Diary Of A Sales Leader – Accountability To The Sales Process

October 22, 2015

A sales process. Do you have one? Do you need one? (the answer is an unequivocal yes).

Do you hold your team accountable to it? (the answer is mostly No!!)

In my work with clients we spend roughly 20% designing a world class sales process and 80% enforcing the sales process. The use of enforcing is deliberate because it is all about accountability.

Clearly the reason for having a sales process is to generate More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time. It’s that simple and it works. The research clearly proves that those with a dynamic sales process outperform those without by up to 50%. That is the best reason in the world to hold yourself and your team accountable to the process.

What is accountability?

It is what I refer to as the weekly sales pipeline audit.

It’s simple and effective..

  1. Check the opportunity stage
  2. Check if there is a next action scheduled
  3. Check that the next action is aligned to the sales process
  4. Check that all previous actions were aligned to the sales process

For example let’s assume your opportunity is at 50% stage and this is your proposal or quotation stage.

A dynamic sales process will ensure that in order to justify this rating your sales person will have confirmed a number of steps with your buyer

  • They are the Key Decision Maker
  • All of the stakeholders are known
  • There is a clear need we can address
  • There is a clear Value Proposition and Business Case agreed
  • The impact of our solution has been agreed and where possible is measurable
  • All known objections / barriers have been identified
  • The competition have been identified
  • The solution aligns with an organisational priority or goal

Accountability means that if these steps have not been confirmed the sales process is not being followed correctly.

Now as a leader you get to coach, align and hold accountable those who don’t play by the rules..

Being a sales leader can be tough. Having a team without accountability is so much tougher.

Best regards;


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Call me on +353(86) 7732201

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“More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time”

How To Coach Sales People – Diary Of A Sales Leader

August 18, 2015

When I first became a sales coach I recognised a critical step for all who manage sales teams. You must apply measures and metrics first in order to identify a coaching programme for your team.

When I trained as an Executive Coach this was the part I struggled with most. How do I baseline client performance? How do I measure improvement? How do I show a demonstrable ROI for our work together? How do I help people improve and learn? 

There are two parts to the sales coaching process. The qualitative and the quantitative. In this article I will focus on how you can leverage the quantitative to improve the qualitative.

Sales Coaching By Numbers

As a sales coach it is much easier to do this and I call it sales coaching by numbers. I say it is easier but the first challenge is to find the numbers you can measure performance with. In my experience working with hundreds of SME’s in Ireland and the UK a common challenge is that there are no real numbers to begin with.

Step One Analyse the sales numbers

If you are dealing with an inside sales team then analyse performance. Let’s take an example. John makes 100 outbound calls and connects with 15 decision makers (15%) and sets up 2 demonstrations (2%).

Comparing John’s performance to Alison who is also on the team you can quickly see a difference in performance. Alison connects with 30 decision makers (30%) and sets up 4 Demonstrations (4%).

As a COACH you want to help John improve his performance. As a COACH you know that allowing John to find solutions himself will greatly improve any coaching conversation you have. So you need a framework or a conversational model.

Step Two- Use COACH

At Insthinktive we developed a very simple coaching conversation model… COACH

Clarify ;

What is the real challenge or issue? Dig deep to get to the heart of the issue?


What solutions are available to solve this challenge or issue? Ask for at least three options.


What is the option that is most likely to succeed. And why? What is the next action?


What are the limitations of this option? What are the barriers to success? What can get in the way of progress? What resources will you need?

Hold Accountable;

What have we agreed? The problem. The Option and the Action. Who will do what, and by when? When do we touch base on progress?

Using COACH as a model for the coaching conversation here is an example conversation flow


Coach; John I’ve noticed that your connection rates are lower on average than the team’s are you aware of that? You have a 15% connection rate and our best performer is averaging 30%.

John “Yes I’m not sure why though. I’m making the calls but finding it hard to get through”

Coach;What do you think the challenge is yourself?

John “I’m not getting through to the right people, maybe I’m not clear on who I should be talking to”.

Coach;Who are the key people you should be targeting?

John “I guess if I look at some of the other team they have had success by starting with the most senior people in an organisation. I’ve always focused on trying to get to talk to the end users”.

Coach;Is that it or is there something else?

John “No I think that is the main challenge, I guess I am a little intimidated by focusing at Director level, they are harder to talk to”.

Coach;Okay so you may be targeting the wrong people and it is due to a lack of confidence that you will succeed if you go higher?


Coach;So if you are going to change this what are your options?

John Well firstly I need to get the names of the actual Decision Makers.

Secondly I need to work on a script that gives me confidence to talk to these people. And one that gets me past the gatekeepers.

Coach;What else?

John “I could talk to other team members and see what they are doing that is working better and learn”.


Coach; OK so what actions do you need to take?

John “I need to assess my contact list and research LinkedIn to research the names of those I really need to be speaking to”.

Coach; And?

John “I need to develop a new script or approach for my calls. I think it is best to talk to some other team members first and get some insights”.


Coach; Ok that sounds great but what could stop this from happening?

John “Time. I’m so busy making calls that I don’t have the time to research more”.

Coach; Is that really the issue or is it a case of not prioritising properly?

John “Maybe I need to just block some time out weekly to make sure it gets done. I can also invest in a couple of coffees and spend some time with the other team members to get a feel for how they work” .

Hold Accountable

Coach; Ok so let’s get specific, if we could agree a 30 day improvement goal for you. What would be realistic as a connection rate 30 days from now assuming you have completed the actions agreed?

John “I think I could improve from 15% to 20% in 30 days. No I am sure I could”.

Coach; Ok how can I help you with this? What support do you need from me?

John “Maybe you could help me a little with identifying the right people and building a list”.

Also I would appreciate your feedback on my scripts/call maps.

Coach; No problem so when should we touch base and review progress?

John “How about in one week. By then I’ll have my actions completed and I should be seeing some results”.

Now I know paper doesn’t refuse ink, and this conversation flow may look a little too simplistic, but do not succumb to this thought. Try COACH yourself. Focus on asking the questions only. Avoid giving answers. Use the numbers as your guide to begin the conversation and just see how the conversation can be steered towards a really engaging coaching conversation.

Key Takeaways

Use sales coaching through numbers as your starting point for developing coaching programmes for your team. Use the COACH conversation model and you have a simple and effective way to transform a conversation.

Call Ronan on 086 7732201

Selling Micro Moments – Effectiveness One

August 13, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Superpowers. Really?

August 6, 2015

As a Sales Leader you are constantly striving to get the best out of your team and yourself. But do you really have any “Superpowers”? Really?

This is a relatively new term to me and maybe because it’s origins are from US based organisations and I’m just a repressed Irish cynic, it makes me a little uncomfortable.

When I read the job descriptions for sales people these days some of them read like nobody from this planet could fill these positions. Organisations are no longer looking for sales people, they want rock stars.. They want sales people with Superpowers.

Here is my challenge. I have never met anyone with Superpowers. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any. Am I mixing in the wrong circles? Am I deficient in some way? Or are we creating levels of expectations that are simply unrealistic?

When I put on my COACH hat what I see everyday are people who have unrealistic expectations of what they think they should/could be. They fail to recognise their innate talents and strengths (not superpowers). These expectations actually serve as a barrier for many of them. They don’t motivate them, they don’t empower them. They stifle them. They hold them back.

When we look for people with “Superpowers” are we sending out the wrong message? Are we creating expectations that sales people simply can’t live up to?

Yes we want people to develop strengths and be the best that they can be in their sales roles.

Yes we want top performers.

Yes we want winners.

But do you need Superpowers to achieve any of these goals. Do you need to be a Rock Star?

Or can you be normal and develop into a top performer with a great team, coach and sales process?

For me the answer is yes, yes and yes. Lionel Messi may indeed have a Superpower, (however I suspect it his relentless practice and discipline that have contributed more to his success than his “Superpower”).

Ask Roy Keane if he has a “Superpower” I suspect he might laugh at you.

Let’s not strive for Superpowers. Let’s strive for something a little more meaningful. Be great, be real, be you.

Best regards;


Click To Learn More About Our SalesPro Playbook

Call me on +353(86) 7732201

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“More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time”


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July 30, 2015

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July 22, 2015

Selling Micro Moments – Emotions And Selling

July 13, 2015

Selling Micro Moments – How To Profile Your Sweet Spot

July 10, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – I have a Sales Process, we use a CRM

June 30, 2015

If only I could get €1 for every time I hear this. It would pay for my holiday every year..

Those of you who work with me or know will also know I am a keen advocate of CRM systems. I see them as a powerful sales enablement tool. But of themselves they do not constitute a sales process. In fact before you implement a CRM system you need to map out your sales process. And before you map out your sales process you have to map out your buyer’s process.
Are you all processed out? I’m not surprised but if you have a CRM that does not mean you have a sales process. And if you think you do you may need to rethink your approach.

