Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Importance of Closing at a Sales Interview

When asked, “Do you have any questions” at the end of the interview, it is the opportune time to close.  This truly can make all the difference as to whether you get the job, or not.
A colleague recently sat alongside a client during five interviews, and only one closed at the end; I bet you can guess which one stood out and moved onto a second interview.

How to Prepare for a Close
Before your interview ensure that you prepare how you’re going to close but in a straightforward way. Prepare the closing questions that you’re going to ask and ask a friend if to roleplay them with you. You may get taken off in a different direction by the interviewer so have that in mind. By the time you get to the interview you will be confident and ready to close at the right moment.

Why You Should Close?
You would never leave a sales meeting without agreeing the next steps forward, would you? Every sales interview is a sales meeting. Sales professionals must be able to close deals so closing at an interview shows the potential employer you are confident and willing to close when you start the job. Be that individual who stands out by making sure you close.

When to Close
You will feel the meeting is heading towards a natural end; the questions are not so intense and there may be a glance at the watch, it will be instinctive, and you should start thinking about what you’re going to say in your close. In almost all interviews the interviewer will ask if you have any questions, this is the ideal time to close.

How to Close
Once you have made your points about why you are the perfect candidate for the role and mastered any objections from the interviewer, you have to overcome the final hurdle of closing the interview. The minimum you should be asking is what the next step in the process is and how long the process is likely to be. You should also be asking how many candidates are in the process, and if you feel it has gone really well, be direct and ask if you have got a second interview or even ‘have I got the role’!

You should always look to 'leave your mark' on the interviewer. Make them aware you have enjoyed the meeting and reiterate your interest in the vacancy, don’t just get up and go!

Written by Liam Oakes

Liam is the Sales Recruitment Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 5 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.




Thursday, 7 July 2016

How to Resign and Leave Your Current Sales Job on Good Terms

So you’ve managed to secure yourself a new role, but dreading telling your current employer that you are resigning. This is, for some, a great opportunity to tell your boss “where to stick it” but for others, it can be a nerve-wracking process that can drag on longer than needed.

Make the Correct Decision
Firstly, make sure that your new job offer is the correct decision for you. Make a list of the reasons you wanted to look elsewhere in the first place and ask the question “have I explored all possible routes with my current firm”. Ultimately, you have to do what is right for you and your family.

Preparing to Resign
If you’re completely happy about your decision to move on, you will need to be prepared and act with professionalism. Make sure you have your job offer ‘set in stone’, and in writing, from the new employer and that you’re happy with the offer details which has been agreed.

Check your existing contract and make sure that you know the contractual facts on your notice period. Finally prepare your explanation for wanting to move on so you can anticipate any relevant questions.

Think of the Future
The sales industry is a small world, and as much as you may be one of those candidates who can’t wait to tell your boss you’re resigning, it is imperative you do it in a professional manner. You may not have been treated fairly, or just didn’t see ‘eye to eye’, but be ‘the bigger person’ and leave with your head held high.

Meeting With Your Manager
Choose a quiet and convenient time to meet with your manager and explain your reasons for wanting to move on. Mention the positives of your time within their employment as your employer may well be an important reference point for you later down your career. Give them a notice of your meeting request, prepare your letter of resignation and detail how you are prepared to offer a smooth handover during your notice period.

Submitting a Resignation Letter
This is a great opportunity to note your reasons for leaving but in a controlled manner. Be sure to include your name, date, the person that it’s addressed to, notice of termination of employment and your signature. Keep it positive as this is the last reflection, on their personnel record, of you as a person.

Counter Offer
Be prepared for a ‘counter offer’.  If you’re not wholly unhappy and your decision to leave was solely based upon money, then this could be an ideal scenario.  However, once your employer knows you were looking to leave, it could have implications in the future, and you may have rejected an opportunity that you will later regret. Refer to your notes on why you have chosen to resign in the first place to ensure that you have the ‘peace of mind’ that you’ve taken to the right decision and have the steely nerve to reject any counter offers.
If you follow these basic steps of resignation, you should leave on a positive note and stand a strong chance of a good reference for future employment whilst maintaining a professional reputation. You may bump into colleagues later down the line so you don’t want to burn any bridges.

