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By Its ALL about Sales, Jul 21 2017 12:46PM

Are we all becoming infected with the “virus of hurry”? I remember well many years ago when my parents would say to me “less haste more speed”.

We have all got so much to do these days that unless we work at breakneck speed we will never get it all done…. Or will we?

About a decade ago I attended a time management workshop that changed the way that I worked and how much I could achieve. I was reminded of this very recently by a radio program that I heard. It made me want to pass on the tips that I had picked up, and just to say “Thank you Julie” for the extra time that you have given me over the years.

Ok 5 simple tips that could help you slow down, get more done, be more efficient, be less stressed and make more money.

1: This will feel conter-intuitive but allow MORE time. Just allow yourself a few extra minutes for scheduled tasks. It is amazing what this can do. Also... allow a few minutes between tasks/meetings. You can either make the notes or follow up actions from the meeting or make yourself available for your colleagues – which means that they won’t need to interrupt you later. Think about how much more you can get done without those interruptions.

By Its ALL about Sales, Jul 20 2017 01:00AM

It seems to be becoming a more common issue, one that we are getting more and more calls about.

Salespeople are great at managing their existing accounts. They are terrific at converting incoming leads but they are not going after new business so when these dry up they are left with nothing in the pipeline.

Often there is an attempt to shift the focus onto the marketing "team" asking for more leads, increased footfall, better "special offers" ...

All of a sudden (?) there is a need to talk with new people, build new relationships. This is when we usually hear the cries of "the data is rubbish", "no-one wants to talk to us".

Often the great existing clients have been clients for years and we are maxing out what we can do with them, so where is the future growth coming from?

Building a robust pipeline is the lifeblood of most sales operations. OK the way we develop this pipeline is changing significantly, but the need to do so isn't.

Sales IS evolving, there is no doubt, but the core principles haven't changed (much).

"Sales 2.0" isn't the paradigm shift that its cracked up to be (yet), more a development of the way we get people into the funnel and the tools we use. but it's a great excuse for avoiding the bits of "Sales 1.0" we don't like very much.

If you need some help building your pipeline I run regular sessions on "building and developing strong pipelines". If you think this might be of interest please get in touch.

info@itsallaboutsales or 0333035504467

By Its ALL about Sales, May 5 2017 11:48AM

Sales People: How often has it happened to you? You leave a regular scheduled sales meeting thinking "well there's another 2 hours of my selling time gone that I won't ever get back" or "what was that all about?"

Sales Leaders: Are you holding needless, boring sales meetings that serve no purpose other than reinforce your position?

First, just think about the numbers. If you drag a team of, let's say 6, off the floor for 2 hours, just once a month that equates to 1 months selling time for 1 person over 12 months. That is without factoring your time, travel times if delegates aren't on site. How much are these meetings costing in lost revenues?

I am not suggesting that you don't hold these meetings but let's make sure that they have a purpose, that they are helping to develop your team, they are leaving better equipped, better informed, and more motivated than when they walked into the meeting. They are in investment in time, let's show an ROI.

Let's make sure that your team don't just look forward to the sales meetings, they turn up prepared, and are ready to engage, and leave as warriors ready to conquer (OK that may be over the top but focused and with a purpose isn't)

1: Don't set them during core selling hours.

If possible run your sales meetings early in the morning or after office hours. Your sales team should be talking with clients and prospects not in internal meetings.

2: Keep them regular.

Try to keep them on the same day/date each month that way you can schedule them for the year allowing you and your team to plan for them.

3: Start on time and finish on time.

Don't keep 7 people waiting because the 8th hasn't turned up, it's not fair on them. Sort coffees etc in advance, but start on time. If the meeting is scheduled to last 2 hours, it lasts 2 hours. Your team should have scheduled in calls etc after that.

4: Publish an agenda, and stick to it.

Agree the agenda in advance, complete with timings. If you need people to contribute give them notice and clear instructions as to what you should bring/prepare etc.

5: Don't trawl through the figures

If you really MUST discuss figures/targets etc send them out in advance and then ONLY discuss the important issues if required. No-one wants to sit and listen to someone going through everyone's figures - it's just boring! Save that for 1:1's or email.

