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Your Weekly Sales Meeting – A Time For Action Or A Time To Sleep?

ID-10046952 (2)Driving home from a sales meeting recently, I was thinking back on how one person was constantly on his blackberry, dealing with emails (or maybe playing games…I don’t really know) and certainly not actively partaking in the meeting.

Should the chairperson have done or said something to him? Was he being the rudest person on the planet? Or was he sending a silent message to anyone who had the inclination to hear…”I’d rather be somewhere else….anywhere else…than sat here right now”?

We often blame others for not doing what we think they should be doing, in this case contributing and participating in the meeting. But my thoughts were actually not on how the person on the blackberry was behaving, but on why he felt it necessary to not pay any kind of attention to what was going on. He as basically shouting out silently “Don’t ask me to contribute when this is a waste of my time!”

Why do sales meetings often deteriorate into sleep-fests? Can we really expect people to contribute when there’s nothing in it for them? Here’s my take on why sales meetings are often hated:

1) Sales people don’t need to know what’s being covered

2) The meeting has no agenda that will be helpful to the salesperson’s selling role

3) The meeting is run by someone inept at running meetings

4) The meeting would test the patience of Job

5) Most of the meeting is taken up with talk about forms, papers, administration and stuff that bears no relevance to the salesperson’s next call to action

6) The meeting doesn’t have any real-world significance to their selling job

7) The meeting is as boring as Mr Bore presenting a boring speech at a meeting of the boredom committee in Bores-ville


So,how can you make sure that your weekly meetings are a time for action? Here are some ideas:

a) Spend as little time as possible on administration. If you DO have to cover it, see if there’s any information that can be sent beforehand.

b) Don’t cover boring topics. You’ll send them to sleep. Use the meeting to inspire, energise and facilitate.

c) Cover problems AND solutions. Come up with options for people to consider. Identify best ways for discussions to aim for solutions. Don’t pussyfoot around with problems that can’t be solved at the meeting.

d) Include a five/ten-minute input from one of the team on a subject that will enhance everyone’s skills. Things like ‘Top tips for negotiating’ and ‘Ideas for opening calls’. Get one of the team to present it.

e) Show a quick video or DVD on a sales-related topic. Don’t make it cheesy or patronising. Find one that they can learn a good, solid point from.

f) Share good stories about customers who have benefited from your products or services. This will take effort, but will build up a feeling of anticipation for their next call.

g) Make the peripherals important. Having quality refreshments available tells attendees that this is important and that you really care. One manager I worked for actually dipped into his own pocket to buy cream cakes for everyone. It was the topic of conversation for weeks afterwards. And we remembered the points of the meeting as well!

h) Ensure every meeting has a call to action. If it’s just a get-together to disseminate information, really consider if it’s worth everyone’s time. If they really need that information, send i to them beforehand, tell them to read it and develop questions, and then have the meeting to deal with those questions.


It isn’t that hard to have action-oriented meetings. You just need to plan and prepare for it, which is common-sense and shows how much you value the contribution of your team.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training


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Category: Sales | Tags: , , ,

Winning In Business Is A Marathon – Not A Sprint!

ID-100215466I watched the London Marathon with great interest this weekend; I was exhausted just watching these runners from the comfort of my own sofa!

It had me thinking about the motivations for running a marathon and the mentalities of winning.

You have the fun runners; they complete the marathon and prove to themselves that they can actually complete such a gruelling task.

You have the athletes from athletic clubs, striving to beat their previous times and to set a personal best.

And there are the elite, who strive to be the very best and to finish the race first.

It is important to set goals that are achievable and that are relevant to your own individual needs.

If you were Mo Farah, you would be competing with the aim of winning the race and at the very minimum surpassing your personal best.

However if you were running the marathon in full storm trooper gear with heavy boots on just completing it would be the number one goal.

Let’s look at this from a different perspective:

Winning the race in business can come in three forms.

