Tag Archives: Sales Management

UK Sales Management Workshops – Last Few Places

There are 2 places left for the FAME Sales Management Open Workshop in Cheshire on Thursday – I’m afraid all the London dates are now sold out.

I do hope you or a colleague can join me – they’re always great days, and it would be fabulous to see you there.

Best regards

Chris

FAME Sales Management Workshops

Thursday 5th 2015 – Manchester (2 Places Left)

Our FAME training programme was created to develop sales leaders, but it’s down to earth approach also makes it ideal for recently appointed managers and supervisors who wish to understand the principles of good management practice and require an introduction to tried and tested management techniques.

The FAME Sales Management programme examines four key elements;

  • Focus – The real role of a manager and the requirement for clear goals and direction
  • Accountability – Defining responsibilities and the need to be a role model
  • Motivation – Understanding the key motivators for different personality types
  • Education – Coaching strategies, reviews and the need for continuous improvement.

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Questioning Techniques that Empower People to Take Responsibility

Question BallEvery organisation has a genuine need for their frontline staff to take some level of responsibility.

They need them to respond to every situation appropriately, to ensure that opportunities are never missed and that a positive perception is maintained and continuously enhanced in the eyes of those who require their services.

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.

Example Number 1

While taking a tour around a hospital that had asked us to deliver some customer service training, a patient with a life threatening condition – who had been sent with some urgency by a senior consultant to the pre-op department, was told;

“No one told us you were coming, you can’t just jump the queue, there’s a 3 month waiting list for this service.”

To which the patient replied; “I don’t know if I’ve got 3 months!”

Example Number 2

While talking to a business owner about his team’s sales training requirements, I was told that one of his salespeople had recently said;

“If it isn’t in the brochure, we don’t do it” – to a prospect who had asked for an item that was a little unusual, but could have been easily obtained and would have been extremely profitable for all involved.

Example Number 3

On a store visit, with the HR Director of a major retailer, we heard a member of the management team say;

“You’ve had the training, just get on with it” – to an employee who had asked for a little guidance, because she was worried about causing some level of meltdown if she made a mistake.

Now, in their own minds, each of these people delivered a message that was in line with the job they were being paid to do.

And yet for the organisations that employed them and the people who came to them for help – their responses had absolutely no positive effect whatsoever.

But was it completely their fault? In all three cases, I found it hard to truly condone shooting the messenger.

If they had been trained on how to use certain questioning techniques properly, their responses would have been immeasurably more productive and helpful.

You see, if you’re counting on your people to be responsible, you need to give them the ability to choose an appropriate response.

Interesting way to think about that word, isn’t it? Responsibility – The ability to choose the appropriate response.

In our EASE Sales and Customer Service Training, the A in EASE stands for Ask the Appropriate Questions – appropriate questioning techniques also figure massively in the coaching workshops of our FAME Management Course.

If the people in the examples above had possessed the ability to ask appropriate questions – I’m confident they could have delivered a positive outcome to all concerned.

Take a look at the three examples again – take each situation and have a think about which questions you might have asked the patient, the customer and the shop assistant, that would have led to each frontline interaction having a far more positive outcome.

Appropriate Questions are incredibly powerful – as an example, let me give you a statement that has no positive answer and so many salespeople react badly to;

“You’re too expensive!”

Leave it like that and all you can do is Argue, Agree or Apologise.

But what happens if you ask a great question instead?

What opportunities might arise if you responded with a question like;

“What makes you say that?” or

“Do you think so, in what way?” or

“Compared to what exactly?”

Those answers should help you recognise the obvious gap in your prospects perception – between the cost and the value of having a problem fixed – enabling you to deliver a solution, rather than trying to defend a lack of understanding on both sides of the table.

So, at the risk of making this sound overly simple – to do this properly, you need to;

Learn how to ask the appropriate questions, so that you…

Receive all the information you require to move forward, which will empower you to…

Deliver an appropriate response.

Which will probably result in the desired outcomes your organisation was set up to achieve in the first place.

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Thanks for reading this article. 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

Call Yourself a Salesperson? 5 Questions to Uncover the Truth

Top 3 on Amazon Best Sellers – Thanks

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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Help – My Sales Team Are Busy Doing Everything Except Selling

BARNUM-AND-BAILEY-CIRCUS-POSTER-1917-31IN-BY-23

In this blurry new, multi-tasking, on-line opportunistic world in which we all now live – it can sometimes be a little difficult to work out where marketing strategy stops and the sales process begins.

So, 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.

I’ve always liked how this quick circus analogy explains the differences between Marketing (Advertising, Promotion, Publicity, PR) and Sales.

If your circus is coming to town and you pay to have a poster on a billboard that says “The Circus Will be at the Football Ground on Saturday,” that’s Advertising.

If you put the same sign on the back of an elephant and walk it all the way through the town centre, that’s Promotion.

If the elephant “unexpectedly” walks through the mayor’s front garden and the local papers “just happen” to be there and write about it, that’s Publicity.

If you get the mayor to see the funny side – as well as the opportunity – and then you laugh together about the unfortunate elephant based madness, in front of all the reporters, photographers, prospective customers and voters, that’s PR.

