All posts by Sean McPheat

Hi! I'm the founder and Managing Director of MTD Sales Training - we offer sales training solutions for companies both large and small. I'm blessed to work with 25 of the most talented trainers in the UK....well, I did recruit them! ;-) Today, we've delivered training in over 23 countries to over 3,500 different organisations and 100,000 staff. Our clients include Xerox, Friends Provident, Starbucks, Taylor Wimpey, CISCO, Allianz and Lloyds TSB to name but a few.

The Top 10 Sales Blog Posts Of 2016 – As Voted For By You!

2016 has been a strange old year – if you thought Brexit was enough we were then Trumped by the States later in the year!

We’ve brought you bi-weekly tips all year long and will continue to do so again in 2016!

From sales management to prospecting, we have tried to cover as many bases as possible to improve your overall sales processes and performance.


So, here are the 10 best sales blog posts of 2016 as voted for by you:

1 – 21 Questions That Will Build Instant Rapport  – 144 LinkedIn Shares

2 – Use These 6 Opening Statements To Make Your Sales Interactions More Effective  -110 LinkedIn Shares

3 – The 4 Word Statement That ALWAYS Builds Value   – 109 LinkedIn Shares

4 – How Modern Day Gatekeepers Are Ruining Your Sales Figures   -100 LinkedIn Shares

5 – The 8 Main Obstacles ALL Sales People Must Overcome   – 95 LinkedIn Shares

6 – 4 Strategies All Successful Salespeople MUST Employ   – 91 LinkedIn Shares

7 – The 6 Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make In Their Opening Discussions  – 90 LinkedIn Shares

8 – 5 Factors That Prevent You From Being A Sales ‘Nearly Man’   – 86 LinkedIn Shares

9 – “I’ve Been Selling This Product For Years” – So What?   – 84 LinkedIn Shares

10 – What Do You Do When Your Customer Wants To Vent?   – 67 LinkedIn Shares

So there we have it, your top 10 sales blog posts of 2016.

From all of us at MTD Sales Training, we hope you have a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Happy Christmas!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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6 Ways You Can Fulfil Your Prospect’s Needs

Many salespeople struggle to find the best way forward when they have to work with existing clients because they still put the emphasis on their own products and services.

The more successful salespeople spend their time identifying the real needs of the businesses they are working with and creating opportunities for them to advance their businesses.

This opens up chances to talk about their services in a much more beneficial way.

But what exactly are the main needs of the businesses you deal with?

Aren’t every business’s needs different?

For questions about identifying needs and wants and also moving the sale forward, click here to download ‘450 Sales Questions’

Yes, they are, but there is a pattern, a composite list if you like, of similar needs and wants that link businesses together.

When you know these needs, you are able to to link the products and services you have with those needs and help companies to build their own customer base with your help.

What are these composite needs and how could you provide more help to businesses by using them?

Tony Robbins, one of my favorite speakers and coaches, speaks of six basic human needs.

They ,in essence, sum up everyone’s character and talks to us at the personality but also spiritual level.

We can also apply them to business needs too, and I’ve listed my take on these components below.

The first is the need for certainty.

As humans, we have an innate need to feel certain about things.

When we are certain about how things work and how others behave we can predict what will happen in the future and so feel safe.

When we are certain about others, we can trust them.

When we feel safe, we can relax and reduce our constant scanning for threats.

For questions about identifying needs and wants and also moving the sale forward, click here to download ‘450 Sales Questions

As businesses, we need to have some certainty about the future, the economy, the legislations we work to and that our suppliers will be able to provide us with the ideas and services we need to be productive and profitable.

As salespeople, we can provide that confidence by being consistent in keeping our promises to our clients, by showing our trustworthiness and by building strong relationships with the buyers of our products so they see they can have that confidence we will deliver when we say we will in the way we said we would and in the best time frame possible.

Next comes the need for variety.

This sound the opposite to certainty, and in a way it is.

While certainty is important, too much is boring.

We also want stimulation and novelty to add interest and fun to our lives.

