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Category Archive: Sales Training

  1. How salespeople can get a strong work-life balance by prioritising more effectively

    To be effective in sales you need to be confident, energetic and carefully avoid burnout and stress. Achieving a positive work-life balance is crucial for anyone looking to do great things in sales – and the key to ensuring that you have the time and space for a work-life balance is being able to prioritise. Learning how to plan and prioritise will help you to create freedom in your schedule to enjoy a work-life balance that fuels you to be a more productive salesperson.

    Planning and prioritising tips

    It’s important to be realistic

    Being effective doesn’t mean ticking absolutely everything off your list in a superhumanly short space of time. It is far better to set realistic and achievable goals for your day that you can complete in a way that leaves you the time to do them properly and to finish your workload within a realistic timeframe. If you’re just loading yourself up with too much and not being realistic about what you can actually get done then you will struggle to achieve any work-life balance at all.

    Start with the tasks that you really don’t want to do

    If there are less interesting or appealing jobs then the likelihood is that these will end up being postponed and delayed because you don’t really want to do them. So, tackle these first so that you don’t waste any time putting them off.

    Reorganise the way that you handle contacts and emails

    Instead of constantly being available by email, checking and responding as emails come in, allocate time to batch process all your communications. It’s often far more efficient to sit down and plough through all your emails within a specified time frame than to constantly interrupt what you’re doing. Apply the 2 minute time limit to each one – give yourself two minutes to action the email and then move on. If it can’t be done in that time then add it to a task list and start the next message.

    Turn off your tech

    If you want to achieve that work-life balance then you’ve got to prioritise your task list over the distractions that technology like smart phones can provide. Give yourself the opportunity to work undisturbed by turning off all your technology and prioritising getting tasks done. You’ll find that you get through jobs much more quickly and that you will be left with more space in your schedule to achieve a better work-life balance as a result.

    Use technology to your advantage

    Apps and smart phones can be a distraction but they can also be immensely useful when it comes to helping you to prioritise more effectively. Use calendars and reminders to ensure that you remain organised and focused on completing the essential tasks that will free up time for other things.

    Our Planning & Prioritisation course is designed to provide a busy salesperson with tools to better manage daily challenges to help create more work-life balance. The result is not only more productive outcomes but also greater fulfilment on a daily basis too. Book your place today.

  2. How can you close deals faster and more effectively?

    The balance between professionalism and assertiveness is a tough one to strike. However, it’s essential to ensure that an approach has enough measure of both when it comes to closing deals. Faster and more effective closing can help to drive impressive growth so there are many benefits to improving this as a skill set. So, how do you achieve more impressive closing without crossing the line of professionalism?

    Always be authentic

    It’s fine to prepare for your sales pitch and to have a clear idea of how you want it to go. However, for the interaction to feel real you need to avoid a situation where it doesn’t progress like a real conversation. Customers will always get a sense of how genuine you are and whether you really care about their business or you’re just trying to close the sale. So, it’s important to ensure that you convey authenticity and interest, as well as keeping the closing in mind.

    Make sure you’re speaking to the right person

    You need to ensure that the conversation you’re having is with the real decision maker. Many people in senior positions will send in a junior or an information gatherer first, neither of whom you can close. So, it’s important to try to establish that your meeting is with the person who is driving the decision-making.

    Anticipate your obstacles in advance

    Problems and objections are the biggest barriers to closing a deal effectively and at speed. So, it’s often worth identifying these well in advance so you’re prepared to deal with them if they do arise. Sit down with the rest of your team and try to come up with a comprehensive list of what the potential objections could be. Allow your team to be creative and think outside the box and then create potential solutions or responses for each one. If you’re presented with an objection that you hadn’t thought of when you’re making the closing, take a little time to think and avoid a solution that sounds forced or false.

