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Best Problem Solving Techniques


Find about the best problem solving techniques

Best Problem Solving Techniques

One of the most powerful techniques for problem solving is to focus on the Problem not the solution.
Let me explain.....
The best way to get a good solution is to have lots of solutions to choose from. Unfortunately, many people bring you a single solution disguised as the problem.
They may say “My problem is I need a kettle.” Only one solution provide a kettle.
If they had said “My problem is that I need to boil water” we could have provided many solutions.
A Manager may say “My problem is I need More People” Only one solution get more people.
If the Manager had said “My problem is the people I have cannot do the work with Skills, Resources and Procedures we have in place” We now have more options available to solve this problem.
I remember running a problem-solving course for a successful company in Hull.  The Distribution Director ‘s opening statement was this “My problem is I need a new warehouse “ You can see this is not his problem, it’s what he believes to be his single solution.
We solved the problem by re-designing his warehouse, installing high lift, narrow-isle trucks and introducing stock rotation systems.
The result was a 42% increase in storage space, a 20% increase in efficiency and a saving of £2 million on the original solution of a new warehouse.
There are many steps to problem solving but the most important is to Clearly Identify the problem.
Next time a person comes to you with a problem, ask yourself has this person given me the problem or have they given me what they believe to be the solution.
Click For more information on Problem Solving

Finding the Time for Success


Take action today....

Apparently, the average UK adult spends 26 hours a week watching television. I’m not against watching TV but I know there will be people in the UK saying ‘I wish I could learn how to play the piano, but I just don’t have time’. But here is where they are wrong - they do have the time, they just choose to spend it watching TV.

I often give this analogy when people ask me what the secret to sales success is, and I conclude with - you need to find the time for success. Yet the reality is often, ‘I need more time’.
First of all, there is no more time. Low and high achievers all get 24 hours a day. Secondly, yes there isn’t enough time to do everything, which is why you need to learn to prioritise effectively and be aware of which actions will enable you to develop a plan and ultimately achieve your goals.

There are two easy steps to help you overcome this.

Step one is to set your goals - whether this is to sell three times more than you did last year, become a managing director even run a marathon – anything is possible if you know what you’re striving towards. This seems like a simple solution but many people make the common mistake of not setting goals and wonder why they fail.

Step two is to simply develop a plan, because it will help drive your motivation and you’ll succeed as a result.

High achievers have clearly defined targets and plan their time to achieve this. You can’t create more time but you can control your environment, your procedures, your habits, and only you can allocate the right amount of time to reach your goals. It’s your life, your future, and your time for success.

So if you find yourself thinking or saying, ‘I don’t have time’, ask yourself what you are doing or about to do which is taking you away from your goals?

Finding the Time for Success - What next? – Take action….

CLICK HERE to find out you can set your goals and save time

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Tips for Sales Managers


Your job as a Sales Manager is not to sell but to get it sold.

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 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 agree your 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 agreed Sales target.

These will be Key result areas. The activities required may include the following

• Enquiries
• Appointments
• Quotations
• Demonstration
• Orders

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 between the Sales people so that each one can do their part.

Remember these 4 things...
  1. What gets monitored gets done, and inspect what you expect.
  2. If you don’t inspect it, they think you don’t respect it and they stop doing it.
  3. The carrot is bigger than the stick. So catch your people doing things right and praise the procedures you want repeated.
  4. 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.

As Sales Manager will also need new skills in the areas of Leadership, Coaching, Mentoring.

You may need to develop your ability to recruit the very best people.

Here is a question for you.

Who sets your standards?
Well the answer is... You, Your Customers and Your Competitors.

No company’s stand still. You are either growing or dying. If you are standing still and your competitors are growing you are dying by comparison.

As Sales Manager you are in control of the powerhouse of growth and development because you are in charge of sales and without sales the company has no growth and development.

Most of all you need to be the role model.

The question is what kind of team will my team be if everyone in it is just like me?

