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High Achiever in Sales? Of Course You Can Do It!

High Achiever in Sales? Of Course You Can Do It!

By Chris Gale (cgale@xceedagroup.com)   Professional consultative selling is constantly evolving, as indeed it should, as buying behaviours are also evolving at pace. It can be argued that the way people make their decisions and make purchasing decisions has evolved at a faster pace than professional selling skills, which in many ways, lags behind. The aspiration has to be the heady heights of the “Trusted Advisor”, but don’t be fooled by the term. The trusted advisor is not an “advisor” in the truest sense of the word. He or she is someone who possesses the most advanced sales skills and abilities and will win sales in the toughest of competitive environments. Corporate differentiators are no longer enough. Product or service features and benefits can take us a percentage point or two beyond the competition but these alone are increasingly unlikely to influence the final decision. The true differentiator in state of the art selling is the sales person, the sales expert, the ‘trusted advisor’. So what skills do these people possess which set them aside from the rest? • They make outstanding, impactful and memorable first impressions • They know how to build rapport and stay in rapport • The know the importance of empathy and they understand the difference between empathy and sympathy • They have a honed sense of how to match and mirror with their prospects, when to do it, how to do it and about doing it with care and sensitivity • They earn the right to ask direct and searching questions, they don’t accept the first answers they hear and they challenge and probe...
Aston University Programme for Small Business Growth

Aston University Programme for Small Business Growth

Petra Gale, Managing Director of Xceeda Group, has been chosen as one of the members of the first cohort of the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth.
Designed specifically for small business leaders in the West Midlands the programme addresses a comprehensive range of issues faced by growing SMEs and puts business leaders at the heart of a network of growth businesses. The programme also includes pitching workshops that put the businesses in a position to approach external funders. Petra Gale said: We are delighted and honoured to be given the opportunity to join the programme. I am determined to focus on our company’s growth and in a busy environment it is very easy to slip into tactical, operational issues and lose sight of strategic direction. 2015 is a big year for Xceeda Group. We will be launching our first product range and adding to our range of innovative learning solutions.
She added: I welcome the opportunity of becoming part of the like-minded business owner network. The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is delivered by leading practitioners and faculty members from Aston Business School. The programme will be delivered over the next 3 months and will give all participants the opportunity to step away from their businesses and focus on their growth strategies and short, medium and long term goals, including the exit strategy. Key benefits of the programme are: – gain the confidence to grow your business – use your financial information more effectively to make strategic decisions – create and enhance valuable business networks – learn from the...
Coaching Makes Sense!

Coaching Makes Sense!

Change is the only constant thing in today’s business environment. Management of change requires skills and competencies beyond the practical and technical skills of management. In order to integrate the changes into the continuous flow of our professional existence we engage in the process of sense-making. Much of this process is subconscious and we do not consciously navigate through our process. Let me break it to you – we are not really the victims of our environment, but of our own sense-making process! To make sense of constantly developing situations, see clarity and make the right decision at the right time is often a difficult task. Many tools exist to make the process of sense making easier for managers and one of these tools is coaching. The challenging one to one environment in coaching provides the coachee with the opportunity to explore the situation and its consequences before they embark on it. During the sense-making process individuals need to filter, categorise and integrate new aspects and with the support of coaching this process happens easier and allows the coach to deal with changes in a more conscious manner and in a safe environment. The coach helps the individual to progress through breaking up of the flow of change to anticipate what will happen in different scenarios. Through coaching the coachee can experiment with unusual or off-the-wall ideas without running the risk of failure. These experimentations aid individual creative development. In addition, the purpose of coaching is not only to challenge assumptions about current realities, but to facilitate the process of expanding the vocabulary and thereby the possible options available....
Mastering Storytelling

Mastering Storytelling

As management and leadership development consultants we use the power of storytelling throughout our programmes and training sessions with great success. One of our goals is not only to encourage our candidates to tell their own stories but to collect stories that help them understand their organisational values and culture. Stories make information easier to remember and understand. They are a powerful means of communication. Storytelling entertains, evokes emotion and triggers visual memories. But how can we tell a good story? What are the characteristics of a good story? Here is an example of a short and impactful story: ‘When Ray Kroc was running McDonald’s from its Oakbrook, Illinois headquarters, he often drove by Chicago area McDonald’s restaurants. Usually he asked his driver to stop so he could check things out. One sunny July afternoon, they were about to pass a McDonald’s; Kroc told the driver, “We need to stop at this one”. As they pulled into a parking space, he noticed that the flowering bushes were littered with shake cups, colourful Happy Meal boxes, messy napkins and other trash. Inside, Kroc asked for the manager. Only the assistant manager was there, so Kroc called the manager and waited for the anxious man to rush in after a speedy drive from his nearby home. “What can I do for you, sir?” the manager asked Kroc. Kroc led him to the parking lot, “Look! We don’t want trash around our sites”. So all three – driver, manager, and Ray Kroc – worked together to pick the trash out of the bushes. You’d better believe there was never again any trash...
Is it Time to Review Your Customer Service?

Is it Time to Review Your Customer Service?

Customers service is not a department or a function. Customer service excellence should be embedded in the culture and behaviours of all people within an organisation, from CEO to reception staff. Research shows that it costs us five times more to win a new customer than it does to keep a current one. But what is customer service excellence in practice? In today’s competitive market it is becoming more and more difficult to retain customers. Features and benefits of our offering play some role in the competitiveness but connecting with your clients on an emotional level is the key to building long lasting relationship. It is no longer sufficient to introduce a competitive service or product to the market, you have to try to anticipate your customer’s needs and expectations and strive to exceed them every time. I have chosen some inspirational quotes from Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon, former CEO of SAS Group. Whilst the publication was published in 2001, the key message is valid more then ever: The “moments of truth” (those brief instants in which customers come into contact with your front-line staff) define the image of your company in the eyes of the customer.There are still far too many companies that pride themselves on being customer-oriented, but are in reality product- and process-oriented. “Last year each of our ten million customers came in contact with approximately five SAS employees, and this contact lasted an average of 15 seconds each time. The SAS is ‘created’ 50 million times a year, 15 seconds at a time. These 50 million ‘moments of truth’ are the moments that...
The Importance and Design of the Value Proposition

The Importance and Design of the Value Proposition

By Chris Gale Regardless of the massive growth in the use of the internet and social media for research and online purchasing, the old saying “people buy from people” remains as true as ever. Products and services have features, but it’s about how real people bring features to life, transform them into relevant benefits, and match them to needs, wants, desires that matters in sales. The bad old days of sharp sales practices are dead, and quite rightly so! Consultative selling rules and ‘trusted advisor’ is the optimum selling relationship. So…. how do we get there and where should we start from? We’re going to start at the beginning with the thing that must be absolutely right before you can dare to try and proactively sell your products or services…The Business and Personal Value Proposition. Yes, I know, we’ve all heard the marketeers talk about the value proposition and the 30 second elevator pitch. we all know – or do we? – that it is something we should perfect and tweak and adapt as the demands of our customers change…. but if challenged, how many of us could say we are 100% confident that we have the optimum value proposition in place which is working hard for us and capable of winning business? Everyone in your business, and especially anyone involved in customer services or sales must know, and be able to articulate the business VP and their personal VP with positive impact – impact which takes you closer to a sale rather having neutral impact (no impact) or negative impact. It’s something which deserves thought, preparation, care and...