    Use deadlines

    Creating a sense of urgency can be incredibly useful when it comes to closing. Deadlines do this very effectively, whether they relate to a discount that is about to expire or an offer that has a limited time to run. This isn’t about pushing the customer or forcing them to rush into anything but creating an urgency that shows that yours is the right product or service for right now.

    Who are your competitors?

    Acquiring some knowledge of what competitors are offering, and how they are offering it, is essential. Make sure you have a good understanding of competitor businesses so that you know you’re offering something that they are not.

    Don’t get distracted

    Focus on the facts that you have and your areas of expertise. Avoid getting drawn into speculation or arguments that will distract from your closing goal.

    Our Winning Ways to Close a Deal course is ideal for those looking to learn how to achieve both professional and assertive closing habits.

  3. How can you close deals faster and more effectively?

    The balance between professionalism and assertiveness is a tough one to strike. However, it’s essential to ensure that an approach has enough measure of both when it comes to closing deals. Faster and more effective closing can help to drive impressive growth so there are many benefits to improving this as a skill set. So, how do you achieve more impressive closing without crossing the line of professionalism?

    Always be authentic

    It’s fine to prepare for your sales pitch and to have a clear idea of how you want it to go. However, for the interaction to feel real you need to avoid a situation where it doesn’t progress like a real conversation. Customers will always get a sense of how genuine you are and whether you really care about their business or you’re just trying to close the sale. So, it’s important to ensure that you convey authenticity and interest, as well as keeping the closing in mind.

    Make sure you’re speaking to the right person

    You need to ensure that the conversation you’re having is with the real decision maker. Many people in senior positions will send in a junior or an information gatherer first, neither of whom you can close. So, it’s important to try to establish that your meeting is with the person who is driving the decision-making.

    Anticipate your obstacles in advance

    Problems and objections are the biggest barriers to closing a deal effectively and at speed. So, it’s often worth identifying these well in advance so you’re prepared to deal with them if they do arise. Sit down with the rest of your team and try to come up with a comprehensive list of what the potential objections could be. Allow your team to be creative and think outside the box and then create potential solutions or responses for each one. If you’re presented with an objection that you hadn’t thought of when you’re making the closing, take a little time to think and avoid a solution that sounds forced or false.

    Use deadlines

    Creating a sense of urgency can be incredibly useful when it comes to closing. Deadlines do this very effectively, whether they relate to a discount that is about to expire or an offer that has a limited time to run. This isn’t about pushing the customer or forcing them to rush into anything but creating an urgency that shows that yours is the right product or service for right now.

    Who are your competitors?

    Acquiring some knowledge of what competitors are offering, and how they are offering it, is essential. Make sure you have a good understanding of competitor businesses so that you know you’re offering something that they are not.

    Don’t get distracted

    Focus on the facts that you have and your areas of expertise. Avoid getting drawn into speculation or arguments that will distract from your closing goal.

    Our Winning Ways to Close a Deal course is ideal for those looking to learn how to achieve both professional and assertive closing habits.

  4. How to sell face-to-face to your customers without seeming pushy

    Effective selling is an art that involves much more than just a pushy sales patter. Everything, from how you prepare to what you say and do, will have an influence over whether or not you excel at face-to-face selling. The key to achieving great face-to-face sales is to get your message across without being pushy – that way your customers are much more likely to take positive action.

    Know your customer

    Effective selling is not just about knowing your own business, products and services, it’s also crucial to have a good understanding of who you’re trying to sell to. What do your customers want and how can your business give it to them?

    Be concise

    The most effective salespeople understand the value of keeping the conversation short when it comes to making an impact. Don’t waste your customer’s time – or your own – with a lengthy sales pitch that is only 30% information and 70% useless or pushy chat.

    Align your products or services with their need

    A sales pitch that focuses purely on how wonderful a product is will be almost useless if there is no alignment with what this particular customer actually needs. So, make sure you highlight how your products or service will help them specifically.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions

    Interaction is key to engagement and asking questions is a great way to get customers to be more focused on the conversation. Use questions to find out more about customer needs, for example, “I noticed your website states ____ – how are you currently achieving this?”

