• Have your 2017 resolutions hit the rocks already? It’s not too late!

    I confess, sometimes I’ve been asked “How’s the ‘XYZ’ resolution going?” (fads include Clear Inbox or Bed by 10 etc.) and I’m forced to implement the “I’m OK” smile, declaring everything was going supremely well, easy, fantastic results already.

    Reality was that my resolve had gone down faster than Eeyore’s balloon in a firing range. Work crushed any semblance of control, change was consigned to history.

    Why is changing habits the traditional way so HARD?

    Let’s take a common example: “No more Chocolate”. This desire for change will be driven by some form of motivation e.g. “I want to look thinner”.

    This time we’re going to stick with it, excited about alternatives our motivation is high. We’re driven by pleasure (fitting new Christmas clobber) or pain (dentist, health) however ‘motivation’ gets exhausted over time.

    When motivation runs out, determined folk resort to willpower. But that’s a resource that gets used up too. Uni. of Albany research shows resisting repeated temptations is mentally draining. Like a muscle exhausted from overuse.

    Our brain is a high consumer of glucose. Tests found lower glucose levels in people who had to repeatedly exert self-control, sapping their willpower. Like a car stops with an empty tank.

    A day filled with things we don’t want to do drains our limited reserve of willpower, it’s genuinely hard work, tiring, underlined by survey results (Uni. of Scranton) showing just 8% of people setting habit changing goals achieve them.

    Rewire the brain to get good ideas back on track

    Everyone has a bad habit or two. Is it easy to stop them? For the more embedded habits the answer is ‘NO’! Wouldn’t it be rewarding to have that resilience applied to great habits instead?

    We mustn’t make it hard for ourselves by fighting entrenched habits. Form new habits by comforting our brains that little change is taking place. Try these tips:

    • Little StepsStart with boring goals. Our subconscious hates big change (Fear, Flight, Fight) creating resistance. Make 10 New Business Calls as your early target not 100.
    • Commit – Believe in your goals, don’t set any to please others
    • ‘Triggers’ – Any smoker will tell you how powerful Triggers are! After breakfast, 20 mins on LinkedIn? Visual triggers e.g. Car Keys next to Business Cards?
    • Preparation – Create call lists the day before. Fuel in car? Correct tools for the job?
    • Convenience – Clear clutter, ability to make noise if required.
    • Have Fun – Decrease resistance by increasing pleasure! Consequence or Reward with a partner?
    • Don’t break sequence – Visually keep goals In View. Mark daily achievements with a big cross, number in a box etc.

    Do something often enough, it becomes a habit. Probably how our bad habits started in the first place and look how robust they are!

    Change is hard, taking 66 days on average to develop a new habit

    The good news is, it may not too late to revisit the ‘wobbly’ ones!

  • Earn Compound Interest on Every Call

    Earn compound interest on every callEveryone knows someone. Actually, everyone knows several someone’s. Your customers – as well as the prospects you call on – have some contact with, or at the very least know of, people who can benefit from your product or service. Unfortunately, they are not programmed to automatically disclose the names of those people to you. That doesn’t mean that they won’t; you must initiate the action.

    Salespeople typically “forget” to ask for referrals. Why? Some reasons are technical: it’s not part of their selling process. There is not a logical connection from one element of the process to the act of asking for referrals. And, they don’t have a strategy for asking. Other reasons are more conceptual in nature: they don’t want to appear “needy.” They relate the request to begging. Whatever the reason, they are missing out on potential business and making their jobs more difficult.

    So, to make sure you don’t “forget” to ask for referrals, make it the last step of any sales call with a prospect or customer. Imagine your sales manager standing nearby ready to ask, “Did you ask for a referral?”

    Your referral requests should be simple and to the point. To a prospect, regardless of the outcome of your meeting: “Now that you know more about what we do for our clients, I suspect that you know of a business colleague or contact who could benefit from our service. Who might that be?”

    To a customer with whom you have a good track record: “George, you’ve always been pleased with the level of service we’ve provided. I’m wondering which one of your business colleagues or contacts would also appreciate the same level of service.”

    When customers or prospects provide you with a referral, call them after you’ve made contact with the referred person to again thank them and let them know what happened. Not only is this polite, but it’s an opportunity to obtain another name.

     

    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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  • Old Clients New Business

    Old Clients new businessA mistake too many salespeople make is not keeping in touch with former clients. It’s not uncommon for past clients to come to a point where they need your product or service again but don’t remember how to get in touch with you. They are more likely to have your competitors’ information handy.

    (Your competitors are still calling on your client even though you are not).

    The odds of obtaining business from a former client are typically better than the odds of obtaining business from cold prospecting. So, keeping in touch with former clients is not only the professional thing to do, it also makes good business sense to ensure you are always a call away from old clients if they need your service again

    “Keeping in touch” doesn’t mean pestering them – pushing for a sale. It simply means letting them know that you are still there, ready to provide service when necessary. This can be accomplished in various ways: a regularly scheduled phone call – just to say “hello;” a monthly or quarterly newsletter about industry events and trends; or a monthly e-mail regarding new products or services. Don’t try to overwhelm your client; just make it easy for them to find you.