This is why people try new things, take risks and gamble, even when they do not need to do so.

As businesses, we also want to offer variety in the way we do things for our customers, the services we offer and the products our customers experience.

Without that variety, we get staid and monotone.

Our competitors take over from us and we lose market share.

As salespeople, we can offer variety by changing the way we work with our buyers.

We need to stimulate their thinking and bring some kind of innovative thinking to way we work with them.

If we see different ways that we can market our products to clients we open up chances for this need for variety to be shown and demonstrated.

Thirdly, there’s the need for Significance.

We need meaning in our lives and want our lives to have purpose and direction.

We want to be important and for others to look up to us.

We may gain this in many different ways, from becoming well-qualified to being friendly and helping others.

As businesses, this significance is gained by becoming important in the specific market we operate in, creating new offers and showing our competitive nature in the products and services we offer.

Some show this in the way they define their businesses, others find a niche in the way they develop products and others may steal an advance by their price points.

Whatever way they do it, businesses strive to be significant among their competitors.

As salespeople, we can build on our client’s needs for significance by helping them increase market share for themselves, open new markets that didn’t exist for them previously and help them develop practices that work efficiently for their existing and future clients.

Next comes the need for Connection.

Without company, we easily get lonely.

We are social animals and connecting with other people is important for us. In this ways, we bond with others as we form friends and extend our sense of who we are.

Just as variety balances certainty, so outer connection with others balances the inner need for significance in ourselves.

As businesses, we need some connection with the outside world so they know how we can help.

No business can survive without that connection to outside markets.

It’s often said that you might have the best product in the world, but if it’s not marketed well, it’s next to useless.

As salespeople, we can assist our clients by creating opportunities for them to connect with their prospects and customers.

By going beyond the normal salesperson-client relationship, we increase our chances of being valuable to our buyers, as they see we help them to connect effectively to their market opportunities.

Those first four needs assist businesses at the ‘personality’ level, helping them to become a force in the market place by being recognised through their services and product quality.

The final two needs look at the spirit that the businesses can offer, those etherial qualities that often differentiate one business from another.

The next need is that of Growth.

Beyond fulfilling the previous needs, we want to learn and become more than we are.

For this purpose we study and want to develop our careers.

As a higher need, we can live without it and some people seek little in way of growth, while others are highly motivated to make something more of themselves.

As businesses, if we don’t grow, we stagnate and allow our competitors to take over our market.

Growth and development permeates the spirit of those companies who succeed and contribute to the success of others.

They seek suppliers that enable them to achieve their growth plans and allow them to become more dominant in their market place.

As salespeople, buyers welcome us if we create opportunities for their businesses to improve market share, increase productivity, improve quality or build profit opportunities.

We need to assist businesses in this key component on value-add, helping them see how your products will help them grow and achieve the goals that would make them successful in their and their customers’ eyes.

The last need is that of Contribution.

Combining growth and connection, contribution takes into account other people and the world at large.

If we are active in contributing to other individuals and groups, rather than just ‘belonging’, we increase our connection with them and it feel good as our sense of identity is expanded.

As businesses, we often want to go beyond just selling and providing products and services, and we want to feel we are contributing more to society in general.

Often business’s ‘sense of identity’ is tied to their contribution to the community, green issues, health and safety or similar.

This ‘contribution’ shows we care about things greater than profits and allows others to see us in a different, more favourable, light.

As salespeople, we can assist businesses in this need by providing chances for them to see how they can build community spirit, open their doors to the public to see their success in the community, or contribute in some way to their successful operations through their own services.

This build even more value in the buyer’s eyes as they see you’re not just in it to sell products; you really are interested in the success of the buyer’s company.

Each of these needs create an opportunity for us in sales to build relationships with clients, and take us away from being simply a supplier of products and services to being a really valuable asset in many ways to the buyer’s business.

They begin to see you as someone who has their needs in mind and allows you to open up more market opportunities, not just for current but also for new customers too.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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10 Quick Tips On Gaining The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

Sales is one of the most fluid of industries, mainly because of the massive amount of changes that it has been involved in over the years.

