Friday, 21 July 2017

Revealed: What Premier League Transfers Will Cost In 10 Years Time

Premier league transfers have grown an outrageous amount over the last 10 years, with premier league spend tripling in the last decade.
Yesterday, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment published a data led study into the price of football recruitment fees in the 2027/28 season.

The study suggests that the average premier league transfer will cost over £50m in 10 years time, compared to the £9.29m average transfer fee of the 16/17 season. 

We believe that the recent transfer of Romelu Lukaku for £75m would have cost Manchester United £303m if transferred in the 2027/28 season.

The research also suggests that Paul Pogba’s move to Manchester United would cost £415m if the same transfer were to happen in 10 years time.

Our model looks at the top transfers of this year, and suggests what they’d cost in 10 years time:
Price 2017/18
(Million £s)
Price 2027/18
(Million £s)
Romelu Lukaku
Alexandre Lacazette
Kyle Walker
Bernardo Silva
Mohamed Salah

The analysis uses data around total premier league spend, number of transfers, and individual transfers to predict the transfers of the future.

For more information about Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, visit:

Monday, 17 July 2017

How to Motivate Sales Staff

A motivated and happy sales team works harder, and strives to win business. If you want to keep your sales staff on form, working hard and more importantly, happy in their role, read on for some of the best ways to motivate your sales staff.

When staff lose passion for their work they become less productive – and passion fades when positivity does too.

Make sure your sales staff are surrounded by positivity, so they can start each campaign with enthusiasm, proactivity and enjoyment. One of the best ways to foster productivity amongst staff is simply to surround them with positive, energetic, team members. But sales professionals often travel, and as of such social outings, and group meetings, can be a good way to get the team together.

These meetings, and meet-ups, can be used to plan objectives and visualise achieving bigger goals – giving staff a chance to discuss and get excited about pursuing targets.

All staff need training in order to do their job properly, if you’re noticing a slump in your sales team, don’t blame the individuals; look at how you can help the whole team. Regular training can help to staff continue to feel relevant, and purposed, in a dynamic, ever-changing industry.

Investing in staff training makes staff feel confident in addressing new challenges. Training also shows your team your faith and belief in them as a valuable asset to your team.

Staff who feel inadequately equipped are less enthused about work, aware of how competition may have a competitive edge due to having the latest tools available. New gadgets and tools motivate staff, both in piquing their curiosity but also in making them feel relevant and competitive; new tools also improve results.

Improving staff efficiency through using better CRM systems, mobile apps, software, computing hardware means they have more time for, and better tools to deal with customers and produce results. These advancements can be hit and miss, but ones which provide meaningful benefits to your staff will motivate them, and see greatly benefit overall business.

Create individual plans by making each employee list three things that inspire them, three things they’d like to achieve, and three reasons why they enjoy their job role.

Individually focusing on employees’ personal qualities will make them feel valued, as well as giving you insight into how better to motivate them.

Consider using a motivational speaker to come and give a talk to your sales team. Motivational speakers are notorious for leaving your team buzzing with energy, excitement and positivity, that they can’t wait to showcase at their next sale.

One of the easiest ways to motivate your sales team is to offer significant financial incentives – but needs to balance sensible finances with justified rewards. 

Capping bonuses is a flawed scheme as once an employee hits their target, they then coast until a new target comes up. By making sure your reward system is linked to the profit the company makes, then the pay only relates to the money they make for the business.

People enjoy different kinds of incentives as a way to feel good about their work.
Here’s some methods:

• Recognise and appreciate your employees efforts – thanks are rarely dished out but give a huge boost, either personally or through cards.
• Showcase top performers! Introduce them to senior management – raise their profile and demonstrate that their work has been recognised.
• In-house competitions, with creative rewards, motivating staff to outperform one another – while having a bit of fun, helping with creating a positive work environment.

There are so many ways to motivate your team and keep spirits up with non-financial rewards and if your business does have the budget, consider an unusual variety of goals and incentives to keep things fresh. Try some of these out and watch your team’s attitude and selling power improve instantly!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Key Points To Include In A Sales Employment Contract

Drafting an employment contract is key to establishing a new employee’s role within your business. They dictate each party’s (you and the employee’s) respective rights and responsibilities.

These contracts are legally binding, and ensure any disputes can be settled outside of courts.
Sales staff contracts are, by nature, varied from other roles due to the nature of their work – for example, accounting for a commission or bonus structure unique to sales roles.

Fundamentally, these contracts outline what both parties’ expectations and duties are, ensuring a harmonious working relationship. To help create a great sales employment contract, here are the key points you should consider.

