Whilst a 25th anniversary is usually called a ‘silver’ anniversary, the last 25 years have really been a golden time for MLP Training, founded in 1990 in Bury, by trainer and motivational speaker, Mike Le Put.
Over the last 25 years MLP Training has delivered Sales Training and Management development courses in over 20 countries. Our programmes have been distributed worldwide by the BBC and have even been made available as in-flight entertainment to first-class customers on British Airways.
Remaining faithful to our UK customers, we will also be running more than 60 Sales Training and Management Development courses at The Bolholt Country Park Hotel in Bury that will be attended by local, national and international companies.
In addition to our core client list, which ranges from multi-national companies to SMEs, we are also proud to supply training to businesses using the national Growth Accelerator service.
To celebrate this important 25 year milestone, MLP Training is holding a series of FREE Vision 20/20 Strategy meetings this year. The one day workshops are provided Free to Senior Directors so as to develop a clear vision of where they want their business to be by 2020. Using tried and tested methodologies, the sessions provide a valuable framework for businesses planning for growth.
The next Vision 20/20 meeting will be held on 1st July 2015 at the Bolholt Hotel in Bury. For more information, click here.
As smart as you are, you are severely limited in terms of what you can sell when you are doing the selling.
Your job is not to sell. Your job is to to recruit, train and motivate a strong sales team to do the selling for you.
Your job is to hit or exceed target with the available resources.
So the first thing to do is to work with your team to agreeyour Sales Targets.
This can be a top down target made of what the company needs to achieve and a bottom up target made of what the Sales people are forecasting.
You now need to work out the Success Formula. By that I mean what needs to happen for you to hit your agreedSales target.
These will be Key result areas. The activities required may include the following
The question now is how many off each do you need to achieve in order to hit target. You will get this figure by analysing your conversation ratios at each step. Once you have the total numbers you now divide this betweenbetween the Sales people so that each one can do their part.
Remember.. What gets monitored gets done, and inspect what you expect. If you don’t inspect it they think you don’t respect it and they stop doing it. The carrot is bigger than the stick. So catch your people doing things right and praise the procedures you want repeated. Recognition is a massive motivator.
Once you have set your targets and your key result areas you need to look at the resources you have . List out everything you have as a resource and score yourself on a scale of 0-10 in terms of how well you use those resources.
List out all the core competences your sales people need in order to achieve your targets. You are not looking for weaknesses you are looking for areas of development. As the market changes the skills that your sales people need will change and it is your job to ensure that they have the new skills.
To many salespeople sell their hearts out over the phone giving prospects lots of information about products and services that cannot be purchased without a site survey client assessment or application study.
The sales person gives all the information then askes for an appointment and the prospect says “ I have all the information I need leave it with me. I’ll get back to you if I need anything.
Unfortunately this is a waist of time for the sales person and the prospect because without a visit to site neither the sales person nor the prospect know if the Sales persons offering is going to solve the prospects problem or improve the their situation.
If your sale depends on a face to face visit then it does not matter how good you are face to face because if you can’t get face to face you can’t do anything.
This a master skill of great sales people and dramatically increases sales for the top performers.
There are two types of call in this area
1 Enquiry Follow up
2 The Cold call.
The goal for both should be to sell the appointment. If it is in the best interests of both parties.
With the enquiry follow up. The sales person should thank the prospect for the enquiry.
Ask what prompted the enquiry. Ask questions to ascertain the suitability of a meeting.
Then use an assumptive close such as
“What normally happens next is that people welcome the opportunity to discuss this in the comfort of their own home/office.”
Or “The best thing for us to do is come out and have a look at the application and see if there is some way we can help you with this.”
The cold call
You owe it to yourself and your prospect to only cold call people who you believe will genuinely benefit from your offering.
Do your research.
I know you will have been told to be a go getter in sales. But great Sales people are also go givers .
They know that the customer must always be better off as a result of a purchase.
Do your research and be ready to answer the three major questions that the prospect is going to be asking.
Who are you?
What do you want?
And what’s in it for me.?
You need a well prepared script that answers the above. You can’t say the same thing to every prospect because every prospect is not the same.
