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Michael: Good morning Trevor. Can you kick off by introducing yourself?
Trevor: My names Trevor Wilkins. And I’m the Principal at Holis Associates International – We’re a worldwide networking of associates who combine lots and lots of sales experience – a very structured approach to sales and influence, with some good down to earth NLP.
I’ve been in the business for twenty three years, I’ve come up from being a bag carrying sales person to sales manager, managing teams of fifty-sixty people world wide. And now I’m a sales director. I now live in Canada and I’ve set up this organisation because I think that the training out there is very big and doesn’t focus on the real people that need to benefit from it.
Michael: Just a question to build on that – What are some of your ideal customers for your sales training? Is it big corporate, is it one-man-bands, is it small industries? Who’s your favourite customer?
Trevor: I only used the term sales training as an introduction. We don’t have sales training anywhere in our literature. What we do is we deliver communication and influence training. And when you reframe it to communication – both ways – and influence – That’s influencing people to buy something from you, to buy into an idea, the idea of being your channel – then the breadth of users becomes enormous.
So we obviously target senior people because they have a lot of influence within the company. Once they’ve got what the program is about, the idea goes right the way down through sales people, the pre-sales people that are there to support them, project managers, people in customer support, people who run channels and who are looking for partners – people who are looking for manufacturers in china.
So the BCI program is very small, very tight – and I think it covers 90% of people out there.
Michael: Now a very, very top level question – What do you think are some of the key behaviours of successful sales people?
Trevor: A good chunked up question Michael, thank you.
It’s big subject really, and that’s what it’s all about. I think primarily there are two sets – there are personal behaviours and structural behaviours.
Personal – all of the obvious things like integrity, being intelligent helps – being determined – being clear about what you’re trying to do. And a lot of that stuff that NLP helps people enormously with.
I had a person that had a problem, that they were making too much money. NLP can help you with lots of things before you even walk out into the street and have a meeting…..
But I think what we’ve looked at – and we’ve modelled eight or ten very successful people – is fearlessness. And I don’t mean stupid, charge-at-the-enemy-with-a-grenade-in-your-hand relentlessly trying to beat them.
Fearlessness as we define it, is not being afraid of anything that is going to happen to you…..rejection….knowledge of your product….competition…not being afraid of whatever happens. The personal side is fearlessness, determination and integrity.
On the structural side – a lot of that has to be instilled by a good sales manager, a good system by having a process for every single thing that you do in a sale. So where as in the old days where you’d meet your mate for a drink in the city, or you’d meet some old bloke down the dog track and you’d have a chat with him because you thought you could do business with him – every single one of those has a process.
And some of us already have a subconscious grasp of it, and we’re pretty good salespeople. And most people are subconsciously appalling at it.
Michael: Moving on from that – How do you think selling is changing, if you do think it’s changing? As we move into 2010, what is different about selling?
Trevor: I did my first sales course 25 years ago – with IBM, and we were just taught to spray and pray technical features. We were just told to talk about the product and that it would just stick to the customer – and the customer had to do all of the work to see what they could get from buying it They had to listen to what you were saying, and you could be all enthusiastic and passionate, and of course that all helped.
But of course I think that people are a lot smarter than that – and even buying at the lowest level, let along fifteen million dollars worth of bank trading systems – people are looking for a consultative sale. So it doesn’t matter if it’s something they’re buying themselves or as a department, they’re looking at consultation.
I think people are much smarter. And it’s not just the people on the TV, the Lion’s Den and all of that – People are much smarter about the influence that’s made on them. So they need consultation.
Michael: Could you talk about consultative selling? Because the name came around ten, fifteen years ago and it’s lost all meaning to me now.
Trevor: It’s actually what we call a twenty five cent word in North America- and when we’re doing training in the UK we actually call it a 20p word. It is one of the many words I ban from my BCI training sessions. It is a word that has lost all its meaning. Consultancy, closing, pitching – all of these words need to go into the dustbin.
