All posts by Peter Holland

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Why a Sales Coaching Mindset Delivers Powerful Results

Put simply, coaching is a process to improve performance that focuses on helping an individual unlock their own potential to maximise performance.

Coaching helps them to learn rather than you teaching them.

Most sales managers are poor coaches lacking the ability and skills to help individuals reach their full potential.

Now’s the time to learn the skills to become an excellent sales coach!

Developing a Coaching Mindset

What is a coaching mindset? And why is it so important?

Reality is most sales managers are poor coaches ..not because they aren’t professional, hardworking and committed individuals

Root cause? The mistaken assumption that Good Salespeople = Good Managers

It’s a familiar story, star salesperson gets promoted  to Sales Manager. He or she is logically senior management’s No1 choice.

They build rapport easily, deliver valuable customer solutions and a solid pipeline with consistent top results.

They loved selling but now they are finding it challenging to help develop others, analyse data correctly, do management reports and attend boardroom meetings..

It’s a totally different skillset and Senior Management didn’t recognise this fact.

No investment was planned to help the new manager develop the skills for this role.

Now they are struggling to manage their calendar with both demands from their team and management expectations.

Trying to pull themselves out of the minutiae of everyday sales life and constant firefighting. But apprehensive to express these concerns for fear they will appear incompetent.

The truth is – Great managers are made not born

They need support and investment to become great sales leaders

So What is this MINDSET ?  Why is it so important?

A Coaching mindset allows you to think differently about your leadership behaviour and take a fresh perspective

This isn’t some stale ‘training technique’ you use on your people,

It goes way deeper than that. It touches your PURPOSE.

What is Your Purpose as a Sales Leader? – Your WHY?

Your contribution can be of outstanding value. Your legacy is now.

Think about the positive impact you could make on the lives of others?

You have the potential to create a High Performance Sales Culture, an environment that enables and empowers people. Unlocking their full potential and abilities.

It’s a change to a superior level of behaviour and leadership in everything you do.

A coaching mindset allows you identify opportunities for individual development.

Instead of telling them what to do.

You use insightful questions to help salespeople discover for themselves solutions to their challenges.

Help them set their own goals and take responsibility for implementing them.

Providing ongoing support and accountability to embed long lasting performance improvement.

For most of us this requires a mental shift and a change in our behaviour. It’s a skill and an art we need to learn and continue to practice in daily life.

Whilst learning this can be done in a short period of time, mastering them will take several months to get comfortable with.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could avoid learn these skills first time?

Instead of falling into a lot of common mistakes right from the start.

In next week’s article I’ll share the 10 Top Coaching Mistakes to avoid to get superior results from your team.

If you’d like to discuss improving your own skill set then let’s have an initial telephone conversation.

https://calendly.com/peter-holland-1/strategy-session-1

Committed to Your Sales Success

Peter

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No.1 Activity to Add Value to Your Sales Team?

As a manager you urgently want your team to perform at their best this year.

Question: What is the one activity you can do to ensure this happens?

Answer: Coaching

Problem: Most sales managers don’t have a reliable method to consistently develop the performance of their team.

Why? : Top Reasons.

  1. Have not been trained to be skilful coaches.
  2. Don’t spend enough time out in the field to know their people’s needs.
  3. Prioritise other ‘management’ activities that do little to move the needle on sales results
  4. Bombarded by senior management demands for reporting, meetings and tasks NOT related to increasing sales.

So here’s my challenge to you if you’re a sales manager reading this.

Ask yourself do I have a reliable consistent method to develop my team’s ability and results?

If the answer is an honest no.

Then stay tuned over the next two weeks I’m going to unpack the secrets to developing and implementing a simple sales management system that will drive the consistent results you crave.

If this subject is relevant and interesting to you right now, let’s get our calendars together and schedule an initial call.

Click here for availability.  https://calendly.com/peter-holland-1/strategy-session-1

Committed to Your Sales Results.

Peter

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3 Killer Reasons Your CRM Usage is Costing You Sales Revenue

More firms than you would ever imagine both small, medium and larger organisations, still have little or no visibility and control over their sales revenue.