For more information, including videos on how to resign visit: http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/resigning-and-starting-new-job.aspx 

Written by Liam Oakes

Liam is the Sales Recruitment Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 5 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.



LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/liam-oakes/4b/536/403 

Monday, 4 July 2016

How to Make Sales Interviews More Enjoyable

Job interviews can be stressful for all involved so why not try to make them more fun than expected by doing some of the following:
Interview Outside of the Workplace
From a personal point of view, I had an interview at a coffee shop a few years back that I felt took the pressure off immediately, having other conversations go on in the background it just felt as though I was having a catch up with a friend, and I felt at ease. There isn’t a rule saying you have to take all interviews in the board room or in the workplace. It doesn’t have to be a coffee shop, it could be over lunch or in a public space, but it might help you both relax and give you a better reflection of the candidate’s personality.
Make it Interactive
It could be a good idea to do a role play, if you are interviewing for a field sales position, you could get the candidate to re-enact a client visit and ask the questions they would ask in trying to win a client. This will give you a decent idea of how they would act when out in the field working for you. You could be interviewing for a telesales position, if so act as the potential client on the other end of the phone and get the candidate to show how they could go about winning you over.
Ask Fun Interview Questions
Examples could be:
·         You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
·         We finish the interview, and you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning 5 million pounds. What would you do?
·         What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Interview Environment
If you are interviewing in the boardroom or a separate room at the office, then try to make it as comfortable as you can for the candidate, don’t sit directly opposite each other face to face, try to make it a relaxing environment for both parties.  I know a Sales Director that interviews candidates side by side looking out over the landscape from his office window (which incidentally is a fantastic view!). He feels that interviewees are a lot more candid without the ‘confrontation’ of direct eye contact.
Considerations
There is of course a line with all of this not to cross, you want to be creative but also come across as professional. Make sure any questions you deem fun are legal and don’t make them feel uncomfortable with awkward questions.
Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Sales Recruitment Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 5 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.




Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Guide to Recruiting Sales People

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment has published a full guide to recruiting sales professionals with links to further advice content and guides.
Guide to recruiting sales people

Includes:

  • Identifying Your Recruitment Goals 
  • Establishing a Recruitment Plan 
  • The Perfect Interview 
  • The Offer Stage And Induction

Your free copy of 'A Guide To Recruiting SalesPeople' can be downloaded here:

http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/Aaron-Wallis-guide-to-recruiting-sales-staff.pdf

We hope that you find this guide useful.

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!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Can Jeremy Corbyn Sell Socialism to Britain?

September 2015 saw old-school left-winger Jeremy Corbyn secure a landslide victory of 59.5% of the vote to win leadership of the Labour Party. The initial outsider of the leadership contest promises to bring a ‘new politics’ to Britain and a real change to the New Labour centrist approach of recent years. Corbyn offers an anti-establishment, anti-austerity alternative to the Conservatives promoting higher taxes for the biggest earners and to put transport and utilities back under state control. Many see the Labour leader as a marmite figure in British politics, a large proportion of people and the media think he’s a nutcase, but equally he has developed an almost cult following from those who see him as a real change to the cliché politician. We pose the question: Is Jeremy a good enough salesman to sell socialism to the British people?

In the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth yesterday, Corbyn stated that he wants the “sunshine of socialism” to beat the “narrow, nasty politics” of David Cameron’s Conservative Party. One of his most controversial policies is to increase the top rate of income tax to something above 50%, with rumours that the tax band could go as high as 75%. Surprisingly and as much of a change this would be, a recent YouGuv poll found that 56% of the public would be in favour of the policy, suggesting that Corbyn’s policies are not as out-of-touch with the British public as many people would argue. On the other hand, for many the Labour Leader is simply unelectable, too radical and too old at 66 to stand a chance in the 2020 election. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the bookies doubt his chances as well, an average of the top betting sites put him at 8/1 to be the next Prime Minister after Cameron.