And I think that’s what we need to do – to have a clean sweep of all of these things. But since you’ve asked me the question – I think consultative selling means having a two-way conversation, about what the person wants, and helping them work out what they want – and providing them with a solution, accepting their feedback and having a two-way conversation to create something they want to buy and can see the value of buying.
That’s really all it is. At a corporate and a personal level.
Michael: Now going a little bit back, you said that you have modelled some very successful people – I’m very interested in this difference between a very successful sales guy and one that isn’t quite making it.
What is, in your view some of the key differences between very successful sales people and other sales people?
Trevor: A lot of it is down to discipline on top of natural talent. We all know about people being ‘people people’ – being chatty & sociable, not being shy.
All those things are sales 101 – A shy person needs to work on that for the rest of their life, whether they want to be a salesperson or not.
First of all (assuming you’ve got the basic skills) the key things is – a productive use of time – and I speak from bitter experience here as a salesman – when I was a junior salesman before I got some of the very good mentoring that I got later on, I wasted so much time just doing things that didn’t help sales to move on.
Second thing is qualification. Qualification is really important and it’s almost the same thing. If this sale is not going to happen I’m not going to bang my head against a brick wall if this sale is not going to be opened I need to know that from the very first contact point. So qualification is an area that we’ve worked on tremendously.
Thirdly, I think to be able to have an understanding of what in NLP we called the ‘elicitation’ (and we actually always use that word within the BCI program) actually understanding how to help the other person at the other side of the desk and working out what they want to buy off of you.
Because a lot of the time they come in and they think that they want to buy a half inch drill but what they really want is a half inch hole – but really it’s not even a half inch hole that they want – it’s what they want to stick through that half inch hole, and for what purpose precisely, which might be a cable. So it’s ultimately what the cable is about.
So if they come to you thinking ‘I want to buy a half inch drill.’ But fundamentally what they may be looking for is something far more complex – or maybe even simpler. So that elicitation is very important.
Last, but not least, I think, is to never make any assumptions. If a sales manager is coming up to you as a sales manager, or if a customer is coming up to you as a customer and makes a statement – never guess, never assume – because it’ll almost always come back and bite you on the bum.
And if you get three out of those four things right you’re going to be pretty successful….and if you get all four of them then you’re going to be top of the pile every quarter.
Michael: Again, one of the things that you said earlier was about process. What do you think are the key elements in a sales cycle? Where does it start? What happens next? Where does it end?
Trevor: That’s a very big question. I have to answer it on my own terms. I’m a Solution Selling methodology coach, and I’ve also worked with other big corporate sales systems – there’s a whole bunch of other ones out there. These are massive processes, Michael, that go right the way through pre-product development right the way through to developing accounts – so we would run out of tape on your tape deck if I read the whole thing to you.
So if I could take the liberty of just answering in our terms – for me the sales process starts before you meet somebody, before you even take the call – so let’s just take the simple case where you are going to meet somebody in an office – it’s nice and warm they’ve said that you can come and they must know who you are.
Then there’s the process to that and saying ‘Ok, I’m ready for this at a personal level and a objective level I understand what they (not me) would take away from doing business with me.’
Then there’s the process to the call, how you run the meeting – and it might be face-to-face, it might be on the phone on a conference call like we’re doing now – it could be anything.
And then you need to have a process at the end. So again, when I was a junior sales person, I had lots of people coming to me over the years and saying ‘Oh they’re into the sale, they’re going to buy it! Fantastic!’….and I’d go ‘So have they confirmed that they’re going to buy?’…..and they’d say ‘No, but I’m sure that they will.’
So having a third step (after the preparation for the call and then its execution) where you can turn that desire to buy into a purchase order is very important as well. And that’s what we focus on – we do that a) because I think it’s the least certain part of business at the moment – But b)it makes it completely compatible with everything else, so if we had a company for example that had spent three million pounds on a sales system I’m not going to replace it. But at the personal level I have to make some real personal changes that will feed quality data into their bigger system.