They often fall into two camps, either they have no CRM system at all and rely on a myriad of spread sheets and disparate reports to attempt to manage the business.

Or secondly, they have a CRM system but it has never been fully adopted by management or sales to effectively manage their customer engagement.

Often the CRM is little more than a glorified address book of contacts rather than a vital tool to track the business in real time and capitalise on the many opportunities currently being lost to deliver value to customers.

One key aspect that is often missed by sales management is defining for their salespeople what a valuable customer insight actually is and how it should be captured in the CRM.

This results in the sales managers not gaining any valuable information or visibility from the customer visits their salespeople make.

From the salesperson’s perspective the logging of information into the CRM is seen as an administrative duty to cover themselves rather than a way to capture key business insights and enable them to keep on top of all their current sales pipeline opportunities.

So, why not take a fresh look at what you are doing to improve the effectiveness of your management & sales team by reviewing these 3 points below.

Do an honest self-appraisal and see where you can improve.

  1. Proactive Sales Approach.
  • Are you leveraging customer information as well as you should? Proactively plan & accurately target your products & services, rather than just trying it randomly with a few people that are front of mind.
  • Do your ‘Customer visit reports’ provide objectives for each visit and drive salespeople to capture key business information?
  1. Protect Your Assets.
  • When a key staff member leaves, are they walking out the door with your business in their head, not retained in the company?
  • What would it mean to your business if you lost a key customer or contract just because no-one else knew what was going on?
  • What has a customer been promised, what is yet to do?  A central CRM system collects, manages & retains a key corporate asset –
  1. Improved Customer Experience.
  • In a world where customer experience is a key differentiator, how are you managing?
  • Can you make sure all your staff are ‘in the know’, ensure anyone can manage issues with ease & that no-one drops the ball at every customer touchpoint?
  • Putting CRM in everyone’s hands helps you commit to your company’s promise of quality service.”

The focus here is on how to drive growth via Customer Engagement to create consistent sales results, something many organisations are challenged with achieving.

I’d love to hear your comments on what you have done so far that’s working for you and what challenges you face now to take this to the next level.

Committed to Your Continued Sales Success!

Peter

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Are You Investing in Your Most Valuable Sales Asset?

I know it’s shocking but training your salespeople won’t get you the peak performance results you want.

Today smart companies across the globe are waking up to an important fact.

They must invest in and empower their sales managers if they want to achieve maximum performance.

We must stop the erroneous idea that promoting good salespeople will automatically give us great managers.

It won’t because ‘Sales Management’ is a completely different role.

Here are 5 reasons why every company should be investing in developing their sales managers skills.

  1. Who sets the pace?

Managers are the ones that set the pace and create the atmosphere for the whole team to achieve high performance.

  1. Who is the link between the boardroom and sales?

Sales managers are the ones who can effectively communicate the strategy and direction from the boardroom and translate that into meaningful sales activities to be implemented in the field.

  1. Know their numbers

Managers must understand their sales figures, and be able to read them like a book, spotting pipeline pitfalls and potential forecast blockages, plus an ability to help their team overcome these issues.

  1. Leverage their experience

They need strong coaching skills to enable them to transfer their knowledge effectively, multiplying their skills throughout the team.

https://www.linearstructure.com/are-you-coaching-by-telling-or-asking/

  1. Breed Loyalty

A good manager will win the hearts and minds of their team. This is another valuable asset when you consider the high cost of staff retention on your organisation.

The person in the role of sales manager can dramatically affect the bottom line, but they need to know what qualities to develop to be a great leader.

When you think about these 5 points is evident that investing and empowering your sales manager is the key to maximising team performance and results.

If you’d like more ideas to develop as a sales leaders check out these articles

https://www.linearstructure.com/are-you-struggling-to-recruit-top-salespeople/

Committed to Your continued sales success!

Peter

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Are You Neglecting Your Top Sales Performers?

I was asked last week by a senior sales manager why two of his top performers results had dropped in recent months.

So, I’d like to share three key reasons this can happen.