The only consistent factor that has existed has been change.

Thinking about what has to happen for a sales consultant to be successful, one thing that naturally comes up is their ability to achieve, maintain and retain a highly competitive advantage.

What is it that contributes to this success?

Many salespeople we have asked tend to fall back on their products or services for that competitive advantage.

They often think that if their company could just produce the next ‘big thing’ in their industry, the competition will melt away and they just need to decide which island they will buy with their commission.

Most buyers, though, will inform you that competitive advantage seldom revolves around facts or figures or services or even products.

What buyers want from their suppliers is a consistency of help in making their business more successful.

So what do we think will make the difference today and tomorrow in giving you the edge in the success stakes?

We believe it’s your ability to become extremely valuable to your market place and customers through what you learn.

In other words, you will become very valuable to future prospects based on what you know that they don’t know.

If you were to have the best knowledge about how businesses should be set up to use your product effectively, customers will see that they can trust you to help them achieve more than they are achieving at the moment.

Imagine approaching a prospect who is struggling in their industry against bigger or more productive or more profitable competitors.

Unless you have the holy grail for their business and they immediately win the jackpot, what can you suggest this company does to turn round their fortunes and make inroads in their market?

That’s the million-dollar question, the answer to which will increase your value a hundred-fold to them.

Your knowledge and expertise is what is priceless to a company like that.

Who is paid most money these days (outside of the overpaid prima-donnas in the premier league!)?

Yes, it’s those people who have the knowledge and ability to add value to a company’s strategic fortunes.

Where do they get their knowledge from?

Mainly through targeted research in areas that most important to the future operations of business that matter to them.

What can you learn from this?

Well, in order to get a distinct competitive advantage, you must become an avid learner of new ideas, concepts and trends.

There are plenty of ways to do this.

Identify people who are in-the-know about current trends and subscribe to their websites, blogs and LinkedIn articles 

Create files in which you can save articles, information, knowledge and writings that offer insights into what’s happening now and in the future. 

Get to know the meanings behind these ideas for your industry. Ask yourself, “If this came true, what implications does it have for the future of my clients and prospects?” 

Decide on the short-term measurements you can use to assess success in your market. What could you do to improve those short-term results? 

Design and create articles and blogs that build your knowledge awareness in your market place. 

Start sending information you have accrued to your prospects you would love to have business from. 

Start contributing information to specific LinkedIn Groups so you build a quick reputation for yourself with people who matter to you. 

Develop strategies to contact companies and share your knowledge with the key personnel, without trying to sell a thing. 

Become the person of choice when these prospects are starting to look for solutions. 

Show your expertise at speaking events, Rotaries, Lions Clubs, seminars and the like, where people go to listen to experts.

Your knowledge and expertise will prove to be a massive asset to you and your company over the next few years.

Start planning now to see how you can add value to every company you work with.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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5 Quick Tips On Building Better, Long-Term Client Relationships

We all know that partnering with a client’s business helps you to establish long-terms relationships, often provides improved profit opportunities and adds value at every touchpoint you have with the buyer’s company.

It offers and delivers results you simply wouldn’t achieve at a more shallow level.

What is it, then, that makes businesses open their inner sanctum to you and your company, allowing you to build relationships and contacts that are gold-dust to you, leaving competitors in your wake?

Here are five comments from Chiefs of various businesses that give an insight into the needs and wants of decision-makers in positions of authority:

It’s important today to be direct and respectful.

You need to demonstrate integrity and authenticity to us.

Within reason, the more you disclose, the more your customer will disclose.

When entering negotiations, we try to work on the same side of the table as clients.

You should too. If you understand what we want and need to succeed, we both lay a foundation to build on in the future.

This might mean walking away from some volume business.

It’s about knowing and understanding the customer’s reasons for doing business

Rick Cheatham (Leader of BTS Sales Practice)

You need to understand the business case a decision-maker has to make, and then help supply the data and the metrics that builds that case.

