Archive for May, 2009

Boring Presentations

May 20, 2009

This just sums up what audiences are facing day to day in business life. Speakers who just drone on and on and on….and on! If you’re worried about what impact speakers are having (or indeed what LITTLE impact they are having) then they probably need some Powerful Presentation Skills Training!

Tell us about the most boring presenter you’ve had to endure!!

What does a car salesman have to do to earn commission?

May 15, 2009

I have the very great pleasure of working with the franchisees of Fire Compliance & Safety Ltd. The franchise is very keen to sell their Fire Risk Assessments in an ethical and appropriate manner.  I have been working with them to develop the teams’ sales skills.

Reflecting on good and bad experiences of being sold to (or NOT being sold to) one of the team, Shaun Harness, related a recent experience at the hands of car sales people.

So picture the scene: he wants a van for his business, he’s done his research, he knows the sort of van he’s after and narrowed it down to one of possibly four models. Bearing in mind there’s a recession on – the car and commercial vehicle markets seem somewhat depressed – he expected to have salesmen snapping at his heels for a deal.

On the contrary, at the local Ford, Peugeot and Vauxhall dealerships the “scruffy” sales team “with dirty shoes and frayed suits” remained resolutely sat on their backsides (presumably cold calling and filling in zeros on their sales returns.) He and his business partner, Caroline Hepburn, could not believe the lack of response to their extraordinary buying signals: picking up leaflets, opening and closing van doors, sitting inside and stroking their chins as they admired the paintwork. After walking straight out of two of the dealerships (devoid of any other customers) Shaun approached the sales desk at Ford and asked for assistance. He was told that the commercial sales manager was in a meeting. The team of four redundant salesmen (“…we don’t sell vans”) didn’t even ask for their details so their colleague could call them back. No doubt he arrived back at his desk to complain about what a quiet day its been!

VW Commercial van salesmen – the best??

Their experience at Volkswagen was quite different. The first thing they noticed was the place was heaving with customers!  A few minutes after they walked in they were warmly welcomed and asked if they needed assistance or whether they were happy browsing for a few minutes. When they were ready the same (very smartly dressed) salesman sat them down and had an amiable chat with them. The next thing he did was take their personal details (so he could stay in contact) asked them loads of questions, identified the ideal van – and sold them the van they needed. He negotiated sensibly with them and out walked two happy business people with the van they came in to buy – oh and some war stories about customer service! Well done to VW, no doubt the salesmen at the other dealerships would earn a bit more commission if they could actually sell.

For Shaun and Caroline, about to launch their new fire risk assessment business, the experience brought home much of what we’d covered in the training: build rapport (you can only do that if you actually talk to people – You Don’t Get Business Sat on Your Arse), watch out for buying signals, ask questions to fully understand needs and look the part – first impressions count for a lot!

The very best of luck to Shaun and Caroline as they set out to run their business.

Young Entrepreneurs Impress

May 1, 2009
Young entrepreneurs test their sales skills

Young entrepreneurs test their sales skills

The young people of Peter Jones’ newly established National Enterprise Academy have blown us away! This sparky group of 16 – 19 year olds are an inspiration, demonstrating phenomenal sales skills and negotiation skills. Just 25 made it through a tough selection panel to take part in this full time course devoted to developing the entrepreneurial skills of its students. Back in November 2006 New Tricks Training mentored a group of youngsters in a Dragon’s Den style event entitled “The Pitch” in Milton Keynes. Our sessions on presentation skills went down a storm and helped two attendees secure investment from, among others, Peter Jones. This has led to us being invited to run workshops at the Academy on subjects as diverse as marketing & sales and financial accounting ratios.

What has struck us above all else is the positive attitude, speed of thought and creativity of these young people. Asked which accounting application we use (Quickbooks) and if we’d recommend it (yes we would) one of the group immediately googled away, got on the phone to a provider and negotiated a very favourable discount for herself and indeed every other member of the group!  Asking for a discount through a group or association is a fantastic way of getting a good deal for a large purchase. Take a leaf out of their book and see if you can get a discount for bulk by collaborating with others. Ask yourself; are you making the most of your memberships of your trade association, chamber of commerce or networking group?

Local pupils’ presentation skills are fantastic!

May 1, 2009
Young Enterprises Area Final, Banbury

Young Enterprises Area Final, Banbury

I act as a business mentor to pupils at my local school in Chipping Norton. As part of the Young Enterprises initiative. Pupils start a company, raise share capital, produce products and sell them before distributing profits and winding up their company. Successful companies go forward to Area and National finals where they present to a large audience of local dignitaries, business people and of course their competitor schools.

I was particularly chuffed that last night Chippy school’s Polkdots & Bobs (a company selling handmade bags, earrings and other gifts) won the Area final’s Best Presentation Award. Their presentation skills put to shame many presenters that I see (nay endure) at large corporates. They were relaxed, looked eminently confident, spoke clearly and  succinctly – yet giving the essential information needed by the judges. What’s more their Powerpoint presentation was mercifully light on words and used images to great effect.

Well done guys and gals!