Problem Solving & Business Development
Want to be a great Business Problem Solver?
Discovering how you can become a great problem solver will definitely enhance your business and management skills and increase your career opportunities.
Here are 3 key areas you should be able to recognise, action and implement
1. overcome obstacles
2. remove success barriers
3. develop new systems and processes
Become the innovator and turn Problems into Opportunities for your team and business!
Be it customer problems, design, manufacturing, distribution, people, sales, finance or whatever.
Every day in business you need to have a way of clearly identifying the real problems getting to the root cause and providing long term solutions.
6 Steps for you to plan and be a great business problem solver…...
1) Gather the right Information
2) Define the real Cause - Problems are like icebergs - we often only see what’s on the surface.
3) Create options and solutions
4) Develop selection criteria - test your ideas against clear decision criteria.
5) Make the Decision - what to do, how to do it, when to do it, who will do it and when it will be completed
6) Monitor progress
So make sure you defined the barriers, explored solutions and developed an action plan for continuous improvement and remember “What gets monitored gets done."
Join my network here – I share updates and post articles regularly here on topics around sales, customer service, coaching, leadership and other business areas.
Attend a Problem-Solving Course and walk away with clearly defined the barriers to success in your organisation, explored solutions and developed an action plan for continuous improvement.
How can you use Appraisals to grow your business
Helping people develop their day-to-day performance is the role of every great Manager.
Giving positive feedback and guidance is a Key Skill in the development of your people.
The appraisal process is the key to continuous improvement, company growth and staff retention.
The role of management in the annual appraisal is crucial, as what you decide affects the year ahead. Handled well and with joint responsibility, quality appraisals can really develop your staff and aid your people management tasks throughout the year.
Making sure that you have a robust appraisal process will ensure a consistent approach across your company.
So, let’s start here and ask yourself the following 8 questions… write down your answers
1. What is the purpose of appraisals?
2. Know and understand clearly what is your role is in the process and how to give an appraisal interview?
3. Do you prepare for appraisals? – the appraiser and the appraisees
4. Does your company recognise and offer staff development?
5. Are you setting SMART Goals?
6. Do you know how to address performance through appraisals?
7. Do you set Action plans for further development and monitor activity?
What is the purpose of appraisals?
The purpose of appraisal is to introduce a set a time to communicate with your staff so that you can achieve better work performance from your employees.
Appraisals should include the following:
· Job objectives that are SMART and are linked to company’s goals.
· Clearly highlight the expectations of an employee’s performance
· The employee’s performance is reviewed against the objectives which were set and they are given relevant feedback, agreed support if required.
· Discuss options for development activities to make better use of his skills or to enhance them to improve performance.
· Positive reinforcement for successful performance should be given.
· Give employees the opportunity to discuss their job role and career prospects
What is your role in the process?
Understanding your role in the appraisal process is crucial to success. Make sure that you know the company’s system and process so that you are confident in delivering appraisals.
Ask for support and training!
Do you prepare for appraisals? – the appraiser and the appraisees
You may or may not know that to not prepare and plan for an appraisal is the route to disaster. Follow your companies processes and procedures if they do not have them then may be it is time to attend some Appraisals & Performance Training
Does your company recognise and offer staff development?
Understanding and recognising strengths and weaknesses of your staff will enable you to identify areas that need development, coaching, training or buddy support from another team member.
Are you setting SMART Goals?
SMART is a well-established tool that you can use to plan and achieve your goals it means
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
- Measurable – quantify - how you are going to measure.
- Assign – specify who is responsible.
- Realistic – state results can realistically be achieved when given available resources.
- Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
Setting SMART goals with your staff will enable you to achieve the overall company goals by dissecting them into smaller elements and assigning them to individuals – this gives countability and responsibility and that if all the individuals complete the tasks set then the main objective will be reached.
Do you set Action plans for further development and monitor activity?
Setting action plans for further development and other areas that have come from the appraisal discussion enables both the appraiser and the appraises a point of reference that can then be used throughout the year to monitor success and or poor performance.
What nextIf you need support to get your appraisals right click here
Why Change By Mike Le Put
Why Change. By Mike Le Put.