    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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  • 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

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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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  • Are you a Buzz Lightyear Manager?

    Are you a Buzz Lightyear ManagerAs Leader and Manager in your organisations, you have the toughest job. You are expected to motivate, guide and help your team(s) as well as having a deep understanding of each member’s typical behaviours, attitudes and skill sets. That’s in addition to your day job!

    For some (many) leading from the front, that also means fighting the voice in your head that may sound something like “I hired you to do the job, just do it!”, the sure fire way to torpedo your own Balance Sheet below the waterline.

    So today as you hurtle through your business ‘fixing’ things, pause for a moment and ask yourself, what does the word “Leadership” actually mean? What would be your definition? Difficult isn’t it! How about this from Peter Drucker? – “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

    When I come across a dysfunctional team (and I’ve worked within some of the worst as well as in my career creating a few of my own!), often its when an otherwise successful head of the business hasn’t acquired the understanding how to Manage their people. Or perhaps have the profile where its of no interest. ‘Inspiring’ can come naturally for some but for the employee it gets tedious watching individuals get away with poor performance just because the ‘Leader’ fails to grasp the nettle and actually ‘Manage’ their team. We can kid ourselves that a ‘Buzz Lightyear’ approach to Leadership will build a great business but it probably won’t on its own. There has to be more effort put in to ensure the good staff stay and grow alongside you.

    Here’s a quick exercise: At a basic level, you may know the four hats we must wear to be effective leaders. Score yourself out of ’10’ against each one today:-

    • Coach ______ out of 10
    • Mentor ______ out of 10
    • Trainer ______ out of 10
    • Supervisor ______ out of 10

    How did you do? 10’s across the board? Its more usual to score well on one, maybe two points but get a slightly lower score against others. Hold on a second, though, how well did you do differentiating between Coach & Mentor? That’s a tricky one for many so here’s some help:

    • Mentoring is where a manager shares wisdom(?) from their past experience. The pitfall for some perhaps is thinking they are coaching but actually under pressure they end up telling / directing based on experience or what they think was the right thing to do. You’ll know if you are doing this as you will regularly be owning all the decisions on a daily basis and take the worries home whilst paying all your staff the same wage for them not to.
    • Coaching is the behaviour & technique that takes more time and patience, helps people discover for themselves the correct outcome and has a longer lasting effect. (ahem…..may take some longer to achieve than others).

    Considering this, does it change your scoring a little? Maybe not.

    All employees have choice, they can CHOOSE to be either Productive or Non-Productive. They can also choose whether they are productive all the time or just as a ‘One-off’. Coaching is the Leader’s opportunity to help their employee’s discover the best choices to make. A Coach operates as an ‘Adult’, is non critical and nurtures their employee’s so that they make the right choices and if they elect not to, are aware of the consequences.

    So coaching requires effort, skill, takes longer to effect and requires us to hold back with the answers. Undeniably, delivers the greatest results for longer effectiveness. Its easy to see then why ‘Buzz-Lightyear’ managers miss out.

     

    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

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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’.

    1.Self-talk

    Opinion has it that over 70% of the thoughts in our head are negative or limiting.  Negative thoughts create fear and hesitation, which prevent us from taking the critical actions necessary for success.  Take the time to reframe your self-talk from negative to positive.  Every time you have a limiting thought, develop a positive one to neutralise it.

    2. Baggage

    We all carry baggage around with us which holds us back, such as wanting to be liked, struggling to ask for decisions or being uncomfortable talking about money.  We need to understand our own baggage and make a commitment to learn new skills which will help us overcome it.

    3. Risk

    We all have a risk quotient that guides our actions.  Somewhere between risk everything or risk nothing is the right choice for all of us.  Stretching comfort zones allows us to take appropriate risks and achieve growth as a result.  We must examine our comfort zones because they create a success trap and we must decide to take bolder actions.

    4. Beliefs

    These are thoughts that have either been programmed by others, originate from past experiences or are based on judgments made through observation.  We should regularly and systematically test our beliefs to ensure they are based in reality, not fiction.  We must challenge outdated beliefs and create higher performing ones to free ourselves from mediocrity.

    Here are some pointers to success:

    • Examine your level of self-awareness. How large is the gap between where you think you are and where you really are in terms of success? Be honest!
    • End each day with a review of lessons learned and create a plan to utilise them the following day.
    • Review your skills toolbox and make sure you have the right tools for success. Where are the gaps?
    • Understand your ‘killer’ weaknesses and make sure they’re not hiding in your blind spots.
    • Every morning, ask yourself, “What would I attempt today if I had no fear of failure?”

    Melissa Arnot- the 31 year old who has climbed Mount Everest three times said “Out here, we face the consequences of our decisions every day.”  In business, this statement is no less true.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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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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  • 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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