Every approach needs to be tailored to the prospects need.
At MLP Training we have identified 14 standard objections that prospects raise when cold called by below average sales people.
Great Sales people understand that the best time to overcome an objection is before it is raised. They understand that preparation is everything and they are prepared for anything.
The prospect is more relaxed they are keen to meet the sales person and both parties benefit.
CLICK For details of the next one day Getting appointments Over the Phone course
Shut up and Sell
Want to know the secret of selling more?
According to one of the most experienced and successful salespeople attending a recent MLP Sales Training Programme, it’s simple: “Just shut up and sell!”
It may seem like a flippant comment but for would-be sales people starting out on their careers, or those that would like to sell more, it’s the best sales advice you’ll ever hear.
Why? Because you will listen your way into more sales than you will ever talk your way into.
It’s an approach to selling that goes against the stereotypes of the chatty salesperson who could talk the hind legs off a donkey. But those stereotypes are based on common selling practice…not insightful best practice.
In my experience, great sales people don’t talk very much at all, but they make what they say matter. They ask great questions. Then they listen. And they really listen, without interrupting or finishing people’s sentences for them. They shut up and sell, using their great listening skills to keep the prospect talking.
That listening approach to selling not only helps the prospect to relax, it’s also great for rapport building and it helps the sales person clearly identify the best way to help the prospect to become a satisfied customer.
Why does it work? Because people like to buy but they don’t want to feel like they’ve been ‘sold to’. You’ll never meet anyone that says ‘let me show you what a salesperson sold me yesterday’; but you’ll often hear ‘let me show you what I bought yesterday’.
Great sales people understand that people buy for their own reasons. As a sales professional, your job is to get them to tell you what they want and why they want to buy it.
You can only do that by asking great questions, listening to the answers, clarifying those answers, then confirming your understanding. Of course you’ll need to speak, but your words will be targeted and meaningful, not only for you as a salesperson but for your prospect as an individual.
Without squandering words on a sales pitch that wastes time pushing the wrong solution, you can skip straight past any resistance and go straight to reasons to buy.
So, next time your meeting with a prospect and you feel the need to launch into your tried and tested pitch. Stop.Remember the ‘Shut up and Sell’ advice and just start listening.
There are a number of sales programmes taking place throughout the year, for more information click here
Could Your Training Budget Work Harder? By Melanie Windle, Personal Development Consultant at MLP Training
As the economic recovery continues, ensuring you have the trained staff you need to drive growth has never been more important, and one method that many organisations use to maximise the value of the talent within their business is internal training.
Sharing valuable expertise is not as simple as putting the person with the knowledge in front of those who need to learn - training can only be effective if it addresses different learning styles of the people.
Internal training programmes can face difficulties if businesses don’t understand the way in which variations in learning styles need to be addressed, and it’s unlikely you will achieve the training outcomes you were hoping for.
These challenges that companies face in delivering effective training led MLP to develop its two-day ‘Training the Trainer’ course, which is suitable for anyone with a training remit, from those developing and delivering training materials for the first time to experienced training professionals.
Delegates that have taken this course in the past have varied considerably and face a range of challenges depending on their level of experience, their remit and their audiences.
The course takes delegates on a journey through the various elements of becoming an effective trainer, including designing training programmes, activities and materials, using ‘off the shelf’ materials, presentation styles and techniques for taking and utilising feedback. It also looks at various training approaches, including solo vs co-training and the use of groups in a training setting.
MLP’s ultimate aim is to provide delegates with a practical toolkit that will enable them to design, construct and deliver effective training sessions, building on their knowledge, skills and confidence so that they understand the learning styles they will encounter and have the strategies they need to deal with challenging behaviour.
The most common trap that inexperienced trainers fall into is to design courses based on the ways in which they themselves learn. MLP’s ‘Training the Trainer’ course outlines 10 influences on learning styles and explains how addressing all ten of these during every training session will ensure that all delegates are engaged during the session, enabling the trainer to achieve the required outcomes from the session.
