The Sales Consultancy Blog


How THIS FRIDAY could be the biggest contribution you will make to your business…

1 February 2016

... career and personal sales success


The best way you could spend this coming Friday afternoon‏…

It’s Time for action

Time to get busy. Not to work super hard. Time to be super smart.

Give yourself two hours. Get away from your normal place of work. Go somewhere where you won’t be interrupted. Turn the phone off. Yes, fully off, no vibrations. Off. Have a couple of pens with you – and lots of paper. No tablets to write on. No typing this time.

It doesn’t matter what your role is in the company – leading a team or one of the team – you’ll get so much from what’s coming up.

Get yourself mentally in the zone. Shut out anything else that may be happening…make a pledge to yourself that you’ll be 100% honest for as long as this exercise takes.

And consider, in detail, the following questions…

Is your performance all it can be?
How are you with your own performance?
When was the last time you received honest feedback on your performance?
When did you last give yourself a self appraisal session?
What do you feel pleased with in your personal progress?
What worries you?
What can you do about it?

Are you setting the right standards?

Are you setting the right standards for your organisation and those around you?
Are you proud of those standards?
Where might things be clarified or improved?
Does everyone around you understand what those standards are – and work by them?

Acid Test
What issues really need to be addressed?
What’s getting in the way?
What’s the single biggest obstacle that’s holding things back?
Where can calm and thoughtfulness help to make things better?
Do you have the courage of your convictions?

Blame Audit

Has laying blame crept into your organisation?
What or who is suffering because of this?
Are you tending to lay blame?
Are you taking responsibility?
How can you turn things around?

You
How can things be better for you at work?
How can things be better at home?
What’s really going on right now?
When did you last review your personal mission and vision?
Have you got a personal mission and vision?
How does this fit with your business or career mission?

Doing this exercise is one of the biggest contributions you will make to your business, career and personal sales success.

Clients have tried this when they least thought they could spare the time. Afterwards they felt so much more energised and ready to focus on making the RIGHT things happen.

Friday afternoon is the best time. This coming Friday would be perfect – so you can return to work on Monday feeling fresh and absolutely clear on what’s to be done.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Take ACTION and contribute to your sales success with 7 simple steps

15 December 2015

Frequently during my sales workshops I get asked “what’s the biggest contribution to success?” Now that’s a tough question to answer. There are so many things that determine whether you are destined for success. If I had to pick one, it would probably be taking ACTION. Without it, you will never get the results you want.

I’m reminded of the quote ‘All know the way; few actually walk it’ (Bodhidharma). We’re all guilty of not doing the stuff we know we should be doing.

So if you’re procrastinating on ACTIONS that you know will better your results, this exercise could really get you moving.

7 Steps to ACTION

Get yourself a writing pad and a pen you like writing with! Take your time in answering the following questions as fully as you can.

1. Write down one thing that you are procrastinating with

2. Come up with 10 reasons why you must change this now

3. What will it cost you if you don’t make this change?

4. What will you gain from this change?

5. How do you know you can absolutely make this change?

6. Create a new association with this change

For example – If you’re not making enough calls you may have an association that not making calls equals less rejection…a new association might be that making more calls equals more chances to make sales and all the kudos and money that comes with that.

7. What is your first action that you can do immediately?

This exercise will really get you in touch with the motivation to take ACTION towards what you want and contribute to your sales success!

It’s great to hear how you make these strategies work for you, so please do let us know how you get on.

Leigh

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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You need to get mental to achieve sales success! Are you fit to sell?

17 November 2015

Companies are storing record cash amounts. They’re hoarding their revenues for more rainy days ahead. They’re spending little at the moment. They’re making do.

One day though – one day they’ll will be ready to spend big. Their cash reserves are colossal – after all, profits have held up well and companies have cut out lots of costs. But when they do decide to spend, YOU have to be right up there in their consciousness, right in the forefront of their thinking, if you are going to maximise the inevitable opportunities that are going to arise.

Well then – are you ready? Have you got what it takes? How motivated are you? What state are you in? Where will you be when the gold rush starts?

Your answers to these and other similar questions will determine your success as we come out of the economic downturn. Remember – you cannot succeed and make it happen on the outside before you’ve already made it happen on the inside.

Have the Right Mind State
Your mind and body are part of the same interactive system. What you’re thinking will determine your behavior so you need to be thinking positive, motivating thoughts. If you find your thinking or internal dialogue is not helpful to your state you need to change it – and FAST.

Think about times when you were in the flow, sales were easy, conversations flowed and you felt great. It feels great doesn’t it?
What about when things didn’t go that well, you weren’t moving forward, something stopped you from taking action. How did you feel during those times?

The objective is to stay in that first, happy productive state, and if you find yourself less resourceful, to change back into that productive state quickly and easily. Put simply you will achieve more sales and success generally from being in a positive state.

Anchoring
So how can you capture and draw on the best bits? Anchoring is the technique which enables you to recall those moments when you were totally motivated, lock them in, and recall them when required. It sounds simple and it is and by following the exercise below you can have an effective anchor available to you in minutes.

Limiting beliefs
A big subject, very important too. For now take notice of those things you say to yourself that are not helping you. That little voice inside, that makes you doubt your ability and stops you from taking action, or the right action. Some people call it their inner critic.

You need to take on that inner critic. After all – how many of the messages it gives you are based on fact? Not many usually. Yet these negative thoughts promote your limiting beliefs, in turn stopping you performing at your peak. So notice those messages from within, and where they came from.

Remember – sales come when you are in a really great state. Oh and smile too. It’s really difficult to do ‘depressed’ when you’re smiling! Sales isn’t a process, or about what you say. It starts in your head and how you’re feeling. Get that right and you will succeed in sales.

1. Anchoring Exercise
Think of a time when the conversation flowed, when you were in deep rapport and felt unstoppable. Get right into that moment, turn it up – and bottle it. Then think of another great selling moment and do the same. And again, three times in all. Design yourself an anchor to lock in the fabulous state you are now in – maybe a piece of music, maybe a clap of your hand, something that, later by playing the music, or clapping in the same way, you can reproduce that motivated and unstoppable feeling.

2. Countering limiting beliefs exercise
During the course of a day, notice those negative statements you think and say. Write them down. For each limiting belief write down three counter examples to each. Three examples which demonstrate the limiting belief not to be true. This will shake the roots of those limiting beliefs and ultimately eradicate them.

Summary
– Your thoughts will determine your behaviour and your results
– To maximise your potential you need to stay in, or get in, a happy productive state
– Anchoring is a powerful tool to capture and retain and reproduce those moments when you are most motivated and resourceful
– Limiting Beliefs are those inner voices that tell you what you cannot do or struggle to do
– Limiting beliefs should be countered and destroyed to achieve maximum sales success

Until next time…

Leigh

PS: Be sure to download my complimentary report “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes” here

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Not having the Sales Success you need? Here’s 6 reasons why…

27 October 2015

When a company fails, the usual reasons get trotted out; “unfavourable market conditions” “the longest recession since xxxx” “fashions have changed” “the internet”.

Maybe it’s the same if you don’t reach your sales targets?

In my book these all group together into one ‘not me guv’ excuse. Anyone hiding behind these reasons for a failing business or (closer to my specialist subject) lack of sales, is what’s called ‘in effect’. They are letting those external factors be an excuse for their own lack of achievement.

They need to look somewhere else. And if you know me well you’ll probably know where I’m going with this.

If you are not having the level of sales success you need right now, my question to you – and it’s a challenging question is…

How, by your actions or your non-actions have you contributed to your current situation?

Ask your team that question too, or these coming up…

For example…

Where have you procrastinated?
This is one of the most common causes of failure. Most of us are waiting for the “time to be right” to do those things that will make a big difference. Well the time will never be “just right”, so start where you stand, work with whatever tools you have, and find better tools as you go along.

Where have you shown lack of persistence?
Most of us are good “starters” but poor “finishers” of everything we begin. Many give up at the first sign of defeat. There is no substitute for persistence in sales.

How defined is your purpose in your job and your life?

The most successful people in sales and business that I’ve ever met knew exactly WHY they were on the path they were on. It wasn’t just for their professional success; it’s that they had a crystal clear vision of what they were going to do with that increased success. Many I meet who are struggling do not have that beautifully defined aim.

How are you developing your personality?
There is no hope of sales success for the person who repels people. When you reflect honestly, is your persona drawing people to you – or driving them away? If you’re driving them away, what adjustments can you make?

What do you believe about you?
What do you believe about your own sales ability? If you’re not achieving the sales you need it’s highly likely that your limiting beliefs are at play. You may be aware of some of them. Others are buried beneath the surface. Beliefs about yourself will massively impact on whether you hit your targets or not.

Where have you been over-cautious?
If you take no chances at all you’ll be left with whatever is left when others have finished choosing. Over-caution is as bad as under-caution and both should be guarded against. Remember though, life itself is filled with the element of choice, all day, every day.

Sales Success? It’s all about the psychology.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: Check out our “Tricks of The Trade” archive here for all things sales

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

Leigh Ashton

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Brilliant Sales Results don’t happen by accident. So Listen up!

7 October 2015

Brilliant sales results do not happen by accident.

Of course there’ll be an occasional fluke – but on the whole, sustained sales success certainly does not happen by chance. To be relaxed, confident and in control – and ultimately successful in sales – takes some level of preparation.

From the shortest telephone chat to a week-long exhibition or conference, you need to be clear in what you want, clear in the outcome you seek.

Your very own Personal Planner

I’ve developed a set of questions to help you prepare for any sales interaction – whether it be a short catch up chat, a full blown pitch, a presentation or a conference. Depending on the context you can use all, or just some of these questions.

Try these questions before your next sales call, sales meeting, networking event, conference, sales presentation…

Here we go…

The Outcome
What do I want to achieve?

The Opening
What can I say to open the discussion?
How should I stand/sit?
What kind of Voice Tonality should I use?

Rapport
What can I do to encourage my client to be at ease and to talk freely?
I think my Client’s preferred representational system is…
I think their preference is towards/away from

Coverage
What information do I need to collect?
What level of detail do I need to get to?

What information do I need to impart?

How will I check for understanding (for me and the client)?

Flow
What can I do to ensure that the discussion flows smoothly from one topic to another?

Manner
What can I do to demonstrate respect?
What can I do to show that I am listening to/interested in what they have to say?

Question Technique
Which open questions would be good to begin with?
Which questions can I use to “funnel down”?

The Close
What can I say to close the discussion?
How can I ensure the client knows what is to happen next?

The Check
If I do all the above, will I achieve my outcome(s)?
What else could I do to improve on the above?

Concentrates the mind doesn’t it? Well that’s exactly what it’s designed to do!

These questions will help you focus on what you want out of any upcoming interaction. And when you know your outcome beforehand, your brain picks up the instructions and sets out to make it happen.

That’s the psychology of successful selling.

Until next time

Leigh


PS: You can now get the ‘Essential Sales System for small business’s’ DVD’s on a Download!!! (Just £29.95)Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling. Click for details.

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07970 753664

http://www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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The ten things that dictate your sales results

16 September 2015

I’M A BIG BELIEVER IN YOU GET WHAT YOU EXPECT, NOT WHAT YOU HOPE FOR.
DO ATHLETES WORK ON BUILDING THEIR POSITIVITY BEFORE A PERFORMANCE? DEFINITELY.

How do you put yourself in a positive state? What about your team?

It could be photo’s of loved ones, pictures of beautiful places you want to visit…or stuff you’ll buy with your bonus, it may be a piece of music or a speech that inspires you, or it may be your cuddly teddy bear! I don’t know what these things are for you but YOU do and that’s what counts.

Why not make a list now of all the things you already know put you in a positive state of mind. Be sure to write things that you have control over. I know 14 hours of sunshine a day works for many people but there’s not too much chance of that in the winter months! You need things that help you at any time…regardless of what’s going on in the world!

What TEN THINGS put you in a positive state (keep it clean, then again maybe not!)

Go on…write ten things down, before you read on.

Whatever these things are for you, have them close at hand so you have access to them whenever you need to ‘buzz up’ – or sense your state dropping.

There are also some physical things you can do when you’re feeling unresourceful. A great tip is to stand up and look upwards…smiling. It’s impossible to feel down when you do this. Go on try it now. Stand up; look at the ceiling with the biggest smile you can manage. Now without moving a muscle, pretend to be depressed!

Told you…it always works. You may get some odd looks but who cares when you feel this good!

A sales person I once worked with…

…had a huge insight when I covered this topic in a training session. He told me he always arrived for work positive and ready for action. Except on a Monday. Monday was different. It took him ages to get in a good state of mind and in the meantime his Monday performances declined. He’s just put it down to the fact it was Monday…you may relate to this grin

What he realised during this exercise is that every day, apart from Monday, he travelled to work listening to upbeat music on his iPod. It really set him up for the day. On Friday he went out for a beer with his work colleagues and left his iPod at the office. Being without his iPod on the Monday morning had taken his motivating and uplifting music out of his routine!

He solved the problem by buying another iPod so he always had access to his music.

So whether it’s to get you buzzed up each morning, or to get you back up to a positive state when you’re flagging, make sure you always have some of those top ten tools right by you and watch them increase your sales success.

And what does your team need to do to ensure they’re ready for action?

It’s all part of The Psychology of Selling

Until next time

Leigh

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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The ten things that dictate your sales results

16 September 2015

I’M A BIG BELIEVER IN YOU GET WHAT YOU EXPECT, NOT WHAT YOU HOPE FOR.
DO ATHLETES WORK ON BUILDING THEIR POSITIVITY BEFORE A PERFORMANCE? DEFINITELY.

How do you put yourself in a positive state? What about your team?

It could be photo’s of loved ones, pictures of beautiful places you want to visit…or stuff you’ll buy with your bonus, it may be a piece of music or a speech that inspires you, or it may be your cuddly teddy bear! I don’t know what these things are for you but YOU do and that’s what counts.

Why not make a list now of all the things you already know put you in a positive state of mind. Be sure to write things that you have control over. I know 14 hours of sunshine a day works for many people but there’s not too much chance of that in the winter months! You need things that help you at any time…regardless of what’s going on in the world!

What TEN THINGS put you in a positive state (keep it clean, then again maybe not!)

Go on…write ten things down, before you read on.

Whatever these things are for you, have them close at hand so you have access to them whenever you need to ‘buzz up’ – or sense your state dropping.

There are also some physical things you can do when you’re feeling unresourceful. A great tip is to stand up and look upwards…smiling. It’s impossible to feel down when you do this. Go on try it now. Stand up; look at the ceiling with the biggest smile you can manage. Now without moving a muscle, pretend to be depressed!

Told you…it always works. You may get some odd looks but who cares when you feel this good!

A sales person I once worked with…

…had a huge insight when I covered this topic in a training session. He told me he always arrived for work positive and ready for action. Except on a Monday. Monday was different. It took him ages to get in a good state of mind and in the meantime his Monday performances declined. He’s just put it down to the fact it was Monday…you may relate to this grin

What he realised during this exercise is that every day, apart from Monday, he travelled to work listening to upbeat music on his iPod. It really set him up for the day. On Friday he went out for a beer with his work colleagues and left his iPod at the office. Being without his iPod on the Monday morning had taken his motivating and uplifting music out of his routine!

He solved the problem by buying another iPod so he always had access to his music.

So whether it’s to get you buzzed up each morning, or to get you back up to a positive state when you’re flagging, make sure you always have some of those top ten tools right by you and watch them increase your sales success.

And what does your team need to do to ensure they’re ready for action?

It’s all part of The Psychology of Selling

Until next time

Leigh

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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If you’re serious about Increasing Sales, you need more I.P.A (and I don’t mean the beer)

1 September 2015

Why you need more I.P.A

For most of us, after our summer holidays, we share that foreboding as we crack up our laptops wondering what ‘the figure’ of emails will be. Then there are the bragging rights. I reckon most people share their inbox total with their immediate colleagues within 30 minutes of discovering it (go on – be honest!). And there’s that tinge of disappointment if a colleague has a higher total than you!

Not that I’ve got involved with any of that nonsense myself smile

Seriously…

This is a dilemma for many – how to balance the basic admin with that crucial project. The urgent v the important. And so on.

My challenge to you is…in amongst the emails, the meetings and your other tasks and projects, how are you going to make sure you do enough selling?. Selling and marketing has to continue. I’d wager that for many companies – and individuals, that are struggling with their sales, they probably didn’t do enough selling and prospecting three, four, five months ago when they should have.

Getting the selling done amongst the other duties remains a massive issue for many small businesses, especially with many people having dual roles within an organisation.

Even those who work full time in sales often don’t do much actual selling! The last research I saw suggested that only 20% of a sales rep’s time is actually spent selling or prospecting, the rest is problem solving, administration, travelling and so on.

Are you selling enough?

Somehow, whether selling is part or all of your role, you need to ring fence some time for selling and prospecting. There aren’t many organisations that have survived without selling skills

Let me introduce you to a concept that I’ve found really helps me – and is very popular when we share it at our trainings. It’s a simple concept that will really help you make time for selling.

I.P.A.

Income…Producing…Activity. I’ll define IPA in a moment but firstly I suggest you should be doing IPA for an average of at least 1- 3 hours per day. If you’re serious about generating tomorrow’s sales, and the next day and beyond, ring fence that time in your diary.

OK, a definition of IPA – activities that have a direct impact on creating sales opportunities. By this I mean sales and promotional activity prior to a sale being made. This could be prospect meetings, creating email campaigns, general prospecting, generating referrals… anything that starts or develops new relationships with prospective customers.

What isn’t I.P.A.?

What you do with your client after the deal has been done is around customer service and quality… and is not IPA. Now I know that it’s important to keep clients happy and the happier you make them it’s more likely they will buy from you again – but that time is not IPA unless you are talking with them about another service or product that they might buy.

Leave customer service to your customer service team/person and if customer service is part of your role, remember you still need to do 1-3 hours of IPA on top.

Just do it

Book time in your diary. Put notices on the wall, post it’s and pop ups wherever you’d like. Just do it.

IPA IPA IPA

The emails can wait…

Until next time

Leigh

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Sales Techniques – Why are they so bad?

21 July 2015

Why are Selling Techniques so bad?

You will know by now I’m on a mission to improve the nation’s selling techniques. It seems every day I collect more evidence of just how big a challenge that is going to be! On the other hand a bottom less pit of potential work it seems.

Take my colleague Jonathan’s example from a while ago. Accompanying his friend to a car showroom he was well and truly underwhelmed by the sales techniques demonstrated – or not demonstrated as it turned out. Within a minute of approaching Jonathan and his friend the sales guy was explaining how effective this £68K Landrover was at going up 45 degree hills off road – and that they should check out the YouTube video to see for themselves. He went on to list all the features of this vehicle that HE would have been impressed by.

Now I’m not sure what they teach showroom sales people at landrover but it sure isn’t modern sales skills on this evidence. Maybe they should get inside one of those Delorien cars from ‘Back to The Future’ and got themselves back to 1960’s America where they would have more success!

The Problem?

Where to begin! Firstly he didn’t even know who was up for buying a vehicle, or what stage we might have been in our buying process. He didn’t know ANYTHING about us at all and more crucially did not have any inclination to find out. That meant he remained forever in his map of the world, which was all about off roading and boy’s stuff. He was doing all the talking and NO listening at all. If he had made the effort to find out our ‘maps’ then the knowledge gained would have led to a far more fruitful chat for all of us, more enjoyable too and more likely to produce a win win.

A Solution?

This contrasts with a much more encouraging – sadly rarer story of a friend who after 25 years working in a factory found himself out of work as textile manufacturing moved abroad. His friend was a car dealer and to his credit gave John a chance at his used car showroom. With no real training and no experience John made a fabulous impact at selling cars. How? He knew about and had studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and applied it in the car showroom.

The Power of Rapport

Despite being given second rate leads as returning customers went back to the longer serving salesmen, John soon rose up the sales league table. He did this by leaving his map of the world and making efforts to find out about the maps of those he spoke to. His genuine interest in their buying circumstances and needs led to natural open questions and great answers. He soon found out that it was often the quirky stuff that sold cars, the little things that you can only find out about when you have built genuine rapport with your prospect.

In one particular example John approached a whole family looking around the showroom. Through careful questioning and brilliant rapport building with ALL the family, John elicited that due to a family history of prangs when reversing their previous vehicles, the deciding factor was the bleeper that comes on when reversing this particular car, not that common at the time. Only by building a great relationship – and caring – did John find out this information.

Result?

A Sale, of course – and a fantastic letter two days later from the family stating this was the best buying experience they had ever had. His boss and friend said he hadn’t seen a customer letter like that in fourteen years in the business.

So – please please please leave out your needs and wants and make sure you find out their needs and wants. Genuinely care about the relationships you have with your customers and prospects, be curious, ask open questions, listen instead of preaching and you’ll be surprised what it will do for your sales success.

Do let me know your good and bad experiences of sales techniques. Let’s crack this together!

Until next time

Leigh


PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Is Your Language Affecting Your Sales Success?

14 July 2015

What Language are you Speaking?

The language you use has a massive impact on your results. That goes for the language you speak, and the language that meanders around internally in your head. If you keep saying things are hard…guess what, it will be hard! You’re instructing your brain to expect hard, expect tough…and so that’s what it will deliver for you.

You get what you expect

Tone your language down when you have a challenge coming up. Because your thoughts and outlook on the job in hand will definitely determine how tough, or straightforward, the job will be. Remember, you don’t get what you hope for, you get what you expect!

Quick example…many people I know get concerned when they get a sore throat. “I do hope I’m not getting a cold” they say. Dangerous talk, I think! Our brains don’t actually process negatives. So all the brain hears in this example is “getting a cold, getting a cold, getting a cold”. You know where this is heading!

If I say “don’t think of a blue tree”…what do you think of?  A blue tree of course. That’s because you can’t not think about something that you don’t want to think about, without thinking about it first!

And in sales?

So when you say “I do hope I’m not getting a cold”, you are focusing your mind on the words “getting a cold” and manifesting the very climate for a cold to take hold. Deepak Chopra (M.D. and founder of the Chopra Centre for Wellbeing) says “your immune system is constantly eavesdropping on your internal dialogue”…and it’s not just your immune system!

So – in sales, every time you don’t want something to happen, your focus of attention is fixed right on it. “I hope this isn’t going to be a tough sales meeting”; “I hope they don’t say no”; “I hope the client isn’t challenging” – these are all versions of “don’t think of a blue tree!”

Now let’s get real here…I don’t deny that the world sets us certain obstacles to overcome but I do believe that the obstacles are easier to overcome when we use positive language! Rather than saying “This is really hard” you could say, “this may not be easy yet but it will get easier each time I practice”. A simple reframe which, if you replicated for all of your challenges, would create a significantly different world for you.

You’d be more empowered, more resourceful, more successful.

Even the most positive people…

…can fall into the trap of negative language – so start to notice when you do this for yourself. Every time you hear negative language, reframe the comment using positive language that’s framed on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Over time you’ll start to notice yourself becoming much more positive, goal – focussed, and happier person! With much more, sales success.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh


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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Decreasing Marketing; Increasing Sales

7 July 2015

Most companies I help receive incoming enquiries – via the telephone line, emails, exhibitions, the list goes on.

None of these companies convert 100% of those enquiries into a sale. Of course, 100% conversion is pushing it a bit! However – there’s no doubt that all of these companies had potential to increase their conversion rate, in many cases by a considerable amount.

A company in particular comes to mind. They took enquiries mainly by phone and converted 25% of these enquiries into an individual average order value of £997 – we’ll round this up to £1000 for ease of telling the story.

Sales in volume were slightly over 10,000 a year so we’re talking about a £10m company here.

Having been called in to help, my first thoughts were what a crying shame that a massive 75% of sales enquiries were coming to nothing. Even sadder was that many of the 75% non-buyers were deemed ‘time wasters’ by the staff. I cringe at those words – in my book there’s no such thing as a time waster in sales and terming them as such reflects more on the seller than the potential buyer.

Within six weeks we’d got the conversion rate up to 27%. Now you might think that’s not much of an increase – and you’d be right. BUT – just this 2% increase in conversion rates equated to an annual increase in turnover of £800,000. Needless to say the training was deemed a big success.

The moral of the story? Don’t spend massive amounts of money on marketing when all you have to do is make better use of the leads that you’re already getting – sales success will follow.

How to increase conversion rates?

Here are a few pointers.

1. Ban the use of the words ‘time wasters’! I’m serious. Using this word in a sales environment engenders an underlying unconscious disrespect for potential buyers. I firmly believe that no one has got time these days to be a time waster – there must have been SOME level of interest for them to pick up the phone – check out a website etc.

2. Get technology in that can track enquiries and respond to them. This could be web analytics, a more sophisticated CRM, whatever it takes to know exactly who’s showing an interest – and which enables you to have a low cost follow up.

3. Connect! Yes I know some of this is very basic but…! It works. We found out at the company in question that their company was on average one of three that the potential customer contacted before making a decision. There were about 5 major players in their market at the time – and not much to choose between them in terms of product and price. So who do you think was going to get the business? YES – the one to whom the prospect felt most connected.

4. Connection is made through general rapport building and lots of curiosity – in sales terms known as good old fashioned open questions.

5. Structure. I’ll never be an advocate of scripts on telephone calls – I hate them – but a little structure can help considerably. So make sure you give the staff the guidance they need to succeed on the call.

6. Follow up when you’ve quoted. I can’t believe how many companies quote for business and then never follow up with at least a courtesy phone call. This is not hounding people – as a certain company’s ‘sales’ staff once suggested. This is called customer service, which, if we’re lucky, might catch on! If you don’t fancy following up quotes, you might want to consider an alternative career. Referring to suggestion 3, if you’re one of three companies that have quoted for a sale and you’re the only one that follows up, doesn’t that indicate a level of interest on your part that others haven’t matched?

There are of course another hundred+ tips on increasing sales and following up enquiries – but if you do these and do them well enough, your selling skills and your sales conversions will increase.

Converted yet?

Leigh

www.sales-consultancy.com
07970 753664
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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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9 Ways to achieve networking success!

24 June 2015

9 ways to improve your networking results

Despite the onslaught of social media and on line networking, ‘real life’ networking is still a crucial element of many companies’ sales and marketing strategies. Quite right too – there are massive benefits to be had from attending networking events.

Providing you’re at the right event for you. Providing you do it well.

Sadly many choose the wrong events. Many others, even if they’ve chosen the right event, often don’t make the best of it once there. And I believe this is down to a lack of ‘know how’ around networking – and crucially a lack of confidence.

My take…

Networking should be fun. Networking should be of immense value to you. Here are a few thoughts on how to get more out of your networking…

  Choose your networking events carefully – Ask yourself where you will meet the people you’d like to trade with. Or maybe you’d like to meet those who know the people you’d like to trade with? So could it be the Chamber of commerce? Breakfast clubs? Entrepreneur organisations? Training courses? Charity events? Trade associations? Exhibitions? Private clubs – gold, dining etc? Sports events?

  Define exactly what you want to achieve – This will depend on the immediate needs of your business. What are your biggest current and future challenges? This will dictate who can help you the most – and it may not be customers. Decide who can help you.

  Decide to meet those people you don’t already know
– It’s tempting to head for those people there that you already know. Yet if you really want to get the greatest value, make sure you spend the vast majority of your networking time with people you don’t know. More challenging? Possibly. More rewarding? Definitely!

  Wear your name badge on your right – Most people are right handed so when you extend your right hand out it’s a short and easy journey for their eyes to make up to your name badge. It helps them remember you and your name.

  When introducing yourself – look at their name badge and say something like “hello xxxxx, pleased to meet you, what do you do?”(Appearing suitably curious!) This will open up the conversation and crucially, you get to do the listening and not the talking. This will get you the information you need for you to be exploring, via their answers, how useful a relationship this could prove to be.

  Make them talk – If they get in first and ask you what you do, be very pleasant and brief and say “I’m in xxxxx” – and then immediately go back with “and what do you do?” as in point 2 above.

  Invite others in – If you’re in a circle chatting and listening and you see someone on their own, beckon them to join you. They could be the golden nugget of a contact that makes the whole event worthwhile!

  Join in – If you’re looking to join a circle of potential contacts just ask “do you mind if I join in here” or similar words you’re most comfortable with. In 30 years nobody has said no when I’ve asked this question!

  Don’t pitch!
– Many people throw a business card at you then launch into a sales pitch. They probably know nothing about you and all they talk about is “I can do” and “we we we” – and “weeing” all over everybody is never good sales practice anywhere! So Practise these tips and start achieving your sales success.

Until next time

Leigh

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www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Want Sales Success? Well Forget you! Think Them.

22 June 2015

Forget you and forget your standard sales presentation.

Let me explain…all of us have our own unique way of perceiving the world. This map has been created from the moment you were born to this very day…all your experiences have gone into the pot and created your map. Nobody else will have had your experiences in exactly the same way. They will have had their own experiences and will perceive the world in their very unique way.

So what does this mean to you and importantly how can you use this to increase your sales success?

It’s really important to get into the map of your potential client, really understand them, their problems and desired objectives. Only then can you deliver an offering that is irresistible and create the desire to buy from you.

Why is it then that so many people pitch their offering before finding what the buyers ‘map’ is?

This causes so many challenges when it comes to sales:
– You get objections
– Not everything you pitch will be relevant
– You may leave relevant information out
– You’re not able to close based on the map of the buyer so closing is more random

It’s so much more effective…and easier, not to start with your pitch. Start by asking well crafted open questions. Any that start with who, what, when, where or how. Avoid ‘why’ questions as they are so confrontational. Find out what’s going on in their world, from their perspective.

Do they want to solve a problem or do they need something to move them forward?.

Forget what you think they need until you’ve got every last scrap of information from then. Then you can tailor your pitch exactly to their needs…using their words, values and beliefs.

It’s also crucial to use ‘YOU’ language. This is so much more engaging for them and shows that you are really in their space…their map! Whenever you use ‘WE’, ‘I’ or your company name, you are in your map and focusing on yourself, your offering or your company.

Do this and the benefits will be enormous:
– No objections because you’re only responding and not pitching
– More engaged buyers because you’re focusing on them
– Greater depth of information from your ‘YOU focused’ open questions
– More tailored close
– Higher conversion rate…more sales is always good grin

In short you’ll be increasing your selling skills – and increasing sales!

One more thing…give your buyers lots of time to answer, really listen and pause when you think they have stopped. It’s often in these pauses that you’ll get the golden nuggets of information.

Until next time.

Leigh

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www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Sales Success Unlocked: Know Your ‘Sales Direction Filters’

10 June 2015

Do You Know Your Customers’ and Prospects’ ‘Sales Direction’ Filters?

Knowing the Sales Direction Filters of your customers and prospects is crucial to increasing your conversions and generating all round improvements in customer relationships. At The Sales Consultancy we think they’re vital in business and could not imagine our customer relationships without this knowledge.

So what is a Sales Direction Filter?

Some of you will be motivated towards goals and challenges. If that’s you it’s unlikely that you notice the things that might get in your way…and if you do you just deal with them! You focus on what you want (Towards Filter).

Others amongst you are more acutely aware of the obstacles and problems that get in your way and will develop strategies to avoid or eliminate them! You focus on what you don’t want (Away From Filter).

You will be either motivated towards the carrot or away from the stick.

What is it for you?

Whatever it is, the likelihood is that when you are talking to prospects or clients you will be naturally inclined to focus on your preference. Depending on your own ‘towards’ or ‘away from’ inclination you will either talk about solutions and what a relationship with you will do for them…or the problems you will eliminate for them.

