Category Archives: Personal Development

This is the Salesman I Could Have Become

One of the main reasons I lasted long enough to become successful in sales and sales management, was the simple fact that throughout my career, a few people saw my potential and had the tenacity and patience to help me see it too.

I’ve quite literally filled books with the lessons they passed on, but here are just three that made a huge difference.

I need to share this with you before we go on – when I started my career in sales, I was appallingly bad, absolutely shocking. I was cocky, unreceptive, under the illusion that I could simply glide through with a smidgeon of natural talent and a touch of charm – and I shudder at the memory.

But it turns out, that’s precisely what enabled me to write my most popular books and sales training programmes for Varda Kreuz – in fact I meet ‘young me’ fairly regularly during training workshops – and I try to distil into twenty hours what a couple of incredible mentors and bosses showed me over the course of twenty years – and I’m forever grateful for the information they shared with me.

Lesson Number 1 – Deliver Value to the Business or Get out

When I was growing up, no one would ever have called my family wealthy and by the time I hit my teens I’d still never met anyone who I’d now classify as rich, and aspired for very little other than to possibly one day own my own home and drive a car.

If I had enough for the rent, an appetising fridge and enough for a few weekend beers with the boys – I was happy enough.

My first business to business sales role was a tough education – but they invested in me with training and sales tools and in return I put my suit on every day and polished my shoes.

Just earning the flat basic wage didn’t bother me, it would have been nice to receive a little more commission every month – but if it didn’t happen it wasn’t the end of the world.

I turned up for work with a smile and hoped sales would follow me in – but if they didn’t – hey, no worries.

I have to say it came as quite a bit of a shock when they fired me.

And although I don’t remember that particular sales manager as one of my favourite bosses, he changed my outlook on sales so that I’d never fall over so stupidly ever again – after that I made sure I made a difference and that the people who mattered saw the difference I was making.

Lesson Number 2 – Understand How You Help

For a good few years I walked in to see customers and sold AT them. Actually, that’s how everyone I knew sold – it’s still how most people I meet sell to this day.

Even after a week of solid, expensive, highly focused sales training with a big multi-national company – I had no concept of how I helped anyone.

We didn’t talk about it, we weren’t trained on it – no one internally saw it as a requirement or cared that it might be a better way of doing things – or produce more business.

It was a buyer called Terry Wiseman who helped me see it one Christmas.

Terry worked for a wholesaler – and told me that my generic Christmas Promotion was a bag of ****, pointless, not fit for purpose and that (correctly) it had been thought up by marketeers on the fifth floor who had never met a customer in their life.

That year I sold 5 boxes through Terry’s business.

The following Christmas I held up my hands, admitted that my ignorance towards customer buying motives and arrogant attitude wasn’t going to deliver either of us any bonus – and that’s when he opened my eyes.

He showed me why people bought my products, how they used them, what they needed them for – what flicked their switch, the quantity that they liked to purchase, the add-on purchases that could be acquired with the right bundle deal.

I sold 10,000 boxes that Christmas

Actually, it only occurred to me while writing this, that this lesson was delivered by a Wiseman at Christmas – and let me tell you, it was worth its weight in gold – Terry helped me see something I would later describe like this;

People buy drills because they want to create holes – bad salespeople present drills, great salespeople help them achieve the hole they need.

Lesson Number 3 – Make Sure You Can Go Back Again

So now my career is going through the roof – I mean flying.

Company-wide memos referencing my big wins are coming from the Managing Director’s office, I’m getting personal letters of thanks from the chairman and I’m regularly asked to host sales meetings to share my insight and techniques with the rest of the business.

I’ve had two promotions in six months and I’m being considered for another – a big one – before Easter.

And that was when my Sales Director – Craig Campbell – dropped a bombshell during my end-of-year appraisal.

“I know what you’re doing Chris – and it’s time to stop.”

“What do you mean ‘what I’m doing’? I’ll tell you what I’m doing – I’m knocking every sales target out of the park, I’m securing previously thought unwinnable contracts on a monthly basis, and I’m getting listings that no one has got anywhere near achieving in the last twenty years – that’s what I’m doing!”

The memory of his stare fills me with a chill to this day – and still makes me want to shut up immediately and leaves me feeling stupid twenty years after the event.

He put his pen on the appraisal document and slowly and precisely pointed out that my search for glory was about to fall flat on its own fat backside.

Yes – I had a knack for helping people, delivering the solution they needed and writing proposals that people actually wanted to read – and yes that had led to business going through the roof.

But that was the last time a customer ever heard from me.

