• 7 Mistakes that Kill Sales Presentations & Free Talks

    sleep disorderBuilding a sales pipeline or broadening prospecting activity for many of us uncovers speaking opportunities in front of potential prospects. Here are 7 reasons why some SalesAmbassadors can unknowingly induce blind hatred & venom from even the gentlest, mildest mannered supporters

    Most of us use presentation time as an opportunity to impress. Once in full flight however, some people’s brains miraculously camouflage the looks of hate, sleepiness and disregard in their captives, replacing them with faces awash with wonder and awe. It can be the only explanation why the worst offenders can sleep at night.

    Here’s the 7 most hated offences voted for by over 50 clients, experienced in networking events throughout Beds, Bucks & Herts. Some are surprising:

    • The speaker doesn’t OWN the material. “These aren’t my slides but…..”.
      • True possibly but doesn’t make it right. Do what you need to and own your talk.
    • Colourless, dry, insipid, lacklustre, tedious, uninspired, vapid & wearisome.
      • Words drawn up whilst a decent pensions talk was being slaughtered. ‘Get a life!’ ‘Have more Sex!’ ‘Adopt a Canary'; but do something to invigorate yourself. Tonality and body language make up most of communication. If your soul has died, your presentation’s fried.
    • A ‘Pitch’ that’s irrelevant to me.
      • Listeners make an instant choice. ‘Are you relevant or not?’ A talk that’s self centred (clue, does it list your features & benefits?) pushes prospects away. Wrap topics into relatable, immersive, memorable stories and it will make you relevant every time.
    • ‘Time travel’, the miracle of compressing 120mins content into 15.
      • Epilepsy inducing PowerPoint is hypnotic. It’s the way Zombies are created. One or two key points offered properly gets you invited back.
    • Reading out the words on their own slides.
      • We read quicker than most people speak (hopefully). Props? Flipchart? A picture?
    • Too quiet? Too fast or eating dry biscuits?
      • Rule #1 Make sure you enunciate appropriately to everyone in the room
    • Overrunning the allotted time
      • Organisers LOVE speakers who keep to time. The only reason outside of poor preparation for over running is to massage under inflated, unappreciated egos. Unless of course the crowd is chanting for more?

    There’s more I’m sure, what are your worst experiences? Interestingly nerves and inexperience wasn’t mentioned by anyone.

    Speaking engagements are an effective way to prospect for new business. Just like a sales call, in 2016 leave ‘winging it’ for the birds as it’s the fastest way to blow all that effort and send prospects straight into the arms of your competitors.

    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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  • Are you a victim of FUTON failure?

    Here’s a question for you: have you ever met someone at a networking event who had something you were interested in but they failed to follow you up?


My guess is probably yes.

    It’s what’s referred to as FUTON failure – or failure to follow up thoroughly on networking.

    There’s a big lesson here for all of us.

    As business owners, we can never be good enough at following up with our prospects.
 – we can’t afford to make the huge, costly mistake of not following up, because one way or another we pay good money to generate leads and if we let them disappear without them becoming customers, then it’s money we’ve wasted.

    And just in case you have any doubts about how important this is, here are some frightening statistics:

    • 47% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
    • 23% of sales people make a second contact and stop
16% of sales people only make three contacts and stop

    It’s staggering, but only 14% of businesses make more than three contacts – and ultimately they’re losing a fortune.


    • 2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
    • 5% of sales are made on the third contact
    • 12% of sales are made on the fourth contact
78% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

    So if you’re like almost half of all businesses and make no more than one follow-up to your prospects… you’re leaving 98% of your income on the table for someone else to come along and suck up.

    By following up thoroughly on networking  – and indeed all your prospecting activity – you’ll drive more sales on a more consistent basis.

  • Active prospecting? You are joking!

    Now this might sound outrageous, particularly from Sandler Training, but let’s be honest…active prospecting does not work. Or at least it is highly inefficient. The worst culprit is “cold calling”. I mean, it is so much better to have qualified incoming leads just ready to buy than wasting inordinate amounts of time pestering people who then hide behind voicemail.