What happens when your prospect has the opposite preference to you?

There you are, talking about solutions and your prospect is thinking about his problems…or you’re talking about the problems you will resolve for them and your prospect is thinking about what he wants to gain from you.

You may as well be talking a foreign language! You need to focus on their preference in order to gain rapport and identify what it is they really want to buy – gains? or pain relief?.

Ask and Listen.

Your clients and prospects will give you clues to their preference in their language.

Ask your clients why they buy from you. Whatever their first answer is ask them why that’s important to them. Do the same for the second and third answers they give. Weigh up the answers. Was every answer about the gains they get (towards)? Or were all the answers all about the pain you relieve for them (away from)? Or a mix?

You will soon start to notice trends in their language as they talk about what they get, or need in a business relationship with you?

Once you have identified their preference be sure that you focus on either the pleasures you will deliver or the pains you will remove. For those that are ‘towards’, you should emphasise their goals and outcomes, promoting the benefits, letting them know you will help them to get what they want. When selling to ‘away from’ people, emphasise what they don’t want and that you can help them avoid what they don’t want. Reassure them that their problems can be decreased or eliminated.

Be sure to use this approach in your written communication too. If you are communicating with more than one person at once be sure to focus on both.

Getting this right is crucial. You will definitely increase your sales by incorporating both approaches.

Until next time.

Leigh

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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How to Generate Better Relationships and Start Increasing Sales!

1 June 2015

WHY CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS FAIL…

Have you ever asked anyone a question that can be answered in a sentence or two – and yet they’re still talking 10 minutes later?

Or maybe asked for more detail on a subject – and been given a one line answer?

Are you the person that is only interested in the big picture? That is you tend to give very brief responses regardless of the question? Or do you prefer to give a very detailed response to questions?

What about others?

Have you ever noticed that some people in your team or company complain that they’re never given enough information about what’s going on – whilst others feel that they get too much information to digest?

The level of detail we like to deal with in any given context is another example of the beautiful diversity that is the human race!

And it’s this diversity that will be at play when you interact with your customers, your potential customers, your colleagues, your team and yes, all of your personal relationship too. When you speak; When you write; When you present; When you promote.

Which one are you?

So do you personally prefer THE BIG PICTURE? Or maybe you simply can’t survive without THE DETAIL? Whatever your personal preference, there’s a very good chance that somewhere in your life, whether at work or at play, you’re prone to irritating someone whose preference is at the opposite end to yours.

I suggest that for those colleagues and others near and dear to you that you deal with regularly, tell them! Don’t expect them to have automatically worked it out. Where you can, indicate the level of detail you prefer when they communicate with you, so they know how to structure reports, suggestions, presentations and so on.

And your customers?

The customer with the General (big picture) preference will go into shutdown when given too much information. Those with the Specific(detail) preference will often be dissatisfied because as far as they are concerned they haven’t received the level of detail they need!

Communicating with your clients and prospects

It’s fairly straightforward to identify whether who you are dealing with is a Specific or General person. Just by talking to them or reflecting on past conversations or emails will give you the best clues. Do they communicate using lots of detail, or are they a person of few words? Beware though that the Specific or General trait is context dependant – meaning for example that someone could be very specific and into their detail at home, yet come to work and be very general. And vice versa.

Your ultimate aim if you wish to generate better relationships and ultimately better results, is to vacate your own personal preference – and match the preference of the person you’re relating with. That way you’ll generate rapport, or stay in rapport, improve the connection and achieve a more fruitful relationship.

Remember, too many details will confuse and irritate a General person and too much vagueness will upset the Specific person. So give them the precise level of detail they need – and check for understanding.

Back to you

So do you have a Specific or General preference? What about your customers and prospects? Learn to quickly clarify whether their communication preference, match it – and you’re well on your way to your increasing sales!

Until next time.

Leigh

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www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Does having a Mentor really add to your Sales Success?

25 May 2015

Cards on the table – I’m a massive fan of mentoring!  So it’s a big yes for mentoring from me.

We all need help now and again. Help in the form of unbiased support, a friendly prod to move things along, maybe just an understanding ear. I’ve found that those who say they don’t need help often need it the most!

Whatever your role, whatever your level, I’d strongly recommend you consider working with a mentor. I have a fabulous mentor myself and as a result feel like my business is getting the support it needs, when it needs it, to realise the goals we’ve set.

Mentoring

Who have you got to bounce ideas off that doesn’t bring their own baggage into the equation? Do you seriously believe that someone, somewhere hasn’t had the same challenges you’re experiencing right now? If you listed your top three current challenges, I would bet that these are issues that many other business owners, business leaders, sales professionals have experienced in the past.

Whether you’re running a small business, managing within a larger organisation or working for others within these types of organisations, seriously consider getting yourself a MENTOR.

Everybody’s at it – top sportsmen, business leaders, entrepreneurs.

What’s a Mentor?

  Someone who you feel can help you in your pursuit of your career objectives, whatever those objectives are – more sales, a promotion, improved leadership skills, more self control, better networking techniques and so on.

  Someone who can give you a neutral take on your latest challenges – they should have no axe to grind.

  Someone with a vast bank of knowledge that you can tap into – who’s been there, done that…and collected a few T shirts along the way.

  Someone you check in with now and again to bounce your latest ideas off.

  Someone you trust to challenge you, to prod you, to ask you searching questions.

A good mentor…

…will use a variety of different approaches and move seamlessly between them – coaching, counselling, mentoring, advising, training, guiding, whatever you need. Critically, you can learn from the mistakes they have made earlier in their career!

Getting yourself a mentor isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary it’s a sign of strength, a sign that you are willing to garner all the resources you can in your pursuit of your goals. It’s not about copying them, it’s about using their experience and advice and adopting it in a way that works for you.

How does mentoring work?

Any way you want it to! You can go the formal route. Have regular scheduled sessions with a paid professional coach or mentor who can offer you the level and breadth of experience you need to tap into.

More informally you might find someone in your organisation that can help (bear in mind it can’t be someone you report to). Ask them if they would be available as a mentor and offer to take them for lunch now and again in return for picking their brains.

You’d be surprised…

…how experienced achievers like to be asked about how they have achieved success -they will be impressed by your drive and initiative! You and your mentor need to get on well. Choose someone you have good rapport with. Get away from your normal place of work. No phones, no interruptions, it all helps. Look upon it as an investment of time and money in YOU.

How long should you and your mentor spend together? Anything from an hour a month upwards – it really does depend on your needs. You may need more time at first and top up mentoring sessions further down the line.

So – don’t plough that lone furrow. Tap into an external source of support – and watch your increasing sales!

Until next time…

Leigh

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07970 753664

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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How much Sales Success are you actually EXPECTING?!

11 May 2015

“You don’t get what you want in life; you get what you expect”‏

Here’s some questions for you…

Do you know where you’re heading? In work? Away from work? In Life? Where is it all leading to? Does it have to lead anywhere anyway?
A bit deep for a Friday? Maybe. Let’s drill it down to your business, even your sales, especially your sales… What actions are you taking to get you to where you want to go? That’s assuming you know where you want to go!

How much of a plan have you got? So many sales professionals I meet have lack-lustre goals, if they have any at all; “I want to reach budget”, “I want to achieve the annual bonus”, “I want to progress”, “I want more money” and so on. Often not specific. Often just so so.
How about sprucing things up a little?

You can have mere wishes…
…or you can have dynamic expectations that really motivate you to reach for the stars. When you have mediocre goals – and let’s face it, “I want to reach target” is fairly mediocre, you’re setting yourself up to be ordinary.
Shouldn’t you really be aiming for outstanding?
It’s wonderful to experience the curiosity and confidence of young children. They believe that everything is possible. But what happens between the age of children and teenage years? And beyond? Something comes up that gets in the way of those early dreams.

It’s all about expectations
I’m not sure who said this but I wholeheartedly agree with it… “You don’t get what you want in life; you get what you expect”. There’s a massive difference. Most people expect ordinary. In fact many sales people expect ordinary. Many business owners expect ordinary. That’s fine if you want ordinary – because that’s exactly what will show up… ‘better to aim low and not be disappointed’ and all that.
But what if you’ve had enough of ordinary? What if you want more? To start with, how about expecting more? What if you decide that instead of settling for mid table in your sales league you expected to be in the top three? Instead of growing your business at 5% next year, what if you decided to expect 10% growth? And instead of converting your leads at the same 25% as the last few years, how would expecting a conversion rate of 35% sound?

Goals
I don’t know where you are right now on your journey but what I do know is that most people who don’t achieve the things they want in life usually have pretty mediocre goals and mediocre expectations to start with. How often do you start work with clear outcomes to achieve that day? How often do you set really aspirational objectives for the month? How engaged are you with the goals of your team?

Challenge yourself…
How could you increase your expectations tomorrow? Or today! What would your new expectations be for Monday 11th May 2015? What does real sales success mean for you? Maybe in terms of units sold, revenue, profit, lead conversion? What should you really be expecting in your career between now and three years from now? Where do you expect to be? What are you expecting to be doing? And who with?
Play with this. Imagine. You already know that tomorrow’s realities start with today’s thoughts – so get thinking! Put some meat on the bones. Really raise those expectations. Get used to wearing them. Be comfortable with them. That’s where you’re heading after all.
Raise your expectations and you’ll have started a journey. A journey that will encourage your brain to deliver new, better and imaginative ideas to achieve those expectations and goals.

Think Big: Expect Big: Plan Big: Act Big

Until next time.

Leigh

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07970 753664
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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Bad Sales Techniques and how they are costing you sales!

27 April 2015

Why are Selling Techniques so bad?

You will know by now I’m on a mission to improve the nation’s selling techniques. It seems every day I collect more evidence of just how big a challenge that is going to be! On the other hand a bottom less pit of potential work it seems.

Take my colleague Jonathan’s example from a while ago. Accompanying his friend to a car showroom he was well and truly underwhelmed by the sales techniques demonstrated – or not demonstrated as it turned out. Within a minute of approaching Jonathan and his friend the sales guy was explaining how effective this £68K Landrover was at going up 45 degree hills off road – and that they should check out the YouTube video to see for themselves. He went on to list all the features of this vehicle that HE would have been impressed by.

Now I’m not sure what they teach showroom sales people at landrover but it sure isn’t modern sales skills on this evidence. Maybe they should get inside one of those Delorien cars from ‘Back to The Future’ and got themselves back to 1960’s America where they would have more success!

The Problem?

Where to begin! Firstly he didn’t even know who was up for buying a vehicle, or what stage we might have been in our buying process. He didn’t know ANYTHING about us at all and more crucially did not have any inclination to find out. That meant he remained forever in his map of the world, which was all about off roading and boy’s stuff. He was doing all the talking and NO listening at all. If he had made the effort to find out our ‘maps’ then the knowledge gained would have led to a far more fruitful chat for all of us, more enjoyable too and more likely to produce a win win.

A Solution?

This contrasts with a much more encouraging – sadly rarer story of a friend who after 25 years working in a factory found himself out of work as textile manufacturing moved abroad. His friend was a car dealer and to his credit gave John a chance at his used car showroom. With no real training and no experience John made a fabulous impact at selling cars. How? He knew about and had studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and applied it in the car showroom.

The Power of Rapport

Despite being given second rate leads as returning customers went back to the longer serving salesmen, John soon rose up the sales league table. He did this by leaving his map of the world and making efforts to find out about the maps of those he spoke to. His genuine interest in their buying circumstances and needs led to natural open questions and great answers. He soon found out that it was often the quirky stuff that sold cars, the little things that you can only find out about when you have built genuine rapport with your prospect.

In one particular example John approached a whole family looking around the showroom. Through careful questioning and brilliant rapport building with ALL the family, John elicited that due to a family history of prangs when reversing their previous vehicles, the deciding factor was the bleeper that comes on when reversing this particular car, not that common at the time. Only by building a great relationship – and caring – did John find out this information.

Result?

A Sale, of course – and a fantastic letter two days later from the family stating this was the best buying experience they had ever had. His boss and friend said he hadn’t seen a customer letter like that in fourteen years in the business.

So – please please please leave out your needs and wants and make sure you find out their needs and wants. Genuinely care about the relationships you have with your customers and prospects, be curious, ask open questions, listen instead of preaching and you’ll be surprised what it will do for your sales success.

Do let me know your good and bad experiences of sales techniques. Let’s crack this together!

Until next time

Leigh

PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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How to turn those ‘Excuses’ into Sales Success

13 April 2015

What excuses are you making?

Excuses can be very easy to find when it comes to explaining away disappointing sales performance – and especially when we allow ourselves to go and search for them. In 30 years in selling I’ve heard them all.

“The economy is against us”
“The competition is much cheaper”
“Our stuff just doesn’t appeal to old/young people, or men/women, or rich/poor people”
“Their budgets are frozen for three months”
“He’s leaving, I’ll have to wait for the new person to settle in”
“The leads we are being given are rubbish”
“Nothing but timewasters today”

And so on.

The problem is.
If you focus on searching for reasons and excuses for under-par results, sure enough you’ll end up with a world class list of reasons why you don’t have to reach your sales targets!

You’re in what I call ‘The Valley of Reasons and Excuses’.
Being in ‘The Valley’ is when you’re letting things happen to you and then using these circumstances as an excuse for a lack of action and lack of results. You’re being affected by stuff, letting it influence your thinking and stifling any actions you could take.

Take 100% responsibility for your sales results

Let’s be clear here – you are not responsible for the recession. You are not responsible for your customers being made redundant, or for their spending budgets being frozen. You are not in charge of every challenge that gets thrown at you as you set about trying to reach your sales targets.
But.you ARE ALWAYS responsible for how you respond! This is Sales psychology 101!

We can all find an excuse to shift the blame and place it on something or someone else when it comes to sales – but finding that reason doesn’t bring you any closer to your sales target. In fact it hinders you.

SO STOP LISTENING TO YOUR EXCUSES
Before you start believing them! Instead, just keep asking yourself one magical question.

“OK, so if all that is true.what action can I take to get me closer to where I want to be?”
Everyone goes into The Valley at some stage, but the most successful people get out of The Valley the quickest and restore ‘normal service’.
Instead of languishing in The Valley, take control of your thinking – and your actions. Instead of thinking about reasons for a lack of performance, think about what options you have. It is this subtle change in thinking that can change your whole outlook – and results.
When you feel yourself going into The Valley – all you need to do is ask yourself that one question. I repeat it here

“OK, so if all that is true.what action can I take to get me closer to where I want to be?”

And repeat that question to yourself every time you spot yourself entering The Valley of Reasons and Excuses. Instead of scouring for excuses, your brain will search for solutions.

Take back the responsibility for your sales results.

It’s all about the psychology of selling

Until next time.

Leigh

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www.sales-consultancy.com
For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Eliminate the “P” Word to increase your sales

6 April 2015

Today I entered ‘time management courses’ into Google. It produced about 200,000,000 results in 0.29 seconds.And yet time management courses are often a waste of time. Why? Because you know what to do. You know when you should be doing it. If you’re not doing it, I’d reckon it’s not about time management at all – It’s down to that ‘P’ word.

Procrastination.


Procrastination – and its twin brother ‘Indecision’ will tie you to the failure treadmill for all time if you don’t sort it! Without decisions – and ACTION to back up those decisions, you will never get the results you want.

Do you procrastinate?

Do you procrastinate? What is it costing you? If you could eliminate it, how great would that be in terms of your job, your business, your wealth, your life?
If you’re procrastinating about ANYTHING, do the exercise below. It could change everything!
First, here are some pointers before you start…
– Find yourself a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
– Give yourself plenty of time to answer all the questions.
– You may feel pretty uncomfortable (I hope so) when considering the consequences of not making a change.
– You will feel completely inspired by the end of it.
– Crucially – DO THE EXERCISE! For goodness sake don’t procrastinate on the procrastination exercise!!!
Are you ready to commit to action?
Go for it…
1.  Write down one thing you are not following through on
2.  Come up with ten reasons why you absolutely must change this now

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
3.  What will it cost you if you don’t make this change?
4.  What will you gain from this change?
5.  Why do you know you can absolutely make this change?
6.  Create a new association with this change.

Make it perfect for you! Example…if you’re not making enough calls you may have an association that not making calls equals less rejection…a new association might be that making more calls equals more chances to develop relationships that generate more sales and all the kudos and success that comes with it.This is really important. You must create a new association. Don’t proceed until you have created at least one!

7.  What is your first action that you can do immediately?

Congratulations!

Congratulations! Go and do your first action right now…This exercise will really get you in touch with the motivation to take ACTION towards what you want.

Another example of The Psychology of Sales.Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: By the way, have you checked out Sasudi yet? It’s the world’s first 24/7 on line platform to help small businesses increase their sales. Check it out HERE.

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Leigh Ashton

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One BIG reason why you lose sales‏... plus a few tips on how to Increase sales!

25 March 2015

Did you know that, without meaning to, you’re turning away up to 40% of your potential customers?

Let me explain. In a nutshell, when choosing products or services, your customers will be motivated by one of two things; pleasure or pain. Never is the pain and pleasure principle more apparent than in the selling arena.

What about your customers?
Therefore it’s crucial you know whether your customers and prospects are motivated towards what they want (gain/pleasure) – or away from what they don’t want (pain) when they buy. Once you have established whether they are pain or gain motivated you can communicate with them in a way that is bound to build rapport, make them feel understood – and more likely lead to a fruitful supplier/customer relationship.

The Pleasure
Typically, when selling a product, the seller will concentrate on the positive features of the product (pleasures). The xyz widget can do this, so you’ll get more of that. That works well if the buyer is a goal focussed, ‘towards motivated’ individual.

The Pain
But what if the buyer is not motivated by moving towards a goal? What if they’re very ‘away from’ in their outlook? Whilst you’re drumming in the positives of the product, they’re not listening because all they want is for someone to ease the pain they perceive they’re in. They’re not listening to your pleasures, because you’re not acknowledging their pain.
It’s the same scenario – but two completely different outlooks.

What’s Your Personal Preference?

You will have a natural pain or gain motivation yourself. Up to now you will have unconsciously imposed that on your customers, prospects and colleagues…in fact anyone that you’ve communicated with! To those with the same inclination, you will have had great rapport and connection. To those with the opposite inclination, you will have noticed less connection and rapport…even friction! From now on you know you can achieve great rapport every time just by matching their preference!
Think about your team. How much better could they perform if they knew this concept?

Finding out their pain/gain motivation
Clarifying their pain/gain motivation is very straightforward. Simply ask a few open questions and check their responses. If they start to talk about things they don’t want or are keen to avoid then it’s clear they are motivated away from pain. From there on in your language should talk about their problems and how a relationship with you will resolve their problem or help them avoid one.

If they talk about what they want to achieve, what a new product would give them, their goals, then they are clearly gain motivated. You should therefore talk in positive terms of what they will get from a relationship with you.

Talking in their language

There isn’t a right way or a wrong way regarding pain and gain. Just talk in their language, what’s right for them. If you find yourself presenting to a group where it’s not possible to clarify their individual pain/gain traits, use both towards and away from language to cover all bases.

In your marketing, brochure, websites, email campaigns, be sure to include both ‘towards’ and ‘away from’ language to ensure you engage with everyone. Currently your marketing content will most likely be based on those traits of the person writing it, which engage some readers but leave many others cold. By ensuring your content includes both towards and away from language, you’ll engage many more potential customers.

Ascertaining the pains and gains of your customers and prospects and reflecting their preferences back in your own written and verbal communications will turbo charge your sales success results.

It’s all about the psychology of selling.

Until next time.


Leigh


PS: 7 things not to do in 2015…

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8.5 tips for increasing sales through better meetings!‏

18 March 2015

Meetings. Do you love or loathe them?

Whatever your answer, you know that sooner or later you’ll be attending one! According to a survey, 45% of us are blighted by “having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting”.

Ring any bells? I’ve attended a few meetings in my time. Some excellent. Some not so!

I thought I’d jot down some random thoughts on how to have better meetings!

And I’d love to know what you think too!

Here goes…

Is the meeting necessary?

If you’re thinking of calling a meeting, ask yourself if the meeting is absolutely necessary. Common sense? Of course it is but…well you probably know the rest of that sentence.

Is it essential that YOU attend?

The meeting might be justified, but is it really essential for you to be there? I spoke to someone a few days ago from a very sizeable corporate brand who told me of internal meetings he’d attended where he didn’t know several people around the table. Even by the end of the meeting, he still wasn’t sure why they were there! If your attendance is crucial, then maybe you could leave as soon as ‘your bit’ has been concluded?

But…

A quick meeting can be much more appropriate than hiding behind a stream of emails. Sometimes there’s no substitute for face to face communication, so calling a colleague or two for a quick group chat can be the very best way to exchange views – and make decisions.

Preparation

How well prepared will you be? Do you need to check a website? Linkedin profiles? Read a report? Read some previous email threads? Avoid ‘winging it’ – never a good plan!

Your mindset

To get the best from any meeting, anywhere, you must ensure you’re in the right mindset. Firstly, know 100% what you want to get out of the meeting. Then, visualise having a great meeting! Run through it in your mind. Visualise where you will be sitting, what you will be saying – and the positive responses from others. Visualise a fabulous outcome. You’ll be training your brain to make it happen.

Secondly, think about your demeanour before and during the meeting. As my industry colleague Simon Buzza commented recently, cynics and pessimists suck the energy out of situations and people. They can drag down group morale and make a challenging situation lots worse. Optimists on the other hand can raise morale and lift spirits. How will you act at your next meeting?

Get there early

I’m not one for those late ‘power entrances’ that used to be suggested by some gurus a few years back. My view is to get there early, sit where you’re most comfortable, build rapport as others arrive – and notice…

Notice the others

Remember how you know the exact mood of your partner, child or best friend when they walk into the room, before they’ve uttered a word? Their expression tells all. So it is in business. You’ll get useful clues by noticing the demeanour of others as they join the meeting. Enthusiastic? Lethargic? Remember you’ll give clues too.

Get things done

This tip is particularly dependent on the type of meeting, but in general a good meeting should be around 60% -70% forward looking and only 30%-40% ‘rear view’. This might mean circulating information beforehand to cut down the time spent ‘rear viewing’ at the meeting itself. The overall tone of the meeting should be “OK, that’s what’s happened, now what actions can we take…”

At ease

Do you manage a team? How comfortable are they in giving you their input at meetings? Are they at ease? Are they saying what they’re really thinking? That’s the aim. If you think you’re not getting the full story and they’re NOT at ease, you’ll need to ask the reasons behind that, individually later perhaps rather than at the meeting itself!

I’d be delighted to hear your additional thoughts and tips around meetings and whether your sales success has been impacted by meetings.

Until then

Leigh

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How to Increase Sales and attract customers with brilliant Referrals

11 March 2015

Referrals: Are you asking?

Of your most satisfied customers of 2014, how many of those customers have you asked for a referral?

Most sales and business people never ask for referrals. Those that do often ask when it’s too late – and make a fatal mistake when asking for them (more on that later). Yet referrals are just about the easiest, quickest and least expensive way of increasing sales and building your business.

But you must ask!
Most businesses never ask for referrals – ever. Maybe this is because they think asking for a referral is too close to ‘selling’. If you’re nervous about asking for a referral, remember that people usually like to tell others about good things that have happened to them, so why wouldn’t they want to share how great you are with their friends or colleagues?

Secondly, if you’re good at what you do, how sad would it be if you weren’t able to help more people and businesses simply because you were shy about asking for referrals?

Ask early
Don’t wait until after you’ve finished what you were hired for. On no account should you ask a few weeks later either. In both situations ‘the moment’ has already passed. You may indeed have done a brilliant job, but memories fade fast and it’s likely you won’t be as well thought of after a lapse of time.

The time to ask is as soon as the customer is starting to get results. They will often be at their happiest fairly early into your work with them. That’s the prime time to ask for a referral. So pick a time when they are massively enthusiastic – and dive in!

Asking for referrals (the fatal error)

“Do you know anyone who would be interested in having similar work done?”

What’s wrong with this question? Well if you have been on any of my training courses you will already be shouting out “It’s a closed question”!!!. Correct. You can only have two answers to that question – yes, or no. And it’s more likely to be a no because that’s the easier answer to give – you’ll have directed their brain into shutdown mode.

So the question to ask (ensuring you have excellent levels of rapport beforehand) is …”Who else do you know that would be interested in achieving the sort of results you’re getting”. Although I changed the end of the question a little, the main difference is the “who else” bit at the start. This takes the customer’s brain down a whole different pathway. Instead of encouraging their brain to shut up shop, you’ve opened up the ‘search’ facility in their mind and they will therefore unconsciously search much more intently for a worthwhile answer. A subtle but crucial change.

Get them to introduce you
So it’s all gone swimmingly so far. You’re doing a great job. You’ve asked the perfectly worded question – and your customer has thought of someone who you could help. In a perfect world they will contact your next potential customer initially. Ask them to do that for you. It’s so much better if, when you contact the new customer, they’re already expecting your call.

Offer a reward
If you can, why not thank your customer with flowers, or maybe a bottle of bubbly, even just a thank you card? That shows how much you appreciate their help – and might just nudge them into introducing you to someone else!

So who can you ask in the next few days?

Until next time.

Leigh

Click here if you have a fear of selling.

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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How Listening is crucial to your Sales Success

4 March 2015

Listening is a vital skill that is often neglected and yet is crucial to your sales success.

Be aware of the five stages of effective listening and get into the habit of recognising and practising these stages;
1. Hearing – taking in the sound.
2. Listening – Really paying attention and trying to make sense of what you are hearing.
3. Understanding – Checking with the other person to make sure you have taken in what they said in the way they intended.
4. Acknowledging – letting the other person know you have heard and understood what they have said.
5. Responding – your response to what has been discussed.

On many occasions people go straight from stage 1 to stage 5! They jump to conclusions, miss information and leave the other person feeling misunderstood or ignored. Undoubtedly, ignoring stages 2 to 4 will cost you sales.

Learning to implement these stages naturally will rapidly enhance your listening skills and make you a much more effective sales professional.

Ask a question – then SHUT UP

When you ask open questions your client will go into dialogue to respond which gives you the opportunity to learn so much about them – and their issue.

• Forget yourself, focus on them
• Have no other agenda
• Have no external distractions ie incoming emails, other potentially interesting people in the room
• Let your client answer without interruption.
• Focus on listening 100% and not by your internal thoughts or dialogue.
• Thinking about the next question will stop you hearing useful information.
• The next question is easy when you listen – it comes naturally from your client’s response.

Remember – those golden nuggets of information you need to succeed may well be buried. Give them the time and attention they deserve.

• Listen to the choices of words they use – this is vital as you can tailor your own responses using the same or similar types of words.
• Tune in all your senses when listening.
• Listen with your heart – give everything to listening and you will gain greater levels of rapport and understanding with whoever you’re talking to.

When they have finished, leave a gap of a few seconds before you speak. On many occasions you will find the most crucial information follows after this short gap.

Enjoy practising the art of listening and enjoy the benefits to your business as you improve your listening skills.

Until next time

Leigh

www.sales-consultancy.com
020 7903 5426
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If you don’t achieve sales success in 2015, what will happen to your business in 2016?

11 February 2015

What will happen to your business in 2015 if you don’t get enough sales?

What comes up for you when you think about selling your services or products?

Do you feel upbeat, positive and ready to share the wonders of what you do? Or do you feel dread, doubt, fear or a combination of negative emotions?

You may have an armoury of selling skills but if you have negative emotions going on inside, this will get in the way of your sales success.

The signs that negativity is working against you are:
• You are busy doing stuff that has little or no impact on increasing sales
• You avoid activities that you know would have a positive impact on your sales success
• You experience negative emotions when you think about sales
• You use the doom and gloom news as an excuse for your lack of sales
• Your inner voice keeps reminding you of your weaknesses
• You’re working really hard, putting in the hours…and still not getting the sales results you want

So what do you do?

The first thing you need to do is to become aware that the strategy you currently have IS NOT WORKING FOR YOU! If you continue doing what you’re doing, you will not achieve the sales success you want. Once you acknowledge that things need to change, you’ll find it much easier to incorporate changes. It’s so easy to continue with the habits you’ve created…it takes conscious thought and effort to create new habits.
So how ready are you to let go off what you’ve been doing…or not doing…to increase your sales?

Here are some easy steps you can take to get you on the path to sales success:
1. Get rid of the negative language you use about you, the economy, the people you come into contact with and anything else that saps your positive energy. Instead of “Things are really hard at the moment” use “Things may not be easy but the more people I speak to the easier it will get”.

2. Start noticing the positive reasons for the situations you find yourself in. When you lose a sales ask yourself “What can I learn from this that will give me a greater chance of getting future sales?”

3. You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you expect. So start expecting great things to happen! Henry Ford said “If you believe you can or believe you can’t…you’re right” Go into every sales interaction knowing that if you can give this person exactly what they want or need you have a great chance of doing the deal.

4. Use more ‘YOU’ language when talking with your prospective customers. Focus on finding out about their issues, pains and desires by asking well crafted open questions. Only then can you weave your product or service into the conversation as an ideal solution.

5. Focus on IPA…Income Producing Activity. This is the stuff you do before closing a sale. Once you’ve done the deal it’s not IPA – it’s customer service. The more IPA you do…the more sales success you will achieve. Typical IPA activities are networking…in person and social media, following up enquiries, meetings with prospective customers, proposals and increasing your profile as the ‘go to’ person.

6. Prioritising the important stuff. When you have established all the IPA you could be doing, focus on the FBI…Fastest Business Impact. What IPA is going to have the fastest impact on increasing sales? That’s what you do first. It’s so easy to get that little job out of the way…then that other little task…and before you know it the day has gone and the most important activity remains undone!

7. Make sales FUN. How can you think about sales that would cause you to be more relaxed about the whole thing? It may be that you give activities different labels. I was delivering a workshop recently when one of the business owners said she felt like she was choking when she thought about closing a sale so I suggested that she think of that activity more about the other person realising that she could give them exactly what they needed. I could see a sense of relief as she nodded and said she was much more comfortable with that! How can you reframe the activity to suit you?

Incorporating these 7 easy steps will change your selling experience. You’ll be more relaxed and less stressed. You’ll be focusing on the activity that increases sales and wasting less time on the activities you used to avoid sales.

Not only will you be having more fun…you’ll be having more sales success!

Until next time

Leigh

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Want sales success but working too hard?

4 February 2015

Whether your job is selling, or managing those that do sell, or a combination of the two, there’s a fair chance you’re working long hours. Maybe too long? Are you spending long hours on motorways way after 7pm driving to and from meetings? Are you burning the midnight oil draped over a laptop with a strong coffee trying to get everything done? Maybe both?

How can you be brilliant at selling and managing in this state?
When it comes to being fabulous at selling, take note of Stephen Covey’s “Habit 7” (from his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”). Here he invites his readers to “Sharpen the Saw” – he sees this as “The habit that makes all the other habits possible”. Basically his Habit 7 revolves around the suggestion that, to be truly successful you should preserve the greatest asset you have… YOU!

Clearly, not enough of us are taking notice of Mr Covey.  According to a survey of 1000 business owners 14% had no plans to take any holiday this year, and 59% said they were afraid of burning out. And 20% said they found it impossible to switch off from work. Even when they are away from the office, many business owners, bosses and sales people constantly check their emails on their smart phones even if they have ten people back at the office looking after things.