Even when things went wrong or didn’t work out as well as I’d promised – I left their calls unanswered – I was too busy chasing the company-wide recognition, the next big win.

But that industry – just like every other – was too small to treat existing customers so badly.

My thinking was at least six months short of short-term thinking.

Contracts and tenders would come round again in a matter of months, new product launches would require presentations to the same groups of people, even if I moved to another business appointments would be few and far between because I’d lost their trust – and testimonials and referrals were just about to dry up and never return.

He also pointed out, that further down the line when I had my own sales team to manage, their reputation would be tainted by mine and no one would want to see them either, so that would end in failure too.

Craig shared all that with me, I nodded in embarrassment, his expression stretched into a smile – he told me that my future was bright and that I should do something about getting it back on track – and then he bought me a drink to toast my imminent success.

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Thanks for reading this blog post. On my blog, I regularly write about Sales, Sales Management and Customer Service issues, topics and trends.

I’d also be delighted to connect via Twitter, YouTube and of course, through Varda Kreuz Training.

About: Chris Murray is founder and Managing Director of Varda Kreuz Training, a company created to deliver sales training that really works – not in theory and not just sometimes, but sales training that really works. You can find out more about Varda Kreuz Training HERE or give us a call right now on 0844 923 9777 (UK)

His latest book, The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club is an Amazon Number 1 Best Seller and has been heralded as the Da Vinci Code for salespeople.

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Filed under Business Development, Personal Development, Sales Management, Sales Targets, Sales Training

Most Popular Articles on LinkedIn Pulse

Please find below links to a few of my most popular, recent sales articles on LinkedIn Pulse 

Only 12 hours Left – $0.99 Kindle Countdown Offer for The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club

Those fabulous people at Amazon and Kindle have decided to place the EBook version of The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club on something they like to call a Countdown Deal… Read More

Thank You – The Extremely successful Salesman’s Club – Amazon Number 1 Best SellerRead More

Amazon Inspirational No.1 (Crop 3)

The Most Important Sales Technique That No One Talks About 

If you want to get the sales that others simply never even realised existed, the answer lies in what I like to call deep listening, and the best way to describe this is with the Chinese symbol for the verb “to listen”.… Read More

My Sales Team Are Busy Doing Everything Except Selling 

As a sales manager, it’s become more difficult to draw a distinct line between all the things a sales team should be doing – and all the activities that they love to spend time on – but lead them away from the straight and true path of your perfectly worked out plan.Read More

The Truth About Relationship Selling 

Relationship selling is a strange beast and countless authors have made many, many dollars explaining to sales people how to use it to their advantage… Read More

Would You Buy From YOU?

The salesperson you’d ideally like to be and the salesperson you’d like to served by – they should both be the same person, shouldn’t they?Read More 

Letter to an Aspiring Salesman 

“The choices you make from this day forward will lead you, step by step, to the future you deserve. Note well my words, for what you deserve will be down to you, and you alone.”Read More

Written Letter

Questioning Techniques that Empower People 

Below are 3 recent examples where that responsibility was sadly lacking – and although the behaviour highlighted might seem surprising – I bet you’ve had a number of similar experiences of your own.Read More 

Stop Making False Sales Promises and Tell Me How You Help 

Is the sales story in your elevator speech 100% true? Can you genuinely promise, that the wonderful results witnessed by one or two of your previous customers, will happen to everyone else who works with you? .Read More

The Dalai Lama’s A to Zen of Life (for Salespeople)

I think the first time I read this Dalai Lama A to Z, was on an office wall positioned between two fairly uninspiring posters – you know the type – artistic photographs of someone standing on the top of a mountain at sunrise, framed by some quote about eagles or persistence or something similar. .Read More 

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Thanks for reading this blog post. On my blog, I regularly write about Sales, Sales Management and Customer Service issues, topics and trends.

I’d also be delighted to connect via Twitter, YouTube and of course, through Varda Kreuz Training.

Here are some of my other recent posts:

If You think It’s All About Price – Get Out of Sales

Is Your Sales Team Culture Pirate Ship or Battleship?

About: Chris Murray is founder and Managing Director of Varda Kreuz Training, a company created to deliver sales training that really works – not in theory and not just sometimes, but sales training that really works. You can find out more about Varda Kreuz Training HERE or give us a call right now on 0844 923 9777 (UK)

His latest book, The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club has been heralded as the Da Vinci Code for salespeople.

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Filed under Business Development, Personal Development

Sales Managers – How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

FAME Remembered Jigsaw

A quick exercise for Sales Managers and Sales Directors, that will enable you to work out what you’re really trying to achieve.

