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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  • Who is defining your success?

    Each of us have different definitions of success, that point at which we say, enough, I’ve reached my target, or I’ve haven’t but I will redefine success to equal my attainment.

    Perhaps you are someone who uses each level of achievement to set your next target, to see how far you can go.  Adopting this mindset brings the possibility of failure, but you’re comfortable with that. Setting a personal target is one thing, setting targets for other people is almost a futile activity. If they don’t share your belief that it’s an achievable target or have the drive to work towards it then it’s likely the target will not be achieved.

    If we consider this in the context of employees, their personal definitions of success and their attitudes will have a huge effect on the outcomes they achieve and consequently the success your business achieves.

    Consider further what it is that delivers success – what are the key activities you require people to perform? How well do they do that? Why do some produce better outcomes than others?

    Levels of skill and knowledge will be a factor but what about their levels of ambition?  Is failure something they cannot contemplate?  Factors such as these can impact the most fundamental levels of their performance. For example will they look for opportunities for self-advancement in how well they perform their roles or does the scale of the task fill the time available?

    Ask yourself this question. Am I managing people who are bringing me opportunities or am I drained by people bringing me headaches? Do I constantly have to ‘motivate’ individuals, listen to excuses about why it didn’t happen and will never happen or do I see people who are continuously challenging themselves, failing and improving.  Possibly you think it’s perfectly reasonable to take four meetings with a prospect before securing business or even that it’s OK to take four meetings and then not secure business. You haven’t challenged this definition of success, therefore it is has become the norm, reflected in the performance of your employees.

    So what is your definition of success? Is it matched, or bettered by your employees? Are you taking the time to really understand them and what makes them tick? Helping them to become target setters and adopt a culture of improvement will bring a huge change to your experience as a manager and to the performance of your business.

    Gary McKinney

    Gary McKinney

    Gary McKinney runs Sandler Training in Yorkshire, based in Leeds, helping business owners regain control of sales and achieve significantly improved sales results.

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  • 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.

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  • The definition of a fool is s/he repeats the same old mistakes

    Maybe it’s just me, but I have learned more when things don’t go well that when a meeting or sales call is really successful. It can be a tough way to learn what works. But it’s even tougher if you ignore your failures and repeat the same old mistakes.

    The simplest way to learn from mistakes is to take a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and to consider the lessons learnt. By writing down in a journal what you learnt and the alternative steps you’ll take next time, you capture that knowledge. You’re creating new plans for behaviours that will generate better returns for you & your company and more sales.

    At Sandler, we debrief after every sales call or meeting. It makes sense to do the same if you are out prospecting at an event (aka networking!) or on the phone, having quarterly meetings with clients or exhibiting at trade-shows and exhibitions – in fact anytime you interact with a suspect, prospect or customer. We follow a systematic debrief and ask ourselves questions like:

    • What did I do well?
    • What will I do differently next time?
    • What information didn’t I ask for?
    • What questions do I need to ask next time?
    • Are the next steps for my prospect or client and for me clear and in the diary?

    By making debriefing yourself a habit, it becomes easier to identify where you rocked, and where things went wrong, to recognise patterns of behaviour, and to decide what you’ll do next time. The key is to remember the Sandler Rule:  Every Unsuccessful Sales Call Earns Compound Interest. In other words…. There are no bad sales calls! Just calls you learn from – and improve your performance.

    If you want to increase your sales and your resilience, never ever miss debriefing your sales calls/meetings and start debriefing yourself at the end of each day. If you want to know how to debrief sales calls/meetings quickly and effectively, phone your local Sandler Trainer for an invitation to their next open briefing.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

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  • 4 Habits of Successful Professionals

    What is a “professional” exactly?

    I decided to look into it a little more because the word seems to have a wide range of definitions. Obviously, it comes from the word “profess” meaning to declare publicly, but these days it seems like anyone with a social media account can declare publicly they are a professional or expert at one thing or another. It made me think that there must be more to it, and I stumbled upon this definition: a person who engages for his livelihood in some activity also pursued by amateurs. That makes sense and is probably the most common definition today. However, I want to share with you some habits of people with a little higher standard, skilled practitioners, experts, or the extremely competent.

    What do successful professionals do that amateurs don’t?

    I am sure there are lots of things that fall into this category, but right now I would like to share four of them with you.

    1. Study – Professionals are not born. They are made. Sure, they might have a natural gift, but they maximize that talent by studying history, best practices, and innovative techniques. There are plenty of talented individuals who never accomplish anything. Professionals often spend hours to years studying before engaging in their profession to ensure their success.
    2. Practice – This one parallels study. David Sandler wrote a book “You can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar. The fact is you can’t learn how to do anything by studying alone. You have to practice. Doctors, athletes, and every other type of highly paid professionals spend countless hours practicing before they are called upon to perform. How do you get to play at the master’s, compete at the Olympics, or whatever is the top of your profession? Practice, practice, practice.
    3. Invest in themselves – Most people get that you are going to need to become good at what you do to be a professional, and some are even willing to put in the practice, but a few chosen professionals are willing to invest that time on their dime. True professionals bet on and invest in themselves. They don’t wait for their parents, employer, or anyone else to invest in them. Professionals continue their education way past the classroom and invest in workshops, seminars, books, coaches, and any resource they can find to keep learning. They take responsibility for their own education and personal growth.
    4. Follow a system – Finally, professionals don’t just show up and wing it. They have a system, a repeatable and reproducible process that leads to predictable success. To outsiders, it sometimes looks like superstition or obsessive compulsive disorder, but professionals know that only by following the proven system can they expect consistent success. Amateurs sometimes think it is luck or god given talent when they win or lose. Successful professionals make their own luck, and they know that fortune favors the prepared.