You could start your own business that is self-reliant and can support itself; you can have a well-established company which can grow in profit, revenue and customer base or you could have a market leading establishment which dominates the competition in revenues, profits and in market share.

You have to have a look at your business and then set targets that are achievable and not totally out of reach.

Building up your business follows a similar route to the training of a marathon runner.

Set short terms goals and gradually build up, when somebody decides ‘hey, I am going to run a marathon.’ They don’t just go and do it the next day – it takes time.

Issues will occur during the process, an injury for a marathon runner will delay their preparation and they have changed their plan accordingly. They pin point where the injury is and get the appropriate treatment for the injury to get better – use the same theory with any setbacks.

For the type of business who is just looking to ‘beat their personal best’, celebrate the quick wins when beating your previous target however do not be too downbeat if you don’t achieve the target.

And for the front runner, the key is to avoid complacency, even the elite practice every day so they can perform to their full potential.  Constant continuous improvement and training will keep you at the top of your game and fulfilling that potential.

Remember Rome was not built in a day – success in business is definitely a marathon and not a sprint.

Many Thanks

Ben Lyons

Training Administrator at MTD Training

Ben Lyons copy


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Category: Continuous Improvement | Tags: , ,

7 Things Successful Managers Never Say

ID-100131073How do you measure success?

This is a question that’s been discussed so very often in various settings? Do we mean successful in life in general? Successful in output and production? Successful in prosperity? Health? Financial abundance? Happiness?

So many choices. Yet when we consider what success means in business terms, we often fall back on the common business criteria used to judge successful enterprises.

I was discussing this with someone I would consider successful in business only a week or two ago. A multi-million pound turnover company in London was using our services to help them improve their emotional intelligence among their executives and senior managers. I asked him why he thought it was necessary to invest in such an area.

His answer was intriguing. After covering the usual ideas that many consider a successful company to be judged by, he said ‘The real way I will judge the success of the program will be how our managers feel at the end of it, and a year or two later’.

So, his criteria for success was how people will feel about themselves and their business after it’s finished.

One discussion point we had was how he felt some of the managers didn’t understand the effect some things they say had on their team members. I asked him to elaborate.

He mentioned that often people would come out of an hour-long meeting and discuss (for a long time afterward) just one sentence that was said by one manager. Words make a big impression on people and they often don’t realise how deep the feelings can go.

Here, then, is my take on 7 things successful managers should never say. Or if they do, they must take the consequences for the effects they have:

1) “Just Do It!” It may have made Nike billions of dollars but it doesn’t help convince anybody of the reasons it should be done. Even if you feel frustrated or exasperated by the current situation, be more sympathetic to what the feelings of the other people are and what you want them to feel.

2) “Other people can do it…why can’t you?” This smacks of the ‘parent-child’ relationship that many managers take into adulthood. They think that by treating the person as a child, they will miraculously change their talent and skill level and actual are able to complete the task that was previously beyond them. Instead, they identify what really needs to be done and then coach the person to achieve the ideal result.

3) “Trust me” Erm, sorry, this smacks of desperation. If you have to actually request someone to trust you, rather than getting them to trust you through your actions and attitudes, then you’ve probably lost them anyway.

4) “Do me a favour and get this done!” Proper leadership isn’t about asking for favours. It’s about getting people to WANT to achieve goals by carrying out the tasks that will drive the business forward willingly, with passion and creativity.

5) “No-one can do this as well as I can…so I’d better do it myself”  This may actually be a factual statement, i.e. it might be right. But it speaks volumes about your management style more than anything else. What it states is that I haven’t got the inclination to coach someone else to help me achieve this, so I’ll prove to everyone how good I am and do it all myself. The fact that you spend an average of 13 hours a day at the office doesn’t hit home. No…your insecurities are well-served by showing how indispensable you are.

