• Why doesn’t your sales team perform?

    We hire salespeople who claim good past results and appear professional and competent at interview and then they fail to hit agreed targets. Why is that?

    Logically it must be one of or a combination of

    • We hired the wrong people
    • They don’t know what to do
    • They don’t know how to do it
    • They are not correctly supported
    • They are not correctly held accountable

    How can we make sure we hire the right people? There are no formal qualifications and past experience is no real guarantee of future results. Selling is a skill, not a step by step guaranteed process. When you first go into business and you decide who is going to bring in the revenue, you are very aware how that person is an entrepreneur with you, both of you trying to figure out how to make it all work. That does not change. Imagine how rigorous you would be with taking on a co-partner right now. That’s how careful you should be hiring your next salesperson.

    You would expect salespeople to know what to do. Unfortunately, a lot do not, and it is not helped by the fact that the company does not know what it wants them to do either; how much of what kind of business from what kind of client and by when? If you are unclear about what you really want, you will get whatever is easiest for your salesperson to sell.

    Salespeople are, in the main, untrained. They may have gone on the odd course for a day or so over their career but they have learnt “on-the-job” by experience and shadowing other salespeople. That often leads to the “blind leading the blind”. You cannot assume they know how to do the job, however good their results appear to be.

    Correctly supporting your team means Supervising, Training, Coaching and Mentoring.  You might not think you should do those things for your accountant, ops team, HR etc, but you need to do them for your sales team. In fact, if you want any team to perform well, it is down to their manager to give the right support.

    Accountability is scary. It looks like “micromanaging”. In fact, good salespeople will look for accountability partners as they know that distractions come along all too easily and they need the discipline of reporting behaviour activity, not just results. Managers do not like the idea sometimes because they do not want to hold their salesperson’s feet to the fire and they are not sure what behaviour they should be holding them accountable to or how best to do so.

    If you want your team to perform well it us up to you to make sure you have the right people doing the right thing the right way with the right support and the right accountability process.

    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

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  • TARZAN & THE ELEPHANTS

    tarzan  & the elephants23My Mum was a funny lady and during my youth, she was constantly throwing riddles at me.

    Some of her riddles came in pairs and the pairs typically had a point.

    One such pair of riddles has been a huge lesson for me as I have gone through life. Here they are.

    Riddle 1: What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming down the road? “Here come the elephants.”

    Riddle 2: What did the elephants say when they saw Tarzan coming down the road? Nothing, elephants don’t talk.

    Most people fail to get either answer correct. And despite missing the first question, most people are too proud of their intelligence to say “I don’t know” in answer to the second question. My Mom was making two points. First, she wanted me to realize that some questions are simple, I needed to not over-think things. After all what else would Tarzan have said?

    She also wanted me to understand that answering a question with words I just heard can take me way off track. Just because the question asks about talking elephants does not mean elephants can talk.

    As a sales trainer, I spend my days trying to help salespeople and business owners realize that questions you are asked by prospects are rarely straightforward. The questions that prospects ask come from their world and are based around their current situation, and how your sales team handles these questions is the key to selling success.

    Does your sales team know when to say “I don’t know” and when to say “why do you ask?” These are the keys to keeping sales people out of trouble.

    Typically, our clients tell us that learning to handle their prospects questions is the primary driver of their new found sales success. Handling these prospect questions correctly leads professional sales people to bigger, more focus and, best of all, more qualified chances to make sales.

    Are you ready to help your sales team learn the best way to handle the questions your prospects have?

    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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  • Worrying Trends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

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

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  • The Fourth Wall of Business

    In the theatre, the “fourth wall” is the wall between the actors and the audience. Behind this wall, the world of the actors is exactly as the audience imagines it. The good guys and the bad guys all fit within the story being told. If the fourth wall is “broken” the audience is directly acknowledged theThe Fourth Wall of Business management spell is broken. Once broken, the fourth wall is hard to reconstruct and the audience may not be happy. Think of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables during first act, turning to the audience and speaking in a normal, loud Brooklyn accent, “Yo, could you get off the cell phone? I’m trying to work here!”

    The Fourth Wall of Business is similar. As the owner of your business, your employees look up to you. As a leader, you are their “hero.” If you are a customer service pro, clients look to you as their rescuer. Doctors, Attorneys, Accountants, Architects are the professionals we place on a pedestal. The pressure is to maintain the “fourth wall.”

    Owners and professionals break the fourth wall with actions that don’t fit with the story. When employees see the boss crying, drunk, acting out, cheating, lying, or acting out of character, then the spell is broken. Years ago, my father was loyal to his physician, until one day the doctor told my dad “your gall bladder needs to come out.” My father picked up his coat and left the office without a word. The doctor called him later that night and my father told him, “It’s in my record that I had my gall bladder out 10 years ago, goodbye.” This was an honest mistake, but for my dad the fourth wall was broken; the hero was an illusion.

