of “relationship” does a sales person need? Depends…

    If it is a “transactional sale” i.e. order taking then no “relationship” is required, all you are required to do is get out of the way!

    If it is a long term “consultative”, “trusted adviser” or “counsel” relationship there is a limit to the number of “professionally intimate relationships” any one person can have.

    Your sales template and account management template will also tell you how many “touches” are required (with how many people at each account), as well as inform you of how many accounts can be sold, on boarded and managed by the sales team.

    Interestingly, in my own current business, which requires quite a high level of professional intimacy the number I came up with, after spending huge amounts of time, money and research with consultants and coaches was…42.

    A familiar number to anyone who is a fan of “The Hitch-hikers guide to the Galaxy”

    Coincidence?

     

    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand

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

    More Posts - Website

    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

  • 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

  • The number one thing sales people DON’T do

    It has probably taken me nearly all of my 25 years in selling and 5 years training sales people to really understand their number one problem.

    It applies to all of us, almost all of the time. It is both very easy to recognise but very difficult to do anything about.

    The problem is most sales people are completely oblivious to it, and when I mean sales people I mean from the MD downwards.

    Oddly, you do have people who are very good at it in your organisation; they are probably in customer services or perhaps engineers.

    Some of the best I have met are not even in the commercial realm. I have been lucky enough to train groups of nurses on selling and they get this immediately, in fact they are surprised it has to be taught.

    If you haven’t guessed already, it was a key element in the title of Richard Branson’s latest book “The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh, and Lead”.

    He dedicates a series of chapters to listening.

    Sales people tend to be hired because they are very focused and driven. Nearly universally this drive comes from them wanting to do the best for themselves firstly, the company next and the customers thirdly. Although it is often all about themselves, and this is the root of the problem. You cannot listen at all effectively if there is any of “you” in the conversation.

    Many salespeople are stuck in transmit mode, telling to sell. The better ones start to ask questions, some even ask good questions. Few really listen to the answers or try to understand what is behind what has just been said and ask further questions. That is because they are trying to steer the conversation in a way that suits the sales person, so their brain is focused on the next “great” question and not on absolutely every aspect of what and how the prospect is communicating.

    The very best sales people develop a mindset that I call, curiously sceptical. Being curious is fantastic because you will keep on wanting to find out more, understand why and what is happening in the prospect’s world. Sceptical drives the mind to want to dig deeper to try to figure out why someone may be saying something, perhaps what they are not saying is even more important. In a meeting with several prospects at a time there is lots of non-verbal interaction. It takes real skill to observe and detect everything going on. Again you can’t do this if “you” are in the conversation.

    There is a lot written about non-verbal clues and body language. I am not a fan at all of the “mirror and matching” approach to bonding and rapport. When you are in rapport you can’t help “mirror and match”. Gain that rapport by deep listening.

    And a final tip – we all have a noisy head, a gibbering monkey, distracting us during meetings. It is easy to calm this annoyance. Once you have noticed you are thinking up the next question or wondering what you are having for tea or the weather forecast for the weekend, just pause and become aware of your breath. Don’t try and control it or change it. Just become aware for a couple of moments and refocus that curiously sceptical mind on your prospect.

    I was once told I was the most interesting person an Academic Lawyer had ever met (probably says more about the circles they move in than me). All I had done was truly listen with my curiously sceptical mindset.

    So the next time you are in company with anyone why not practice truly listening? You never know they might think you are the most interesting person they have ever met. Or failing that just decides to buy from you…

    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.

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

  • Is “selling” now an offensive term?

    I’ve just attended the launch of a brand new networking group targeting SMEs. The “Director Business XYZ” (salesperson) made their introduction stressing that both this and future events will definitely feature “no selling” but plenty of “networking” either side of educational presentations. In fact the host was “selling” the benefits of future attendance but without soiling the atmosphere with the “S” word.

    It struck me, if admitting sales intent was akin to harbouring an unhealthy interest in grazing animals or claiming experiences of experimentation by aliens in a spacecraft, why was anyone actually there?

    If I want to socialise then bars & friends seem to have that sorted, if I want entertainment then the Arts probably have those bases covered and if I want feeding then Nando’s offers up something more satisfying than the (‘tho rather excellent it must be said’) 10p coin sized individual button mushroom & melted stilton bites.

    I appreciate many networking groups are not designed to attract Feature & Benefit laden pitches, a revelation born in the ’70’s. So “No Product Feature Presentations” I can understand on some occasions.