There are four pieces of the sales management jigsaw that come together to create the FAME Effect;

  • Focus
  • Accountability
  • Motivation
  • Education

During our FAME Workshops we view the first – FOCUS – from a number of different angles.

It’s FOCUS that makes us ask – WHAT – as in “What jobs really need doing?”

Which is all fine and dandy – almost the easiest bit to achieve – for all the external stuff like the sales figures you need to hit, or where you want your brand to be in three years’ time – but what about you? 

Where are you going to end up in this plan? What bits of this really matter to YOU?

Getting focused is great for creating your overall vision and setting your goals, but have you ever considered how you – the one who manages the sales team – want to be spoken about when the Board meet up to discuss next year’s promotions and pay-rises?

Now, you might think that that’s not a very important question – but, trust me, if you really want to FOCUS on the real goals – the important stuff – and create a compelling vision that people will be inspired by, then you’ve got to work out how you feel about the things that really matter to you.

You can’t simply plan this stuff from where you are right now, from your current viewpoint – what you’ve got to do is look right to the end – and then work backwards.

So How Do Sales Managers and Sales Directors Figure Out What They’re Really Trying to Achieve?

Try out the exercise below, and I’ll bet you discover one or two key elements – missing from your current plans – which actually define your true version of success. 

Imagine it’s the last day at your current job – members of your sales team, all your peers and colleagues, the entire board of directors and even a few of your favourite customers are gathering to watch you make a little speech and share out the supermarket celebration cake.

Just then, four people step forward and say;

“Due to your outstanding contribution, we’d like to say a few words, if that’s OK?”

These four people are;

  • Someone representing your entire team / direct reports (past and present)
  • Someone representing all of your team’s customers (past and present)
  • Someone representing the heads of all the other departments in the company
  • The Big Boss

So, what would you want them to say?

Write down the four headings.

FAME - How Do You Want to be Remembered

Take around five minutes per person and write down a shorthand version of all the actions and personality traits that you would like people to remember you by and the activities and results of your team which you would be proud to be associated with.

Now – take a look at that list.

What do you need to FOCUS on to make each and every comment a reality?

Now, take your existing business plan, mission statement and vision – and start to figure out, how you’re going to make sure that it’s more than just the numbers that are achieved at the end of each year.

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To launch my latest book – The Managers Guide to Achieving FAME – I’m holding a number of FAME Sales Management Workshops throughout September.

The UK Workshop is taking place at the beautiful Mottram Hall in Cheshire on Thursday 25 September – and to ensure that I get to spend the appropriate amount of time with each of those attending, places are extremely limited.

I hope you can make it – together with a full day’s management training and all workshop materials, those attending will also receive a signed pre-publication copy of the new book and four exercises exclusive to this workshop to take back and use with their teams at their quarterly sales meetings.

I’d be delighted if you could join me on the day – if you can, take a look here for more details.

Best regards

Chris Murray

Managing Director – Varda Kreuz Training and Author of The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club and The Managers Guide to Achieving FAME

T: 0844 293 9777

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Filed under Management Training, Personal Development, Sales Management, Sales Targets, Self Improvement

The Wright Brothers Version of Advanced Sales Training

Marketing guru Perry Marshall tells a great story regarding the difference in thought process that led to the success of the Wright Brothers and the failure of all the others who were trying to achieve the same aim.

He explains the main reason that Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first guys to build an air-worthy vehicle, was that they focused on making the most elegant, efficient and aerodynamic plane.

What they didn’t do was focus on creating the most powerful engine.

At that time, everyone was obsessed with powerful engines. But powerful engines, especially back then, were really, really heavy.

And of course “heavy” is not a quality you want when you’re trying to defy gravity.

So, Orville and Wilbur concentrated on designing a machine that would stay in the air…ride the wind…float. They knew that once they achieved that goal, they could strap a good engine to their bird and the thing would stay up.

Meanwhile their engine-obsessed competitors were building powerful, heavy machines…and crashing back to earth.

What’s that got to do with sales training?

Well quite a lot actually.

You see, the sales model and mind-set your team work with, needs to be an aerodynamic plane…if they thoroughly understand the motivations behind peoples buying decisions, have the ability to uncover opportunities and turn those opportunities into recognisable needs and then keep moving every genuine prospect forward during each call or meeting…then by all means, you should go ahead and take it to the next level by helping your sales team to improve their overall effectiveness with some advanced sales skills and techniques.

To be extremely successful, both are crucial.

Skills and techniques that genuinely work and are useful within your industry, together with a foundation in buying motives, effective questioning, presentation skills and a real understanding of how and when to close.