The difference is you…

Why not join us on the next Sales Managers’ Masterclass? CLICK HERE For details

Written by Mike Le Put – MLP Training

Top Strategies for Account Development.


I define what a Major Account is in terms of Turnover, Location, Product lines, Payment Terms, Profit, & Growth Potential.

So, if you are an Account Manager then you will need to identify a number of factors that will enable you to be more focused and successful in your role.

Let’s start with our 4 top strategies for Account Development

1) Define what a Major Account is in terms of Turnover, Location, Product lines, Payment Terms, Profit, Growth & Potential.
2) Look at your existing accounts and see how they stack up.
3) Ask yourself “What Is my Major Accounts Target and will I make target from this list?
4) Do an account audit on each account consisting of at least 20 questions

To get you started you could include questions like these:
 - What is the size of this account as a market?
 - What is our Market share?
 - What are the Customers goals?
 - Can we name the Key People in terms of Money Authority & Need?
 - Do we have access to the Key People?
 - Do we have a Contact Strategy?
 - Who are our competitors?
 - What is our USP?
 - Do we understand the Decision process, Budgets and Financial justification?
 - What is our GOSPA. Goals Objectives Strategy Plan and Action?
 - What is our ROI goal?
 - Who should be the Account Manager?
80% of your business could be coming from 20% of your customers that means your need your best people working on these accounts.
Major accounts are different.... they are based on the supplier having an in-depth understanding of what the customer needs.That means understanding the customers’ business the customers company structure and the customers’ goals.
It is also about building strong relationships and trust by working together so that the account manager is seen as a partner, an unpaid member of the customer's staff, a person they can trust and a person they can work with to the benefit of both parties.

It is about… Moving from an outsider… providing a commodity supplied on price and delivery.

To an insider… a supplier of extra value with a long term strategic partnership. A supplier that is work with customer and contributing to organisational & business issues
The Results are: - 
 - Economies of scale for the seller
 - Low risk for the buyer 
 - And win win for both parties
A great Account Manager can Increase your Sales & Grow your business!

I wish you every Success with your Account development.
Mike Le Put MLP Training CLICK HERE

Trucks don't Sell Themselves


Did you know Trucks don't Sell Themselves? 

Have you ever heard a Sales Person say. “I lost an order to Toyota, Linde or Crown”?

These are all good lift trucks but I have never seen a Toyota Linde or Crown Truck that can take it’s self out of the show room go down to a customer, do a site survey, put a quote together deliver a presentation overcome objections and close a deal in order to sell itself.

The truth is that you did not lose the order to a Toyota, Linde or Crown. You lost it to a Toyota, Linde or Crown Truck Sales person.

Have you ever heard a Sales Person say. “ I lost an order to Toyota, Linde or Crown”? These are all good lift trucks but I have never seen a Toyota Linde or Crown Truck that can take it’s self out of the show room go down to a customer, do a site survey, put a quote together deliver a presentation overcome objections and close a deal in order to sell itself.

The truth is that you did not lose the order to a Toyota, Linde or Crown. You lost it to a Toyota, Linde or Crown Truck Sales person.

You got out sold. That Sales person is getting the Sales that you should be getting.


 - customers only ever bought the cheapest truck you would only have one truck supplier

 - customers only bought the highest quality truck you only have one truck supplier

So, IF you are looking for the difference it’s in the Sales Person.
The difference is not the truck it’s your ability to sell it.
The difference is YOU....

Mike Le Put... MLP Training CLICK HERE Sales Training details.

The Purpose of a Business


What is the purpose of a Business?

Doctor David McClelland of Harvard was quoted as saying the purpose of a business is to Get a Keep Customers.


True profit in any business comes from repeat business. Your job is to keep customers once you have them on board. This means the first sale is the most important. Customers will not want to return if they have not been happy with the first purchase. So do what you say you are going to do. And don’t make promises you can’t keep.
It is better to under promise and over deliver than the reverse.
Once you have the first sale you treat every sale as if it was your first sale.
 - Dot the I’s and cross the t’s.
 - Pay attention to detail.
 - Treat every customer as if they are your only customer because as far as they are concerned THEY ARE.