    Let’s work this out. How many dials do you need (real world) to get to speak to anybody? And then, how often are you getting the runaround? Even if you get an appointment they are unlikely to be ready to buy. Cold calling! Soul destroying stuff! And sales time can be so much more efficiently used.

    What about networking, asking for referrals, attending seminars, giving free talks, exhibiting? Well, actually they are pretty much nearly the same waste of effort. Huge amounts of effort required for almost no leads.

    So all active prospecting in effect does not work…until it does.

    Think of your largest income producing client. Not that one, the one that actually did come from active prospecting. Now, if you knew and knew for absolute certain you would get that client from doing that kind of prospecting, how much effort would you have been prepared to put in? My guess the answer is way more than the effort you actually did put in. So suddenly that time-consuming agony was worth it.

    But how can you be sure that doing more of that same activity will produce another fabulous client like that? Well obviously you cannot be sure. In the same way you cannot be sure of any prospecting activity. Until it works.

    Could you have got that client we are thinking of through incoming lead generation? Perhaps. Probably not.

    So the only way to be at least partly in control of our destiny in business is to do prospecting. Loads of it. As many different kinds of activity as makes sense (usually 3-5 different prospecting activity types is manageable). It is only with a long enough timescale that we can be sure that a certain prospecting activity is a waste of time. And even then we could have stopped just a couple of dials short of our ideal, dream prospect. Commit yourself to some hard work, doing stuff you would rather not do. After all, they say that if you claim to like cold calling you are either lying or never done it.

    Sandler has a rule

    “You never have to like prospecting; you just have to do it.”

    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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  • STOP thinking about hiring, until you’ve started thinking about firing!

    How long does the new-hire honeymoon period last for you? How long until you are starting to sweat? How long until such thoughts as ” Maybe with a little more coaching from me they will get there.”, “Perhaps some more training will help them.”, ” Would I have hired them back then if I’d known where we’d be right now?”, or “Why did I believe what they told me during the interview process?”

    Here are 5 steps to keep the pressure off of YOU, and place it back where it belongs, on the shoulders of the prospective new hire.

    1. Hire slow, fire fast. Define the “red flags” for new employee behaviours, results, and leading KPI’s for the duration of the on-boarding process.
    1. Accountability. Hold them accountable for these behavioural goals.
    1. Prior to hiring, share your specific expectations  with prospective hires, and get their agreement to the on-boarding plan and the accountability process.
    1. Always be in hiring mode. Create a prospecting plan for talent, and a company culture of always looking for talent for the “talent bank”, rather than relying on job boards and recruiters who will often send you someone else’s cast offs.
    1. Don’t hire when you “need” someone.  Think about it.  They need a job.  You need an employee. The interview consists of two needy people meeting each other. It’s a recipe for a hiring disaster.

    If you’re interested in finding out more about how Sandler can help you and your company avoid the usual employer-employee dance contact your local Sandler Training Centre 

    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand

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

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  • Why I don’t like you

    Have you ever wondered why some people you just click with and others, well, you simply don’t? Some folk appear warm and some just rub you up the wrong way?

    I was coming home from a networking meeting the other day and pondered on these very thoughts. It was the first meeting after the Christmas break and people were in high spirits and catching up with each other and so the buzz was good.

    Whilst I chatted to people, acquaintances, collaborators and those that wanted to speak to me undoubtedly there were some folk in the room that took an exception to me, judged me one way or another or had already formed an opinion about me previously or indeed me to them. But here’s the thing: In that room everyone was trying their best to make everyone like them… or were they?

    The unwritten rules of segregation (as I like to call them)  undoubtedly differ depending on the occasion and are unique to each person. Equally the rules of connection are not necessarily equal and opposite to the rules of segregation ( sorry Einstein).

    I find these rules fascinating. For instance Norwich football club supporters find unity and solidarity in there support for the team however they may not speak to each other because of a personal moral or political standpoint.

    Thinking about Networking, everybody is there to meet people and talk to them. To be able to do this they need to create a first impression and as a result of that  impression there’s 4 outcomes that may follow:

    1. I like you and I want to talk to you further
    2. I like you but I don’t want to talk further, not now at least
    3. I don’t like you but I need to talk to you
    4. I don’t like you and I neither want or need to talk to you.

