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
9 great ideas for Sales people
Do you have successful selling skills?
Could you do with some refreshing ideas or to enhance your skills further?
If so then read on….
Do you know… that 20% of Sales People get 80% off the Business!
Why, because they know that hope is not a strategy.
How to become an outstanding Sales Professional
1. Luck is when preparation is meets opportunity. That’s why great salespeople do their preparation then go out and create the opportunity. 2. Set smart Goals, work towards them, analyse your performance 3. Keep on keeping on and never fall into the valley of excuses
How to Open more doors
1. Identify the Correct door 2. Find the Key decision maker 3. Find the Hot- Button
How to Close more Sales
1. Build rapport 2. Find the Problem 3. Provide the solution
If you feel you would like more…
• Now you can Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of dynamic, successful selling. • Understand the essential psychology of the sales process. • Find new business! • Close more deals! • Make higher value sales!
Managers how do you handle challenges and problems at work?
All managers face challenges and problems at work, but it is the way you handle them that will make you successful or not.
Do you focus on addressing the symptoms? – If you do this is a short-term fix, that will bring stress and frustration for your team. If you are just addressing the symptoms then the problem will almost certainly return, and need addressing over, and over again.
Or, do you Identify the route of what's causing the problem? – If your focus is on identifying the really route of what’s causing the problem then this will save frustration, stress and a lot of your time in the long run.
So, STOP and take action and fix the underlying systems and processes once so that it goes away for good and save a lot of time and frustration.
As a Manager, you deal with problems on an almost daily basis so knowing how to implement effective Problem-Solving Techniques can dramatically affect your team and the growth of the business.
Problem solving skills do not always come naturally to managers, but you can learn how to be effective in dealing with the issues.
5 steps to follow - Take action now
1. Identify your present situation - Is it really a problem or just an annoyance 2. What does your desired outcome look like? 3. Investigation and identification of possible solutions to the problem 4. Evaluation of possible solutions 5. Develop an Implementation Plan
If you are still not sure and you’re in need of support to work through the process then we can take you step by step find out how here
1 day Managing Change Course in Manchester has 50% Funding Simply enter Voucher Code F50 on the Booking Form here
What makes an outstanding Sales Manager?
Let’s, start by asking you, have you been promoted into your position with little or no training, coaching or guidance?
Yes, then you are not alone a high proportion of Sales Managers are.
Although this can work well for some, normally the person unfortunately has been set up to fail!
Whether you’re a sales executive who wants to help members of the sales team successfully navigate the transition, or you are trying to make the climb yourself, then here are some things you should know how to do and areas you need a good understanding in, so that you can be successful and get the job done.
maximise company resources
identify the target market
make the best use of your time
set sales targets
remove success barriers
analysing team strengths
motivate your sales people
run successful sales meetings
carry out successful field visits
Understand and implement
various styles of Management and how to implement them successfully
the importance of product training and effective ways to embed learning
a motivation formula
Some questions to ask yourself…
Do you and your team have clear and specific goals?
Are you Motivated to Smash target?
Do you naturally motivate other members in your team and encourage them?
Are you a Great Coach and Mentor?
Do you interact well with other departments?
Do you enjoy analysing, forecasting and planning?
Are you able to share your knowledge with others?
Do catch your people doing something right?
Do you catch you celebrate success?
Are you able to share your knowledge with others?
If you have answered YES to the majority of these questions then you may be on the road to becoming an outstanding Sales Manager.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses and implement a continual development plan that will help you progress with the skills that you need.
Always review your skills and re adjust your development plan. (this can be a simply list of all the skills you need and score them (1 – 10)
There are many ways to enhance your skills, reading blogs and articles, asking for support from your manager, coaching, mentoring, online courses, face to face specific sales courses.
Get Appointments Over the Phone
Learning how to turn your phone into an Appointment Making Machine can make the difference of success or failure in your job.
Today, I want to cover some useful tips that will help you and give you a thrust for your future development.
Many Sales people are good in front of customers. The problem is they just don’t get in front of enough of them.... So, if you are responsible for making your own appointments here are some ways you can book yourself busy.
How can you Increase the number of Appointments you make? with our 3 D’s
Develop a winning attitude
Success breeds success. Always act in a manner consistent with our self-image. You need to have a self-image of yourself as a winner. You need to walk like, talk like, dress like and act like a winner.
Define your target market
The greatest power in the world, take the line of lease resistance. Electricity, Floodwater, even a Lightning strike.
So should you.
• Go for people who are most likely to want your product or service. • Customers. If you have sold them a cup go back and sell saucer then a spoon then some coffee then some milk. • People who look like your customers. If you have sold to printers. Look for other printers. • Unconverted enquiries unconverted quotations (a GOLDMINE) • Referral marketing promoting products or services to new customers through referrals.
Develop a powerful script
When the Phone rings and your prospect answers they are trying to work out three things:
1. Who are you 2. What do you want 3. What’s in it for me.
Your Script has to answer these questions.