Change is the only constant. Change is happening faster now than at any other time in human history. Managing change is what keeps us in Business. Your competitors are finding quicker cheaper better ways to do everything and so must you. Knowing how to innovate and manage change is not optional it is it a Key Ingredient in the success of top performing companies and Senior Managers.
No company stands still. You are either growing or you're dying. If you are standing still and your competitors are growing you are going backwards by comparison.
Directors Managers and employees must learn to embrace change– but very few have been formally trained so that change is effectively implemented.
Change is an inevitable part of a successful business. Yet many are resistant, even fearful of change. As managers / leaders it is part of your role to identify areas to change, to implement changes necessary and to motivate and engage your staff to work with the change and to make it happen in your business.
Let me know if we can help.
Mike Le Put
Set your Goals For 2017
It is said that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. High achievers do their preparation then go out and create the opportunity.
It all starts with Goals and the allocation of time in order to achieve those goals.
Now you can discover how to set your goals and be a great Time Manager.
We all get 24 hours in a day.
The question is not do I have the Time but, what return am I getting on my investment of Time?
If you want to know how to set goals, manage your time and get more done in 2017 then why not join us at for the next one day course at:
The Bolholt Country Park Hotel, Bury, BL8 1PU - 10th November
You can book online HERE, call 01204 888826 or e-mail email@example.com.
This is a great way to set your goals for 2017.
Hope you can join us.
Mike Le Put
Free Negotiating Course
The Successful Negotiator
I have been celebrating over 25 years of providing great Negotiating Training this year and thought I would share some of my thoughts here.
So if you are new, experienced and are buying or selling at the negotiating table making sure that you have the skills and the techniques to be successful and positively impact on the bottom line of your organisation.
“So how are you doing? Is there some room for improvement?”
Answer these questions truthfully….
Do you understand the negotiating process?
Have you mastered the Negotiating Strategies and Tactics?
Do you often drive down your buying prices?
Can you handle increasing your selling prices efficiently and effectively?
Are you really confident at the Negotiating Table?
Now hand on heart do you need to refresh your skills!
Check our 25 year Celebratory Free Sales Negotiating Course.
Just Follow the link and enjoy it.
Tip: Could even be a good thing to run at your next Sales Meeting!
Customer Service Excellence
Everyone knows that repeat business is great business. Happy customers return again and again bringing increased profits and lower cost per sale.
Investing in Great Customer Service and watch your customers grow your business for you.
MLP Training have spent over 25 years testing, measuring, living customer service and understanding how to attract more customers, Increase customer retention & Increase profits by providing Customer Service Excellence.
Passionate about caring for your customer is directly related to the success of your business.
Let’s stop for a moment ….
Do you have a deep understanding of how your service meets your customer’s needs?
Then answer these 3 questions – Also ask these your team at your next meeting?
1. Do you have clear customer service guidance, training and processes for all staff?
2. Do you know what your customers’ experience is like are?
3. Do you manage your customers’ expectations?
Taking time to really understand your customers can enable you to continually be aware and develop a truly customers focused team.
So if you want to be a customer driven business ACT now…
· Develop a Customer Focused team,
· Provide Outstanding Customer Service,
· Make every customer feel important,
· Set the standards in your industry,
· Out-service your competition and Grow Your Business on Repeat Business.
1. Review your customer’s service
2. Ascertain if you can embed the skills or find the ideal partner to help you
3. Identify a plan of action
Start your Customer Service Excellence journey today join our 1 day courses – in Bury, Manchester http://www.mlptraining.co.uk/course/20/Customer_Service_Excellence_Training_Course
Consider should you TRAIN YOUR TEAM AS A TEAM or individually on open courses?
How to Hire and Keep Good People
How to Hire & Keep Good People.
Exceptional hiring skills are among the most desirable of all leadership skills in today’s workplace
The ability to Select, Motivate and Retain the very best people is a hallmark of both top managers and high performing companies
Don’t Hire Potential
It is perfectly understandable that companies want to hire new employees with potential. However this strategy can often lead to low levels of motivation, low output and high staff turnover.