    These four habits: studying, practicing, investing in yourself, and following a system are fairly easy to do. Anyone can do them, so why do 90% of people fail to realize the level of success they want in their life? The answer most often lies in their attitude. While amateurs look for shortcuts, get rich quick schemes, and the easy way out, professionals have the desire and commitment to do whatever it takes. Successful professionals know that there is no magic bullet and no shortcut to the top. They don’t waste their time with such things. They are too busy learning, practicing, refining their system and investing in their own success.

    Martin Hall

    Martin Hall

    Martin Hall owns Sandler Training in the West Midlands based in Walsall. Tel: 01922 458 403 Mobile: 07741 312 567

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  • Are Your People Everything They Seem To Be?

    Many businesses have salespeople that are constantly busy – consistently working hard – but not getting the results they should be.  Why is that?

    • Some people with initiative may lack focus or clear goals, so they don’t work on or prioritise the right activities or opportunities.
    • You’ll hear salespeople with low self-responsibility make excuses, or blame other people for their lack of performance.  They will tell you that they “must have better marketing materials,” or “need more leads” to perform better.
    • Others fear rejection – you’ll find them working on proposals for prospects who’ve asked for a quote (without qualifying them first) because at least then they don’t need to go and hunt for new business.

    Understanding which of these applies is critical to both selecting and developing your sales team.  Thus being able to predict performance is critical when hiring or promoting your sales people.lion roger

    When assessing how effective or good your people are (or will be) at selling, there is one competency that stands out as a good predictive indicator of success.  That competency is Ambition & Drive – a measure of a person’s attitude of expecting to win and striving to be the best that they can be.

    But, how do you measure or score that attitude in an individual?

    Many organisations employ assessment tools that ask respondents to self-assess their abilities – we call these normative assessments. The problem is that for individuals who score low on self-awareness, their self-scored capabilities are unlikely to be a reliable barometer of their suitability or success in a job.

    In tests where people self-assess their own capabilities, a person can self-score themselves as “good” at everything.  Salespeople and leaders are segments of the business population to most likely to invest in themselves through reading or ongoing self-development.  A salesperson is likely to believe or at least agree that they are goal orientated and competitive irrespective of how they perform – they will tend to know that these are the answers successful salespeople give.

    Other factors – perhaps not measured by the assessment tool – can distort the link between a self-scored competency and selling success.  A person, deficient in raw sales ability, may be a good cultural fit for the organisation that helps lift their performance.  But how could we know that? What traits could a person be leveraging that might sufficiently compensate for weaknesses?

    I have found that well-designed ipsative assessments (sometimes referred to as “forced-choice”) provide a more objective measure of a person’s skills, behaviours and attitudes.

    Whilst competencies like Ambition & Drive propel success, negative competencies exist that torpedo success – for example, a high “Need for Approval” or “Negative Outlook” can get in the way of person’s sales success. And these negative traits or dispositions are commonly a salesperson’s personal blind spots:

    • A salesperson is unlikely to give themselves a low-score on being results-focused. However, a salesperson’s behaviour around maintaining a good customer-relationship (‘good’ things generally) can, in fact, slow-down or hinder the sales process –  especially if they don’t see that their focus on seeking the customer’s approval and keeping them happy may get in the way of completing the sale. This focus needs to re-assert itself post-sale to facilitate excellent customer service, retention and referrals but be managed during the sales process itself.
    • We all see things through our own lenses – through filters that colour our own personal view of the world.  People with a Negative Outlook tend not to think they are negative – they say “I’m realistic.” It’s a blind spot for them.

    When we look at evaluating our salespeople, we need to balance self-assessed or normative approaches with appropriate ipsative assessment tools that objectively score against benchmarks of successful behaviour and attitudes.  If we do that, we can avoid having a skewed view of our organisation’s capability and our people. If we use both together, we can objectively measure Ambition & Drive, uncover blind spots and help identify the effective actions that will improve our people’s performance.

    Roger Plahay

    Roger Plahay

    Sandler Training in Bath & Bristol A Chartered Accountant by profession, Roger spent his whole career sceptical of salespeople, sales methods and has the firm belief that 99% of sales training simply does not work. He leads effective Sales Development and Business Growth for ambitious business professionals by helping them break the conventional rules that constrain them and win more business.

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  • Take Your Job Seriously, But Not Yourself

    It’s the end of the year. You may be stressed about making end-of-the-year budgets, working overtime in order to take vacation, or just trying to tie up loose ends before 2015. While all of this is happening, make sure you take some time to remember why it is you work so hard. Make sure you’re checking your fun meter. The job is a means to an end. The end is what you want for you and your family. Have fun in the process.

    Here are 10 rules to keep you on track:

    1. STOP focusing only on the money
    2. STOP thinking the sales call is about you
    3. STOP trying so hard
    4. STOP trying to be perfect
    5. STOP being afraid of making mistakes
    6. STOP listening to negative ‘head trash’
    7. STOP hanging out with negative people
    8. STOP worrying about price
    9. STOP using the same old process
    10. STOP forgetting to check your ‘fun meter’

    Take some time not only to plan for 2015 and your future success, but also to celebrate your successes of 2014.


    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.

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