The Sales Process Simplified
Let’s try to simplify what I believe to be a sales process. Here is what it is not…
It is not YOUR process. You can’t determine what your sales process is. Your customer does. How?
Well your customer and how they buy is the building block to every sales process. When you understand how they buy, you can understand how you should sell to them.
Does your CRM system understand how your customer buys? No. Actually a better question is to ask yourself “do you truly understand how your customer buys or procures”.

Here is a simple model for a buying process. Now the first thing to remember is that it is only a model. It is rare that you can find a one size fits all approach. And procurement like most business processes is rarely linear.
Problem Definition
Research Solutions
Onboard Potential Partner
Clarify Preferences
Understanding Impacts
ROI Evaluations
Satisfaction and Evaluation

P – Problem Definition;

This is the critical point in the Buyer’s process. A problem has arisen. A challenge needs to be overcome. Your key action is to determine what the key triggers are for buyer’s that suddenly drive them to source a solution.
For example you may be a technology organisation and you find that a key trigger for your buyers is a strategic decision to reduce costs and improve organisation responsiveness by eliminating administration personnel and introducing more technology.

R – Research Solutions
Here your prospects begin to research the marketplace for options. And their first port of call will be Google. Do you provide enough information on your website to guide your prospect to the next stage? Are you capturing information on who is viewing your website and what they are reading or downloading?
O – Onboard Potential Partner
In this stage the buyer is looking to talk to potential partners/suppliers. If they reach out to you how do you respond? Remember that 78% of sales go to the first respondent. Remember too that 40% of web leads are NOT responded to…and in 48 hours they will have forgotten they ever contacted you in the first place.
C – Clarify Preferences
At this stage of the process your buyer is now narrowing their focus on a few potential partners/suppliers. And drawing up a more detailed specification of requirements and goals. How do you ensure you are part of this process?
U – Understanding impacts
A logical extension of the Clarify Preferences is to understand the impact a decision to use your product or service will have on the business. Remember impact is determined by the client not you.
R – ROI Evaluations
Remember that throughout the buying process there can be a committee of stakeholders involved. Typically ROI analysis takes place later in the buying process and it will involve Finance and Procurement. But be mindful that ROI and what is valued is determined by your prospect. And if there are a committee of decision makers they may have very different definitions of ROI to them.
E is Engage And Entrust
This is the supplier selection phase. The use of Entrust is deliberate. All of the analysis and evaluation will count for nothing if you are not trusted and seen as a trusted advisor. Remember trusted advisors are 69% more likely to succeed. How do you position yourself as a trusted advisor?
S – Satisfaction and Evaluation
In this phase you have won the business and you are delivering your product or service. What will your buyer actions be to measure performance? How will you engage with them and ensure you deliver to their expectations?

Now simply by just reviewing these phases I hope you have come to the realisation that you may have a sales process that is simply not fit for purpose.
That’s okay because over 90% of organisations don’t have one either. But herein lies the opportunity for you to leave your competition behind.

Design Your Sales Process Around PROCURES

So put the CRM system aside for some time and get back to basics. How can you design a sales process that matches how your prospect PROCURES?

Here’s what I suggest.
Get out your whiteboard or buy some SmartWallPaint (they are a client and deserve a plug) do the following
R – Research Solutions
Write down the triggers that cause your prospects to realise they have a problem and need to get it solved. What content or steps can you create/take to ensure that you are on their radar?

O – Onboard Potential Partner
How do you ensure that you are selected as a potential partner?

C – Clarify Preferences
What steps can you take to help prospects draw up a specification with you?

U – Understanding impacts
What content can you create to educate your prospects through this stage?

R – ROI Evaluations
What evidence can you produce to substantiate your claims that you deliver value for money?

E is Engage And Entrust
What do you do throughout the engagement process that positions you as trusted advisors?

S – Satisfaction and Evaluation
What will you do to ensure great execution and customer service is delivered?

Brainstorm ideas for content creation and nurturing steps to move your prospects through each phase.
Remember to that you are likely to be dealing with multiple stakeholders/decision makers. Make sure you have content that nurtures all.

Hopefully by now you have realised that the CRM is NOT the sales process. When you have all the above done you are ready to leverage your CRM. But that’s another story. Keep watching and I’ll show you how.

More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time.

Contact Ronan at or 086 7732201

Ice Cube Testimonial

June 29, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Targets Good, Performance Goals Better

June 15, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Process First, Decision Maker Second

May 26, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Key Account Mapping Best Practice

May 19, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – 7 Behaviours That Alienate Your Team

May 7, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Focus One

May 5, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Do You Need Big Goals?

April 30, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Know Your Lifetime Value

April 28, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Become A Blockhead

April 25, 2015

I’m a Blockhead and I’m proud……

When I was 23 years old I moved to London and from the comfort of an FMCG sales role, where my clients were already in place, and my journey plan was done for me.

To a role that had few customers, a lot of potential and no structure.

I was Mr Reactive. I had a notepad and a head full of ideas, thoughts and problems.

I had no system. No process for dealing with all of the stuff I needed to do daily.

Inevitably for me the consequence was that I found myself focusing on the easy low value tasks.. They were quick to deal with and I felt a sense of accomplishment ……. for about 10 minutes.

But I failed to do the High Priority tasks… Like

– Planning
– Preparation
– Prospecting

I had great intentions, but lousy habits.

So how did I overcome this? I became a Blockhead…

I developed the daily and weekly habit of making appointments with myself.

For example I knew that prospecting was important… fact the most important task… but it never got done…..

My solution?

I blocked out times on Wednesdays and Thursdays to do just that – prospect

I simply started with one 90 minute block of time for those two days.

And it had an immediate impact.

Yes it did lead to more sales for me but the impact that mattered most to me was

– I felt a sense of purpose again

– I felt a greater level of control over my own destiny. I was determining my success as a salesman and I wasn’t getting hassled to do it!!

– I felt like I was claiming back my week

Oh and I can’t actually forget just how much time it actually saved me

– Travel time
– Preparation time
– Panic time..

Making appointments with myself weekly became my non-negotiable.

And it can become yours too.

This is about you as the Sales Leader taking charge of your business, and your time.

Become A Blockhead;

Block book time weekly for your 3 to 4 Priorities. Put it in your diary as time for YOU. And stick to YOUR schedule.

Let everyone in your team know this is your strategic time.

Your Entrepreneurial time. Your sales development time

And stick to your appointments with yourself.

This will be challenging.Because if you are generally not selfish enough with your time you will give away freely.

That’s good for others and bad for you.

So now you need to change that habit.

Be selfish.

Yes selfish and be proud that you have become a little bit more selfish over the one thing in life you cannot store…. time.

Start small initially. One appointment with yourself the first couple of weeks is enough. Then gradually add other appointments.. Y

ou’ll get better results because you will develop the new habit slowly. And effectively.

How long did it take to develop this discipline?

Honestly I am still working on this every week. And expect to be doing so for the rest of my working life.

But when I hit a roadblock I always get on track, by focusing on the huge benefits being a blockhead can deliver…

Key Takeaway

Take your NO.1 sales priority (I’d guess for most it is prospecting) and schedule in an appointment with yourself to do it next week.

Ask someone you trust to hold you accountable to that appointment. Treat it at the same level of importance you would a Management Meeting or a New Client Meeting.

Because in short it is as important as these…

Simple but not easy….

Diary Of A Sales Leader -10 things Sales Leaders do before they start their day

April 23, 2015

Here are some simple and really things you can do before you go to the office, or make your first sales call…

Now I know you are like everyone else and that there never seems to be enough time to get everything done.. It is the single greatest challenge sales leaders face too.

Well you know what, you’ll never get everything done and that’s ok… nobody ever does.. And that’s a key point. Yes be focused and yes use some of the tactics below to help you do that…

But NO, don’t stress about what you haven’t been doing.. it’s wasted energy and if you are like me and everyone I work with that energy can be put to much better uses …… like getting more sales in..

Now Research has shown that the most effective leaders are simply better prepared. Preparation saves valuable time.

You know this but life tends to get in the way and we spend less time preparing and more time doing… But that needs to change and here are some simple things to make your new daily non-negotiables

So before you rush headlong in to the office, and the interruptions and endless emails. Why not take some time out over a coffee before you go to the office or your first call and do some of these simple things

1)   Write down your quarterly priorities and goals

Yes write your Top 3 priorities and goals out briefly. Or if I’m honest I no longer write them, I simply review them daily. This is a simple and effective way to reinforce what truly matters. What must be done first and always.

2)   Review your tasks for today, and prioritise

Often the simple things are the most effective.

Write or review your tasks (if you really want to save time you’ll leverage a time management tool like Things) Quickly isolate the most important tasks and give them priority. You’ll start your day with these.

3)   Schedule time in your day for the top 3 tasks

It is pretty pointless deciding what the your priorities and then not taking out your diary and scheduling the time to actually do this.