    Make sure you answer any questions the customer asks

    If you’re faced with a direct question, always answer it. Dodging the issue or fudging an answer will immediately impact on customer trust and impede any potential sale. Answer the question with information, data, explanations and examples. Avoid waffle or spin.

    Show your customer how much you care about what you do

    There are few things that are more convincing than someone who is genuinely passionate about a product or service. If you really believe in what you’re offering then the chances are that your customer will too so don’t be afraid to let that passion show.

    Be creative when you’re selling

    A dry, uninspiring sales chat is rarely effective – you can increase your chances of success by being more creative in the way that you approach pitching your product.

    Know your market

    It’s important that you’re able to show an understanding of where your business sits in the market so that you can demonstrate why your products and services are unique and better than competitors.

    Regardless of the outcome always follow up

    It’s not always possible to accurately interpret customer reaction to a sales conversation so it’s always worth following up. What may have seemed like a rather unenthusiastic response could have changed, since you spoke, into a firm commitment.

    Our “The Client Meeting – Face to Face Selling” course is designed to help anyone improve selling face-to-face to customers without being pushy.

  5. 7 tips to successful cold calling

    Cold calling can be tough to do but also represents a great opportunity to generate new business and reach out to potential customers. For those who struggle with this critical skill, there are some simple steps to improve the way you approach cold calling to ensure that you have greater success.

    1. Remember that it’s not about you

    Once you’ve opened up the conversation, stop talking about you, your business or why you’re calling. Instead, switch to asking questions of the person you’re speaking to. Client-centred selling requires a focus on the customer, their wants and needs, with a view to identifying how your product or service could address them.

    2. Prepare your questions in advance…

    When you’re cold calling it’s easy to waste time on unhelpful questions and you may lose your prospect by doing so. Take the time to work out thoughtful questions that each have a purpose in advance of making the call. Your questions should engage the person you’re speaking to and make them feel that taking the time to answer those questions is in their interest. Ask the questions in a logical order so that the conversation flows and try opening each question with a benefit, such as “if you could create the ideal circumstances for your business to thrive, what would you change?”

    3. …But avoid a script

    There is little more off-putting for a prospect receiving a cold call than to hear someone reading from a script. The most successful cold callers know that you have to engage your prospect quickly, establish a rapport and find a way to elicit information that feels personal to the individual. So, have questions ready but try to integrate them into the conversation, rather than using them to provide an inflexible structure.

    4. Stay relaxed

    Your prospect is much more likely to be open to your suggestions, and to volunteer essential information, if they are relaxed. So, it’s key to ensure that you keep the tone of the conversation friendly and open and don’t make the person on the other end of the phone feel anxious or tense. In particular, avoid aggressive selling, overwhelming them with information and not leaving any space for them to speak.

    5. Focus on information gathering first and foremost

    When you’re cold calling, your goal should be to find out about the prospect and establish a basic link. What are their pain points, what do they need and what kind of goals do they have? Take notes, listen and start building a genuine relationship that can progress to selling later.

    6. Establish what the customer’s trigger is

    If you obtain one piece of information from a cold call it should be to find out what will be the customer’s buying trigger. What would cause this customer to move to make a purchase and what might stop them? This is key information that will be instrumental in whether you’re eventually able to make a sale.

    7. Don’t overwhelm your prospect

    Keep the conversation simple, low key and lean. Avoid delivering so much pressure and information that your prospect feels totally overwhelmed and hangs up.

    If cold calling is not one of your strengths there is an easy way to change that – our How to Be Great at Telephone Cold Calling half day course can help you to turn your skills around.

  6. 10 ways to become an effective sales manager

    Effective sales management requires a range of key skills, from developing marketing strategy to using all the available sales tools to optimise your team’s results. If you’re looking to become a more effective sales manager then these are our top 10 ways to do it.