That communicates value.

You them show you understand your customer’s P&L and the impact it has.

The best salespeople work with our business plans and our performance dashboard.

It’s about plugging into our management system.

Great partners ask us how they can track the results we are achieving with their services, so they can prove their value on an ongoing basis, and they can justify it concretely.

Mark Little, VistaPrint

We like to partner with suppliers because it’s efficient and gets rid of the clutter.

There’s a natural point where either the depreciation of the equipment or the new technologies that are available to our business become compelling.

The most effective salespeople are working with customers on their strategic plans and establishing greater value while the customer is satisfied.

They help customers with their evaluation processes, and identify the levels of investment required to achieve their short and long-term goals.

That helps salespeople to formalise and structure a strategic approach so the customer knows exactly what they can expect from their supplier.

This means they can meet the needs of their customer for at least the next two or three years of the relationship

Greg Shortell, Nokia

Everything you do should send out these messages loud and clear:

  • We value our customers
  • Awards mean nothing: It’s about the pursuit of perfection
  • We approach everyday as if our customer was number one and we are number two
  • We never succumb to arrogance or complacency
  • We have a long way to go if we want to be called the best in our industry

You should make every effort to communicate, and to us that means listening more than telling.

You need to continually find new and innovative questions to ask and ways to ask them.

Mike Wells, Ex-Lexus, now Group VP of Sales, Toyota

Many salespeople’s approach revolves around the effectiveness and efficiency of their products.

What we need are people to help us achieve our business goals.

Your marketing department should help our marketing department with a new product launch, category or channel.

Your customer service people should help our team with information to provide the value we need.

This helps us see your business as a whole, and not just a one-man outfit.

You need to speak to our financial brains about the impacts you can have across the functions.

You need to embrace our technology.

We use it for a reason, so help us get the best from it.

Use systems in real-time to gather, analyse and share information with us and our support staff.

Today, immediacy is a value-add and is a great measurement of success.

Dale Hayes, Head of UPS Corporate Public Relations Group 

To me, each of these comments is a glimpse into the mind-set of people who are influential in making decisions for the whole of the company, and help to establish the culture within it.

If you are able to dig for and develop the account to create and capture value-building opportunities, you open up so many avenues of opportunity to build long-term partnerships that will enhance your reputation and repute with current and future clients.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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3 Quick Tips On Leading Your Prospect Directly To The Close

Most people like to envision a future full of promise and profits.

It helps us to set goals, have purpose and build strategies.

It’s always better to look forward to the future rather than loathe it.

As a sales consultant, how can you help buyers to build this vision?

What can you do to encourage them to listen to your ideas and see what life would be like if they chose your solutions?

During the negotiation stage, it opens up a lot of opportunities for us to show what this future would look like.

The journey needs to be clear and not committing you to a particular course of action, but allow the buyer to feel that any decision he makes with you in mind will be great for their future.

Here are some ways you can lay down the route and encourage your buyer to take it.

Suppose we….or suppose you….

This offers suggestions of how movement could be made.

It could also suggest movement from both or either side.

It may set the scene for a possible solution or part of one, by painting a picture of what may happen.

For example:

“Suppose we were able to bring those deliveries forward,

a) How would that change things for you?

b) Would that help you to meet your deadlines?

c) How would that affect your customers’ orders?”

How would it be if….

This enables the prospect to see what the result would be if they followed a specific course of action.

You don’t make any offers at this point; you simply identify what would most important for the buyer, so you can ascertain if the direction you are planning would be acceptable and agreeable to them.

For example:

“How would it be if…..

a) We were able to bring those final orders forward?

b) You started your orders next month instead of in two months’ time, so we could bring them into this financial year?

c) You increased your order so we could offer you a better price?”

What if….

This is similar to ‘suppose’ as it offers a dangling morsel to the customer and helps them to visionise a future that might be possible.

Again, by identifying a ‘what-if’ scenario, you aren’t committing to anything at the moment, but may be able to shift things if the customer was agreeable to moving.

