Why traditional sales training doesn’t change behaviour

Behavioural ChangeHumans are creatures of habit and to change a habit takes approximately 42 days.

Attending a half or a full-day training course is great fun.

Attendees come away energised, excited and ready to implement the new things they’ve learned.

But then back in the office reality hits them: a full inbox, meetings piling up and a crisis or opportunity to manage.

Within a few days the energy has gone and the new learning is beginning to fade.

After a couple of weeks, the residue of what they learned amounts to a few tips and hints.

Sometimes this is enough, but if you want to move your people to the next level it’s nowhere near enough.

If you want sustained improvements then you must change your sales environment first.

Install new processes, put different measures in place and provide them with the latest tools and techniques.

This will generate a need to change that drives your training programme, which should then be delivered over several weeks using a combination of online videos plus 1-2-1 and group sessions.

Little and often is most effective.

Then measure what they’ve learned and, more importantly, what they’ve done with what they’ve learned.

If you want to be ahead of the game match your training to human nature.

The good news is most of your competitors won’t bother. It’s just too easy to send people on a training course and tick a box.


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Posted in Blog, Sales Coaching For Your Team

A confusion that costs us money (and makes us unhappy)

Relationship vs transactional sellingThere are two kinds of selling: transactional and relationship.

A transactional sale takes place because there’s a need, a supplier, some money and a deal to be done. When that deal is done both parties go their separate ways. Think “buying a car”. Same thing.

A relationship sale relies on a strong bond of trust and understanding between the two parties. Timing is also a factor. “I don’t want to buy now but I will” or “I already have a supplier that does what you do but I’m interested” both apply.

The problem comes when we confuse the two. We want to make a transactional sale when what’s needed is a stronger relationship. Think “attending a networking event” and you won’t be too far adrift.

Relationship building needs time and patience.

Decide what kind of sales your clients want, then build your skills; build your confidence and be the best you can be.

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Posted in Blog, Sales Relationships

How to be effective in business in one word

When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffet a strange thing happened.

Somebody who was also there asked them to write down the one thing that most contributed to their success.

They both wrote the same word – FOCUS.

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Posted in Blog, Efficiency & Effectiveness, Personal Development, Time Management

How to properly qualify a sales lead (and save time)

Qualifying a sales leadIt’s very easy to get confused over enquiries, leads and opportunities so before I explain how to qualify them let me just clear this up.

Enquiry: somebody has made contact because they want something (it could just be information).


Lead: a qualified enquiry – they want to buy something.

Opportunity: they are giving you the chance to sell them your offering.

Now, let’s talk about qualifying enquiries to turn them into leads.

We use a simple term to do this – BANTM: –

  • Budget:  they now have enough money to buy your offering (if not, then when?)
  • Authority: they can make the purchase (if not, then who can?)
  • Need: they have a real need they want to satisfy – not a tire-kicker.
  • Timing: they want to buy now (if not, then when?)
  • Match: your product is a good match for their needs.

When you can put a tick next to each of the above you have a lead.

Next time somebody is banging on about the number of leads they’ve just generated ask them how many are BANTM qualified. That should be fun.

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Posted in Sales Coaching For Your Team, Sales Lead Generation

It’s Easter – a time to reflect perhaps?

Are we as effective as we can be?

That’s about doing the right things, right; right? (A big nod to Peter Drucker there).

In other words: keeping on mission. So why don’t we do that then? Three reasons.

1 Sometimes it’s because we haven’t defined what on-mission really means to us.

2  In others it’s people with power making us stray-off course to suit them.

3 In my case it’s indulgence – I do the things I like and delay doing the things I don’t.

I’m not sure about you, but this Easter I think I’ll say “no” to my indulgent self. Starting now.

What will you do?

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Posted in Efficiency & Effectiveness

How to get more out of any course you attend

Flair GremlinAll of us have a little gremlin sitting on our shoulders. It’s there to help us, well it believes it is.

It doesn’t want us to fail: bad for our ego; others will laugh at us; we’ll look weak and foolish – better not to fail.

But the only way not to fail is not to try something new – the gremlin knows this.


Every time we’re faced with a ‘change’ situation (such as a training course) it whispers into our ear: –

  • “That doesn’t apply to us”
  • “We don’t have the time to try that”
  • “Let’s not, we might fail”
  • “Now isn’t the right time for us”
  • “We already do that”
  • And, then the day after we decided to give it a go “On second thoughts…”

If you want to learn and change and improve my advice is lock up your gremlin.

It likes the status quo just fine – question is: do you?

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Posted in Behavioural Change, Blog, Personal Development

A bear-trap we can all fall into when trying to improve

Almost everybody will be met with this urge when trying so hard to improve themselves.



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Posted in Personal Development

Nothing great grows in your comfort zone

Comfort ZoneYou know one of the biggest obstacles on our way to greatness? Failure, or more especially, the fear of failure.