This really is the most effective strategy I’ve ever learned. Plan time there and then for completing your Top 3. Simply open your calendar and schedule an appointment with yourself.

4)   Send agendas for all meetings the next day

Most busy sales leaders complain about the number of non-sales related meetings that they have to attend. Not only are they unproductive, they can be extremely boring and repetitive. And often there is no time between meetings to sort out your thoughts.

In order to tackle this, write out your own agendas and send them in advance. Signal the priorities you want to focus on. And put strict timelines on meeting start and finish times.

Now I know you are going to say yeah but Ronan these meetings never stick to the time allocated, stuff happens, people start talking and inevitably they overrun. I just don’t buy this anymore. You can’t afford to stay neutral on this subject. You have to voice your opinions and you have to be prepared to challenge this mindset that ” the meeting finishes when it finishes”..

Meetings are about decision making and they overrun mostly because people come under prepared. As a sales leader you can directly influence this but it requires a lot of discipline.

For example even in sales meetings before you get in to the meat and bones of your discussions you can simply say

“Louise it’s 2pm now, shall we try to wrap this meeting up at around 2.50pm? we can spend 10 minutes agreeing any actions we need to focus on and be finished by 3pm. Does that work for you? ”  

5)   Cancel all non essential meetings that day

If you are scheduled to attend a meeting, that has no fixed purpose. No stated agenda, and no set times. Ask yourself do you really need to attend it? Be focused, and think Top 3 priorities.

Will you generate a better result for your and your business, by cancelling the meeting and focusing on value creating activities, like spending time with your team or your customers and prospects?

6)   Make a list of the most important calls you need to make that day  

I find this to be a very useful action. Now if you are a highly effective sales leader you’ll be using a CRM tool, and your calls will be mapped out for you. But remember your day isn’t also about business. Schedule time to make calls to your spouse, your partner etc. They can often be the most important ones to make..

7)   Plan your breaks for the day  

Research proves that working in 90 minute blocks and taking a break, boosts productivity by up to 70%. Your brain simply needs the break. So take two minutes and schedule in some well needed breaks. Yes get out your diary and put in the times you intend to take 10 minutes out for a walk or a break..

8)   Sort out all of your paperwork  

If you are attending meetings then chances are you’ll need documents. If you are like us at insthinktive, you probably travel paperless. However even PDF’s need to be sorted and collated in advance of your meetings.

Take the time to sort everything so you can focus on the sales meeting, and not trying to locate an important document your client or prospect needs to see.

9)   Respond to all emails that require less than a minute of your time  

You’ve already made great strides, and you haven’t even got to your office or first sales meeting yet.

Well become super effective. Scan your emails for 15 minutes. Sort the important from the not so important. Deal with those emails that take less than a minute in quick succession.

Those that require more thought simply leave them aside for more consideration later in your day..

This is a great tactic because you don’t want to use up all of your energy getting bogged down in administration. Leaving that until later in the day allows you more time to focus on what’s really important.

10) Resolve to focus on solutions throughout your day  

Finally, relax and enjoy your coffee, knowing that you are way ahead of the field. This is a great opportunity to get your mindset right

Simply take a few minutes and focus on having a great day. Focus on the solutions, not the problems that lie ahead. Focus on ensuring you maintain your positive energy throughout the day.   It’s your day, you decide whether it will be a good one or not…

Key Takeaway;

Take one or two ideas from these 10 (not all 10…!!! take it slowly) , and make them your new daily non-negotiables. ( And Remember to track your progress. What impact are these small changes having on your effectiveness that day. Do more of these, and start eliminating a couple of habits that are getting in the way of your day. (

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Rapport Building using PRESENT

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Here’s a short 3 minute video on building Rapport in the sales presentation.

Rapport Building using PRESENT

Testimonial – Uniphar

I engaged Ronan to undertake a complete review of my sales team, develop a training programme to fill in those gaps identified during the review. He then delivered individualised personal development plans for the team. His insight and drive delivered over a six month, period truly remarkable results. It made my job easier…… I would have no hesitation in recommending Ronan to anybody. He is a true professional

Robert Saunders – Sales Director Uniphar Wholesale

Testimonial – ESRI Ireland

I’ve had the opportunity to work with Ronan Kilroy as Executive Coach for the last two years. The coaching is very extensive and far reaching covering modules such as Increasing your Effectiveness, Growing your Business, Zero Based Thinking and Leadership as well as extensive work on DISC Profiling.

Joanne McLaughlin – ESRI Ireland

Testimonial – ESRI Ireland

Ronan has incredible insight and natural abilities around how human beings can get the best out of themselves by focussing on a number of key psychological habits and traits. I can safely say that Ronan’s work with me has been life changing, never mind career changing, and I am now delivering the results that I want to deliver for myself

Michael Byrne – ESRI Ireland

Testimonial – CPL

I would thoroughly recommend working with Ronan. He offers powerful insights and his coaching style is very engaging and beneficial. His approach would suit all professionals who are interested in deepening their business skills

Judith Moffatt – Director CPL

Testimonial – Global Tax Reclaim

Ronan has been a huge influence to me in recent months. He has given me the guidance and focus to take our sales process in a new and more successful direction. His knowledge and techniques are second to none

Darren Byrne – Global Tax Reclaim

Testimonial – Celuplast

The workshop was excellent. It was interactive, and relevant..

Brian Lynch – Celuplast

Testimonial – Entropic

The workshop really helps to get the owners ideas to the rest of the team. It creates a vocabulary to allow us to communicate better as a team.

Michael Geraghty – Entropic Limite

Testimonial Cavan Box

The workshop was excellent. I particularly liked how the “theory” was always related back to realities for our industry

Peter Cassidy – Cavan Box

Testimonial Abcon Industrial Products

The workshop was excellent. What I particularly found valuable were the measurable tools and interactive nature of the workshop.

Raymond Maguire – Abcon Industrial Products

I’m not in to buying problems

July 31, 2014

Here’s a link to my latest linkedIn post..

Best regards;

Call me on +353(86) 7732201
Our Blog

Needing a different lens

July 17, 2014

Maybe it is an overused metaphor, but as a keen amateur photographer I understand the value of changing lenses to gain a different perspective. I also see the value in altering the “aperture” to narrow my focus (and allowing me to blur the background out) , or indeed broaden my focus and let more of the scene come in to focus.

So ok you have all the lenses but the question is how often to you change them, to gain a different perspective?

Joe was a classic example of this. Joe is a successful entrepreneur, and such he recognised the necessity to maintain his energy levels. He was overweight and out of shape. He lacked energy and he simply hated the way he felt and looked. So he took action and hired a fitness coach.

Joe is a man of action and so he committed and he did see results. He felt more energetic, but even after a year of continuous training every time he looked at himself in the mirror, he could never see the progress. He remained deeply entrenched in a negative view of how he looked. And despite continuing with the training, he was getting more and more frustrated by his perceived lack of progress.

You see Joe only focused on what wasn’t quite perfect yet. He simply couldn’t see the progress he was making. That is until one day whilst in a training session he was standing in front of a mirror doing some bicep curls.

What was unusual this day was that he was much closer to the mirror, which had the effect of “cutting off his head” from view. In other words he could only see his body from the neck down.

And something was different, dramatically different. When he couldn’t see his own face, he saw a physique he didn’t recognise. One that was toned up. One that looked fit, one that looked exactly like the one he had worked so hard for. Joe had a very powerful moment of personal insight. And it changed his perspective on himself forever. He was simply using the wrong lens. The wrong viewpoint.

In my experience this is often what we do in our daily roles as leaders and sales leaders. We get so caught up in what doesn’t work, what doesn’t look right, what is going wrong, that we lose the ability to simply “change the lens” and hence our viewpoint.

Rarely is a problem viewed with a different lens as big as we viewed it originally. When we remove our “personal maps” and views of the world. When we challenge our own filters that block our ability to see things as they really are, like Joe did accidentally, we gain insights. We see something that changes our perspective. And that can be the nudge we need to move forward again.

Getting stuck is normal, and  often a simple nudge is all we need.

If you don’t feel you have a different lens, no problem. Talk to someone. But you are not looking for advice, you are looking for perspective. That can come from the most unlikely of sources. My 6 year old and 8 year old sons have lenses on life that just fill me with wonder. I can’t buy these, but I can learn from them..

Simple but not easy….

