STEM Education vs Creative Thinking

In a recent article published by the Australian Financial Review, Sandy Plunkett challenges the Australian Federal Education Minister’s focus on the critical importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in driving future economy.

Whilst these valuable skills have their place, organisations such as Google are rethinking their recruitment strategies as a result of  internal research projects.  One study showed that the most important qualities of their high performing teams were in fact “soft” skills, which include communication, empathy, creative and strategic thinking. They also found that the “best new ideas came from B teams – employees who don’t always have to be the smartest in the room”

Many businesses within New Zealand are looking for future leaders within their employees and it is not just the technical skills they possess that will get them ahead. There is significant demand for training and development programs that will enable team members to develop their “soft” skills, through workshops and one-on-one coaching.

Talk to us about how DISC profiling, Communication and “High Performing Team” workshops or coaching can assist your staff and business to grow.

Present Like a Pro – Top 10 Tips

Most presenters are just plain average and quite a few are simply dreadful. So, how can you move from being a run-of-the-mill presenter to being fantastic? Every one of us has the ability to be truly great as a presenter.

Your audiences are not just interested in what you are saying, but the way you are saying it. If you say it well, it makes the content so much more interesting. If you concentrate your planning and preparation only on content, you are only likely to be average.

Here are our top 10 tips for becoming great presenters:

  1.  Make a personal connection to every member of the audience. This means lots of eye contact, liberal use of the words ‘I’ and ‘you’, and that everything you deliver is done from the audience’s perspective. To do this, you need to know about your audience in advance.
  2. Show’ rather than ‘tell’. In other words, you don’t need to give them ‘messages’ and ‘content’; instead you need to give them lots of examples and they will work out the message for themselves.
  3. Share your experiences. Your audience wants to know about your thoughts, your feelings and your opinions. The fact that you are presenting to them means your audience wants to hear from you personally.
  4. Be a living person. No one wants to hear from an unanimated statue. You need to be active. There is also a big advantage to moving – it helps reduce nerves when presenting.
  5. Be natural. Our discussions show that great presenters are interactive. They ask questions, they involve the audience and essentially they treat the presentation as a conversation.
  6. Know your stuff. Your audience expects you to deliver your material without prompts. Great presenters never use notes.
  7. Talk from the heart. Be passionate about your subject. If you don’t believe it, they won’t either!
  8. Have fun. Your audience wants to enjoy your presentation and they want to have a laugh. This does not mean you need to tell jokes, but it does mean your audiences expect you to be light (in delivery, not in substance!). Even for serious topics audiences expect some kind of lightness. They want humour and they want you to smile and be relaxed.
  9. Motivate them. Your audience is expecting you to tell them what to do. Don’t just deliver information, they can get that from a book or a website. Instead great presenters give audiences some action to take e.g. to think, to do, to know, or to act differently.
  10. One final thing. Audiences are not in love with the use of computerised slides (often referred to as “death by PowerPoint”). They just want to hear from you. Truly great presenters therefore do one other vital thing – they switch off the projector!

Need more help? Register for our PRESENT LIKE A PRO workshop in August and learn how to present with influence, impact and confidence, or CONTACT US for more information.

Coaching for Sales Success

Sales Performance International executives and consultants recently released an eBook; “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond”. In that, one of the key articles was about critical nature of sales coaching in sales success.

Steve Carlson, Vice President of  Sales, says:

“Our ‘best in class’ clients not only invest to develop coaching skills, they also give their sales managers a process to coach to and hold them accountable to coach.

Sales managers are overwhelmed with the day-to-day job demands. As companies have culled middle management they have grown their sales managers’ span of control. For these reasons, most sales managers are stretched too thin and coaching suffers.

Sales managers with good coaching skills are force multipliers for your business. Good sales coaches will find opportunities to help reps win business, clear obstacles that impede success, increase motivation, and foster loyalty. Coaching is the gift that keeps on giving. It is not like buying more software. You do not need a license. You do not have to travel. You do not even need to schedule an appointment. The managers can coach ‘in the moment,’ virtually, or face to face. They just have to do it!

I couldn’t agree more. Successful sales teams have a great sales coach – someone who spends time providing feedback, coaching, ideas and support.

Carlson goes onto say:

“If you are going to invest one dollar in sales force development, focus on coaching”.

