Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Apprentice Week 6 - Non-existent Negotiation

This week saw the 13 remaining candidates told to set up their own DIY business and try to make a profit from basic jobs. This involved the two teams providing quotes for two jobs set up by Lord Sugar, handyman tasks for a football club and a theatre, as well as to try and drum up their own business from flyers and knocking on doors. For sales professionals this episode was particularly interesting as the key to success in the task involved negotiation to try and get the best deals possible, as well as generating business in the first place. Lord Sugar has shown just how much he values sales skills in his future business partner, firing Dan in the first week for his failure to sell. So how did the candidates get on?

Awful Negotiating


Throughout the whole of the episode I’m sure sales professionals across the country were shaking their head with astonishment as to how bad all of the candidates were at trying to secure a good deal. The biggest mistakes made by the teams from a negotiating perspective came when offering a quote for redecorating the dressing rooms for a theatre in London. One of the first rules of negotiation is to know what price you’re offering for a service and to try and stick to it. Team Connectus did not seem convincing at all when initially offering £777 for the refurbishment, only ten seconds later changing their price to £877. Comically, Brett tried to cover up this mistake by suggesting just how good a service they were offering, before mincing his words telling the theatre manager ‘I am an expertise in my field’. Not the most impressive pitch.

Team Versatile had the opportunity to capitalise on the other team’s price mishaps offering an initial £560 for the theatre refurbishment job. Astonishingly, after some of the worst negotiating in the world the team ended up doing the job for only £375! Negotiation is about creating a ‘win-win’ for both parties, not just for price but for the service offering as well. The negotiation led by Richard ended up discounting the price by £200, whilst the service still included the same amount of hours of work to complete. A good strategy may have been to change the service: offer cheaper materials to try and regain some profit margin, or to remove a part of the job to reduce the amount of hours needed to complete the project. In the end the team spent a large amount of their time on this task for not a huge amount of money, a key reason why they lost the task.

Generating Business


Quite often the key to securing a large volume of sales is to manage your time effectively. The balance between prospecting for business and actually securing deals needs to be right, wasting your time on one sales channel can really hinder your efforts. Yet again the candidates were not good business examples, with Team Connectus wasting a whole day on ‘market research’ to try and find out the best areas to clean windows! With only three days to generate sales what a waste of time this was! Somehow Team Versatile seemed to match their dismal efforts by missing the deadline to print fliers, talk about a rookie error… 

If your name isn’t out there it’s going to be very hard to try and gain new business. From both a sales and business perspective this week’s apprentice is not a very good model to follow!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Impact of Technology on the Sales Industry- Social Selling

The development of technology through time has brought many changes to the sales industry. Whether you are looking at the past decade or even longer than that, new inventions will and were always going to change how people sell their products and services. Take the invention of modern transport for example, the car brought the introduction of an outside sales team and a whole new type of sales professional. Every year a new invention changes how salespeople work and how businesses target consumers.  In more recent years however, the biggest change to the sales industry must surely have come from technology focussed around social media. I don’t think anybody can deny that we are now in a digital age, I read online recently that people now spend more time using computer technology than they spend time asleep. The rise of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook have brought both opportunities and threats for business owners and sales professionals alike, whether you like social media tools or not they deserve to be treated with respect.

The Facts


Here at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment in 2014 we conducted one of the largest surveys of sales professionals ever commissioned. In relation to how sales professionals use social media for their work, the results were interesting. Our survey of 730 salespeople found that only 42% regularly and proactively use social media for lead generation. When you compare this with another statistic we found, that 47% of the sales professionals surveyed had secured sales from LinkedIn, it suggested that salespeople are missing an opportunity to increase their revenues from social media. You have to question that if social media can be used as a tool and a resource for selling, why are less than half of salespeople not using it regularly? Full details of our 2014 survey can be found here.

Hunters vs Farmers- or even Fisherman?


The old metaphor of farmer and hunter salespeople, where the hunters go out and win new business and the farmers cultivate existing business is becoming outdated in the digital age. We suggest that seeing a sales professional as a fisherman may now be more relevant. A fisherman throws ground bait in, waits for the right moment and then strikes. He needs to strike at the right time, too early or late and someone else gets the fish. The same adage can now be compared to the modern day sales
professional, they have to be looking and waiting in the right places such as LinkedIn to know when their prospects are going to bite, then striking at exactly at the right time. With social media sites it’s possible to monitor prospects to see when they are showing interest in a product or service and that is the time to strike and secure a deal.