What is the difference between sales and business development?


Find out what is the difference between sales and business development here?

Selling is identifying or creating a need for your product or service and building a desire in the prospect to want use or own that product or service by focusing on benefits.

The function of Selling is to Sell.


Function of Business Development is to improve an organization’s market position and achieve financial growth by identifying the opportunities to sell.

This requires long-term organizational strategic goals. To find new markets and to Grow existing Accounts.
That is why Our Account Development Strategies course is not suitable for new Sales People.
The course is not about Selling Skills i.e. Questioning, Listening, Presenting, Objection Handling, Closing these things are a given at this level.
Account Development is about long-term organizational strategic goals. It is about Business Development. It is about looking at a major account as a Market and increasing Market share of that Market and strengthening customer relationships by in-depth understanding of the customers’ business.

How to handle the “ Too Expensive Objection”


42 Negotiation and Objection Handling Tips and Questions

First of all remember the golden rule “ Don’t Negotiate until sold” Do a worth analysis to find out what it is worth before you tell the customer how much it cost and don’t talk about cost only talk about saving.

Simple example would be: you know your product is £20.000

You ask the customer questions to establish the fact that the problem is costing them £25,000. You then say we may have a solution and if it is acceptable to you it could save you £5000.

Would you like to see the solution?

You only talk in terms of solutions and saving. Never cost and Price.

Focus on what it’s worth not what it costs. Remember so long as it is worth more than it costs then it cost them nothing to do it.

The worth analysis is THE BEST WAY to handle the price objection.

Selling against competition

Sell the difference. If you are £10 and the competition is £9 you don’t have to justify £10 all you need to do is sell the difference and that is just £1

Below are so Questions and responses you may find useful.

Best regards

Mike Le Put

Too expensive

  1. As compared to?
  2. H ow do you mean?
  3. In relation to?
  4. Tell me why do you say that?


I have had a better offer

  1. Tell me about it
  2. How do you feel about that offer?
  3. What exactly have you been offered?
  4. What is included in that offer?
  5. What model is that?
  6. What are the performance figures?
  7. What are the running costs?
  8. Out of interest ,why didn’t you accept that offer?
  9. What concerns you about that offer?
  10. Given that you know we can’t get down to that price, what are you looking for in terms of quality, service and reliability?
  11. If we were both the same price what would be the advantage to you in going with us.

27 Useful Questions

  1. Tell me what’s more important to your business, the price of the machine or its ability to do the job for the next ten years?

  2. Why don’t you take it?
  3. If you cut back on the quality of this raw material then you cut back on the quality of the service you give to your customers. And that’s where the real profit is in your business isn’t it?

  4. Why don’t you take it?
  5. You know Mr Smith you’re only going to replace this once in the next five years. You want it to be the most reliable component you can get don’t you? Why don’t you take it
  6. What we’re talking about here is an investment in your business. And your business deserves the best doesn't it? Why don’t you take it?

  7. But you wouldn’t let that stop you having the most reliable components on the market would you? Why don’t you take it?

  8. You have worked hard to but this project together and you want to support it with the very best, up to date electronics you can get don’t you? Why don’t you take it?

  9. You know that Quality is remembered long after price has been forgotten. And quality and reliability is going to be vital in this operation. Why don’t you take it?

  10. You can always buy cheaper, but you can’t buy better. And you do want the best you can get don’t you? Why don’t you take it?

  11. I understand you want value for money Mr Smith. Let’s look at where the value and the savings are for Smith & Co.

  12. It’s an investment in the quality of your business and the quality of service you give your customers. And that’s Priceless isn’t it? Why don’t you take it?

  13. If you cut back on the quality of your components you cut back on the quality of service you give your customers and that’s where the real profit is in your business Why don’t you take it?

