Look Within for Better Team Performance

When teams are under-performing or hitting challenges, it is easy for team members to point the finger at others. But in high performing teams, we find people start with themselves and their personal accountability – they are more self aware about how they come across and the effect their behaviour has on other people. This interesting article lays out 3 aspects of this emotional intelligence. Using a consultant to facilitate a team building session, or using DISC profiling to better understand yourself and others, can all contribute to higher team performance.https://hbr.org/2019/01/to-improve-your-team-first-work-on-yourself

A Perfect Ten

A great finish to 2018 with the participants of our final workshop of the year scoring Becky Carr 10/10 in their evaluation of her as a trainer. This in-house  “Sales Conversations” workshop tailored specifically for our client, was aimed at Key Account Managers and all of them felt they got something useful out of it.

Value Add Options for Employers

Motivating and retaining talented employees within your organisation can be challenging if the financial remuneration isn’t meeting their expectations. When a pay increase is not on the table, there are other incentives that could be presented as a “value-add” to their pay packet. In research conducted by Seek during 2018, employees considered “Paid Training/Professional Development” as being 3rd most important in their top 5 non-financial incentives.


Using Sales Data to Increase Sales Performance

An interesting article from HBR about the value of using sales data to increase sales performance. Whilst sales skills are critical, we know having a clear sales process for your business, tracking the numbers and holding people accountable to this, ultimately achieves the best results. Establishing some form of sales analytics is the key. It doesn’t have to be overly onerous – rather something that fits the size and culture of your business and often utilizing tools that you have already, but in a more effective manner. For instance: CRM and leadership. Read the full article here:


Trade – Don’t Donate!

In order to motivate someone to the outcome you want, it is important to aim for a win/win outcome. If both parties feel like they have won, then the negotiation was successful.  Negotiation skills are vital to any sales persons toolbox, here we share our top ten principles of negotiation:

1. Sell first, negotiate later
2. Plan and use high quality questions
3. Know their decision criteria i.e. what is in their shopping basket
4. Identify and value your variables, i.e. what is in your shopping basket
5. Know your upper and lower limits
6. Be non-committal in the early stages
7. Take time and buy time
8. Let the other side go first
9. Trade – do not donate
10. Never negotiate out of concerns or objections

If your sales team or individual sales people need some development in their negotiation abilities, talk to us about our bespoke sales training workshops and/or sales coaching.

“I have retained the particular job from the competitor as I negotiated on ‘our benefits and value’ over the price. I cannot thank you enough for showing me such a powerful tool in my toolbox.”

What Leaders Know but are yet to Embrace

“The Excellence Dividend” is an interesting new book from well known author and leadership guru Tom Peters. In a recent interview with with Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, Peters bullishly claims that nothing has changed in leadership in 50 years. A bold statement. On reading his points though I must say I agree with much of what he says.

Peters finds it “maddening that all too often a business strategy is inspiring, but the execution mania is largely AWOL”.  He believes “managers fail to capitalize on immediate excellence – how we connect, listen, inspire, and admit mistakes on a human level to employees or customers”. He believes the most critical thing is to develop “an effective people-truly-first, innovate-or-die, excellence-or-bust corporate culture”. When consulting, it is inspiring to see those businesses with great corporate culture and how much more their people are engaged and achieving.

In the area of customers, he states “excellent customer experiences rely entirely on excellent employee experiences because it’s the employee who makes or breaks the customer connection”. This means leaders must see extreme value in them and pour into their career growth and development. “Training is any firm’s single most important capital investment“, adds Peters. Of course I couldn’t agree more with that statement.

If we value our people – staff and customers – listen to what they need and want, our people and our businesses will grow.

Read the full interview with Tom Peters here

Can Computers Really Do the Job of Sales People?

This interesting article highlights the fact that people are more willing to buy online these days and are doing so for higher dollar value items than before. This, combined with the high costs of running a sales team, can mean some businesses are seriously questioning the number of sales people that they need.

“Particularly at risk are salespeople who essentially are order-takers, dropping by companies once a week to see how many industrial fasteners a manufacturer needs. Big distributors are putting their field salespeople on only the top 10 per cent of their customers, who account for 70 per cent or more of their sales and need the most attention”, said Jonathan Bein of Boulder, Colorado-based Real Results Marketing.

Sales people need to make themselves indispensable by adding value to sales relationships, offering services and solutions that an online purchasing systems can’t.

Check out this story from the NZ Herald …

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.