Thursday, 28 April 2011
The first step to professional selling is product/service knowledge, learning the key attributes, those unique selling points that differentiate you from your competitors. This makes sense for all products, but most importantly for the more technical sectors, but is product knowledge enough for your sales team?
The recent economy has meant that competition is intensifying and businesses are on tighter budgets. Sales people will find themselves having to develop improved sales techniques rather than relying solely on product knowledge.
The average person can learn product knowledge as well as the highest sales performer, yet the difference after this is what else is applied when selling. The sales professional will also have the experience and training in place that will allow them to place the product knowledge in line with the knowledge of the business, industry or sector that the prospective client is in. Aligning this knowledge together will allow the client to place trust in you because you have applied the product to their problem.
You don’t need a sales training course to teach you product knowledge, yet you do to attain further knowledge on sales techniques. No one is expected to become a proficient chef after cooking one meal and it is the same for becoming a successful sales person after closing one sale.
Going on a sales training course will provide you with new knowledge that you can use to further enhance your skills in the field. The common saying is Knowledge is power, however you will argue that true power is what you do with that knowledge, using the knowledge learnt in the classroom to become a true sales professional.
Thursday, 21 April 2011
The UK has said to foreign students, ‘speak English or stay out’ in a bid to reduce bogus students and challenge language schools accreditation. Theresa May, UK home secretary has issued this warning in a bid to reduce the amount of migrants using education as a back door into Britain. With an influx of under graduates applying to courses this will be good news to English students, however the there will be a huge deficit in University funds which foreign graduates have previously filled.
In particular the changes to the student visa rules will be aimed at private education institutions that are seen to bend the visa rules, and to only attract the “best and brightest” to try and cut visa numbers by up to 80,000.
Another blow is the withdrawal of their eligibility to work being withdrawn at private-sector colleges and working only 20 hours a week whilst at university. This stance has seen a lot of opposition, including Nick Bray, managing director at the London Study Centre where many students are doing a year abroad from their university to study English. "While some will be able to study without having to work, the fact is that many of them want to work part-time, not just to earn some pocket money, but also to improve their English. Just because these students don't typically go on to university doesn't mean they aren't the 'best and brightest'," he said.
In the end even if a student has a valid English language test certificate of at least B1 or B2, a UK border agency officer still has the power to bar students entry into the county if they believe their spoken English doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.
Many native graduates believe that the large amount of overseas students have very patchy English, and when they come to study more in depth degrees such as law that require an in depth knowledge of the language, it is hard to understand how they can pass the language tests. Their difficulty with the language can also place further burden on universities and lectures whose grades may fall and reduce the overall rating of the university. It also can disrupt the rest of the students on the course, if for example an English Student went to study at a French or German University, they would be required to have a good understanding of the language, if not to a high standard. Many Nations already impose barriers to foreign students coming to study in their country, so what is different about the UK doing it?
Many see Universities has money grabbers because the value foreign students can bring in compared to natives. However many believe a foundation year which would give the overseas students the help they need to improve their English to an undergraduate level. Also it is unfair to many overseas students who really do want to improve the English and study at some of the best universities in the world, therefore offer a trial period where they have a language test over a period of time to see their improvement.
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Putting these cultures together means that your workforce will be motivated by different things, as your organisation grows in size the management function will become multifaceted.
How then can managers identify the needs that must be met to ensure than they have a content highly motivated workforce? Without going into too much theory it can be said that managers may motivate staff through a number of ways; incentives, ensuring basic needs (e.g. food, shelter, water) and higher needs (recognition, career progression, responsibility).
Basic needs can essentially be met by almost any job these days, with the enforcement of minimum wage and with housing and other services provided by the state, meeting these needs may not be a sufficient motivator for staff any more even if it is no doubt still important. Highly financially driven individuals such as those you may find in sales for example are unlikely to be satisfied by an employer that only meets their basic needs, many other staff have ‘higher aspirations’.