These learning styles include ‘Activist’, ‘Reflector’, ‘Theorist’, ‘Pragmatist’, ‘Visual’, ‘Auditory’, ‘Reading and Writing’, ‘Kinesthetic’, ‘Left brain ‘ and ‘Right brain’.
Delegates also learn how to deal with difficult situations during training sessions, such as aggressive and confrontational characters and people who don’t want to learn or resent the time investment required to attend training sessions.
Giving trainers practical strategies that they can adopt in challenging situations really helps them feel prepared, and we build role playing into the course so that delegates don’t just understand the theory but have experienced how the techniques we give them work in practice.
In any training scenario, making the session relevant, accessible and memorable is essential.Only when the trainer can achieve all that will the training be truly memorable and the outcomes deliver genuine value from your training budget.
The next two-day Training the Trainer Course from MLP will be held at the Bolholt Country Park Hotel in Bury, Greater Manchester on 26th 27th February 2015.For further information click here.
Coaching and mentoring: is it all about the question?
Most employees are asked to coach or mentor a junior member of staff – I’ve been doing it for years without any real training or guidance. I thought the MLP Coaching and Mentoring course would be more of a refresher than a learning experience.
Not so. The course reveals how coaching and mentoring can support business growth by getting the best out of a company’s assets – its people.
Coaching focuses on a specific task a person needs to learn, whereas mentoring looks at the entire individual, providing guidance, direction and purpose.
There are clear differences between the two disciplines; coaching is a short or medium term process which identifies an opportunity to learn and is approached by joint problem solving. Mentoring develops the individual’s long term career prospects and helps to develop a shared vision for the future.
Key elements of coaching include:
·Each task has a learning target
·Regular meetings to review progress
·Asking the right questions
·Listening and supporting
Key elements of mentoring include:
·Establishing a strong relationship and trust
·Challenging, questioning and providing choices
·Establishing goals and a plan
·Reviewing and evaluating progress
One key thing I learnt from the course was the importance of listening and asking the right questions. Often in a time-pressured work environment, less time is given to coaching and mentoring but it’s essential that the trainer has the time to plan for those sessions, listen to the individual and explore options for either the coaching or/and mentoring process.
It’s very easy when working with someone to give them the answers and expect them to develop skills simply by being told how you would tackle a task. A much better way is to ask the right questions and allow them to work through the process, arriving at the answer with insight and understanding, rather than simply being given the information.
Coaching and mentoring deserves time and commitment from a business but it’s time worth investing. Listening to employees builds better working relationships and environments, and helps develop key skills. Ultimately it benefits the bottom line; a motivated and skilled workforce performs better, delivers great service to customers and has some fun along the way.
It’s time to start asking the right questions.
Are Your Best People Too Good For Your Training Budget?
Whether your company recruits school leavers, graduates, or only those with relevant workplace experience, the chances are that most of your training budget is focused on ensuring those on the lower rungs of the career ladder have the skills they need to climb it.
A clear development path has become an important part of attracting and retaining the best candidates, which makes it an important part of any company’s HR strategy. But what about the talented people that have already proved their value to your organisation? Shouldn’t you be investing in ensuring that you maximise their value with courses that focus on leadership, time management and mentoring?
Many companies have a policy of promoting from within, which can have significant commercial advantages.However, promotion from a ‘doing’ role to a managerial role is often awarded without any investment in management training – which means that the individual may not have the skills they need to adjust to their new responsibilities and the company may not benefit from their full potential.
Even the most talented and experienced people in an organisation sometimes need to take a step back and examine how they can do things better. Just one behaviour change as a result of training can have a significant impact on productivity and the ability to add value.
There may be barriers to this, not least in a reluctance from busy senior people to take time out of their schedule to spend on training.However, by selecting an outcomes-based training model with clear goals and a defined follow up process, any objections can be overcome and any time invested will be more than recouped in greater efficiency and productivity day-to-day.
A culture of continuous improvement can only thrive in any organisation if there is a commitment to developing the skills of those who run it.If UK companies are serious about building on their success in post-recession Britain, training needs to be high on the agenda at the highest levels of the career ladder.
