The Sales Pitch: What NOT to do…

The Sales Pitch: What NOT to do…

Creating Connection, Customer Relationships, Selling
It’s been a heck of a ride, running a business for the past 19 years. So many mistakes, so many lessons, but what a joy it is to see it take shape, evolve, respond to today’s needs…but also to remind ourselves that the one constant is people. They are humans too, and when you need to win a piece of business, inevitably you will need to pitch to win that business, and if you are to win that business, you need to win the hearts and minds of those humans... I thought it would be interesting to look through the other end of the telescope for once and share with you what I have learnt about how NOT to win business. All you need to do is the opposite, to…
Read More
Business storytelling – a story about telling stories

Business storytelling – a story about telling stories

Business Storytelling, Customer Relationships, Inspiring People, Presentation Skills, Selling, Virtual Meetings
Make an impact and stand out from the crowd to deliver your message I have been involved in helping others be the best they can be in front of groups of people for the past 25 years, and in my view, this core business skill is underrated, usually poorly executed, and probably one of the most significant ways you can make an impact on your colleagues, customers and stakeholders. It’s a question of; “what kind of impact do you want to have?” Is it lunchtime yet? Think of all the presentations that you have been in the audience for. Now, think of all the ‘virtual’ presentations that you have witnessed. Then, think of all the conference calls you have been part of. Be honest - how many of them stood…
Read More
Only 5% of sales professionals are respected by their customers

Only 5% of sales professionals are respected by their customers

Selling
Be part of this exclusive ‘5% club’ by learning and applying what the very best do, no matter what you are selling.  Why is it that the reputation of the sales profession is so poor? When you ask others to describe sales people, the words they use are almost universally negative – pushy, self-interested, not listening, manipulative, and so on. Being amongst the small proportion of sales people who ‘get it right’ (our research shows that at best this is a mere 5%) will enable you to stand out as a professional in your field.  A truly consultative sales person listens to their customer, shows deep curiosity, empathy and understanding, and then tells the ‘sales story’, connecting it to their customers’ needs, clearly demonstrating how they can add value and support what the customer is trying…
Read More
Becoming a salesman

Becoming a salesman

Customer Relationships, Great Questions, Inspiring People, Selling, Winning Habits
A story of a headmaster, the engineer and disappointment Imagine the scene; a budding mining and explosives engineer in his mid-twenties. The phone call to his proud father, a respected head teacher of a well-known school. “Dad, you know that career track I have sunk the past 8 years of my life into? The one where I get to run my ‘very own’ coal mine? Well…I’ve quit. I am going to be a salesman…..” The silence was deafening, the disappointment palpable…..I remember it like it was yesterday and that moment was 30 years ago. Sales people get a bad rap…deservedly so. So….what is really interesting about this tale is WHY? What is it about the ‘sales profession’ that so many people dislike? (I think I can actually hear you responding…
Read More
Customer Relationships – If you don’t ask, you don’t care.

Customer Relationships – If you don’t ask, you don’t care.

Customer Relationships, Selling
What’s real vs your perception? I was flying home to Dublin recently after a business trip & staying with my mother overnight. Taking off early Friday morning from London Southend (yes - London Southend, really!), we rapidly climbed above the Essex countryside. Despite a stag party, it was pretty quiet at that time in the morning. One of the ‘stags’ colleagues peered out the window and, seeing all the farmland, exclaimed “Wow, it’s not until you get up here that you realise just how big agriculture is. It’s huge & employs millions of people.” After that brief interlude he then returned to the true purpose of the day…..”2 cans of Stella, please”. Way too early for me….. It's all in the numbers... That got me thinking about something I’d read…
Read More
The customer is always right…… wrong!

The customer is always right…… wrong!

Commercial Collaboration, Creating Connection, Customer Planning, Great Questions, Selling
Why putting your customer on a ‘pedestal’ serves no-one “I couldn’t say that to them”. “I know he was talking nonsense but I can’t challenge him”. How many times have I heard this type of language from delegates talking about their customer or boss; an internal customer? It constantly surprises me how often even experienced salespeople dis-empower themselves when it comes to their key customers. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, false statements or blatant contradictions, they just get left hanging there; dangling with the powerful potential to unravel deals that are in the interests of both parties. It’s just Fake News.... We see powerful figures getting away with ‘misspeaking’ (2019 for lying) constantly, so are we being trained not to challenge untruths? A few years back, during the…
Read More
Customer Planning – Copy, Paste, Plus 5% won’t cut it.

Customer Planning – Copy, Paste, Plus 5% won’t cut it.

Commercial Collaboration, Customer Planning, Selling
Five tips which will…. Planning Time – ‘Copy, paste, plus 5%’ You know the drill, it’s customer planning time; crept up on you again like Christmas. Didn’t we finish the last one recently? Some helpful person has sent around the latest incomprehensible super spreadsheet template that you’re supposed to understand and complete. Of course, it bears no resemblance to your situation but hey, let’s open the plan from last year….copy, paste and, what’s the plus number that I know we won’t achieve but will save a whole lot of time…5% should do it. They’ll probably get the helpful spreadsheet guy to put a ‘management overlay’ on it anyway when the collective number doesn’t hit expectations. It’s not an inspiring picture but it is very common in my own experience and…
Read More
An outcome focused first approach to delivering results

An outcome focused first approach to delivering results

Creating Connection, Inspiring People, Programmes, Selling, Uncategorized
Top 10 tips when recommending development solutions As Stephen Covey said “start with the end in mind”. So why do so many people say “I need a training course for….” At Expression for Growth we start with the end in mind and are passionate, curious and respectful as we seek first to understand, and then check our understanding, ahead of recommending any solutions to organisations we engage with. Here are our top ten tips to doing this successfully: Define the desired results (behaviours, engagement, commercial results).Identify the problem/s to resolve e.g. what results are not being met?Ask questions to a variety of people to understand what is going on; the good, the bad and the ugly!Understand the behaviours that exist. Why are they not doing it, what makes it so…
Read More
Creating a collaborative environment

Creating a collaborative environment

Commercial Collaboration, Creating Connection, Inspiring People
Inspire, enable & support each other as we learn every day In a recent post I shared 5 top tips to build agility, aka our core strength. This post shares a very practical approach to creating a collaborative environment to inspire, enable and support each other as we learn every day. Picture a traditional wedding cake; it has many layers, is often the same taste on every layer, it is heavy and it is a traditional style and structure. Now let’s consider other types of cake, like cupcakes. What emotions do cupcakes conjure up? Variety of flavours, colourful and bite sized; yum yum! Training at work can be viewed like the old style wedding cake, a big event for a large group of people, a big meal, some speeches (some…
Read More