Michael: Now when we’ve spoken before you’ve given me some of the names for some of the element cycle – can you tell me a little bit more about what they are – Not just the words, because I’d like to flesh out the meaning.
Trevor: We use the acronym GECKOS. It’s a horrible acronym and it’s a bit like all of the words that we use in our training and our consultancy – we try to create new words that people can come back to and say ‘What exactly does that mean?’ and it’s really useful because you don’t make any assumptions from the past.
The word is Gecko, it’s very simple
G is Gain permission for having really solid questioning with a customer – precision questioning. G is generally about rapport, but we take rapport way way out there. It’s not just a matter of having your head at the right angle and matching the persons tone or whatever – it moves much further on from that to the point where you’re much more confident and conscious about gaining their respect at a professional level – so if I’m in the profession of selling plumbing equipment I’ve got to have the respect of the other person on the other side of the table.
Michael: A quick question which flashes through my mind – How do you know when you’ve got rapport with somebody?
Trevor: Body language, audio acuity – i.e. word, which is good old NLP stuff – It’s very clear very quickly whether you haven’t – When you have it’s normally unconscious – you just move on once you’ve done the training. When you haven’t, that’s actually the time that you see something. So when you don’t see something you generally have – as a general rule. But once we’ve done some exercises with people so that they realise when they’re beginning to break rapport – before you even start the questioning. Then it’s pretty obvious.
Then with the standard NLP things, which I assume many of the people that listen to this know, come in to play – engaging with the customer, winding back from the questioning, reasserting the rapport – maybe turning it into a different type of rapport – and then going down a different trail.
Michael: The next stage that you’ve got is Elicit. What do you mean by Elicit?
Trevor: If there’s nothing else that people take away from our trainings it’s the elicitation. We’ve taken the the standard NLP eliciting skills – we call it Precision Questioning 1- which between you and me is chunking – Precision Questioning 2 – which between you and me, and the thousands of people that listen to this, is precision challenges. And Precision Questioning 3 which is Sleight of Mouth (or what I prefer to call Business Reframes).
Now each of those is obviously becoming harder and harder to do and we have a structure that we use for eliciting the structure from the customer and we use those tools to say something like ‘So what keeps you awake at night Michael?’
A nice open, chunked up question. And you’ll come back with an answer – and if you’re a natural high chunker you’ll come back with a high-chunked answer – but if you come back with ‘Actually it’s this little screw on the desk – it’s very loose – it really bugs me when I’m trying to get to sleep.’ – we know that you’re naturally going to chunk down.
As part of the preparation for a call, we’ll always know where in the hierarchy of ideas, our solution, our offering, is strongest. So if everyone else out there on the market is on a very chunked up level all looks the same, but we have some very specific key chunked-down features then we will move the customer quite quietly and gently down to that level, at their pace – if they’re a small step chunker then we take them down slowly, if they’re a big-step chunker then we can take them down there.
And then investigate at that level what it is that they are looking for.
Michael: I’ve gained your permission to speak honestly with you to ask you questions – I’ve now asked you questions so I know what you’re about. And now C – Confirm. What’s that all about?
Trevor: It’s something that strangely enough, salespeople seldom do because they think ‘Oh this is great, I’ve got a sale!’ and then they go rushing into talking about how to deliver it. C is very key to us – our strap line is ‘Turning Selling into Buying’ because there’s a point in which every customer goes into a near hypnotic state where they hear back using their words, using their structure, and all of those sequential things, exactly what they have told you they want to take away from doing business with you.
And nobody ever comes back and says ‘You’re repeating what I’ve just said’…..because they don’t. So I was to say ‘Michael, what you’re saying to me is that you want to make sure that your desk stays horizontal in all conditions when you’re sailing along on your million pound yacht – is there anything else that you need to have?’
So that would be a simple confirmation question that you have back.
So you confirm back in their preferred representation system and their preferred words etc – and at the end you have a little pause and say ‘Is there anything else?’ and then keep your mouth shut.
And it’s a key point because if there is a very strong connection between you and there is a little bit of a trance going on, you may often get what we call a Gem. And a Gem is that little extra thing that you know about that your opposition doesn’t know about. It may swing the sale…..