The importance of being assertive by Emma Brereton, account manager at The Write Angle
When I was offered a place on an assertiveness course with MLP Training I thought the room would be full of the meek and mild.
How wrong I was. Developing assertiveness skills is not just for those who have trouble standing up for themselves, it's also important for people who come across as aggressive – both of which can be extremely detrimental in the workplace.
Assertiveness is about looking at ways of dealing with certain situations and different people whilst remaining firm but fair.
During the day's course we analysed what aggressive, passive and assertive behaviours look like. For example,
Getting your own way no matter what and winning at all costs
Getting your point across at another person's expense
Making people do things they don't want to do
Being loud threatening and violent
Keeping quiet and avoiding conflict for fear of upsetting people
Always saying yes
Not expressing your true feelings
Listening and showing an understanding to other people's point of view
Being able to reach workable compromise solutions
Dealing with conflict
Being able to recognise your mistakes and recognise your limitations
Analysing these behaviours really helped the group to understand what it is they need to do to change the way we are in the workplace. To achieve the optimum level of assertiveness, we were told, there are a number of things you need to think about; as maintaining good posture, making good eye contact, having a balanced tone of voice and controlling gestures that we do subconsciously like twiddling hair or clasping hands. These subconscious actions are often very revealing and are things that need to be controlled.
Developing good assertiveness skills leads into the ability of being able to say no, dealing with criticism and confrontation. Essentially it's about keeping a level head, being confident in what you're saying and calmly standing your ground.
I learnt a lot about myself on the day and I think I definitely have a good foundation for becoming an assertive person in the workplace. There are 10 rules I now try to abide by to make sure I'm keeping on top of what we learnt.
1. Respect myself and the choices I make
2. Take responsibility for my actions
3. Recognise my own needs and wants independently of others
4. Make clear statements about how I feel and what I want to do
5. Enjoy your successes
6. Ask for time to think things over if needed
7. Set clear boundaries
8. Don't worry about the mistakes I make
9. Be clear in asking for what I want
10. Respect others and their right to be assertive.
Let's start with a question: how often do you get to the end of the day and wonder where the time went or wish you could find a few extra hours from somewhere?
Sometimes? Often? Everyday?
The desire to recoup the ‘missing' hours that have somehow melted away in the frenetic activity of a busy day is not an uncommon sentiment. The reality is that everyone gets the same allocation of hours each day, however if you feel like you never have enough as you scramble to achieve as much as possible, it's because you're not managing your time effectively.
Effective time management is one of the aspects of professional behaviour that sets apart high achievers and makes them more productive in the workplace. And to manage your time, the first thing you have to do is set goals and stick to them.
High achievers focus their time on high priority areas, which means they step away from the firefighting, distracting activities and the urge to respond immediately to every request they receive in order to remain focused on a task and use their time wisely to complete it.
Step One: As any management coach will tell you, 80 per cent of your results are generated from 20 per cent of your activities, so your first step towards becoming a high achiever is to identify which activities drive your 80 per cent.
Step Two: Once you have identified those priority activities, the next step is to set goals to help you remain focused on high value tasks: goal setting is the master skill of time management and time management is the master skill of all high achievers.
Step 3: With clearly defined goals in place, you then need to develop a critical path to goal delivery which will help you align the available time to the tasks you need to complete, ensuring you remain focused and don't fall into the distraction trap.
The average household spends 1,460 hours a year in front of the TV box – four hours a day. And sometimes we watch it without even realising. A TV Licensing Authority survey found people underestimate their TV viewing by up to 20 hours a week.
Now I am not against TV but I know in my heart there are people saying ‘I'd like to play the piano but I don't have the time'. They have the time they just choose to spend that time watching TV.
Here is a great question for you to ask yourself. "Is what I am doing or about to do taking me towards or away from my goal?"
High achievers have clearly defined goals and they know what they need to do to achieve those goals and they have a plan.
High achievers know you can't make or control time. You can't have a short hour for the bad things and long hours for the good things.
As much as you might like to, you can't control time, but you can control how you spend the time available to you. It's up to you to manage your environment, your systems, your work habits and how you deal with interruptions, maximising the value of your time by ensuring you don't fritter it away.