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By Its ALL about Sales, Sep 11 2017 12:47PM

"Everyone is a salesperson"

I hear this said at so many companies it's untrue. While I can understand the sentiment it's a very dangerous strategy to follow. Ambassador possibly, Representative maybe but salesperson NO!

Sales is a highly skilled, specialist discipline and becoming more and more so as we move forward. Despite this I am often amazed how few officially designated salespeople understand "how" to sell, and why they do the things they do.

To then encourage staff members that do not work in sales, have never had any sales training, do not understand how any sales process works, let alone one that is tailored to suit their business, and is very unlikely to understand what part they should play in that process is actually unfair on them.

If, however "everyone is a salesperson" is a mindset that you wish to instill in your business then give people the tools to work with.

A tailored "Sales for support staff" or "Sales for your Non-Sales people" course will help avoid both missed and lost opportunities, and you never know might help identify that sales superstar you have hidden in the admin department.

To find out how we can help call us on 0333 3554467 or email enquiries@itsallaboutsales.co.uk

By Its ALL about Sales, Sep 4 2017 01:48PM

Firstly, for context, I love genuine thought leaders. Without them we would still be living in caves...

I have two real concerns about how easy it has become to access "thought leader" content these days and both of them revolve around different "agendas"

I will come back to my greatest concern later on...

My first concern is that people are setting themselves up as thought leaders, in fact they are told to do so by other thought leaders (What's that all about?)

More often than not what they are saying isn't anything new, let alone original, and isn't overly thought provoking BUT what they have managed to do is re-package it in a "branded" way.

It may well be useful information but it is simply curating (that's a great word isn't it), re-branding and mass marketing it. When (IF) there is any original angle to the content it is often just regurgitated post after post after post, because there isn't real depth to it.

The whole idea of being a true thought leader is about sharing, giving and unconditionally helping others which then attracts followers and business follows. When the agenda is to attract business by using questionably original reconstituted content to set yourself up as a thought leader it starts to feel very sleazy.

Maybe we need to be more discerning?

My bigger concern revolves around potentially genuine thought leaders, and especially the new, sometimes radical ideas that get some traction. These genuine thought leaders often use phrases like... "I can visualise a time when..." and they may well be right. Eventually some of their ideas may well become the mainstream, but even in todays rapidly changing world it is unlikely to happen tomorrow and it is unlikely that everything that it replaces becomes immediately redundant.

In the same way that electric vehicles will probably, eventually become the norm it will be an evolution that takes decades, not years and the combustion engine will be about for a generation or two, then the processes and technologies that are breaking ground at the moment will take a long time before they are the everyday norm. They may also only be available to large corporations with only radically diluted elements realistic for small businesses.

The problem is, and I see this too regularly in the world of sales, these new ideas and developments can fuel procrastination. They can create a feeling of analysis paralysis resulting in people not knowing what they need to do. Often no-one is putting things into context.

This can however often suit people's agendas as it can seemingly validate their choices not to do some of the things that they feel less comfortable doing.

Maybe, again, we need to be more discerning?

By Its ALL about Sales, Aug 15 2017 12:01PM

Anyone in sales knows it's a tough old business. Here are 5 tips that will help you or your team excel.

Know what you are doing:

The first thing to do is to really understand how to sell. Understand the processes and how they relate, or need to be adapted to fit your product or service and the way that your prospects buy.

Unless you completely, and consciously, know what you are doing, and maybe more importantly why, you will not be able to proactively develop your skills.

Keep good records:

If your company provides you with a CRM system USE IT! In fact don't just use it, find out how to use it to drive the sales process not simply record what you have done.

If your company doesn't provide you with a CRM system invest in one yourself. You can find great cloud based CRM's for less than £10 per month. Most offer free trial periods.

Look for one that focuses on what you are going to do next, not what you have just done.

Plan, plan, plan, Action!

Work with your sales leader/manager to develop your individual sales plan. If you don't have a manager then do it yourself.

Who, when, how, why, how often, how much... then when you know precisely how you are going to over achieve plug it into the CRM system and then stick to the plan.

Don't opt out when it gets a bit tough. Don't spend good selling time researching, don't find excuses... Work the plan! (but review and adapt as needed)

Make sure you are deliberately uncomfortable for much of the time:

If everything you are doing is well within your comfort zone then either a: your role simply isn't challenging enough b: you are not challenging yourself or c: fear is controlling you.

Plan in (and plan FOR) the difficult meetings, the telephone canvassing sessions that you have avoided etc. Comfort zones expand but only when they have some pressure applied to them.

Experience shows that when skills, abilities and reward structures are similar those most likely to succeed and excel are those who challenge their comfort zones the most often.

Take responsibility for your own "atmosphere":

It is the duty of your employer to make sure that where you work is fit for purpose, safe, warm etc. It is absolutely in your employers best interests to make sure that the environment suits the roll you are tasked with, but I still often visit businesses where a telesales person (or team) is stifled by, for example, design or accounts people asking them to keep the noise down so they can concentrate.

What isn't the responsibility of your employer is your motivation. It's up to you to create the "atmosphere" that you want to work in, and that will get the very best out of you. Great managers and leaders will recognise when you need help in this are and may contribute with competitions or campaigns etc but if you and your colleagues take responsibility and behave in the way that you want the department to "feel" you are a long way towards success.

If you or your business need any help in driving your sales performance then give us a call on 0333 3554467

By Its ALL about Sales, Jul 31 2017 01:22PM

I guess it's worth starting by saying I'm not talking about the person that you don't get on with as well as the rest, or the one that does't always agree with you, or can sometimes be challenging. Challenge and differing opinions can he highly creative, the people I'm talking about are the opposite, they are quietly destructive and often revel in it.

I'm talking about the person that changes the atmosphere in a room when they walk in (and not for the better). The place feels slightly different when they go for their 2 weeks annual leave, with everyone silently breathing a sigh of relief,

Often this negativity isn't highly animated or hugely extreme, but it is chronic, it festers and it is a constant undercurrent.

I know it's a cliche, but cliches are cliches for a good reason, but positivity is a must have attribute in the sales environment.

Positivity helps us to set and achieve goals, it keeps us going when things get tough, it helps us stretch and step out of our comfort zones and this is important when it comes to dealing with these toxic, negative people. Positivity also protects us but it can only protect us so much...

You know those days when you get up, it's a fresh new day/week, you feel good, your are up for the challenge...? and then you have that one conversation with that one person that always sucks any pleasure out of any situation, and you are left thinking "What is the sodding point?"

OK, I think we know the type of person we are talking about now, and there are more out there than you think.

Now consider the impact that that person can have when they are somewhere within your sales function. Don't just think about the obvious impact here, think about seepage and cross infection...

One other thing worth considering... I mentioned earlier that this negativity often isn't that extreme but an undercurrent. What usually happens is that the higher up the company structure the individual is the more vocal and visible the negativity may be, and can possibly cross the line that makes it workplace bullying.

So how DO you sort this out? It's a problem and it needs sorting.

The answer is fairly simple.

Simple but not EASY (I did mention it means stepping outside comfort zones), but it is fairly simple.

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 we run regular sessions on "building and developing strong pipelines". If you think this might be of interest please get in touch.

info@itsallaboutsales or 03333554467

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

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