A strong engine and a wind-worthy plane.

Unfortunately strapping those skills and techniques onto a team that can’t fly is just a waste of time.

When you next decide to invest in sales training for your team, ask yourself the following questions and work out whether or not you’re being sold an engine that doesn’t go anywhere, or a plane that’ll take you wherever it is you want to go – and can continuously be improved.

  • Put yourself in the customer’s chair – If these techniques were used on you, would you buy from the salesperson using them?
  • If you answered yes to the first question, following the purchase, would you feel – in any way – that you had been manipulated or bullied?
  • Does the training sound like a collection of techniques for selling AT someone or a toolbox that can be dipped into, to help your customers make great buying decisions?
  • Does the title involve the word advanced? If so, how much of the non-advanced training have your team already completed previously?
  • Also, which bit of the content allows this particular training to call itself advanced?
  • Is the training focused mainly on helping the salesperson sell or the prospect to recognise why they should buy?
  • Has this training been built to achieve the specific requirements of your team and business – or is this the same training they do for everyone?

Until next time, have a great summer

Chris

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PS – My new book The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club is getting rave reviews and I am humbled by the number of people who have already discovered it – thanks for all your support. If you haven’t read it yet, you can download the first four chapters for free by clicking on this link.

New Varda Kreuz Case Studies HERE and Video Testimonials HERE

This year, I want to help you and your sales team become more successful than they’ve ever been before – call my office now on
0844 293 9777 or request a call back by going to our Contact Page HERE.

You and I can work out a sales training programme that suits your requirements perfectly – foundation level sales training, field sales training, account management training, selling value over price, FMCG sales training, customer service training, whatever it might be – but it’s a big old world out there and if you don’t take two minutes to invite me over, I may never know you need me.

We create bespoke sales training days from as little as £228 per person, so give my office a call today and we can get a date in the diary to start working on tailoring something just for you.

Chris Murray

0844 293 9777

By the way, if someone has forwarded you this newsletter, you can sign up to receive it directly from Varda Kreuz here

Varda Kreuz Sales TrainingManchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, London

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Filed under Advanced Sales Training, Business Development, Drinks Industry Sales Training, Personal Development, Sales Training, Self Improvement

Why Salespeople Should Learn How to Sell Lemonade

Lemonade

So, this weekend, my nine year old daughter decides to set up a lemonade stand at the front of the house as her first commercial enterprise.

To be fair, she’s been nagging me to help her do it for over a year – since she saw that bank advert with a similar age girl doing the same thing.

I only realise now, that right up until the point she set up her tiny table and chair (sandwiched between her hand-drawn poster and little plastic till) – that I was acting like your typical “don’t go into business” advisor.

I recognised it, because I heard so many myself before I set up my first company.

Are you sure you want to do this? What happens if no one comes? You might end up looking stupid? Is what you make really good enough for someone else’s money?”

But, like all good entrepreneurs and pioneers, she appears to be able to phase all that nonsense out, and crack on with what she knows to be right.

Here are a couple of things that a nine year old girl selling home-made lemonade could teach a few salespeople I’ve met along the way.

1. She sat down and worked out her USP

So why is anybody going to be buy this, honey?”

Why wouldn’t they?”

Well, there’s a lot of competition, we live not far from the local pub and a can of fizzy drink from the shop is only 50p – why would they stop and buy yours?”

So she sat and she thought about it – then redesigned her poster to explain why it was worth stopping and giving her your money – in fact she had five reasons why her Lemonade was worth stopping for.

Question: What are the 5 reasons people buy your product or service instead of the competitions?

2. She knew why it was worth the money

So – it would have been really easy, to spend £10 on ingredients and plastic cups and then just let her play shop – but she wanted to do this properly.

We put all the costs down on paper, she realised what price we couldn’t go below and why, and we justified it with facts.

Question: When someone raises a price objection do you feel uneasy, mixed with the need to knock a little off, or can you justify the value and the cost?

3. She was ready for objections

We sat down together – and I was an awkward customer – I gave her every reason I could think of why I wouldn’t buy lemonade off the side of the road, from a 9 year old girl.

We then came up with conversation pieces that overcame drawbacks, misunderstandings and scepticism.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud.

Question: What 5 objections do you regularly get? Have you sat down and worked out how to overcome each one so they’re no longer a problem?

4. She was passionate about the work

Two days she sat out there.

She wanted to be out there, setting up her stand straight after breakfast – we had trouble getting her in for lunch or dinner.

She chatted, she poured, she went and got complimentary bowls of water for customers with dogs.