1. Confidentiality

Sales staff will have access to a wealth of company knowledge and sensitive data. A strong confidentiality clause is integral in protecting your business, and you can ensure that this is enforced long after the employee contract is terminated.

Non-disclosure agreements and soliciting requirements are also necessary to include, so the employee fully understands the importance of protecting the business and where the limits are. This section must be clear and easy to follow, yet thorough; you do not want loopholes.

2.  Restrictive Covenant Schedule

Restrictive Covenant Schedules retain the rights to all customers, clients, and contracts for your business – preventing ex-employees from poaching customers, interfering with transactions and damaging staff relations.

It is crucial you include this, and that you term it in a non-conditional manner.

3. Termination

While most employees will serve a notice period, this may not be advisable for sales staff whose continued access confidential information to can damage client and staff relationships.

Garden Leave and Pay in lieu of notice (PILON) are items to be considered when devising a sales contract, to prevent tragedy.

4. Probation.

Probation periods are an excellent way to test out new recruits; this can also work in their favour by offering a get-out if the job isn’t what they expected. In the event that a new employee isn’t able to deliver to your standards, these clauses allow you to dismiss them.

It is important to remember that everyone can have a run of bad form in sales and the probation period should take into account an establishing time as well as a period of unexpected bad fortune.

Points To Include In A Commission Plan and Sales Employment Contract

Great sales people are rare, and commission plans are the lifeblood of any sales team. For your sales team to have passion and belief in your product as much as you do, a compensation plan is a priority. 

While a commission plan is likely to be highlighted in the sales employment contract, it is wise to make the agreement as a side to the contract so it can be amended without the difficulties of changing an entire employment contract.

For both the commission plan and the employment contract it is important that this is legally compliant and legally reviewed to prevent your business breaching employment legislation.

Three Key Points

1. Keep Employment Contracts Simple and Goal Oriented

Make sure your agreement covers all necessary points that motivate sales staff and sells products. Different commission plans drive different behaviour so consider the objectives that your company want to focus on such as;

• New accounts
• More business on existing accounts
• New product line
• Ensuring customer loyalty
• Grow contract length
• Deal profitability

2. Allow Change

Commission agreements should be subject to change as the business sees fit, with all agreements it is wise to put the following clause in;

“The company reserve the right at any time, in its absolute discretion, to vary the amount of commission payable and/or to vary the terms of the commission arrangements and/or to withdraw the commission arrangements in their entirety upon giving one months’ notice.”

Remember that if there is any ambiguity or you do not have this clause in your agreements, then the courts will naturally side with the employee.

3. Confirm Timings

Commission payment needs to find a balance between keeping sales members motivated, and discouraging rushed transactions with disreputable companies.
When reimbursing customers, staff can pocket the commission while companies lose out - consider an appropriate recovery policy. These protect you from cancellation and non-payment, encouraging staff to pursue stable companies with secure credit.

Clearly determine when commission is granted, such as when;

• The order is booked
• It is shipped
• It is delivered
• You have received full payment.

With a clear timeline, it shows transparency to the agreement, and it is easy to calculate for all parties.

There are many different types of commission schemes to consider when drafting up sales employment contracts, so make sure you educate yourself and choose, and adapt, the most suitable.

For more information on attracting and recruiting sales staff have a browse on this blog, or head to our website.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

How To Ensure Your Chosen Candidate Doesn’t Accept A Counter Offer

Employment for those aged between 16-64 is at its highest since records began in 1971, and unemployment at its lowest since 1975*. As of such anyone looking to grow their business, and hire talent is faced with the difficulty that pools of available talent are depleting, and contest for for ideal candidates is high.

So when you find great talent and make them an offer, the last thing you want is their previous employer to play a counter offer, and you to lose that perfect team member. Counter offers often utilize competitive financial packages, personal relationships, and taking advantage of known vulnerabilities.

To avoid, what may seem like inevitable, bidding wars over rare talent we’ve compiled a few tips on how to prevent potential employees accepting counter offers – winning your candidate with an offer they can’t refuse.

1. Offer the Correct Salary

You are excited about having the candidate who offers bags of potential on board, but then you crunch the numbers and offer a salary that is similar or less than what they are receiving now. Offering a candidate a lower amount on the salary range is insulting for top talent, and it wastes everyone’s time.

While financial incentives may not drive a candidate, it’s almost guaranteed that a counter offer will be better in comparison - and likely would be the decider. If you’ve found the right person for your business, don’t skimp, or you’ll fall at the final hurdle.