For example:

What if…..

a) We were able to help you increase your market share by assisting with your marketing proposals?

b) You were able to increase your productivity with our XYZ model? How would that build your profit opportunities?

c) You could change your processes so that customers were able to buy more on-line and we could support your change processes? How would that help you?

Each one of these builds opportunities for advancement and aids the buyer to see a picture of what their future might be like if they accepted a change in circumstances.

They allow you to play around with options and don’t commit you to anything at that moment.

You’re only surmising or supposing what could or might happen if these changes were acted out.

The ability to switch direction and offer alternatives gives you a better chance to see how you can advance, especially if you’ve encountered some obstacles in the sales process.

Build these visions together and you might come up with ideas that neither of you had thought of before.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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Use This Cold Email Template To Make The Best Possible First Impression With The Prospect

I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of emails from companies trying to sell their products to me or my team.

Some of the products and services are really good and would make a difference to the way we work.

But the emails are so lousy or self-serving that they

(a) don’t tell me how I would benefit or

(b) bore me to death with gratuitous exclamations of how good they are.

Here’s an example of one I received recently.

I’ve changed the salesperson and company name to protect the (not-so) innocent:

Dear buyer

My name is Alan Salesman from ABC Ltd. We are the leader in providing solutions to help accelerate time-to-market and improve delegate communications on your training programmes.

We help customers such as CDE, FGH and IJK automate their relationships with their delegates who attend their courses.

Recently we were able to help one of your competitors to deliver a robust solution to their communication challenges. Using ABC Ltd will help you:

  • Improve communications with delegates
  • Increase delegate loyalty for future courses
  • Implement a best-practice approach for all delegate communications

To see how our products and services will help you, please call or email me at your earliest convenience.

Best regards

Alan Salesman

Not only is the email impersonal, lacking in detail, too vague and very self-centered, it doesn’t give me any way to connect with them.

Here’s what I would have written if it was me approaching me!

Hi Mr McPheat

How CDE Maintains Critical Relationships with their Training Delegates

Question: How do CDE, FGH and IJK maintain near-perfect delegate relationships?

Answer: ABC Ltd has helped them automate and streamline all aspects of delegate communications

For example, CDE distributes hundreds of messages to its delegate base on a monthly basis, timed to perfection and bespoke to the individual needs of those important people.

CDE have reduced their communication costs and increased delegate loyalty by over 18% in the nine months they have been using our products.

As a result, communication costs have decreased by over 14%.

I would be delighted to show how this could also apply to MTD.

To help you see how we could do this, please expect my call next week to discuss our free delegate communication analysis programme

Thank you

Alan Salesman

This second email makes it apparent why I should accept the call from Alan next week, and I would at least read it to the end.

There is no perfect email that will guarantee success, as most buyers don’t accept cold calls and won’t read unsolicited emails no matter where they are from.

But if you create a message that grabs attention from the first second, builds interest by talking their language, creates desire to know more and elicits some form of action, you have devised something that would be eagerly read and responded to.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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19 Steps Sales People Must Take If Everything Seems Like It’s Going Wrong

It’s easy to be content and consistent when things are going great.

You’re on a roll, nothing seems to be too much trouble and success is around every turn.

Oh, if things could always work out how we want them to.

But because of imperfect procedures, human error or simply bad luck, we often find things going wrong and having an impact and effect on how we feel and the results we achieve.

Here are some ideas to carry out when things don’t go according to plan for you:

Try not to react emotionally

Stop what you are doing and thinking

Think about responding rather than reacting

Employ your brain’s pre-frontal cortex (your ‘decision-making’ facility)

If others are involved, arrange time to consider what went wrong

Analyse the reasons for the situation

Consider whether the reasons are a systems failure, a personal issue or failure to follow procedures

Identify what result(s) you want to achieve

Think through what options you have got to achieve those results

Identify what changes have to be made to achieve the results

Decide on the action steps needed to start improving things

Get everyone’s buy-in to the actions

Identify how the stakeholders (if any) need to be involved

Determine how the corrective steps will be measured

Measure the rectifying steps

Keep on top of the corrective changes that are being driven forward

When corrected, identify what has to happen to decrease the chances of it happening again