The advice is not to recruit potential unless you have the potential to develop it.
If you have the skills and time to train coach and mentor new employees then you have the potential to develop them.
If you don’t have the above but you do have the budget to send your new recruits out for training then again you have the potential to develop them.
If you have neither then don’t recruit potential.
What you are looking for is someone to do for you what they have already done for someone else. What you are looking for is transferable skills.
If this is a replacement position, start with an exit interview to find out why the previous job holder is leaving.
Next you must do a job description. Not only in terms of a title but in terms of output.
Title: Credit controller
Output = reduce Debtors by 10% in 3 Months.
Title: Key Accounts Manager
Output = Grow existing Accounts by x%, Open 3 new Key Accounts of X size in X months.
Write down exactly what you want this person to achieve.
Now write a person specification. List out the core competences that are required to do the job.
You must now compile Competence behavioural -based questions for the interview.
This type of questioning can be five times as effective at getting the right people into your business.
Interviewing can be an exhausting business. Many interviewers just talk too much.
The skill is to question, listen, and clarify.
The rule is at least 3 applicants for each job.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep and don’t Hire potential unless you have the potential to develop it.
Mike Le Put
MLP Training www.mlptraining.co.uk 01204 888826 firstname.lastname@example.org
Success Case Studies
Primecover is on course for growth.
THE Bolton-based insurance broker, Primecover, achieved a 37per cent increase in profits over a two-month period after attending a ‘Leadership Skills’ course
with MLP Training.
Established nine years ago by Managing Director, Sharon Bailey, Primecover specialises in property insurance for
both residential and commercial sectors, including niche services for unoccupied buildings.
The company has expanded year-on year over the past decade, reporting a 26.6 per cent growth during the past 12 months.
Now, following strategic changes made as a result of the MLP training course,
Sharon Bailey, Managing Director of Primecover, sees the positive changes resulting from quality staff training.
Primecover has supercharged its growth plans, substantially increasing its sales success.
Sharon commented: “I attended the MLP ‘Leadership Skills’ course with our Operations Manager, Michelle Neary, and
the first task of the day was to identify our business goals and then look at ways in which we could achieve them through strategic planning.
“I have now taken a step back from the day-to-day business as a result of the training, and moved to a muchmore business development and key management role, with my team stepping up to manage the day-to-day activities.
“The change has been massive for me after spending the past nine years building business and the past thirty years
working with clients, but it has paid off in terms of both growth and profitability.”
The ‘Leadership Skills’ course is not the first MLP training programme that Sharon and her team have attended, and the
company also credits MLP with developing its sales team and business development skills.
Sharon continues: “I have always believed in the importance of investing in training in order to develop the company
and it’s been an important part of Primecover’s success.
“The training that MLP provides is based on tangible business improvement tools that we can continue to work on when we get back to the office and we now have an ongoing relationship where we can call them for advice on an ad-hoc basis too.”
Mike Le Put, owner and founder of MLP added: “Making a big change can be a scary prospect for SMEs like Primecover,
but implementing change aligned to a goal oriented growth strategy is an essential part of long-term planning.
“We’re delighted to hear that change has been so positive for Primecover and
wish them every continued success as they celebrate 10 years in business this year.
TW Languages translates training into export growth
Runcorn-based translation services specialist, TW Languages, is preparing to help companies in the North West realise their export
potential with a programme of presentations demonstrating the importance of a multi-lingual approach.
Managing Director, Janet Perkins, completed a ‘Presentation Skills’ course with Bury-based MLP Training to prepare for the programme, which is being developed in association with UKTI and The Association of Translation Companies (ATC).
Explains Janet: “Export offers fantastic opportunities for growth but companies need to be prepared for a move into new
markets. Ensuring that they have marketing materials and literature that has been accurately translated is an important step in
that process. It’s essential that companies understand best practice and the high standards of translation methodology
before they invest in translation services so that they can maximise the positive outcomes for their business.”
Established in 1999, TW Languages has specialised in scientific and technical translation services since 2006, offering
170 language combinations. The company follows a four-stage translation, proofreading and quality-assurance process,
ensuring that clients can be confident of a translation that is technically accurate and culturally appropriate.