That’s not helpful and it’s not healthy
You might be thinking “I agree, Leigh, but I am where I am and it’s just the way it is”. My reply would be… OK, let’s assume you go on as you are and do nothing to change things.

Close your eyes and imagine it’s the 4th February 2017 i.e. two years on from today. You’ve made no changes to your life. Imagine, how’s your job? How’s your life? How happy are you? How many hours a week are you working?

Time to change?

If you really want to Sharpen the Saw and achieve more sales success and business success, consider my thoughts on this …

  - Be realistic about what you can take on. When you’re planning your month, week, day, it’s no good scheduling 14 hours work in hoping that you’ll have one of those ‘miracle days’ when everything takes half as long as usual. It rarely does. Plan a challenging day by all means but keep it realistic.

  - Think “Delegate or Ditch”. Ask yourself ‘Does this task REALLY need doing? If yes, ask ‘who else could do it?’ Trust others. A task that is a real chore to you might be a nice opportunity for someone else to show what they can do.

  -  It’s a 5000 meters race, not a 100m sprint. Pace yourself.

  - Have a sense of perspective. Think family, partner, friends. They’d benefit from your company too.

  - Don’t fight those battles that you know you can’t win

  - Work out what’s causing you the most pressure – and work out where you can get help to ease that pressure.

  -  Drop the guilt. You are a key part of the company, so make sure you invest in yourself and your health.

  - If and when you do manage a break, don’t try to do too much in it!

  - Book your 2014 holidays now, don’t wait to see if you ‘get around to it’. You won’t. At least book time off in advance and organise your work schedule around these breaks, not the other way round. 

  - Think – If your business/role still needs your personal input every waking hour after several years in it then ask yourself if this really the right business to be in  

For great sales keep yourself – and your team, in great condition.

Until next time

Leigh

PS: Hope you’re not guilty of this mistake…

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Leigh Ashton

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Sales is not about Selling

19 January 2015

What does that mean – Selling is not about selling?

It means simply the art of selling has moved on from the ‘always be closing’, ‘sell anything to anyone and to hell with the consequences’ era.

My thesaurus says selling is about ‘persuading someone to buy’. Persuading? Not in my book. No one should be ‘persuading’ anyone to buy.

For me selling is a two way process of questions and answers, information sharing, finding common ground between buyer needs and the product – and the buyer ultimately making a decision based on the match of the product NOT how persuasive the sales person was.

The sales person will ultimately be successful more often that not when they truly understand the client’s perspective. When they understand that every buyer is different, they can then drop the standard sales pitch and do some proper selling – where the welfare of the client is paramount.

Consider many car sales people (though I quickly point out not the ones we train!). They have their speech ready and waste no time in delivering it – itemising the spec of the car, its top speed, mpg etc the list goes on. They have no idea about me, my previous experiences, my previous cars, my car buying motivation, where I am in the purchasing cycle, nothing. They’re in their own map and assume that if they throw everything and the kitchen sink into their pitch, enough will hit the target and I’ll buy the car.

Right?

Wrong!

The right way would be for the sales person to acknowledge that, though themselves might be speed junkies, they appreciate that only a relatively small proportion of car buyers are. By finding out about someone’s car buying map they would quickly ascertain that space is needed for the children, extra body strength for safety and security, superb in car entertainment for the family as they take lots of long journeys together. Oh and what about the son who is 6’4” tall at 17 years old so needs space in the back.

I could go on but the message to all sales people is – please realise everyone of your potential customers will be different in many ways. Just acknowledging that will give you some empathy with the customer you would not have had previously.

Sales is a massive subject and what I have touched upon today is a very small although significant area of selling.

If you would like regular sales tips then please register for our Tricks of The Trade eshots and we’ll send you sales and marketing tips directly to your inbox. Click here to register.

In the meantime enjoy your day and remember – less persuading, more selling please!

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: Hope you’re not guilty of this mistake…

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Is Your Unconscious Mind Sabotaging Your Sales Success?

12 January 2015

Who is your inner critic?

You know, that little voice in your head that says things like “you’ll never hit your target this month” or “I told you so” or “you never were any good at presentations”.

We all have an inner voice.  Your inner voice is effectively your unconscious mind and its primary function is to look after you and keep you safe, though it doesn’t always feel that way does it? It’s great when your inner voice is saying positive and empowering things to you. However, on many occasions, when it’s actually trying to protect you, it can seem as if it’s sabotaging you.

Whose voice is it?

So whose voice is this that you hear in your head when things don’t go as planned? When you lose a sale? When you can’t get an appointment? In short (very short!) your inner voice develops as a result of all the stuff you’ve heard from others in your life. It can be your best friend. It can be your worst enemy. Is it your voice? Is it an imaginary critic? Is it someone from your past? Could it be someone who’s still in your life now?

Take control

Whoever is feeding your inner voice, the key is to control it. Whether your inner voice is saying positive or negative things it’s really important to recognise that there’s a positive intention in the message. What could it be for you? Maybe you haven’t had great success with a new sales strategy or technique and it causes you lots of angst every time you try it, so you stop trying it. Or there’s a particular client or prospect that takes lots of your energy to communicate with, so you don’t!

One positive intention is to stop you feeling the pain of the disappointment or trauma of communication with this person…so you don’t bother doing it again. You get to avoid the short term pain – but the long term impact is that you won’t get any better at your craft and your sales are less likely to increase. Sound familiar?

What’s the positive intention?

It’s really useful to think about the ‘positive intention’ when your inner critic stops you moving forward. Once you know what the positive intention is you can get this in other ways, allowing you to focus on the task in hand and keep the inner critic happy at the same time!! If you’re going to keep hearing this inner voice, you may as well make sure that it’s providing you with empowering phrases that help inspire you to your goals, your targets – and overall sales success.

Action

Start recording the negative things your inner critic says and, once you have enough to go on, ask yourself the following questions…rather than letting it crush you, just be curious…

Whose voice is this?

What is the positive intention of those negative statements?

For example what might it be stopping you doing? How might it be protecting you? Think deep.

How can you preserve this positive intention but in a new strategy?

Take your time.

These questions will give you greater awareness of what’s going on within you and give you greater control. They allow you to make friends with your unconscious mind, change your reaction to those negative statements that come out of it, and ultimately ensure those messages are positive and empowering.

On my training sessions this issue of the inner critic comes up over and over again. One thing for sure…cracking this one makes you unstoppable!

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: Hope you’re not guilty of this mistake…

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Sales Success? Their Chunk Size Does Matter!

5 January 2015

Have you ever been at a meeting when someone is talking about his or her vision for the organisation and somebody interrupts to announce that there are no loo rolls in the gents? Have you ever been bored at a presentation – when all you wanted was an over view and instead you got War and Peace?

Some people only want a brief outline of the situation. Others want to know all the details and more! That’s why some people emerge from meetings and presentations complaining they haven’t been told enough, whilst others, at the same meeting might argue they are weighed down with too much minutia. Some people like an over view, others seek detail.

How has this cost you in the past?
You will more than likely have been demonstrating your unconscious personal preference, whatever the needs of those you are communicating with. So if you’re an over view person, you’re likely be reluctant to go into detail, thus leaving those small chunkers frustrated that they haven’t anything like the information they need. On the other hand, if you’re a detail person, some of your presentations and communication might well have your audience bored to bits if they only ever wanted an over view.

So…
To attain the very best connection it’s essential you get to know the chunk size of anyone you’re communicating with – customers, prospects, colleagues, suppliers. People have different needs as far as the level of detail they thrive on is concerned. If you get it right, sales success will follow. Get it wrong and, quite simply you could be losing sales.

Which is best?
There is no best – but there is certainly a best for the situation and your key to increasing sales is knowing when to ‘chunk up’ or ‘chunk down’. This means leaving your own personal preferences aside. Go into the ‘map’ of the person you’re communicating with and go with their flow. Your flexibility is your key to better rapport, better connections and better conversion rates.

Remember, too many details will confuse a big chunker and too much vagueness will upset a small chunker. Give each the level they need.

How to find out
When you’re next communicating with anyone, pay special notice to the level of detail they display when they’re talking. If they’re vague, give short answers and obviously don’t do the small talk, it’s clear that the best way is to respond in kind. Likewise if they go into detail, you need to too. In my experience many sales people find it hard to leave their own map, so that’s the key. LISTEN – and respond.

Where else is this useful?
If you manage a team, take notice of how your team members differ. By responding accordingly you can look forward to better connections with your team with all the gains that can bring. Likewise your colleagues at meetings and in general conversation. Your general sales management skills can only improve.

I look forward to hearing your big chunk/small chunk feedback! In the level of detail you prefer of course.

Until Next Time

Leigh

www.sales-consultancy.com

020 7903 5426

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PS: Download my Free Report – The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes You See Others Making

Leigh Ashton

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Are you Listening out there? - How to Increase Sales

22 December 2014

Listening is a vital skill that is often neglected and yet is crucial to your sales success. Be aware of the five stages of effective listening and get into the habit of recognising and practising these stages;

1. Hearing – taking in the sound.

2. Listening – Really paying attention and trying to make sense of what you are hearing.

3. Understanding – Checking with the other person to make sure you have taken in what they said in the way they intended.

4. Acknowledging – letting the other person know you have heard and understood what they have said.

5. Responding – your response to what has been discussed.

On many occasions people go straight from stage 1 to stage 5! They jump to conclusions, miss information and leave the other person feeling misunderstood or ignored. Undoubtedly, ignoring stages 2 to 4 will cost you sales.

Learning to implement these stages naturally will rapidly enhance your listening skills and make you a much more effective sales professional.

Ask a question – then SHUT UP

When you ask open questions your client will go into dialogue to respond which gives you the opportunity to learn so much about them – and their issue.

• Forget yourself, focus on them
• Have no other agenda
• Have no external distractions ie incoming emails, other potentially interesting people in the room
• Let your client answer without interruption.
• Focus on listening 100% and not by your internal thoughts or dialogue.
• Thinking about the next question will stop you hearing useful information.
• The next question is easy when you listen – it comes naturally from your client’s response.

Remember - those golden nuggets of information you need to succeed may well be buried. Give them the time and attention they deserve.

• Listen to the choices of words they use – this is vital as you can tailor your own responses using the same or similar types of words.
• Tune in all your senses when listening.
• Listen with your heart – give everything to listening and you will gain greater levels of rapport and understanding with whoever you’re talking to.

When they have finished, leave a gap of a few seconds before you speak. On many occasions you will find the most crucial information follows after this short gap.

Enjoy practising the art of listening and enjoy the benefits to your business as you improve your listening skills.

Until Next Time

Leigh

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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10 Reasons Why Sales Managers Lose Their Jobs

15 December 2014

After years of The Sales Consultancy getting called into improve companies’ sales, experience suggests there’s a good chance your team could be off the standard required. That’s why I list below my 10 Reasons Why Sales Managers Lose Their Jobs. Check you and your team against these common mistakes in sales.

Nobody does it on purpose, everybody’s busy. Of course. But if you’re losing sales, you’re losing revenue, you’re losing profits. And you need to do something about it.

Check yourself and/or your team against these common mistakes…

Mistake No 1
Not having clear sales goals in the first place
Whether it’s a campaign, implementing an annual strategy, a given month, a week, a day a meeting , a cold call – there’s a distinct lack of goals and outcome focus. This means a lack of direction right from the start. Sorry – but if you don’t know what the ultimate aim is of all sales activity you carry out, how will you ever know if you’re on the right track?

Mistake No 2
Procrastination

People are reluctant to start taking the action they need to achieve their objective, whatever the scale of the goal they have set. You need to take ACTION right now. Not ‘I’ll just finish this other job’ or I’ll just tidy my desk first’ or ‘Oh there’s not enough time to ring that person tonight’. Things drift, get delayed and all the time the competitors are making progress on their goals! The key? – finding out why people procrastinate!

Mistake No 3
Poor presentations to potential customers and clients
A one way pitch from you is likely to work less and less these days. You might hit the target sometimes but often your words will not be engaging for them and in any case it’s too much of a one way communication from you. That’s not a connection, that’s a speech! There’s a way you can connect with EVERYONE you want to do business with. It’s easy to learn, massively effective and you need to know it.

Mistake No 4
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result
There’s often a distinct lack of new ideas at companies whose sales are stagnating or falling. Upon examination people are usually doing the same as before, but miraculously expecting a better result this time round. It’s not going to happen. The truth is the world of Sales and Marketing is changing faster than ever – leaving many companies behind. It’s your job to make sure your company keeps up.

Mistake No 5
Too much talking – not enough listening

Very common generally in business, extremely common in sales. Modern selling is not about pitching and overcoming objections, it’s about rapport and building connections in a whole new way. Watch your team during client and customer meetings – the chances are they’re doing most of the talking. Ouch! All that lost revenue! They should try listening more.

Mistake No 6
Not putting yourself in the customers/prospects shoes

It’s really easy to think about you, your company or how good your product or services are. That’s the issue, alongside making assumptions about the client and customer before the relationship begins. So no one bothers to find out what a customer or prospects REALLY wants next. Only when you truly understand what’s going on in their head, can you truly match it with your offering.

Mistake No 7
The wrong mindset

Many sales people dread cold calling, prospecting, power hours, whatever you want to call it. Result? Very ineffective calls of course. You need people who relish these calls. If you haven’t got them, you either need to change the people, or change the mindset. Change the mindset, it’s cheaper! And it’s achievable. How good would it be to have a team who looked forward to cold calling!

Mistake No 8
Not getting feedback from your customers

Hardly anyone gets proper feedback from customers. Sure the odd form gets filled in, but what are they really thinking?. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN, then LISTEN some more. Your customers like you. That’s why they use you. Find out the reasons they use you then go find others that have the same buying criteria. Your customers will also tell you what you can do to make you even better to deal with. When was the last time you asked them?

Mistake No 9
The team lacks motivation

Or as sometimes happens some of them are motivated and some aren’t. Well they’re all different of course. What is one person’s fabulous incentive means nothing to their colleague. There’s a reason why that is, do you know it? Companies often have the wrong incentives, the wrong appraisals and the wrong reward systems and then are baffled why half the team are flat. This can be solved quickly and easily.

Mistake No 10
Not talking to the customers that stopped using you

When was the last time you talked with a lapsed customer? You absolutely must know the reason they went elsewhere or you’ll start losing other clients in exactly the same way. Many companies have no idea why particular clients stop using them.

Which of the above reasons might be holding your sales back?

Until next time.

Leigh

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020 7903 5426

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here


PS: Take advantage of our Small Business Saturday offer! DVD Programme now £40 (Discount Code SBSDVD)Digital version just £15 (Discount Code SBSDIG)

Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling.



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Want to excel at selling? Increase your resilience first - here’s how

8 December 2014

How resilient are you?

Reading a recent newspaper article by Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology at University College London, reminded me of just how importance resilience is when it comes to achieving success.

In fact I would go as far as to say that you would struggle to succeed in anything without resilience.

Especially in sales and business

Resilience after a ‘no’. Resilience if you’re falling short of your target. Resilience when a customer tells you they are now buying from somewhere else. Resilience when the phone doesn’t ring.

I’ve picked out some extracts from the article and added my own take…

“Resilient people cope better. They bounce back faster. They carry less baggage from the past. They feel less influenced by fate, less victims of luck, more in control. Crucially, they are able to maintain a steady course when the economic, political and psychological weather deteriorates. Resilient people know who they are, who they can count on and where and when to get help.

Resilient people are hardy and have good coping skills. When resilient people get stressed, which inevitable they will, they are able to reduce its effects quickly and efficiently”.

How useful would all that be in sales? Very!

Can you learn resilience?

Is it possible to change your mindset? Change the way you look at the world? Having trawled the world of self help books Adrian Furnham has come up with a ‘super-list’ of things to do to build up your resilience..and I wholeheartedly agree with his summary…

1. Visualise first, then enact how your capabilities will enhance your performance

2. Remind yourself of what you are really good at and what others value you for

3. Take control of your life and drop all that negative “can’t do” thinking

4. Try serious optimism - do “glass half full” and opportunity thinking

5. Reduce your stress levels by being more realistic, calling on the support of others and expressing your feelings more

6. Ask for help and give help to others when they need it

7. Learn to be comfortable with conflict

8. Invest time in your learning

9. Work on your mental and physical fitness

10. Reframe the way you see setbacks. Think of them as learning challenges rather than fatal setbacks.

11. And finally…Buck up, tighten up and toughen up

When (today) will you start?

Adopt these “commandments” and your sales will improve - I’ve absolutely no doubt about that. These guidelines are all about the inner you - and it’s the inner you that can make or break ANY sale.

They really are a great set of mantra’s to adopt. At The Sales Consultancy we love this list - no surprise given that pretty much everything on the list is embedded into our training programmes!

So get more resilient - and notice your sales increase.

It’s all about The Psychology of Sales!

Until next time.

Leigh


PS: Take advantage of our Small Business Saturday offer!
DVD Programme now £40 (Discount Code SBSDVD)
Digital version just £15 (Discount Code SBSDIG)


Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling.

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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How to Increase Sales by Knowing your ‘Sales Direction Filters’

1 December 2014

Do You Know Your Customers’ and Prospects’ ‘Sales Direction’ Filters?

Knowing the Sales Direction Filters of your customers and prospects is crucial to increasing your conversions and generating all round improvements in customer relationships. At The Sales Consultancy we think they’re vital in business and could not imagine our customer relationships without this knowledge.

So what is a Sales Direction Filter?

Some of you will be motivated towards goals and challenges. If that’s you it’s unlikely that you notice the things that might get in your way…and if you do you just deal with them! You focus on what you want (Towards Filter).

Others amongst you are more acutely aware of the obstacles and problems that get in your way and will develop strategies to avoid or eliminate them! You focus on what you don’t want (Away From Filter).

You will be either motivated towards the carrot or away from the stick…

What is it for you?

Whatever it is, the likelihood is that when you are talking to prospects or clients you will be naturally inclined to focus on your preference. Depending on your own ‘towards’ or ‘away from’ inclination you will either talk about solutions and what a relationship with you will do for them…or the problems you will eliminate for them.

What happens when your prospect has the opposite preference to you? There you are, talking about solutions and your prospect is thinking about his problems…or you’re talking about the problems you will resolve for them and your prospect is thinking about what he wants to gain from you.

You may as well be talking a foreign language! You need to focus on their preference in order to gain rapport and identify what it is they really want to buy – gains? or pain relief?.

Ask and Listen.

Your clients and prospects will give you clues to their preference in their language. Ask your clients why they buy from you. Whatever their first answer is ask them why that’s important to them. Do the same for the second and third answers they give. Weigh up the answers. Was every answer about the gains they get (towards)? Or were all the answers all about the pain you relieve for them (away from)? Or a mix?

You will soon start to notice trends in their language as they talk about what they get, or need in a business relationship with you.

Once you have identified their preference be sure that you focus on either the pleasures you will deliver or the pains you will remove. For those that are ‘towards’, you should emphasise their goals and outcomes, promoting the benefits, letting them know you will help them to get what they want. When selling to ‘away from’ people, emphasise what they don’t want and that you can help them avoid what they don’t want.

Reassure them that their problems can be decreased or eliminated.

Be sure to use this approach in your written communication too. If you are communicating with more than one person at once be sure to focus on both.

Getting this right is crucial. You will definitely increase your sales by incorporating both approaches.

Until next time,

Leigh

PS: You can now get The Essential Sales System DVD’s on a Download!!!
(Just £29.95)

Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling.

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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A Great Sales Strategy for Improving your Pitches and Presentations!

24 November 2014

In my role I get exposed to lots of presentations and pitches - so I thought I’d offer you some pointers for when you next present. Some of these tips seem obvious (but sadly not practiced enough) and others less so. So, whether it’s a one minute presentation at a networking event, or a 1 hour pitch for a life-changing contract, pick out the ones that will help you personally.

Preparation
Prepare - and early! Never leave it until the last minute. Never ‘wing it’ - it shows! Research your facts, stats, case studies - anything that will help make your pitch more engaging and informative.

Practice
When was the last time you practised? Did you film yourself? How was your timing? Who do you respect that could watch you? What habits should you eliminate? What should you do more of? How can you make your style more engaging? Train your brain!

Get in state
Nerves are natural but you can take steps to minimise them. Ask yourself…
How much value can I give today? If you can, talk to the audience informally before the start of the presentation - it will help you relax. Remind yourself you’re there to give them the benefit of your experience, knowledge and expertise. And remember - although these might be hardened professionals, no-one will be thinking “I hope this guy is rubbish”. They may not buy from you, but they want you to succeed on a personal level.

Non verbal communication
It’s true that most of your communication will not be with your words. Your audience will notice how you’re dressed. They will notice how your facial expressions reflect or not the words you’re speaking. They will notice your body language. So yes, no folded arms and keep hands away from pockets! Use a range of voice tones to keep your content fresh.

Content
A one way sales pitch is likely to work less and less nowadays. It really is better if you’re NOT doing most of the talking - it’s just not engaging enough. So, even if the meeting is billed as a presentation by you, open up a two way dialogue early…“before I start if it’s alright with everyone I’d like to ask you a few questions, is that OK?” The less they expect this, the more impact you will have - providing you carefully craft those early open questions to give you exactly what you need.

Structure
You’ll need to manage the presentation so that you include the following…
1. Clarity - who you are and what you do
2. Credibility - set out why you’re worth listening to (“you’ll benefit from 18 years experience in the xyz sector”)
3. Their pains - home in on the problems they have
4. Your solutions - what you are bringing to the table
5. Pre-empt their objections
6. The next step - How do they want to go forward

Be sure to talk in “You” language - for example avoid “we do this”, instead “you will get”

Questions and answers
Many presenters ask for Q & A’s right before the end. This leaves them vulnerable as, if someone asks something distracting or even damaging, this might be the lasting impression your audience has. Put your Q & A’s near to, but not at the end of the session - then you can answer them and go on to conclude the presentation by hitting them with your powerful closing message.

Hope this helps!

Happy selling!

Until next time,

Leigh


PS: You can now get the Essential Sales System DVD’s on a Download!!!
(Just £29.95)

Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling.

Click for details.

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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When it comes to Sales Techniques, Brilliance is not an Accident

17 November 2014

Brilliant sales results do not happen by accident.

Of course there’ll be an occasional fluke - but on the whole, sustained sales success certainly does not happen by chance. To be relaxed, confident and in control - and ultimately successful in sales - takes some level of preparation.

From the shortest telephone chat to a week-long exhibition or conference, you need to be clear in what you want, clear in the outcome you seek.

Your very own Personal Planner

I’ve developed a set of questions to help you prepare for any sales interaction - whether it be a short catch up chat, a full blown pitch, a presentation or a conference. Depending on the context you can use all, or just some of these questions.

Try these questions before your next sales call, sales meeting, networking event, conference, sales presentation…

Here we go…

The Outcome
What do I want to achieve?

The Opening
What can I say to open the discussion?
How should I stand/sit?
What kind of Voice Tonality should I use?

Rapport
What can I do to encourage my client to be at ease and to talk freely?
I think my Client’s preferred representational system is…
I think their preference is towards/away from

Coverage
What information do I need to collect?
What level of detail do I need to get to?

What information do I need to impart?
How will I check for understanding (for me and the client)?

Flow
What can I do to ensure that the discussion flows smoothly from one topic to another?

Manner
What can I do to demonstrate respect?
What can I do to show that I am listening to/interested in what they have to say?

Question Technique
Which open questions would be good to begin with?
Which questions can I use to “funnel down”?

The Close
What can I say to close the discussion?
How can I ensure the client knows what is to happen next?

The Check
If I do all the above, will I achieve my outcome(s)?
What else could I do to improve on the above?

Concentrates the mind doesn’t it? Well that’s exactly what it’s designed to do!

These questions will help you focus on what you want out of any upcoming interaction. And when you know your outcome beforehand, your brain picks up the instructions and sets out to make it happen.

That’s the psychology of successful selling.

Until next time

Leigh

PS: You can now get the ‘Essential Sales System for small business’s’ DVD’s on a Download!!! (Just £29.95) Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling. Click for details.

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Don’t leave email marketing to chance

10 November 2014

We as sales professionals have to be absolutely on top of our game. As Steven Covey puts it in his ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ we have to ‘Sharpen Our Saw’! So lets sharpen our email marketing skills. Let’s make sure we get it right in our email campaigns to give us the best chance of sales success.

Target your message
Make sure your message is entirely appropriate for those receiving it. Segment your database according to the niches you intend to appeal to. Use their buzzwords, their language, acknowledge their likely issues

Personalise
Personalise the opening greeting. If you can personalise the body of the email or the subject line then so much the better. You might need to modify the personalisation if you market to a very formal industry not accustomed to first names!

Create a subject line to grab attention

Everybody’s in box is full to bursting these days. You have a second to catch the eye of the reader, so the subject line is crucial. You will need to experiment here – the open rate will tell you how well your subject line performed. Keep the subject line short and snappy. Consider asking a question. You need to appeal to both positive and negative types so test both types of heading (i.e. positive ‘Ten great things you get with xyz’ and negative – ‘Avoid XYZ with these ten tips’.

Position Key Content at the Top
If your email is opened you’ve got to first base – but then have about 5 seconds to make an impact. So get your key message in quickly. Once again make sure you appeal to both those whose glass is half full and those who take it as half empty. This means positive statements about what they will get mixed with negative statements about what pain they will avoid by using you and your products.

Use ‘You’ Language
Don’t write ‘we can do this, we can do that etc’ Make sure your content revolves around ‘You’ (i.e. them!). For example, instead of ‘we design great websites’, use ‘if you’re looking for a great website’. Get into their map.

Include Powerful words
These can depend on the market you operate in, but research suggests some of the most powerful words in eshots are ‘You’, ‘Money’, ‘Save’, ‘Results’, ‘Discover’, ‘Proven’, ‘Guarantee’, ‘Now’, ‘Important’, ‘Solve’.

Incorporate a Clear Call to Action
What do you want them to do next? Invite them to do just that, in more than one place preferably. Telephone, go to website, register for free tips, whatever it is make sure the call to action is easy to find, easy to read and easy to do.

Add Testimonials
A quote from a satisfied customer or two always helps. Make sure you use the name of those giving the quote (ask their permission first).

Manage your Stats

Make sure you know the success rates of each email so you can compare results – crucial for improving ongoing effectiveness. Open rates, click through rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates are typical parameters. There are others too and you should choose those critical to your business.

Frequency
Don’t bombard your database with eshots. They will unsubscribe or just bin them or ignore them. Two or three times a month is sufficient in most cases.

Follow up
Contact those who open the email. Either ring them or at least make sure they get a follow up email which is a natural follow on from the previous one.

until next time.

Leigh

PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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There’s No Such Thing as Failure – ask Sepp Blatter

27 October 2014

Has Sepp Blatter failed at FIFA – or just received some timely feedback? I’d love to ask him!

There’s no such thing as Failure…
Just results! Some results you’ll like. Some results you don’t like. The key thing is to learn from each of your experiences.

The world is full of people who endured several setbacks before ultimately achieving success on a massive scale. Walt Disney was fired by his local newspaper because ‘he lacked imagination and had no good ideas’, before suffering severe setbacks in several businesses. Eventually he found a recipe that worked.

Even Henry Ford’s early business career floundered as he went broke five times trying to get a business model that worked.

What did Walt Disney, Henry Ford and thousands of others have in common?

They learned from their setbacks. They ultimately succeeded because they learned from each and every time things went wrong.

So ‘There’s no such thing as failure’ stands the test of time because it’s true. We can learn from all our experiences…good and bad. So – no failure, just a result you didn’t want, a mere stepping stone to success!

Action?
If something goes fantastically well – bottle it! Learn what it was that contributed the most to that success. You need to identify the winning formulas and then replicate them.

What if something did not go well at all? Celebrate! You’ll learn more here than when you succeed. Think about the steps you took, the use of resources, the timing and every other detail that made up the result. What could you have done differently that could have made a difference?

Get feedback
Where do you get your feedback from? Who tells you how you are doing? Do you plough a lone furrow, never really thinking about it? Or are you inundated with ‘feedback’ from well meaning but ultimately unhelpful would be business mentors?

Welcome feedback. Get it from wherever you can. Ask for it. Ask yourself and others ‘what could I have done better?’ When people give you feedback, take it graciously. Don’t try to justify your actions, just learn from these lovely people that are kind enough and care enough to be helping you this way.

It comes down to you though – what mechanisms have you got in place to take the learns from your successes? And how are you going to dig down and find out how to avoid replicating that poor meeting, that lost sale, that unsuccessful pitch?

Example
Think about a meeting or interaction that didn’t go well.

Ask yourself the following questions:

* Was I clear on my direction and focus throughout?
* How successful was I in opening the discussion?
* Was the client at ease and able to talk freely?
* Did I collect all the information needed?
* Did I impart all relevant information?
* Did I collect information in sufficient detail?
* Did I provide clear understandable information to the client?
* Did the discussion flow smoothly from one topic to another, without awkward pauses?
* Was I courteous, tactful, etc?
* How did I show I was listening?
* Did I ask open-ended questions and expand where necessary?
* Did I ask leading questions or answer my own questions?
* Did I talk too much?
* Did I listen?
* How successful was I in closing the discussion?
* Does the client know what is to happen next?
* Did I achieve my outcome?

This check list can be used equally as effectively for up and coming meetings. For each question above ask ‘How can I…’ before using the same points above. Prior thinking along these lines will definitely set your unconscious mind in action to make sure you meet your imagined objectives.

So – build up your personal feedback and monitoring skills and make sure that in years to come the feedback you learn now is the springboard to massive future sales success.

You deserve it!

until next time.

Leigh Ashton

PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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020 7903 5426

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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The “Sameness/Difference” Sales Technique

20 October 2014

Do you know customers that have been in the same job since time began? Or that have the same lunch every day? Or lived in the same house for decades?  In sales psychology terms we call them ‘sameness’ people. They simply don’t like change, certainly not in the contexts mentioned.

Then again you may know customers who revel in change – at work, possibly at home, again it can depend on the context. We call these ‘difference’ people. There is no right or wrong – but if you can identify these particular characteristics in your customers, increasing sales is easy!

How about you?

When you think about buying new clothes for work do you think about getting clothes like the one so and so is wearing….or do you think about getting something that’s different from the clothes they have?

Or how does your current job relate to what you were doing five years ago? Do you focus on the similarities or the differences? How about your current car…how does it relate to your previous one? Is it the same make – or totally different?

Have you got a feel yet for your own ‘sameness’ or ‘difference’ preference?

How does this help your selling skills?

If you can ascertain whether your customers are ‘sameness’ or ‘difference’ orientated, then you can tailor your language accordingly. You’ll connect and engage with customers more deeply, more quickly – and achieve sales success.

Ask them a question such as “What’s the relationship between your work this year and last year?” - an innocuous question that will elicit a reply which should provide you with some real nuggets of information. Your question needs to be worded in the correct context i.e. in this case work. And always use the word ‘relationship’. Never substitute this for say ‘difference’ as to do so would corrupt their answer.

If their answer revolves all around how similar things are, then they are ‘sameness’ orientated, whilst if they talk along the lines of thing being completely different then they are ‘difference’ orientated.

Any ongoing conversation will help you decide their leanings. And remember they could lean a little to both camps i.e. “it’s like before but ….”

What to do with the information?

To a customer with a ‘sameness’ preference: Begin by helping them identify commonalities and similarities before moving on to how your service or product is better. When talking about the differences frame them as small, gradual and evolutionary.