    1. Don’t get confused about who you should be focusing on

    Your primary stakeholders are the individual people on your sales team – the sales manager role is a leadership position so don’t get bogged down purely by the sales side. If you’re going to meet your targets then you have to ensure that the rest of the team meets theirs.

    2. Learn to manage effectively

    Being a great sales manager means understanding how to lead the team – the most effective way to do that is often to start by acknowledging that everyone on the team is unique and has different needs and opportunities that you’ll need to take into account when managing.

    Throw out the hierarchies

    Old school prescriptive and hierarchical approaches to sales management have been abandoned in favour of more collaborative and empathetic working. Listen to your team.

    3. Start with your own success

    It can be useful to go back over your own sales experience and identify what it was that made you successful. Break down the different components to your success so that you can look to replicate it with the members of your sales team where appropriate.

    4. Set goals for your team

    It will be crucial to unambiguously define expectations so that your sales team understands what is expected of them. Supplying the team with meaningful metrics can also give the people you’re working with tools for managing the process.

    5. A change of perspective is going to be essential

    If you’ve come from a sales role then you may be used to being selfish with your time, ignoring calls and keeping others at arm’s length so that you can get on with meeting your targets. That’s a perspective that could be incredibly damaging for a sales manager so it’s essential to shift to a more open and engaged way of working. Your time is not your own as a sales manager and your job is to give it to others to enable them to succeed.

    6. Let go of the selling

    It’s no longer your responsibility to make sales – it’s now up to you to coach others on to making sales achievements.

    Don’t try to shape everyone in your own image

    It’s a good starting point to look at your own success and use this as a guide for the sales team. But you also have to remember that everyone in the team is an individual and what drives you to success may not work for others.

    Be the coach

    Motivate your team, support them and guide them if you want to get the best results.

    Get some help

    There are lots of resources out there designed to smooth the transition to sales manager – our Sales Management course, for example, will focus on how to best use your resources and maximise your team’s results.

  7. Improve your closing skills, starting with these 3 tips

    Being a good closer can make a sales career. If you can master the skills and instincts that combine to get great results then you will find yourself on a fast track to success. Not every sale is predictable and there is no method to guarantee perfect results every time. However, there are some simple ways to improve your closing skills, starting with these 3 tips.

    Create a sense of urgency

    People are always prompted to action if they believe that something is on offer that could be gone imminently. That’s why creating a sense of urgency is such an effective way to improve your closing skills. If you’re faced with someone who is open to buying but, for some reason, just not taking the final steps to making it happen then employing this technique can help to get them over the line. The key is to offer something that they might want – a benefit, a discount or a free promotion – and use this to help convert a prospect into a sale.

    Remind the customer of what is on offer

    This is often called summarising and provides an opportunity to remind the person you’re speaking to of what a great choice this is for them. This could be something as simple as reiterating the deal that has been agreed with a focus on the value that they’re getting and the benefits to the customer of going ahead. It’s a good idea to try to keep the tone conversational so that what you’re saying doesn’t feel too much like a sales pitch, as this can be off-putting for some customers who prefer a subtler style of close. The key throughout the closing process will be to have identified what the needs of this particular customer are and then to use this summary to reinforce why the products or services that you’re selling provide a solution to those needs.

    Ask a question

    Sometimes, closing with statements can end badly if the customer simply shuts the conversation down. For other prospects a statement will feel too forceful and also be off-putting. Part of improving closing skills is working out what kind of person you’re talking to and whether they are more likely to appreciate an alternative.

    The alternative here is to ask a question, such as “Do you think this product will provide a solution to the problem we’ve talked about?” If the answer is yes then you have a commitment in your hands. However, if the answer is no this is an opportunity to find out why – as opposed to simply letting the customer go. Discovering the prospect’s hesitations can be very useful at this stage, as they can potentially be discussed and overcome. A question also leaves the door open to further selling.

