As we go into we the new year I wanted to give you a powerful MOT from our Problem Solving and Business Development course for your business.
Complete the 3 exercises below and I wish you every success for 2018
1. Ask yourself these question
How would you describe your business as you see it now?
How would your people describe your business?
How would your customers describe your business?
How would your competitors describe your business?
What would your people want you to do in the business?
What would your suppliers want you to do?
What would your competitors do if they had your business?
What products or services should you drop?
What products or services should you add?
If you could start all over again what would you do differently?
If you had an unlimited budget what would you do?
If you could only afford to fix one thing what would it have to be?
If I could wave a magic wand over your business where
would you want me to start?
2. Complete the following statements then complete your action plan
The fastest way to increase sales is……….
The fastest way to increase profits is……….
The fastest way to increase production is……
The fastest way to reduce costs is…….
The fastest way to turn the business around is…….
3. Now put together an Action Plan
My Priorities are………
My main goal for the next 3 to12 months is…………
The actions I will take are………….
I will monitor my progress by……….
I will you know when you I been successful when I ………………
I am going to celebrate by………
Have a great year!
Mike Le Put
Focus on the Problem not the Solution
One of the most powerful techniques for problem solving is to Focus on the Problem not the Solution...
Mike Le Put Explains
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 provides 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 gets more people.
If the Manager had said “My problem is the people I have cannot do the work with the Skills, Resources and Procedures we have in place” We now have more options available to solve this problem.
We ran a problem-solving coursefor a successfulcompany 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, installinghigh 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 solvingbut 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.
Business is about solving problems, 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.
7 Steps to Problem Solving
1. Define the real problem
2. Gather Information - You will learn how to gather the correct information and distinguish between fact and opinion.
3. Define the Cause - Problems are like icebergs - we often only see what’s on the surface. Discover how to get to the root cause of the problem
4. Create Options - We will help you generate a wide variety of innovative ways for you to develop stronger solutions.
5. Develop Selection Criteria - During this programme you will be learn how to test your ideas against clear decision criteria.
6. Make the Decision - We will help you decide what to do, how to do it, when to do it, who will do it and when it will be completed.
7. The importance of Monitoring- What gets monitored gets done.
Enhance your problem-solving techniques click here
Discover how to massively increase the number of B2B face-to-face appointments
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....
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.
If you are selling anything of value you are properly in evolved in providing finance.
Many time Sales People can increase sales by understanding exactly what the customer has been offered when told.
Your Too expensive.
Below is a list of qualifying question that can help you and your team Close more deals.
I wish you every success.
Mike Le Put
1. As compared to? 2. How 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. Who is it from? 3. How do you feel about that offer? 4. What exactly have you been offered? 5. What is included in that offer? 6. What is excluded from that offer? 7. How is the offer structured? 8. What are the cancellation clauses? 9. What is the deposit? 10. What is the termination notice? 11. Who has ownership? 12. What happens at the end of the term? 13. What monthly figure do you need to get to? 14. What’s more important the monthly figure or the total cost? 15. When can you go ahead with this? 16. What would be your Ideal? 17. What have I got to do to get your business? 18. Given that I can’t get down to that how close have I got to get? 19. I can’t do it that why but I would you say if I could lower the monthly figure if we did it this way. 20. Remember Change the Package not the Price
Read more blogs about sales techniques, tips and more here
How do you rate your Negotiation Skills?
Whether you are buying or selling at the negotiating table you will definitely need to hone your skills to be successful!
3 great tips to enhance your negotiation skills
Don’t Negotiate until Sold
Ask for What You Want and be ready to say No
13 areas that you will need to be skilled at to be a Successful Negotiator
· Purpose of Negotiation
· Negotiating Styles
· Four Types of Negotiation
· Characteristics of a Good Negotiator
· The Importance of Planning
· How to Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis
· Types of Power
· Strategy and Tactics
· How to use an Agenda
· Negotiating Gambits
· Team Negotiating
· Reaching Agreement
· Negotiating a Good Deal
Whether you are buying or selling at the negotiating table, you impact on the bottom line of your organisation.
If you want to become an exceptional Negotiator:
· Understand the negotiating process
· Master the negotiating strategies and tactics
· Drive down your buying prices
· Increase your selling prices
· Develop long term win win business relations
· Be confident at the negotiating table
· Get more of what you want
Why not Join us on the next one day course at The Bolholt Country Park Hotel Bury Manchester BL8 1PU You can book online here or call 01204 888826.