To a customer with a ‘difference’ preference: Talk about newness, uniqueness, how your product or service is different from things they have tried before. Introduce commonalities and similarities casually.

The main thing is to use language that will light up your customer – irrespective of your own natural tendencies.

Please ask if you would like to know more about this wonderful sales psychology technique.

Until next time…

Leigh

PS: You can now get The Essential Sales System for Small Business DVD’s on a Download!!! (Just £29.95) Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling. Click for details.

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020 7903 5426

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Why are Selling Techniques so bad?

14 October 2014

You will know by now I’m on a mission to improve the nation’s selling techniques. It seems every day I collect more evidence of just how big a challenge that is going to be! On the other hand a bottom less pit of potential work it seems.

Take my colleague Jonathan’s example from a while ago. Accompanying his friend to a car showroom he was well and truly underwhelmed by the sales techniques demonstrated – or not demonstrated as it turned out. Within a minute of approaching Jonathan and his friend the sales guy was explaining how effective this £68K Landrover was at going up 45 degree hills off road – and that they should check out the YouTube video to see for themselves. He went on to list all the features of this vehicle that HE would have been impressed by.

Now I’m not sure what they teach showroom sales people at landrover but it sure isn’t modern sales skills on this evidence. Maybe they should get inside one of those Delorien cars from ‘Back to The Future’ and got themselves back to 1960’s America where they would have more success!

The Problem?

Where to begin! Firstly he didn’t even know who was up for buying a vehicle, or what stage we might have been in our buying process. He didn’t know ANYTHING about us at all and more crucially did not have any inclination to find out. That meant he remained forever in his map of the world, which was all about off roading and boy’s stuff. He was doing all the talking and NO listening at all. If he had made the effort to find out our ‘maps’ then the knowledge gained would have led to a far more fruitful chat for all of us, more enjoyable too and more likely to produce a win win.

A Solution?

This contrasts with a much more encouraging – sadly rarer story of a friend who after 25 years working in a factory found himself out of work as textile manufacturing moved abroad. His friend was a car dealer and to his credit gave John a chance at his used car showroom. With no real training and no experience John made a fabulous impact at selling cars. How? He knew about and had studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and applied it in the car showroom.

The Power of Rapport

Despite being given second rate leads as returning customers went back to the longer serving salesmen, John soon rose up the sales league table. He did this by leaving his map of the world and making efforts to find out about the maps of those he spoke to. His genuine interest in their buying circumstances and needs led to natural open questions and great answers. He soon found out that it was often the quirky stuff that sold cars, the little things that you can only find out about when you have built genuine rapport with your prospect.

In one particular example John approached a whole family looking around the showroom. Through careful questioning and brilliant rapport building with ALL the family, John elicited that due to a family history of prangs when reversing their previous vehicles, the deciding factor was the bleeper that comes on when reversing this particular car, not that common at the time. Only by building a great relationship – and caring – did John find out this information.

Result?

A Sale, of course – and a fantastic letter two days later from the family stating this was the best buying experience they had ever had. His boss and friend said he hadn’t seen a customer letter like that in fourteen years in the business.

So – please please please leave out your needs and wants and make sure you find out their needs and wants. Genuinely care about the relationships you have with your customers and prospects, be curious, ask open questions, listen instead of preaching and you’ll be surprised what it will do for your sales success.

Do let me know your good and bad experiences of sales techniques. Let’s crack this together!

Until next time

Leigh

PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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6 Explanations for not having more sales

8 October 2014

When a company fails, the usual reasons get trotted out; “unfavourable market conditions” “the longest recession since xxxx” “fashions have changed” “the internet”.

Maybe it’s the same if you don’t reach your sales targets?

In my book these all group together into one ‘not me guv’ excuse. Anyone hiding behind these reasons for a failing business or (closer to my specialist subject) lack of sales, is what’s called ‘in effect’. They are letting those external factors be an excuse for their own lack of achievement.

They need to look somewhere else. And if you know me well you’ll probably know where I’m going with this.

If you are not having the level of sales success you need right now, my question to you – and it’s a challenging question is…

How, by your actions or your non-actions have you contributed to your current situation?

Ask your team that question too, or these coming up…

For example…

Where have you procrastinated?
This is one of the most common causes of failure. Most of us are waiting for the “time to be right” to do those things that will make a big difference. Well the time will never be “just right”, so start where you stand, work with whatever tools you have, and find better tools as you go along.

Where have you shown lack of persistence?
Most of us are good “starters” but poor “finishers” of everything we begin. Many give up at the first sign of defeat. There is no substitute for persistence in sales.

How defined is your purpose in your job and your life?
The most successful people in sales and business that I’ve ever met knew exactly WHY they were on the path they were on. It wasn’t just for their professional success; it’s that they had a crystal clear vision of what they were going to do with that increased success. Many I meet who are struggling do not have that beautifully defined aim.

How are you developing your personality?
There is no hope of sales success for the person who repels people. When you reflect honestly, is your persona drawing people to you – or driving them away? If you’re driving them away, what adjustments can you make?

What do you believe about you?
What do you believe about your own sales ability? If you’re not achieving the sales you need it’s highly likely that your limiting beliefs are at play. You may be aware of some of them. Others are buried beneath the surface. Beliefs about yourself will massively impact on whether you hit your targets or not.

Where have you been over-cautious?
If you take no chances at all you’ll be left with whatever is left when others have finished choosing. Over-caution is as bad as under-caution and both should be guarded against. Remember though, life itself is filled with the element of choice, all day, every day.

Sales Success? It’s all about the psychology.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: Check out our “Tricks of The Trade” archive here for all things sales

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Update: your Testimonials‏

29 September 2014

“When you say something about yourself it’s bragging. When other people say it about you – it’s proof!” (Jeffrey Gitomer)

How good are you at collecting testimonials from your happy customers?

Great? Then well done, keep it up!

You’re in the minority though! Many business owners simply never get around to it, or are a little bit nervous about asking or don’t do anything with them once they’ve got them.

Here are some ‘off the top of my head’ thoughts when it comes to testimonials.

Ten Testimonial Tips

1) ASK! Even your most satisfied customers will need a friendly prompt. 

2) Construct a customer feedback form that makes it easy to gather juicy quotes – and have a tick box that asks if you can use their quotes in public. This means you’re gathering their positive feedback at the very moment you’re completing a fabulous job for the customer.

3) Double check you have permission to use the quote.

4) Never make them up! If you’re the sort that has to make up testimonials, I’d seriously worry about your business model!

5) Make sure you quote the giver’s name (and company if relevant) – this gives much more credibility than unnamed quotes.

6) Try and get a testimonial that overcomes a typical buyer objection i.e. something like…”initially I thought the price was high, but bought it anyway and soon came to realise that it was fantastic value for money”

7) Capture off the cuff remarks. The next time a customer tells you something great about your product ask “Can I quote you on that?” Then – write up their quote, email it to them for their approval and there you go – another wonderful testimonial!

8) If you can get a video testimonial these can be very powerful. No excuse nowadays with inexpensive flip cameras and even smartphones providing good enough quality. A one minute video testimonial can be extremely powerful to your sales success.

9) Never think you’re too late to get a testimonial. Sometimes the effect of a testimonial can be more powerful if you can harness a comment that contains something like “now, six months after xxxx, the benefits are really coming through”. Depending on your product or service these can mean much more than an instant testimonial done at the time.

10) USE THEM! Don’t just collate testimonials and keep them in a folder. Use them on your website, flyers, brochure, exhibition boards, the bottom of emails, the company van!

Hope these help!

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: You can now get the Essential Sales System DVD’s on a Download!!! (Just £29.95)

Over FOUR HOURS of top notch sales help. You don’t have to struggle with your selling.

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Leigh Ashton

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9 ways to improve your networking results

22 September 2014

Despite the onslaught of social media and on line networking, ‘real life’ networking is still a crucial element of many companies’ sales and marketing strategies. Quite right too – there are massive benefits to be had from attending networking events.

Providing you’re at the right event for you. Providing you do it well.

Sadly many choose the wrong events. Many others, even if they’ve chosen the right event, often don’t make the best of it once there. And I believe this is down to a lack of ‘know how’ around networking – and crucially a lack of confidence.

My take…

Networking should be fun. Networking should be of immense value to you. Here are a few thoughts on how to get more out of your networking…

Choose your networking events carefully – Ask yourself where you will meet the people you’d like to trade with. Or maybe you’d like to meet those who know the people you’d like to trade with? So could it be the Chamber of commerce? Breakfast clubs? Entrepreneur organisations? Training courses? Charity events? Trade associations? Exhibitions? Private clubs – gold, dining etc? Sports events?

Define exactly what you want to achieve – This will depend on the immediate needs of your business. What are your biggest current and future challenges? This will dictate who can help you the most – and it may not be customers. Decide who can help you.

Decide to meet those people you don’t already know – It’s tempting to head for those people there that you already know. Yet if you really want to get the greatest value, make sure you spend the vast majority of your networking time with people you don’t know. More challenging? Possibly. More rewarding? Definitely!

Wear your name badge on your right – Most people are right handed so when you extend your right hand out it’s a short and easy journey for their eyes to make up to your name badge. It helps them remember you and your name.

When introducing yourself – look at their name badge and say something like “hello xxxxx, pleased to meet you, what do you do?” (Appearing suitably curious!) This will open up the conversation and crucially, you get to do the listening and not the talking. This will get you the information you need for you to be exploring, via their answers, how useful a relationship this could prove to be.

Make them talk – If they get in first and ask you what you do, be very pleasant and brief and say “I’m in xxxxx” – and then immediately go back with “and what do you do?” as in point 2 above.

Invite others in – If you’re in a circle chatting and listening and you see someone on their own, beckon them to join you. They could be the golden nugget of a contact that makes the whole event worthwhile!

Join in – If you’re looking to join a circle of potential contacts just ask “do you mind if I join in here” or similar words you’re most comfortable with. In 30 years nobody has said no when I’ve asked this question!

Don’t pitch! – Many people throw a business card at you then launch into a sales pitch. They probably know nothing about you and all they talk about is “I can do” and “we we we” – and “weeing” all over everybody is never good sales practice anywhere! So Practice these tips and start achieving your sales success.

Until next time

Leigh

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Why you need more I.P.A. (and I don’t mean the beer)‏

15 September 2014

For most of us, after our summer holidays, we share that foreboding as we crack up our laptops wondering what ‘the figure’ of emails will be. Then there are the bragging rights. I reckon most people share their inbox total with their immediate colleagues within 30 minutes of discovering it (go on – be honest!). And there’s that tinge of disappointment if a colleague has a higher total than you!

Not that I’ve got involved with any of that nonsense myself!

Seriously…

This is a dilemma for many – how to balance the basic admin with that crucial project. The urgent v the important. And so on.

My challenge to you is…in amongst the emails, the meetings and your other tasks and projects, how are you going to make sure you do enough selling?. Selling and marketing has to continue. I’d wager that for many companies – and individuals, that are struggling with their sales, they probably didn’t do enough selling and prospecting three, four, five months ago when they should have.

Getting the selling done amongst the other duties remains a massive issue for many small businesses, especially with many people having dual roles within an organisation.

Even those who work full time in sales often don’t do much actual selling! The last research I saw suggested that only 20% of a sales rep’s time is actually spent selling or prospecting, the rest is problem solving, administration, traveling and so on.

Are you selling enough?

Somehow, whether selling is part or all of your role, you need to ring fence some time for selling and prospecting. There aren’t many organisations that have survived without selling skills

Let me introduce you to a concept that I’ve found really helps me – and is very popular when we share it at our trainings. It’s a simple concept that will really help you make time for selling.

I.P.A.

Income…Producing…Activity. I’ll define IPA in a moment but firstly I suggest you should be doing IPA for an average of at least 1- 3 hours per day. If you’re serious about generating tomorrow’s sales, and the next day and beyond, ring fence that time in your diary.

OK, a definition of IPA – activities that have a direct impact on creating sales opportunities. By this I mean sales and promotional activity prior to a sale being made. This could be prospect meetings, creating email campaigns, general prospecting, generating referrals… anything that starts or develops new relationships with prospective customers.

What isn’t I.P.A.?

What you do with your client after the deal has been done is around customer service and quality… and is not IPA. Now I know that it’s important to keep clients happy and the happier you make them it’s more likely they will buy from you again – but that time is not IPA unless you are talking with them about another service or product that they might buy.

Leave customer service to your customer service team/person and if customer service is part of your role, remember you still need to do 1-3 hours of IPA on top.

Just do it

Book time in your diary. Put notices on the wall, post it’s and pop ups wherever you’d like. Just do it.

IPA IPA IPA

The emails can wait…

Until next time

Leigh

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The slow death of “old” selling continues‏

8 September 2014

Are old fashioned sales techniques dead and buried? Probably, according to this fascinating article “Death of the old-style salesman” from earlier this year.

I thought it was a great read. It struck a chord with me and definitely reflected the changes I have witnessed during my 30 years in sales.

The theme of the article is to explore how sales techniques have had to change in the past few years and continue to do so. In short…

Out with the old, in with the new

I talk briefly about old style and new style selling in my book. It’s an ongoing process that’s been influenced by increased all round awareness as the consumer markets have matured, legislation against dodgy sales techniques and of course the massive impact of social media and the internet in general. I’m sure there will have been other influences; those come to mind for now!

In the article, senior Sales and HR Directors of major Corporates demonstrate how their organisations have had to change the way they sold. It also explores how they identified and resolved the issues they faced in their companies. Without fail they recognised the need to move from the ‘old way’ to the ‘new way’ of selling…

The old way

  - The sales person held ‘the cards’. He/she presented the features and benefits and the buyer chose whether or not to believe them
  - The image of the sales person being a fast talker who had their eyes purely on closing the deal
  - The sales person would present their pitch one on one – a buyer/seller relationship in which no-one else was involved
  - The sales person regarded themselves as here to win, here to beat the competition, here to get the best possible deal out of the customer
  - The sales person was the one with the loud voice, who didn’t care what people thought, who would pressure people into giving them the order

The new selling environment

  - Sales people have much less opportunity to influence the buyer at the very start of the buying process
  - The internet allows buyers to research potential purchases thoroughly before speaking to anyone from the company
  - The sales person has to demonstrate exceptional levels of customer service
  - Buyers go in to knowing as much as the sales person – they have much more chance of telling if the sales person is pulling a fast one
  - The best sales people are those who are more interested in helping their customers than in getting the contract signed. Additionally they are able to communicate clearly, are committed to excellent customer service and can rapidly build rapport and trust
  - Buyers knowing more means a more consultative approach is required and often with several different stakeholders – requiring different skills sets from the sales person compared to previous
  - The sales person must bring more to the table. More knowledge about the prospect. More knowledge about the industry they operate in. More knowledge and potential ideas about the solution

Finally, here’s a quote from the article…

“The key difference between the stereotypical sales person and the customer-focused communicator who is more successful today is mentality. These skills can be acquired and practised.  What it really comes down to is mindset — how individuals view themselves, their jobs and the world”

It won’t surprise you to know I loved that! So are you ready? Are your colleagues? Is your team? No-one denies the end objective – to get more sales success, reach targets, live happily ever after.

It’s the journey there that’s changed.

Until next time…

Leigh

PS: Remember to check out next month’s Trust Conference – Bob Geldof’s going to be the Keynote Speaker! Click for details

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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“I wish I could sell like…???”‏

28 August 2014

Have you ever wondered why some people are able to exceed sales targets easily and consistently and others try really hard and don’t get the same level of sales success

It’s all down to Strategies! When you do things brilliantly and effortlessly it means you’ve developed a great strategy. When you struggle it means you have an ineffective strategy.

You have millions of strategies. You’ll have one for getting up in the morning. You’ll have one for your journey to work, you’ll have one for cleaning your teeth! The list goes on. You have devised a strategy for everything you do.

So what is a strategy exactly?

In this context a strategy is the precise…and I mean very precise…order and sequence of what you think and do from the trigger point to completion of the specific activity. Every thought you have during the process impacts on your inner state and behaviour. Just to make it more interesting, there are elements of your strategies that are done completely unconsciously!

You have modelled other people’s strategies from the moment you were born. You watched. You saw. You copied. In no time you were walking, talking, dancing and feeding yourself. You would have been thrilled every time you mastered a new strategy

It’s exactly the same as an adult

Think of it…all of those things in your life and work that aren’t as you’d like them to be…you can change them easily by modelling yourself on a person that has already successfully achieved what you’re wanting to achieve!

Some of your existing strategies will be working well. But some of your other strategies will have become out of date. Sometimes though, you don’t always realise that they are out of date, so you continue with unproductive processes and behaviour.

If you aren’t getting the sales results you want, my guess is you’ve got some strategies that just don’t work for you. In fact once you start scrutinising them you’ll probably find that some of your strategies are actually making it much more difficult for you to achieve the sales success you want!

So the secret to being an amazingly successful sales professional is to carry on using your strategies that deliver results and ditch the ones that don’t…and in their place you put proven strategies you know will get you the results you want.

How do identify a great strategy?

How do identify a great strategy? Go out and find someone that is already achieving the results you want – and elicit their strategy so that you can use it yourself!

There are some pointers to consider before you go charging off in pursuit of the most successful sales person you can find. You must find someone that gets the exact results you want and behaves and thinks in a way that you would be happy to model. Choose your person wisely.

When you find your person – it’s not just what you see in terms of behaviours that you need to elicit. Think of their strategy as an iceberg and their behaviours as the bit you see above the water line. Most is below the water line – their thinking – and it’s in this area of their strategy where the magic can lie.

Have a think…in any area of your role…who is achieving exactly what you want to achieve?

Whose strategy can you model?

All part of the psychology of sales.

Until next time…

Leigh

PS: Remember to check out next month’s Trust Conference – Bob Geldof’s going to be the Keynote Speaker! Click for details

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5 ways to motivate your team (and money isn’t one of them)‏

18 August 2014

Here’s my motivation check list…how many of these questions can you say YES to?

If you alone are responsible for the sales results where you work, ask the questions of you. Otherwise ask them for your team and anyone who sells on behalf of your company.

  1. Does each member of your team know where they fit in to the bigger company objectives?
  2. Do you know the higher purpose of each of your team?
  3. Are your team’s targets realistic bearing in mind your industry’s current market conditions?
  4. Do your team members only very occasionally contact you for guidance?
  5. Do you know the meta-programmes of each of your team?

So…how many did you answer yes to? Clearly the more you could answer yes to, the more motivated your team is likely to be.

This morning I quickly jotted down just a few of the many principles that I think are important when it comes to motivating a sales team. Of course there’s many more but I’m pushed for space and you’re pushed for time. So let’s throw a bit more light on these five.

Where do they fit in?

Be sure you’ve explained where everyone fits in to the bigger company picture. Where is it all leading? Company growth? How much? And what’s their role in achieving that growth – individually and as a team? Make it simple. No need for fancy charts!

What’s their higher purpose?

Each of your team needs to have identified a higher purpose for themselves. In simple terms why they are doing what they are doing? And you need to know that purpose. Are they working towards a new or bigger car? A bigger house? An engagement ring? To retire early? Find out – and remind them regularly. Help them to constantly make that link between their day job, their target and that higher purpose.

Targets should be er…on target

Set your targets too low and it will be feet-up time for everyone. Set them too high and you ‘lose the team’ i.e. everyone knows they’re unachievable, so unconsciously they don’t try. I’m for flexible but stretching targets which take into account the prevailing market conditions, which may well conflict with those the Managing Director came up with 8 months ago but which now look pure fantasy. Let him/her explain their budget away elsewhere – in the meantime set stretching, realistic targets which will get the best out of your team right now.

Do they have to ask you about everything?

If you hired them to do a good job, trust them! Surely they don’t have to ask you about everything? Let them scuff their knees and they will grow into the role. Sure you might have some challenges along the way but you’ll end up with a motivated and developed member of the team – and you get some of your time back too! Read this previous article for more about giving your team more autonomy.

How are they wired?

Heard of Meta-Programmes? These are the ‘internal wiring’ mechanisms that make up the individuality in each of your sales team. Know these programmes and you’ll never look back in terms of motivating your team. Remember each of your team are different – so your approach needs to be too. Click here for an example of just one meta programme (there are up to 16 in total!). You’ll see how useful meta-programmes are for communicating with your team – and your customers.

What about money?

Phew – I’ve ran out of space and I haven’t even mentioned money. That’s deliberate though. Most meaningful research suggest money is only ever an effective motivator in the short term. And that’s borne out when I talk to sales directors and sales teams.

For now, work on getting these five right and you’ll have a more motivated team – and more sales success.

Until next time

Leigh

PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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Sales and the “F” Word‏

11 August 2014

Phew! I thoughts things were supposed to get quieter over the summer? Not this summer!

It’s been all go on the training front. Very enjoyable too. It’s my mission to help people and organisations to make more sales and it’s incredibly rewarding to watch people develop their skills and improve their results right before my eyes.

It’s clear to me that those who develop their skills and results the most have one thing in common…their ability and willingness to accept feedback – and use it.

The essence of feedback

Everything you do creates a result. Some results you love. Some results you don’t. Develop your mindset so you get to treat it all as feedback on how you’re doing and crucial pointers on how to operate in future.

Imagine a world where the only feedback you received was that you are wonderful, brilliant and amazing! Sounds fabulous doesn’t it? But if that’s all you ever heard from people what do you think would happen? You would probably become complacent and at best your results would plateau and at worst you’d decline.

You need feedback

You absolutely need feedback on the areas where you’re perhaps not that great (yet!). If nobody tells you… how are you going to improve? There’s a fair chance that on your own you won’t easily identify those areas where you can improve. So be receptive to the help of others.

Many people are only comfortable giving positive feedback. The results being that you only get to hear the good stuff. Yet it’s often the ‘developmental’ feedback that generates greater learning and development. If this developmental type of feedback is ever given, it’s often delivered in a clumsy manner by someone who is very uncomfortable delivering it as attempt to justify a pay freeze despite telling you all year you’ve been doing well! Or it’s delivered at the wrong time i.e. the first time you find out about your weaknesses is during a heated exchange!

Are you getting enough?

Congratulations if you already get excellent, constructive feedback to help you grow your success… and yes, do thank the people that have the confidence to tell you.

If you don’t get that kind of feedback… and in a way that makes it palatable for you to absorb – then you need to instigate the feedback you desire to grow your skills and your sales success.

You also need to accept feedback in the spirit of which it’s meant. Getting all defensive and making excuses for why you did what you did won’t get you very far. It will also put people off giving you the feedback you need. Accept it graciously, thank them… then reflect.

You haven’t got to agree

By the way, you haven’t necessarily got to agree with them. Remember it’s their feedback based on their map of the world. Consider though that if they have this perspective, others may too.

So when asking for feedback, be very specific with your questions to help the person help you. If you’re not used to getting this kind of feedback and are a little unnerved by the responses you might get… get over it! This is the only way to continual improvement.

Remember…no failures – it’s feedback. You’re on a journey.

Ask for it. Welcome it. Act on it.

Until next time..

Leigh

PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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How BAD are the questions you’re asking?‏

21 July 2014

Firstly – and I can’t stress this strongly enough, be in no doubt that your sales results will be directly influenced by the quality of questions you ask.

So how good are YOUR questions?

The subject of “open questions” figures in just about every sales manual ever written and every sales course ever delivered. That’s not a coincidence. To sell effectively you need information. Your prospects hold it. You need to acquire it. If you can conjure up a bank of well crafted open questions, you’re in business!

If you’re new to this game let me quickly define an open question as a question that cannot be answered yes or no. And when you’re looking to open up a conversation with a potential customer, just about the least useful answer you can get is yes, or no.

Open Questions

Asking open questions will get your prospect talking, which relaxes them and helps to build genuine rapport in no time. They’ll get a sense that you’re really interested in them and their needs.

What you get in return is the vital information you need – initially to make an internal judgement on how (or indeed if) you can help your prospect. Secondly you’ll be able to match your offering specifically to their needs, the very needs which you beautifully elicited earlier with your fabulous open questions!

Listen to their answers

By the way, listen to their answers! I find that good listening skills are lacking amongst many sales people. Your sales conversations will flow much more freely if you relax and focus on their answers, not what your next question will be. Listen properly and with good intent – and your next question will just appear naturally.

Here are some ideas for open questions – tailor them accordingly to your specific needs whether you’re selling to other businesses or direct to consumers.

Examples of Open questions…

What’s going on for you in your business right now?

Currently, what are your biggest challenges?

What’s going well for you?

What’s not going well for you at the moment?

Which areas are you most concerned about?

Where does your business/team need to be in x months/years time?

How do you see your business developing?

What action have you taken so far to…?

Where are you in terms of….

What’s the next stage?

And if in your business the potential customer arrives/phones up and asks about the availability of the ‘XYZ’ product, you’ll need to know the reason they chose that product from your vast range. For example you may be out of stock and want to offer an alternative, or have an even better version more suited to their needs. Or just want to build rapport as you process the sale.

The question to really open up any conversation in these circumstances is… “What attracts you to this xxxx”. When answering this question the customer will give you their full buying criteria (“it’s got this, it hasn’t got that”) – golden nuggets of information to help you complete the sale.

Avoid questions starting with ‘Why’…

…as they can be confrontational – no matter how fluffy and soft you make them sound. When you ask a ‘Why’ question you are asking for justification of their response. Your client will probably become defensive and give you an emotive response.

It takes practice

Think of your next selling or networking scenario. Think of crucial information you need to successfully promote your product or service and construct five open questions which will help you get that information and help you increase your sales success.

Until next time.

Leigh

Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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Seal the Deal in 5 Minutes! A Solution to Closing those Sales…

14 July 2014

How frustrating is it when you put in lots of hard work for little or no reward?

Perhaps you’ve been working on a tender for a big contract only to see it cancelled, or awarded to a competitor? Or you’ve given a fabulous sales presentation, only for the meeting to grind towards its end with no sign of a sale?

Maybe you’ve quoted and you just can’t get an answer no matter how often you contact them? What about when you think you’ve been fobbed off – they probably don’t want your products but they won’t tell you outright so you keep contacting them ‘just in case’?

We’ve all been there – it’s frustrating and time consuming. The dilemma – do you chase old ‘maybe’ business or spend more time generating new enquiries?

Closing a Sale in 5 Minutes…

The Issue
The meeting’s gone well. You’ve got a fabulous connection with your prospect. Rapport levels are high. They seem attentive. They seem interested. You’ve impressively answered some minor objections that came your way. Yet there’s something that’s holding you back from asking outright for the business.

What to do next?

The Solution
Three Killer Questions. Before you embark on the first question, make sure you have good levels of rapport with your prospect. If there is any ‘edge’ present, these questions won’t work. With fabulous rapport, they always deliver.

So, back to your meeting. It’s coming to an end and you need to close the sale.

Question Number 1
At the end of your conversation, ask:

On a scale from 1 to 10 – 1 meaning “it’s over…don’t darken our door again” and 10 meaning “we want you to start straight away”…where would you say we are?

THEN…SHUT UP! This is critical to ensure you give the silence that allows your contact to think.

Give them time. Allow your prospect to respond. They will give you a number. Don’t be too attached to the number. The golden nugget is their response to the next question.

Question Number 2
Ask…

What would need to happen to get us to a 10?

SHUT UP! Again…this is critical. Give them more time to think.

Allow your prospect to respond.

You have now identified the gap between what you’re offering and what your client needs from you before they can say ‘yes’. You now know how close you are to securing the deal.

If you are able to resolve the gap immediately you’ll be able to close the deal there and then.

Some answers will alert you that these prospects are unlikely to ever buy. Disappointing yes but good to know there and then not several weeks and many follow ups later.

Question Number 3
Open question.

What would you like me to do next?

Their answer is usually like all the jigsaw pieces falling into place. They are explaining exactly what the next course of action is – talking as if you’re already on board.

Agree on the next course of action and be sure to maintain your control by agreeing when you will get back to them.

Asking these questions will change your sales results! They identify how close you are to a sale, they identify how big the gap is – and exactly what you need to do to bridge the gap. And you both decide whether or not you have the means to bridge the gap. All usually in a few minutes.

By slightly tweaking these questions you can use the ‘out of ten’ technique in other situations – for example staff appraisals and job satisfaction surveys come to mind.

Hope this technique brings you lots of sales success.

All the best…

Leigh

www.sales-consultancy.com

020 7903 5426

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Decreasing Marketing; Increasing Sales

7 July 2014

Most companies I help receive incoming enquiries – via the telephone line, emails, exhibitions, the list goes on.

None of these companies convert 100% of those enquiries into a sale. Of course, 100% conversion is pushing it a bit! However – there’s no doubt that all of these companies had potential to increase their conversion rate, in many cases by a considerable amount.

A company in particular comes to mind. They took enquiries mainly by phone and converted 25% of these enquiries into an individual average order value of £997 – we’ll round this up to £1000 for ease of telling the story.

Sales in volume were slightly over 10,000 a year so we’re talking about a £10m company here.

Having been called in to help, my first thoughts were what a crying shame that a massive 75% of sales enquiries were coming to nothing. Even sadder was that many of the 75% non-buyers were deemed ‘time wasters’ by the staff. I cringe at those words – in my book there’s no such thing as a time waster in sales and terming them as such reflects more on the seller than the potential buyer.

Within six weeks we’d got the conversion rate up to 27%. Now you might think that’s not much of an increase – and you’d be right. BUT – just this 2% increase in conversion rates equated to an annual increase in turnover of £800,000. Needless to say the training was deemed a big success.

The moral of the story? Don’t spend massive amounts of money on marketing when all you have to do is make better use of the leads that you’re already getting – sales success will follow.

How to increase conversion rates?

Here are a few pointers.

1. Ban the use of the words ‘time wasters’! I’m serious. Using this word in a sales environment engenders an underlying unconscious disrespect for potential buyers. I firmly believe that no one has got time these days to be a time waster – there must have been SOME level of interest for them to pick up the phone – check out a website etc.

2. Get technology in that can track enquiries and respond to them. This could be web analytics, a more sophisticated CRM, whatever it takes to know exactly who’s showing an interest – and which enables you to have a low cost follow up.

3. Connect! Yes I know some of this is very basic but…! It works. We found out at the company in question that their company was on average one of three that the potential customer contacted before making a decision. There were about 5 major players in their market at the time – and not much to choose between them in terms of product and price. So who do you think was going to get the business? YES – the one to whom the prospect felt most connected.

4. Connection is made through general rapport building and lots of curiosity – in sales terms known as good old fashioned open questions.

5. Structure. I’ll never be an advocate of scripts on telephone calls – I hate them – but a little structure can help considerably. So make sure you give the staff the guidance they need to succeed on the call.

6. Follow up when you’ve quoted. I can’t believe how many companies quote for business and then never follow up with at least a courtesy phone call. This is not hounding people – as a certain company’s ‘sales’ staff once suggested. This is called customer service, which, if we’re lucky, might catch on! If you don’t fancy following up quotes, you might want to consider an alternative career. Referring to suggestion 3, if you’re one of three companies that have quoted for a sale and you’re the only one that follows up, doesn’t that indicate a level of interest on your part that others haven’t matched?

There are of course another hundred+ tips on increasing sales and following up enquiries – but if you do these and do them well enough, your selling skills and your sales conversions will increase.

Converted yet?

Leigh

www.sales-consultancy.com

020 7903 5426

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Leigh Ashton

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Some NEWS!