6) “If you don’t come in early and stay late, you’re not committed” So, you’re measuring a person’s commitment by how much time they actually spend in the workplace. Even though they may be bored stiff and not really achieving anything, the fact they are there makes you think they are committed to you and the business. Instead, how about measuring their output and quality during the working hours? Commitment should be measured by how dedicated they are to getting the results you require, rather than how many hours they do on the job.

7) “I just can’t motivate my staff” Motivation is a subject close to everyone’s heart. But when you think you have the ability to motivate everyone in the team, you run the risk of trying to control that which is outside your sphere of influence. the fact is you can’t motivate anyone else. What you can do is encourage people, enthuse them and provide opportunities for them to motivate themselves. Thinking you can throw money at a problem or get people motivated by rah-rah talks and your own charisma is missing the point. Get people to recognise their own motivations, help them achieve the goals that drive them forward, and you’ll see the motivation in your team members soar.

So, seven points that you won’t hear successful managers say. I’m looking forward to making sure our client in London identifies how his executive team measure up against these success factors!

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training


(Image by pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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Pulp Fiction Or Fact? Is It ‘The End’ For Paper?

ID-100209854I would hate to be a leader in the publishing industry these days. Most magazines already have a digital format but how long do you go before stopping your paper versions altogether? Sales of music magazine NME hit their lowest yet this year, falling below 20,000 copies per issue during the second half of 2013. ABC circulation figures show that the 62-year-old publication sold an average of just 18,184 a week. This was a drop of 21% from December 2012, when each issue was selling about 23,000 copies. Over all circulation has dropped year on year since 2009.

The costs involved in printing and distributing hard copy magazines is incredibly high and they must surely be losing money on the printed version. How long do you leave it before pulling the plug and going digital only?

These sorts of decisions are the stuff of nightmares for business leaders as getting it ‘wrong’ can be catastrophic both from a business and a career perspective. Market research will help but ultimately some people will be disappointed. I had a school friend that had every copy of NME in archive from 1972 onwards! Imagine how he would feel. There are obviously many benefits with digital only publishing including cost and environmental savings. Therefore the business case is strongly against print.

Despite the drop in circulation NME have actually seen advertising revenues increase by 49% over the past 12 months. The NME website gets 1.4m users per week, while the digital edition of the magazine sells 1,307 copies a week, and thousands of people attend NME live events and concert tours. It is clear that NME has adapted and diversified well in the digital age and has found lots of other ways to monetise their brand and to reach their consumers.

There is still the hard question of when do they stop the printed version? Do they take a Bank of England (Mark Carney “Forward Guidance”) approach and tell everybody they will stop when a certain KPI such as circulation falls below a set figure? That’s probably not a great option as it makes business planning far more difficult. Personally I would set a date at least 12 months ahead and announce the date of the final edition as early as possible. What would you do?

I am still amazed at just how much paper post I get at my home office. I fill a paper basket weekly with envelopes and junk mail. So much of what comes through could have been perfectly well delivered by email communication AND with email you get the option of delivery and read receipts.

I sign up wherever possible for e-billing and think more businesses should encourage people to do so by passing on some of the cost savings. There will always be a need to send some paperwork by traditional post and based on the success of the privatisation of Royal Mail I can’t see them being out of work anytime soon.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training


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Category: Change Management | Tags: , , ,

What They Don’t Teach You At University & College To Prepare You For The Job Market & Life – Welcome To The Real World


Click on the cover to download

With the job market so crowded it can be tough as a graduate to get on to the first rung of the ladder in terms of your career.

We have trained thousands of graduates over the years and employed lots of them too so we understand the frustrations and fears that the modern day graduate has.

I wondered if there was something that we could do to help prepare the graduates of today whilst still at University or College to prepare them better for when their studies come to an end.

Hence we have put together this free report. Please download it, share it with the graduates you know and we hope it helps.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat Profile Pic

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

Download the FREE “Welcome to the Real World” Report by clicking on the cover at the top of the page



Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,





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