Opportunities


In the business-to-consumer industry many sales deals are starting without initial contact from the business who is actually selling the product or service. Businesses are doing their own research online and starting the selling process without you, because of this it’s crucial that your company is visible online and can be found. If you want to have your businesses products or services bought you have to be on the radar in the first place. Further to this, decision makers are reviewing companies or individuals credentials on sites such as LinkedIn before doing business with them, so whether you are reading this from a viewpoint of a sales professional or a business owner it’s vital to keep with the times and the digital age.   

Friday, 28 August 2015

How to Keep Your Sales Staff Motivated

One of the main drivers of business success is retaining top staff, but perhaps even more important than this is keeping your top earners motivated and performing. The difference between a thriving business and a failing business lies with how much revenue your salespeople are bringing in each month, so ensuring they are performing at their best is vital. Keeping your staff ‘on the ball’ and busy is often more difficult than it sounds, so here are some of our thoughts on how best to approach the matter.

Rewarding Performance


A finely tuned and thought out compensation structure is one of the best ways to motivate staff, especially salespeople. Too often businesses are not representing their top performers with incentive structures to really get them going. Having a cap on earnings and bonuses may seem to make initial sense to keep business costs down, but the logic is often flawed. Once one of your employees has reached their limit of earnings what’s in it for them to work hard? Put yourself in their shoes, if you hit your annual salary cap by October you will be inclined to coast along until the start of January, as selfish as this sounds it’s how the human brain is programmed to work. As long as your bonus structure is linked to profit made for the business and not just turnover, the increased salary you pay to an employee will only be rising in relation to money they make for the business. The best way to devise a bonus structure is to form it in such a way that it is a win-win for your employee and for your business.

Secondly, a lot of sales organisations are creating disincentives for staff by rewarding both poorly performing and highly performing salespeople. Giving bonuses to staff who meet the minimum required standard you expect as an employer sends out the wrong message. For example giving pay-outs to staff who achieve less than 50% of their sales goals discourages them from hitting their peaks, and communicates to your top performers that you as a business are satisfied with mediocrity. If you are looking to rejuvenate your sales staff and attract the best talent, a strong compensation structure is probably the best place to start.     

Encourage Competition


Many businesses assume that salespeople are only motivated by money.  This isn’t always true. Everyone enjoys that rush of competing against your colleagues and as an employer if you can encourage a bit of friendly rivalry between your staff your sales revenue is very likely to increase. As sad as it sounds everybody likes to ‘get one up’ on everyone and giving prizes to the best performing staff is a good way to get the best out of everyone. These prizes or rewards do not always have to be financial, an interesting reward scheme at a business I know is that the best performing salesperson for that month receives access to the best parking space at the company. Little things like this can really boost your employees to their top level. 

Written by Andy at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

How Strong is Your LinkedIn Profile?

LinkedIn is a great tool for individuals and companies alike. The website has exploded since its creation in 2003 and now has more than 70 million members worldwide, growing by over 1 million users a month. For salespeople it allows the development and maintenance of a contact base, as well as providing a marketing platform for businesses to promote their product. Recent research shows that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers, showing just how important it is to have a strong, visible online presence. But how do you come across on LinkedIn? Is your profile doing you a favour or causing you harm?


Building Your Brand


Whether you have a LinkedIn profile as an individual or a business it’s important to consider how you want your prospects, customers or colleagues to view your profile. Everything you choose to include in your profile matters, and little things can make a big difference in how people perceive you and your account. The first thing to decide when creating a LinkedIn profile is a profile picture for your account, as an individual this will likely be a photo of you, but for a business it will probably be your logo or even a picture of your staff. People often underestimate how important this picture is to your profile, as first impressions really do count and the immediate perception people create of you is heavily influenced by your picture.