Best regards;

Best regards;

Call me on +353(86) 7732201
My Blog

You Need Your Script, but You Aren’t A Parrot

July 3, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
You Need Your Script, but You Aren’t A Parrot
Scripting is essential to your success. Carefully chosen structure and words will always improve results. You have a limited time to connect and build rapport and your script will enable this more easily. 
You aren’t a Parrot though. You must rehearse your script. You’ll never read it. Never. 
You’ll rehearse to the extent that is just a natural sounding conversation you are engaging in. If you sound scripted you’re going to have resistance. 
Find the words you feel you are comfortable with. Be natural.
A memorised call will always outperform a spontaneous approach. 
Practice, Practice and Practice more. There is no substitute for this. 
-Try recording your script to see how it sounds
-Ensure that you always leave the space for others to respond and feel included
-Always anticipate the 4 main objections, Price, Time, Relationships and Need. They are guaranteed to come, so are therefore easy to be prepared for. The top Salespeople love objections because they know they can be overcome them. 
“We already have a supplier” 
“Great, so you are 100% happy with the prices, the service and the quality you are getting, and see no room for improvement”?
Now before you go we’ve tried this and it didn’t work (Your objection!! to doing it). We say “OK you’ve tried it but have you tried enough until it did work”?
Excuses are just that, excuses. They rarely have foundation in real action. In other words you are looking for the perfect script. The one that works 100% of the time. The NO FAIL script. And it doesn’t exist. 
This is a numbers game we live in. This is all about improving your odds.If by handling this objection this way you improve your conversion rate by 1% you have a really tangible end result of a €1,000 sale. So you must persevere. 
You are just trying to create an opportunity to continue the conversation. And this is only achieved through great preparation. Script enables this and give you great confidence. 
Some Useful Tips;
-Be sincere and warm
-Be brief
-Highlight 3 to 4 key results you can deliver to the prospect
-Leave space for them to interact
-Ask lots of questions
“Hello Mr X, this is John here from the Y Hotel in Dublin. Have you ever visited us before? 
When was the last time you were in Dublin? 
Recently we sent you an invitation, did you receive it? 
Are you the person who makes conference decisions in your company, or is it someone else?
Do you plan to take us up on our special offer now, or do you plan to request more information. 
(Watch the language here. It is quite directive and eliminates the “are you thinking about”. Do you plan..)
As you probably read, we are offering businesses who book a conference in our hotel during September an amazing 25% off for groups of 20 or more. We are also offering complementary coffees for the groups daily. 
Are you holding a conference this year? Where do you normally hold your conferences. 
How many normally attend your conferences? 
I think you may be interested in saving money and having a first class facility available for this conference?
And just to remind you we are offering 25% off, complementary coffees, plus we include all conference equipment such as projectors etc. 
When would you like to make arrangements to book? 
This is a well scripted conversation. And the emphasis is on conversation. Note the positive language and the numerous questions. Is it perfect?  No. But you can perfect your own message and try above all else to achieve a balance that is non threatening but also achieves the goal of making the sale (or getting the appointment).
Failed scripts mean failed calls. 
Ensure loads of personality, great structure, plenty of space. Simple and to the point. 
You’ve only got 15 to 20 seconds to make an impression. 
How Do You Keep Motivated? 
-Have competitions
-Reward yourselves for the activity and the results
-Ask for our insthinktive call motivation sheet 
-Focus on the end results. The new clients. 
-Focus on having fun, they are just people after all
-Enjoy the fact that you are getting instant feedback from your marketing 
-Take regular breaks, work for 90 minutes then change scene. Listen to some music. Grab a coffee. Take a walk. 
-Focus on the results your product or service can deliver
-Experiment with different words and scripts 
-Have daily goals
Key Takeaways
– Using the phone is a low cost and effective strategy 
– Create simple scripts that engage prospects and open up the conversation
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Sales is a long game

Networking On The Phone

June 25, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Networking On The Phone 
Telephone marketing is a phenomenally powerful marketing tool. It is a much maligned strategy but that in our opinion is driven by a lack of understanding about how, and when to use this tool. 
A telephone call is the most immediate strategy we know for getting through to prospects.
It is a lot more personal than a letter or an advert. It is also a much lower cost than direct mail, flyers, marketing brochures and advertising. 
You can literally get an unlimited calls package with your mobile phone company for less than €50 per month. That’s the most cost effective marketing strategy I know for the results you can get.
You’ll also know that using the phone in conjunction with a direct mail is the smartest way to leverage the strengths of both. And we strongly encourage that you have a simple system of follow up on the phone, post direct mails being posted. Leave a week to follow up and then call. 
Removing The Negatives
OK let’s get the negatives out of the way. Yes using the phone isn’t among the easiest of strategies. It requires a level of determination and a positive attitude to overcome the inevitable rejections. That is if you see them as rejections. Don’t. 
From a mindset perspective you must focus on the end results. Let’s take a quick look here at the potential. 
Let’s assume that you need to make 100 calls to generate an order. Now we work with clients whose average order values in the main exceed €1,000. What’s your average order value? Let’s use the average of €1,000.
So for every 100 calls you generate €1,000 in sales revenue. 
Assuming the average call takes you roughly 3 minutes. Remember you probably will only connect with on average 30% of those you call. And the actual conversations will vary in length but as an average 3 minutes is workable. 
300 minutes is 5 hours of concentrated work. Now you are a business owner or a full time sales person and you work at least 50 hours per week. 
So based on these rough numbers if you made 1,000 calls it would take you 50 hours in time, and generate you €10,000 in new sales in a working week. 
That’s working on a 1% conversion rate of sales to calls. That’s a €500,000 business annually. 
Where would you get that sort of result for 50 hours of your time a week? 
Clearly you aren’t going to be on the phone 10 hours a day but you can leverage others to be. Personally we wouldn’t recommend any more than  3 to 4 hours a day as an average. 
It’s tough work, but very rewarding. 
Your goal will always to be to improve  your conversion rates, by improving your scripts, your approaches, your words, and your direct mails. You will test and measure consistently to improve your results. 
Repetition is the key
One call is never enough. You must apply my “follow UP” strategy to increase the number of touches you’ll need over time. Some will buy now. Others need time to build our trust and hence the follow up.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; You Need Your Script, but You Aren’t A Parrot 

Need ( We just don’t need it !!)

June 19, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Need ( We just don’t need it). 
To be honest if we have followed PRESENT properly (and it’s a system you can’t use piecemeal). This should never become an issue. Why? because you’ve been through 
EXAMINE and you’ve established there is a need. 
You will never proceed if there is no need. There is no SHOW phase if there’s no need. 
By right the need should have been established in advance of our meeting with a qualification process or call. 
Nonetheless here are a couple of suggestions to handle this objection. And it mirrors the approach we’ve used previously. We are going to use quite challenging questions. 
“Am I right to assume that you don’t place a value on a (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) business?
“You are interested in a (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) business aren’t you?
“You are interested in becoming more productive and effective aren’t you?
“You are you interested in growing your sales and profits by ?% in the first year aren’t you?
“You do recognise the huge benefits of having a product or service that can deliver a business that’s (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) don’t you?
Remember this;
Use the power of story throughout your handling of sales firewalls. Stories are quite simply the most powerful way to overcome any objection. 
When you can tell real stories of clients who just like your prospect had concerns over the price, but realised that having bought it they were actually saving themselves money. You have a very powerful proposition that can be easily related to.
For example if you were selling a high value machine and the client didn’t want to buy the additional maintenance contract for an additional fee. You could say “ I understand why you have that concern, however when we worked with company X who shared this concern, they found that the cost of the maintenance package was substantially lower than the cost of having any remedial maintenance done throughout the year. The savings were in fact up to 50%. 
What may have seemed an additional cost initially actually resulted in substantial savings over the lifetime of the machine”
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Networking on the phone 


Price – The old reliable (Firewall to sales)