Corbyn's Sales Skills


Undoubtedly however, there is a certain charisma about Corbyn which will help him win people over to support his socialist cause. For many young people and those that have become disillusioned with previous politicians, he comes across as someone standing up for those in need and a breath of fresh air against the spin in today’s politics. After promising a ‘new politics’ free of personal attacks, the David Cameron ‘pig-gate’ saga can probably be seen as bad timing for the Labour spokesman as previous leaders would surely have loved to get one-up on the current Prime Minister. Whether he can sell socialism to the British public remains to be seen, but I’m sure many business owners would like their sales staff to possess some of the communication qualities the Labour leader has.


I got the opportunity to hear Corbyn speak in Leeds yesterday and as a socialist sceptic I have to admit I was impressed with how convincing he came across! Personally I’m not so sure with the majority of his policies but the young audience I was a part of seemed to be captivated by him. Perhaps sales professionals can learn a few things from the leader of the opposition!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Apprentice Week 1, ‘Fish Food’- Business Lessons Learnt

Last night saw the return of the hit BBC program ‘The Apprentice’ starring business guru Lord Alan Sugar on his search to find a new business partner. The first episode entailed the 18 candidates selling seafood products across London with ingredients sourced from Billingsgate fish market. Team Versatile in blue, led by Selena, opted to sell budget calamari and fishcakes to the general public.

On the other side, Team Connectus in yellow, headed up by food blogger April, made an expensive tuna nicoise salad and high quality fishcakes to sell to high-flying business people across the city. As per usual, some of the lines from the candidates were comic such as Joseph Valente describing himself as “the ultimate persuader of women” and the “godfather of business”, unsurprisingly this series’ applicants seems to have as many odd-balls as ever. Here are the biggest business mistakes the teams made in episode 1:

The Calamari Disaster


The biggest head-in-hands moment of this week’s episode has to go to Team Versatile getting the storage temperature of the calamari wrong. For calamari to be fit to be sold and eaten it needs to be stored at around 2°C, not the 15°C which the team in blue left it in for the majority of the day. To make matters worse, the team were aware of this before they left for the day and vowed to keep it under control! Unsurprisingly the seafood spoiled and the team had to throw away half of their stock; you would have thought if you had researched how to store calamari you would at least stick to the rules. Despite this, Team Versatile made a decent profit of £200 and managed to win the task. This begs the question of what the other team could have possibly done to perform worse and make a lower profit…

Where Was The Negotiation?


One of the biggest mistakes that Team Connectus made was buying from the first fish stall they came across at Billingsgate fish market, without negotiating. This is one of the oldest lessons in business, you have to shop-around a bit before you commit to buying a product- without doubt there would have been a cheaper source of tuna at the market, which Karren Brady picked up on. On top of this, the team failed to negotiate at all going with the first price that the vendor offered. Due to this Team Connectus had significantly higher costs than their rivals, a factor in their loss of the task.   

Failure to Adapt 


Perhaps the biggest mistake that the losing team made was not spotting that their fishcakes were going to be too large. Team Connectus set a target of making 300 fishcakes to sell from their cod, yet only managed to put together a measly 89. The person at fault for this was undoubtedly the chef for the day Brett, who was too worried with meeting the specification of the fishcake recipe rather than acting pragmatically. This is a case of where not adapting to potential issues can cause major business failure and is the key reason why the team only managed a disastrous profit of £1.87!

Lord Sugar was on his usual form as ever, shutting down Mergim’s waffle by asking him “where he was going” and “what his point was”. Our previous blog on the benefits of working for Lord Sugar might interest you, which is available here. The Apprentice is on again tonight on BBC1 at 9pm for the second episode where the candidates will have to create a new brand of shampoo.   

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.   

Thursday, 10 September 2015

What Not to Include on Your CV- Funny CV Mistakes

Here at Aaron Wallis we see hundreds of CV’s every day and you’d be surprised some of the mistakes people make when they are applying for jobs. Some of the things that people choose to include can be an instant turn-off to employers and really can be the difference between getting a role and not. Here are common mistakes that people make and some funny examples we’ve seen:

Hobbies and Interests


A lot of our recruitment consultants would say that the place where people most often make mistakes is the hobbies and interests part of a CV. It’s easy to put across the wrong impression to an employer when describing what you do in your spare time. Saying you enjoy time socialising with your friends, playing darts and doing quizzes might sound like an innocent gesture but really it makes you sound like you spend all your time at the pub. Think carefully about what you put! A good tip is to tailor this part of your CV for each role, if the job requires leadership qualities maybe mention that time you were captain of a sports team or something similar.