  1. Top performers are often first to be neglected.

We assume they are feeling great and will automatically continue producing high-level results. This is disrespectful and assumptive on management’s part. When was the last time you acknowledged or recognised a top performing person verbally or in a substantive way?

Sales is a learned skill that needs constant development and re-calibration. If you owned a high performance sports car you wouldn’t expect top performance if you never made the investment into regular servicing and maintenance. Your team are no different.

If you ensure everyone receives regular coaching and development in the most effective and relevant sales strategies and technology advances it keeps their approach fresh and focused on adding value to customers.

  1. Top performers can easily forget what got them to the top.

It’s not uncommon for top sales people to experience a slump or slow patch. Their results look like a typical bell curve diagram. One reason is that they become very adept at recognising the challenges and issues faced by clients.

This is a great asset but it can also be a double edged sword if they forget the need to spend sufficient time investigating clients individual situation. If they jump in and offer solutions too early they meet with resistance from the prospect. They don’t feel the salesperson understands their situation well enough and the solutions are seen as generic.

They must remember that gaining this deeper understanding of the clients situation is the key element in building the trust  they require for the relationship to grow.

So review the basics, ensure good questioning and Active listening hasn’t lapsed.

  1. Top performers need to keep it fresh.

It’s tough to stay 100% motivated year in year out. Often months or years can pass without a proper review of their aspirations and the opportunities for growth. Perhaps that’s within sales, bigger accounts, international business or using their experience in a management role. Or do they desire additional development or education opportunities. In any event make sure you have this conversation before your competition does!

Don’t procrastinate, review your team today on these 3 points. Discover who you might be neglecting and make sure your team is onboard and in top shape to start 2023.

I hope this is useful and welcome your comments.

Committed to Your continued sales success!

Peter

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Banish Your Fear of Sales Rejection

Language is powerful, using it skilfully you will

  • control and influence the discussion, which
  • influences the relationship and
  • ultimately the business results.

There’s a direct link between these three elements.

If you’re in a sales, then language is the primary tool of your trade. Therefore, you need to continually improve your use of this vital asset.

Let’s look at how you can maximise the impact of your language with clients to reduce sales pressure and remove any fear of rejection.

Adopt a Value Driven Mentality

The notion that you are a vendor trying to sell your wares in a subservient position is simply erroneous and counterproductive to both you and your prospective client.

The reason you are engaging in this conversation with another professional, is to establish whether you can mutually improve each other’s situation.

Your role in this conversation is to see if your expertise, previous client experiences and innovative ideas might add value to your prospective client.

So, forget trying to make a sale, instead start by asking insightful questions that uncover people’s objectives and then focus on providing suggestions for them to achieve the new level of results they desire.

When you start with the correct mentality it will reduce your fear of rejection, improve your confidence and enable you to use language effectively to create meaningful discussions your prospects will find engaging and valuable.

If you’d like more ideas to eliminate sales resistance drop me a line at peter.holland@linearstructure.com for a complimentary copy of ‘Beyond Sales – Creating the Relationships that Drive Consistent Growth Results’

Dedicated to Your Continued Sales Success

Peter

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Create proposals with an 80% success rate

Discover the fundamental reason clients just won’t say Yes

Many sales and business professionals wonder why after having a seemingly

productive meeting they meet resistance to their proposals and a lack of enthusiasm to commit to taking things forward from their prospective client.

One fundamental reason is that your prospective client does not see how your product or service can help them solve their specific problems.

Why could this be?

Often it stems from our lack of investigation into their personal situation and their real issues.

It’s all too easy to hear the client mention an area of concern or interest and immediately rush to provide a solution or demonstrate our own capability much too soon.

Especially if we are experienced, this is an easy trap to fall into as we probably have seen a similar situation before.

So, what’s the problem with doing that?

Well, you may have extensive experience and even have an excellent solution in mind, but that is not enough.  Let’s illustrate this:

Imagine for a moment walking into your GP’s office. Before you have a chance to tell him about your symptoms he whips out his pad and starts writing you a prescription…saying ‘Don’t worry Mr Holland I know your problem I’ve seen it before in a number of cases recently with men your age.

How would you feel?