6: Focus on 1 subject/issue.

Try to concentrate on 1 subject for most of the meeting. This will allow enough time to explore it in sufficient detail to a: make progress b: ensure fuller understanding.

7: Delegate.

Your team should know and understand what is required to run meetings and keep things on track. Delegate sections/subjects of the meeting to members of your team to run. Work with them and help them to prepare, rehearse so that you can support them if needed, contributing positively wherever possible. Empower your team don't stifle them.

8: Use the meetings for staff development.

Let's face it, the only worthwhile reasons for having regular sales team meetings are a: to develop their knowledge/skills and b; to motivate them.

Because you are only concentrating on one subject per meeting you will have the time to identify the training requirements.

9: Start positive - End positive.

As a sales leader it is vital that, even when there are some serious issues that need discussing, you are a positive influence. Start a meeting on a negative footing and it sets the tone for the next 2 hours with everybody shutting down. Start it positively and then drag that positivity though into the next, tougher session. rather than shutting down the team will contribute and engage.

Finish on an upbeat, regardless how heavy the session was...

10: We and Us NOT You and I

You are a team, so talk like you are part of the team...

How are WE going to do this? How are YOU going to do this? can very easily morph into "You lot" and then you are on different sides. Lead from the front.

Sales leaders are there to get the best out their teams, support and motivate not to "Manage" them unless it becomes necessary.

11; Look forward NOT backwards.

There is NOTHING you can do about the past, you can't change it, just learn from it so DON'T dwell on it.

Set positive ACTION PLANS during the meeting and confirm these as you sum up. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them and follow up 1:1 after the meeting if further detail is needed.

12: Set the topic for the next meeting.

Agree with the team what the core topic is for the next meeting. What they need to do to prepare, who is running what etc and then confirm in writing along with the minutes to the meeting.

13: Recognise and Reward.

There is always something worth highlighting and rewarding. It is amazing how far a well done goes to lift spirits and a £10 Starbucks card will pay for itself in no time.

14: Thank Them.

Thanks guys. Great meeting (because you will have made it a great meeting)...

Thank individuals for any noteworthy input, and thank the person you had delegated to run a section of the meeting.

It goes a long way!

These tips just scratch the surface of how to get the best out of your salesforce.

To enquire about how itsALLaboutsales can help drive optimun performance from sales leaders and sales people call us on 07934700193

By Its ALL about Sales, Apr 27 2017 10:32AM

So a connection (Sam Riley ) posted this image and question on Linkedin today..

"Can conversation analytics reduce sales conversation effectiveness to an exact science or is there still a future for the art of the sale?" and a link to this report https://lnkd.in/dziujJY

LinkedIn no longer gives you enough space to reply in full so...

The urgent clamour to create AI that can sell effectively with little or no H2H contact is throwing up graphs and reports like this on an alarmingly regular basis.

Before we get into a discussion around not mixing up a: cause and effect and b: qualitative and quantitative studies lets put the chosen infographic into perspective.

According to what little info it gives us these were conference calls so "probably" scheduled for 60 mins on average.

Getting 40 minutes into a 60 minute call without the need to start discussing price would imply serious interest on the prospects part. Depending on whether the call is a reasonably early lead generation call or one where the deal is likely to be closed would suggest either some price conditioning or early stages of negotiation and with only 20 minutes of the call left that would seem a sensible time to introduce this.

What the graph doesn't tell us is whether the average or top performers qualified out the prospects at the 10 - 20 minute stage or whether the prospect drew price out before they were completely sold and the salesperson blew it, but I would expect the call length reports would demonstrate which is the case.

What we need to be very careful about is not confusing the cause and effect. The top salespeople in this study may just be better salespeople, they may be more engaging, they may be better qualifiers..... What we know is that they start talking price towards the end of the discussion. If an average salesperson keeps an eye on the clock and then fires in 3 or 4 price mentions at 40 - 49 minutes is that alone going to make them better performers?

I need to remain a constant student of sales and I really welcome these reports but for the most part they simply highlight the good practices that we as "sales professionals" should already know. It shouldn't take a study's findings for us to understand the balance between talking and listening or the use of certain risk reversal language, but it is good that they substantiate and inform our understanding of best practices, and that we adapt accordingly.