    Our Advanced Closing Skills course is designed to help you refine this essential skill set. Through role-play and questionnaires we analyse your closing technique and highlight areas for improvement. Get in touch with PTP today to find out more.

  8. How can you measure ROI on your sales training?

    Sales training is a highly effective way to improve team performance and boost overall results. However, when it comes to quantifying its impact it’s far less simple to do than with more numbers based and easier to attribute investments. Measuring the ROI on sales training is challenging, mostly because calculating the return is quite a difficult job. There are a number of reasons for this:

    • Return on sales training is not instant. It may take some time to appear and, depending on the length of the sales cycle, the actual return could only materialise several months in the future.
    • The impact of sales training is often felt right across the business. Pinpointing the direct return of sales training is not that easy as the return could be disparate. You’ll often find that the results of sales training are broad and everyone, from the CEO down will want to take the credit for it.
    • We frequently simply use the wrong metrics. When you’re looking to measure ROI on anything the first instinct is often to look at increased sales revenue as the right metric to work with. At first glance this does seem to make sense – the initial investment was financial and so the return should be identifiable in that way too. However, the issue there is that an increase in revenue could be the result of many factors – not just training – and so any measurements you try to make relating to sales training may not be accurate.

    Metrics: the options

    So, if sales revenue isn’t an option when it comes to measuring ROI on sales training what else can you use? There are two other potential metrics that could provide accurate and actionable insights into the impact that sales training is having. The first of these is sales activities. This could be anything from making sales calls and attending training, to accounts plans that are completed. Unfortunately, in the same way as measuring a business result like revenue, attempting to use sales activities to calculate ROI can be a bit of a stretch.

    The second metric that is likely to have a much greater impact is sales objectives. This would cover any goal that you’re setting for a sales team, whether that’s close rates, customer retention or the acquisition of new customers. It’s here that you will often be able to see the most obvious correlation between investment made in sales training and results.

    Why does the sales objective make more sense?

    There is a far more direct correlation between training and the sales objective – and it can be better quantified. For example, you might look into investing in training to generate more new customer acquisitions. Although acquiring new customers may also contribute to other metrics such as business results like revenue, there is a direct and measurable link between a training programme designed to increase new acquisitions and the number of acquisitions that you make. So, if you invest in training for the purpose of a sales objective such as this, by looking at whether that objective was achieved (and how) you will find it much easier to measure the ROI.

    Training is increasingly a crucial way for businesses to evolve and drive up returns of all types – if you’d like more information on the training options we offer please get in touch with a member of the PTP team today.

  9. How can sales training improve the performance of your business?

    Training is important within your business, but training your sales team can have a huge impact on the performance of your business in a range of different areas. Training your sales team can reap benefits within the sales team itself and to the wider connections of your company. Here are some ways that sales training can improve the performance of your business:

    Generating more sales

    It goes without saying that the most obvious improvement of training your sales team is that your sales figures should increase. Proper training will allow your sales team to work to the best of their ability and therefore to maximise on their ability to sell your products or services.

    Higher staff retention

    Meeting and exceeding sales targets can be motivating for your sales team, whilst you might choose to offer other incentives too. Empowering your employees through training to be the best sales people that they can be will encourage high levels of staff retention.

    Greater customer relationships

    Satisfied and well-trained staff will build the greatest customer relationships as they’re trained in areas like how they should be dealing with enquiries, and the processes that they should follow. This means they can provide targeted advice and act quickly to resolve any issues, as they are trained in the procedures that need to take place.

    Repeat customers and loyalty

    Customers that have spoken with trained sales people will have an overall better customer experience, which can not only increase sales but can lead to repeat business, recommendations to others and higher levels of loyalty.

    Reflect your company ethos

    Consistently training your staff, when they are new and at set periods throughout their employment as refresher training, helps the experience that each of your customers has to reflect your company ethos. This will boost your sales through both positive customer experience combined with effective sales techniques.

