Course Category
Course Location

PTP News

Archive: Jul 2018

7 tips to successful cold calling

Posted: July 25, 2018 1:03 pm
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.

How can you become an expert at objection handling in your workplace?

Posted: July 20, 2018 1:59 pm
Objections can bring us up short. Most often heard in the context of a sales conversation, an objection can bring a pitch to an end and remove the potential for a conversion – unless effectively dealt with. Objections can also arise in many other situations, from team members objecting to a plan to a manager who raises objections to a request for a pay rise or a promotion. Whatever the context, how can you become an expert at objection handling?

Why is it important to handle objections?

Objections are basically roadblocks. Whether your goal is to achieve a sale with a customer, or to convince someone to try another process or idea to get to an objective, when there’s an objection in the way then nothing can go any further. The longer a person holds an objection, the more entrenched it can become and the more difficult it will be to shift. So, it’s important to deal with objections as soon as they arise – and to be alert to the fact that they could arise at any moment. Dealt with in the right way, objections don’t have to become obstacles. Sometimes, they may even open a channel to getting to your ideal destination more quickly.

How can you become an expert at handling objections?

Welcome objections rather than avoiding them

This means not just being prepared for someone to raise an objection but also proactively encouraging them to voice that objection early on. So, you might ask if someone has any concerns to something you’ve suggested, or to the product you’re trying to sell, rather than waiting for them to bring it up. The sooner you deal with the objection after it forms in the mind of the person you’re speaking to, the easier it will be to get past it.

Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, Respond

Hearing objections raised may make you feel like instantly trying to shut them down but sometimes this can just make a situation worse. Instead, start by listening to the objection so that you understand exactly what the problem is. Acknowledge that the objection has been raised and then explore some of the reasons for it. When you’re ready, respond thoughtfully. You’ll have more chance of being listened to if you’ve already listened to what was said and a better opportunity to get through to someone if you present your response in a thoughtful way.

Keep track of common objections

This is a useful tactic if you’re in an environment, such as sales, where you’re hearing many of the same objections repeatedly. If you start tracking them you’ll be able to identify the most common objections and be prepared for them next time around. It may be useful to role play responses to objections so that you can refine them in a way that will make your replies more effective. Whatever the context, the ability to handle objections is essential. Our Objection Handling Skills course helps you to find the best possible answer in every situation so that you’re not held back by the objections you face.

How can you become an expert at objection handling in your workplace?

Posted: July 20, 2018 1:05 pm
Objections can bring us up short. Most often heard in the context of a sales conversation, an objection can bring a pitch to an end and remove the potential for a conversion – unless effectively dealt with. Objections can also arise in many other situations, from team members objecting to a plan to a manager who raises objections to a request for a pay rise or a promotion. Whatever the context, how can you become an expert at objection handling?

Why is it important to handle objections?

Objections are basically roadblocks. Whether your goal is to achieve a sale with a customer, or to convince someone to try another process or idea to get to an objective, when there’s an objection in the way then nothing can go any further. The longer a person holds an objection, the more entrenched it can become and the more difficult it will be to shift. So, it’s important to deal with objections as soon as they arise – and to be alert to the fact that they could arise at any moment. Dealt with in the right way, objections don’t have to become obstacles. Sometimes, they may even open a channel to getting to your ideal destination more quickly.

How can you become an expert at handling objections?

Welcome objections rather than avoiding them

This means not just being prepared for someone to raise an objection but also proactively encouraging them to voice that objection early on. So, you might ask if someone has any concerns to something you’ve suggested, or to the product you’re trying to sell, rather than waiting for them to bring it up. The sooner you deal with the objection after it forms in the mind of the person you’re speaking to, the easier it will be to get past it.

Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, Respond

Hearing objections raised may make you feel like instantly trying to shut them down but sometimes this can just make a situation worse. Instead, start by listening to the objection so that you understand exactly what the problem is. Acknowledge that the objection has been raised and then explore some of the reasons for it. When you’re ready, respond thoughtfully. You’ll have more chance of being listened to if you’ve already listened to what was said and a better opportunity to get through to someone if you present your response in a thoughtful way.

Keep track of common objections

This is a useful tactic if you’re in an environment, such as sales, where you’re hearing many of the same objections repeatedly. If you start tracking them you’ll be able to identify the most common objections and be prepared for them next time around. It may be useful to role play responses to objections so that you can refine them in a way that will make your replies more effective. Whatever the context, the ability to handle objections is essential. Our Objection Handling Skills course helps you to find the best possible answer in every situation so that you’re not held back by the objections you face.