And they may come back and say ‘All this stuff about software and stuff is irrelevant, I’d just like to get back home early on a Friday afternoon and take my kids to hockey practice. At the moment I have to spend hours reconciling the Excel spreadsheet and if you could get me to hockey Practice with my kids – we’d buy this stuff.’
Now you couldn’t put that formally into a proposal – but it doesn’t half help. And those little gems come out in that later stage.
Michael: I understand – And next we have – and I love this word, I’m just fascinated with what it means – K for Know.
Trevor: It’s the fearless part Michael. It’s really important. We haven’t talked about TakeAways – TakeAways are the analysis that we do on anybody’s offering. So if somebody is buying an Iphone with a titanium case and a touch sensitive screen, what they will really take away from that is an ability to take a sales call very quickly – they’re not buying the features and functions, they’re taking away something that is useful to them. And knowing a customer’s TakeAways, which is what we call them – what the customer will take away from doing business with you, is fantastic, because they see your face.
There is an immediate connection. You’d say ‘Michael, do you want A or B or C, or anything else? No, well, that’s great because that’s exactly what we do.’ And that was something taught to me ages ago by a very good salesmanager – ‘That’s great Michael, that is exactly what we do.’ The power of being able to say that honestly and unreservedly is immense….
Michael: Let me clarify that because I think values are an incredibly important point in what you’ve made.
The ‘Know’ actually is coming over with 120% confidence that your solution or what you’re offering is actually what you’ve elicited.
Trevor: And that’s why this is from 20th century selling – because if you don’t have the ability to supply people with what they want….if you’re not able to say ‘That’s great Michael, that is exactly what we do.’….you won’t do it with the conviction required to make them want to buy from that moment on. Because it’s just not humanly possible – well a few people can do it, we could pretend, we could act – but it’s a tough act to do and most people will spot it.
Michael: The next one is ‘Offer’. I can guess what that is, but I’m not going to stop a run, so please explain.
Trevor: It’s two things really. Remember I talked about spray and pray earlier on? Poepl cna be vert ‘techie’. People who have created their own offering – perhaps for some fantastic way of changing wheel nuts on a car, they’re so excited about it that they begin spraying and praying….
….well this is the point that you have permission to ‘spray and pray’. But you only spray and pray what is required by the customer to be convicend that you can supply what you’ve just claimed is “exactly what we do”.
We did an analysis on an American software house quite recently and they had 3600 features in their software – and they used to spend two and a half hours talking at the customer before they even engaged on them.
We did a TakeAway analysis on that and there were, in the end, only eight things that people bought. There were only eight reasons why people spend whatever it was….five million dollars on their software – and so they elicit those eight things and say ‘Well the customer is only really interested in these two.’ and then they did a little tiny spray and pray on that and said ‘That’s great Michael, that’s exactly what we do, and furthermore we -‘ and then you describe how you do it.
We also have this thing called a Convincer – and we probably haven’t got time now to go into the whole psychology of how people are convinced and how they make decisions – but we teach people to pick up on how people’s convincer strategies work.
And then they prepare pre-processed convincers – so rather than just randomly throwing a case study and saying ‘Well if you like you can phone this guy up and have a chat with him’ – we elicit what a person might have as a convincer and then they are locked in.
Conviners have several purposes, but the most important is that, when you leave the office, if you’re a good convincer they will want to buy. But when they’ve had a row with their partner, when the end of their quarter hasn’t gone very well – when they’re late for that hockey practice – they will forget that enthusiasm and support for buying what you offer weakens.
Convincer psychology is like a pin in the whole structure and it really holds it together. That’s the point where they say ‘Ah, that really is cool.’ And three weeks later or three days later when they phone the contractor and the say ‘I’d like to spend fifteen or twenty thousand dollars with Trevor Wilkins’ they feel very nearly as enthusiastic as they did when they were with me talking to me.
Michael: So that’s ‘Offer’. And S is for ‘Start’. What do you mean by Start?