23 June 2014

At Last!

You can now get my “Essential Sales System for Small Business” as a download – Details here

I would say that this programme will really benefit you if you can say yes to one or more of these questions…

  - Do you love what you do but you dislike the selling bit?
  - You just don’t believe you’re all that good at selling?
  - Learning new sales skills is on your list but you haven’t got round to it yet?
  - You think selling is a necessary evil?
  - You haven’t the time, or money to attend expensive workshops?
  - You’ve ‘tried everything’ and yet you’re still not getting the level of sales you need?

If these ring any bells with you then I suggest you click here and find out more.

You could be on your way to sales success in less than 5 minutes from now!

More details here

All the best

Leigh

PS: Don’t just take my word…

“My perception of selling was a poor one…and I would put off the dreaded sales activity with a lame excuse. I’ve put into practice the positive ways to turn situations around that would previously have been a huge challenge to me. Leigh is the “John Lewis” of the sales world! She delivers what she promises and I trust her!!”

Lynn Batham – Alan Batham Digital Photography.

Click here for more comments…

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“You don’t get what you want in life; you get what you expect”

16 June 2014

Some questions for you…

Do you know where you’re heading? In work? Away from work? In Life? Where is it all leading to? Does it have to lead anywhere anyway?

A bit deep for a Wednesday? Maybe. Let’s drill it down to your business, even your sales, especially your sales… What actions are you taking to get you to where you want to go?

That’s assuming you know where you want to go!

How much of a plan have you got? So many sales professionals I meet have lack-lustre goals, if they have any at all; “I want to reach budget”, “I want to achieve the annual bonus”, “I want to progress”, “I want more money” and so on. Often not specific. Often just so so.

How about sprucing things up a little?

You can have mere wishes…

…or you can have dynamic expectations that really motivate you to reach for the stars. When you have mediocre goals – and let’s face it, “I want to reach target” is fairly mediocre, you’re setting yourself up to be ordinary.

Shouldn’t you really be aiming for outstanding?

It’s wonderful to experience the curiosity and confidence of young children. They believe that everything is possible. But what happens between the age of children and teenage years? And beyond? Something comes up that gets in the way of those early dreams.

It’s all about expectations

I’m not sure who said this but I wholeheartedly agree with it… “You don’t get what you want in life; you get what you expect”. There’s a massive difference. Most people expect ordinary. In fact many sales people expect ordinary. Many business owners expect ordinary. That’s fine if you want ordinary – because that’s exactly what will show up… ‘better to aim low and not be disappointed’ and all that.

But what if you’ve had enough of ordinary? What if you want more? To start with, how about expecting more? What if you decide that instead of settling for mid table in your sales league you expected to be in the top three? Instead of growing your business at 5% next year, what if you decided to expect 10% growth? And instead of converting your leads at the same 25% as the last few years, how would expecting a conversion rate of 35% sound?

Goals

I don’t know where you are right now on your journey but what I do know is that most people who don’t achieve the things they want in life usually have pretty mediocre goals and mediocre expectations to start with.

How often do you start work with clear outcomes to achieve that day? How often do you set really aspirational objectives for the month? How engaged are you with the goals of your team?

Challenge yourself…

How could you increase your expectations tomorrow? Or today! What would your new expectations be for Friday 20th June 2014? What does real sales success mean for you? Maybe in terms of units sold, revenue, profit, lead conversion? What should you really be expecting in your career between now and three years from now? Where do you expect to be? What are you expecting to be doing? And who with?

Play with this. Imagine. You already know that tomorrow’s realities start with today’s thoughts – so get thinking! Put some meat on the bones. Really raise those expectations. Get used to wearing them. Be comfortable with them. That’s where you’re heading after all.

Raise your expectations and you’ll have started a journey. A journey that will encourage your brain to deliver new, better and imaginative ideas to achieve those expectations and goals.

Think Big: Expect Big: Plan Big: Act Big

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: Check out my recent article for O2′s “The Business” - Click Here to access “Losing Sales? Here’s Why”

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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“Optimise Your Business!” Very Special One-Day Event.

11 June 2014

Hello!

There’s a very special one-day event going on June 13th in London that I recommend you take a look at to help your business.

It’s being run by two very good friends of mine, Shaa Wasmund and Mark Attwood and I will be making a guest appearance!

Shaa, as you probably already know, is the founder of Smarta.com and the best-selling author of “Stop Talking, Start Doing”.

Shaa is a truly inspirational entrepreneur and speaker and knows exactly what businesses need, from start ups to companies like Dyson!

Mark has generated nearly £40 million for his own business, PAL Hire, using his own internet marketing techniques.

He’s been working online since 1996, and really knows his onions.

But, the best thing about Mark is his ability to explain something technical in a really down to earth way that cuts through all the bull.

Shaa and Mark did a webinar recently called “Top 6 Tips to Optimise Your Business”, which is available for a short time to listen to here:

www.shaa.com/optimise-your-business

I highly recommend you take a listen to the webinar and consider attending the event on the 13th – it’s a one-off, a great chance to network and I know the knowledge and insights you will gain will benefit your business including sales success!

As my gift to you, enter the discount code ‘leigh’ and you will receive your tickets for £67 instead of £197!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Leigh

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Leigh Ashton

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Steve Peters, the England World Cup Squad – and you

10 June 2014

The World Cup is looming. That thought will fill you with massive anticipation…or complete dread!

This time round there’s a new member of the England Team…who won’t kick a ball for the whole of the tournament. His name is Steve Peters and he will be going to Brazil as the England team psychologist – you can read more in this recent article.

The England management team have identified just how important it is for the players to have the right mindset if they are to achieve their potential in the tournament.

What about your mindset?

How often do you focus on YOU? You too should be ensuring you’ve got the mindset you need to get success in your role.

Imagine you or your team being able to quickly and easily conjure up the necessary elements for success – confidence, determination, calmness, or anything else that’s needed, at will…whenever it’s needed.

You can!

It’s with a technique called ‘anchoring’. Anchoring allows you to take those success traits you feel and experience when you’re at your best – and resurrect them when you’re not!

My preferred anchoring technique is the ‘Circle of Excellence’. It’s easy, fun and works with everyone. Try it out, go with it – and let me know how you get on.

Here we go…

The Circle of Excellence

First, find a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed.

Think of a resource you would like to have immediate access to in the future. This could be confidence, calmness, determination…anything.

Think back to a time when you demonstrated this very resource in the past. Relive that experience in detail. Then associate a colour with that state.

Now imagine an invisible circle on the floor in front of you. Paint it the colour you just chose. Make it about 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in front of you. Now add whatever you’d like into the circle that represents or supports that wonderful state you want to replicate. Do whatever you need to do, add whatever you need to add, so that your circle is as perfect as it can be.

Think of situations…

…in the past where you have possessed, and used, huge amounts of the very resource you now want to access. Think of at least 3 past events where you displayed the very traits that you want to bring into your circle of excellence. Really associate into the experiences. What were you doing? What were you saying? How were you feeling? What were you seeing? See yourself in the circle being magnificent and exhibiting these qualities.

When you have built up your circle, step into it and experience the multiple effect of having those resources again here and now. Feel your power! Really enjoy yourself.

Step out of the circle.

Check with yourself…

…do you need to add anything to your circle? Add whatever you want to further build up those resources that you need.

Step back into the circle and notice how you feel again. Really ramp up the feeling. Imagine you have a dial that increases the intensity and turn it up as much as you can stand!

Then…pick up your circle and put it somewhere that you can access…maybe an imaginary pocket. You can call it your resource pocket…and know that you have access to it whenever you need it. When you do need it, roll out the circle in front of you, step into it, and feel your power and resources increase straight away as you conjure up the necessary elements for your sales success!

You don’t need to be a member of the England World Cup Squad to experience the magic of the mindset.

It’s all about the psychology of selling.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: Check out my recent article for O2′s “The Business” - Click Here to access “Losing Sales? Here’s Why”

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020 7903 5426

http://www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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8.5 tips for better meetings

9 June 2014

Meetings. Do you love or loathe them?

Whatever your answer, you know that sooner or later you’ll be attending one! According to a survey, 45% of us are blighted by “having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting”.

Ring any bells? I’ve attended a few meetings in my time. Some excellent. Some not so!

I thought I’d jot down some random thoughts on how to have better meetings!

And I’d love to know what you think too!

Here goes… =

Is the meeting necessary?

If you’re thinking of calling a meeting, ask yourself if the meeting is absolutely necessary. Common sense? Of course it is but…well you probably know the rest of that sentence.

Is it essential that YOU attend?

The meeting might be justified, but is it really essential for you to be there? I spoke to someone a few days ago from a very sizeable corporate brand who told me of internal meetings he’d attended where he didn’t know several people around the table. Even by the end of the meeting, he still wasn’t sure why they were there! If your attendance is crucial, then maybe you could leave as soon as ‘your bit’ has been concluded?

But…

A quick meeting can be much more appropriate than hiding behind a stream of emails. Sometimes there’s no substitute for face to face communication, so calling a colleague or two for a quick group chat can be the very best way to exchange views – and make decisions.

Preparation

How well prepared will you be? Do you need to check a website? Linkedin profiles? Read a report? Read some previous email threads? Avoid ‘winging it’ – never a good plan!

Your mindset

To get the best from any meeting, anywhere, you must ensure you’re in the right mindset. Firstly, know 100% what you want to get out of the meeting. Then, visualise having a great meeting! Run through it in your mind. Visualise where you will be sitting, what you will be saying – and the positive responses from others. Visualise a fabulous outcome. You’ll be training your brain to make it happen.

Secondly, think about your demeanour before and during the meeting. As my industry colleague Simon Buzza commented recently, cynics and pessimists suck the energy out of situations and people. They can drag down group morale and make a challenging situation lots worse. Optimists on the other hand can raise morale and lift spirits. How will you act at your next meeting?

Get there early

I’m not one for those late ‘power entrances’ that used to be suggested by some gurus a few years back. My view is to get there early, sit where you’re most comfortable, build rapport as others arrive – and notice…

Notice the others

Remember how you know the exact mood of your partner, child or best friend when they walk into the room, before they’ve uttered a word? Their expression tells all. So it is in business. You’ll get useful clues by noticing the demeanour of others as they join the meeting. Enthusiastic? Lethargic? Remember you’ll give clues too.

Get things done

This tip is particularly dependent on the type of meeting, but in general a good meeting should be around 60% -70% forward looking and only 30%-40% ‘rear view’. This might mean circulating information beforehand to cut down the time spent ‘rear viewing’ at the meeting itself. The overall tone of the meeting should be “OK, that’s what’s happened, now what actions can we take…”

At ease

Do you manage a team? How comfortable are they in giving you their input at meetings? Are they at ease? Are they saying what they’re really thinking? That’s the aim. If you think you’re not getting the full story and they’re NOT at ease, you’ll need to ask the reasons behind that, individually later perhaps rather than at the meeting itself!

I’d be delighted to hear your additional thoughts and tips around meetings and whether your sales success, has been impacted by meetings.

Until then

Leigh

Check out my recent article for O2′s “The Business” - Click Here to access “Losing Sales? Here’s Why”

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020 7903 5426

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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What Manchester City can teach you about selling‏

2 June 2014

Did Manchester City win the English Premier League because they made the least excuses?

As the football season progressed I definitely detected less regular excuses from the manager of Manchester City than I heard from the managers of the other major contenders.

“The referee cost us the match” “We can’t play our football if they won’t let us” “we’ve had too many injuries” “The fixture list is unfair”. That’s what the others said.

But whilst others made excuses, Manchester City took the initiative.

What excuses are you making?

Excuses can be very easy to find when it comes to explaining away disappointing sales performance – and especially when we allow ourselves to go and search for them. In 30 years in selling I’ve heard them all… 

“The economy is against us”

“The competition is much cheaper” 

“Our stuff just doesn’t appeal to old/young people, or men/women, or rich/poor people”

“Their budgets are frozen for three months”

“He’s leaving, I’ll have to wait for the new person to settle in”

“The leads we are being given are rubbish” 

“Nothing but timewasters today”

And so on…

The problem is…

If you focus on searching for reasons and excuses for under-par results, sure enough you’ll end up with a world class list of reasons why you don’t have to reach your sales targets!

You’re in what I call ‘The Valley of Reasons and Excuses’.

Being in ‘The Valley’ is when you’re letting things happen to you and then using these circumstances as an excuse for a lack of action and lack of results. You’re being affected by stuff, letting it influence your thinking and stifling any actions you could take.

Take 100% responsibility for your sales results

Let’s be clear here – you are not responsible for the recession. You are not responsible for your customers being made redundant, or for their spending budgets being frozen. You are not in charge of every challenge that gets thrown at you as you set about trying to reach your sales targets.

But…you ARE ALWAYS responsible for how you respond! This is Sales psychology 101!

We can all find an excuse to shift the blame and place it on something or someone else when it comes to sales – but finding that reason doesn’t bring you any closer to your sales target. In fact it hinders you.

SO STOP LISTENING TO YOUR EXCUSES

Before you start believing them! Instead, just keep asking yourself one magical question…

“OK, so if all that is true…what action can I take to get me closer to where I want to be?”

Everyone goes into The Valley at some stage, but the most successful people get out of The Valley the quickest and restore ‘normal service’.

Instead of languishing in The Valley, take control of your thinking – and your actions. Instead of thinking about reasons for a lack of performance, think about what options you have. It is this subtle change in thinking that can change your whole outlook – and results.

When you feel yourself going into The Valley – all you need to do is ask yourself that one question… I repeat it here “OK, so if all that is true…what action can I take to get me closer to where I want to be?”

And repeat that question to yourself every time you spot yourself entering The Valley of Reasons and Excuses. Instead of scouring for excuses, your brain will search for solutions.

Take back the responsibility for your sales results.

It’s all about the psychology of selling

Until next time.

Leigh

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If you don’t get enough sales this year; What will happen to your business in 2015?

14 May 2014

What will happen to your business in 2015 if you don’t get enough sales?

What comes up for you when you think about selling your services or products?

Do you feel upbeat, positive and ready to share the wonders of what you do? Or do you feel dread, doubt, fear or a combination of negative emotions?

You may have an armoury of selling skills but if you have negative emotions going on inside, this will get in the way of your sales success.

The signs that negativity is working against you are:
• You are busy doing stuff that has little or no impact on increasing sales
• You avoid activities that you know would have a positive impact on your sales success
• You experience negative emotions when you think about sales
• You use the doom and gloom news as an excuse for your lack of sales
• Your inner voice keeps reminding you of your weaknesses
• You’re working really hard, putting in the hours…and still not getting the sales results you want

So what do you do?

The first thing you need to do is to become aware that the strategy you currently have IS NOT WORKING FOR YOU! If you continue doing what you’re doing, you will not achieve the sales success you want. Once you acknowledge that things need to change, you’ll find it much easier to incorporate changes. It’s so easy to continue with the habits you’ve created…it takes conscious thought and effort to create new habits.
So how ready are you to let go off what you’ve been doing…or not doing…to increase your sales?

Here are some easy steps you can take to get you on the path to sales success:
1. Get rid of the negative language you use about you, the economy, the people you come into contact with and anything else that saps your positive energy. Instead of “Things are really hard at the moment” use “Things may not be easy but the more people I speak to the easier it will get”.

2. Start noticing the positive reasons for the situations you find yourself in. When you lose a sales ask yourself “What can I learn from this that will give me a greater chance of getting future sales?”

3. You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you expect. So start expecting great things to happen! Henry Ford said “If you believe you can or believe you can’t…you’re right” Go into every sales interaction knowing that if you can give this person exactly what they want or need you have a great chance of doing the deal.

4. Use more ‘YOU’ language when talking with your prospective customers. Focus on finding out about their issues, pains and desires by asking well crafted open questions. Only then can you weave your product or service into the conversation as an ideal solution.

5. Focus on IPA…Income Producing Activity. This is the stuff you do before closing a sale. Once you’ve done the deal it’s not IPA – it’s customer service. The more IPA you do…the more sales success you will achieve. Typical IPA activities are networking…in person and social media, following up enquiries, meetings with prospective customers, proposals and increasing your profile as the ‘go to’ person.

6. Prioritising the important stuff. When you have established all the IPA you could be doing, focus on the FBI…Fastest Business Impact. What IPA is going to have the fastest impact on increasing sales? That’s what you do first. It’s so easy to get that little job out of the way…then that other little task…and before you know it the day has gone and the most important activity remains undone!

7. Make sales FUN. How can you think about sales that would cause you to be more relaxed about the whole thing? It may be that you give activities different labels. I was delivering a workshop recently when one of the business owners said she felt like she was choking when she thought about closing a sale so I suggested that she think of that activity more about the other person realising that she could give them exactly what they needed. I could see a sense of relief as she nodded and said she was much more comfortable with that! How can you reframe the activity to suit you?

Incorporating these 7 easy steps will change your selling experience. You’ll be more relaxed and less stressed. You’ll be focusing on the activity that increases sales and wasting less time on the activities you used to avoid sales.

Not only will you be having more fun…you’ll be having more sales success!

Until next time

Leigh

www.sales-consultancy.com

020 7903 5426

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Why customer relationships fail‏

7 May 2014

Have you ever asked anyone a question that can be answered in a sentence or two – and yet they’re still talking 10 minutes later?

Or maybe asked for more detail on a subject – and been given a one line answer?

Are you the person that is only interested in the big picture? That is you tend to give very brief responses regardless of the question? Or do you prefer to give a very detailed response to questions?

What about others?

Have you ever noticed that some people in your team or company complain that they’re never given enough information about what’s going on – whilst others feel that they get too much information to digest?

The level of detail we like to deal with in any given context is another example of the beautiful diversity that is the human race!

And it’s this diversity that will be at play when you interact with your customers, your potential customers, your colleagues, your team and yes, all of your personal relationship too. When you speak; When you write; When you present; When you promote.

Which one are you?

So do you personally prefer THE BIG PICTURE? Or maybe you simply can’t survive without THE DETAIL? Whatever your personal preference, there’s a very good chance that somewhere in your life, whether at work or at play, you’re prone to irritating someone whose preference is at the opposite end to yours.

I suggest that for those colleagues and others near and dear to you that you deal with regularly, tell them! Don’t expect them to have automatically worked it out. Where you can, indicate the level of detail you prefer when they communicate with you, so they know how to structure reports, suggestions, presentations and so on.

And your customers?

The customer with the General (big picture) preference will go into shutdown when given too much information. Those with the Specific (detail) preference will often be dissatisfied because as far as they are concerned they haven’t received the level of detail they need!

Communicating with your clients and prospects

It’s fairly straightforward to identify whether who you are dealing with is a Specific or General person. Just by talking to them or reflecting on past conversations or emails will give you the best clues. Do they communicate using lots of detail, or are they a person of few words? Beware though that the Specific or General trait is context dependant – meaning for example that someone could be very specific and into their detail at home, yet come to work and be very general. And vice versa.

Your ultimate aim if you wish to generate better relationships and ultimately better results, is to vacate your own personal preference – and match the preference of the person you’re relating with. That way you’ll generate rapport, or stay in rapport, improve the connection and achieve a more fruitful relationship.

Remember, too many details will confuse and irritate a General person and too much vagueness will upset the Specific person. So give them the precise level of detail they need – and check for understanding.

Back to you

So do you have a Specific or General preference? What about your customers and prospects? Learn to quickly clarify whether their communication preference, match it – and you’re well on your way to your increasing sales!

Until next time.

Leigh

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Forget You: Think Them, for Sales Success

2 May 2014

Forget you and forget your standard sales presentation.

Let me explain…all of us have our own unique way of perceiving the world. This map has been created from the moment you were born to this very day…all your experiences have gone into the pot and created your map. Nobody else will have had your experiences in exactly the same way. They will have had their own experiences and will perceive the world in their very unique way.

So what does this mean to you and importantly how can you use this to increase your sales success?

It’s really important to get into the map of your potential client, really understand them, their problems and desired objectives. Only then can you deliver an offering that is irresistible and create the desire to buy from you.

Why is it then that so many people pitch their offering before finding what the buyers ‘map’ is?

This causes so many challenges when it comes to sales:
- You get objections
- Not everything you pitch will be relevant
- You may leave relevant information out
- You’re not able to close based on the map of the buyer so closing is more random

It’s so much more effective…and easier, not to start with your pitch. Start by asking well crafted open questions. Any that start with who, what, when, where or how. Avoid ‘why’ questions as they are so confrontational. Find out what’s going on in their world, from their perspective.

Do they want to solve a problem or do they need something to move them forward?.

Forget what you think they need until you’ve got every last scrap of information from then. Then you can tailor your pitch exactly to their needs…using their words, values and beliefs.

It’s also crucial to use ‘YOU’ language. This is so much more engaging for them and shows that you are really in their space…their map! Whenever you use ‘WE’, ‘I’ or your company name, you are in your map and focusing on yourself, your offering or your company.

Do this and the benefits will be enormous:
- No objections because you’re only responding and not pitching
- More engaged buyers because you’re focusing on them
- Greater depth of information from your ‘YOU focused’ open questions
- More tailored close
- Higher conversion rate…more sales is always good grin

In short you’ll be increasing your selling skills – and increasing sales!

One more thing…give your buyers lots of time to answer, really listen and pause when you think they have stopped. It’s often in these pauses that you’ll get the golden nuggets of information.

Until next time.

Leigh

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“Excessive Weing” syndrome – and why it kills your sales‏

28 April 2014

Here’s the scenario…

You go to a party of a good friend at their house. It’s not very lively but, hello, who’s that over there, they look interesting. You decide to go over and introduce yourself.

You ask one question – and bam, the person talks for ten minutes without pausing for breath. They talk non-stop about them, their interests, their history, their achievements. They ask you nothing!

How do you feel?

Pretty uninterested might be a kind way to put it. If you’re like me you’d probably devise a snappy reason to make yourself scarce or visit the restroom! And you avoid them like the plague for the rest of the evening!

And yet how close is that to any of the networking events you might attend? Only recently I went to a networking event and within ten minutes had four business cards thrust into my hand by people who didn’t know me, didn’t know about my current and future challenges but were only too willing to smother me with information about their company … “we are this, we do this, we’re brilliant, we can do that for you” and so on.

This affliction is commonly known as ‘Excessive Weing’. It will certainly be costing you sales success. You’ll be pleased to know there is a cure.

Make sure you’re ‘clean’

Do you suffer from Excessive Weing? In your pitches? On your website? In your sales conversations? In your ads? In your brochures and flyers? In your emails? Oh yes, and when networking?

Most ‘weing’ offences take place on a company’s website. Check yours. Is the language something like “we’ve been established 125 years”, “we’re an award winning company”, “we’re the world’s leading xxx” “we do this” “were great at that”? Yes? Oh dear.

If it is, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that, if your website is stuffed with those types of “we” statements, then sadly, up to now you’ve been turning off a massive proportion of those who visit your website. The good news? Well, you’re here, you survived, think how much better it will be once you’ve sorted this!

Who are you boring?

The words you use and how you use them are telling your prospective customers where your focus is. So if you’re talking just about you and ‘weing’ everywhere, well guess what, you’re the boring one at the party that everyone avoids.

You might be thinking “well it’s our website how are we supposed to promote our products and services”? Great question. You just need to think up new ways of demonstrating your expertise and value to the browser.

Examples

Examples of how you could re-write your web copy…

Instead of “We’ve been established 125 years” … change to something like “you’ll get the benefit of 125 years of experience in your industry” (You, You’ll, Your are all acceptable)

Instead of “We’re an award winning company” …change to something like “You get the expertise of an award winning company”

Instead of “We’re the world’s leading xxxx” … change to something like “You’ll get the added benefit of working with the world’s leading xxx”

These are subtle but very crucial changes – losing the we’s and adding the you’s – and I urge you to make it a priority to make them. And though I’ve emphasised the importance of getting your website language right, the principles I’ve outlined today are just as valid in all of those other communication tools I mentioned earlier.

Remember, however you communicate with your potential customers, it’s not about you, it’s about THEM.

It’s all about the psychology of selling.

Until next time

Leigh

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Mentors: Worth it?

21 April 2014

Cards on the table – I’m a massive fan of mentoring!  So it’s a big yes for mentoring from me.

We all need help now and again. Help in the form of unbiased support, a friendly prod to move things along, maybe just an understanding ear. I’ve found that those who say they don’t need help often need it the most!

Whatever your role, whatever your level, I’d strongly recommend you consider working with a mentor. I have a fabulous mentor myself and as a result feel like my business is getting the support it needs, when it needs it, to realise the goals we’ve set.

Mentoring

Who have you got to bounce ideas off that doesn’t bring their own baggage into the equation? Do you seriously believe that someone, somewhere hasn’t had the same challenges you’re experiencing right now? If you listed your top three current challenges, I would bet that these are issues that many other business owners, business leaders, sales professionals have experienced in the past.

Whether you’re running a small business, managing within a larger organisation or working for others within these types of organisations, seriously consider getting yourself a MENTOR.

Everybody’s at it – top sportsmen, business leaders, entrepreneurs.

What’s a Mentor?

  -  Someone who you feel can help you in your pursuit of your career objectives, whatever those objectives are – more sales, a promotion, improved leadership skills, more self control, better networking techniques and so on.

  -  Someone who can give you a neutral take on your latest challenges – they should have no axe to grind.

  -  Someone with a vast bank of knowledge that you can tap into – who’s been there, done that…and collected a few T shirts along the way.

  -  Someone you check in with now and again to bounce your latest ideas off.

  -  Someone you trust to challenge you, to prod you, to ask you searching questions.

A good mentor…

…will use a variety of different approaches and move seamlessly between them – coaching, counselling, mentoring, advising, training, guiding, whatever you need. Critically, you can learn from the mistakes they have made earlier in their career!

Getting yourself a mentor isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary it’s a sign of strength, a sign that you are willing to garner all the resources you can in your pursuit of your goals. It’s not about copying them, it’s about using their experience and advice and adopting it in a way that works for you.

How does mentoring work?

Any way you want it to! You can go the formal route. Have regular scheduled sessions with a paid professional coach or mentor who can offer you the level and breadth of experience you need to tap into.

More informally you might find someone in your organisation that can help (bear in mind it can’t be someone you report to). Ask them if they would be available as a mentor and offer to take them for lunch now and again in return for picking their brains.

You’d be surprised…

…how experienced achievers like to be asked about how they have achieved success -they will be impressed by your drive and initiative! You and your mentor need to get on well. Choose someone you have good rapport with. Get away from your normal place of work. No phones, no interruptions, it all helps. Look upon it as an investment of time and money in YOU.

How long should you and your mentor spend together? Anything from an hour a month upwards – it really does depend on your needs. You may need more time at first and top up mentoring sessions further down the line.

So – don’t plough that lone furrow. Tap into an external source of support – and watch your increasing sales!

Until next time…

Leigh

PS – Here’s the early heads up on a fabulous event taking place later this year. There are some juicy discounts for early bookers so I would suggest you have a look NOW and grab a ticket.

Click for details and to secure your place
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Get Mental: Are You Fit to Sell?

14 April 2014

Companies are storing record cash amounts. They’re hoarding their revenues for more rainy days ahead. They’re spending little at the moment. They’re making do.

One day though – one day they’ll will be ready to spend big. Their cash reserves are colossal – after all, profits have held up well and companies have cut out lots of costs. But when they do decide to spend, YOU have to be right up there in their consciousness, right in the forefront of their thinking, if you are going to maximise the inevitable opportunities that are going to arise.

Well then – are you ready? Have you got what it takes? How motivated are you? What state are you in? Where will you be when the gold rush starts?

Your answers to these and other similar questions will determine your success as we come out of the economic downturn. Remember – you cannot succeed and make it happen on the outside before you’ve already made it happen on the inside.

Have the Right Mind State

Your mind and body are part of the same interactive system. What you’re thinking will determine your behavior so you need to be thinking positive, motivating thoughts. If you find your thinking or internal dialogue is not helpful to your state you need to change it – and FAST.

Think about times when you were in the flow, sales were easy, conversations flowed and you felt great. It feels great doesn’t it?
What about when things didn’t go that well, you weren’t moving forward, something stopped you from taking action. How did you feel during those times?

The objective is to stay in that first, happy productive state, and if you find yourself less resourceful, to change back into that productive state quickly and easily. Put simply you will achieve more sales and success generally from being in a positive state.

Anchoring
So how can you capture and draw on the best bits? Anchoring is the technique which enables you to recall those moments when you were totally motivated, lock them in, and recall them when required. It sounds simple and it is and by following the exercise below you can have an effective anchor available to you in minutes.

Limiting beliefs
A big subject, very important too. For now take notice of those things you say to yourself that are not helping you. That little voice inside, that makes you doubt your ability and stops you from taking action, or the right action. Some people call it their inner critic.

You need to take on that inner critic. After all – how many of the messages it gives you are based on fact? Not many usually. Yet these negative thoughts promote your limiting beliefs, in turn stopping you performing at your peak. So notice those messages from within, and where they came from.

Remember – sales come when you are in a really great state. Oh and smile too. It’s really difficult to do ‘depressed’ when you’re smiling! Sales isn’t a process, or about what you say. It starts in your head and how you’re feeling. Get that right and you will succeed in sales.

1. Anchoring Exercise
Think of a time when the conversation flowed, when you were in deep rapport and felt unstoppable. Get right into that moment, turn it up – and bottle it. Then think of another great selling moment and do the same. And again, three times in all. Design yourself an anchor to lock in the fabulous state you are now in – maybe a piece of music, maybe a clap of your hand, something that, later by playing the music, or clapping in the same way, you can reproduce that motivated and unstoppable feeling.

2. Countering limiting beliefs exercise
During the course of a day, notice those negative statements you think and say. Write them down. For each limiting belief write down three counter examples to each. Three examples which demonstrate the limiting belief not to be true. This will shake the roots of those limiting beliefs and ultimately eradicate them.

Summary
- Your thoughts will determine your behaviour and your results
- To maximise your potential you need to stay in, or get in, a happy productive state
- Anchoring is a powerful tool to capture and retain and reproduce those moments when you are most motivated and resourceful
- Limiting Beliefs are those inner voices that tell you what you cannot do or struggle to do
- Limiting beliefs should be countered and destroyed to achieve maximum sales success

Until next time…

Leigh


PS: Be sure to download my complimentary report “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes” here

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7 Steps to Action

7 April 2014

Frequently during my sales workshops I get asked “what’s the biggest contribution to success?” Now that’s a tough question to answer. There are so many things that determine whether you are destined for success. If I had to pick one, it would probably be taking ACTION. Without it, you will never get the results you want.

I’m reminded of the quote ‘All know the way; few actually walk it’ (Bodhidharma). We’re all guilty of not doing the stuff we know we should be doing.

So if you’re procrastinating on ACTIONS that you know will better your results, this exercise could really get you moving.

7 Steps to ACTION

Get yourself a writing pad and a pen you like writing with! Take your time in answering the following questions as fully as you can.

1. Write down one thing that you are procrastinating with

2. Come up with 10 reasons why you must change this now

3. What will it cost you if you don’t make this change?

4. What will you gain from this change?

5. How do you know you can absolutely make this change?

6. Create a new association with this change

For example – If you’re not making enough calls you may have an association that not making calls equals less rejection…a new association might be that making more calls equals more chances to make sales and all the kudos and money that comes with that.

7. What is your first action that you can do immediately?

This exercise will really get you in touch with the motivation to take ACTION towards what you want and contribute to your sales success!