Janet continues: “Cutting corners on translations can have a detrimental effect on a company’s export potential and we are
keen to get that message across as clearly as possible.
“That’s why I was keen to do some training as a refresher to ensure that my presentations are as impactful as possible
when talking to potential exporters.” Janet attended a one day course at MLP’s training centre at the Stables Country
Club in the grounds of The Bolholt Hotel, Bury, which included both presentation tips
and practical participation.Mike Le Put, founder of MLP Training said: “Janet is an experienced presenter but a refresher course is a great way to gain confidence and a confident presenter is a more effective communicator.
“As a company that works internationally, MLP understands the importance of preparing your business to meet the needs of new markets and, with this training, Janet has prepared TW Languages to help other companies prepare effectively too.”
Preparation the key to tackling recruitment for rural SMEs
Recruitment can be a minefield for any business and East Lancs companies keen to capitalise on the economic
recovery must strike a difficult balance between recruiting enough staff to manage growth and ensuring they have
the right staff to do so effectively.
For companies in rural locations, however, the challenges are even greater. They must tackle the added pressures of
attracting candidates for roles in business premises which may be difficult to reach using public transport or too off-the-beaten track
for easy access to facilities such as shops, or gyms, at lunchtime or after work.
It’s a challenge that Linda Barrowclough from specialist adhesive tape manufacturer, Innova Solutions, understands only too
well. She said: “We are a small team of twelve people based on a farm outside the village of Trawden in Pendle. Our site is
perfect for the business and gives us plenty of scope for expansion but it does mean that candidates who don’t have their own
transport, or want a role in a more urban setting, may think twice about joining us.”
“However, we do need to recruit to manage continuing growth. We also need to ensure that we attract the right candidates
and only employ people that are both right for the role and a good fit with the team.
To do that, we have to avoid ‘panic buying’ of candidates that are available but are not quite right for us and that takes HR skills
and knowledge,” continues Linda.
lnnova Solutions carried out a full HR review and Linda also attended a ‘How to Hire and Keep Good People’ training
course, devised and delivered by MLP Training. Mike Le Put, of MLP Training, said: “Few SMEs have HR departments and
the recruitment challenges they face are often greater than those experienced by larger companies
as they don’t have the same structures, pool of employees for internal promotion, or HR knowledge.
One of the key outcomes of the course for Linda was a greater understanding of the need to define the role clearly. The
course focuses on enabling SMEs to base the interview process around ‘buying’ the candidates rather than ‘selling the role’.
Lee Shore, Managing Director of Merrehill see further company growth after investment in training..3
Email marketing specialist, Merrehill, has achieved its best ever sales month following an investment in training from
business training provider, MLP.
The Manchester company was established eleven years ago and specialises in full service email marketing campaigns including design, dissemination and data segmentation. Having come into contact with MLP as a supplier, Merrehill decided to use its services for its own business and has never looked back.
Merrehill’s Managing Director, Lee Shore explained: “Training is an important element of our business development strategy
because we can only continue to build on our success if the company has the skills we need to win and handle new business.”
“MLP’s training courses are tailored to meet the needs of SMEs like us and after the success of the training our sales team
completed, I decided to take one of MLP’s courses myself.”
Lee used MLP for training two of his sales people and the resulting growth in business caused him to take a
‘Goal Setting and Time Management’ course with the training provider.
The course was designed to enable him to take a step back from the day-to-day operations of the business and delegate
effectively to help him manage further growth and take a more high-level role in managing the business.
Mike Le Put, managing director of MLP Training said: “Lots of owner-managed businesses like Merrehill find it difficult to
manage the transition as they grow and training for directors like Lee helps them to let go of the detail, trust the team and focus
strategically on business development. “Merrehill’s record sales month has clearly demonstrated the successful outcome of the company’s investment in training and we look forward to working with Lee and his team again as the business
continues to grow.”
As a result of its continuing success, Merrehill has appointed its first two apprentices and is looking forward to
further expansion during this year. “Every member of the team - from the school leavers joining us to myself as
MD - can benefit from training and we will continue to make it part of our plans for growth.”