Is there still room for the art of the sale? There is a long long way to go before AI can pick up the subtle nuances in conversations, the inflection in someones voice, create the level of rapport and empathy that H2H contact does and when it come to efficiency, according to Scientific American "Even a cat’s brain smokes the newest iPad—1,000 times more data storage and a million times quicker to act on it." so I think there is hope for us yet.

Remember though that regardless of how well we understand best practice and how things should be done.. Knowing is not the same as Doing!

By Its ALL about Sales, Apr 10 2017 10:47AM

"Your problem is Richard that you haven't had your defrauding moment yet"

The words of my CEO as we drove back down the M4 from a meeting in London.

I was 18 months into the most challenging, stimulating, scary job I had ever had.

From planning and executing new business start-ups to negotiating 7 figure contracts with multiple stakeholders there was never a day when this guy didn't completely stretch every comfort zone I inhabited, and still he insisted that I was operating "well within myself".

I have to say that it didn't feel that way. Every day was intense, stressful, long and relentless, but masochistically enjoyable. Every day another new more challenging delegation of extra and new responsibility and, even then, every day I didn't feel as though I was "worthy".

I feel as though we should now be showing a city skyline with the words "About 12 months later..."

About 12 months later we were invited to present to a large group of stakeholders. It was for a contract that was potentially worth £3m+. I told my CEO that I was booking us train tickets could he be available for the day.

"There is no point in me going, I will only get in your way" He said. " You are much better at this stuff than I am" he went on in a very matter of fact type of way.

That was my "defrauding moment". I realised that he was right. I couldn't just do this "stuff", I wasn't just winging it but I was actually really good at it, much better than most, but, although I was confident until then I hadn't truly believed. It was completely emancipating.

I will use a really cheesy analogy. By the time it gets to the final few rounds there are usually some fairly decent singers left in the X Factor. They know that they sing and often have had enough confidence to do a few gigs. For one or two of them though there is a moment when they truly start to "believe" and their performances just get better and better because they are no longer, as my CEO put it "working within themselves". You always feel as though some of them are holding back and could give more, others give everything.

The truth is that more often than not others can see far better than we can what we are truly capable of, and it takes those others to make us believe.

The best leaders don't just identify and recruit talent they truly validate it, develop it and nurture it and in the process "defraud" those that need "defrauding".

We specialise in helping you to get the very best out of your sales teams. Why not call us 07934700193

By Its ALL about Sales, Mar 23 2017 09:54AM

Exporting for SME’s .... the right Route to market.

When you are considering exporting and have carried out your market study, you understand your products' positioning and pricing then it’s time to think about your route to market, how you are going to gain new customers , make sales and most importantly get paid.

You are now going to have to decide your Channel Strategy.

In short your type of product, your pricing and your promotional activities will all help determine your channel strategy.

So what is a Channel......? What are my options?

By Its ALL about Sales, Mar 15 2017 11:46AM

Imagine you had spent a lot of money buying a piece of machinery. A piece of machinery that made anything, let's say..... Chocolate!

It chugs along, keeps going, coughs every now and again but works (most of the time).

If you found out that there were ways to make it run far more smoothly and effectively and generate far more chocolate, enough to cover the cost very quickly, you would get it upgraded, wouldn't you?

And what about this? What if you have employed someone just to keep the machine ticking along nicely, that's their role, and you hear about ways to develop this person so they don't just keep it ticking along, they get it buzzing, keep it maintained and churning out more chocolate than ever before, You would get them developed, wouldn't you?

Surely it would be crazy not to...

Now, what if it wasn't chocolate it was money, and what if it wasn't a machine it was your sales team? Why is that so different?

I never cease to be amazed how few of the SME sized sales teams that I work with have had any sales training at all let alone any development, and virtually none of the managers responsible for leading and optimising performance have had sales leadership training or coaching.

Maybe if "salesteams" sat on the balance sheet as an appreciating tangible asset rather than an overhead or "cost of sales" we might value, and look after, them more.

If you want help getting the best out of your team call us on 07934700193 or drop us an email info@itsallaboutsales.co.uk

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