It’s great to hear how you make these strategies work for you, so please do let us know how you get on.

Leigh

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What language are you speaking?‏

31 March 2014

The language you use has a massive impact on your results. That goes for the language you speak, and the language that meanders around internally in your head.

If you keep saying things are hard…guess what, it will be hard! You’re instructing your brain to expect hard, expect tough…and so that’s what it will deliver for you.

You get what you expect

Tone your language down when you have a challenge coming up. Because your thoughts and outlook on the job in hand will definitely determine how tough, or straightforward, the job will be. Remember, you don’t get what you hope for, you get what you expect!

Quick example…many people I know get concerned when they get a sore throat. “I do hope I’m not getting a cold” they say. Dangerous talk, I think! Our brains don’t actually process negatives. So all the brain hears in this example is “getting a cold, getting a cold, getting a cold”. You know where this is heading!

If I say “don’t think of a blue tree”…what do you think of?  A blue tree of course. That’s because you can’t not think about something that you don’t want to think about, without thinking about it first!

And in sales?

So when you say “I do hope I’m not getting a cold”, you are focusing your mind on the words “getting a cold” and manifesting the very climate for a cold to take hold. Deepak Chopra (M.D. and founder of the Chopra Centre for Wellbeing) says “your immune system is constantly eavesdropping on your internal dialogue”…and it’s not just your immune system!

So – in sales, every time you don’t want something to happen, your focus of attention is fixed right on it. “I hope this isn’t going to be a tough sales meeting”; “I hope they don’t say no”; “I hope the client isn’t challenging” – these are all versions of “don’t think of a blue tree!”

Now let’s get real here…I don’t deny that the world sets us certain obstacles to overcome but I do believe that the obstacles are easier to overcome when we use positive language! Rather than saying “This is really hard” you could say, “this may not be easy yet but it will get easier each time I practice”. A simple reframe which, if you replicated for all of your challenges, would create a significantly different world for you.

You’d be more empowered, more resourceful, more successful.

Even the most positive people…

…can fall into the trap of negative language – so start to notice when you do this for yourself. Every time you hear negative language, reframe the comment using positive language that’s framed on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Over time you’ll start to notice yourself becoming much more positive, goal – focussed, and happier person! With much more, sales success.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS – Here’s the early heads up on a fabulous event taking place later this year. There are some juicy discounts for early bookers so I would suggest you have a look NOW and grab a ticket. Click for details and to secure your place.

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“Always bite off more than you can chew…then chew like hell”‏

25 March 2014

I’m always intrigued by the Sunday Times column “How I made it”, tucked away in the Business section of that mammoth publication.

This weekly, relatively short piece describes how someone, often against all the odds, has become extremely successful in their business.

The story usually describes humble beginnings, perhaps a hint of early success, often then telling of the setbacks they endured along the way before securing a glorious triumph in the end. All nicely wrapped in a sentence that describes their current turnover and worth.

And some advice

Always the entrepreneur at the centre of attention offers some pearls of wisdom for those that aspire to be successful in their own business. A few words of advice, sometimes a few words of caution. What to do, what not to do.

The overall message for me is that, over the course of time they each overcame substantial challenges, yet they fought on, hung on and eventually came through.

I thought I’d reproduce some of those words of advice here. They have often helped me. They might help you too.  I haven’t credited the authors. There isn’t space and in any case I’m sure they’ll cope without the credit just this once!

Here goes…

“Don’t be afraid of mistakes, use them as learning experiences. If you go into business with other people, choose carefully; make sure you have a good skill mix and everyone has clearly defined roles. Solve people’s problems while saving them money and they’ll pay you well for it”

“Apply common sense. If I don’t understand something, I try not to get too involved in it. Try to ensure you have the full support of your close family. Running a business inevitable crosses boundaries and has an impact on your domestic life. There are times when you can’t be around. If you haven’t got support at home, that is going to make it a struggle”

“Try to do something you understand and in a market that you have worked in. If you don’t understand it, get some work experience and build up some contacts, because that will make it a lot easier”

“Nothing goes entirely to plan but you can’t over-estimate what a lot of good research and good planning can do. Even if an idea isn’t the best in the world, if you research and plan it and pick your location and target market specifically, it can still be successful”

“Don’t do anything on a whim – it isn’t worth it. You need to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. You can’t put a price on having the knowledge of your industry”

“In all things you need to be able to compromise. You need to be willing to change and adapt along the way and not be too fixed in how you achieve things. You can’t always get your own way. I compromise every day. If you get too upset by things you will live an unhappy life”

“Always bite off more than you can chew…then chew like hell”

“I am not particularly talented, bright or good at anything, but I am relentless. Even during my darkest days I just went on and on with dogged determination. Don’t just think about doing something – do it”

“The most important thing is to make a decision. You often get it wrong but you always need to make a decision”

“You shouldn’t have a Plan B. It shouldn’t enter your head. If you’re an intelligent, hardworking person you can start a business with a passion for something. If you are forever wondering what you will do if you fail, how will you ever succeed”

Whether it’s for inspiration in something new or simply helping increase your sales success, I hope there’s some good stuff in there for you.

Until next time.

Leigh

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Why you need to copy Brian Acton‏

19 March 2014

Have you heard of Brian Acton?

I hadn’t until last week. He co-founded the “WhatsApp” messenging service. Last week Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19bn. Brian Acton has a reported 15% stake and so walks away with $2.9bn – and is reportedly planning his next holiday!

What’s the connection?

The funny thing is, Brain Acton applied to Facebook in 2009 for a job – and got turned down. His reaction? On Facebook he wrote “Facebook turned me down. Looking forward to life’s next adventure”.

Next, he applied to Twitter – and was rejected. He tweeted “Got denied by Twitter HQ. Would have been a long commute”

So he joined forces with his friend Jan Koum who was in the process of starting WhatsApp. Great story.

And the point…

Brian Acton got turned down from Facebook and Twitter – but reacted in exactly the right way…enabling him to bounce back VERY quickly and sow the seeds of his WhatsApp success.

My point is that although you may not be able to control much of the ‘stuff’ that happens in your life – you have 100% control over your reaction and response.

YOU always get to choose how YOU feel. No matter how bad it seems to get, the ultimate truth is that you’re in control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.

Everything you experience has an impact on you…it can’t not. Some experiences have a positive impact and some have a negative impact…and others somewhere in between. It’s how you interpret the experience that makes the difference!

And so in sales and business

For example… you make a call to a sales prospect that you think is going to buy and they tell you they have decided to buy from a competitor. You’re really disappointed and do all you can to explore their decision in the hope that you can change their thinking. The prospect sticks with their decision – end of conversation.

Now how you process that news internally is now up to you. Do you think it’s all so unfair? Does it ruin your next hour? Does it affect the rest of your day? Are you so upset that it impacts the effort you put in to make other sales happen?

Well you could respond that way…or…

Alternatively…straight after the call you decide what changes you’re going to make to your approach to limit the risk of this happening again. You explore every step of your strategy and learn from it. You reflect on the buying strategy of the prospect so that when you talk with them again you know exactly how they buy…and tweak your approach to suit them. And you ask yourself that magic question…”OK, that happened, what am I going to do about it?”

How much more in control will you be if you use this approach instead? Trust me…a lot!

“Yeah right…it’s not that easy”

If you’re thinking “yeah right…” then you’ll be thinking like lots of others do, but let’s be clear, with thinking like that you’ll never make the choices that give you the control you need.

You can start with small things that have a limited negative impact on you. Practice the alternative way of thinking and see what happens. Once you’ve mastered this with little things you’ll strengthen your ability to do this with more challenging experiences.

Imagine…

…reacting in a completely controlled and positive way…how much more sales success do you think you’ll achieve? Only you know the answer to that but what I can tell you is that when I train and coach people in this area and they incorporate this approach, it transforms their results. It’s impossible for this thinking not to have a positive impact when practised.

Sales? It’s all about the psychology…YOUR psychology.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh


PS: Measure yourself against The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes HERE

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How your unconscious mind sabotages your sales‏

17 March 2014

Who is your inner critic?

You know, that little voice in your head that says things like “you’ll never hit your target this month” or “I told you so” or “you never were any good at presentations”.

We all have an inner voice.  Your inner voice is effectively your unconscious mind and its primary function is to look after you and keep you safe, though it doesn’t always feel that way does it? It’s great when your inner voice is saying positive and empowering things to you. However, on many occasions, when it’s actually trying to protect you, it can seem as if it’s sabotaging you.

Whose voice is it?

So whose voice is this that you hear in your head when things don’t go as planned? When you lose a sale? When you can’t get an appointment? In short (very short!) your inner voice develops as a result of all the stuff you’ve heard from others in your life. It can be your best friend. It can be your worst enemy. Is it your voice? Is it an imaginary critic? Is it someone from your past? Could it be someone who’s still in your life now?

Take control

Whoever is feeding your inner voice, the key is to control it. Whether your inner voice is saying positive or negative things it’s really important to recognise that there’s a positive intention in the message. What could it be for you? Maybe you haven’t had great success with a new sales strategy or technique and it causes you lots of angst every time you try it, so you stop trying it. Or there’s a particular client or prospect that takes lots of your energy to communicate with, so you don’t!

One positive intention is to stop you feeling the pain of the disappointment or trauma of communication with this person…so you don’t bother doing it again. You get to avoid the short term pain – but the long term impact is that you won’t get any better at your craft and your sales are less likely to increase. Sound familiar?

What’s the positive intention?

It’s really useful to think about the ‘positive intention’ when your inner critic stops you moving forward. Once you know what the positive intention is you can get this in other ways, allowing you to focus on the task in hand and keep the inner critic happy at the same time!! If you’re going to keep hearing this inner voice, you may as well make sure that it’s providing you with empowering phrases that help inspire you to your goals, your targets – and overall sales success.

Action

Start recording the negative things your inner critic says and, once you have enough to go on, ask yourself the following questions…rather than letting it crush you, just be curious…

Whose voice is this? 

What is the positive intention of those negative statements?

For example what might it be stopping you doing? How might it be protecting you? Think deep.

How can you preserve this positive intention but in a new strategy?

Take your time.

These questions will give you greater awareness of what’s going on within you and give you greater control. They allow you to make friends with your unconscious mind, change your reaction to those negative statements that come out of it, and ultimately ensure those messages are positive and empowering.

On my training sessions this issue of the inner critic comes up over and over again. One thing for sure…cracking this one makes you unstoppable!

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.


Leigh


PS: Hope you’re not guilty of this mistake…

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For you If you’re working too hard…‏

12 March 2014

Whether your job is selling, or managing those that do sell, or a combination of the two, there’s a fair chance you’re working long hours. Maybe too long?

Are you spending long hours on motorways way after 7pm driving to and from meetings? Are you burning the midnight oil draped over a laptop with a strong coffee trying to get everything done? Maybe both?

How can you be brilliant at selling and managing in this state?

When it comes to being fabulous at selling, take note of Stephen Covey’s “Habit 7” (from his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”). Here he invites his readers to “Sharpen the Saw” – he sees this as “The habit that makes all the other habits possible”. Basically his Habit 7 revolves around the suggestion that, to be truly successful you should preserve the greatest asset you have… YOU!

Clearly, not enough of us are taking notice of Mr Covey.  According to a survey of 1000 business owners 14% had no plans to take any holiday this year, and 59% said they were afraid of burning out. And 20% said they found it impossible to switch off from work. Even when they are away from the office, many business owners, bosses and sales people constantly check their emails on their smart phones even if they have ten people back at the office looking after things.

That’s not helpful and it’s not healthy

You might be thinking “I agree, Leigh, but I am where I am and it’s just the way it is”. My reply would be… OK, let’s assume you go on as you are and do nothing to change things.

Close your eyes and imagine it’s the 26th February 2016 i.e. two years on from today. You’ve made no changes to your life. Imagine, how’s your job? How’s your life? How happy are you? How many hours a week are you working?

Time to change?

If you really want to Sharpen the Saw and achieve more sales success and business success, consider my thoughts on this …

  - Be realistic about what you can take on. When you’re planning your month, week, day, it’s no good scheduling 14 hours work in hoping that you’ll have one of those ‘miracle days’ when everything takes half as long as usual. It rarely does. Plan a challenging day by all means but keep it realistic.

  - Think “Delegate or Ditch”. Ask yourself ‘Does this task REALLY need doing? If yes, ask ‘who else could do it?’ Trust others. A task that is a real chore to you might be a nice opportunity for someone else to show what they can do.

  - It’s a 5000 meters race, not a 100m sprint. Pace yourself.

  - Have a sense of perspective. Think family, partner, friends. They’d benefit from your company too.

  - Don’t fight those battles that you know you can’t win

  - Work out what’s causing you the most pressure – and work out where you can get help to ease that pressure.

  - Drop the guilt. You are a key part of the company, so make sure you invest in yourself and your health.

  - If and when you do manage a break, don’t try to do too much in it!

  - Book your 2014 holidays now, don’t wait to see if you ‘get around to it’. You won’t. At least book time off in advance and organise your work schedule around these breaks, not the other way round. 

  - Think – If your business/role still needs your personal input every waking hour after several years in it then ask yourself if this really the right business to be in?

For great sales keep yourself – and your team, in great condition.

Until next time

Leigh

PS: Hope you’re not guilty of this mistake…

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Customer Service: your most important sales tool?‏

10 March 2014

You can have the greatest sales people on the planet, but if you’re leaking customers through poor customer service, your balance sheet will suffer.

And the cost of acquiring new customers usually far outweighs that of keeping existing customers. Surely it’s much more preferable to keep more of those customers you have? For me, every company should realise that their ultimate sustainability depends on their ability to generate consistent excellent service that keeps customers coming back and singing their praises.

Yet 77% of customers say that if they experience poor service, they would avoid using that company again where there is another option available.

But, is it me…or are customer service standards still sadly lacking?

How good is your customer service? Are you aware some people could have stopped buying from you because they became unhappy with some aspect of your product or service – and don’t feel as though anyone has taken responsibility for fixing the problem? And didn’t tell you?

Don’t rely on technology. There’s so much technology around nowadays that many customer transactions could be done automatically. I say COULD because, even though we have the power to automate so much nowadays, I would think very carefully about whether automation could help, or actually hinder, your customer service. For me the key aspect is accessibility. The customer should be able to speak to a real person, easily, if they want to.

What could you do ?

Remember many products and prices are the same these days, so the differentiators are going to be the buying experience and customer service throughout. How’s yours?

My take on what you could do?

  - Firstly, your team. Make sure you’re practising the very best internal customer service with your own team – are you treating your team how you’d like them to treat your customers? There’s plenty of research that, summing up in one sentence, confirms that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers – and this in turn will take care of your profits. Read more here

  - Where do you want to be? Take time out to think… What, in a perfect world do you want your customers to be saying about you, your team, your brand, your company? Come up with some potential statements you’d want them to come up with if you asked them.

  - What needs to happen?
Looking closely at the statements you came up with, think about what sort of changes you’d need to make to ensure these statements come true. If you can’t get there in one go, prioritise.

  - Where are we now? Asses. Where are your team now compared with where you’ve just established they need to be? Have they the skills to fill the gap? Have they the mindset? Are they capable of taking on board the changes you require?

  - How can you get there?
  What do you need to do first? What do you need to do next?

  - Measure and manage.
Work out a way to measure your customer service. This could be simple, or sophisticated, but do something. You’ll need to be able to compare customer service scores this month v last month v last year etc

As usual, not enough space here to elaborate but one thing is clear…if you sell and you’re not already pulling out the stops to guarantee high levels of customer service, I’d start now.

Protect those hard earned sales and get that sales success!

Until next time

Leigh

PS: 7 things not to do in 2014…

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One BIG reason why you lose sales

3 March 2014

Did you know that, without meaning to, you’re turning away up to 40% of your potential customers?

Let me explain. In a nutshell, when choosing products or services, your customers will be motivated by one of two things; pleasure or pain. Never is the pain and pleasure principle more apparent than in the selling arena.

What about your customers?

Therefore it’s crucial you know whether your customers and prospects are motivated towards what they want (gain/pleasure) – or away from what they don’t want (pain) when they buy. Once you have established whether they are pain or gain motivated you can communicate with them in a way that is bound to build rapport, make them feel understood – and more likely lead to a fruitful supplier/customer relationship.

The Pleasure

Typically, when selling a product, the seller will concentrate on the positive features of the product (pleasures). The xyz widget can do this, so you’ll get more of that. That works well if the buyer is a goal focussed, ‘towards motivated’ individual.

The Pain 

But what if the buyer is not motivated by moving towards a goal? What if they’re very ‘away from’ in their outlook? Whilst you’re drumming in the positives of the product, they’re not listening because all they want is for someone to ease the pain they perceive they’re in. They’re not listening to your pleasures, because you’re not acknowledging their pain.

It’s the same scenario – but two completely different outlooks.

What’s Your Personal Preference?

You will have a natural pain or gain motivation yourself. Up to now you will have unconsciously imposed that on your customers, prospects and colleagues…in fact anyone that you’ve communicated with! To those with the same inclination, you will have had great rapport and connection. To those with the opposite inclination, you will have noticed less connection and rapport…even friction! From now on you know you can achieve great rapport every time just by matching their preference!

Think about your team. How much better could they perform if they knew this concept?

Finding out their pain/gain motivation

Clarifying their pain/gain motivation is very straightforward. Simply ask a few open questions and check their responses. If they start to talk about things they don’t want or are keen to avoid then it’s clear they are motivated away from pain. From there on in your language should talk about their problems and how a relationship with you will resolve their problem or help them avoid one.

If they talk about what they want to achieve, what a new product would give them, their goals, then they are clearly gain motivated. You should therefore talk in positive terms of what they will get from a relationship with you.

Talking in their language

There isn’t a right way or a wrong way regarding pain and gain. Just talk in their language, what’s right for them. If you find yourself presenting to a group where it’s not possible to clarify their individual pain/gain traits, use both towards and away from language to cover all bases.

In your marketing, brochure, websites, email campaigns, be sure to include both ‘towards’ and ‘away from’ language to ensure you engage with everyone. Currently your marketing content will most likely be based on those traits of the person writing it, which engage some readers but leave many others cold. By ensuring your content includes both towards and away from language, you’ll engage many more potential customers.

Ascertaining the pains and gains of your customers and prospects and reflecting their preferences back in your own written and verbal communications will turbo charge your sales success results.

It’s all about the psychology of selling

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: 7 things not to do in 2014…

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The Language of Silence

24 February 2014

Being judged even when you don’t say a word.

Your staff, your colleagues, your customers, your potential customers, even your family are all forming a view of you – even when you haven’t spoken. Because you’re still communicating.

I call this The Language of Silence

No words, but you speak volumes. Put simply, if you’re around others, you’re communicating. If you manage a team, you have the power to set the whole tone for the way your department runs – without saying (or writing down) anything to any of them!

Do the right thing and you’re capable of inspiring those around you to great things. Do it wrong and you’ll drain away all their enthusiasm and motivation to do anything!

Silent Leadership

Silent leadership. The art of leading and inspiring others through any means other than words! I’ve come across some brilliant examples over the years and I’m sure you have too. And I’ve also witnessed a distinct lack of silent leadership at times – and I’m sure you’re with me on that too?

So I thought I’d share my – and others’ – quick thoughts on what makes a fabulous silent leader, whether that be a leader of a team, a company, of colleagues, or leading a project, or leading a customer.

All very simple and straightforward – and very effective too. Here we go…

Leading without saying a word

Smile! If a leader is trying to project positivity, humility, graciousness, optimism, openness, and a general good nature, smiling would be a good place to start.

Think posture. Body language can speak volumes. Slumped shoulders and rounded backs are never good ways to project authority and control.

Arrive on time! Consistent punctuality sends a strong message to everyone –a critical part of ‘leading by example’. 

Pay attention! Nothing says “I’m paying attention to YOU” better than actually looking someone in the eye.  Looking at the floor, the wall, or worse yet, at your Blackberry or smart phone, sends a message of complete disinterest.

Be available. Much has been said about the benefits of an ‘open door’ policy. But it’s one thing to talk about it, and another to actually keep your door open.  Better yet, why even have a door at all?

Wander. Get your own coffee. Make your own copies now and again. Join in those office celebrations. Get to know what’s really going on. Join a team meeting you weren’t expected to attend. Just ‘be there’.

All very simple. All easily achievable. All will shift and lift positivity levels around you. Quick wins. Zero cost. Big impact.

I’m not decrying the myriad of courses, books, DVD’s and programmes that explore the concept of leadership. I just think that these basic ideas would be a good place to start. There’s always room for personal development.

What do you think?

Until next time…

Leigh

PS: 7 things not to do in 2014…

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The death of enewsletters?

19 February 2014

No. No way.

In fact our own weekly enewsletter (thank you for reading this!) goes from strength to strength. That’s if your measurement criteria for a successful newsletter includes the number of those signing up to receive it, the numbers opening it, the numbers reading it – and the amount of favourable comments received.

Oh and the number of enquiries we receive through it too.

Yes, actual leads each week, even though we don’t promote anything within the newsletter (ok then maybe a teeny weeny bit at the bottom sometimes!)

So I remain convinced that a company newsletter could be a very powerful contributor to helping your company achieve its strategic goals.

Fundamental rules of newsletters

It’s got to be good! People aren’t reading as many newsletters as they were and there are lots to choose from so, depending on the sector you operate in, you may have a lot of competition vying for the attention of your customers and potential customers. So your newsletter content needs to be top notch. More later on this.

Make sure the content is highly focussed on the needs of your readers. It must be interesting. And it must be useful too. So who are your readers? What are their needs? For example we have three different versions of this newsletter, the version you receive depends on your company type and your role within it.

Make sure it can be read in 2 – 3 minutes. We’re all very busy these days! If your newsletter doesn’t look crisp and clean and easy to read, it won’t be read, it’s as simple as that.

Give not sell. Yes you might include a discreet promotional link but the crucial overriding principle with a newsletter is that it’s a giving platform. Be satisfied that when you’re giving your reader handy information, you’re indirectly promoting yourself anyway.

Why you should produce a newsletter

  1. It’s a great way to keep in touch with previous customers so that they will also be your future customers. Maintain your relationship – keep the business.
  2. For those contacts on your database that haven’t yet purchased from you a newsletter is a wonderful ongoing reminder of who you are and what you specialise in.
  3. You build and maintain a relationship with those that read it, even with those you’ve never met. They become familiar with you and your offering – and when the time comes that they’re ready to buy, you’re well positioned to make the sale.
  4. An excellent newsletter will help define you as an expert in your field. You build a reputation as the ‘go to’ people in your sector.
  5. You get additional exposure you wouldn’t normally get. Even if your newsletter is not read, it will still appear in your contacts’ inboxes as a subject line and sender – and even that small amount of exposure helps keep you and your company in their minds.
  6. It will generate enquiries for you – later if not sooner.

What you should put in your newsletter

The simple rule here is …anything that you know your contacts might find useful. Our rule at The Sales Consultancy is simple. When we’re considering ideas of what to include in our newsletter the one question we have to answer with a YES is … Will it increase the sales success of the readers if they implement our suggestions?

But if you’re struggling for ideas, here’s an article I came across which has a fabulous check list of the type of content you should consider for your newsletter.

21 Great Ideas For Your Next Company Newsletter

So yes, based on our own experiences and results I remain a big fan of regular newsletters.

What do you think?

Until next time…

Leigh


PS: 2014…the year for you to Accelerate Your Sales?

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2014, you…and your team‏

24 January 2014

Many are wondering what 2014 is going to deliver for us. But instead of wondering, wouldn’t it be great to KNOW what’s coming? In other words why not take control of your 2014? This week. In fact today would be a good day to start!.

Below is a set of questions that will really get you thinking. Thinking about what you want from 2014. Thinking about the actions you need to take to achieve it.

I love this process and I hope you do too. Find yourself a quiet and inspiring place and get to work! Whether your aims are financial, personal, social or business, write them down.

Get in touch if you want help with your goal setting…we’re here to help.

Goal Setting for 2014

Well-defined goals are vital in all elements of business. The following process is one I use in business and personally. Work through the questions and remember that your initial response is normally the most useful.

Here we go…Good Luck!

What specifically do I want in 2014?

  - Define the area of your life you wish to focus on
  - For each area, state your 2014 goals in the positive (i.e. what you want, not what you don’t want)
  - Take each goal through the following questions

The evidence

  - What would be my evidence that I have achieved my goal?
  - How would I know if I were getting my goal?
  - What would I be doing to get it?
  - What would I be seeing/hearing/feeling?
  - What would be a demonstration of it?

The specifics

  - Where do I want this goal?
  - Where do I not want this goal?
  - When do I want this goal?
  - When do I not want this goal?
  - With whom do I want this goal?
  - With whom do I not want this goal?

The actions

  - What resources can I activate to get this goal?
  - What resources can I acquire to get this goal?
  - What can I do?
  - What can I continue doing?
  - What do I need to stop doing?

The future

  - What will happen if I get this goal?
  - How will getting this goal affect other aspects of my life?
  - How does getting this goal benefit me?
  - What might I lose if it happens?

These questions will really help you define your goals and give you the motivation and a framework to achieve them and your sales success.

Good luck with your 2014 goal setting.

Bear in mind research on goal setting which concludes that your goal setting will be more effective if you:

1) Take action immediately and often to achieve them (obvious but…)

2) Tell a supportive friend/colleague/mentor what those goals are

3) Regularly update this person on the progress to achieving your goals

Wishing you a happy, healthy and very successful 2014.

Until next time

Leigh

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Have you got the “Happinesss Advantage”?‏

16 February 2014

I read more and more these days about how happiness boosts success at work. In sales some research suggests that happier people make 37% more sales! I reckon there a few companies who would become very happy if they generated 37% more sales.

Except it doesn’t work that way round. It’s no good someone who sells saying “When I sell loads more widgets I’ll be happy” or “when I hit my sales target I’ll feel great”. You might get a mini high – but it will quickly fade!

It works like this

To be great at selling, you need to generate a positive, happiness-based mindset first. Extra sales will then follow. Harvard calls this the “happiness advantage” – do you have it?

OK, you could now be thinking “show me to the happy store and I’ll (happily) go and buy some”. Well it’s not quite that simple. But neither is it that hard. It’s about what YOU personally (and your team) can do to improve your/their happiness levels – and it’s about what your company can do too.

Increasing your happiness…what can companies do?

If you work for a company, or you ARE the company, there’s a whole set of measures that should be present to increase the happiness levels of whoever does your selling.

The Gallop organisation, having conducted research over 30 years, identify these crucial factors (amongst others) that staff enjoy to make it a great company to work for…

  -  They know what is expected of them (apparently up to 70% of employees are not clear about what is expected of them)

  -  They are able to use their talents every day

  -  They receive recognition or praise for good work.

  -  They know that someone at work cares about them as a person

  -  They have the opportunity to learn and grow

  -  They work for a company whose mission makes them feel like their work is important

  -  They have their ideas listened to

No mention of pay – and notice how little these measures would cost to implement. And…ignore this list and good sales people will leave, or be chronically unhappy. Either way, sales suffer.

Increasing your happiness…what can you do?

On a personal level you can train your brain in much the same way as you exercise your other muscles. Even seasoned adults can develop new habits and ultimately rewire the brain. You can influence your personal, inner level of happiness via for example the habits you cultivate, how you interact, how you manage stress.

There’s lots of research on the importance of happiness, which is thankfully taking the debate from ‘woo woo’ land to making a serious contribution to corporate policy. I was particularly struck by research exercises conducted by Shawn Accor (Havard Business Review), who concluded that engaging in one brief positive exercise every day for as little as three weeks can have a lasting impact.

I repeat (and fully endorse) his “instructions” here…

Choose one of the following five activities…

  1. Jot down three things you are grateful for
  2. Write a positive message to someone in your social support network
  3. Meditate at your desk for two minutes
  4. Exercise for ten minutes
  5. Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the last 24 hours

Perform your chosen activity every day for three week.

If you achieve the results Shawn Accor achieved with his group, you’ll become significantly happier – and stay that way for months after you stop doing the exercise (why stop anyway?)

And that’s by just doing ONE of those activities.

Try it – get your team to try it. You’ll get more sales success!

The psychology of selling.

Until next time…

Leigh

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Beware of RSS – Reluctant Seller Syndrome

8 December 2013

Was it Burt Lancaster who came out with those immortal words “If you build it they will come” in that excellent film ‘Field of Dreams’?

But in business it’s increasingly clear that if you build it they probably won’t come. Apart from those who would have shown up anyway – and they are often not that many.

It often starts like this; A business idea is born – through a fabulous sounding idea, or because the timing is right to realise that life dream. Perhaps the money is there at last. Maybe a redundancy or other life changing event has forced the issue. Or a combination of all of the above.

The passion is there. Unbridled enthusiasm is unleashed as the new entrepreneurs start to ‘live the dream’.

Then suddenly it dawns – they need more sales to survive! And increasing sales is certainly not their speciality.

I’ve met some brilliant people in my line of work. Name a business sector and I’ve probably had the joy of meeting brilliant people within it.

That’s brilliant at ‘what they do’. But, sooner or later they have to get good at what they don’t do – Sell.

That’s when many develop that well known condition RSS – Reluctant Seller’s Syndrome. Sometimes I think it’s catching!

The symptoms?

- They associate the word “selling” with those nasty high pressure sales tactics you hear about. This belief embeds itself over time – and ultimately inhibits their sales performance.
- They view selling as “persuading people to have something they don’t need” (it certainly isn’t by the way) – so they shun practising this sordid discipline!
- They freeze at networking events – speaking only to those they know and staying much too long talking to the friendly person next to them. They avoid breaking the circle and ‘interrupting’ a group nearby.
- They end up heavily discounting their services because deep down they didn’t believe their product or service was worth the initial price – and it showed.

These are the common symptoms – there are others too.

What to do if you’re exhibiting ‘Reluctant Seller Syndrome’?

CELEBRATE!

Because there are lots like you. It’s a big club.

Then what? Grab the nearest pen and paper.

Ask yourself “What Stops You?”

Dig deep. What REALLY stops you? And be very honest with the answers. Write down everything that comes into your head – even if it makes no sense. When you’ve written everything you can, WAIT. There will be more to come. That first gap was called a blank spot. Go past two blank spots and when you’ve finished writing the third time, then you probably are finished.

Now I don’t know what your answers will tell you – but you will. There will be some true nuggets in there. Nuggets which will, with a little thought, tell you exactly what you need to do next.

It’s all about the psychology of selling!

Until next time…

Leigh

PS: Be sure to download my complimentary report “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes” here

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The “MOT” you MUST pass!

2 December 2013

How good is your company when it comes down to passing your MOT tests?

MOT? Moment…Of…Truth.

Those occasions when you come into direct contact with your customers and potential customers. Those moments which, ultimately, determine what your customers think of you.

It might be an incoming phone call. It might be a chat on an exhibition stand. It might be at the very point you deliver your product. It could be when your products are returned to you, deemed unsuitable by your customer.

These are the key moments when your customer or potential customer decides…are you any good at what you do?

You’ll know your MOT’s – and you’ll know that you should be wowing the customer at each and every MOT.

The ultimate MOT

And then there’s that ultimate Moment Of Truth for the customer…when they complain to you. Your company’s future could depend on how well you deal with those complaints. And with the onset of social media, whether you work for a multi-national brand or own the local cafe, if you don’t handle customer complaints and comments in the right way, you could be in trouble.

