Hosting the event was the brilliant Flowerpot Hoxton. Opened just last year, the venue is a bright and airy loft space, beautifully decorated and perfect for conferences, meetings and workshops.
We’ve condensed Stuart’s workshop into some key takeaways that we think can be adapted to all sales environments, from venue manager to event bookers and beyond.
Event videography and photography by London Filmed.
A quick poll of the room showed that the majority thought that less than 25% of people want to talk to a sales person, when in reality 81% of people do (Source: Protocol Global 2015) - particularly in a B2B environment.
There is also a disconnect between how much time salespeople think they spend actively selling to customers, most cite 20% of their time when in fact the average is 10% (Source: Alexander Proudfoot – International Study of Sales Effectiveness)
There are four stages, also known as the four stages of learning, is a model based on the premise that before a learning experience begins, learners are unaware of what or how much they know.
1. Unconscious incompetency: Blissful ignorance.
2. Conscious incompetency: Aware of ones lack of knowledge.
3. Conscious competency: Thinking & implementing.
4. Unconscious competency: Becomes habit.
Sales is all about creating successful habits.
“The common denominator of success is forming the habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people don't like to do” - Albert E. Gray
The key word here is successful, staying too long in the ‘unconscious competency’ phase can lead to bad habits. It’s human nature to want to find shortcuts or ways to do things quickly, so it’s important to circle back to conscious competency frequently.
Remember: It takes 21 days to form a habit, so before you give up on something because it’s not working, ask yourself if you have been doing it consistently for at least 21 days.
It’s difficult to manage or change something that you aren’t measuring. Measure at every point of your funnel, from enquiries to meetings to wins and work out how much each part of the funnel is worth to your business.
Create a buying atmosphere
There’s a subtle but very important distinction between a buying atmosphere and a selling atmosphere. A selling atmosphere puts pressure on the client whilst a buying atmosphere creates ‘pull’. To do this you need to:
Get them talking (Ask Questions)
Let them feel in control (Give choices)
Third person validation
You’re more likely to make a decision to do or buy something if you know who else is using it or doing it. So talk about the people, companies or clients that use your product but make it relevant - it’s not an opportunity to name drop.
The buying cycle
Create prospects and long-term relationships by targeting people in the ‘satisfaction’ phase of the buying cycle - ‘Unaware of or choosing to live with problems that could be solved.’ Common mistakes that are made at this point are pitching before establishing a need for a product, when you should be asking questions to help them realise the reality of their situation and then providing a solution.
Questions are the answer
Always ask questions, and listen for the answer - not just a gap when you can speak again. Always ask questions first, find out what problems people encounter and then try to solve them and then adapt your pitch accordingly.
"Seek first to understand and then to be understood" - Stephen R. Covey
More About Stuart
Stuart is a Senior Partner at SBR Consulting. He started in sales in 1988, and since then he has run sales teams of up to 250 people in the UK & USA, has consulted on over 200 projects in sales organisations and worked with organisations in UK, USA, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He has also recently completed a BSc in Psychology.