    So how do you come to your conclusion? What are the rules that you apply to decide whether you put this person in bracket 1 0r 2, or 3 or 4?

    I bet it’s not what Football team they support and I bet in 9 times out of 10 cases you know nothing about their political or moral view points so why would some make it to #1 and some to #4?

    The thing is your Mr or Mrs #4 is someone else’s #1 for reasons only known to them because their rules are different to yours.

    So what about me? Some of the things I look for to open a possible connection (in a networking context) are self belief, honesty ( I can smell a rat), humbleness, someone who perhaps can make me laugh or laugh at themselves, a smiler are a few things. There’s 100′s I’m sure.

    Things I don’t like are cockiness, boastfulness – sharing achievements is one thing but boasting is another, self involvement, self righteousness are a few, arguably these and some of the above are character traits but I don’t believe that character traits are wholly what I’m talking about in this post.

    What about you ? What are your rules of segregation or connection? What makes you put someone into category 1 or category 4?

    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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  • Posturing Language

    SB_salesposture_23Over time, every successful salesperson comes to the conclusion that having the proper selling posture during the sales interview is critical. Many sales people are still struggling to understand this concept.

    When we talk about posture, we are talking about the attitude reflected in the communication of the salesperson. We know that the message we send in our communication is made up of our body language, our tonality, and our words. However, how we mix those three elements creates a particular attitude that is palpable to our receiver.

    There are three primary language postures.

    Superior: In this style, the salesperson takes the position of being superior to the prospect. The manner in which they communicate would suggest they are better than the prospect and are talking down to them. The superior posture is overly “I” focused and typically sends the message of aggressiveness. Superior posture has a low tolerance for anyone else’s opinion. Often times, they speak with a loud and overbearing in tone.

    Equal: The posture of equality is the most desirable posture for a salesperson. This style communicates confidence to the prospect. The equal posture requires the sales person to adopt an attitude of equal business stature with the prospect. The equal posture creates a respectful, yet highly assertive environment where the salesperson is in control of the selling process. The equal posture speaks clearly with authority and places a high priority on having his rights respected. All issues are addressed with confidence, including those that may be difficult and uncomfortable for the prospect.

    Inferior: Unfortunately, this is where many salespeople communicate. In this posture, the seller quickly complies control of the sales dialogue with the prospect. They send the message that the prospect has the power and the salesperson is honoured to be in their presence. Inferior posturing too easily provides the prospect a way out without addressing the difficult questions. The inferior salesperson allows themselves to be manipulated in order to avoid conflict. They take a literal interpretation of “the customer is always right.”

    Salespeople who understand their job is to go to the bank while meeting the needs of the prospect, always work from a posture of equality. This is an essential attitude to bring to our communications with prospects.

    We all develop a pattern of communication that is comfortable and becomes a habit for us. A Sandler trained salesperson understands this and recognizes how to adjust communication in the selling process to create lasting customer relationships built on an equal stature business relationship.

    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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  • Trade Shows & Exhibitions: 9 steps to closing more business

    ICSC dealmaking

    ICSC dealmakingSo are you selling on site, gathering or qualifying leads, qualify leads, launch a product or service, meeting or negotiating with existing customers?

    It’s easy to attend exhibitions and trade shows and be uncertain if it was worth the investment. It can take a while to know if you have a long sales cycle.

    To ensure your time is well invested, make a plan to work smart in preparation, on site and afterwards.

    1. Start with your end in mind.

    This classic Stephen Covey advice is essential.

    You can’t make your clients and prospects do what you want. You can only manage your behaviour.

    So be clear on what outcomes will make it worth investing in a specific event. If you aren’t completing sales on site, measure qualification conversations, disqualifications and yeses to agreed next steps. That way, you will know what actions you need to take to get the best results.

    2. Why are you exhibiting or attending?

    Some shows, like the massive retail property events run by the International Council of Shopping Centers are deal making. Retailers, agents and shopping centre landlords have back to back meetings looking at floor plans, and agree terms for leases in new and existing malls. It’s really time effective.

    If your show is deal making style, start early. Put dedicated time into filling your diary with the clients and prospects you really want to meet.

    Track the progress on appointment making weekly – so it gets the priority it deserves.