My thoughts about turning complaints into opportunities are not new, you’ll see them in many ‘how to’ guides. But, as we head towards the busiest time of the year for many companies, we’re heading for the busiest time of the year for complaints too.

So it’s worth checking in…how good are you at dealing with complaints? Here are my thoughts…

  - Welcome complaints. What fantastic feedback they are. If something’s not right, surely you want to know about it? When you get a complaint it’s not time to hide – it’s time to spring into action! Treat it as valuable feedback on your product or service. Receiving complaints in the short run might save your company in the long run. It’s those that don’t complain and quietly ditch you that are the concern!  So…when clients complain, it’s not a nuisance; it’s an opportunity.

  - Make it quick and easy to complain. Make sure that if ever your customers have need to complain – that they are QUICKLY able to speak to the correct person to complain to.  There’s nothing worse than being passed around the houses before getting through to the right person.

  - Recognise a complaint when it arrives. A complaint can be subtle – they may tell you very calmly, rather than shown in anger, but they are giving you an important message all the same. They may not tell you anything at all – but their actions make it clear something’s not right. Better to find out there and then.

  - Empathise. Think about the complaint from the customer’s point of view – we’ve all complained at some point, or should have!

  - Treat it as an opportunity. Individual complaints give you the chance to demonstrate your value the customer. See complaints as your chance to shine. Respond proactively and these customers will become your biggest fans. Make sure you get on the case quickly – and turn the whole thing around in a way that befits the image you want to create.

  - Spot the trends. A complaint may well be a one-off. Maybe not! Record all of your incoming complaints even if seems like a one-off, you never know, a trend might be emerging which you’ll want to nip in the bud.

And of course make sure you’ve developed a mindset which embraces complaints – you might have the best sales operations in the world, but much of that can be in vain if you don’t handle complaints properly.

It’s all about sales psychology.

Until next time

Leigh

Sales Mistakes you MUST avoid!

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If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there?‏

25 November 2013

When you arrived at your workplace this morning, did you know exactly what you wanted to achieve today?

Did you know what key outcomes you needed to accomplish before leaving this evening in order for you to congratulate yourself and say “that was a great day”?

Go on…be honest
At my trainings, when I ask the question “when you arrive at work each morning what are your objectives for the day ahead, some people immediately say things like “to sell 10 xxx’s”, or quote other specific firm objectives.

Yet, as often, I hear things like “just to get through the day really”. Honest – but not ever so helpful!

Who do you think has the more productive day? Who gets more done? And who goes home knowing exactly what they’ve achieved – and feeling better for it? Of course, the ones who’ve thought through their outcomes for the day beforehand.

And it’s not even close…
…there’s always quite a gap between those who set up their outcomes for the day…and those that just drift into each day.

So I urge you, to take a few moments, every day when you start work, to think about your outcomes for that day. Focus on what you want to achieve by the end of the day – and be specific. How many calls do you plan to make? How many meetings to you plan to book? How many sales do you plan to close? Whatever they are for you personally, do what you need to do.

The Psychology?
The psychology of doing this on a daily basis is that it sends a definitive intention to the brain, which then unconsciously helps to make these things happen. You’re more likely to take those actions that build the momentum to bring your specified actions to fruition.

Better still; work out your daily outcomes the night before just as you leave work – this will send an early instruction to your unconscious mind so it can be working on them overnight. All you have to do then is bring your outcomes back into focus as you start work – and hit the ground running.

Avoid days where you have no goals

If you haven’t thought about targets beforehand, how can they happen? As they say – “if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there?” Without an end goal you’ll drift. Control the day, don’t let it control you. You need to know what the ultimate aim is, otherwise how will you know if you’ve succeeded?

If your glass is half full…
If you tend to be a positive, ‘towards’ person in the work environment, check in with the bigger strategic goals you have (you do have those don’t you?) – and home in on what you need to do today to move you towards those long term goals. Clarify the big stuff you need to do – and the smaller but necessary stuff too.

If your glass is half empty…
If at work you tend to be more ‘away from’ in your outlook, a good way of setting your goals is to quickly imagine it’s already the end of the day – and home in on how frustrated, disappointed and stressed you are that you didn’t complete projects xxx and tasks yyy. Really home in on your pain. Whichever unfinished projects and tasks give you the most frustration, they are the ones you need to work on that day – to prevent those feelings from coming to pass.

Sometimes some of the most powerful results generators are the most simplest – so never underestimate the power of setting yourself some daily outcomes.

Know exactly what your outcomes are for the day, before the day starts. It’s all about sales psychology.

Until next time.

Leigh

Leigh Ashton

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Y + M = Success‏

18 November 2013

I’ve just got back from meeting with my business mentor – and just had to share my enthusiasm for the brilliant support a fabulous mentor can provide!

I’m fully confident that, through my mentor, I’m getting the advice, insight and unbiased support I need to realise the business goals we’ve set.

How much help do you get in your business?
We all need help now and again. Those who say they don’t need it probably need it the most!!

Who have you got to bounce ideas off that doesn’t bring their own baggage into the equation? And do you seriously believe that someone, somewhere hasn’t had the same challenges you’re experiencing right now?

If you listed your top three current challenges, I would bet that these are issues that most business owners, business leaders, sales professionals have experienced in the past. Whether you’re running a small business, managing within a larger organisation or intending to do any of these in the future, seriously consider getting yourself a mentor. It could mean the result of reaching another level of your sales success.

What’s a Mentor?

  - Someone who you feel can help you in your pursuit of your career objectives, whatever they are more sales, a promotion, improved leadership skills, more self control, better networking techniques etc.

  - Someone who can give you a neutral take on your latest challenges – they should have no axe to grind.

  - Someone with a vast bank of knowledge that you can tap into – who’s been there, done that…and collected a few T shirts along the way.

  - Someone you check in with now and again to bounce your latest ideas.

  - Someone you trust to challenge you, to prod you, to ask you searching questions.

A good mentor…
…will use a variety of different approaches and move seamlessly between them – coaching, counselling, mentoring, advising, training, guiding, whatever you need. Critically, you can learn from their mistakes! Get to know the pitfalls and how to avoid them. Getting yourself a mentor isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary it’s a sign of strength, a sign that you are willing to garner all the resources you can in your pursuit of your goals. It’s not about copying them, it’s about using their experience and advice and adopting it in a way that works for you.

How does mentoring work?

Any way you want it to! You can go the formal route – regular scheduled sessions with a paid professional coach or mentor who can offer you the level and breadth of experience you need to tap into. More informally you might find someone in your organisation that can help (bear in mind it can’t be someone you report to). Ask them if they would be available as a mentor and offer to take them for lunch now and again in return for picking their brains.

You’d be surprised…
…how experienced achievers like to be asked about how they have achieved success – they will be impressed by your drive and initiative! You and your mentor need to get on well. Choose someone you have good rapport with. Get away from your normal place of work. No phones, no interruptions, it all helps. Look upon it as an investment of time and money in YOU.

How long should you and your mentor spend together?
Anything from an hour a month upwards. You may need more time at first then top up mentoring sessions further down the line.

So – don’t plough that lone furrow. And let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh

Your Sales Accelerator Programme - details here

“I have learnt far more in these three sessions than any other training course I’ve been on (and I’ve been on many!)

Leanne Regan, Holiday Extras

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Why this is the wrong way to pitch for business

4 November 2013

When you sell, it’s really easy to talk about you, your company and how good your products and services are.

Yet to do so would be a mistake. This approach will rarely work.

Yes, there will be a stage during the sales process when you’ll need to talk about how you can help your potential customer – but that’s different to the initial scenario I described. One version is all about you, you, you – the other is about how the potential customer would gain from a relationship with you. There’s a massive difference.

Many sales people never find out what the prospect or customer actually needs. Strange…but true.

Growing strong and positive relationship where you focus on your client’s needs, problems, challenges and desires is vital and will ultimately lead to the successful matching of your products or services with their needs.

Every one of your potential customers are different, all are unique. That’s down to the individual influences of all the events, successes, disappointments, peer groups, working relationships, family relationships they’ve encountered throughout their life. Respect and acknowledge this – then let it work for you.

So forget you – and forget your standard sales presentation! From now on, in every sales situation you encounter, acknowledge that everyone is different and therefore needs a different approach.

Take a typical B2B sales pitch

The prospect expects a pitch. The sales person expects to do a pitch – and off they go. The standard pitch gets rolled out and the prospects are left to pick out the relevant bits from this ‘throw everything in’ presentation. The sales person speaks nonstop for the whole pitch with maybe a few questions at the end and a general discussion if it’s going well.

The problems with this approach are that…

a) The real challenges and ‘pains’ of the customer are never established.

b) There’s no genuine connection or rapport.

c) There’s often no real feedback of whether the sales person is close to a sale or not.

d) Everything has been delivered according to the sales person’s map of the world and the map of the receiver is never elicited or acknowledged.

An alternative approach?

Walk in – and say something like “rather than talk non-stop about us and what we do – I’m very interested in you, your company and your current and future challenges. Then I’ll be in a much better position to suggest how we might help you conquer your challenges and drive you towards your business objectives. Would that be helpful?”

Assuming a yes - “thank you – so, in the area of xxxx, what would you say your current issues are?”

A two way exchange ensues.

The advantages being…

1) They’re talking and you’re listening, that’s the way it should be.

2) You’re finding out gems of information about their needs which you can incorporate when you talk.

3) You’re finding out about how they’re ‘programmed’ – for example whether they are ‘pain or gain’ motivated, their representational systems, or if they’re internally or externally focussed. And you can tailor your language accordingly to maximise rapport.

4) Of course, you’re learning exactly how you can specifically help them – and are now able to give examples of how you’ve helped similar companies with similar problems before.

This approach is bound to be more successful, resulting in your company’s and your personal sales success. You’ve connected, built genuine rapport, and identified what they really need – and can then present your offering to them knowing it’s 100% certain to hit the target.

It’s all about the psychology of selling…

Until next time.

Leigh

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Why you should know the pain levels of your customers‏

21 October 2013

Do you know why some people buy with a real sense of urgency? You know the ones – they want it; they want it now. Quick sale – no problem.

Then there are others – you know they need your stuff, they could be benefitting from it right now if only they’d get a move on. Yet they drag their feet; they stall; they say they’re interested but don’t commit. Of course some of these do buy eventually, but it all takes sooooo long.

How do you explain away these slow coach buyers? Internal procedure at their end? Too many stakeholders? Budget constraints? Price too high? Timing not right?

The real reason they don’t buy
For me, the real reason they don’t buy from you quickly no matter how brilliant your offering is, is because they are just not hurting enough.They are not in enough ‘pain’, distress, call it what you will. People in pain buy quicker and are less price sensitive. They have a problem, it’s become urgent and they want it solved. These people are heaven sent!

Why you have to make the sale
The challenge for you is that, when you meet a potential customer who is in pain or distress, you have to make the sale – because if you don’t your competitor will.

If your potential customer doesn’t buy from you, they’re still extremely likely to buy – from someone else. And if you lose that sale to the competition, you will probably lose all the follow up sales too – very costly. Oh and whilst we’re at it, the person who bought from the competition instead of you is now recommending your competition to their friends and network too – more sales gone begging. Concentrates the mind doesn’t it?

So how do you find out how much distress a potential customer is really in?
In a B2B environment there are three levels of pain you need to remind your customers that they have! In B2C scenarios there are two levels (miss out the middle of the three levels of pain covered below – and reword some of the example questions)

1st Level of pain – Technical pain.
What trouble are they experiencing? You’ll need to elicit statements which acknowledge the distress they are in. By the way it has to be an area of distress that you have a solution for – and good open questions will ascertain this.

Questions to elicit technical pain statements…
1) What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing right now in the area of ….?
2) Tell me about the problems you’re experiencing with….
Use follow up open questions as required.

2nd Level of pain – Business impact of the pain.
Get them to relay the impact that this distress is having on the organisation, especially from a business/financial standpoint. Getting them to quantify the issue is crucial. What’s the financial cost of the problem? What else is it costing them?

Question to elicit business impact statements…
What would you say the overall impact has been on your business?

3rd Level of pain – Personal impact of the pain.
This is usually ignored by the sales person and yet is crucial. Home in on what the overall personal and emotional impact is of the above. Lost sleep? Holiday interruptions? Working so late they are not getting to see their kiddies before bedtime? Who knows? But remember, if you can get your potential customer to associate into the personal impact of not buying from you, you’re much more likely to make that sale.

Questions to elicit personal impact statements…
1) How important is this to you personally?
2) What makes this so important?

A painful lesson
Whether you sell B2B or B2C why not run some of your recent scenarios through this model?

Running through this process with your distressed potential customers will help them associate into the true costs of not taking action i.e. buying from you – and make for an even quicker sale than would have been the case. And it will make sure YOU get the sale and not your competitor.

It’s all about sales psychology.

Until next time.

Leigh

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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The best way you could spend this coming Friday afternoon‏

14 October 2013

Wow – Here we go! Quarter four is upon us. Where did that come from? It doesn’t seem long since we were clearing snow from our pathways and cars. Yet here we are, gearing up to embrace Autumn, then winter and…you know the cycle!

So as we enter Quarter 4 of 2013, the final lap going into Christmas, it’s a good time to check in. How are things with you? How are you performing? How is your company doing? What can you do in the final quarter of 2013 so you can say you gave it your all? How are you doing against those 2013 goals you set way back in December last year?

Time for action

Time to get busy. Not to work super hard. Time to be super smart.

Give yourself two hours. Get away from your normal place of work. Go somewhere where you won’t be interrupted. Turn the phone off. Yes, fully off, no vibrations. Off. Have a couple of pens with you – and lots of paper. No tablets to write on. No typing this time.

It doesn’t matter what your role is in the company – leading a team or one of the team – you’ll get so much from what’s coming up.

Get yourself mentally in the zone. Shut out anything else that may be happening…make a pledge to yourself that you’ll be 100% honest for as long as this exercise takes.

And consider, in detail, the following questions…

Is your performance all it can be?

How are you with your own performance?
When was the last time you received honest feedback on your performance?
When did you last give yourself a self appraisal session?
What do you feel pleased with in your personal progress?
What worries you?
What can you do about it?

Are you setting the right standards?

Are you setting the right standards for your organisation and those around you?
Are you proud of those standards?
Where might things be clarified or improved?
Does everyone around you understand what those standards are – and work by them?

Acid Test
What issues really need to be addressed?
What’s getting in the way?
What’s the single biggest obstacle that’s holding things back?
Where can calm and thoughtfulness help to make things better?
Do you have the courage of your convictions?

Blame Audit
Has laying blame crept into your organisation?
What or who is suffering because of this?
Are you tending to lay blame?
Are you taking responsibility?
How can you turn things around?

You
How can things be better for you at work?
How can things be better at home?
What’s really going on right now?
When did you last review your personal mission and vision?
Have you got a personal mission and vision?
How does this fit with your business or career mission?

Doing this exercise is one of the biggest contributions you will make to your business, career and personal sales success.

Clients have tried this when they least thought they could spare the time. Afterwards they felt so much more energised and ready to focus on making the RIGHT things happen.

Friday afternoon is the best time. This coming Friday would be perfect – so you can return to work on Monday feeling fresh and absolutely clear on what’s to be done.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh

020 7903 5426

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Why you must know your customer’s “Action Filter”‏

7 October 2013

Are you the type that never seems to stop…or do you respond to things as they happen
Are you always thinking of starting the next activity before you finish the one you’re doing?

What about your team?

Proactive?
If your activity isn’t prompted by anything particular other than your desire to get it done you will have a Proactive preference.
If you’re Proactive you’ll initiate things and are always keen to start something new. You don’t wait for others to initiate stuff. You will use direct and positive language like “I shall begin by outlining the agenda for the meeting”.

Clearly, the best sales people are likely to be proactive…just because these guys just get things done.

Reactive?
If you might be equally as busy – but responding to things around you like answering emails, returning phone calls, completing reports that your boss wants or the like then you have a Reactive preference.

If you have a Reactive preference and you’re left to your own devices, you will probably take a long time deciding what to do…and may never actually take action at all! Your language will be more tentative and you’ll seek to qualify what you say “If it’s OK with everyone, I think I might begin the meeting by ….”.

That’s the Action Filter

Whether Proactive or Reactive we’re talking here about the “Action Filter”, one of many Meta Programmes that ‘wire your brain’ and dictate your approach to life – and sales. Where you are on the Proactive/Reactive scale will differ depending on what you are doing i.e. shopping, socialising, housework etc – or selling.

How well do you know your customers?

What about your customers? Each and every one has an Action Filter. And there’s the rub. What if you are highly Proactive (common in sales people) and your potential customer is highly Reactive. Or vice versa? Frankly it’s already happened, probably many times – it’s just that now you can perhaps explain a few lost sales better than you could before! Because if you’re at the opposite extreme to your customer, it could make for a difficult exchange!

And your colleagues?
Opposing extremes of the Action Filter can also cause conflict with colleagues. Often I’ll go into an organisation with Proactive, go getting people who are constrained by an underlying Reactive culture. The people want to get things done but are prevented by rules, red tape, financial constraints and procedures. This is such a source of dissatisfaction…the people are employed because they have a proactive nature but then find that the company culture, regardless of what’s said, turns out to be reactive.

Adjusting the way you sell
You need to tune in to your customer’s way of being. Identify their Action Filter traits – and adjust your message accordingly. Basically, watch and listen. You’ll soon be presented with clues and be able to make a judgement. Common sense really.
The Proactive customer will buy because they like what they see and want it. Just show them something they like and they’ll go for it. Put your effort into bringing your service or product to their attention, give them the benefits and observe them get into buying mode!
The Reactive buyer is likely to have already identified a need, thought it through, and maybe still be undecided. They will prefer to carefully weigh up all the possibilities, ask others for their opinion and only decide when pushed by deadlines. The best approach is to give them time to consider – and a deadline for a decision.

Decided yet?
So are you proactive or reactive? And your colleagues? And your customers? How about your team? How can you apply this to reach sales success?

Yes, you guessed it – it’s all about the psychology of selling.

Until next time.

Leigh

020 7903 5426

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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How to answer “It’s all about price – and you’re too expensive”‏

30 September 2013

In last week’s “Tricks of The Trade” I explored the practical and psychological dimensions that impact on how small business owners price their products and services.

And I promised that this week I would share with you a little-known tactic you can use when, as often is the case, buyers tell you “it’s only about the price”.

It’s never just about the price – you just have to make them aware of that!

This is a fabulous tip that you can share with your team to achieve sales success…

Here’s the scenario…

You’re in a meeting with the buyer/potential customer. You’ve got good levels of rapport. Your product or service seems to entirely match their requirements. And then that’s when they hit you with the words… “I like it, but for me the price is crucial and you’re not the cheapest” (or words to that effect).

Your response is…

I suggest you say something like “I totally understand that the price is important to you and that you need to secure the best deal you can” (change the words to suit your style). You then go on to say “Just to be clear, as well as price, what else is important to you with this product/service?”

Elicit a list of the other factors that they decide are important. These will usually be things like reliability, quality, speed of delivery, after-sales service, and responsiveness to issues. If they stall, ask “what else?” until you get a decent list.

You’ve got them thinking

Great! So far you’ve elicited a list of important factors to go alongside price. There’s a good chance you’re already well on the way to destabilising their attachment to price!

Be sure to write the list down (you’ll see why later).

By the way, if you particularly excel at something that they haven’t yet mentioned, ask them “how important is xxxxx” (your specific strength) to nicely bring this into their consciousness – and onto your list.

Compare and contrast

The next stage is to help them compare and contrast price alongside those other elements you’ve just elicited. So, pick the first thing they mentioned after price – for this example let’s choose speed of delivery – and say something like “let’s take speed of delivery, what’s more important to you, price, or speed of delivery?”

This really starts to bring home to them the importance of those alternative criteria and further destabilises their attachment to price as the all-important factor in their buying decision.

Repeat and demonstrate

Repeat this with the other criteria. What generally happens is price goes down their importance list – and your proposition comes back into favour! You might want to use your written list of important criteria at this stage – show it to them and let them see their ‘league table’ of attributes – and how it is changing before their eyes!

Better still, use ‘post-its’. Write one criteria, including price, on each post-it and move them around their desk (or even a nearby wall) to create a very visible league table!

Back in business yet?

By now, you’ve demonstrated to the buyer that when it comes down to it, price is just one of several important factors in the buying decision. By bringing other criteria back into play you’re much more likely to get the business than you were 20 minutes earlier. You can then go on to have rational discussion centred around the fact that, all things considered, your offering is the right one for them after all!

Try it. Depending on your specific circumstances you may need to tweak the process slightly but if my experiences are anything to go by you’ll start to win much more business than would otherwise have been the case.

It’s all about the psychology of selling.

Until next time.

Leigh

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Frustrated at always having to compete on price?‏

30 September 2013

Does your particular product or service cost more than the competition?

Are you often asked to match or beat lower priced alternatives that you know aren’t as good as yours?

A very common dilemma – so how could you compete against these pesky competitors that undercut you?

What’s your value strategy?

First – check in…how much clarity is there in your overall offering? Where does pricing fit in? Do you want to build a reputation around low price? Or superior service? Or top quality? Convenience? Best Guarantee? Speed of service? Having the largest selection? Being the ‘Go To’ people? There are many ways you can add value to the most basic of products. How can you add value to the transaction apart from price?

The way you construct your value mix will determine your sales success – so re-visit this and make sure you have ultimate clarity in your mind.

How clear are your sales and marketing messages?

How accurately do your current sales and marketing messages reflect your value strategy mentioned above? Are they clear? Or muddled? Good to go? Or in need of serious alterations? How well do your target markets understand your messages?

How do you feel about the prices you charge?

Think carefully about the last 5 things you purchased. Of those 5 items, how many of those did you choose because they were the cheapest? If you’re representative of most people you probably purchased no more than one or two items based on the price of those items. Research suggests only 30% to 40% of all customers buy on price, the rest buy on value.

It’s an old adage but if everyone bought on price why aren’t we all driving around in the most basic model of car? Why do many pay £3.50 for a coffee when they could pay nearer to £2?

Never think you are selling a commodity. If you do, you are condemning yourself to always sell on price.

But what does value mean from a customer’s point of view? Apart from the practical elements I describe above, there’s a whole bunch of psychological traits at play when anyone buys anything, centred around emotions, moods, beliefs, self image, reputation, personal values – all of these and many more come into play when making buying decisions.

The buying experience

What buying experience are you offering your customers and potential customers? Sure you’ll have your sales process to follow, but what about their process? Today we have a surplus of similar companies, employing similar sales people, offering similar products, offering similar solutions, of similar quality – at similar prices.

How are customers choosing between all these similar offerings? Probably not price! Quite simply many are choosing as a result of their buying EXPERIENCE. How you sell is often more important than the price you sell at.

How are you selling? And how are you making your buying experience better than that of your competition?

To summarise

So before you start slashing your prices in the hope of being competitive…

1) Check in with your marketing positioning. Are you 100% clear where you are adding value? If not, make that an urgent action point.

2) Clear out your own ‘stuff’ about your pricing. Whatever you charge, be proud of your price, understand why you don’t have to be the cheapest.

3) Make sure you offer a fabulous buying experience to the customer. What do they need from you, from the moment they discover you exist, to long after you have delivered that product or service?

Next week I’ll still be on pricing. I’ll be sharing with you a fabulous tool you can use with those potential customers of yours who are consistently telling you it’s only about price! Be sure to keep an eye on your inbox next week.

Until then

Leigh

020 7903 5426

www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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Selling Skills…Communication is Key

14 September 2013

Having excellent communication skills is vital if you are going to achieve sales success.

When you communicate with others you are creating an experience for the other person. Everything you say has an impact… even the smallest things. What’s interesting is that every word you use will have unique interpretation for the person you are communicating with.

When working with groups I often ask people the first thought that pops into their head when I say the word ‘success.’ Interestingly, no two people have ever come back with exactly the same response. Some say ‘promotion’, some say ‘sitting on a beach’, some say ‘loving family’, some say ‘money’. And even if people say they thought of money… when questioned, one may have seen a big house, the other the actual word came to mind or ,maybe a £ or $ image.

So imagine a string of words in a sentence and a string of sentences in a conversation and you begin to realise how easy it is to create confusion or misunderstanding.

We are all unique and different in our personalities and traits, so the way in which we communicate with others or are communicated to by others will make more of an effect then we may realise.

So whatever your objective is when you communicate with prospective clients (and colleagues too!) it will impact on your expectation and if that’s low or non- existent you may find yourself creating the very lack of great results that you crave.

So expect positive outcomes through your communication and you’re more likely to get them!

Until next time…

Leigh

PS: Be sure to download my complimentary report “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes” here

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Closing a Sale in 5 Minutes

8 September 2013

How frustrating is it when you put in lots of hard work for little or no reward?

Perhaps you’ve been working on a tender for a big contract only to see it cancelled, or awarded to a competitor? Or you’ve given a fabulous sales presentation, only for the meeting to grind towards its end with no sign of a sale?

Maybe you’ve quoted and you just can’t get an answer no matter how often you contact them? What about when you think you’ve been fobbed off – they probably don’t want your products but they won’t tell you outright so you keep contacting them ‘just in case’?

We’ve all been there – it’s frustrating and time consuming. The dilemma – do you chase old ‘maybe’ business or spend more time generating new enquiries?

Closing a Sale in 5 Minutes…

The Issue
The meeting’s gone well. You’ve got a fabulous connection with your prospect. Rapport levels are high. They seem attentive. They seem interested. You’ve impressively answered some minor objections that came your way. Yet there’s something that’s holding you back from asking outright for the business.

What to do next?

The Solution
Three Killer Questions. Before you embark on the first question, make sure you have good levels of rapport with your prospect. If there is any ‘edge’ present, these questions won’t work. With fabulous rapport, they always deliver.

So, back to your meeting. It’s coming to an end and you need to close the sale.

Question Number 1
At the end of your conversation, ask:

On a scale from 1 to 10 – 1 meaning “it’s over…don’t darken our door again” and 10 meaning “we want you to start straight away”…where would you say we are?

THEN…SHUT UP! This is critical to ensure you give the silence that allows your contact to think.

Give them time. Allow your prospect to respond. They will give you a number. Don’t be too attached to the number. The golden nugget is their response to the next question.

Question Number 2
Ask…

What would need to happen to get us to a 10?

SHUT UP! Again…this is critical. Give them more time to think.

Allow your prospect to respond.

You have now identified the gap between what you’re offering and what your client needs from you before they can say ‘yes’. You now know how close you are to securing the deal.

If you are able to resolve the gap immediately you’ll be able to close the deal there and then.

Some answers will alert you that these prospects are unlikely to ever buy. Disappointing yes but good to know there and then not several weeks and many follow ups later.

Question Number 3
Open question.

What would you like me to do next?

Their answer is usually like all the jigsaw pieces falling into place. They are explaining exactly what the next course of action is – talking as if you’re already on board.

Agree on the next course of action and be sure to maintain your control by agreeing when you will get back to them.

Asking these questions will change your sales results! They identify how close you are to a sale, they identify how big the gap is – and exactly what you need to do to bridge the gap. And you both decide whether or not you have the means to bridge the gap. All usually in a few minutes.

By slightly tweaking these questions you can use the ‘out of ten’ technique in other situations – for example staff appraisals and job satisfaction surveys come to mind.

Hope this technique brings you lots of sales success.

Leigh

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For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Why are your Customers O’s or P’s? (You need to know)

2 September 2013

When you purchase something, do you have a procedural preference or an options preference?

Or are you wondering what on earth I’m talking about?

I promise to explain, but firstly I wanted to send the message of just how much of a benefit it would be for you to know which of your customers buy with a procedural preference v those that buy with an options preference. Stick with this…answer the following question with your immediate response…even if it doesn’t make sense to you.

Why did you choose your current job?
If you have a procedural preference you are likely to say something like you saw the job online, applied for it, went for an interview and go on to tell the story of how it happened…even though the question is ‘why’.

If you have an options preference you will have responded to the questions with the criteria or reasons you chose your job ie not a process.

Subtle, but crucial differences. People BUY this way too and if you can identify the correct options or procedural trait in your customers and potential customers, quite simply you’ll generate you more sales.

Customers with a procedural preference
Your procedural customers are more likely to follow orders, requests and instructions to the letter. They will often get so caught up in how to do a task that they will sometimes forget why they are doing it. They will often refer to “the right way” to do things.

Selling to a customer with a procedural preference
When you interact with a procedural person you need to pay attention to the information you give, be exact and unambiguous. They will like clear cut steps…preferably those that are already tried and tested. Bear in mind they are likely to follow what you say verbatim. They need to know exactly how the relationship will go and what happens at every stage. Be sure to set out the stages that the sales process will follow.

Customers with an options preference
Your customers with an options preference will want to experiment and continually ask “what if?” or “what else could we do?” questions.  They will sometimes seem compelled to be inventive and explore all the options. They don’t follow rules easily, they like to make their own.

Selling to a customer with an options preference
Give options people a couple of choices, three maximum. Give them too many options and they get stuck knowing what to choose. Clearly set the boundaries, the musts and constraints.  Options people are not interested in following a process. Emphasise various possibilities and let them know that the decision to buy will expand their choices.  Then stand back and watch the results!

That question again?
Oh and if you’re thinking that “Why did you choose your current job?” may not be the right question for your customer, simply replace ‘job’ with something that would work i.e. car, holiday, printer. The important word in the question is “why” so make sure you start the question that way.

It’s all about the psychology of selling.

As is always the case this is just a snapshot of the options/procedures “meta- programme” which is so useful in sales, so if you have any unanswered questions or want to know more ways to reach sales success then do pop me an email.

Until then

Leigh

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Leigh Ashton

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The ten things that dictate your results

2 September 2013

I’m beginning to think that our sports stars have cracked this psychology thing. First we have last year’s Olympic tales of success. Then Andy Murray finally wins at Wimbledon. The England cricket team secure the Ashes.

Now, Mo and co are doing their stuff at the world athletics championships.

Do they expect to win? Well I’m a big believer in you get what you expect, not what you hope for. So yes I believe they did. Do they work on building their positivity before a performance? Definitely.

How do you put yourself in a positive state? What about your team?

It could be photo’s of loved ones, pictures of beautiful places you want to visit…or stuff you’ll buy with your bonus, it may be a piece of music or a speech that inspires you, or it may be your cuddly teddy bear! I don’t know what these things are for you but YOU do and that’s what counts.

Why not make a list now of all the things you already know put you in a positive state of mind. Be sure to write things that you have control over. I know 14 hours of sunshine a day works for many people but there’s not too much chance of that in the winter months! You need things that help you at any time…regardless of what’s going on in the world!

What TEN THINGS put you in a positive state (keep it clean, then again maybe not!)

Go on…write ten things down, before you read on.

Whatever these things are for you, have them close at hand so you have access to them whenever you need to ‘buzz up’ – or sense your state dropping.

There are also some physical things you can do when you’re feeling unresourceful. A great tip is to stand up and look upwards…smiling. It’s impossible to feel down when you do this. Go on try it now. Stand up; look at the ceiling with the biggest smile you can manage. Now without moving a muscle, pretend to be depressed!

Told you…it always works. You may get some odd looks but who cares when you feel this good!