Too Much Information


Quite often we see examples of where candidates have gone into a little too much detail about previous employment or qualifications. For example employers probably don’t want to see your bad O level results from thirty years ago, if you’ve reached the point in your career where qualifications don’t matter it may be best to leave things like this out! Also if you’ve fallen out with your boss it might be worth leaving this out as a reason for leaving a business, try to put something a bit more constructive.

Funny Things We’ve Seen


  • Listing your degree as a bachelorette degree
  • Unfortunate spelling mistakes- “Throughout my career I have had sex jobs”, “I took a career break in 2003 to renovate my horse”
  • Putting every word in capitals- this reads as if you have just shouted your entire career history at someone!
  • Bizarre email addresses for contact information-  kingoftheworld@googlemail.com
  • Inappropriate photo on your CV- a picture of you having a beer with your friends may actually be a nice photo, but it’s probably not the best thing to put on your application             

Monday, 7 September 2015

Sales Training vs Sales Coaching

Making the decision on whether to have your sales staff trained or coached can be difficult. The correct choice depends on a lot of factors but hopefully this blog will outline some things to think about before investing in an approach.
There is a clear difference between sales training and sales coaching but the two are often confused. The table below outlines how the two approaches to staff development differ:




Sales Coaching


For me, the main difference between coaching and training is who is actually carrying out the development programme. The best sales coaching programmes are often carried out internally, by colleagues who have more experience in sales and your business. This will help your tutees improve their sales skills significantly as well as pick up your business principles more quickly. The knock-on effect of this is that by implementing a process where more experienced staff coach the less experienced, the tutor will be refreshing their skills as well by teaching someone else. Often you only really think about and understand a process when you are trying to teach someone else.

The second thing with coaching as opposed to training is that it is an ongoing process. Regular communication between the tutor and the tutee enables the sales coach to recognise the trainee’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows for the programme to be adapted to fit more around the person being trained, which always makes for a more effective process. I believe that this is the major benefit of coaching over training, as it allows for an understanding of what an employee really needs to learn to succeed in the industry.

Sales Training


Training is often seen as the more expensive approach to staff development as it usually relies on hiring or working with an external agency. Sales training can come in a variety of different forms from motivational speaking to basic selling protocol. This investment is often worthwhile however as the trainer you work with will have expertise and may even be an expert in their field. By following the advice from leaders of the sales industry your staff may pick up some valuable hints or tips which may help them day to day. Training offers more opportunity for higher calibre salespeople compared to coaching, as it is harder to coach a person who is already very experienced in their field. Sending one of your top salespeople to a training event may make an already effective member of staff even more effective. For this reason the decision between coaching and training usually depends on the member of staff you are trying to develop. 

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.


Monday, 10 August 2015

3 Things to Think About When Training New Sales Hires

The quality of a new employees’ training and induction process is often a key determinant in how effective they are going to be for your business, especially in the first year. It’s important when making a sales hire that your new employee hits the ground running, as most businesses can’t afford to be burdened with poor performance. A survey conducted by Aaron Wallis last year found that 53% of sales people felt that they needed more training for their role, illustrating just how many businesses aren’t getting their training right. The full results of our 2014 ‘The State of Sales’ survey can befound here. Here are a few points to consider when designing or reviewing your training programme:


The Introductions


Creating a friendly environment for a new employee is a key thing to think about when devising an induction process. Positive interaction and relationships between staff is immeasurably valuable as it helps to keep your staff motivated and stress free. When welcoming a new person to your team take time to introduce them individually to each person they will be working with, including the ‘big dogs’ of the business. Too often new staff are not welcomed by the management team of the business, usually due to excuses of managers being ‘too busy’. Ensuring that a new employee is acquainted with everyone from the interns to the directors is a good start to making them feel welcome.  