2. Be Unique
However, if you know you’re unable to match a candidate’s current salary, that doesn’t mean that you can’t secure the talent. You can win over the candidate by offering a unique, and interesting set of benefits to your employee – how can you stand out from other employers?

Consider what you can offer over competitors: will the candidate experience working with exceptional businesses and fantastic clients? Do you have a social work environment, with outings? Highlight how you’re not offering a simple job but a career opportunity. Whatever you do best, sell it to your candidate and make it incomparable.

3. Let your Recruiter Help

A recruitment company can fight the counter offer battle with you. Recruiters hold the candidate’s hand throughout the whole process and are seen as impartial – positioning themselves as pursuing the candidates best interests. Recruiters are the friendly face that can help candidates after a tough resignation and will be there to listen to their offer dilemmas.

Recruiters offer invaluable aid through conducting role play, or discussing counter offers with candidates – helping them reason through their decision, and explaining why accepting counter-offers is often unwise, due to the displayed disloyalty to the original company, or highlighting the strengths of your business.

With a recruiter on your team, you have extremely beneficial insight into the candidates mind, and far more security against a counter offer.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Discuss Counter Offers

There is no point avoiding the elephant in the room. It is acceptable to discuss counter offers in the interview stage, it will help to open the mind of the candidate and will allow both you, and the candidate to prepare for the situation. Ask how their organisation handle resignations, which will mean they are ready for the scenario when it happens to them, and they know you’re aware of it too.

Another question to ask in the interview is why they want to move on, by having this knowledge you can use this to counteract if a counter offer sways them, it also helps you to create an offer that is tailored to their requirements.

5. Get Commitment on a Start Date

Having a start date imprinted in the candidate’s mind gives them time to prepare their notice, and forms a sense of commitment. Knowing when the candidate plans to hand their notice in means you can offer friendly moral support afterwards. Offering a friendly ear without pushing the candidate into a decision shows what a caring employer you are, which shines in your favour.

6. Plan Progression
The majority of candidates that come to you are looking for a future, not a job. If they’re considering moving on, they may feel like they are stagnating – take advantage of this and outline progression routes.

Offering a six-month performance review from the outset, evidence your commitment to their future. Don’t do this after a counter offer, make sure you are ahead of the game and are already forward-planning for their career.

7. Stay in Touch

Send press releases, newsletters and emails about upcoming business events, or simply call just to say hello. Make the candidate feel welcome, and like they belong.

An excellent way to get them mentally involved in your organisation is to ask their opinion about a business matter, so they feel their opinion is valuable. With this attitude, your new talent will look forward to joining your team.

8. Be Realistic

Finally, with every job offer, it is important to be realistic. Change is a difficult process for many people, and a comfortable old job with added counter offer benefits can be difficult to say no to. Don’t be defeatist, but be ready to accept that counter offers do happen – don’t pin all hopes on one person, and make sure to search for, and consider, multiple candidates. 

For more advice on recruiting the best sales professionals, or to get recruit the top candidates visit our website.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Most Common Sales Roles and the Salary you should expect to pay

According to a candidate survey from totaljobs, 66% of candidates say that salary is what attracts them to a company; this makes it very important for Employers to understand the going rate for the most common sales jobs. Below you will be able to see the most common sales roles and the salary you should expect to pay.

Internal Sales - Internal Sales roles can be a combination of sales, marketing and general administration. The role can often expose you to many different sales and marketing skills and as such an internal sales role can be a great starting point for a career in sales. Salaries are typically £16k - £22k.
Telesales - Encompassing telemarketing, appointment setting, and incoming sales to complex technical solutions sold via the telephone. Often the roles support or 'buddy' with a field sales professional.  Salaries range from £14K to £28K.  Sometimes the 'on target earnings' or OTE is double the basic so the potential to earn can be extremely high.
Field Sales Executive – This is the most common field sales role which is a client facing role and a mix of new business generation and account management.Typical basic salaries are £20K to £32K.

Account Manager Jobs - Usually a field sales or client facing role where you are tasked with maintaining accounts and increasing the account spend. Salaries range from £18K to £70K although typically are in the £24K - £34K bracket.

Business Development Manager Jobs - A more sophisticated new business orientated sales role where accounts are strategically targeted and are normally high valued. Perhaps targeting clients where some business is already being done and the objective is to leverage the account. Salaries are typically £32K - £55K basic salaries.

Channel Sales/Distributor Sales - Selling product through a distribution or wholesale chain the role is often introducing new products, product training, encouraging the distribution staff to sell your product over competitors, setting incentives, etc. Salaries range from £25K to around £45K.