Keep the motivation high of people who were involved

Gain everyone’s commitment to high standards

Some of those points may not be always totally under your control, but if you can work on the areas that you can influence and affect, then you stand a better chance of turning things round, not panicking and achieving the results you know are possible

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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Use This Opening Sentence In A Cold Email Before You Call A Prospect

Cold-calling has gotten a bad rap in many circles lately, mainly because of the fact the interruption caused to the prospect is seen as simply that…an un-called-for intrusion into their working day.

Most salespeople these days attempt to turn the cold-call into a warm lead by finding out lots about the prospect before calling them, so they know some valuable information about them and can use that somewhere in the conversation.

The challenge is that often you don’t even get through to the decision-maker and that research goes to waste.

But does it have to?

An up-front email may help you to arouse interest in the prospect before calling them.

It must, though, be personalised in name and content.

A blanket email that is obviously going to hundreds or thousands of prospects will not get very far with most prospects.

It needs to grab attention quickly and effectively.

It needs to talk the prospect’s language.

It needs to mention the challenges or opportunities they are facing.

All this takes time and research, but it means you will be appealing to more people, not less.

An example opening would be something like:

“Hi Bill. I thought you may be interested in hearing about how another business owner like you was able to get new business and maintain them at a high lifetime value…..”

You see how this first attention-grabber goes straight to the bottom-line, telling your prospect exactly what the email is about and talking about them, not you.

Too many emails start of by saying “We are a multi-national company who blah-blah-blah”.

The prospect immediately thinks “Thanks, but no thanks!”

An introductory sentence should be all about them.

Then, share a success story, talking about facts and figures that are real. It only takes a short paragraph; you don’t need to go into reams and reams of detail here.

You’re not trying to sell anything here except interest in talking to you.

Next, mention how some of your services will help the client to improve their business.

Again, it shouldn’t be long and drawn out; two or three ways is sufficient to pique their interest.

You might want to share a testimonial, if it’s from a similar business to the prospect’s.

End with a promise to call the prospect.

Remember what the entire purpose of the pre-call email is: to create desire to talk to you.

A simple list of who you are and what you do won’t crack the code.

The prospect is not interested in you, your company or your products.

They are only interested in short and long-term benefits to their company.

Make the email sound like you’ve done your homework on their specific business (which, of course, you should have done!).

By personalising everything, you have a much better chance of getting through to the decision-maker when you make the call.

And, naturally, when the gatekeeper asks if the decision-maker is expecting your call, you can truthfully and honestly say “Yes, they are!”

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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6 Quick Steps On Expanding Your Industry Knowledge & Awareness

How long have you worked in your industry?

That’s your history, and for many people it’s all their history.

In other words, they have just one or two perspectives on the world of work and business.

I have the privilege of training and consulting with many industries and it allows me to see things from so many points of view.

I get to see how the banking sector works, how the aviation industry carries out their management assessments, how the retail industry determine their sales processes and how the IT world deal with their challenges.

This gives me plenty of opportunities to share best practice in a plethora of ways.

For most people, they know a lot about how their industry behaves, who the key players are and the recognised best ways of running a business.

The main challenge with that is they only see what that one industry does to change the future and generate a good business model.

Most people in that industry will work to the same set of values, but it may keep you myopic to the ideas coming out of other industries.

For example, it may be eye-opening to you when you look at how other industries approach specific problems.

Fed-Ex applied the banking system to overnight deliveries. Instead of delivering a parcel 500 miles, they introduced the ‘hub-and-spoke’ model, where regional branches report to regional head offices who report to main head offices.

It revolutionised the parcel delivery industry.

The personal hygiene world was revolutionised when they studied the ball-point pen.

It was just a matter of time before the roll-on deodorant was produced.

Your industry may have some great ideas, but there are plenty more in other industries.

