Thursday 19 February 2009

Selling is NOT Order Taking........

Many people have not undertaken formal training in Sales and are struggling in this most specialised and unforgiving of environments. You now need to earn your corn and be good at what you do. Yes, be a Sales Professional! Selling has changed, the way people buy and what your core job is are now different to even 2 years ago.

Test yourself by answering these 3 Questions:
  1. Have you had on-going formal Sales Training?

  2. Can you describe the Stages of the Sales Process?

  3. What's the most important stand-out trait of the most successful salespeople?

If you can't answer these 3 Q's convincingly then you do need to read on......

  1. If you have not been formally trained and unless you're a 'natural' the likelihood is you're passing up on sales and annoying Customers.

  2. If you're not familiar with the process how can you manage it? Let me come back to that.

  3. The most important trait is the ability to listen and distil information from prospects/clients. How else will you uncover their Needs??

Customers and Sales People run different but parallel processes. The Customer is not interested in yours,'d better get interested in theirs!. Simple clue....We were given 2 ears and 1 mouth at birth. The smart money's on using them in that ratio!

Sales is about solving Customer problems by meeting their needs. This is vastly different to selling things to people they don't want. Those days are long gone. Repeat Business and Loyal Clients are worth their weight in gold. There are many processes and methodologies, they're all essentially trying to do 1 thing...Motivate the buyer to buy.

Step 1: Awareness, of you, your business, product, a Need and a reason to listen

Step 2: Interest, use fact, reason, emotion and enthusiasm to get people wanting to know more

Step 3: Desire, the person is motivated to want to do something about what they now know

Step 4. Action, a firm course of action leading to an order or closing a sale is put in place

The process is known as 'funnelling'. Moving from general needs to specific needs. Become a student to your craft. If you see things from the Customer point of view, you always win more than you lose especially in the long run. These are the basics, they just get you an entry ticket.

Research reveals approximately 80% of Sales people don't know the basics. On the flip side, it wouldn't take a lot to be good! The good news it most of this is ATTITUDE based and entirely trainable. What are your Sales Challenges??

Friday 6 February 2009

TRUST- Why it's such a workplace problem.....

I was gifted a great 1 line explanation of Trust: "Believing something will be so, when right now, it is not so". One of the thought leaders on Trust is Stephen M.R. Covey, his book 'The Speed of Trust' is well worth a read. Read more here:

Trust is 2 sided:

  1. Character- Who you are- Your Integrity and your Intent
  2. Competence- What you can do- Your Track Record

Both of these are what make you Credible as a Leader or incredible if you have both! This is not either or it is BOTH. Mostly today what I see is people with plenty of ability in both areas but limited by weak beliefs and poor communication skills. The world of frustrated ability.
We find it hard to respect talented people who have poor people skills (on the grounds of arrogance and superiority, i.e. how they make us FEEL) Similarly a 'nice guy' surgeon whose skills are outdated who has an indifferent track record would would not inspire confidence if you need your coronary arteries re-plumbed (-fear of what will HAPPEN to us) These are normal feelings. How do you rate yourself in these 2 areas??

The role of the Leader then is to Inspire Trust. Here's 2 simple things to do right away:

  1. Keep the promises you make, tell people why when you can't and what you can do
  2. Commit to improving all the time. Famous US Football Coach. Don Shula, famously said: 'there is no short walk to excellence, you need to train hard every day' You don't need permission to do that, it's a frame of mind and you actually control that, unlike many things around us at present.

This is the 'Beating Heart of Leadership'. Trust is the one variable YOU control that changes everything...........What are your Trust issues?!

Monday 2 February 2009

Employee Engagement in these tough times.

Engagement (going the extra mile) has become a buzz word and replaced Retention (holding on to people) as being vital to getting the very best out of people (Talent Management).
As the Leadership writer John Maxwell famously said:
"People don't care about how much you know till they know how much you care"

'Caring' in this context has has 3 key aspects I believe
  1. Respecting people enough to tell them what the 'job to be done' now looks like (I need you to focus on a,b,c because of x,y,z business reason)
  2. Asking them what they need from you or the business to enable them do this properly (Is this ok, can you do that?)
  3. Supporting people by Coaching, Feedback, Encouragement and CONSISTENCY (What's working, what's not... What would make the difference?)

When as a Leader you 'fill in the gaps' for people they understand what you're thinking-It removes the guesswork. They feel respected and then they VOLUNTEER their best efforts. That's the pathway to engagement. People always amaze me with what they can do when properly supported. The intention then shifts from inspection to improvement. That's a proper 'win-win'.

This process is trying to achieve willing support from your employees. Look at what happens when you get fully engaged staff, your revenue grows by more than 80%, your net profit by over 20% due to the willing Emotional Involvement of your people who in turn pass this on to your Customers, who're prepared to pay more! Click on this short YouTube clip.

Try it and see, if you're struggling with HOW to do this better, get in touch. This stuff may seem fluffy, it's not. It actually works! Go on, engage with the process!!