• What do you want for tomorrow?

    Many business owners and CEOs are so immersed in today’s business challenges that they struggle to plan for tomorrow.  Their time is focused on resolving problems, fulfilling orders and keeping clients, often working long hours for little reward.  As a business owner myself, I know that running a company can feel like being on a perpetual hamster-wheel.  You’re running faster and faster but not necessarily moving the business forwards.

    As we approach the end of 2014, business owners and CEOs need to be thinking about tomorrow.  Have you worked out your company’s business goals for 2015?

    Many businesses – even successful ones, struggle to define where they want the company to be in one, three and five years’ time.  Yet it is essential that short and longer term strategic objectives are mapped out in order to drive the business forwards.

    If one of next year’s strategic objectives is to create business growth, you need to define where that growth will come from.  Is the focus centered on growing existing customers or winning new ones?  If it’s about growing existing customers, how will you grow those customers over the coming 12 months?

    Businesses can be overly reliant on one or two key clients, but their products may have application in other target companies – or even industries.  If your plan is about winning new clients, who are your target customers and how will you get in front of them? Do you have the skills and ability to show them a compelling argument for using your company?

    Answering these questions will help to provide a strategic plan for your business.  Seeing the ‘big picture’ helps you to understand and set out what the team needs to be doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It keeps you ‘on-track’ with your goals and provides a sense of achievement as you move forward.

    Finally, consider how you plan to improve your work/life balance in 2015. The most effective business owners and CEOs set both business and personal goals to ensure they achieve balance across the different areas of their life.

    Before the end of December, block out time to set your business and personal goals and spend time with your board ensuring that your strategy for growth is well-defined.  Then put your efforts into the right places so that you don’t spend next year running hard but ending up feeling disappointed.

    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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  • The Traditional Salesman’s 12 days of Christmas… 

    On the 1st day of Christmas my prospect said to me “What is your web address?”

    On the 2nd day of Christmas my prospect said to me “Can you send me something?”

    On the 3rd day of Christmas my prospect said to me “We’re always interested in finding out what’s new in our marketplace?”

    On the 4th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “Why don’t you come in and tell us how you think you can help us?”

    On the 5th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “OK, you’re here now, show me what you’ve got to offer!”

    On the 6th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “Why should we buy from you?”

    On the 7th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “You’re very expensive, I can get it a lot cheaper from my current supplier.”

    On the 8th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “You’ve convinced me, can you send me a proposal? Oh, and my boss is off skiing on Tuesday so can you get it to me by first thing Monday”

    On the 9th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “I haven’t had a chance to show it to him; it’s been mad over here, call me back in a couple of weeks.”

    On the 23rd day of Christmas my prospect said to me “I can’t take your call at the moment but it is important to me. Please leave a message with your name, the reason for the call and your number after the tone. Beep!”

    On the 26th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “Oh it’s you. My PA is away today. Er, um, yes your proposal. Yes, yes, sorry it’s been hectic since we got back from Christmas. Can I call you in a couple of days when I’ve had a chance to check back with my boss what he wants to do with this?”

    On the 31st day of Christmas my prospect said to me “He still hasn’t given me a decision, Try back next week.”

    On the 45th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “I’m sorry, our priorities have changed and we are no longer looking at this area. But I want you to know yours was the best proposal we received and if we were buying we’d definitely have bought from you.”

    The Sandler Salesperson’s 12 Days of Christmas

    On the 1st day of Christmas my prospect said to me “What, can you help fix those problems?” And I said, “I don’t know, why you don’t invite me in so we can find out? If either side feels it isn’t a good fit we can both walk away without any pressure, is that fair?” “Yes that’s fair”, he said

    On the 2nd day of Christmas my prospect said to me “Welcome. Can I get you something to drink?” “Thanks for inviting me in. I’ll have what you’re having thanks”, I said

    On the 3rd day of Christmas my prospect said to me “We have been really looking forward to you coming in. Our conversation on the phone got me thinking. I’ve done the homework you asked me to do in preparation. Do you need anything else?” “I’m not sure”, I said, “I need to ask you a few questions. Some of them may be a bit tough. May I ask you a few questions even if you don’t have the answers and perhaps you feel you should?”

    On the 4th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “This is killing our business. Blaming everyone but themselves, turnover in the salesforce, missing targets, wasting time on non-prospects, hidden cost of sales is costing us £millions each year and I am sick and tired of tolerating this. Can you help?” I said, “Perhaps. Depends on whether you can take direction. Can you?”

    On the 5th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “Will you be willing to help us fix these problems, please?” “We are still some way off that since we need to establish how you intend to pay for this help and who besides the two of us in involved in making the decision?”

    On the 6th day of Christmas my prospect said to me “I have no partners, it’s my money, and I take advice from no one else? I want you to help me and can I give you a cheque.”