Shared training is healthy option for Fisc Acare home supplier which enlisted the expertise of MLP
Training grew by 20 per cent in one year.
Fisc Healthcare of Chorley, invested in staff training aimed at creating a more dynamic business culture and the strategy
seems to be working. Managing Director, Eddy Fishwick, focused on capturing growth opportunity by creating a more
dynamic culture in the business, with MLP Training helping him to achieve his goals.
He said: “I have done lots of training with a variety of training companies,
over the years. But when I did some presentation training with MLP’s Mike Le Put last year I came away feeling really
inspired and confident that the training company could help us achieve the business transformation we were looking
for. Eddy brought together three other family firms based in Lancashire to develop a shared training programme
with MLP, which included leadership skills, carrying out effective appraisals, and goal setting. He also used the insights
from training to establish new business processes.
Mike Le Put added: “Too often, business leaders think of training as an overhead that they cannot afford but
Fisc’s approach clearly demonstrates how an investment in training can deliver tangible commercial benefits to a
company’s bottom line.
Sales Training Success
Macclesfield-based software company, AVA CAD/CAM, has been so successful in
developing its sales team that the company has created five new sales roles to feed further expansion.
The move follows an investment in sales training from MLP over the past six years, which has created an average sales growth
of 20 percent year-on-year since 2009. With growing markets in China, Turkey and South America as well as the UK and Europe, AVA
CAD/CAM has added to its sales team to push this success still further.
Explains AVA CAD/CAM commercial director, Duncan Ross: “We specialise in development sales and maintenance of
specialist software for the textiles and decorative printing sectors and, until the recession hit, we had been growing steadily
for 25 years - largely through inbound sales and referrals. When the financial climate changed, we realised that our approach
needed to change, too, and training our sales team has enabled us to sell proactively on product and service benefits
rather than price, growing our business and protecting our margins despite some tough years in our sector.”
The change came when Duncan attended a business networking event at which MLP’s Mike Le Put was speaking. “Everything he said resonated with the new approach to business we wanted to take,” Duncan continues.
“So we signed the sales team up to a ‘Successful Selling Skills’ course and have never looked back.”
Since then, Mike has delivered over 20 similar courses to the AVA CAD/
CAM team, including all aspects of the sales process - from getting appointments
to time management and developing a sales strategy.
“Some of our sales team were reluctant at first,” announced Duncan, “but Mike combines an in-depth knowledge of proven
sales processes with great anecdotes about how it all works in practice. The outcomes speak for themselves
and the members of our team who have completed courses with MLP have secured more sales as a result!”
As we all know, successful teams don’t build themselves. Coaching for team performance develops effective leaders,
managers and staff who, together, build successful teams by reinforcing core values until they become second nature
for all team members. Train
Printing firm shares
with training partner
Lancashire-based printing specialist, Pioneer Print Solutions, is celebrating two anniversaries and the birth of a new era. The company marked its 30th anniversary by establishing a new division, Duplex Thermal Printers.com, and is also celebrating a 10 year relationship with MLP Training - a company that has been both a customer and a supplier.
“We exchange our proven training courses for Pioneer Print Solutions’ expertise in an old fashioned bartering
agreement and it’s worked really well for both companies.”
The arrangement has worked so well that Pioneer Print Solutions has established two additional companies since working
with MLP - PaperUK, which specialises in the design & supply of despatch/return notes to multi-channel retailers, and Duplex
Thermal Printers.com, which provides the printers software, labels and maintenance for double-sided thermal
Julian adds: “Our success day-to-day is based on the specialist expertise within our business but MLP has
been instrumental in driving business growth and we’re delighted to be sharing an
anniversary with them.”
Sales Director of Pioneer Print Solutions, Julian Pickford, said: “My father established the business over 30 years
ago and we have now grown into three companies with six buildings - all based in Darwen, Lancashire, where the company
first began in 1985. “Part of that success is down to the sales, presentation and negotiation skills we have gained from working with MLP Training in the past decade. During that time, the company’s Managing Director, Mike Le Put has become like an additional member of our own team, having been training and inspiring professionals since 1999. So 2015 was a momentous
year all round and 2016 is also going to be a big one for us!”