  14. You know Mr Smith, looking at your building, your offices your car. You’re not a man that buys on price. You want Quality and reliability. And this is the best there is. Why don’t you take it?

  15. I understand the design engineers preferred us because we support them from conception to completion, and see us as unpaid members of their team.

  16. I understand the Manufacturing Managers prefer us because of continuity of supply don’t they?

  17. I understand that because of or availability you have been able to reduce your stock holding, and free up cash for other projects haven’t you?

  18. I understand your failures in production, reworks and warranty claims have been reduced £XXX because of the quality of our components. That saves you both Time and Money doesn’t it?.

  19. I understand you have some issues getting your products on time from China. Don’t you?

  20. I understand you have had some quality issues with Chinese components recently.

  21. I understand our technical people were a great help to your design team on the xxxx project. I guess that’s why they want to stay with us.

  22. I understand you have to place minimum order quantities AND pay up front from China don’t you.

  23. What’s more important to you saving 1p on the component or not having to carry stock?

  24. What’s worth more to you 1p on the component or reducing failed in process?

  25. What’s worth more to you 1p on the component or its ability to work at that temperature for the life of the product?

  26. What’s worth more to you 1p on the component or not having to place minimum order quantities.

  27. What’s worth more to you 1p on the component or not having to pay up front from China?

CLICK For list of Great Sales Training and Negotiating courses

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.

Many of MLP’s training courses have been designed with these goals in mind, including our Leadership Skills, Effective Meeting and Coaching & Mentoring one-day programmes.

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.

Setting Customer Service Standards


Who sets your Customer Service Standards?


You do

Your Customers Do

And Your Competitors Do


You cannot set your Customer service standards in isolation.

The good news is that people will pay for great service. Why? Because given the choice between low price and low risk most people would choose low risk. High service = low risk.


Look at inner and outer circle issues


Inner circle are the basics. Right price, quality, availability etc.

Outer circle are the unexpected.


At one time if you took your car in for a service they would not clean it. The cleaning would be unexpected and therefore an outer circle issue.

The interesting thing is that the cleaning is now expected and has become an inner circle issue.


To be notified that your online purchase had been dispatched was an outer circle issue that has become expected and moved to the inner circle.


Look at what has moved from outer to inner in your market and make sure your moving with the market.


Then ask how can we get ahead of the market by finding new outer circle issues that our competitors have not thought of.


Customer-focused versus Company focused procedures


Let’s look at an example of Company focus procedures.


I went to the Hotel receptionist to ask if she could change my room.

No sorry I can’t do that she said.

Can I speak to your Manager?

No she is in a meeting.

Can you interrupt the meeting?

No sorry.

What would your manager do if she was here?

She would change your room.

How do you know?

She always does. Nobody wants to stay in that room.

Why don’t you change it.

I can’t change it without talking to my Manager.


The strange thing about this is that I am getting bad service from a good employee. She sticking to the procedure. But the procedure is wrong.

Look at your procedures and make them Customer focused.


What about empowerment

The receptionist should have been empowered to change my room. Customers like to talk to one person that can make a decision. How can you empower your people to give great service?


Let’s go back to standards

Why not empower your people to set standards.

Here are some standards set by employees.


Service Engineer. First time fix on all call outs.

Hotel Staff. Uniforms will be uncompromising immaculate at all times.

Production Workers. Zero defects leaving our production line.


You may be surprised at the high standards you people WANT TO work to.


Set the standards

Remember what gets monitored gets done.

Praise the procedures you want repeated.

Catch your people doing something right.


Tell people it’s OK to tell us if you don’t hit the standards. That way we can give you the support you need to deliver the service our customers want.

Remember to celebrate Success.


Everyone knows that repeat business is great business. Happy customers return again and again bringing increased profits and lower cost per sale.


Invest in Great Customer Service and your customers will grow your business for you.


At MLP Training we have spent over 25 years developing  powerful Customer Service Excellence workshops.
Click for more details.
Setting Customer Service Standards By Mike Le Put

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