    But don’t we PAY £’s to meet as many people as we can, to lead us to others for whom it makes sense to see if there’s a fit between our products/services and their business goals. In my case, I quickly discover that there’s a distinct absence of an orderly queue forming after I burst into a room, therefore I have to do something about it and start selling. I’m not embarrassed about it as that’s what everyone else should be doing too. It’s OK. Really.

    Outwardly saying you’re not selling, giving it another name like, let me think, Networking? Then talking about themselves, their products and volunteering unsolicited advice to someone who is too polite to shut you up, isn’t that just really bad, untrained selling?

    Selling is about things such as communicating, listening, being adult, understanding & relationships. Now I could happily go along with that over a button mushroom.

    If selling is important to your survival but you don’t know what to do or the whole thing makes you so uncomfortable you hate it, invest in someone who can teach you. If I want to go Sky Diving, I don’t watch a video, look out of the window and witness someone else do it then have a go myself, do I?  What if they are rubbish at it? So why risk my own & family’s wellbeing by doing the same with my business as the odds of success are similar?

    It’s also OK not to be comfortable being seen in the role of “salesperson”, let’s face it there are PLENTY of examples many people would like to shy away from. One of the best salespeople I ever met was a solicitor. Never in a million years would she have stated she was in sales, but that’s exactly what she was. She was brilliant too. Every person in a business or practice who speaks on an organisation’s behalf is in sales. Full Stop.

    I cringe at unprofessional selling, even when they pretend it’s something else by giving it another name. Done well though, you can have a great deal, and your business or home-life could be enriched.

    To be good at sales, you really should be able to get along with people as generally we all buy from people we like, who seem to understand us, when it makes sense. But if you feel that’s not you or you are unsure about being :-

    • Comfortable knowing that not every prospect qualifies to be your client
    • Clear about the results you need, then getting out there and making conversations happen
    • Sure what to say and how to say it

    ………….. perhaps its time to seek solicited advice before buying that jumpsuit on eBay…..

    My name is Chris Davies and I’m in the selling business, just like you.

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterLinkedIn

  • How to differentiate your business

    As businesses continue through uncertain times, I thought I would look at how differentiation could be the key to your success.

    Has the word “differentiation” started to sound a little tired? If so, this is because it is both misused and over used.

    We need to pause and think about what differentiation actually means to businesses. In business, when we talk about differentiation we are talking about separating ourselves from our competitors. Ideally, we want to achieve two things by doing this. Firstly, to attract customers to buy from us, and secondly, to have them buy at our price. Working with businesses from a number of sectors, I find that they don’t always realise that a key purpose for striving for differentiation is to maintain their price point; as a result they often end up selling themselves short. This doesn’t look like real success to me.

    Differentiation should therefore not be seen as an end in itself but a means to an end, namely to sell on terms that make sense. Additionally we need to adapt our attempt to differentiate our businesses to today’s tough and increasingly cluttered marketplace.

    In a series of 2 blogs I have looked at the 5 things you need to consider when striving for that all important differentiation.

    1. Know your competitors

    Understanding your competitors is at the crux of differentiation – it’s only by doing this, that you can carve out your own market segment. However, this again requires a new way of thinking.

    Your competitor isn’t necessarily the shop next door. You need to think wider than this.  There are obvious competitors here such as similar products/services, geographies or employee pools. There are also the less obvious ones such as people who provide a very different solution but one that fixes the same problem, meets the same need as yours.  There is also the frequently overlooked ‘competitor’ which is the option to do nothing or to do it in-house.

    It is therefore important to think carefully about your competitors, know what they offer and know what you have to do differently to deliver a more attractive proposition for your customers.

    1. Authentic differentiation

    We hear a great deal about developing our unique selling proposition.  However, your USP, like differentiation, is a concept that can come across as trite and pedestrian in customer engagement as we all work so hard to prove how different we are from competitors and as a business. As brand-savvy consumers, expectation of differentiation had grown.

    There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to crystallising your USP or point of differentiation. I quote Steve Jobs here when I say, quite simply, “Brands are themselves”. You need to know – beyond making a profit – what the purpose of your business is and what you believe in it. There has to be that authentic core at the centre of what you do, rather than merely focusing on “What will sell more?” Customers today are sophisticated and discerning – they will see through the empty promise. Working with CEOs and business owners, I constantly encourage them to go back to the seed of their business.  To identify your business essence, get back in touch with yourself and your business to create that consistent and genuine proposition.

    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