At this time it might be worth giving them a quick overview of the organisational structure of your business to avoid embarrassing situations. There aren’t many things worse when joining a new business then asking the wrong person for a hand or a minute of their time. For instance a newly appointed entry level sales person would probably want to avoid inadvertently asking a director to help unpack their bags. Mix-ups such as these are easily avoided and go a long way in making sure a new person has the best chances of making a 
good impression.

Keep it Engaging


The most effective training programmes are those that identify with each new employee through customisation. Everything from a person’s previous experience to personality needs to be considered to design the perfect training process. For example a seasoned sales person will require a different training scheme than a graduate position, patronising a new employee with information they already know is never a good start. Try to gauge what a new employee is already competent at before training them, boring them early on can cause them to become disillusioned with the training.

Everyone at some point has experienced ‘death by PowerPoint’, breaking up the training through different mediums and platforms is a good way to keep employees focussed. Training new employees through the same method can prove tedious, and breaking it up by 
increasing the range of activities in the process can help to keep employees motivated.


Get Them up to Speed Quickly  


It’s worth considering which processes and programs that new employees need to know first. By getting new employees up to speed on the basic parts of their role they may be able to perform tasks early on, which can prove useful for your business. Further to this, by allowing new employees to do tasks at the same time as being in the induction process, it breaks up the training and keeps new people to the business engaged.

The Internal Recruitment Division at Parker Bridge report that 1 in 25 employees has walked out of a job within a week, citing a poor induction as their reason for leaving. It's worth trying to get the process right!

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.

Friday, 17 July 2015

How to Get Into Sales without Any Experience

From reading the papers or watching the television, many people believe that it is near impossible to get into sales without experience. This is simply not true, and there are a variety of ways to get into the industry:


Education


Getting yourself onto the first ‘rung of the ladder’ of the sales industry may seem challenging without relevant experience, but it is less difficult then people would have you believe. Perhaps the biggest alternative to experience on a CV is education or qualifications. Learning about the sales industry makes you a much more attractive candidate to organisations as it increases the likelihood that you will be effective in their vacant position.  This can come in many forms and does not always mean certification or accomplishment from a school or university. Higher education in the form of a degree will of course help you if you are after a graduate sales job, but there are many other alternatives.

Sales training or seminars are run by a variety of different organisations and come in many different forms that can suit you. Courses can vary from short to long term, but all of them will increase your chances of landing a sales job. A lot of this training can be found online and can be completed both cheaply and quickly, the road to your dream job may only be a Google search away! The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management offer apprenticeship NVQ courses, and this may be a good place to start.

An inexpensive way to increase your knowledge of sales and to get to grips with the jargon is to read some books on sales - 'Brilliant Selling' by Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird is a good start as is 'How to Sell' by Mike le Put and 'e-selling' by Sean McPheat has some great ideas on increasing sales through social networking. Great blogs on sales are Sean's at - http://www.mtdsalestraining.com/mtdblog and Gavin Ingham's at http://www.gaviningham.com/blog

Be Creative with Your CV


When applying for any role, not just sales, it is worth catering your CV to reflect the position you are applying for. A good technique is to look at the person and job specification for the vacancy and try and pick up on some key words or terminology the employer is looking for in a candidate. For example if the person specification mentions teamwork as a key quality required in a candidate, really try to express how much of a team player you are. This can be done all the way through your CV, from previous responsibilities you have held, or even your hobbies and interests: if you have ever played a team sport this is a good example of working in a team!       

Just because your previous job didn’t have a sales focus, it doesn’t mean that the skills you acquired whilst working there are irrelevant. Any previous job that required engaging with customers is worth highlighting on your CV as it shows you have likely developed good communication skills, which is something employers look for in sales roles. More specifically, any experience of engaging with customers over the phone will definitely help if you are applying for a telesales roles.


Apply for the right jobs 


The key to getting into the sales industry is to apply for jobs that suit you. If you are at the beginning of your career applying to trainee sales jobs is probably the best way, and if you are a graduate there are entry level roles catered for you. Further to this, applying for sales jobs in a sector of which you already hold an interest will always increase the chances of you being successful as a candidate. If you have knowledge of a product, you will be far better at selling it, and employers recognise this. For example if you hold an interest in technology, selling computers may be a good fit for you: it will increase the chance of you getting the job, and increase the chance of you being good at the role!