For a person profile on LinkedIn it’s a good idea to try and make your picture look as professional as possible. I heard one of our recruitment consultants comment the other day how unprofessional it looks when people are drinking alcohol in their LinkedIn picture, these details can really affect how people view you. Everything from what you are wearing to the background of the picture is worth thinking about. For businesses the usual marketing techniques need to come into play, your picture should correspond to your company branding as it is an extension of your business. With the limited information and media you can include on your profile, it’s important to get things such as pictures right.

The space available underneath your name or a company name should be used carefully as it is often the first thing people read on your profile. Using keywords associated with specific roles or business sectors is a good technique to attract views to your profile, as it is one of the search tools that LinkedIn provides. This space is finite and needs to be thoroughly thought about, the same rules apply as SEO, what terms and words do you expect people to search for?

Networking


For salespeople or even any professional, LinkedIn offers opportunities to expand your career connections in a way that no other social media site can compete with. By keeping in touch with people you know and have worked with your voice will be heard by more people, and in turn what you hear on the ‘grapevine’ will increase. Both for individuals and companies the opportunities that are available to you will increase, for example many people hear about job vacancies through LinkedIn, one of my family members has been approached for his last two roles through the site.

The groups and support networks you can join on the site are valuable areas for discussion. These groups can provide help for when you have difficult questions, but when you help someone else it will raise the profile of your account and increase the number of views it receives. Discussion with industry experts can provide your business with some good advice and potentially help with strategic thinking.

In today’s digital age it’s vital to be a part of LinkedIn as it allows for a new area of competition both for individuals and businesses. Creating a strong profile can help with business success and career development. Follow Aaron Wallis’ LinkedIn profile here.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What Are The Best Degrees For The Sales Industry?

Most of the time you don’t actually need a degree to get into the sales industry, as the majority of sales positions are not always looking for graduates. In fact it is very possible to get into sales without experience or a degree, see our recently published blog ‘How to Get Into Sales without Any Experience’. However, a degree will always improve your CV and allow you to get into the sector at a higher entry level, with a potential of a higher salary. Entry level graduate sales positions have an impressive average salary of £23,000, a good reason to get into the sector! Here are the best degrees to help you get a job in the sales industry:

Business Degrees


An obvious point, but if you are looking for a sales job it’s always going to be working for a business! So why not study a business related degree? Business degrees come in a variety of different forms but perhaps the most useful courses to study come from a marketing or management perspective. Marketing degrees will develop your skills in identifying and understanding customers, and management degrees will come in handy if you are looking for a career in managing sales people.


Psychology or Sociology


It’s not always the topics that you directly learn about in your time at University that prepare you for your future career. The Washington Post conducted an interesting study in 2013 that found that only 27% of graduates were in employment that directly linked to their degree. A degree in psychology or sociology will give you some insight into how people think and behave, which can be very helpful when trying to secure sales deals or developing a sales strategy for a business.


Media or Communications


Learning about how organisations communicate and the different channels and streams they use to do it can link directly to sales. Graduate sales positions are more likely to be focussed on developing sales strategies or management of a team, and a degree that develops your knowledge of communications will increase the chances of you landing a job in the industry. This is especially relevant in B2B sales jobs, and has more significance in today’s digital age with the development of the sales sector across the internet and through other technology.


Interestingly, Harrods now offer a specialist sales degree exclusively for their staff they want to develop with the classrooms for studying being above their shop in Knightsbridge! The course lasts two years and is the first retailer that offers an honours degree in sales. Unfortunately this degree is only available for Harrods staff, but illustrates how valuable employers consider degrees! An important thing to remember is that a degree will improve your skills in critical thinking and information management, which is one of the main things employers look for in candidates. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

How to Attract Top Sales Talent to Your Business

For me, the biggest ingredient of business success is a strong and effective workforce. Having talented and effective employees working for you means that your business will prosper and develop, and ultimately make profit. The problem is that every business is looking for the very best employees, so how can you make sure that the best sales people want to work for you?

Be an Attractive Option


At the end of the day someone will only join your business if they believe it’s somewhere they would like to work, and an improvement to the position they are currently in. The role and environment you are offering has to be better than what they are being offered elsewhere. This means offering a better package than your competitors, either financially or in other ways.