June 17, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Price – The old reliable. 
And one objection that dominates the marketplace  now. And we can’ t ignore it. However it  is not and never will be the main determinant of the successful sale.
Because it is such an old reliable, how do we end up being thrown by it? We’ve always been amazed at how easily sales people are thrown by the obvious. “You’re too expensive” or we don’t have the budget. And we do mean obvious. It’s coming at you, so be ready. 
We’ve outlined some great responses below. You may want to copy them or edit them to suit you and your business. But you MUST practice these until they are second nature. 
You mean € is too much to pay for a € improvement in your profits?
“You mean that € a month is too much to a price to pay for improving your sales by X%?
“You mean that the cost will impede your ability to substantially grow your business and profits? 
“If I can save you €X a day over the next 90 days what impact would that have on your business?
“Isn’t it true that the cost is less important than the return on the investment? 
“Isn’t it true that if we get results in reducing the costs first we can then reinvest this in to growth?
Remember to rephrase statements like “It costs too much” ???
Say it back to the prospect.  “Really it costs too much”?
It’s too big a commitment  “Really It’s too big a commitment”?
“Your primary objective is to become more (more compliant, more innovative, more efficient etc)  isn’t it?
“I know you are concerned by the cost of this, but wouldn’t you prefer a more profitable, more successful, more focused business than one that is just focused on the costs?
“While the cost is vital to you now, in the long run the benefits of having a (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused )business will surely outweigh this concern over upfront costs? 
“I know that economic concerns are a factor however, in the long run don’t you think investing in a more (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) business with growing sales will outweigh any concerns you have now? 
“Isn’t it true that the cost is less important than the return on the investment? 
“Isn’t it true that if we get results in reducing the costs first we can then reinvest this in to growth? 
“May I ignore this concern over price, if I can prove that the return on your investment will significantly outweigh any costs incurred?
“Why is the cost of X more important than the ROI you can achieve using X?
“Am I right in assuming that if we could address the concerns over the cost, then we could proceed next week?
“If we could save €…. per day for the next 90days what impact would that have on your profits?
Am I right to assume that the cost of X is the only factor stopping you from proceeding?
Timing ( Not now, talk to me in the future).
This is a beauty if you are the prospect. We can feign interest by putting you off. Giving you hope of a deal done, but in the future. And in most cases it never happens. But if you’re like a lot of sales people, you have a  lot of “future oriented opportunities” and they should keep the boss happy, shouldn’t they? 
No. The general rule is that if they are not ready to buy in the next 90 days they will never buy. I say general as I know some of you work in industries with longer lead times, but as a rule of thumb 90 days is about right. 
The key issue for us is that we challenge this objection to see if it is real or just an excuse to put us off, and close the meeting. 
Remember the most important phase in PRESENT is EXAMINE, and if you have done this well you will be in a position to use some of these challenging questions below. And some are quite challenging, but deliberately so. We want to leave our meetings at least knowing where we stand. 
“You don’t want to wait for things to get better before you proceed do you? 
“You don’t want to miss opportunities to grow your business now do you? 
“Why do you refuse your business the opportunity to become (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused )?
Why do you refuse your business the enormous benefits that X can deliver to you now?
Am I right to assume that the thing that is holding you back from starting is actually the 
reason we should get started? That is you can’t /don’t have (enough profits, enough success, full compliance, enough innovation, good enough systems,  and ……)
“When is the right time other than now to benefit from being (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused )?
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Need ( We just don’t need it)


Learn To Love Firewalls

June 12, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Learn To Love Firewalls.
Yes learn to love firewalls that sabotage your sales. Prospects will always have firewalls and objections. This is the natural order. It’s as certain as night follows day and that’s why you should love them. They are  guaranteed.
If they’re guaranteed to arise, then you can plan for them better and overcome them more easily. I stress more easily because there is simply no fool proof 100% system for overcoming firewalls in sales.
Over the years we’ve hired literally hundreds of salespeople. We’ve coached hundreds more. And their two weakest areas are in building
Rapport and Handling Objections. 
You’ve done a superb job with your marketing materials and your websites. And on the phone call building rapport so far. Now we need to concentrate on the guaranteed show stoppers. I say guarantee because they’re guaranteed to come up. I say show stoppers because for far too many sales people they view them as show stoppers.
They are anything but. And you need to get this out of your mind.
All firewalls can be dealt with professionally and with ease. Providing you have excellent preparation. Most don’t and therefore revert to sheer panic as a strategy. You won’t .
Using our PRESENT model we will focus on the ELIMINATE NO stage which is handing objections.
If you want to be able to handle objections like the best, then you have to practice like the best. Quite simply there are only really 4 to 6 main objections. The rest are normally versions of the same four, price, time, need, relationship.
Here are 3 Questions You Must Be Able To Answer at any time.
If you want to be a great objection handler then you must be able to answer these 3 simple questions.
Warning a failure to be clear and concise in your answers will lead to no deal..
Q 1 Why Should I listen to you?
What a great question. And relevant. And essential for you to answer clearly.
Write this down and spend some time thinking about your answer with as much clarity as possible.
Can you save your prospect money?
Can you make your prospect more competitive?
Can you make your prospect more compliant?
Can you eliminate costs for your prospect?
Can you help your prospect grow their sales more profitably?
Can you make your prospect’s business more efficient?
Can you make your prospect more money?
The real question is can you gain your prospect’s immediate attention by making them want to listen further.
Q2 What’s in it for me (WIIFM)
We all have on average 80,000 thoughts a day. Wow!. And guess what, the majority of them are about ourselves. This is reality. Your prospects care about one thing, and one thing only  themselves. You need to be able to address this key question. If there is nothing in it for them. There is nothing in it for you. Guaranteed.
So write down now how they will benefit. How you will enrich their lives in some way. How you will improve their lives in some way.
See the world from their perspective. Why would I buy anything that doesn’t benefit me in some way.
Q3 So What ?
You better know your So What.
Don’t take these questions literally. I rarely hear this question in as direct a manner. But it is always wise to prepare for this type of question. And it’s a reasonable question.
So you say you can improve my business, so what? Why should I care?
That’s what your prospect will be thinking, if not saying.
So write down now the reasons why it’s important that they listen. That it’s important that they give you their undivided attention. And that you have something that can really impact them and their business.
Now let’s get specific on the types of objections you’ll have to handle, and how we can overcome these.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Price the old reliable

Creating Sales Momentum

June 10, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Creating Sales Momentum 
One of the greatest challenges we see amongst SME’s today is that they don’t have a consistent method of generating sales momentum. They don’t generate enough leads to convert. They may have a great product. A great team. A great service, but they don’t have enough prospects who actually either know about them, or want to do business with them.
You can’t create a vibrant business without creating sales momentum. You need to be able to make it easy for them to find you. And grab their attention.
And they’ll be interested in you if you address their Whys effectively.
Let’s repeat the mantra. What are your prospects Whys? Their problems?
1) Problem 1
2) Problem 2
3) Problem 3
As we write this we received a direct mail, and it addresses our concerns head on. And it’s framed as all good attention grabbers tend to be in to a question.
“Are you hard of hearing? Could you use a Government grant?
It addresses the Why head on. And if your prospect is afflicted with this problem, chances are they’ll be interested.
Here are some of the best Ad Questions
“Can you hear me now? – Verizon phone ad
“Where do you want to go today” ? – Microsoft
“Where’s the beef” ? Wendy’s
“How do you spell relief”? – Rolaid ad
“Wassup”? – Budweiser
The power is always in the question. If you can elicit a response you are engaging prospects in a conversation. More conversations means more momentum. More momentum means more leads. More leads will inevitably lead to more clients.
You need to focus on creating momentum.
Momentum And What You Need To Say
You’ve got a great product and / or service. You know it’s in demand. You can see from Google Analytics what people are searching for. Yet they aren’t responding.
Clearly the first issue may be that your marketing is just not addressing your prospects concerns.
If I want to buy a new laptop and I go searching for information on a laptop, I’m naturally inclined to opt for one that addresses my problems and answers any questions I have about what it can do for me.
If I can’t have my concerns addressed or my problems answered, I’m out of there and quickly.
Have you ever gone in to an electronics  store and asked a simple question like “Have you a laptop that’s suitable for business”. And been literally bamboozled by the techno babble, and the endless and meaningless talk about RAM and ROM.
I’ve walked out of too many electronic stores that have quite simply failed to address my problems. And failed to listen.
Your marketing has to achieve what their sales team can’t do face to face. You need to be able to have the same impact as a face to face conversation with your marketing.
Your website needs to act as a virtual sales person and deliver the 1 to 1 experience as much as possible.
– Engage the prospect.
– Make them like you.
– Make them trust you.
– Make them want to learn more.
– Make it easy for them to have a concern addressed
– Let them know how it will enrich their lives
– Let them know that you are a trustworthy company with a reputable product.
– Update them on the technical specifications IF they need it
– Let them see your testimonials
– Offer them some form of guarantee
– Demonstrate the value you offer them
– Make it easy to contact you
– Make it easy to buy from you
– Make it easy to try it
– Reinforce why they need it.
– Convey that’s it’s easy to use
– Have tips on how to use it
– Have tips on how to maximise it’s value
Leave no stone unturned in your desire to answer every question conceivable. By doing so you are going to dramatically improve your lead generation and your overall results.
Clarity and simplicity will make decision making easier for prospects. That’s the goal here
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Learning to love Firewalls

Focus on the WHY.