Would you be confident in the solution provided?

Would you feel he had taken the time to understand your condition properly.

Would you be keen to accept the advice given and medication prescribed?

The problem lies in the fact that too little investigation into the client’s situation has been done. They see your solution as just that, it’s YOUR solution… too generic and not specific to their personal situation and needs.

Even if you have got the right solution for them!

Unfortunately, you will meet with resistance to your advice or solutions.

How can you overcome this situation?

Allow the client the opportunity to share ownership for any potential solution.

Firstly, fully investigate their situation, gently probe which areas they are happy with and what challenges they really face with questions such as……

Why do you think this area is a challenge for you?

Then be quiet and ACTIVELY listen. Their comments are the answers you are looking for and determine the direction for the conversation to follow.

By confirming back your understanding of the situation you make sure you have understood correctly.

Secondly, you demonstrate to your client that you have actually taken the time to listen to them in detail and this builds confidence and trust.

Now you know the areas of concern you need to find out where they feel they are currently in resolving them, by asking…

Do you already have an idea for improving this area?

Or What do you think it would take to improve or solve this situation?

Now you can transition over to discussing a solution by simply saying…May I try a few ideas?

Would it help you if when you had this issue you were able to….(add your suggestion)?

Confirm back whether your suggestion would resolve the issue fully or in part?

Do you think this would give you the ability to resolve the situation?

By investigating properly initially in the conversation and using questions to create a better solution together you will meet much less resistance.

Your client has a shared ownership with you for the solution and they will be more likely to commit to moving forward with you.

Your proposal should be a summation of your conversation that includes the mutually agreed objectives and high-lights the real value of achieving them to the business.

Here’s what I’d like you to try in your next prospective client meeting.

Promise yourself not to offer any solutions until you have fully investigated their personal situation.

Follow this advice in your conversations with clients and see the dramatic improvement in the number of accepted proposals!

Now your buyer has a clear picture of how your product or service will help them solve their own problem.

Happy Selling!

Peter Holland

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3 Reasons You’re Leaving Cash on the Table!

I’m often asked by sales leaders, “How can we quickly and easily increase our sales?”

One question worth exploring is…

Where we can add more value to our existing clients?

This seems overly simplistic, right?

Well ask yourself honesty, how many of your existing clients use or even know about all of your products or service offerings?

Experience shows that doing this self-analysis frequently highlights to individuals and companies that they are leaving substantial amounts of money on the table.

The main reason is a lack of perception.

Imagine standing in a beautiful spacious art gallery perhaps admiring a large Monet painting.

How much of that painting would you appreciate if you stood a foot from the canvas?

At best you would only see a few details. Your narrow perception blinds you to the larger context and you would have a poor appreciation for the overall image.

Sales people too can quickly form a narrow perception of their customers. Seeing only the individual sales opportunity in front of them. Rather than forming a complete picture of their customer. Including their overall key business objectives, the challenges they are facing and their individual concerns.

There are 3 key reasons for this:

  1. Your client has a limited perception of you

The client only knows you for one specific product or service and are happy with you but they are unaware of the additional value you could provide from additional products or services.

So don’t be a one trick pony. Regularly include examples of how you are helping other clients, make an effort to include these into your conversations, articles and marketing.

  1. Your own perception of the client is limited

You see them with tunnel vision focusing solely on the original product or service they purchased rather than keeping up to date with their current needs or objectives.

As an example, recently whilst doing this exercise with a sales director I found she was shocked to discover she had missed out on a large opportunity with an established customer. What added to her frustration was the fact she had built up a great relationship with the client and the account was producing a good level of revenue from the commercial sector.

She was surprised to learn that the company had expanded into the hospitality sector but not considered calling her to discuss the new venture. When she asked why, the client admitted they simply didn’t know she had experience or appropriate solutions for the hospitality sector.

By not regularly reviewing your client’s business objectives with them you can easily miss great opportunities.

  1. Over reliance on one or two contacts

I often see senior sales people becoming complacent. Relying solely on a couple of key contacts who have become friends within a larger organisation. They assume they are covering all the bases and are really managing the account well. However sooner or later their negligence will come back to bite them. Either a key person will leave the business and in the process leave them out in the cold.