    Make sure you get their mobile phone numbers and email addresses. Send them the meeting as an online appointment request.

    Use their mobile if they are late for your meeting. You may not get the meeting but they’ll be more inclined to try to reschedule or meet you afterwards.

    3. Get very clear on your process

    If you won’t be concluding your deals on site, be your goal to qualify and get off site meeting with the decision makers? Is it more time effective to have short initial meetings at the show?

    Is there prep you and your contact can do to make the face to face time really effective?

    Make sure you decide so you can manage where you spend your time on site and afterwards and what you will achieve.

    4. Block time out in your diary.

    Do you set aside enough time to follow up and get back up to speed when you return to the office?

    Block out time so you can follow up promptly. Allocate time for next step meetings & calls and to catch up with other work.

    If other staff will support you in the follow up, make sure they have time blocked out too.

    5. Make the date on the spot.

    Don’t say “I’ll call you next week to fix a time”. Don’t be that guy or gal swirling through your phone to look for a time that works for you to have that follow up call or meeting. Have a printed diary with you.

    If you have an online diary, print out the week at a view A5 size so you can get 4 weeks double printed on aA4 paper. Take 3 months diary so you don’t have to default to following up for a date afterwards.

    In the evening, drop an electronic diary invite to confirm the meeting or phone call. This a simple step for a slight edge in getting faster follow up and not losing momentum. Our clients tell us that more of those post event calls actually happen because it’s in their prospects diary too.

    6. Intelligence. 

    Make sure your whole team knows what info is useful to you. And how to feed it back so it’s corporate knowledge, not just in their head.

    If you can’t meet the decision maker on site, gain intelligence on their current suppliers, their cast of characters and decision making process.

    7. Find out what your competitors are up to.

    Never ever criticise them to your prospects. It’s not good business practice and if they are the incumbent supplier, you may tip your prospect into recalling all the good reasons why they work with them.

    Listen to what other people are saying about them. Visit their stands.

    Scout for potential staff – any competitors’ staff you’d like to hire?

    8.Avoid the time thieves.

    It’s easy to have interesting conversation that’s fun and absorbs a deal of time without much purpose. It’s your responsibility to manage the time and move elegantly onto the next prospect to qualify them.

    Know your process – qualify or disqualify for clear next steps. Agree next specific steps with your prospect while you are with them.

    9. Don’t pitch – be conversational

    Drop your pitch & listing the features and benefits. Develop your 30 second commercials.

    Get the prospect to decide where to take the conversation.

    Ask your local Sandler Trainer if you don’t know how. Click here to find your local office and to book into an Executive Briefing.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

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  • Farewell Star of LinkedIn

    Maybe you hadn’t noticed the star on some LinkedIn profiles. And now it’s too late.

    Until 25 Feb, there’s a small star on your 1st degree connections, and other profiles under the photo in the top section of profiles on LinkedIn by the word relationship. Your 1st degree connections are automatically saved to your LinkedIn Contacts when you connect to them.

    Contacts in your email address books and other sources are also saved when you sync them.

    Why does it matter?

    That Star was particularly useful because you could save profiles that are not your connections by just clicking the Star icon in the top section of the profile under their photo. The word Relationship would appear next to the star for saved contacts.

    On 25 Feb that Star is disappearing. LinkedIn are “retiring” the Star and the Save to Contacts feature. You’ll still be able access all of the Contacts you’ve previously saved by going to your Connections list, choosing the Filter By Tag option, and selecting the Saved Contacts tag.

    So get a move on today if there’s anyone you want to track without paying.

    Why are they removing it?

    It was a really useful feature – which most people didn’t use. I’m not surprised that LinkedIn are removing it – they need to pay the bills. And that means encouraging us to use their premium services.

    What do we use instead?

    We recommend Sales Navigator – if you are doing any business development or sales. LinkedIn is a great tool – when you know what you are doing. And when you do you LinkedIn prospecting regularly. Just having a profile and connecting with people you meet is not a prospecting activity. It’s essential to moving LinkedIn prospects off line and qualify them by phone for face to face meeting with you to get payback for the monthly fees and the time you invest.

    You can learn more about making LinkedIn work for you in the book we wrote with LinkedIn – [ download your copy here]. You’ll get the practical steps for prospecting – which work really well with Sales Navigator.

