These are questions that we asked ourselves over and over again before we decided to establish Accelerate Evolution.
When working in the corporate environment, in our prior professional career, our collective opinion of Consultants was often aligned with the standard cliché:
‘Consultants are people that ask you if they can borrow your watch so they can tell you the time, but then subsequently don’t give it back to you’.
However upon reflection and throughout our own professional careers, there were many situations where we would have welcomed external help to overcome specific business challenges.
During the initial feasibility study stages of Accelerate Evolution it was identified that the need for facilitators fall into specific categories, which are as follows:
1. When an Organization is in trouble
2. When an Organization is on the move
3. When an Organization is trying to do what they do better, faster and more cost efficiently
1. Staff augmentation i.e. ‘plug a temporary hole’ in staffing requirements
2. External change force i.e. ‘internal political cover’
3. Best practice propagation i.e. knowledge and experience transference
4. Analytical horsepower i.e. breadth and depth of experience to bring to bear on challenges that an organization needs assistance in resolving
5. Fresh set of eyes perspective i.e. provide a critical eye towards measurement, analysis and improvement
6. Training and skill-set augmentation i.e. Consultants educate Client employees on necessary knowledge, skills and mindsets
The overall conclusion of the Accelerate Evolution feasibility study was that the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East as a whole are economies on the move! and businesses are constantly in need of external assistance to help them to keep up and indeed help management to ‘Accelerate’ the ‘Evolution’ of their organization.
Accelerate Evolution is your virtual Management Team in times of need
Please contact us for more information and how Accelerate Evolution can improve your organisation to be more efficient and profitable.
Sales is the Life Blood of any organization, so the question that every business leader needs to ask themselves is ‘Do my Sales Team have the key skills required to drive sales and achieve the Strategic Objectives of the organization?’
Sales people are often stereotyped as having flamboyant or outgoing personalities, which may be true but this is not the only personality trait that a good effective Sales person requires to be successful.
The following are my eight Golden Rules of Sales that I have gained throughout my own long and extensive career.
1. Define Your Strategy
Strategy and Sales are intrinsically linked because if you don’t have a well-defined strategy in place then how can you expect your Sales Teams to perform? I am not talking about Vision Mission and Values here I am talking about the specific choices and decisions that every organization needs to make prior to defining a very focussed Sales Strategy to complement the overall business strategy
2. STOP TALKING!
If I was to give one single piece of advice to make anyone successful in sales it would be to simply STOP TALKING!. The only senses that should be working overtime on an initial Sales Call are your eyes and your ears so do your customer(s) a favour and give your mouth a rest.
All too often we come across the overzealous Sales People trying to sell us something that we don’t need or want, which is generally delivered in a verbal onslaught by some pushy Sales Person telling us how great their products or services are. How frustrating is this! Can you relate to this?
In the commercial world of business we often refer to the ‘Pareto principle’ or the 80-20 rule to articulate business norms but this same principal should also be applied to the sales process i.e. 80% of your time should be listening and observing and only 20% of your time talking.
Before approaching or responding to a prospective Customer a significant amount of research needs to be done to ensure you have an in-depth understanding about their products, services and organizational culture. There is nothing more frustrating for a prospective Customer then them having to take the time to explain what they do and what they need. For sure Customers sometimes don’t know what they need … which is why research is such a critical element of the Sales process.
4. JATFQ (Just Answer the Flipping Question)
More often than not, your potential Customer has spent a considerable amount of time and energy preparing a tender document of some sort, prior to going to the market for any product/service. Try to imagine the sheer frustration they will feel when they receive a response to their detailed document with irrelevant information that doesn’t specifically answer their questions? Do yourself and your Customers a favour and answer the question!
5. Don’t waste your time/money on generic Sales training
Don’t get me wrong I am an avid supporter of Continued Professional Development and have some very good colleagues/friends that practice in this field of expertise that I deeply respect. This said, Sales Training needs to be specific and tailored to your business for it to be truly effective. Coaching and Mentoring are, in my opinion, the purest form of training and development and a skill that should be propagated in every organization.
6. Honesty is the Best Policy in Sales
Nobody likes a liar and besides people that lie will eventually get caught out so this is a definite no/no in Sales. If you sell the dream and deliver a nightmare then it will be a sure fire way to not only damage your own reputation but also damage the reputation of your organization.
Sometimes it is better to say something like “I am Sorry, I can’t help you with your immediate business challenge but I know somebody that can!” rather than lying to get the quick sale under your belt. This approach may not get the immediate sale but it will gain respect and chances are you will be considered in the future or referred to another potential Customer.