Trevor: One of the things that I used to hate about sales was closing. Everybody hates closing. There’s a huge number of techniques like ‘Trial Closure’ and ‘Going for No’. All are vlaubale, but if the person truly wants to buy….and if the whole GECKOs has gone well, you start discussing the supply. The person wants to buy – and at that point the person becomes the project manager.
You talk about the financials and confirm the value of the investment….you talk about the training….you talk about what the process is within their organisation, into signing things off. And because you’re in such enormously strong rapport you’re going to get stuff out that if you’d waited until you were in a second, third or fourth meeting you would never have had before.
You’ll find out whether or not this person really has the authority to sign for this stuff. You’ll drive out whether they’re looking at other competitors. You’ll drive out all that stuff….and it is a very very very strong stage. At the end of that time you can decide whether or not that guy is going to sign it off or whether he’s got sufficient personal information which you should have elicited to sponsor you to the finance director as I mentioned earlier on.
Michael: Excellent. Now we’re going to move on from that. You talked earlier on about fearlessness – and what I touched earlier upon was this idea of states – because from an NLP point of view I’m very interested in what states help people in being successful in different times.
You talked about fearlessness – Is it appropriate to be fearless through all of those stages, all of those steps – or is it more appropriate for some of them?
Trevor: I’m personally of the view that it’s how you define fearlessness. Maybe I should make fearlessness a twenty-five cent word. Certainly from my point of view fearlessness is what you start with at the beginning because you have no fear of anything that’s going to happen that’s going to harm you.
I’ll give you an example – when I was in the army, if we had to do a platoon attack – I was never a great believer of winding people up to do something like that on a psychological level and get them fearless in a stupid way. I would make sure that everybody involved knew what radio frequencies our flanking units was on, how to bring up aircraft support, where the enemy’s last position was, how they were deployed and wh they were, how we would redeploy after we had taken the objective, what formation we would use to pass through it.
That requires lots and lots and lots of information but the effect is to minimise the fear for anyone smart enough to take it on board – which of course is the same when we sell. And that fearlessness says ‘Well there’s nothing out there that’s going to stop me.’ If the customer turns around to me and says “Actually I don’t want to buy what you’ve got”…and I agree with them…..that’s great, that’s going to stop me wasting time chasing after you. There should be no fear of rejection, the fear of money, the fear of whether or not the competitor has a better product – and we do that all before the call.
So within reason (and unless you’ve got some personal stuff as I discussed earlier) the fearlessness comes from objective information. If you’ve got personal stuff – and we’ve all got personal stuff – There’s loads of techniques around for working on that – But I really do compartmentalise the two areas.
Michael: Are there any other states that you think are particularly important as far as selling goes?
Trevor: I think a success state is important. I have my own little anchor that I do every single sales call (in fact we call it an influence call)….before every single influence call I go into that success state. I imagine what a great success it was once when somebody bought something from me – it’s as simple as that….and I have a few of my own anhors to help recreate the state as well.
And then all of the neural connections that were there when that sale started happen. I think one thing that is very important is to go into the phase that was important to the call. When I made first calls that were good, that’s the state that I want to be in for a first call.
When completed final negotiations with British Airways purchasing and we finally get a five million pound contract that would go on for three years….that was a very very emotional state, which was fantastic. But it wasn’t very appropriate for a first call – but was very useful for when I was negotiating with Barclay’s Bank several years later.
So the state has to be appropriate to where you are in the process.
Michael: Something that I find is similar in a way to state is belief. I think between them they make up peoples mindsets which I think is incredibly important. What beliefs do you have about yourself when you’re selling, and what are some of your beliefs about your customers?
Trevor: Beliefs I have about myself – Honesty. It’s very simple. I am truly and naively honest about everything. The most I’d go towards dishonesty is perhaps to not mention a feature that’s about to come out next week – that’s the closest I’d get to a lie.
