In a fast-paced sales environment, no sale is ever guaranteed until the customer has signed on the dotted line.
Simply by walking into a sales conversation believing that you will close the deal, however, you can dramatically improve your chance of success!
The correlation between confidence and sales success is well-documented and numerous experiments have been carried out to prove the importance of positive belief.
For example, a large team of newly-trained sales people was split randomly into two groups, with group one told that they were being given ‘easy’ territories with excellent potential for high sales volumes and group two being warned that their territories were challenging and meeting targets would be tough.
Unsurprisingly, while all the territories had the same customer demographic and sales potential, group one closed many more deals.
My own experience echoes these results and the outlook of delegates that attended a recent MLP ‘Getting Appointments Over the Phone’ course provides a case in point. The one-day course involved training a group of 10 experienced sales people and my first question was ‘how many cold calls do you expect to have to make before you secure an appointment?’
Answers from the group mostly varied between 10 and 20, with just one delegate confidently answering ‘one’.
When set the practical task of carrying out some cold calls, success levels varied across the group, however, by far the most successful delegate was the person that had anticipated securing an appointment with his first call. He may not have achieved a successful outcome every time he picked up the phone but his hit rate was far greater – largely because he believed it would be!
So when people ask me if there’s one thing they can do to improve their sales, my answer is ‘believe you will close the deal’.
It may seem simple, but the best advice always is!
Find out more about our ‘Getting Appointments Over the Phone’ course here.
Top tips for Sales Team Motivation
Conventional wisdom on motivating your team would have you believe that there is only one technique that works: the carrot and the stick.
However, if your team spends most of its time worrying about the stick because it has no expectation of winning the carrot, the effect can actually be the opposite of what you intended, leaving you with a downward spiral of low morale and poor performance.
If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone...but it’s not time to rip up the carrot and stick rule book yet! It’s just time to understand it better.
The carrot and stick approach is only effective if you apply the M = R x E (Motivation = Reward x Expectation) formula for sales success.
Let me explain with an example. Let’s imagine that it’s the office Christmas party and there is a piano in the room.You decide it would liven up the party if someone were to play a few tunes and you offer a bottle of wine as an incentive. Yet, no-one volunteers to tickle the ivories.
Even after you’ve threatened to end the party if no-one volunteers to play the piano, the stool remains unoccupied. Why? Because you’ve failed to ask a very important question – does anyone at the party actually know how to play the piano?
It seems obvious in that context that a reward is only an incentive if it’s attainable and yet, in a more conventional business scenario, that very important element of motivation – expectation – is often overlooked.
Put simply, no matter how attractive the reward may be, if the salesperson has no expectation of achieving it because the target is too high or in some other way unachievable it will not motivate them to sell more. In fact, it may do just the opposite.
So what’s the answer?
Firstly, it’s vital to nurture a no blame culture that enables sales people to communicate openly about the hurdles that are preventing them from achieving their targets. This should be a two-way process, with sales managers also taking the initiative to help members of their team that are struggling to meet their targets, rather than berating them for underperformance.
Secondly, you need to enable those more worried about the stick than excited about the carrot to access the help they need to increase their expectations of attainment with training and confidence building.
Let’s face it, sales talent, like musical ability, needs coaching and practice to reach its full potential and building confidence and the expectation of success along the way is an important part of that process.
For more information about the courses on offer for successful selling skills, click here
Have You Got 20/20 Vision for Future Business Success?
Business leaders should always have their eye on the future, and at MLP Training, we have decades of experience of helping leaders keep their sights firmly on success.
To celebrate the fact that it’s our 25th year in business, we’re holding a series of FREE Vision 20/20 Strategy meetings through the year, which allow business leaders the time and space to explore the long-term direction they want their business to take.
Using tried and tested methodologies, plus lessons learnt from military history, each session provides a valuable framework for business planning for busy leaders.
The next Vision 20/20 session will be held on 31st July 2015 in the picturesque setting of The Stables Country Club in the grounds of the Bolholt Hotel in Bury.
In addition, we will also be running more than 60 Sales Training and Management Development courses at the hotel in Bury, which will be attended by local, national and international companies.Delivered in more than nine countries, these Sales Training and Management Development programmes have also been distributed worldwide by the BBC.
To book your place or for more information, click here
Follow us on Twitter - @mlptraining1
25th Anniversary Celebrations
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.