Who you are depends on who you need to be in order to get an appointment with this person without lying and misleading.
It can be true to say I work with Big corporations. And It can be True to say I work with Small corporations. But you need to know what to say and when to say it.
Under the What do you want. It is simple you want and appointment.
Don’t sell the product SELL THE APPOINTMENT.
Under the what’s in it for me only talk about Relevant benefits and keep them Relevant.
Another key area to make sure your knowledge and skills stack up is Identifying and handle objections.
Many Salespeople think the best time to handle objections is when they come up. This in fact is the wrong time to do it. The right time is before they come up.
You should come up with as many objections as you can think of, and ways to handle them before you pick up the phone.
We have identified 14 standard objections that salespeople face every day.
Increase your Earnings and accelerate your career as a Sales Professional Starting Now Click here
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 two appointments a day to four appointments a day you are in serious danger of increasing your sales by 100%.
Now, I didn't say every sales person should have four 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 two 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 three 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 colleagues before going live.
All great sales people 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 sales people 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 role play the scripts • Have objection handling formulas • Make time for success • Have a contact strategy to get the next appointment before you leave
As Sales Manager, you are in control of the power house of company growth and development because you are in charge of sales, and that means growth and development.
It is you and your sales team that will drive the success of your business.
A product or service, no matter how well designed, will only succeed with great sales, and great sales teams are developed by great Sales Managers.
6 Key skills of Sales Managers of today….
1. Recruit Train and Motivate a team of high achieving Sales Professionals 2. Identify Key Result Areas 3. Increase Motivation 4. Increase Knowledge 5. Increase Sales 6. Increase Profits
It is important that all Sales Managers review and take stock of their skills, notice patterns of behaviours and challenges that they are finding hard to deal with. Being top of their game is crucial when managing a competitive department.
How to assess your skills and identify any skills gaps?
Define and list everything you do or should do in your job. They may include the following:
Recruiting Induction Product Training Sales Training Defining Markets Setting Targets Pricing Structure Motivating Coaching Mentoring Delegating
Make a full list of everything.
Take your list to the next level and define the competencies needed to complete each task. Now score yourself on a scale of 0 to 10 against each competency in terms of how good you think you are. Remember you need input from others, this could include your boss in a meeting or when you have an appraisal or you could ask your team when you are giving appraisals or in a meeting.
Once this is done, you will be able to see where the major differences are and then plan to update your skills with relevant courses, seek a coach or mentor for support. Also use the same process for each of your team, you may be surprised when you know the areas that they are not so confident or skilled in. MLP have been delivering courses for over 25 years here are some quick links you may find useful.
Change – Friend or Foe
It’s not always easy to predict what will happen in a commercial environment but if there’s one thing that has always and will always happen, it’s change.
Despite the inexorable nature of change, many businesses are not prepared for it and their employees often resist it, reducing the potential for positive outcomes and continuous improvement.
Successful businesses, however, not only embrace external change but actually embed proactive, positive change into their business culture, which enables them to maximise opportunities, manage risk and drive business development.
So how can you take control of change in your business and ensure that your entire team embraces it to maximise the potential for continuous improvement?
The first step is to define change and recognise its symptoms; in order to manage change you need to understand what causes it and what implications it brings to your business.
Organisations experience change for all different kinds of reasons: external forces such as market conditions, supply chain issues or technological advances can initiate change. Internal factors can also come into play, and these can include anything from implementation of new processes to a change of management team.
Many of these changes are foreseeable…some are not, but a business that has mastered change management at all levels will be better able to predict and drive change, using it to enhance the company’s performance rather than threaten its stability.
In order to take this continuous improvement approach to change rather than allowing it to become a cause for strategic drift you must not only master change as a business leader but must also tackle resistance to change throughout your organisation. While it’s human nature to be reticent about change, empowering your team at all levels to identify opportunities for positive change and then drive and deliver it will help to engender a culture where it is an integral part of positive business improvement. In this way, you can convert it from the enemy of the status quo into the catalyst for building a better business.
Developing this positive approach to change across your business will not only enable you to drive continuous improvement, it will also help to boost morale and motivation.
Why? Because an employee that feels part of something positive and can take a level of ownership for delivering change will see a greater sense of purpose in their job and will understand their role in the company’s success.
Creating that culture cannot happen of its own accord, however. Mastering change as a business means mastering change as a leadership team…and to do that you need to be able to analyse successful change, overcome resistance and lead positive change with good practice and motivation.
For your company to succeed in mastering change you need to equip yourself with the tools to lead and create a high performance culture within your organisation. Some of this is about attitude, strategic approach and management structures; many senior leadership teams can benefit from targeted training, however, enabling them to plan for change and embed positive cultures in their organisation.
The starting point is to recognise that change is inevitable and must therefore be part of strategic planning and a constructive approach to continuous improvement. So whether you are a business leader that has recently had to overcome resistance from you team or you’re a manager that would like to understand more about your own responses to change, learning more about what you can do to enhance your company might be the first positive change you need to make here