7. Don’t Run Away when the Sale is done
Both your Customer(s) and you invest a considerable amount of time and energy in developing your business relationships, so why run away when the initial sale has been achieved? The Customer has placed their trust in you and then you let them down by running away to chase another sale, which could potentially leave them feeling rejected resulting in no new sales from the affected Customer. Some of my own greatest sales achievements have been developed over decades of time and I still maintain the relationships from past sales achievements to this very day
8. Reflect and be Patient
During our Sales Coaching Interventions we often refer to the Sales Cycle as being very similar to the personal relationship/marriage cycle because if you look at the above rules they can be translated in to wooing the partner of your dreams; you set your goals, you do your research, you listen intently, you answer questions carefully and with thought, you tell the truth, you know that one night stands don’t work and you reflect when you don’t succeed. Easy right?
Woo The Customer of your Dreams
Please click here for more information on how Accelerate Evolution can help YOU achieve Peak Performance Sales status within your organization through a structured coaching and mentoring process.
I was recently asked to speak at a very insightful conference in Dubai that was kindly organized by a leading international solutions provider. The conference was to bring to the fore and address the many challenges that the region is currently facing and what needed to be done to specifically combat the shortage of skills and experience that a very high percentage of organizations are currently facing.
During the panel discussion one gentleman asked me what was needed to stop staff attrition and my response was, simply put, effective People Management.
Post the conference I reflected on this particular question and my corresponding answer and realized that I had incorrectly assumed that everyone in the audience had understood what I meant by this single statement so thought it would be prudent to elaborate in more detail via this blog.
Throughout my own career as a senior leader I have had the privilege of working in some of the world’s most challenging markets, which has provided me with a very insightful view of People Management skills as a whole and it is fair to say that one never stops learning in this area of expertise.
People Management Skills summarized is nothing more and nothing less than respect, empathy and absolute commitment to coaching and development of functional teams that you, as leaders, are privileged to lead. Emotional Intelligence is not taught in colleague or university but it is an attribute that all successful business leaders must have and continue to fine tune.
People Management is Easy, Right? Wrong! On the contrary, it is probably the most difficult skill in the world to master.
Many years ago I recall a very good friend that had just established his own dental technician practice calling me late at night in a state of desperation. His problem wasn’t related to his products or services they were related to his people. My friend could make fantastic teeth and was well respected in his industry but the thing that was keeping him awake at night was how to manage/lead his team of junior technicians because he was growing his business. My single piece of sleepy advice to him back then was to listen to his greatest assets and then act/lead accordingly.
Effective listening skills is just one of the core skills to master as a successful leader but the good news is that the other required ingredient skills can also be mastered with the right coaching and development.
As I mentioned during the conference products don’t move or make themselves it is people that make this happen so the challenge of the regional staff attrition should focus on core Management competencies rather than trying to recruit or steal skilled people from competitors. Work with the People you have and not the People that somebody else has is my single piece of advice.
Believe me you will be surprised at the raw people talent that you already have in your respective organizations if you just stop for a moment and open your eyes/ears
Corporate Culture also has a significant effect on staff attrition because if a corporation has an all controlling ‘my way or the highway’ ‘Zeus’ culture then chances are that people will not feel that they are valued and subsequently leave. There are countless academic studies that prove this fact over and over again.
Staff attrition also breeds staff attrition so if you are a business owner or senior Manager reading this blog and don’t believe it is an important issue to focus on right now and always then just think for a moment how much money you are losing in lost time, recruitment, poor productivity, lost sales, lost customers etc.
Again, throughout my own career I have managed large groups of people in functional teams in excess of 500 people and for me Management failure is defined by losing good people; ie. the organization’s greatest assets.
My last corporate role was as the Managing Director of a strategic Business Unit based in the Philippines. I certainly made some wrong decisions in this role but one thing is for sure that during the exponential growth period we experienced (from 79 people to 500 people) I continued to ensure that every single person in the organization were of the fundamental belief that they were part of a very large global team all pushing in the same direction of success.
I initially came to the United Arab Emirates in 1998 and one thing that shocked me when I returned again post a 4 year assignment in Asia Pacific was the fact that the greatest assets have either gone altogether or they are not not where they were before I left? To some degree this is just the product of a predominantly expatriate business community and the recent financial crisis however it also reflects a distinct lack of effective People Management Skills.
It is a given fact that People will/do move on but it is how they move on that really matters to your business success. If people move on in a negative way then it is a sure fire way to the slow death of any corporation. It is not what you do that defines any organization it is how you do it that matters most and this all starts with your greatest assets, which are People!
The above nicely leads on to the topic of Tomorrow and the subject topic of the conference.
If large Multi-National Corporations are currently facing the people attrition challenge then what chance do tomorrows commercial ‘life blood’ Small to Medium Enterprises have? The answer is to focus on tomorrow’s leaders and equip them with the skills to effectively build and lead functional teams to success. The United Arab Emirates is a wonderful multi-cultural and diverse business community and as such tomorrow’s leaders must have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence.
As a seasoned management professional (old man as my children nicely put it) I believe it is my duty to try and impart my years of Senior People Management experience on to today’s and tomorrow’s leaders, which is the main reason why we have established Accelerate Evolution.