If those prospective customers then buy tickets for the circus off you, and you answer all their questions and explain how much fun they’ll have if they hook-a-duck or hit the bell with the hammer when they visit the many entertainment booths, and ultimately, they spend lots of money at the circus, that’s Sales.

Here’s the problem though.

A large group of salespeople – whose sole purpose is to sell – think their time could be better spent elsewhere, away from all that boring, unproductive sales stuff.

They think they should be growing the business and driving customers towards them by taking the elephant for a walk or finding a way to make the mayor laugh. (They’re also usually the ones who dream of winning The Apprentice, but that’s another article all together)

Here’s a question to all the sales managers out there;

If it was your job to ensure that a swamp was cleared by the end of the month and everyone who worked for you just decided to do their own thing – created their own interpretation of what you actually meant by “help me clear this swamp” – would that be acceptable?

No – I know it wouldn’t – but I’ve seen it happen with far too many sales targets and business plans.

So, why is it that – once you’ve created that perfect swamp clearing plan and readied yourself for the long hours and focused effort required – the team suddenly decide that it would be a much better idea instead, if they;

  • Planted a few herbaceous borders to make the swamp look a little brighter, or
  • Wrote you a detailed plan about why you should outsource some of the jobs that they thought were beneath them, or
  • Started to find new homes for the recently displaced alligators, or
  • Spent time starting to build a long term relationship with the drainage company, or
  • Just tried to dump their bit of the swamp behind another colleague’s wheel barrow.

At Varda Kreuz, we like to break the job of a sales manager down into four easily understandable sections which come together to create something called the FAME Effect;

  • Focus
  • Accountability
  • Motivation
  • Education

When we talk about FOCUS, we ask the question – WHAT – as in “What jobs need doing?”

And when we talk about ACCOUNTABILITY we ask the question – WHO – as in “Whose job is it?”

I mentioned in an earlier articleAs a sales manager it is not your job to hit the sales target – it’s your job to ensure the target gets hit!

Subtle difference in words – massive difference in results.

When I was a sales director a while back, we were recruiting to expand the field sales team and I asked the Southern Sales Manager what he was looking for in a perfect candidate, to which he answered;

“Someone who makes my job as easy as possible.”

Simple, honest, precise – and spot on.

****************************************************

Thanks for reading this article. 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

Top 3 on Amazon Best Sellers – Thanks

Are Your Sales Team Managing You?

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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Are Your Sales Team Managing You?

I don’t mind admitting, in certain things, I like to think of myself a bit of a perfectionist – one of those is the creation, and continuation, of positive customer perception.

I’m also well aware, that certain teams I’ve managed in the past, thought I worried about that kind of thing far too much.

But there’s a phrase I once heard a top Chef say, that sums up my feelings perfectly.

“Never let your mistakes leave the kitchen!”

Perception is reality – and someone else’s perception of you, the way they believe you are, is their reality.

Someone else’s account of the brilliant service they received at a restaurant matters not a jot if that wasn’t your experience, you will create your own perception on what happens to you.

So, during my very first management role, I decided that everything that left the desk or computers of my team would be a direct reflection on the way I ran the operation to anybody viewing it externally.

Having worked hard to achieve a half decent reputation in previous roles, I was aware that certain buyers were only booking initial appointments with my new account management team because they had been treated professionally and effectively by me in the past.

Therefore, I spent a great deal of time ensuring that I retained that perception by keeping a careful watch over everything that left the office.

However, I didn’t realise what I was letting myself in for.

They were creating letters that resembled thank you notes from a ten year-old, proposals that I can only assume were put together on the way in to work and their presentations had the professionalism of a high school PowerPoint project.

So I worked late, I polished that rubbish until it looked good enough for human consumption – everything that left that sales office looked so good it could have been written by me.

And do you know why? Because on most occasions, it had been written by me!

I remember perfectly the exact evening this all came to a climatic end.

I was in my office – an hour and a half hard drive from home – it was eight o’clock at night. I was polishing up a proposal for a fairly senior, but lazy regional manager, and I decided to give him a call to discuss the project we were both working on.

I had missed my children’s bedtime, I hadn’t eaten since my hurried sandwich hours earlier, the cleaners were the only other people in the building and the Account Manager – who I thought would follow me to the ends of the earth because of the dedication and loyalty that I was currently showing him and the cause – said;

“Can you give me a call tomorrow about ‘10ish’; I’m just in the pub doing personal stuff!”

When we talk about ACCOUNTABILITY in regards to the Sales Management FAME Effect, we ask the question – WHO – as in “Whose job is it?”

I mentioned in my last articleAs a sales manager it is not your job to hit the sales target – it’s your job to ensure the target gets hit!

Subtle difference in words – massive difference in results.

So, if you’re an over worked, underappreciated sales manager; here’s a question I want you to think about. Let’s see whether you’re focusing your efforts in the right direction and being as effective as you possibly could be – or whether you’re just acting like some kind of sales martyr, working yourself to death without anyone ever actually noticing.