June 6, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Focus on the WHY.
All sales are 100% emotional. Full stop. If you focus on product on features in your marketing, you are missing a huge opportunity to demonstrate value. 
Apple are masters of this. As I write this they have just launched a new IPad. It must have literally hundreds of features, and they are focusing on one. The High Resolution Screen. 
And they are marketing to the Why. The emotional response people have to seeing their family photographs in amazing detail. To playing their games with crystal clear detail. To watching movies and surfing the web on a screen that has greater definition than your HD television. 
They have identified the reasons people will want to buy and marketed to them on their terms. The Why in your sales and marketing is essential. 
Simon Sinek in a brilliant presentation on TED talks about the power of the WHY. And he explains that most businesses market the WHAT (What we are is accountants) and the HOW ( and we do the monthly accounts for small businesses, and do the wages and credit control functions) rather than the WHY. 
“We help businesses understand their numbers better, so that they can make better decisions, make more money and plan for a better more financially rewarding future”. 
What truly motivates your prospects. What’s their Why? 
Why would they want to use your product? Why choose you? What difference can you make in their lives? 
Focus on these reasons and you are starting to focus on how you will create real value for them. And they’ll begin to see it, have an emotional response to it. And in doing so be less focused on the price and see the value to them. 
Their Why is not Your Why
Remember this key point. Their Why is the one that counts, not yours. So you need to ask them. When we started out this business. I assumed the Why’s of my clients. We assumed that they valued our structured and systemised approach. That they placed a huge value on knowing that there was a system and proven structure to back our service.We were wrong. 
When we surveyed these clients and asked why they bought. They said it was our expertise. Our experience, our knowledge. They felt that they could trust us as a safe pair of hands to guide them to better results. This was an eye opener and a rude awakening. 
We were marketing our system and our structure. And we should have been marketing to the customers Why 
Focusing on the customers business, transformed our business. We connected to their Why better. 
Timing and  Pricing
How many times has a sale been lost because the prospect has asked the price and you’ve answered, before you’ve even discussed what you can do for them? 
You must focus on the reasons your prospects will want to buy. Their Why. You must appeal to their Why first and outline all of the benefits they will receive before you even contemplate raising pricing. 
This is even more important in services that have an intangible element to them. You will eliminate the firewalls if you build a picture first of a better world for customer. And what it would be like using your product or services. 
Never give a price before you have established Value. Remember to review the PRESENT model there are a host of ideas in ELIMINATE NO  on how to handle the pricing question or objection.
As a rule of thumb, have a clear strategy on pricing. Stick to it and persevere. Yes you may lose some sales, but everyone does. And it’s ok to lose some sales, especially to your non ideal clients. Get more of those ideal clients who you understand and want value. And sell your value to them.
Key Takeaways
– Customers buy on value not price
– Get clear on your value proposition
– Sell your value to meet their Why
– Avoid discussions on price until you’ve established their Why
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; You must invest in marketing

You need to Add Value to the Sale

June 3, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
You need to Add Value to the Sale
Value is the buzz word but it is the crux of everything when it comes to pricing. The best example today and we’ll admit one used often is Apple. As you read this I am typing on an Apple Mac. I have an Apple IPhone at my side and my IPad is in my case. All products that typify the way value has been brought to the fore.
Everyone of these products has equivalents, that are significantly cheaper. My MacBook Pro is up to 4 times the cost of other equivalent laptops. And yet I bought it, love it and would recommend it to anyone? Why? For me it’s simply down the the perceived value I get, and the ease of use. It is simply a thing of beauty. And it is so easy to use and the value of this for me is immense.
While the PC market is in rapid decline. IPads, and Macs are flying off the shelfs. Value creation is the key.
You could package your products together and offer significant value. Hotels are experts at this. By offering weekend deals, with free meals etc., they are able to maintain their pricing points and deliver extra value. You can maintain profit margins very effectively in this way.
If you sell a professional service, you can add additional services as part of the package as a bonus.
For example if you are an accountant you could provide a free helpline for any client queries. You could provide FREE reports on business and finance. You could offer FREE advice to clients.
If you are an equipment provider you can offer FREE additional support for breakdowns etc.
Ultimately it’s about positioning the product and service as a high value must have.
How to handle pricing firewalls
We hear this a lot from business owners. “if we were able to overcome the pricing objections we’d have more sales”.
Is this really the case though? Honestly. Is it because of the prospect, the market or is it really down to a fear around the who pricing conversation.
Recently in a coaching session with a client we talked about pricing and the effect it was having on his business.
He remarked that he and his team believed it to be a bigger issue than it actually was. Why? He had hired two new sales people over the last year, both from his competitors.
The first sales meeting was an eye opener…The existing salesforce were saying “we always thought you were cheaper than us, and that’s how we lost the business”.
The new members of the team (former competitors) were saying “we always thought you were cheaper than us too”….
The penny dropped. Pricing was not the challenge. Competitor knowledge was the challenge.
You can overcome pricing firewalls ( not always I do live in the real world)and here’s some tips.
Work On Your Team’s Pricing Mindset
Confidence is everything in a pricing conversation. If you or your team have a fear around pricing you’ll never truly overcome these firewalls.
A great example of this was one I experienced recently in one of the largest retailers in Ireland. I was buying a new leather presenter folder for my materials. When I presented the folder to the sales person they said “are you sure you want this? it is €129?” And their expression said everything. They were so price conscious themselves that they were almost turning away a sale.
You need to build a confidence around your pricing structure. You need to build the team’s confidence and their mindset to handle pricing with ease.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Focus on the Why


Handling Pricing in a Tough Environment

May 29, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Leveraging pricing in Sales
Handling Pricing in a Tough Environment
You’d want to have been living in a bunker for the last few years if you haven’t been confronted by the pricing Firewall. Or Firewall as most envisage it to be. I am amazed by the fear this question, raised by a prospect seems to create in the minds of the sellers. 
You’ve delivered a brilliant presentation you followed the PRESENT model verbatim and you get to the close, and you hear “ you’re too expensive”. 
And you run the gambit of emotions, fear, trepidation, and panic. And you offer a discount on the spot. You need to be very wary of this it could have serious longterm consequences. 
We met with a businessman several years ago. His sales had dropped by 25% over the last 2 years. And he informed us that he had recently decided to drop his prices by 25% also. 
Now this wasn’t a decision that was based on any tangible reasons. He hadn’t restructured his manufacturing process and streamlined his business. He was a distributor. He hadn’t assessed that the market would grow by 25% plus. He actually anticipated that he would just consolidate sales numbers. He hadn’t negotiated a lower price with the original manufacturers. No he had made an arbitrary decision to lower prices. 
We simply asked what impact this would have on the profits of the business. He admitted he hadn’t thought about this. Would he sell more to compensate? No the market was shrinking. And you know what so was his business, and profits. He was out of business in under a year. 
Get Proactive on Pricing 
Reactive decisions on pricing can be serious and can be very difficult to reverse once you embark on this road. Once you have created an expectation it is very hard to break this. 
Discounting leads to more  discounting, and can create a vicious downward cycle.
I worked for a large greeting card company, many years ago, and we were faced with an increasingly competitive market from a pricing perspective. One of our major competitors was literally going in to our clients and offering an additional 20% discount over above anything they received from ourselves. On top of that they offered full sale or return of their product. This did initially hurt as we lost some clients. But we didn’t react. We continued to focus on the quality of the product and service we provided. 
The competitor continued to be aggressive in the market place. The result of which was that their clients bought more than they needed ( it was on sale or return anyway ). They would often send back up to 40% of what was bought unsold. 
The problem was that the competitor started to recycle that stock again at a later stage. They were losing money and couldn’t invest in either product or service. Eventually they went out of business. 
New owners came on board. The new owners tried to break the cycle of discounts and sale or return, but couldn’t. The expectation was so engrained that they also failed to rejuvenate the business. And they closed down for good only two years later. 
Focus on your Value Proposition
We’ve all done it. Given a discount too hastily and guess what? You are  asked for more, and more and more. Why not? They’ve sensed a weakness and they want to expose it. 
It is a recipe for disaster and endless negotiation. You need to focus exclusively on the value you offer. When you give a price, you must give it with confidence. When you are asked for a discount you say NO! If you have the belief that you product or service can deliver the value. Stick to your guns and you will be rewarded. 
Not the naysayers amongst you will immediately highlight the deals you lost on price, and justify the practice of discounting. But that is missing the point entirely. The exception does not determine the rule. 
You need to commence all business relationships with a negotiation that is beneficial to both parties. And that means you make a profit and your clients get huge value. 
There is always a section of the marketplace that buys on price and price alone. But these are not your ideal clients. They are not the ones you will target. If you have a business that is dogged by negotiations on price then it’s time maybe for a rethink. 
Having a clear pricing policy and strategy will enable you to achieve better results. Be careful not to allow too much flexibility for your sales team to make decisions on pricing. 
This can fall foul of the weaker sales person, who’ll always default to the highest level of discount. 
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; You need to add value to the sale