Admittedly, it seemed to come quite naturally to her – but she wasn’t daunted by anything or anyone, intelligently delegated most of the grunt work to me (concentrating on the actions that would bring in the most money) and she really, really enjoyed it.

Question: When was the last time you sprang out of bed and went looking for new customers? If those who work with you were asked, what would they say to the question – does that salesperson spend most of their time on actions that only achieve their goal?

Until next time, best regards

Chris

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PS – My new book The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club is getting rave reviews and I am humbled by the number of people who have already discovered it – thanks for all your support. If you haven’t read it yet, you can download the first four chapters for free by clicking on this link. Also, make sure you take advantage of these great summer offers for the book – some are extremely time sensitive.

New Varda Kreuz Case Studies HERE and Video Testimonials HERE

This year, I want to help you and your sales team become more successful than they’ve ever been before – call my office now on
0844 293 9777 or request a call back by going to our Contact Page HERE.

You and I can work out a sales training programme that suits your requirements perfectly – foundation level sales training, field sales training, account management training, selling value over price, FMCG sales training, customer service training, whatever it might be – but it’s a big old world out there and if you don’t take two minutes to invite me over, I may never know you need me.

We create bespoke sales training days from as little as £228 per person, so give my office a call today and we can get a date in the diary to start working on tailoring something just for you.

Chris Murray

0844 293 9777

By the way, if someone has forwarded you this newsletter, you can sign up to receive it directly from Varda Kreuz here

Varda Kreuz Sales TrainingManchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, London

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Filed under Business Development, Drinks Industry Sales Training, Personal Development, Price Objections, Product Launch, Sales Training, Self Improvement

The 3 Must Know Rules of Sales and Customer Service

Here’s the next in a series of vids that we shot with Chris Jupe recently.

Click above to watch – The 3 Must Know Rules of Sales & Customer Service and how to understand and uncover customer needs, even when the customer doesn’t know a problem exists at all – feel free to share with friends and colleagues.

These short videos were created so that we could share some of the key Varda Kreuz Sales Training messages, with no charge , no sign up, just a quick bit of something useful for those who might not get the chance to attend one of our workshops or courses.

Hope you find it useful, best regards

Chris

PS – My new book The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club will be available in a few sort weeks

New Case Studies HERE

This year, I want to help you and your sales team become more successful than they’ve ever been before – call my office now on
0844 293 9777 or request a call back by going to our Contact Page HERE.

You and I can work out a sales training programme that suits your requirements perfectly – foundation level sales training, field sales training, account management training, selling value over price, FMCG sales training, customer service training, whatever it might be – but it’s a big old world out there and if you don’t take two minutes to invite me over, I may never know you need me.

We create bespoke sales training days from as little as £228 per person, so give my office a call today and we can get a date in the diary to start working on tailoring something just for you.

Chris Murray

0844 293 9777

By the way, if someone has forwarded you this newsletter, you can sign up to receive it directly from Varda Kreuz here

Varda Kreuz Sales TrainingManchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, London

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Filed under Business Development, Customer Service, Personal Development, Sales Training, Self Improvement

July 4th – How to Make it Your Sales Independence Day

Definition: Independence – Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence; Capable of thinking or acting for oneself

To some of you it might also mean freedom, and being out there – free – on your own – with no one else to blame can be scary, unpredictable and heavy with responsibility – but if it’s all you dream of, it’s also well worth it.

I was asked last week by a gentleman attending one of my training days for my suggested reading list.

So here it is – it doesn’t include any of my books (sorry Mr Publisher) – just 6 books that changed my life

  • Think & Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • The Richest Man in Babylon – George S Clason
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey
  • 7 Stategies for Wealth & Happiness – Jim Rohn
  • Secrets of Closing the Sales – Zig Ziglar

Treat yourself to one of those; give yourself the time to appreciate it, go and take a step towards your own personal freedom.

Happy Independence Day

Until next time

Chris

New Case Studies HERE

This year, I want to help you and your sales team become more successful than they’ve ever been before – call my office now on
0844 293 9777 or request a call back by going to our Contact Page HERE.

You and I can work out a sales training programme that suits your requirements perfectly – foundation level sales training, field sales training, account management training, selling value over price, FMCG sales training, customer service training, whatever it might be – but it’s a big old world out there and if you don’t take two minutes to invite me over, I may never know you need me.

We create bespoke sales training days from as little as £228 per person, so give my office a call today and we can get a date in the diary to start working on tailoring something just for you.

Chris Murray

0844 293 9777

By the way, if someone has forwarded you this newsletter, you can sign up to receive it directly from Varda Kreuz here

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