Mike Le Put, founder and owner of MLP Training added: “We have used Pioneer Print Solutions to produce all our booklets and flyers for the past ten years because the company offers an excellent total print solution, which also includes design and fulfilment too.
Getting Appointments Over The Phone
Getting Appointments Over The Phone. By Mike Le Put MLP Training .
The rules with telephone selling are very simple.
If they can buy it over the phone then sell it over the phone.
However if they can’t buy it over the phone don’t try to sell it over the phone. The rule now is to sell the appointment not the product.
One of the fastest ways for you to increase your sales is to increase your face to face time with customers.
If you can go from 2 Appointments a day to 4 Appointments a day you are in serious danger of increasing your sales by 100%.
Now I did not say every sales person should have 4 appointments a day the appointment target will change from industry to industry.
However the principle remains that the more appointments you get the more you increase your chances of making a Sale.
Many Sales people are good in front of customers. The problem is they just don’t get in front of enough of them.
Start at the end
Every great strategy starts with the end goal. So how many sales do you want to make this year?
What is your conversion from appointment to order?
By knowing these 2 factors you can work out how many appointments you need make in order to hit target.
Identify the target audiences
The quality of the person that answers the phone is determined by the quality of the number you dial.
Make a list of your target audiences in descending order of priority.
Develop a script for each target audience.
You certainly do not want to sound as if you are reading a script. But if you only have time to say so many words they need to be the very best words.
Remember Sales people who develop powerful scripts get the most appointments.
You need a different Script for each target audience.
Your script needs to have a polite conversation style.
It also needs to answer the three 3 Key Questions
1 Who are you?
2 What do you want?
3 What’s in it for me?
Write and rewrite your scripts and role play them with your colleague s before going live.
All great Salespeople know the best time to handle an objection is before it comes up.
We have identified 14 standard objections that sales people face when phoning for an appointment.
We have also developed tried and tested ways to handle each of these.
Don’t hide from objections write them down and work on them so you are ready to handle anything that comes up.
Make Time For Success.
Because many Salespeople don’t like phoning for appointments they tend to put it off. This is a big mistake.
To avoid falling into this trap book an appointment with yourself to get this important work done.
My advice is to block off one day a week to do your calls. Set yourself an appointment targets and stick at it.
If you have one successful day making appointments, then the rest of the week is going to be full of Sales opportunities.
Get The Next Appointment Before You Leave.
The best way to fill your diary with meaningful appointments is to get the next appointment before you leave the customer.
Agree a contact strategy of when you should meet next.
Controlling the Future.
As a Sales person your job is to control the future. The appointments you make today will determine the Sales you make tomorrow.
Decide today what success you want .
Work out how many appointments you need to make.
Identify your target audiences
Develop and roleplay the scripts
Have objection handling formulas
Make time for Success
Have a contact strategy to get the next appointment before you leave.
And take control of your future.
Mike Le Put MLP Training. www.mlptraining.co.uk 01204 888826
Leadership Skills and Qualities
A great leader attracts great people and knows how develop their skills and potential to strengthen the business team. Effective skills of leadership need to be learned in the same way as any other core competency of successful business practice. Leadership skills are vital if you have influence over business success, strategic direction and culture within your organisation.
What kind of leader are you? Do you recognise the differences between Leadership and Management? Your leadership character is something that is explored on the Leadership Skills course offered by MLP Training. Identifying your style and learning the essential skills of leadership is part of this one day programme designed to focus on you, your tasks, team and individual needs.
Knowing and developing your style of leadership will strengthen your role within your organisation. This Leadership Skills course with MLP Training will allow you to explore what you and the people you lead are truly capable of and help you develop practical strategies to build upon your leadership character. Learn how you can best respond to your organisation’s purpose and goals. Become the leader you are destined to be and discover your true leadership potential.
Join MLP Training at the Bolholt Country Park Hotel, Bury for the next Leadership Skills course To book your place on this effective course call us today on 01204 888 826 or check details and book online at www.mlptraining.co.uk
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