Here are some ideas that may help you develop some outside knowledge:

  • Pick an industry unrelated to the one you are in. For instance, if you’ve spent your life in retail, pick the world of IT.
  • Do a search of ‘best practice’ ideas within that industry. Follow people on LinkedIn who write about that industry. Create a list of ideas that spring out of those writings.
  • Identify five things that industry does better than yours.
  • Determine five things your industry does better than there’s.
  • Select some of the items the other industry does better and identify what you could learn from them that could be applied for your business.
  • See what specifically could work for you within those ideas and determine which customers may benefit from some of those ideas.

What you’ll find are ways and means that other people use to create new opportunities within their businesses.

There might be things you could simply copy, or at least adapt to the specific needs of your clients.

It could be you learn how they generate and develop new products for their customers.

Or possibly how they service their customer needs.

Or possibly how they deal with specific challenges their customers face.

Whatever you learn, it’s bound to offer a new viewpoint and allow you to see options that would never have been seen without your new research.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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What Do You Do When Your Customer Wants To Vent?

There are times when the customer simply wants to let off steam.

Maybe the delivery you promised hasn’t arrived.

Or some of the equipment has broken down.

Or there’s simply too much pressure on the prospect and they have to let someone know how they feel, and you’re the nearest human being at that time.

Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to let the person finish their rant.

Why is that? Because the emotion they are feeling at that time needs to find a way to be expressed.

If it doesn’t, the pressure of being bottled up may cause a more serious explosion later on!

So, what’s the best behaviour to adopt when the customer decides to let you have it both barrels?

Here are some tips.

Resist the temptation to jump in and interrupt.

If you do interrupt, you make the customer lose their thread and the emotion (justified, in their mind) will remain there and even be fed more ammunition.

Instead, carefully listen to the facts, and differentiate them from opinions.

Hearing the customer say, “Your products stinks!” is a lot different to “Your product has broken down three times this month!”

Give the customer chance to be clear on what they are saying, which is often difficult if you are in an emotional state.

Use reflective statements to show your level of understanding.

Reflective statements show you’ve been listening and don’t act as judgments about what’s been said.

A reflective statement reflects the emotions felt by the other person.

They sound a little like these:

“It sounds all this has frustrated you”

“I can tell you’re really exasperated by this”

“That couldn’t have been very good for you”

“I can understand your feelings on this”

“Go ahead…I’m listening…” 

Each of these shows you have been listening and trying to understand the customer’s anger or disappointment or vent.

It also shows you are being slow to judge and are trying to see the position from their eyes.

When the customer has calmed down (and they will if you let them expand on their emotion) sum up the situation as you see it.

Remember, when the customer is in a highly emotional state, they simply can’t think logically.

Think that through for a second.

When you are highly emotion and someone asks you to calm down and think logically about something, what’s you general reaction?

Probably to get even more emotional!

So the way to see this is to let them vent and then explain how you see if, validating the feelings before trying to take action on it.

It would sound something like this:

You “OK, Jon, I can see this has really caused you some problems” 

Jon “You bet it has…..!” 

You “Let me make sure I’ve got this right. You were promised by the office that the delivery would take place on Monday. It’s now Wednesday and you’ve not received it, and it’s caused you major problems with your customer because now you’ve broken your promise to them. Am I correct in that?”

Jon “Yes, that’s about it. What are you going to do about it?”

What you’ve now got to is a point when you can work out a solution.

Nothing can be done to rectify what caused the situation in the first place.

The time and place to find out what went wrong is not now and not here.

Start talking in terms of logical assessments, solution opportunities and collaborative answers.

You do this after the customer has finished venting, not before.

Remember, this is one of those occasions where you simply have to bite the bullet and let the customer express their feelings.

Your company may have let you down, but trying to make justifications here is not what is needed.

Leave that until afterwards when you do your enquiries and make sure it doesn’t happen that way again.

By doing this, you gain control of the conversation again and allow it to focus on solutions rather than errors or problems that caused the emotion in the first place.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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