The next potential motivator for those with higher aspirations, perhaps incentivising them is the only way forward; this can be done using a number of methods, depending on background, lifestyle and other situations. The most recognised way to incentivise an individual is through financial incentives. This is a particularly popular way to incentivise staff in sales focused environment, however this can also be a very costly way to approach motivation, and this is not also the most effective in the long term.
In the long term managers need to allow staff to meet their higher needs, these needs could include career progression, additional responsibilities. These needs can be met in a variety of ways, one method we believe in at Pareto Law is sales training, you can train staff throughout their career, helping them to progress and teaching them new skills that they can apply to their day to day work, allowing them to reach greater heights to fulfil their higher needs.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Do your research before going to the meeting, although you might know the problem the business faces, knowing what the company does is a big help. Being able to ask specific questions about the company, also this will allow you to relate your product or service to the business.
Frequently sales people will make small talk but then will go off into a presentation of their product or service. Without understanding what problem the client faces or how the product or service could be used. Although the research of the company may help, it is important to find out the clients wants or needs before trying to sell.
When entering a meeting, the client can try and take the lead by telling you their problem then continuously picking at you for answers to their questions. This means that you don’t get your point across, and fail to build rapport with the client. Keeping control of the conversation allows you to talk about all the things you want. It is important to keep a balance of who talks, just giving a presentation then leaving won’t let the client remember you.
Once you have asked all the right questions and have given the answers the client wanted, it is important to follow up with an e-mail or telephone conversation to remind the client about you. It is also a good opportunity to give the client any information you may have left out. Although the first meeting might not acquire the sale, because you have built a rapport with the client if they ever have the need in the future for your product/service then they will automatically think of you. Therefore it is important to think more long term when creating a relationship with your prospective client in order to achieve the sale.
Thursday, 7 April 2011
It has been reported today that MPs may be facing an investigation regarding their practices with graduate interns, it has been indicated that MPs are abusing the intern system by hiring interns on a unpaid basis or below minimum wage, it is thought that hundreds of MP’s are involved. A report from the Unite union found that an incredible 18,000 hours a week were undertaken by unpaid interns on behalf of MP’s; with many of them not even receiving money for travel expenses or food.
This is an appalling abuse of the intern system from individuals that should be leading from the front, and with high unemployment especially amongst graduates at a 17 year high and with 20% of young people aged 16-24 out of full time employment it is completely inexcusable. No wonder this practice is rife amongst other industries, including media and law, when the people who should be leading the way aren’t.Mps, interns, internships, graduate interns, graduate, unite union, unemployment, graduates, employers.
Internships can be an excellent way to find graduates and other skilled people who may not have the practical skills at the moment but can grow into the role and the advantage for employers are the lower wages that come with this, but for MP’s to hire interns on a free basis is damaging for the internship system, firstly it excludes many people from less privileged backgrounds and this has been widely commented on this week, secondly the economy cannot benefit from the tax that a working person would provide in the same role, not just their tax though but also their spending in the wider economy.
Whether anything will be done about this remains to be seen, for the mean time graduates interns and interns in general will continue to be exploited by the current system.
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
This industry is not just economically beneficial it is also vital to international relations. An all-party committee of MPs submitted a report which criticised the government plans to reduce net immigration and introduce new controls on students applying to study in the UK.
There is a lack of clarity as to what the government plans are, with many Britain’s fearing that foreign students will study elsewhere because we aren’t as welcoming as other countries. Many British students will welcome the changes because of the competition for each graduate job.
The argument is that students aren’t immigrants, “They come from all over the world to study here, contributing to the economy both through payment of fees and wider spending. Whilst we are right to seek to eliminate bogus colleges and bogus students, we need to ensure that we continue to attract the brightest and the best... if the door is shut they will simply study elsewhere." according to the Chairman of the committee, Keith Vaz MP.
It is clear that this is vital to the economy, with even students who come to study a ‘sub-degree’ can alone be worth £1.5bn and create 30,000 jobs in the sector. For a sector therefore that provides so much, is it right for the government to target this in their cuts to university?