Ask yourself this;

“Who is better off – The Manager who earns £1,150 (£60Kpa) for a 60 hour working week or the team members who earn £770 (£40K pa) and work a 35 hour week?”

Sure you get the big bucks in every pay packet, but by the hour you’re actually earning 15% less.

If you went for a job interview and were told that – as the manager you’d be earning £19 per hour – and your sales team would be earning £22 per hour – you’d think they were mad.

And yet without getting FOCUS and ACCOUNTABILITY right – the first two sections of the FAME Effect – that’s probably exactly what you’ll end up doing.

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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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Sales Team or Manager – the Buck Stops Where?

When things go wrong in the world of sales, which direction do you think the buck should gravitate towards and where do you think it should eventually stop? At the feet of the sales team or the sales manager?

When you think about the phrase “The Buck Stops Here”, whereabouts on the scale, would you place yourself between these two camps;

Would you be the manager who accepts the blame for everything? Takes it on the chin, goes down with the ship? Would you offer to fall on your sword if the team failed?

or

Are you the manager who sits around the boardroom table with your fellow hierarchy, all shaking your heads, dismayed at how the sales team just don’t get it? Discussing how you did everything you possibly could for them – but the team just weren’t up to the job?

I explained in an earlier article the four pieces of the sales management jigsaw that come together to create what I like to call the FAME Effect;

  • Focus
  • Accountability
  • Motivation
  • Education

And it’s the second one – ACCOUNTABILITY – that makes us ask – WHO as in “Whose job is it?”

Yes, of course the sales teams are responsible for hitting their own targets, for slowly bringing their individual slices of achievement back to the company table, one by one, until you’ve put together a perfect and complete Success Pie.

But they’re only ever responsible for their own slice – the sales manager will always be the one responsible for the whole thing.

That may seem obvious so far – but let’s change the scenario for a minute;

What if you managed a team who peeled potatoes?

Let’s say that your target is to have 500 crates of potatoes peeled every day – and you manage a team of people who peel them for you.

What would happen, if one day, the company decided to get rid of the people and replaced them with potato peeling machines – what would your job be then?

Answerexactly the same, it wouldn’t have changed – your job, would still be to ensure that 500 crates of potatoes were peeled – because that’s what you manage.

Same thing applies with a sales team.

As a sales manager it is not your job to hit the sales target – it’s your job to ensure the target gets hit!

Subtle difference in words – massive difference in results.

So, if it’s ACCOUNTABILITY that makes us ask – WHO – as in “Whose job is it?” – then my definition of Accountability (as far as FAME Sales Management goes) is this;

As the Manager you are responsible for;

  • The way that you’re perceived – internally and externally.
  • Making sure your team understand exactly what it is the business needs them to achieve.
  • Helping them to achieve it (that doesn’t mean doing it for them).
  • Explaining to the team, in no uncertain terms, that this small part of international industry now falls under their watch.
  • Hiring the good ones, guiding back those who have lost their way, nurturing and developing those with promise and of course, advising a few that it would be best for all concerned if they furthered their careers elsewhere.
  • Keeping your part of the business in business
  • Taking complete control of, and understanding, where this road will eventually take you.
  • Understanding the 3 types of sales people and recognising who’s who on your team.

While every member of your Team is responsible for;

  • Making your job as easy as possible
  • Turning up every day with the right attitude
  • Achieving their goals and targets
  • The perception of you, your team and the company they work for externally
  • The perception of you and your entire team internally
  • Asking for help when they need it
  • Keeping their part of the business “in business”

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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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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

You’re Invited to The Sales Managers Guide to Achieving FAME Workshop

I would like to invite you or a colleague to join me at our FAME Sales Management Workshop on Thursday 25th September 2014 at the beautiful Mottram Hall Hotel in Cheshire.
Mottram Hall Hotel
I will be running the training day, just ahead of the publication date of my new book The Sales Manger’s Guide to Achieving FAME.

The FAME Sales Management Programme was created to develop anyone involved in sales leadership.

It covers four key elements;

Focus – The real role of a leader and the requirement for clear goals and direction

Accountability – Defining responsibilities and the need to be a role model

Motivation – Understanding the key motivators for every member of the team

Education – Coaching strategies, reviews and the need for continuous improvement

Together with a full days training and all workshop materials, delegates 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 want to spend as much time as possible with each delegate, and to ensure that’s possible, places are extremely limited.

You can check out an overview of the day here which goes into a little more detail regarding content and learning outcomes, however if you require anything further, please do not hesitate to call me directly.

These places are available for only £325 + VAT per delegate – so, if you would like to join us (or know somebody who would) at Mottram Hall Hotel on Thursday 25 September, you can secure your place right now through PayPal here

paypal__secure

Or you can send an email to FAME@VardaKreuz.com with the name of the person who you wish to attend the workshop and their preferred contact details.

Please note this package does not include an overnight stay, however should you wish to arrive the evening before, we have organised preferential rates with the hotel for all delegates.

I do hope you, or one of your colleagues, can join us on the day.

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

COURSE OVERVIEW DOCUMENT & DETAILS

 

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