I was absolutely delighted yesterday to discover I was ‘Top of the World’ having risen four places to NUMBER ONE on the Riseboarders ‘Top Sales Performance Gurus’ leaderboard. This global leaderboard recognises “Thought leaders in sales performance management.” The scores are based on social media influence.
When I launched The Sales Performance Company Ltd in 2011 I never planned on conquering the world. I wasn’t even interested in creating a huge business.
My first goal in the business was to simply survive!
Starting any new business is a risk but to launch a learning business where I would be the ‘teacher’, having NEVER taught formally in my life, some might say was plain crazy!
I had however been ‘teaching’ sales people informally since the mid 1980s and I cringe today at the things I used to teach my team of self-employed financial services agents. Imagine The Wolf of Wall Street (minus the drugs and hookers) and you will get the picture.
The stuff I used to teach back then was all about what we as sales people would ‘do to prospects’, the finely tuned scripts that must not be deviated from. These were littered with fancy word games, guilt trips and crafty closes. It worked at the time because the ‘mood’ of the Nation was aspirational. People aspired for things they could not afford and we obliged with equity releases and consolidation loans.
So when did my epiphany occur? I don’t think it was sudden but a creeping realisation over a number of years. As a sales person I absolutely loathed being sold to, I would tell the sales person unlucky enough to be dealing with me that “I’m a sales person too” so they could “cut the crap and just give me the facts!”
Later in my own sales career I started using new approaches, ones that were so different to my competitors, that I stood out as being demonstrably different. My focus was less about my products or services and it didn’t focus on the prospects business either, it focussed far more on my prospects prospects/clients. By understanding THEIR clients first, I could then show the prospect how I could help them ‘do better business’ by working with me.
My fascination was for BUYERS not sellers. I observed buyers in great detail and of course we have an easy buyer to observe, OURSELVES. How do you go about choosing the goods and services you need in life? What about the things you need for your businesses? What do you like and dislike about sales people? Where do they add value & where do they detract from your buying experience?
By understanding modern buyer psychology and modern buying processes, I was able to reverse engineer sales processes so that they actually supported the buyer journey. Most sales training teaches how to manipulate the buying process, which just doesn’t work with informed and educated buyers.
I did succeed in the classroom, I have also trained lots of sales people ‘live’ (in the field). Why did it work? Well here’s some comments I’ve had over the past few years:
- It’s because I treat every sales person I teach as my customer
- Stuart ‘lives’ this stuff on a daily basis
- The training involved ME
- A breath of fresh air compared to other sales training I have been given
- I learned so much but I also had great fun
- After that training course I’m now a convert to ‘learning’
- I’ve kept in contact with Stuart & he is now both mentor and friend
What is especially pleasing about attaining the number one spot, is that it recognises ‘thought leadership’. I teach delegates in both sales training and social media courses that I run, the importance of becoming a thought leader in their sector.
How do you start to become a thought leader? Well you start writing blogs for a START!
Thank you for all the congratulatory messages. I now need to maintain the highest of standards that I have achieved!
Stuart Allen @StuartAllenFCMI
01905 384314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Providing social media and sales training in Worcester, Worcestershire and across the UK.