Or a competitor will win a sales opportunity they didn’t even have in their pipeline! Why? They did not continually expand and update their network of contacts to ensure it included new and influential people joining the business.

So, the next time you plan to visit a client, review these three points.

Step back, breath, relax and appreciate the full view. Take the time to give careful thought to the many opportunities right at hand.

If you’d like to discuss more ways to leverage your income drop me a line at peter.holland@linearstructure.com

Dedicated to Your Continued Sales Success!

Peter

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Excellence = A Commitment to Completion

Do you find it easy to start new projects but then lose focus, get distracted and drift off course?

You’re not alone in feeling that way. Over the last ten years of working with top sales leaders and their teams, I’ve noted it’s their commitment to completion that has been one of the outstanding hallmarks of success.

So, before you embark on any new sales development project here are three tips to ensure you achieve success: 

  1. Commit to implement and support the team. There’s really no point doing traditional ‘training and development’ work unless you drive it through with a full implementation program. One that fully supports people as they take on-board new ideas and ‘test drive’ them. At this initial stage, these new behaviours will feel awkward and as a manager you need to expect this and assist the team to transition successfully. This must continue until they reach the point when they are comfortable, confident and achieving positive results from any new approach.
  2. Make Adoption easy. Many great improvement plans fall down due to a lack of commitment from senior leaders to address the daily practical implications. They fail to recognise the need to facilitate the changes and make the process easy for people in their daily tasks. Avoiding these issues will likely lead to resistance and low adoption. One key area to focus on improving is your I.T and CRM sales management systems, ensuring they are fully mobile and quick to use. With this in place adoption by the salesforce is likely to be highly successful.
  3. Celebrate incremental gains. It’s great to celebrate the big wins, but creating excellence in any area comes from a commitment to continually make small gains day by day. So, take the time to recognise and acknowledge the people in your team that put in the effort to implement the new ideas correctly. Set goals that are small enough to achieve in a short period of time, perhaps two weeks or a month. Regularly reflect with your team on how far you have come and the progress made compared to where you were before you started the development project a few months earlier. This boosts enthusiasm and commitment to the task.

So, review the areas you’d most like to develop in Q4 & 2023 and commit to making them happen by carefully planning your implementation and support phases to ensure success each step of the way.

For more ideas book a call https://calendly.com/peter-holland-1/strategy-session-1

Committed to Your sales success!
Peter

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Sales Times Change Will You?

We’re all facing the economic winds of change and in sales that means we need to change fast too!

Whilst nearly every media agency is focusing on a pending recession, what will be your focus?

The same wind blows to us all…but how will you set your sails, that’s up to you.

Instead of letting media noise distract you from reaching your goals, why not see these changes as an opportunity.

The reality is this uncertainly will cause many companies and salespeople to become indecisive, procrastinate and lost their drive for growth. I’m already hearing this attitude in several conversations I’ve had this month alone.

If your team were losing matches or underperforming would you close down your training ground? Or cancel your players regular coaching?

If a football manager suggested that approach it would be seen as totally illogical.

So why do so many executives adopt a similar attitude?

The truth is while others are thinking of restricting or dropping budgets for development you have the opportunity to capture market share and gain a real competitive advantage.

Would you agree that when times are good we don’t focus as much on improving our sales approaches or processes. Plus when all is going well there is a tendency to become complacent.

However, if results start to slide it’s a different story right?

So, why not use the next 60 days to focus on making improvements to the activities that are under your control to improve results.

What process could you enhance or improve in your sales approach?

These improvements don’t require any big investment rather a re-direction of existing time or resources that can dramatically improve performance and productivity.

Often clients tell me all they needed was an opportunity to step back from the day to day work and see things from a fresh or different perspective.

So, if you are not opposed to exploring potential sales blind spots that might be causing you to lose sales you could be winning let’s start a conversation.

Book your free 1-2-1 strategy session here:

https://calendly.com/peter-holland-1/strategy-session-1

Best Regards,
Peter