Regional Sales Management/Field Sales Manager -  Managing a team of field based sales professionals this is a people management role where you will mentor, drive and develop your sales team to greater success. Normally your bonus is based upon their performance. Salaries typically range from £32K to £50K.

Sales Manager A hands on management role ensuring that your team are trained and motivated to succeed. Usually you are remunerated on your team hitting their sales performance targets and key performance indicators (KPI's). The role normally has a heavy element of administration - sales forecasting, sales appraisals, etc. Salaries range from £35K to £80K.

Field Sales Engineer - Sales Engineer roles vary widely from component sales to hugely complicated project led solution sales roles. At the more complex end an engineering/science/mathematics qualification is often required and the sale is often won by your technical abilities rather than your sales skills. Salaries range from £22K - £45KBasic.

Pre-sales or Technical sales support - Normally in technical, engineering or IT sectors your role is to support the sales team from a technical capacity in order to 'close the deal'.The role varies enormously between companies as do the salaries as they range from £16K - £60K and sometimes the role is titled Applications Engineer.

Export Sales and International Sales - Selling outside of the UK.  Representing UK manufactured products (or more normally US or Chinese manufactured products!) overseas. From the UK this is typically into Europe or EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Languages and knowledge of customs/cultures are normally required. Salaries range from £25K to £55K Basic.

Sales Director - As Sales Director you are ultimately responsible for all of the commercial aspects of an organisation - bids, tenders, costing, estimating, marketing, etc. Dependent on the size of the business it could be a largely 'desk job' analysing data and performance to a very hands on people management role. Salaries range from £50K to £140K dependent on the size of the business and the industry sector.

Written by Liam Oakes

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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Need to Move Quickly in a Candidate Driven Market

A lot has changed in the since the 'Great Recession' in 2008-09, especially in the 'job market' and many employers have realised the ‘hard way’ that they no longer ‘hold all of the cards’

Whilst there used to be lots of competition for jobs, with clients able to pick and be spoilt for choice, this is no longer the case. Gone are the days of slowly shifting to a candidate driven market over seven year cycles; it is here and, despite Brexit, the Scottish Referendum and other distractions, it has been here since before at least 2012. 

Candidates have a lot of power and are able to 'flex their muscles' when looking for a new role. This means bad news for sluggish hirers as the talent they seek to acquire are receiving multiple job offers in a very short space of time. In addition to that, latest research from ‘Consol Partners’ show that at least 80% of candidates accept the first job offer that they receive. 

This makes it vitally important for all employers to move quickly when recruiting and here’s some straightforward tips to help you speed up your process.

Write A Clear Job Description – This may sound simple but often employers interview candidates that meet their criteria but don’t realise it. They’ve aimed for a target that they haven’t defined and without a job spec they didn’t grasp that they’d actually met their perfect candidate! Several weeks later, after meeting several further candidates that didn’t meet that benchmark, they return to offer the original candidate. Surprise, surprise their perfect candidate has been recruited elsewhere. Save yourself time, and lost opportunity, by having the criteria to recruit against from the outset. Advice on writing job specifications can be found in our Recruitment Plan Template

Agree the Time-frame – Set out an agreed time-frame with colleagues for your recruitment process. Check out our Recruitment Checklist for advice.

Are the Decision Makers there? Be aware of the availability of colleagues involved in your recruitment process. Check their diaries and ‘pencil in’ agreed dates for all interview stages.

Make Quick Decisions Against Agreed Criteria – Don’t take days/weeks to decide if a candidate is the right fit, try to sit down straight after the interview to decide while the candidate is still fresh in your mind.

Trust Your Gut – Hiring decisions need to be a combination of both insight and instinct. Aaron Wallis can help employers add effective recruiting tools into their service which do not necessarily prolong a hiring process. Waiting for references can potentially add another week to the hiring process. We recommend making verbal offers, ‘subject to references’ to ensure that you do not miss out on your perfect candidate.

Shorten the Process – Try not to drag out the process to more than 1st and 2nd interviews, any more than this and the candidate is already likely to have received an offer elsewhere.

Communicate – Things happen in business that ‘blur’ a recruitment process, we get that. However, if you don’t inform candidates that there is a delay, with valid reasons, then they’ll simply assume that you’ve recruited elsewhere.

Moving quickly is likely to be the difference in securing the best talent and it could save you a lot of time, and lost opportunity, in the process.

Written by Liam Oakes

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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: 

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.

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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.
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


  • 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:

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!