5 Tips for conversion success
We’ve all been there. You’ve had a really positive meeting with the potential customer. They’ve asked you for a quote. You’ve given them a good price - and then you never hear from them again! One of the biggest issues that sales directors raise when they attend MLP’s Sales Managers Masterclass course is the disparity between their teams’ success in gaining opportunities to quote and their ability to convert those leads into sales.
It’s a problem that affects seasoned salespeople and less experienced professionals alike, and many are surprised to find how quickly conversation rates can be improved simply by being less process driven and more open to treating each sale as an individual project.
Taking sales people away from their comfort blanket of a routine sales process can be challenging and requires a high degree of trust from the sales director, but these tips for success could pay dividends:
1. Only quote if you need to While generating a quote may be part of the critical path in your sales process, it may simply give the customer long enough to shop around or change their mind about buying from you. If they don’t need a formal quote, don’t delay, just have a go at closing the deal. In my experience, the confidence and initiative to bypass the quote stage can rapidly improve your conversion rates and it would be a shame to miss the deal because of a fear of rejection!
2. Build the customer’s trust One of the most common sales mistakes is to focus the lion’s share of time in closing the deal rather than investing it up front on building trust and rapport with the customer. Only by building that relationship can you ensure that they have a compelling reason to buy from you.
3. Provide the right kind of quote Every sales person knows that asking the right questions is critical to a successful sale but having asked the questions, you also need to make the answers count. Find out whether they’d prefer a hard copy quote or a digital copy? Ensure you know what they’re prepared to pay for and don’t overcomplicate the quote or include ‘hidden costs’ that could damage the trust you’ve worked hard to build.
4. Create deadlines and stick to them Customers have a time window in which they need to make a decision and part of the skill set of a sales professional is to understand the sales timeline for each customer. You also need to set deadlines for each part of the process - specify when you will provide the quote and when you’ll follow up and then stick to those dates.
5. Nurture a no blame culture Poor conversion rates are often allowed to become a league table of failure for sales teams, which is demoralising and counter-productive. It’s a team issue that needs to be tackled with a continuous improvement approach and that can only happen by learning from best practice and reviewing mistakes rather than apportioning blame.
From pre-quote, through to quote format and post-quote follow up, the sales process should be flexible enough to respond to individual customer situations and the sales team will convert more successfully if they have the freedom to follow their instincts.
By Mike Le Put, Director, MLP Training. For more information about MLP Training and the courses on offer.
Don’t hire potential
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 sales people is a hallmark of both top sales managers and high performing companies.
It's 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 are willing to develop it. If you have the skills and time to train coach and mentor new sales people then you have the potential to develop them.
If you don’t have the above but you do have the budget to send new recruits for sales training then you have the means 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 are transferable skills.
You need sales people with a proven track record
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 - only in terms of a title but also output.
Title: New Business Sales
Output = Make X number of called calls. Do X number of quotations. Open X number of new accounts.
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 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 more effective at getting the right people into your business.
Interviewing can be an exhausting business. Many interviewers talk too much - the skill is to question, listen, and clarify. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and don’t hire potential unless you are willing to develop it.
The biggest obstacle to making a Sales is the fear of rejection.
If I gave you a list of 100 prospects and told you every one was guaranteed to buy if you called them today. I guess you would JUST DO IT.
Thomas J. Watson Chairman and CEO of IBM was asked by a Salesperson for advice on how to increase Sales.
Watsons reply was simple. He said go out and double your failure rate.
Why? Because the more no’s you get the more yes’s you get.
You fail in everything you do until you succeed.
That includes walking, talking, driving, everything including hitting Sales Targets.
Thomas Edison said “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.
To Succeed in Sales, you need to be able to keep on keeping on.
JUST DO IT
The fear of rejection is what stops us making the initial call.
It’s what stops us asking the questions we need to ask.
It’s what stops us giving the presentation, handling objections and most of all…..
Recently Jane Howarth (Managing Director) or Open Range Ltd joined us on a number of courses and we thought it would be great to do an interview with her to find out more about her company and thoughts on business training.