Nobody enjoys failure. It dents our self-esteem; makes us feel inferior to those we believe never fail (they do) and gives others the chance to gloat.

Fair enough but the only way to never fail is to stay well within our comfort zone, but nothing great ever grows there.

If we refuse to step outside our comfort zone we’re defending the status quo – which is fine if we’re totally happy with it.

By the way, I’m not referring to the kind of failure caused by sloppiness or lack of preparation. That kind of failure should not be tolerated.

I’m talking about doing something new; something that stretches us and moves us forward.

So, how can you conquer this very real fear?

Well, one way is to re-frame failure. See it as a necessary part of personal development like training or sitting exams. Not brilliant but you just have to do it.

Or, better yet, you could celebrate your failures. Revel in them. Boast about them and what you’ve learned and what you’re going to do differently next time.

Now you’re talking. Be the guy who says “I just crashed and burned, it was AWESOME. I learned so much. What a rush!”. Be the guy who celebrates this kind of failure.

Build a “share a failure” slot into your team meetings. Make failure the path to greatness.

Conquer your fear of failure and accelerate your personal growth. You know it makes sense!

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Posted in Blog, Personal Development

How to win more sales pitches

Sales PitchingThe most pivotal point in a sale is the part where you try to persuade somebody to buy your offering – this is called the pitch.

You can spend months, or even years, building a relationship to the point where the buyer trusts you, likes you and feels your offering might work for them and then blow the whole deal on a weak pitch.

Or you can get it right and tap into a new revenue stream. The good news is you can take steps to significantly increase your chances of winning the deal!

It amazes me how many salespeople don’t prepare properly for a pitch even though being unsuccessful means no money! In fact, some salespeople don’t prepare at all; they just show up on the day and kind of wing it. Madness!

Can you imagine an athlete turning up for the big race without training or a concert pianist rocking up to the big show without bothering to practice? I think not and yet, turning up for the big pitch without due preparation is exactly the same.

The question is how should you prepare?

Well, there’s a wide range of things you can do but I’m going to concentrate on just one: knowing your buyer.

The key to a sale is to understand more than just your buyer’s needs, so let’s focus on that. I’m going to show you 3 things you can learn about your buyer which will significantly improve your chances of success in a sales pitch.

1 Focus on the outcome the buyer wants

People who buy an electric drill don’t really want a drill they actually want a hole in the wall. When it comes to a pitch this is easy to miss, especially if we really like drills (or whatever it is you sell).

Your buyer actually wants an outcome, so what is the outcome your offering gives? When pitching, if you focus too much on the drill and not enough on the hole, you’ll lose their interest and probably the sale.

Sell the hole, not the drill!

2 Tie features to tangible benefits

I see this all the time. Salespeople list out the features of their offering but fail to pin these features to a tangible benefit such as increased revenue, cost reduction, risk reduction, quality improvement, making things happen faster etc.

They often list the features of their offering and then leave it to the buyer to work out the benefits. Rookie error, right there!

Pin each feature to a tangible benefit and watch your buyers face when you mention each one. Their body language and interest levels will change when you mention a tangible benefit that’s important to them.

3 Use your buyer’s hidden drivers

These are sometimes called Personal Drivers. They are as important as the tangible benefits but, are often ignored completely.

Hidden drivers benefit the buyer personally. Such things as giving them an easier life, improving their skills or experience, making them look good to their boss/peers/team etc. Whilst they will never admit to having hidden drivers they almost certainly will have them.

If you can discover what they are and weave them into your pitch they can be massively influential on the buyer’s final decision.

A buyer who is short of time and believes they’ll have to find even more time to implement and run your offering is probably not going to buy it. Demonstrate to the same buyer that your offering is easy to implement and will save time and the reverse is true.

Do your best to pick up on the buyer’s hidden drivers and then meet each one during the pitch – this is an unusually powerful way to increase your chances of a sale. Kind of like cheating really.

My final word

There’s no doubt the pitch is the most crucial part of a sale – you win; you gain; you lose; you get nothing.

Knowing your buyer’s desired outcome, the tangible benefits they value and meeting their hidden drivers give you an insanely unfair advantage when pitching and it’s there for the taking.

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Posted in Blog, Sales Effectiveness, Sales New Business, Sales Presentation Skills

One big reason people underachieve in business (plus the remedy)

In today’s business world everybody is busy with day-to-day stuff. All urgent and all in our faces.

Emails, mobile phones, social media and back-to-back meetings might make you feel busy but there’s a downside to this. A MASSIVE downside!

In this short video I’ll explain what it is and how you can avoid it. It’s particularly important for leaders or aspiring leaders!

Even though it’s not hard, most people resist change, which gives a significant edge to those who are prepared to dive in and give it a go.

I’d say it’s the single biggest reason people become frustrated and fail to achieve their long-term goals.


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Posted in Blog, Efficiency & Effectiveness, Personal Development
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