Honesty is so important. I’ve lied twice is my twenty five years as a sales person. I remember them both, and that’s how seldom it’s happened. And both times it came back and bit me on the bum. I won’t bore you on the stories, but both times it was a real lesson.
So you’ve got to be honest with yourself – you’ve got to be honest with the customer.
I think beliefs about the customer are very different. I think that you have to accept each and every customer as a completely different person. We do an exercise – The Four Position Exercise – we’ve modified it a lot to help with understanding business situations with the customer, with suppliers, with venture capitalists. And I think that you have to understand that each and every person has their own unique beliefs and values – and making assumptions about them is wrong.
So I could go and see an investment banker who’s wearing a £3000 pinstripe suit but I can’t make assumptions about that person. They might have the exact same values as the bloke that makes a living next door to me who lays tarmac. So I think making assumptions about people can be very very dangerous.
Michael: Chunking up yet again – who are you when you sell? What’s your mission?
Trevor: It’s simple – to connect my offering to their need as quickly and simply as possible. And that we’ve gone through that process and agreed it with the customer – and as long as the investment that they’ve made in the offering is less than the value it brings then we’re in good shape…..it’s really simple.
Michael: Another way of looking at that – If you had to describe the relationship between the sales guy and a customer as a metaphor, or a story or something of that ilk – How would you do it? How would you describe it?
Trevor: I’m a big fan of metaphors – we use a lot of metaphors in our trainings. I have thought about this and I actually think it’s a bit weird – but a really good metaphor is thinking of it as a really good doctor who has a patient come into their room, and they have a particular problem.
They come in and say “Well the right hand side of my face hurts every morning, and has gone red and flushed”
And instead of making an assumption, like saying “Well obviously you want some skin cream”, you can elicit from them exactly what’s going on and find out that the reason that the red side is red is because he always sleeps on that side of his head, because he always goes to bed with a row with his wife – and then you can elicit a little bit more a find out that the reason for the row with his wife is X Y and Z.
And you find that there are much much stronger reasons for the presenting condition. And if you use the metaphor of presenting conditions with what they think they want to buy – it’s a pretty good analogy. So a good doctor will gain their patients trust – will have their outcomes at heart – they won’t talk down to them – they’ll find out what their real needs are – and by the end the patient will understand what the doctor has said, ‘buy’ the solution and go and do it.
Rather than the doctor saying “You’ve got to go away and put these drops down your nose every single day”’ and you thinking “God I can’t be arsed! – If you are truly motivated to put those very tickly drops down your nose every day – and I speak from very personal experience here – then you will really do it.
But if you’re not really into the idea of sticking the drops down your nose, then you won’t. And I think that’s a really solid metaphor.
Michael: Brilliant. A couple more questions to finish this segment off.
Really the next one is – we’ve talked about selling over the past twenty-twenty five minutes – is there anything that you think is important that we’ve left out – or is there anything that you’d just like to reemphasise about what you think makes selling successful?
Trevor: Well we’ve hardly talked about it because it wasn’t in the structure of the conversation. But this obsession with TakeAways that I have – A TakeAway is ‘the clear, defined benefit that a customer will take away from doing business with you’, a significant time after the dust settles. And doing business with you is what it’s all about.
Will it improve the Time in achieving whatever they want to achieve? Will it improve their Income? Will it change the way that they look at Risk – and there’s the whole other bunch of factors that are different then having a titanium plated ipod.
And the most important thing to me is that you eat drink and breathe the customer’s TakeAways…..the ones that you are offering people.
So for instance we do this little game where we go to a venture capitalist and we’re looking for investment from the venture capitalist. Now the VC isn’t interested in your blooming software or your ISO 9000. What they want to take away is a very clear understanding that the board of directors has done this before, that you’ve got a good start up, that you’ve got a good marketing person and that you’ve got some very fine financial advisers and that you’re very used to reporting.
Now that’s very different from going in and doing a pitch – and I’ve helped several people do pitches to VCs and by turning the whole paradigm around and thinking about what this person or company actually wants to take away from doing business with you, totally changes the model.