    On the 7th day of Christmas I asked my prospect “Are you sure you really want to go ahead? And what happens when your current provider comes begging for the business back? And what happens when you realise this is going to cost you 4 times more than you originally planned to spend, are you going to back out? Because now is the time for you to back out. Do you want to rip up your check and tear up the contract?” He said, “No” and I said “I’ll take you at your word” and looking him in the eye, shook his hand as I spoke.

    Having hit my target I took the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th days of Christmas off to spend it fully engaged with my family, never once thinking about work.

    Want to stop wasting time and effort kissing frogs and just getting slimy lips and no princes? Want to eliminate time-wasters and tyre kickers, penny pinchers and prevaricators early and fast?

    If you are on Santa’s naughty list you may have to wait until 2016, but if you’ve been good why not ask Santa for a Presidents Club subscription in your Christmas stocking so you can spend your efforts with people who are serious, willing to pay you premium because they value what you do, and give your best to your family and loved ones instead of worrying about how hard next year is going to be…

    Merry Christmas and happy selling in 2015.

  • 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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  • Finding the Assertive Path

    Would you like to feel more confident in communicating your opinions? – Or to be able to “hold your own” in a meeting? Do you want to be able to express your feelings (whether positive or negative) in an authentic way? Or do you want to curb your habit of losing control and get angry at those who may not deserve it? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then why not throw one tiny pebble into the pond of ‘Assertiveness’ and watch the rich ripples appear.

    Being assertive does not come natural to many people, it can feel like being between a rock and a hard place, or what has been described as “a middle ground between being a bully and a doormat” (Barnette, 2000).

    Write the word aggressive on a piece of paper. Now list how you describe aggressive, what are the behaviours you would see displayed, what would they might be thinking etc. Then do the same with the word assertive. Notice any difference?  And, while you’re at it try the same with the word submissive.

    Most people find that the descriptions of aggressive are predominately negative. Assertive on the other hand, doesn’t have that negative connotation.  It is strong not weak, but in a positive way that respects both parties in the interaction.

    I’d like to have you consider the notion that as a sales professional, you have rights. If you are denied your rights in a sales situation, you should be wondering whether or not you are sitting in front of the right person.

    Your rights include getting answers to questions that tell you: Does this person/company have issues that need to be solved? Does my company have a solution to the issues? Is there a budget to address these issues? How does this prospect go about making a decision to take care of these issues?

    Getting answers to these concerns means asking a lot of questions. To get the needed information, you will have to be assertive, but not aggressive. Being aggressive will usually get you a request to “send me some literature, and I’ll call you.”  Being assertive is gently, but relentlessly nurturing the prospect into giving you the information that you need, and in so doing, becoming aware of the answers themselves.

    Being assertive means getting clarification on specific issues. For example, when a prospect tells you “We’re probably going to be replacing this machine soon”. An assertive reply would be something like “Does this mean you’re not sure?” Get clarification and you won’t find yourself in a chasing mode, leaving voicemails that never get you a return call. You will more quickly be able to qualify out the people who are not going to buy so you can spend more time finding, and listening to, the ones that will.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • More sales, but no more effort? What is the secret?

    When you last used psychometric assessments with your commercial team, what was the result?

    In particular, what did you find in terms of each individual’s “ambition and drive” or similar label? Ambition & Drive is a very strong lever (or brake!) on sales success. It therefore warrants working on. Indeed focusing on Ambition & Drive can have amazing results both at the individual and organisation level.

    So, what can you do? Is it something you are born with? Or can it be improved?  The good news is that it can be improved.  As Sandler trainers we have numerous examples to prove this. Indeed, a business contact of mine took on a franchise and their score was worryingly low. Six months later it was high! He had not done much more than be aware of it. And also to take some time to dream.

    As seasoned adults we often have lost the habit of dreaming. We have set too many failed targets, set too many wishy washy “if only” style goals, got beaten down by experience, other people and fear.

    Let me give you a challenge.  Ask yourself “What do I want?” Make a list. No, much longer than that. Take a risk.  Write down 100 things you want.  It might take you a few days, you might find yourself questioning yourself but go for it.

    But it is wrong to want, right? Arrogant to expect the best for ourselves? Where does humility fit in? However, if you are going to become the best version of “You” you can be and were meant to be, you have to allow yourself to Dream it. Create it inside first, and then you can start getting a little bit closer, then a little closer still.

    Now you are dreaming you can start on your 21 written goals. No joke, 21. Seven areas of Life (business is just one of them) over 3 time periods; Dream, 5 years, 1 year. Notice the order; the Dream fuels this year’s goals which cement the Dream in real practical activity, right now!

    With inspiring Goals (not imposed demotivating Targets) what has happened to “ambition and drive?” Gone up? And that means? More sales!

    If you want help with assessing yourself or your team or with practical steps to more sales with no more effort or cost, would it make sense to contact a local Sandler trainer?

    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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