Most people would agree that the primary incentive to move to a new role is money. Basic human nature means that we look for the job which will reward us the most, and the most obvious point of gratification comes financially.  For this reason attracting top sales talent requires that you have to offer at very least a competitive market salary, but a package that surpasses your competitors will give you the greatest chance of attracting the top people. A good technique to attract the very best sales candidates is to offer a package weighted towards bonus or commission earnings. Successful sales people will be confident in the belief that they can sell a large amount of a product or service, and will see that a salary structure that rewards hard work will provide the best opportunity for them. This does often mean that you will end up paying an employee more, but if they are bringing deals to your business then the reward will always outweigh the cost.     

However as Jessie J would argue, it’s not always about the money. Another key thing people think about when considering a new job is the environment they will be working in, and what day to day life could look like for them in a new role. The atmosphere and facilities in a new position are a big deal to people, as it’s something they have to deal with every day. For this reason it’s important that your business has everything from clean and tidy offices to an accessible location.

Make Your Vacancy Visible


For people to want to join your business, they have to be aware of who you are, and that there is an opportunity available. This means placing the information about your job role in a place where it can be seen, or on a popular job board. Alternatively you could work with a recruitment agency to search for the top talent, which may be a quicker and more effective solution. The bottom line is that if people are not informed of a vacancy at your business, they are never going to apply to it or contact you.

Secondly the very best talent in the industry want to work for the best and most well-known businesses. Creating a strong brand presence in your business sector will help you attract the strongest candidates as they are more likely to look to you if they are considering leaving a business. Another benefit of this is that if you are headhunting a senior sales person, then it will always help if they are aware of your business and what you do. A combination of an attractive job opportunity and a visible business is the only way to secure the top sales talent.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Recruiting My Dream Football Team

Occasionally it can be a struggle to persuade the right person to join your business, and you have to think of a way to get them on board. With the new football season starting soon I wondered what the best way to recruit my dream football team would be:

Joe Hart- For a lot of people the facilities that their place of work provide are very important when looking for a new job. Things that an employer can provide on a daily basis go a long way, and when looking to employ Joe Hart it’s worth stocking up on your Head and Shoulders shampoo.

Sol Campbell- Many employers would probably agree that giving someone a job title which sounds better than it actually is can be a good way of getting people on board. With someone like Sol Campbell you need to make sure they think they have an important place in the team, even if they don’t. Something like Mayor of the reserves could work.

Ferdinand- Sometimes you have to think a little bit out of the box to get someone into your team. Getting Rio to join you may include a combination of a good supply of snapback hats and an office playing rap music all day.

John Terry- The best way to recruit JT allegedly would be to offer him a deal including as many girls as he would like, or even your word as his boss that you won’t be unhappy if he gets with one of the other players’ wife.  

Sterling- With some people it’s all about the base salary. When recruiting someone like Raheem Sterling it’s important that you offer them a package with a competitive guaranteed income, something like his new £200,000 a week deal at Manchester City would suffice. Let’s just hope he’s not too tired to work.

Delph- Perhaps counterintuitively the best tactic for employing Fabian Delph would be to encourage him to commit his future to his current role. After all he’s only going to do a U-Turn anyway and join your team.

Toure- Usually it’s the little things that employers provide which make a difference for people. To keep Yaya Toure happy it’s imperative you remember his birthday, and provide him with a regular supply of birthday cakes. It’s important that candidates such as Yaya know this before you offer them a position.

Wilshere- Often when recruiting, things included in the salary package that are not just the base salary are important. Recruiting Wilshere would be as easy as offering him a job lot of fags, according to newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Mirror.

Puncheon- Similar to Joe Hart, Jason Puncheon is a man all about the facilities. Keeping your toilets clean and tidy would be a good way to keep Jason happy, as the midfielder was left red faced in a game last year when he didn't have time to make a trip.

Balotelli- One of the biggest things candidates or in this case players seek in a new job is guidance, and career development. When attempting to recruit Mario Balotelli I would ensure that he realises the new skills he could learn in his new position, such as setting off fireworks safely or putting a bib on properly.

Suarez- Support structures need to be in place for employees should they run into difficulty. In this case a dentist may be of use to keep Luis Suarez’s teeth in working order, or even a psychologist for when he loses track of his marbles.