    Sales training made easy

    Training your staff can be costly and take up a lot of time and resources that you simply don’t have in-house. If you’re looking for sales training for your employees, get in touch with PTP to discuss your requirements today on 01509 889632.

  10. Management Training – PTP Exhibits in London Olympia

    Management and Sales Training courses showcased in London Olympia by PTP

    May 11-12 2016

    Management and Sales training will be explained by a number of PTP trainers and consultants at this prestigious London training event the CIPD Learning & Development Show.

    All 200 + PTP Management and Sales training courses run in central London and 6 other major UK cities.

    Our most popular management and sales programmes are listed below. Click on the links to view timetables, testimonials and forthcoming dates:

    Consultative Selling
    Developing Major Accounts
    Finance for Non-Finance Managers
    First Line Manager Skills
    Influencing Skills
    Introduction to Management & Supervisory Skills
    Key Selling Skills
    Management by Coaching
    Managing Major Accounts 2- day course
    More Advanced Finance for Non-Finance Managers
    Performance Review Skill
    Project Management
    Selling for Non-Sales Professionals
    Time Management

    Below are links for free registration to the exhibition and how to pay and book for conference tickets. We are exhibiting on stand 384 so if you can come, we hope to see you there.

    Top reasons to attend the CIPD Learning & Development Show:

    • Hear from thought leaders who are already putting the future of L&D into practice in the masterclasses
    • Learn a new approach to training and development at the world learning cafes – interactive learning at its best
    • Build your network and meet other professionals facing the same challenges as you at speed networking
    • Meet the PTP team, receive a lucky dip prize and a £100 voucher against any PTP training course

    Venue: Olympia London

    Date: 11–12 May 2016

    Register for the FREE exhibition

    Find out more about the exhibition

    Book your conference sessions now

    Find out more about the conference

    We hope to see you there!

    To view more details about PTP’s management and sales training courses please go to www.ptp.co.uk

In-House Training with PTP

PTP stands for Practical Training for Professionals and our aim is to make our training as practical as possible so delegates can return to the workplace with skills they can implement immediately. PTP now delivers training to over 40% of the FTSE 100.

What you get for your money

What is 1-to-1 training?

1-to-1 training can be based on any of the 100 plus courses that PTP provides, it includes an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site one to one training session at your premises with one of PTP's expert trainers and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

You have the option of a line manager being involved in both telephone conferences, the second telephone conference which can be for feedback and action planning is generally scheduled during the on-site visit.

Who does 1-to-1 training suit?

Individuals taking on a new challenge or responsibilities. Professionals who want a trusted "sounding board" and thinking partner. Executives or managers who want to enhance their leadership effectiveness to achieve organizational and career success. Executives and professionals wanting to compete successfully but still retain balance in their life. Individuals who want to understand their blind spots so that they don't stand in their own way on their path to success. Executives and Professionals who want to improve their interpersonal skills so as to be more effective with bosses, peers, subordinates, or people in general. How much does 1-to-1 training cost?

A 1-to-1 training session costs from as little as £400 + VAT and will include an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site training at your premises and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

What is U-Choose?

Choose from any of the 150 plus courses that PTP provides, and choose from 1 of our 50 plus UK wide training venues. You must book for 2 or more delegates and at least 4 weeks in advance, but that’s it, the course you want where you want it. The reason we ask for a minimum of 4 weeks notice is to enable us to market the course you have scheduled to other companies and organisations. However, if we fail to sell any additional places we guarantee to run the course just for you.

How much does U-Choose Training cost?

U-choose costs the same as our normal open courses i.e. the normal delegate rate. This includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day, framed certification and comprehensive training notes. A U-Choose booking can only be confirmed once we receive payment which can be made via credit/debit card, BACS or cheque. Payment is due at least 4 weeks before the date you request. Please note to be eligible for U-Choose you must book a minimum of 2 delegates on the same course & date.