Jane explained” Open Range Ltd works in eCommerce. We provide a product data service to web store owners and distributors in the IT and Office supplies sectors (currently).
What we do should be differentiated from the many companies out there providing web store analysis and statistics. Unfortunately, we tend to use the same kind of language and buzz words to describe what we do. Essentially, we take product information (Images, Technical specifications, features and bullet points, manufacturer data sheets) from manufacturers such as HP, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Fellowes, HSM, to name but a few and we put all the range information into a single database which is stored under the manufacturers part number.
We then supply the data out to our customers for a subscription and they use it to populate their web stores with product information.”
I asked her to give us 4 benefits her company gives new customers
1) On a web store, product information is key and assists in the increase of sales.
2) This service is very valuable to web store owners as they can’t handle all the different formats that the manufacturers use to supply the data. We are the one stop shop for all the manufacturers data
3) Web store owners just want to run their web stores and sell stuff. We can provide this service for less than half what it would cost them to employ someone to do it in house
4) We take daily feeds of part numbers from all the major UK distributors so our product records will match what the web store owners can supply from distribution. Coverage is key
What is your free Trail about?
In order for our data to be used successfully in web stores, there is an amount of development and integration work that needs to be done. All the large software houses have already done this work but there are many independent web developers out there who may not have integrated our data into their web platforms before. So, when we get an enquiry, we usually suggest they sign up for the free trial data first in order for their developers to do the work before they sign up for a full data set. The trial data is in the same format as the full data sets and comprises data for approx. 500 different products. It means they can prove the data actually works in their platform before they spend any money.
Since starting your business what have been your largest challenges?
Jane said that Back in 2000, we were a little early to market. There wasn’t much being sold on the internet so it was a slow start. Since then, the biggest challenge has been educating web store owners as to the value of good quality data on their web stores. Not so much in the IT sector but certainly in the office supplies sector, web store owners don’t want to pay for data….. at all. Good quality product information from manufacturers hasn’t always been forthcoming. Educating manufacturers as to what makes a good product record on a web store has and remains a challenge sometimes. We can only provide the data the manufacturers provide us with.
What made you attend MLP’s Training Courses Successful Selling & Goal Setting & Time Management Courses?
I am not a salesman and have no experience or formal training in this area. Circumstances have led me to this point and as the managing director (sole owner) of Open Range I have decided that I will now fill that role. I decided that as I am one of the founders of the company, I would have the most knowledge and passion that would stand me in good stead for actually selling our service. Therefore, I considered it important that I at least dip a toe and try to find out how it should be done. I have historically been what I consider a very poor time manager and I don’t think I have set a goal for myself …. ever. I’ve always been a shoot from the hip, reactionary kind of person. However, I have discovered that when you have to much work to do, that’s not an efficient way of working and had no idea about how to change that.
How has the training you undertook impacted your business now or how do you think it will help in the future?
Well its early days yet but I certainly learned a lot of techniques from Mike that I am certain will be very valuable to me moving forward. I haven’t been very productive yet on the sales side as I considered it important to change some other stuff first. So, the time management and goal setting is what I am currently involved with. Yes, I am taking sales calls and putting Mikes techniques into practice but not yet being actually proactive by going out looking for it. I have to start doing that very soon but I am making much progress in changing how I work, delegating more work to colleagues and handling things like email in a much more structured way.
Do you think that training is a key part to your business?
Yes, I do. I already have the passion and knowledge about my industry and what I need now is education and structure, which the courses I have been on so far have put me on the right path. I expect that I will be taking further courses with Mike and maybe other providers in the future.
Mike Le Put and the MLP team wish Open Range Ltd and Jane every success for the future.
Be a Master of Change
As a Manager or Leader have you had to work through changes and get teams and individuals on board with the change. Or maybe you are experiencing change in the workplace and would like to understand your own reactions to it more and know how to handle change constructively.
With years of experience of managing change I hope to share some insight into how you can positively embrace and manage change more effectively.
6 Tips on how to manage change
1) Define the need for
2) Form a Change team - The Key players that are going carry the message to get it done.
3) Sell the dream - People can always find a How if they understand Why.
4) Agree the plan
5) Assign the tasks with resources and milestones responsibility authority and accountability
6) Continuous Monitoring, Feedback and Encouragement
Take control and learn how to managing change click here