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Maximising sales team performance

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By Its ALL about Sales, Feb 1 2020 12:00PM

Have you ever watched someone do something and thought "They make it look SO easy" or "I wish I could do it like that"?


I remember, years ago, struggling to teach myself to windsurf. I spent much more time laying, exhausted, face first on the sail or climbing back onto the board than I ever did riding it. For months I jealously watched others thinking just that, simply "wishing" I would get better. I nearly gave up several times, there was no pleasure in it and it was also draining.


I just didn't have the basics right.


What made the difference, in the end, was deciding to pay for some lessons. I learned more from a professional tutor over 3 or 4 Saturday mornings than I had taught myself in nearly a year. Not only was I able to master the basics and become "reasonably" proficient, I immediately started to feel comfortable, and better still started to love it again.


What's this got to do with selling?


I have lost count of the hundreds (thousands?) of salespeople (and business owners) that I have trained and seen them having that moment of realization, finally understanding how SELLING actually works...the little things they were (or weren't) doing or saying that meant that they weren't getting the results that they needed.


When selling is going well there isn't a better job to have. If it's uncomfortable, and not going well, most people end up giving up or being let go.


Get the basics right...


Give me a call, an initial conversation costs you nothing.



By Its ALL about Sales, Jan 3 2020 12:00PM

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 "sales team" 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.




By Its ALL about Sales, Nov 12 2019 12:00PM



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.





By Its ALL about Sales, Feb 7 2017 01:53PM

So I read this great Zig Ziglar quote this morning...


"In my judgement, voice inflection is the single most important undeveloped skill you need to concentrate on in your pursuit of professional sales excellence"


Okay, far be it from me to question the great Zig Ziglar but I'm not sure it's the single most important but it's right up there for sure!


Not convinced? Then read the following SAME sentence 7 times, each time putting the emphasis/inflection on the word highlighted in bold.


I never said he stole that money


I never said he stole that money


I never said he stole that money


I never said he stole that money


I never said he stole that money


I never said he stole that money


I never said he stole that money


The same seven words take on very different meanings and the message that is remembered and taken away is very different..


So... When you are presenting to your prospect make sure you understand what you need the "take away" points to be and "pitch" (did you see what I did there?) it accordingly.


Amazingly powerful tool the human voice.



By Its ALL about Sales, Jan 20 2017 01:08PM

I was recently working on a project that forced me to reflect on the 5 or 6 best salespeople I have ever worked with and the skills/characteristics that they shared.


Of the '000's what set these half a dozen apart?


I've worked with loads of really good salespeople and they all shared most of the skills/traits that you would expect: Drive, energy, great communicators etc etc far too many to list.


So what set these others apart?


Firstly - Please don't just read the skill understand the context...


They were all BAD LOSERS. They were highly professional and didn't (often) "kick off" but they didn't like it one little bit when something didn't go their way. Then they got over it and moved on... BUT THEY HATED IT!


They were all HARD WORK. These Guys (and Gals) were all very willing to knock on their bosses doors and be challenging, confrontational but never aggressive or argumentative, but when they had something bothering them they didn't let it fester - ever!


They were all LIKABLE. Even when they had just vented frustrations (never negativity) and regardless of them sometimes feeling a little "high maintenance" they left you smiling. There was just something about them you had to like.


They had an uncanny ability to "FOCUS - BREAK - FOCUS". Nothing would stop them concentrating on their highest priority tasks until they were ready. Then they could stop, have a coffee, or a cigarette, even an argument sometimes and then 5 minutes later BANG! they were back in the zone and completely focused on the task in hand and they could do this every time they needed to... regardless.




I am very lucky. I get called on to help get the very best out of some great salespeople/teams and sales leaders so I hope my list of stand out characters and characteristics grows.


By Its ALL about Sales, Jan 18 2017 02:51PM


We've all been there...



We've done our "questioning", come up with a great proposition, presented it well and it's time to "close" (this doesn't necessarily mean asking for the order but it does mean asking to proceed to the next step) but we have the feeling that the prospect is almost certainly going to say "no".


The tendency can be to shy back from asking and to give our client/prospect some "thinking time". Keep them in our pipeline and maybe we can rescue the situation in the future. - that's got to be better than a "NO", right?


Wrong.


Unless everything we have done up to this point has been completely faultless the client/prospect is likely to have some concerns anyway, sometimes concerns (objections) tend not to come to the fore until we get asked to commit. We were always likely to get a soft "no" anyway.


By asking for commitment in the right way we can draw the objections from our client/prospect and address these concerns.


They still may not be willing to commit at this point, and they might, legitimately, want "thinking time" BUT at least you haven't sent them away to think about the things that were stopping them saying yes.


Now we are keeping them in the pipeline for the right reasons.




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