A sales person I once worked with…

…had a huge insight when I covered this topic in a training session. He told me he always arrived for work positive and ready for action. Except on a Monday. Monday was different. It took him ages to get in a good state of mind and in the meantime his Monday performances declined. He’s just put it down to the fact it was Monday…you may relate to this grin

What he realised during this exercise is that every day, apart from Monday, he travelled to work listening to upbeat music on his iPod. It really set him up for the day. On Friday he went out for a beer with his work colleagues and left his iPod at the office. Being without his iPod on the Monday morning had taken his motivating and uplifting music out of his routine!

He solved the problem by buying another iPod so he always had access to his music.

So whether it’s to get you buzzed up each morning, or to get you back up to a positive state when you’re flagging, make sure you always have some of those top ten tools right by you and watch them increase your sales success.

And what does your team need to do to ensure they’re ready for action?

It’s all part of The Psychology of Selling

Until next time

Leigh

Leigh Ashton

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The psychology of your emails

14 August 2013

It’s not many years ago that email marketing was the next big thing. Now, many say it’s a spent force.

It isn’t a spent force – but your results will very much depend on the quality of your contact and customer database.

And on the content of your email… It is true that you have to work harder now to get your sales and marketing emails opened than say three years ago. Once opened, the next challenge is to engage the reader, make an impact – and prompt some action on their part.

And that brings us nicely back to the psychology of selling.

If you’re sending your promotional email to hundreds, maybe thousands on your database, how can you write content that is unique and appeals to each and every one? After all, “everyone has their own unique map of the world”. Every person is different. Everyone is unique. Tough assignment eh?

The truth is – if you’re sending out a mass email it’s mighty challenging to make everyone of those recipients feel unique.

But…

…there are things you can do to make those recipients feel that the email is just for them.

Here’s my take on the language you should be using in your emails – and for that matter your website, your written proposals, your one to one emails, your brochures, your pitches and presentations and so on.

‘You’ not ‘We’
Don’t write “we can do this”, “we can do that”, “we are an award winning company” etc. It won’t work. Instead, use lots of ‘You’ (i.e. them!) language. For example, instead of “we design great websites”, use “if you’re looking for a great website”. Same message, more impact. They don’t want to hear about how great you are. They want to know how you can help them. Big difference.

“Towards and Away”
Some of your potential customers will be motivated towards goals and challenges. When buying, they focus on what they want! Yet many other potential customers will focus on the obstacles and problems that are getting in their way…these people are motivated away from what they don’t want. Your content should therefore include towards (what they will get) statements and some away (what they will solve, or avoid) statements.

Like or dislike change?
Some of your readers embrace change and are motivated by constant change. Others will dislike change with a vengeance. You need to cover both extremes in your email. So, for those who like change, make sure you mention how different your offering is from what they are currently using. To appeal to those who detest change, you’ll also need to accentuate the commonalities and similarities with the status quo before introducing ‘small’ differences.

Hang on a minute…
You may be asking if having statements and counter statements contained in the same email cancel each other out? No. For example anyone who is motivated ‘away from’ will only home in on the statements designed to appeal to them, and won’t notice those goal-focussed statements at all. Goal focussed statement will pass them by – and vice versa.

Forget you – think them.
So, forget your natural tendencies when writing your email and make sure you reflect these language differences. If it’s too challenging to incorporate all of these changes at once, then introduce them one at a time.

Remember too to experiment with subject lines which reflect these differences. Email open rates can change quite dramatically when you, for example, alternate between a ‘towards’ subject line and an ‘away from’ subject line.

As usual there’s lots more to say on this subject and if you need to ask any questions then do get in touch.

Until next time

Leigh


PS: By the way, remember to connect with The Sales Consultancy NOW on Linkedin and Facebook

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Leigh Ashton

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What’s your reaction to these news headlines?

1 August 2013

What do you make of these recent newspaper headlines…?

The bad… 
“Lending figures add gloom to concerns about economy “ 
“Disappointing’ data add to economic gloom” 
“Voters ‘Gloomy’ About Economic Prospects, Almost Half Believe Living Standards Will Fall By 2015”
“Industry survey confirms gloomy data”

And the good…
“UK business confidence ‘at six-year high’”
“Consumer confidence at three year high”
“Economy is the best in Europe! We’re leading the way, say experts, and will do until at least 2015”
“Economy set to surge ahead for rest of year”

Two different countries? No. You guessed it. Both set of headlines are from the UK newspapers. All of them are recent, genuine headlines.

Be honest, which list do you believe in the most?

Your answer will tell you a lot. Your answer will reflect your mindset. And it’s your mindset which will ultimately be reflected in your behaviour, your actions – and your results. If I went on to reveal that most of the positive headlines above were from the last month and most of the negative headlines were from earlier in the year, how would that change your thinking?

Well the general thinking is that after a long wait, the ‘recovery’ is on its way. The pace of recovery may not be as fast as we’d like, but then again many of those ‘in the know’ suggest a slow-but-sure sustainable recovery would probably serve us all better in the long run.

The big question is… How ready are you and your team for the economic recovery?

I’m not talking here about whether your building is big enough. Or whether you have enough staff. Or whether you need to upgrade your IT.

My interest is in your mindset.

So…when you really give it some thought, how ready are you for take off?

How confident are you in your ability to make this recovery work for you?

How confident are you in those around you?

What do you believe, deep down, about your ability to make those calls, produce those fabulous proposals, give those killer pitches, attract those customers, close those deals?

What about ‘The Others’

If you have other people you rely on in your business to generate sales, how ready are they, mentally, to generate the leads, sales and conversions you need them to achieve to succeed?

Is your current thinking based around the economic circumstances you’ve found yourself in over the last five years? Or the circumstances you’ll be finding yourself in during the next five?

And what are you doing all this for? Seriously?

Remember, if the answers to that question aren’t compelling enough for you, deep down you’ll probably never give it 100% and you’ll probably not get the sales success you deserve. It’s that important.

If you really feel you and your colleagues have a “100% ready mindset” – ready to maximise the coming recovery, ready to rumble (!) then give yourself and them a pat on the back – and get stuck in!

If you’re not ready, there’s still time. If you’re nervous, there are things you can do. There’s action you can take. Resolve to take it. You’ve just survived one of the worst recessions probably in your lifetime. Make sure you’re ready for the good stuff!

Think about where you need the most help. Is it your confidence? Your fear of selling? Your motivation levels? Your resilience? Challenge yourself to get what you need to fill those gaps.

If you do nothing, where will that leave you? As they say…you’re worth it.

And as I say…it’s all about the psychology of selling…

Be ready.

Until next time

Leigh

PS: By the way, remember to connect with The Sales Consultancy NOW on Linkedin and Facebook

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Psychology, cold calling…and you

26 July 2013

Cold calling is dead. Or at best it’s on life support.

Why? Because in 2006 anyone cold calling would make an average of 4 calls before getting through to speak to a person. By 2010 the average was 41 call attempts.

That said, if you have to sell anything in your role, you’ll need to make many ‘coolish’ or luke warm calls somewhere along the way.

So this week…a few pointers to help you maximise those calls

What’s your objective?

Many people either don’t consider this at all – or automatically suggest a ‘sale’ or an appointment. That’s too much pressure. In most cases a more realistic objective would be to get permission to send them some details, or even just confirm contact details, email address, postal address, and role in the business.

It takes time to build a productive pipeline. Build a strong base first and you’ll generate many meaningful enquiries and leads later. Go too fast too soon and you’re toast.

Who are you calling?

What can you find out about them – and their company? Nowadays there’s no excuse for not knowing the basics. Having information helps your confidence. That said, don’t hide behind ‘research’ – a few quick enquires then get dialling.

Call structure

I’ll never advocate a script, but I certainly advocate prompts to help you through the call – a kind of loose script to which you add your magic as you go along. You can improve these prompts the more you practice.

Visualise success

How do you feel immediately before dialling? Many are full of trepidation, mainly fuelled by that ‘R’ word, (the fear of) Rejection! This impacts on the success of the call. So – have a quick mental run through beforehand of how brilliantly the call will go. Replace those thoughts of trepidation with your personal vibrant ‘success movie’.

Mindset check

Remember just before dialling…you’re not trying to waltz off with an order in the next fifteen minutes, you’re just ‘exploring the possibilities’ of a relationship, or if you prefer, laying down the foundations of a partnership. This is crucial to influencing your tone and pace on the call itself.

And…

Stop thinking of the person who answers the phone as a ‘gatekeeper’. Instead think of them as ‘your new best friend – the door opener’. It helps your performance when you pick up the phone.

The call itself

Remember the pace and content of the call should depend on who you are calling. Do they need an overview, or a lot of detail? Go with their needs.

The generic flow would be something like … (where you see a link, click through for additional information)

Friendly greeting

Rapport building

Moving on to ‘the subject’

Open questions

Listen!

Follow up – agree what will happen next

Close

Make sure you’ve got some ideas for all of those areas.

Confident – but not too slick

If you sound too slick you’ll probably put the other person off! Be natural. Try giving the impression you’re an occasional caller. Ask for their help. Throw in a little hesitation in your voice. No need to be perfect in your delivery. If you sound too perfect you might intimidate them.

Success…or learn

Getting a no is a fact of life. It’s an old adage but remember they are not rejecting you, they just don’t feel that your offering is right for them, at this current time. Nothing more. Always ask yourself what you can do better next time. Test your techniques, measure the results – and act accordingly to get that sales success.

Remember…It’s all about The Psychology of Selling

Until next time.

Leigh


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Your Sales Plan (You do have one don’t you?)

17 July 2013

Do you have a sales plan?

Not a Business Plan. A Sales Plan?

There’s a quote that says ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else’ (Lawrence J. Peter). You already know where this is heading!

Having some kind of sales plan is a crucial part of your overall company strategy. If you’re a new or young company then strike now whilst the canvass is clear. For established businesses it allows you to take stock and check the direction you’re going. It really is good to take time out from the everyday pressures to check in with where you’re heading, and more crucially where you want your sales to be.

Keep it simple
We are not talking about a 200 page document here that a government department would be proud of. It’s more about going through a few specific questions – and taking a little time over the answers.

Here are those questions…work through them and you’ll be well on your way to increasing your sales success.

Who are your customers?
Where are your niches? Who are your customers? What are their problems? How do you solve these problems? How can you solve them better than your competitors? How do you stand out?

What are your sales and marketing options?
What COULD you do to increase sales? Emails? Telephone sales? Direct Mail? Referrals? Testimonials and case studies? Pay per click? Networking? Advertising? PR? Social Media? And so on. Knowing your industry and knowing your customers, what sales and marketing tools do you need to incorporate?

What will your KPI’s be?
Which Key Sales Performance Indicators are appropriate for YOU? What do you need to do really well to succeed overall in your sales – and your business generally? A good KPI’s list will probably number no more than 10 of your most important business metrics. For example…turnover, units sold, profit, number of emails sent, number of responses, number of telephone calls made, conversion rates.

What should you do first?
What do you need to do first – before you set up regular sales and marketing activity? What are those initial activities you need to carry out?  Set up a database? Set up your social media platforms? Review your marketing materials? What else?

What should you be doing DAILY?
What should you be doing daily NOW to get success later? How are you managing your prospects, contacts, follow ups? What’s your daily target? Update social media? Call existing clients? Respond to sales enquiries? What else?

Weekly?
What’s in your weekly check list of activities? Be sure to schedule these in. An email marketing campaign? Follow up quotes and proposals?

Monthly?
What are those things you need to do monthly? Newsletter to your customer and prospect database? Review your KPI’s? Networking? Next month’s plan? What else?

Your plan
If you take time on each of the above you’ll have a valuable document at the end of it. Don’t keep this to yourself. Share it – with your colleagues, with your team – It’s very motivational to be part of a shared objective.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: If you really like the idea of being guided through how to generate a masterful sales plan for your business, check out my DVD programme “The Essential Sales System for Small Business” – a good part of this DVD programme is dedicated to helping you generate a sales plan. Click here for more details…


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You, Your Sales – and The Law of Attraction

16 July 2013

A question for you…do thoughts influence chance?

“The Law of Attraction” burst into my personal consciousness several years ago – and has played quite a part in my personal and professional life ever since. Not just me – The Law of Attraction and “The Power of the Universe” have captured many people’s imaginations in recent years.

The Law of Attraction suggests that both your conscious and unconscious thoughts can truly affect what comes about. It’s centred around visualising the successful completion of your goals and is regularly used by many top sportsmen and women, business leaders too, as they bid to ‘attract’ success.

Fab or Fake?

Nevertheless, The Law of Attraction has been criticised by some scientists as violating scientific principles and that it is merely a type of placebo effect.

With my specialist subject being Sales Psychology, The Law of Attraction was always bound to arouse my interest. What was all the fuss about?

Well, several years later I can report that I find it a very useful tool in my sales armoury. Spooky? Kooky? Maybe – but definitely something to consider. Whether it’s a presentation, pitch, networking event, pending contract or something much more long term, the potential applications are limitless.

Try it. It’s a great technique for fine tuning your goals and ensuring they are more likely to be delivered. It will really help you to focus on what you want – and help you achieve it.

It’s great fun too.

The Law of Attraction…

1. PREPARE

Make sure you’re in a relaxed state. The best times for this are immediately on waking or just before you go to sleep.

2. ASK

Know what you want and ask the universe for it. After all – If you don’t place your order with the Universe, how will it ever know what to deliver to you? Create a movie of yourself being successful at whatever it is you want to achieve. Create as vivid a movie as you can. Turn up the colour, the sounds, the happiness levels you’re experiencing, the tastes – everything. You are living your goal!

3.BELIEVE

Feel and believe as if the object of your desire is on its way. Focus your thoughts and your language on what it is you want to attract. Feel the feeling of really ‘knowing’ that what you want is already on its way, even if you have to trick yourself into believing it. Replace hope with firm expectation.

4. RECEIVE

Be open to receive it. Notice the messages and signs from the Universe to confirm you are on the right path. Open yourself to receiving the very thing you want.

5. ACTION

It doesn’t matter how much you want something or how much you visualise a successful outcome…if you don’t take action it won’t happen. Any action will do to get you off the starting block and give you some momentum.

How does it work? For me it’s because planting positive images in your subconscious will switch your brain into the mode whereby it will automatically generate the endorphins that will give you the natural impetus you need to succeed. You’ll then be more minded to take the actions that will take you to where you need to be.

Another contribution to The Psychology of Sales.

Until next time.

Leigh

Do you have a fear of selling? CLICK HERE

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7.5 things to do in July

8 July 2013

Well it looks like we’re finally heading for some hot weather, at least in most parts of the UK. So this week I thought I’d share with you some of my common-sense summer sales tips. Every one of these tips will help you increase your sales success – IF you take action!

Enjoy!

1)Your goals

How compelling are your sales goals? So many sales people and business owners have lack lustre goals. Maybe ‘I want to reach target’ or I want to progress’, ‘I want more money’. If you have mediocre goals, you’re setting yourself up to be ordinary, not outstanding. Shouldn’t you be aiming to be outstanding, and with some structure to help you get there? Revisit your goals and make them outstanding.

2) Your marketing

Does your marketing talk about you? Your company? Your products? How many awards you’ve won? How boring. It should be talking about ‘them’, the problems they can get solved, the goals they aspire to, how they want to feel. If your brochure, your emails, your website talks just about you, you won’t be making any where near as many sales as you could be…ouch!

3) Your customers

Make sure you stay in front of the people you want to do business with. This might be a phone call, an email, a newsletter, social media posts, or all of these. Stay in their consciousness and when the time is right, there’s a greater chance they will do business with you.

4) Networking

If you go to networking events it’s tempting to head for those people there that you already know. Yet if you really want to get the greatest value, make yourself spend the vast majority of your networking time with people you don’t know. More challenging? Possibly. More rewarding? Definitely!

5) Pitches and presentations

If you make regular presentations as part of your sales activity, when was the last time you practised and filmed yourself? It’s so easy to film yourself these days and you’ll find it invaluable as a tool to help perfect your presentations. Ask others to view it too – feedback is essential if you’re going to improve.

6) Adding value

Never think you are selling a commodity. If you do, you are condemning yourself to always sell on price. There has to be value in there somewhere. If not on the initial sale, then maybe in the sales process itself, in the guarantee, the after sales, the delivery, the after sales advice and care – there’s usually some way you can add value to the most basic of products.

7) Your mindset

What reasons and excuses are you giving to yourself for any lack of sales? Think deep. Recession? Too much paperwork? Not enough time? Spending cuts? Budgets frozen? Bad news – these are not genuine reasons. Now think again – what are the REAL reasons for you not getting the sales results you want? Go deep.

7.5) Think about the buyer

When selling, don’t forget the buyers’ challenges. They often have to get others to buy in to your proposal. Your proposal may initiate internal change that the buyer has to promote internally. They could have to negotiate through all the internal politics, nurture internal relationships and a whole lot more. That’s why you have to support the buyer and why it sometimes takes a long time for decisions to take their course.

Do get in touch if you need any more information on any of these.

Enjoy the hot weekend!

Until next time.

Leigh

Leigh Ashton

PS: Do you have a fear of selling? CLICK HERE

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The 5 Keys to Success

2 July 2013

Do you want to know what lies behind pretty much every business success story? Look closely at any successful business, project, campaign, launch…you name it…there are just 5 key steps at play. I call them…The 5 Keys to Success

The “5 Keys” is a template you can use anywhere, anytime, to help with anything from developing a company strategy, a sales visit to a networking event and all points in between. I use it virtually everyday – and I highly recommend it.

The 5 Keys

Step 1 – Know your outcome

You must know your target. Decide what you want – and be as specific as possible. This tells your brain exactly what you’re expecting, encouraging your unconscious mind to focus on it. It isn’t enough to have vague goals like ‘I want to be wealthy’ or ‘I want more sales’. Being clear about exactly what you want will make it easier for you to know when you’ve achieved it. State your goals in the positive for example ‘I want £ x in sales by the end of this month’.

Step 2 – Take action

The biggest barrier to success is not taking action. It’s obvious yet it is the step most often neglected. Take action. Do anything to create some momentum. If you find yourself procrastinating – ask yourself ‘what’s the benefit of staying exactly where I am’.  By exploring your thoughts, you’ll be able to identify your own reasons that justify doing nothing. So do something…anything…that takes you a step closer to what you want. Click here for my recent blog on eliminating procrastination.

Step 3 – Be aware

Notice. Be curious. Notice the impact of the actions you’ve taken. What’s going well? What’s not? Measuring the impact of your actions will tell you what’s working and what is not. How are things going compared with your projection? Feedback is information is power, if you use it. What are you doing with all this feedback coming in?

Step 4 – Be flexible

If what you’re doing isn’t working – do something else. How flexible can you be? Keep trying different things until you start getting the results you want. Remember to keep focussing on what you want. Remember that that you have to do what works for your customers…and not you! This doesn’t mean compromising on your own values or ethics. It’s about you understanding other people’s perspectives…you don’t always have to agree with them.

Step 5 – Rapport

It’s absolutely critical to establish and maintain rapport with others throughout the process.  When things are going well and you’re relating to someone instinctively, then everything is fine and you have no problem.
When there is a lack of rapport the situation becomes more challenging.
Developing your rapport building skills will enhance and support the other keys to your sales success.
 
So simple – and massively effective!

You can use this template as a forward planning technique…or you can use it retrospectively if you’re looking to reflect how something went, for example “Did we set our outcome correctly” “Were those the right actions” “ What did we notice” and so on.

Honestly, it really is that simple. Keep these 5 keys in front of you until they become habit – and notice how you become more structured, more proactive…and much more successful.

Until next time.

Leigh

Increasing Sales

Leigh really wants you to succeed!

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Another “P” word you must avoid

24 June 2013

Last week I received a fantastic response to my thoughts on Procrastination and the negative impact procrastination can have on your sales success, your business – and life in general.
Defeating procrastination will make it much easier for you to get started on those tasks, projects and general ‘stuff’ you’ve been putting off.

BUT…what about those jobs and other things you do where you can’t seem to STOP?

Another ‘P’ please!

Perfectionism! How guilty are you? Where does your perfectionist streak negatively impact on your results? Why, when you see the light at the end of your tunnel, do you insist on going out and building more tunnel?

If you ‘suffer’ from perfectionism, be under no illusion that it really will be holding you back just as much as last week’s theme, procrastination.

Where does perfectionism come from?

Perfection comes with a heady brew of potential causes. If you’re a perfectionist then you’re probably an ‘all or nothing’ person, who believes something is worthless if it’s not perfect. The word ‘should’ probably dominates your world. You’ll have a long list of shoulds which form the rules for how to live your life. Fear of failure could be right up there too, alongside fear of making mistakes. Fear of disapproval too rears its head too, because perfection is a way of warding off disapproval, rejection and criticism.

Finally, perfectionists often think that others achieve success easily and with a minimum of effort, whilst they see their own efforts as unending and forever inadequate.

Ring any bells?

Conquering perfectionism

The first thing is to accept that perfectionism is an illusion that is unattainable. There – I’ve said it! In any case remember that if you have perfectionist tendencies, your 80% is probably everyone else’s 100%.

Here are a few tips to try…

1) Make sure your goals are reachable – and based on your wants and needs.
2) When you start to feel anxious about the terms you’ve set for the task in hand, ask yourself…”Have I set up impossible expectations for myself in this situation?”
3) Experiment with your standards for success. On a given activity, instead of aiming for 100%, try for 90%, 80%. You’ll soon find out that the world does not end when you are not perfect.
4) Confront perfectionism head on. Ask yourself “What am I afraid of?” and “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Be honest.
5) Accept that many positive things are learned only by making mistakes. When you make a mistake ask yourself “What can I learn here?” – and make a list of your answers.
6) Restructure your goals away from the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Prioritise them – and on the less important goals, put in less effort.

Perfection according to whom?

Seeking excellence is one thing; never finding anything totally satisfactory is another. It may serve you better to decide that a particular project or undertaking is complete. At some point you’ve got to say, “This is good. This is enough.”

If you cannot do this, you will never get anything done – and that is the opposite of what you want.

If these words have struck a chord with you, make today the day you change.
Contact me by email if you have any more questions or comments on perfectionism.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS:Click here if you hate coming across as “too salesy”

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Beware of the ‘P’ word

17 June 2013

Today I entered ‘time management courses’ into Google. It produced “about 200,000,000 results” in 0.29 seconds.
And yet time management courses are often a waste of time. Why? Because you know what to do. You know when you should be doing it. If you’re not doing it, I’d reckon it’s not about time management at all – It’s down to that ‘P’ word.

Procrastination.

Procrastination – and its twin brother ‘Indecision’ will tie you to the failure treadmill for all time if you don’t sort it! Without decisions – and ACTION to back up those decisions, you will never get the results you want.

Do you procrastinate?

Do you procrastinate? What is it costing you? If you could eliminate it, how great would that be in terms of your job, your business, your wealth, your life?

If you’re procrastinating about ANYTHING, do the exercise below. It could change everything!

First, here are some pointers before you start…
- Find yourself a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Give yourself plenty of time to answer all the questions.
- You may feel pretty uncomfortable (I hope so) when considering the consequences of not making a change.
- You will feel completely inspired by the end of it.
- Crucially – DO THE EXERCISE! For goodness sake don’t procrastinate on the procrastination exercise!!!

Are you ready to commit to action? Go for it…
1.  Write down one thing you are not following through on
2.  Come up with ten reasons why you absolutely must change this now

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3. What will it cost you if you don’t make this change?
4. What will you gain from this change?
5. Why do you know you can absolutely make this change?
6. Create a new association with this change.

Make it perfect for you! Example…if you’re not making enough calls you may have an association that not making calls equals less rejection…a new association might be that making more calls equals more chances to develop relationships that generate more sales success and all the kudos that comes with it.

This is really important. You must create a new association. Don’t proceed until you have created at least one!

7. What is your first action that you can do immediately?

Congratulations!

Congratulations! Go and do your first action right now…

This exercise will really get you in touch with the motivation to take ACTION towards what you want.

Another example of The Psychology of Sales.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time.

Leigh

PS: Click here if you have a fear of selling.

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020 7903 5426

http://www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Referrals: Are you asking?

10 June 2013

Of your most satisfied customers of 2013, how many of those customers have you asked for a referral?

Most sales and business people never ask for referrals. Those that do often ask when it’s too late - and make a fatal mistake when asking for them (more on that later). Yet referrals are just about the easiest, quickest and least expensive way of increasing sales and building your business.

But you must ask!
Most businesses never ask for referrals – ever. Maybe this is because they think asking for a referral is too close to ‘selling’. If you’re nervous about asking for a referral, remember that people usually like to tell others about good things that have happened to them, so why wouldn’t they want to share how great you are with their friends or colleagues?

Secondly, if you’re good at what you do, how sad would it be if you weren’t able to help more people and businesses simply because you were shy about asking for referrals?

Ask early
Don’t wait until after you’ve finished what you were hired for. On no account should you ask a few weeks later either. In both situations ‘the moment’ has already passed. You may indeed have done a brilliant job, but memories fade fast and it’s likely you won’t be as well thought of after a lapse of time.

The time to ask is as soon as the customer is starting to get results. They will often be at their happiest fairly early into your work with them. That’s the prime time to ask for a referral. So pick a time when they are massively enthusiastic – and dive in!

Asking for referrals (the fatal error)

“Do you know anyone who would be interested in having similar work done?”

What’s wrong with this question? Well if you have been on any of my training courses you will already be shouting out “It’s a closed question”!!!. Correct. You can only have two answers to that question – yes, or no. And it’s more likely to be a no because that’s the easier answer to give – you’ll have directed their brain into shutdown mode.

So the question to ask (ensuring you have excellent levels of rapport beforehand) is ...”Who else do you know that would be interested in achieving the sort of results you’re getting”. Although I changed the end of the question a little, the main difference is the “who else” bit at the start. This takes the customer’s brain down a whole different pathway. Instead of encouraging their brain to shut up shop, you’ve opened up the ‘search’ facility in their mind and they will therefore unconsciously search much more intently for a worthwhile answer. A subtle but crucial change.

Get them to introduce you
So it’s all gone swimmingly so far. You’re doing a great job. You’ve asked the perfectly worded question – and your customer has thought of someone who you could help. In a perfect world they will contact your next potential customer initially. Ask them to do that for you. It’s so much better if, when you contact the new customer, they’re already expecting your call.

Offer a reward
If you can, why not thank your customer with flowers, or maybe a bottle of bubbly, even just a thank you card? That shows how much you appreciate their help – and might just nudge them into introducing you to someone else!

So who can you ask in the next few days?

Until next time.

Leigh


PS: Click here if you have a fear of selling.


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www.sales-consultancy.com

020 7903 5426

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Checking in with the basics

3 June 2013

It’s great to hear more and more feedback from so many businesses that are really busy and thriving despite our sluggish economy. Yes there are challenges around – but lots of opportunities too, especially for small and medium sized businesses.

So, what have the successful businesses got right?

The basics…

Know what you’re great at
Focus on what you do best and be the best you can be. Keep learning, keep up to date with current trends and thinking and most of all…concentrate 100% on giving your customers a positive experience.

Give your customers what they really want
Really get to know who buys from you. What problems do they have? What do they want to achieve? This information is critical in order for you to match their needs and make them want to buy from you. Don’t guess. If you don’t know….ASK!

Tell them you have what they really want
When you know what your customers really want…you need to let them know that you have it. Communication is critical. Imagine having the perfect solution for your customers then keeping it a secret. Avoiding sales and marketing activity is like keeping yourself a secret. Use telephone, email, face to face, social media, post – whatever you need to do to reach wherever they are. Not just one thing either – a mix of activities will give you the best results.

Test and measure
Check the impact of all your customer interactions. You need to know what isn’t working…so you can stop it. Knowing what works means you can do more of it. Know what could work with a tweak here and there – then tweak away to make it more effective.

Be flexible
Keep trying different ways of connecting with your customers to keep them interested. You also need to be flexible to their needs. If you can deliver in a way that suits them even better….do it.

Quality, quality, quality
Hopefully you will already be going that extra mile to keep your customers happy and delivering a quality service or product. Keep checking in with yourself…what could I be doing better? Keep checking in with your customers too…they are the best source of feedback. Most customers won’t tell you when they’re unhappy…they will just go elsewhere to buy. So make sure you know what will make it better for them…guessing isn’t an option.

Attitude
The way you think will impact on the success you have. Half hearted efforts will give you half hearted results.

You know what you want and you know what you need to do to get it. Commit to it and get on with it. It’s easy to blame other people or the economy or anything other than yourself but at the end of the day your sales success is down to you and the ACTION you take.

Think about what motivates you and be sure to use these things to keep you in a positive state of mind.

These all fall into the “basic” category – but are worth checking in with. Are you doing all of these?

Until next time.

Leigh

PS; If you haven’t already, check out our 4 X DVD Programme “The Essential Sales System for Small Business”

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

020 7903 5426

http://www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

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Where are you shining your torch?

29 May 2013

Everyone will say they want to get rid of their problems – yet most go on to spend more time perfecting them! Whether it be a lost order, a sizeable customer complaint, new industry regulations pending, a personality clash, many seem unable or unwilling to move away from what is causing them angst. They think that the way to solve a problem is to think more about it! Round and round they go. Perfecting their problem. Nurturing it. Feeding it. Watering it. Wow – how did it get this big? If this rings any bells, then take note – there’s a simple yet brilliant technique below to help you solve your sales and business problems quickly and effectively.

Let me demonstrate…

Think of a problem you have in the workplace. For this example choose a small problem, that’s maybe been niggling away for a while (you can easily solve your big stuff later once you’re familiar with the technique!)

Find yourself somewhere where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes.

Firstly, let’s explore your problem. Ask yourself the following questions. Answer them in your head. Give yourself just a few seconds (7 – 10 seconds) on each question – your answers should be a gut reaction. Be honest with your answers too. If it helps, have someone read the questions to you.

Exercise – stage 1

Here are the questions

1.What is your problem?

2.Why is it a problem?

3.Why do you have this problem?

4.What caused it?

5.What are your limitations in solving it?

6.Who’s to blame?

7.Why haven’t you solved it yet?

When you’ve answered these seven questions ensure you have a quick change of scenery for a few seconds before the second stage of the exercise. Walk around the room, jump up and down, talk for a few seconds about something completely different, whatever you need to do to wipe the previous answers away.

Exercise – Stage 2

Now stage 2. Using the same problem, answer the second set of questions below. Again, answer them in your head and allocate about 7 – 10 seconds each. Honesty and gut reactions again too please.

Here we go…

1.What do you want?

2.How do you want it to be?

3.What do you need to get it?

4.What resources do you already have that will help you get this outcome?

5.Where are you with regards to achieving it?

6.What’s the next step you can take towards getting your outcome?

7.When will you take this step?

Your thoughts?

Notice how you felt at the end of the first set of questions – and at the end of the second set. I’d wager a bet that after the initial set of questions you remained deeply entrenched in the problem, feeling pretty depressed about the whole thing – and crucially were no nearer to a solution. I’d also predict that after the second set of questions you were feeling much more positive about the situation and had some good ideas already about how to solve your problem.

So…thinking back to the problems you have…where have you been shining your torch?

On the problems? Or the solutions? From now on you know which set of questions from above you need to use to get you the solutions you seek and get you on your way to your sales success.

It’s all about the psychology.

Until next time.

Leigh


PS; If you haven’t already, check out our 4 X DVD Programme “The Essential Sales System for Small Business”

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

020 7903 5426

http://www.sales-consultancy.com

For previous ‘Tricks of the Trade’ go here

Leigh Ashton

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