Always Ask For Referrals

May 27, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Always Ask For Referrals
When you start with a new client, set up the expectation that you’ll ask by simply saying “ 
Mr. Client after 12 weeks of working with you I plan to sit and review how we are looking after you and get your feedback. And subject to everything going to plan I intend to ask you for any help you can give me in referring us to a colleague, or someone you believe could also benefit from our service”. Is that ok with you”?
They won’t remember, but you have the agreement to ask again. And ask you will. And ask regularly. Remember you’re just asking. This is not high pressure sales. These clients want to help you. They are happy with your service and believe me most of them will want to reciprocate. 
Think through the timing that is most appropriate for your business, but in the main if your approach is right you can ask at the beginning and throughout your work with any client.
Always ask at the end of projects. You can do an evaluation of the project and finalise with asking for referrals. 
You can also use the following ways
– When you make cold calls, and get a NO. You can always say “thank you for taking my call, and I understand that we’re not a good fit for you now. I wonder if you could think of any transport company  who you believe would benefit from a 10% reduction in their fuel costs”. It can’t do any harm and it may just generate extra referrals. 
– Put requests for  referrals on all of your customer engagement forms like, order forms, delivery dockets, emails newsletters etc. 
How To Ask For Referrals, 
Just like your elevator speech or your presentation you should have a simple and effective script. And remember the simple additional tip I outlined earlier give the client time.  
Try these; 
“John, can you think of two people in your industry who you believe could benefit from a 
10% reduction in their fuel costs”. 
“John can you think of another accountant like yourself who you believe could benefit 
from an accounts package that could reduce their administration costs by 20%”?
“John if you know someone else who could benefit from our services, just as you have, I’d 
appreciate you calling me on this number …… to let me know”
Here’s A tip
In the majority of cases do the following. As you are asking for a referral, hand John a simple sheet with a request for details. Name, contact details etc. Then ask to go to the bathroom? Why? Because by doing so, you’ll give John the opportunity to think. Sometimes people simply need some space to think, in order to come up with a name. And being present can assert an unwanted pressure. Leave for a few minutes and just give them time to fill the form out.
Create Referral Momentum
-Make it easy for clients to make referrals by giving them information to make it clear what you want. 
-Be clear about who and what you want
-Give clients or customers incentives to refer you. Sky offer a cash incentive if you refer them to a friend. 
-Leave business cards with clients and prospects and just ask for them to give them to potential clients. 
-Be clear from the outset that you value referrals. And that they are your key marketing strategy. 
-If you want your Strategic Alliances to work, then give to receive. Refer them and they’ll reciprocate. 
-Have a simple process of follow up to thank those who do refer you. A thank you can go along way. 
-Create a list of those you get referrals and keep in regular contact. 
-I worked with a Personal Trainer who had a very successful referral programme and offered FREE sessions to those that referred him. 
– Networking for referrals. I’m a little on the fence on this one. There are groups out there, but if their sole purpose is to generate referrals, the values can be compromised. 
It’s not just about the referral. It’s about long term relationship building and the quick fix is an approach I struggle with. Be selective, and you’ll find the right balance
– Cross promotions, can be very powerful. Having a strategic alliance partner agree to send out a letter to their own clients recommending your product or service. Having links on your website that do the same can be very effective in growing referrals. 
Key Takeaways
– Referrals are the most powerful and easiest way to get more clients
– Create a referral strategy in your business. And embed the culture of asking happy clients for referrals
– Create a simple referral script for everyone to use, and make it easy for others to refer you
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Leveraging pricing in sales


How to Maximise a Testimonial’s Value

May 22, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
How to Maximise a Testimonial’s Value
In short stick them under your prospects noses. Get them out there. Get them noticed. 
Display them prominently 
-On your website, where they can be seen, not found.
-On your marketing materials and brochures
-In your newsletters
-In your emails 
-On your order forms
-On your presentations
-In your offices. If you have a gym have prominent testimonials is a very powerful strategy to engage prospects
Target Your Testimonials Correctly
Remember to use specific testimonials for specific market segments. And in specific sections of your website and marketing materials. 
Relevancy is everything. If I’m a Managing Director of a Bank, I like to read testimonials from other Managing Directors in Banks. 
So where possible keep them aligned. 
Key Takeaways
– Use a CRM system to manage your client interactions. 
– Create a simple system for collecting and managing testimonials 
– Make it easy for clients to give testimonials by preparing scripts in advance
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Become a referral magnet

Systemise Your Testimonial Process

May 20, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Systemise Your Testimonial Process
WE are huge fans of technology and of using CRM systems to manage your sales pipeline and marketing interactions with clients. We have used a CRM for 8 years now and am a keen advocate, and there are many great packages available to you to use. 
The key point is to have a system to remind yourself about the follow up. I could never manage effectively until I used  a CRM
Here’s a couple of things to decide
– When should you check in with a new client after you commence business with them. 
We do this after 12 weeks as we tend to meet our clients weekly or fortnightly. Previously this was a 4 week cycle for me. I would always review face to face every 4 weeks. 
-Block schedule time in your month (literally make appointments with yourself) to follow up with new clients and indeed existing clients. Make it a regimented task. 
-Design a simple questionnaire which you can use for your phone calls or face to face visits. They’ll give you structure and confidence and they convey professionalism to the 
-Always ask permission to use their comments.
-Use the opportunity to get feedback on the type of improvements they’d love to see in your service or product and why. 
-Use the opportunity to ask about other services or products they may have a need for. 
-Clearly it’s a great opportunity to ask for a referral so here’s a quick tip. Ask your client to refer you to another prospect and hand them a form with the details of what you need. Name, email contact details. Then ask where the loo is. Yes get out and give them some space and time to think. It is less threatening and gives both of you a break. 
When you return thank them for the referral and then simply ask if they would phone or email the person to let them know you’ll be in touch. 
Testimonials That Work
-When they are focused on the end results
-When there are clear measurables
-When they are packed with emotions. “We had a great time, working with… “The team really enjoyed working with …..
-When there are specifics about what worked
-When there is a real person behind the quote. Having simply Joe Managing Director Banking Sector just doesn’t work. It doesn’t sound believable. Real people, real positions, real companies make real connections. 
-When you guide your clients. Sometimes your clients will want and need you to help write the testimonials. 
Give them guidance, but don’t write it for them. Give them some ownership over the end result, whilst specifying what you would like. 
Personal Testimonials 
What if you had clients who just love to give testimonials in person. Thankfully I’ve benefited enormously from the generosity of some of my clients. 
I am mindful of my first client in the UK in Scotland. Jim the Operations Director and Raymond the business owner, were passionate about their business. And were very passionate about how they wanted their suppliers to behave. Partnership was their true value. 
And they were keen exponents of our service. To such an extent that they offered my prospects opportunities to visit their facilities and see first hand how our service worked. 
It was a true compliment to us and it was like a hot knife through butter when it came to reducing prospects firewalls. They were fans and I am eternally grateful for their support in the early years. 
OK they may be the exception but they do exist. And you need to grasp those opportunities. Technology is now your best friend in this regard also. You have several options just using your IPhone can suffice. 
-Video testimonials for your websites 
-Video testimonial links on your ezines and emails. 
-Audio testimonials 
-Use photographs 
-Use Linked In for powerful testimonials with full details of the giver.
Now I do live in the real world and understand that for some the mention of either a 
camera or microphone is enough to make their brains freeze. 
My suggestion is that again you write out some simple scripts to help them. 
The emphasis is on simple here. Just put them at ease by positioning the recording. 
“ John all I’d like you to do is firstly relax and just treat this as a conversation. There’s nobody else here, and if you aren’t 100% happy with the outcome we’ll just delete it”
Now when i start the camera/microphone, I’d like you to do just 3 things for me”
1) Introduce yourself by giving your name, your position and your business. And tell us briefly what your business is/does for people
2) I’d like you to just talk about your specific experience of working with us. What service did we provide to you? How did you find the service. And what results did you achieve from working with us. Please be as specific as you can. For example “we had the software installed and operational in 48 hours, and the impact was immediate. Our call waiting times were reduced by 25% and we increased our order intake by 5%”
3) Lastly I’d just like you to state if you would recommend us and why. 
Always remember that this is a big deal for you, and your clients. So make sure you follow up. 
-Send them a thank you note 
-Send them a small gift of thanks (subject to their company rules on gifts)
-Send them a referral for new business
-Update them on any successes you’ve enjoyed as a result of their testimonials. 
Remember also NEVER stop looking for new and better testimonials. 
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; How to Maximise a Testimonial’s Value