How to get yourself interview-ready

Posted: July 13, 2018 1:23 pm
If you’re looking for a job – or facing the necessity of finding a new role – the interview stage of the recruitment process can be the most essential. Your CV and references have brought you this far but the pressure is on to ensure that you make a good impression and stand out from the crowd on the day. Preparation is essential for interviews. With preparation and practice you can get yourself ready for any face-to-face challenge.

Find out where you’re going

Start with the simplest piece of preparation – the logistics. Make sure you know where you’re going before the morning of the interview arrives and work out the fastest and easiest transport route for getting there. Time the route so that you know exactly how long you’ll need for travel and try to arrive 15 minutes early so you have time to gather your thoughts. The easiest way to make a bad first impression at interview is to be late and this can set the tone for the entire conversation so it’s crucial to avoid it.

Make all your practical decisions now

What to wear to an interview can be difficult if you leave it until the last minute. Find out what the dress code for the business is and try to match your clothes to that – if you can’t get any information on this then business casual is a good fallback. Consider everything, from what shoes to wear to how to style your hair and what bag to carry. Lay everything out the night before – along with any documents you need to take - so that you don’t have to make these decisions on the day.

Do your research

It’s crucial to ensure you stand out as someone who has taken the time to prepare properly for the interview.
  • Make sure you understand the job. What are the skills and experience they’re looking for, do they mention personal qualities, and what exactly does the day-to-day of the role entail?
  • Match your profile to the job requirements. Once you have a list of everything the job requires, start matching this up to your own skills, experience and attributes so that you can talk about this effortlessly in the interview.
  • Research the business. Read the website, company profiles, blogs and LinkedIn posts to see what information the company has made available about its operations, values and goals. Look for mentions on social media and in the press so that you’re as well informed as possible before you walk through the door.

Practice for the interview

Get a friend or colleague to run you through a practice interview so that you’re used to answering questions about your CV, skills and experience. Think about how you’re going to greet the interviewer and what kind of body language would convey a positive impression during the interview itself. Ask your practice interviewer to give you some feedback on factors such as confidence, clarity of answers and how you come across. When you’re practicing your interview technique remember:
  • Calm and open body language and maintaining eye contact will make you seem interested and engaged
  • A good interviewee listens, as well as talks
  • You’ll need to prepare some intelligent questions that incorporate the in-depth research you’ve done
  • Being open and enthusiastic about being interested in the job is often a plus – this is not the place to play hard to get
Our CV Writing and Interview Confidence Building course is an excellent way to prepare for the challenge of taking the next step in your career.

How to create a strong mentoring scheme in your workplace

Posted: July 5, 2018 2:56 pm
Every organisation faces the challenge of staff development and providing a range of opportunities for employees to learn and grow. A mentoring scheme is a very simple but effective tool that makes use of the attitudes and experience of more senior members of staff to help shape the development of others. Creating a strong mentoring scheme in your workplace has many benefits - using informal structures to pass on skills, knowledge and support is often more effective and brings people together.

Tips for creating a strong mentoring scheme

Structure mentoring around mentee need

A strong mentoring programme is not about creating a scheme based on the skills of the mentor and then finding a mentee to fit. In order to be successful the starting point is always the mentee. What is it that the mentee needs to acquire in order to progress? This could be anything, from technical skill and knowledge, to social or political insights. When you focus on establishing a scheme that is designed with what less experienced members of staff need to progress in mind then you are laying the foundations for real success.

Be cautious when choosing the mentors

Not everyone is suited to being a mentor, no matter how much skill or experience they have. Initially, it’s important to identify those who actually want to be involved in a mentoring scheme, as the willingness to apply time and effort to helping someone else progress will be fundamental to whether results are achieved. It’s also important to look for mentors who have the right skill set and experience – people who are going to pass on useful insights and help others achieve more in the right way. Mentors should also be those who understand the business’ culture and concerns and apply this to their own roles every day. Otherwise you may have a mentor who is passing on fantastic advice, none of which is being given in the context of business.

Create mentor schemes with business goals

Mentoring has a very positive impact on staff and can help to improve performance and relationships between individuals in the organisation who may otherwise have had little or no contact. However, it’s important not to forget that mentoring always has one crucial goal for employers: identifying stand out talent within the business. This is a great opportunity to find your star performers of the future to support internal promotion and avoid costly external recruitment.

Focus on mutually beneficial relationships

Very hierarchical mentoring structures often run into issues. Although a mentor may be a senior member of staff, they should not be senior by virtue of being a mentor. Mentoring schemes work better without workplace hierarchies and a focus on winning or losing, success or failure or scoring points. Mentoring schemes should sit slightly outside of the business structure and give something to both parties taking part. Coaching and mentoring has an important role to play in modern business. Our Coaching and Mentoring training course gives coaches and mentors the opportunity to develop the high levels of skill required to be able to work both quickly and well with mentees.