This belief ties into other research that states development needs to be done on the job and as close the ‘coalface’ as possible. Coaching enables this. Interestingly, the coach does not have to be an employee. If the management is too thin on the ground, or focused on other tasks – outsource the coaching to a professional coach. That is what they do – coach and hold your sales people accountable to growth and development and ultimately success.

Persuasive Selling

Last year we revamped our two day sales training workshop. With the advantage of having an Extended DISC Master Trainer in our team, we introduced new content with more focus on understanding how to sell persuasively through the DISC personality knowledge. This new “Persuasive Selling Skills” workshop was delivered last week by Becky Carr to a group of participants with varying experience and background. They really enjoyed the interaction, feedback and coaching provided, as well as learning about their own personality type and how to adapt this to become more persuasive sales people with their customers.

“Awesome trainer – made the workshop so interesting and encouraged us to interact”

DISC Workshops

This month began with three of our Pharmaceutical clients having a DISC workshop facilitated by Becky Carr. Prior to this workshop each team member was asked to complete a DISC Behavioural Assessment so they could identify their own DISC style. Becky provided individual debriefs and followed this with a more in depth understanding of the styles at the workshop. The managers also benefited with “Team Insight” meetings with Becky, to better understand the behavioural style of each of their sales representatives and their individual strengths and development areas

Selling with DISC

With already having done the introduction to DISC personality types workshop earlier this year, our print industry client were keen to expand on their skills. A “Selling with DISC” workshop delivered to their sales team at the end of April has helped them take this knowledge one step further in identifying questioning and closing styles that works best with each personality type.

Virtual Sales Manager

Rob Robertson, one of our sales coaches, has been working with a client with sales people located in various parts of the world. This “virtual sales manager” scenario is working well and getting results.

Through Portfolio, ProFormance have established the sales process, provided sales leadership and sales skills through supporting and coaching the sales team via regular skype calls and webinars. Below is a sample clip of a sales training webinar focusing on making the shift to “Trusted Advisor”.

“We were looking to fill a vacancy for Global Sales and Service Manager, but were concerned that the skill set required was very wide. After several discussions with ProFormance we were able to have the required functions covered by a team of people. ProFormance provided sales training, coaching and mentoring with regular calls to all in our sales teams in Asia/Pacific, North America, UK and Europe. It has proven to be an efficient and cost effective strategy which has increased the skills within our organisation.” – CEO, PowerShield

See our Portfolio page for more information on how ProFormance can help develop your sales process and sales team, whether they are based in New Zealand or further afield.

Make a Friend, not Foe, of Your Boss!

Difficult working relationships can really get you down, especially when we spend so many hours at work. This Herald article has some handy tips how to improve your working relationship with your boss. One effective strategy is personality based profiling, to help you understand each other better. DISC profiling is a hugely insightful tool. ProFormance offer a “business partners” paired report to help you build a constructive working relationship

click here for full article 

3 Steps to Sales Success

When sales results are not as great as you want, it is natural to look to the sales team and question their skill level and what they are doing. Approaching training providers for a quick fix in sales skills training will result in disappointment unless the real cause of the under-performance is identified.

In 20 years of working with clients to understand why sales results are lacking, we know that sales skill is only part of the problem. Skill is also tied into sales process and sales leadership.

Successful sales results come from a combination of all three elements:

Working closely with key stakeholders in the business (GM’s, SM’s, S&M’s, HR) we can identify what is in place that is working, but also what is lacking or needs improving.

Sales process – Has the business clearly defined the steps it takes to achieve a sale in their market? Is this sales process documented and shared with all sales and marketing staff within the business? Is it tracked and monitored?

This can be done with or without a CRM system. If there is a CRM system, is it capturing the right data and reporting meaningful information to assist the sales function to operate efficiently and effectively.

Sales leadership – Does the business have the right leadership structure to drive, track and performance manage sales achievement?

Regardless of the role, job title or size of company, the sales leadership responsibilities need to be identified, allocated to staff and actioned.

Sales skill – What are the specific set of sales skills that lead to sales success in your market? Once identified, how do your current sales staff measure up against this?

By identifying any skill gaps, relevant training solutions can be designed that do make a difference to behaviour and ultimately the sales results.

The great news is that these three sales components are not rocket science. Any business can evaluate their current sales system and identify how to improve it so they can achieve fantastic sales results. How rewarding is that for the staff and business?

To book a FREE evaluation of your sales systems contact Jo Hyland on 021 380 488 or send us an email.