Building Your Testimonial Base

May 14, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Building Your Testimonial Base
So you’ve worked hard to get prospects to meet with you, view your website or read your marketing materials. And they have progressed on to a sale. Now what do you do?
Most businesses don’t address the after sales process with the same care and attention they do to acquiring their clients.
New clients need to be treated like proverbial Kings and Queens. If you can focus on delivering an Amazing experience to them, they have the potential to literally become your voluntary sales team.
What if your 50 clients became 50 salespeople for your business. Sound unrealistic maybe, but 50 amazed clients will guaranteed generate so much positive word of mouth for your business that you’ll be astonished.
The Power of Testimonials
Testimonials are simply one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox. Just stop and think about the number of times you have personally responded to a recommendation from a friend or colleague? Actually limit this to the last week alone?
When you go on holidays do you look for and act on recommendations? When you get your windows repaired as we did recently do you look for a recommendation. My wife did
and got one from a friend. So many of the things we buy, we have bought on recommendation. And so too with your prospects.
Testimonials influence buying decisions. 
And you need to ensure you are continuously generating a steady flow of testimonials. 
And again it’s not a complicated process, but there are some pitfalls.
The Pitfalls in Getting Testimonials
-Your clients won’t volunteer them. You need to ask
-Ask general questions and you’ll get general responses which are of little value
-Not focusing on the end results or the outcomes
Try to plan in advance and work on a script with salient questions that will get a valuable testimonial.
“Working with X we were able to achieve A result in Y time. We would highly recommend….”
“We increased our sales by X% and reduced our selling costs by Y% in just 180 days”
Now above are some simple and great examples. Clearly if you can get specific, measurable and timebound results you have a phenomenal testimonial.
The only way you’ll achieve these is through great preparation. As in selling you need to prepare your questions well. We’ve outlined some questions below and feel free to edit and adjust accordingly
A sample script 
-“John we’ve been working together now for 12 weeks. How have you found the programme for you? 
-“How has our work together impacted you and your business. What have been the benefits? 
“Specifically what tangible measurable gains have you made”?
1) Have you increased sales? If so by how much?
2) Have you increased profitability?
3) Have you increased efficiencies?
4) Have you increased your numbers of leads?
5) Have you reduced your operational costs
6) Have you inproved your effectiveness?
7) Has your business worked better in any ways?
8) What was the most important benefit?
9) Why was that the most important benefit?
10) How would you rate the service or product on a scale of 1 to 10. ?
11) Did you get your return on your investment? 
12) Was it easy to use and implement? 
13) Would you recommend it to a friend or colleague? 
Key Takeaways
– Testimonials are a powerful way to build trust and brand recognition
– Develop a simple strategy to get testimonials 
– Write a simple script to ask for testimonials
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Systemise your testimonial process…

Positioning And Sales

May 9, 2014

Positioning And Sales
In earlier sessions we  talked a little earlier about a client involved in, working in the Engineering Construction sector in the UK.
This was an unbelievably tough marketplace. But aren’t they all you’ll say and your right.  Their success was built on really strong brand positioning in the marketplace.
They positioned themselves as experts in emergency intervention. Most of their competitors simply positioned themselves as people suppliers. They had no real point of difference.
Our client  focused on the things that made them different and in one case unique.
Their expertise was in managing chaos. The chaos a client wanted so much to avoid. It is a much over used metaphor but they literally were the swan that looked graceful from one perspective the surface. But below the surface they we’re managers of chaos. And they delivered against their promise..
They also made another positioning decision. They only worked with main contractors on larger projects. They never worked for subcontractors. They were unique in this regard. They did this for several reasons but mostly because we saw a clear niche that they could exploit and, positioned themselves as experts in this niche
What’s Your Positioning Strategy?
If you want to be remembered and understood you likewise need a clear positioning. You want to get attention. You want to be seen as the experts, but experts in what?
Be clear about what it is you stand for. 
-Look for a niche (clearly there needs to be enough potential here, but niches tend to be more profitable in the longterm).
-Look for a compelling need in the niche
-Be clear about what makes you Different and what Your Expertise is in.
-Follow up
If you are genuine experts in your niche then share your knowledge.
This may seem counterintuitive but having knowledge and doing anything with it are entirely different
Share your knowledge
Sharing your knowledge will help you position yourself and your business as experts. And when someone needs expertise you’ll be top of mind when a need arise.
Use case studies and examples.
Give useful tips that add value.
Send useful articles.
One great way also to position yourself as an expert is to speak at events. (A word of caution here though. Speaking is an art in itself. Be sure that you have people speaking that can engage audiences and create great positioning for the business. Great businesses and ideas have failed due to poor presentations)
Recently we attended a large social media event sponsored by the local Chamber. Several of the guest speakers quite clearly had made no attempt to prepare. And rather than build their credibility they destroyed their credibility by delivering a boring and disjointed presentation.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Build your testimonial base


You need to communicate simply

May 1, 2014

You need to communicate simply
Have you ever sat in a Networking event and listened to the “sales pitches” from attendees and wondered what did they just say? 
Worst still have you ever been in a group and after 6 months you’re still wondering “what does that person actually do”?
It’s astonishing but so true as it is happening day in day out. Read a website and your so confused, you just get frustrated. 
Go to buy a laptop and you just want to run away from the RAM, the ROM and the HDMI thingies…..?
So many businesses have brilliant products or solutions but no customers. Why? 
Well we are back to the Why again. The old mantra. Because nobody cares what you do. Customers only care about their Why and how you can help them. 
If you want to improve your  business sales and have become aware of a CRM package to help you. Do you care how long you’ve been in business (maybe but it’s not your primary concern) . Do you care that  it has 200 features. Or that it has 50 different reports, beautiful dashboards and lovely graphics? 
Do you care about how it works? Or do you care about the results it can bring to your business and to you personally? 
Do you want to know that it will help you 
– increase your  sales. 
– Give you more control. 
– Give me more time. 
– Allow you to hold you salesteam more accountable. 
– Give you some degree of certainty and visibility on my sales pipeline? 
Yes. you want it to address your real concerns, your real problems. 
So talk to the prospect like you understand their real problem. 
You may not be a technical person. You are a sales leader. You need to speak the language the customer speaks. 
Keep it simple always. 
Another good reason to keeping it simple;
In Ireland we have an illiteracy rate of 24% (OECD) that’s almost 1 in 4 people. 40% have difficulty with reading and writing. You cannot ignore the need to keep your message simple and consistent. And easy to understand
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Positioning and Sales 


Your Sales Presentation is Key

April 29, 2014

Your Sales Presentation is Key
At insthinktive we’ ve created a process called PRESENT for sales presentations. The process is simple so let’s outline it briefly and explain the biggest mistake sales people make in selling. 
P is for Preparation
R is for Rapport building
E is for Examine ( This is your questioning phase)
S is for Show (This is when you actually present your solution)
E is for Eliminate No  (overcoming objections)
N is for Now Ask (Closing and get the sale)
T is for Total After Care (Delivering the service)
It’s a simple 7 step process. And can’t be broken. Most sales people launch straight in to step 4 Show, and just start selling and presenting. And they get some degree of success so never adjust the habit.
This is the reason for so many lost sales. As we have stated repeatedly. You earn the right to sell. And you must first build rapport and ask great questions. The questions inform you as to what your prospects Why is. Then you can sell. Only then. 
It’s always about RAPPORT and EXAMINE and asking great questions. 
Does your marketing address your prospects Why? 
2. Do you have a clear message that’s easily understood? 
3. Are you easy to contact and easy to buy from? 
4. Are you easy to start a conversation with? 
5.Are you making it easy for prospects to commit?
Eliminate No and PRESENT The Model 
Eliminate NO is step 5 in the PRESENT Model. It is the area where we handle objections(the firewalls). We live in the real world so we know and expect objections in every sales call. Don’t we? 
The 4 main firewalls preventing sales are 
Relationship (We don’t know you)
Need ( We don’t need it)
They are bankers so why are you surprised by them? And why do our prospects use them? 
Firstly using the PRESENT model correctly by building great RAPPORT and asking great questions I believe you will eliminate most of the firewalls. How? 
–  Because you know the prospects Why 
–  And you clarified their Why 
–  And you’ve paraphrased their Why 
So we’re all clear on the customer’s Why. We really are being deliberately repetitive on this because we passionately believe most objections stem from a lack of clarity about the Why. Resulting in sales people selling a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. 
In this situation the inevitable flow of the conversation is towards objections. 
That said you’ll always find objections arising and once you’ve prepared thoroughly you will be in a comfortable position to handle anything thrown at you. 
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; The Foolproof Firewall Handling Formula

Your Prospect’s buying process

April 18, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Your Prospect’s buying process
Using a very simple outline process below start to think at a deeper level about how you understand your buyers, and how they buy.
Broadly speaking all of us go through these stages when buying products or services.
By identifying the stages and the journey. You can create a strategy to nurture your buyer’s more easily through each stage.
The 7 stages are Find, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Return and Refer.
How do your prospects find you and get to know you? What marketing strategies do you use. Advertising, online, media, etc. Maybe articles and books.
How do you build the relationship in order that they start to feel comfortable and learn to trust you.
How do you build trust with your prospects? Through your presentations, your sales and marketing tools and possibly through your writing and speaking.
How do you get your prospects to try your product or service? Do you offer something FREE. Do you give samples. Do you provide free webinars? Do you offer a FREE diagnostic report, or site visit?
How do they buy. What options? What staff? What terms?
How do you get them to return and buy repeatedly?  What can you cross sell.
How do you upsell? How do you build customer satisfaction?
The ultimate determinant of your success as a business. How do you generate referrals?
You need to take this Process and perform a simple Audit of your business, product or service. And fill what stages match.
More importantly map out your future Process and Strategy. And commit to a plan to ensure you execute this in full.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Perform an audit of your sales approach