So no Spray and Pray – just think about and use their TakeAways.
Michael: Now a final question – if you were talking to a young sales guy who had just started out on the road of selling and they were asking for your opinion and for some clear guidance as to how to be to be successful initially and build on that – what are some of the core bits of advice that you’d give them?
Trevor: Very simple. I’d ask them to do a full Fearless Selling seminar with us.
Michael: OK. J But after that what core things would you give them to keep in the back of their minds?
Trevor: I think that the most important thing is to have a great boss. I didn’t have good bosses at the beginning, and later on I got a few great bosses. I learned a huge amount from them and then I kind of leap-frogged from great boss with good product – to a good boss with great product.
So I think the important thing is to get a good sales manager who will be a good mentor – and understand that you’re you – and not just say ‘You’re going to lose your job if you don’t make your quarterly target.’ Somebody that actually helps you along…..
Also I think that you should research the companies – to find a firm at which the position of sales is central within the company. Sales is often treated like ‘Oh God, I guess somebody has got to do that.’ If sales is central to a business, then you’re going to learn an awful lot about success and move on from there.
I would also add an away from rather than a towards – Don’t go for a high paying job. High potential income looks very attractive, but it’s better to go for a job where you have a good mentor, and you have a good company. Because as sure as night turns into day, you will make more money working with them than going to a high pressure job working for a complete bastard.
Michael: Another sixty four thousand dollar question –
Trevor: You’re paying me that much? Good lord.
Michael: Absolutely. Maybe more. If you can answer it very concisely.
Going back to the time when you were a very young sales guy, when you didn’t have the experience that we have now. What are the key things – how do you know that this guy would be a good mentor?
Trevor: It’s actually a little bit like a good sale. You’ve actually got to do some preparation for the call. So you could do some really simple things. How about phoning up his sales people?….nothing wrong with that. If that person is a good manager the salespeople will be happy to say ‘Yeah Michael Beale is a fabulous salesperson. I’ve learned so much from him.’ and if he thinks that Michael Beale is a complete bastard then they’ll tell you.
And if they come back to you and they say ‘Michael Beale is a great sales manager’ you don’t have to feel embarrassed because you’ll probably go on to work alongside them and buy them a beer for it. If they say that Michael Beale is a complete bastard you’re never going to work there so you’re never going to see the guy.
So phoning up salespeople is very important.
The second thing that I say to people is to go and phone up their customers. Find out what the external view, the secondary view of the sales team, the sales manager, the board of directors.
And then, and I think the third thing is probably the most important of all really, is that when you are going for a sales job you interview them. You elicit from them what they want to take away from the sales they want you to run. And if what they want to take away is not for you, well you don’t walk out of the interview, but you certainly say inside yourself ‘I don’t want this job.’
If they happen to ask you some questions and take control, that’s up to them, but you interview them for the job. You don’t say something like ‘Please, please, please I want to be a sales person, I want to learn as much as possible.’ That’s just not a good way of doing it.
Michael: Excellent. Moving on from that. You’ve kindly explained your thoughts and your experiences over the last thirty minutes – Is there anything that you would like to plug that maybe you have – delightfully briefly – What would you like to plug? What are you doing now that’s worth the attention of our readers and listeners?
Trevor: I have associates, or at least I am working at getting associates in every country in which we can get representation. I’ve just signed up two guys in London – one of which is very interested in doing some private courses as well as public courses because the majority of our work is specific to corporate – we can go into a company and if anybody in the company wants to contact us we can say ‘There might be a problem there that we can solve – it’s on the website.’
But we’re also doing public courses as well for individuals and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to plug it through your website, and I’m also hoping that you’ll be able to come along and help us too.
But if anybody would like to find out more, if they go to www.holis.ca and then they click on courses, from the beginning of January the tenth we’ll have international courses because we’re based in Canada, which is known as international.
Michael: You’ve almost answered this, but is there anything that you would like to add in terms of your contact details?
Trevor: My name is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can get hold of me just like that.
Michael: Brilliant. Thank you very much for your time.
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