    All leaders must always be leaders-in and out of the office. People follow people who are like them, they like them and there is a mutual respect. Business relationships are frequently dissolved for “they just are not the same person anymore.” In my career, I have seen bosses cry, cheat, and lie, cause others to lie—all outside the character I thought them to be. They lost my loyalty and my relationship changed to one of mutual distrust. Why? Because if they would do it to clients, they will do it to me. They broke the veil of the fourth wall. Yet prior to the break— I was blindly loyal.

    Leadership is a Broadway play, performed by a psychiatrist!

    Read your audience, know your lines, and be what the audience expects-every time.

    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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  • Salespeople don’t need regular training.

    Attending the BESMA awards run by the ISMM recently I was forcibly struck by a comment made by one of the successful senior salespeople attending.

    He works for a multi-billion turnover multinational manufacturing organisation. He was singing the praises of his company, in particular about their sales training. He told me that in his long decades of selling he had not been trained since he started his profession until his current company who insist on good excellent technical and sales training.

    “So what does your monthly programme look like?” I asked.  “Monthly? Monthly? I don’t want to waste my time in sales training every month!” He said. He had only been on a day or so training in the last twelve months.

    This got me thinking on two levels.

    On the first level, how many companies had he worked for? For how many years had he not had any reinforcement, refresher, sharpening, challenging, developing investment?

    From my own experience I know the answer. Big companies often hire good sales people and expect them to be and continue to be good salespeople.

    Bearing in mind they are the engine for revenue, would that same set of companies take the same view over any other delicate, mission critical tools? No upgrades. No maintenance. No sharpening and allow the cutting edges to go blunt. Would they? It would simply not make sense. And yet sales people don’t get trained regularly.

    I think I understand why. When you hire a legal person or an accounting person and once they are qualified they don’t need more professional training. You hire them and they do the job. If they don’t, you fire them.

    So why should salespeople be any different? In fact salespeople are very good at claiming at interview stage (and beyond) that they are brilliant at what they do and need no supporting net as they weave their personal magic across the high wire.

    However, accountancy is a process that does not engage on a personal level. The success of the process is not intimately linked with what is going on inside the head of the person doing it.

    Unlike sales, bookkeeping does not rely on saying or asking the right things in the right way at the right time. Sales is a whole lot more to do with the quality of the person who is doing it than the product being delivered.

    You cannot just hire a salesperson and expect them to perform.  They will get into bad habits. Being accidentally “critical parent”, demonstrating way too early, being afraid to walk away from prospects that don’t qualify. The list goes on.

    On the second level, salespeople don’t want to be trained properly. That might look ridiculous.  But they have targets to hit so time spent in the “classroom” is time wasted, commission forfeited.

    What’s more to admit that training might help suggests they are not being honest about that claim to be able to run along the high wire with no net. They are not even honest with themselves about that. They cannot be.

    If they question what they are doing, try something different, admit to their weaknesses, basically look down for a moment….they might fall off the high wire… and  remember, there is no net!

    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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Why Training Doesn’t Work

    Many business owners and leaders believe that “training doesn’t work.”  They’re right: a one off, ‘quick fix’ 2 day or two week training session doesn’t work.

    Take tennis, for example.  I played in my teens, but nothing since.  Recently, I found a tennis coach and I’ve committed to two visits a week to the tennis court.

    I’ve made some advances. My coach showed me how to hold a racket so that I can hit the ball with the right timing. She developed my forehand swing so I am able to find the right position for maximum strength in the wrist.

    After six weeks of hard work, a light goes on. The various elements of the game begin to come together.  I don’t have to think about every little thing.

    I ask my coach, “Will I be ready to join the county team soon?”

    Her reply: “Well for someone who starts tennis as an adult, practicing for an hour twice a week, it will take about three years.”

    I was stunned but I realised that she was right.  To reach a semi-pro level was going to take work.  I wish I could fix my game by just attending a two day tennis boot camp, but I can’t.

    Today, we are influenced by the ‘quick fix’ society.  Neuroscience research confirms that our brain needs repetition over time to learn. Brain imaging studies show we do more unconscious practicing of what we are learning when it is spaced out and reinforced over time.

    This is true for whatever new skill we want develop, whether it’s to become a doctor, lawyer, and engineer or upgrade sales or leadership skills.

    It takes time to develop game changing skills.  A coach will put you on the right path and your determination and commitment will take your skills to a professional level.

    Neil Liddell

    Neil Liddell

    Neil enjoys premium recognition with leading decision-makers, he embraces the lifeblood of the Sandler™ methodology. As Managing Director of Sandler Training Central-England, he brings drive, passion and decades of goal-breaking experience to what he and Sandler™ do best; create world-class sales professionals and help CEOs drive lasting growth through training, counsel and ongoing support. Tel: 0845 0573563 Mobile: 07547 227442

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