    And if you want to find out why we train LinkedIn, Salesforce and other global blue chip companies as well as all sizes of businesses across the UK, sign up for one of our Executive Briefings across the UK here you can find details or our training centres here: http://www.uk.sandler.com/locator/?country=GB  

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

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  • Patience Is a Virtue (Of Success)

    You will find that only a few people are willing to be patient.  However, putting off instant gratification until later in order to obtain bigger rewards is essential to achieving true success.

    Patience doesn’t necessarily mean attending to the delays that sometimes occur, which are often an invitation to procrastination. Avoiding commitment is not the way to achieve success but there are distinct differences between “I need more time,” and the notion that achieving lasting results require time.

    To be truly successful, we need to practice patience in all areas of our life, when it comes to business, negotiations, communications goals and even employee relationships.

    If we put off doing a thing and find ourselves going nowhere, we are sabotaging ourselves.  If we put off doing it but find that, with struggle and effort, we are slowly progressing toward the desired goal, we can congratulate ourselves on having demonstrated a true willingness to postpone gratification ― an enormous asset and an indispensable element in self-realisation and success.

    Training and development takes time and just like any other hard-earned discipline, we get better at being patient the more we practice it.

    Rewards are often related to the ability to endure necessary waiting.  Just think, to become a surgeon, lawyer, diplomat, or professional salesperson takes time and dedication. While working toward the goal, little or nothing is earned, and recognition for work done and energy output is minimal.  The rewards come later. This makes the reward that much more meaningful because work has been put in for the greater good of your success.

    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 prospecting daily?

    When businesses start, it is often for the passion and skill of producing an end product or service that makes the clients life better.

    That skill is often built by years of training, practice and experience. That’s where a business five a day comes into play. Everything we do to promote our business is an action that we are monitoring for a result. There are broadly five activities we must regularly work on to promote our business.

    If we think of a fishing analogy, our five a day would typically look like:

    1. Marketing, putting your boat where the fish is.
    2. Advertising, A big sign on the boat, saying, “we have bait here!”
    3. The internet, Painting on the bottom of the boat, pictures of bait, with an invite, to interact on the subject.
    4. Networking, Meeting people who may be able to give you a fish, but you should be able to give them one too.
    5. Putting the bait on a hook and actually fishing.

    Marketing, Advertising and Internet, we often hand over to professionals and we aggressively wait for the phone to ring or our inbox to light up.

    Networking is building relationships and hoping that someone understands enough about your business to be able to occasionally throw you a bone while they go about their own business.

    Prospecting is where the serious work starts. Even Steve Jobs had to work the phone at the beginning. While all steps are part of a good business balance, the prospecting part is often used as the last resort to developing your business. I think a lot of it comes down to confidence. Are we doing the right thing? What happens if we get it wrong? What if the prospect rejects our advances? How will we feel when we are rejected? I know this is the case as these are the questions I asked myself. The phone that was easy to pick up to speak to people we know now becomes elephant in the room that is impossible to pick up to speak to strangers.

    However, if you understand that you are doing the right things. You can accept that failure during prospecting is just part of the journey to success. You then have the confidence to continue without feeling crushed.

    We at Sandler Training give you the tools to prospect in the right way, we help you to maintain a good attitude while doing it and then the skills to get a premium price for your premium service. I hold regular masterclasses to show you how to prospect, disqualify time wasters and tyre kickers and close deals at a higher profit than ever before.

    Let’s talk!

    Roy Johnson

    Roy Johnson

    For twenty seven years Roy Johnson worked globally where he held leadership positions in market leading industrial automation and communications companies. Having left corporate life in 2014 he started his own sales training and management consultancy. Typically, his clients include entrepreneurs, CEOs, start-ups, Sales Directors, MDs, Senior Partners and business owners. These are often people who went into business to follow their passion with a requirement to build a client base to make it successful. They are either looking to put a sales system with coherence and clarity in place and/or take the business to the next level. Roy helps them to develop a successful sales culture so that they can make tough sales decisions based on real data rather than instinct. Mob +44 (0)7867525868 Tel +44 (0)1782 518040

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