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Archive: Oct 2018

How to perfect your CV ahead of job interviews

Posted: October 24, 2018 9:28 am
A concise, well-structured and informative CV is absolutely crucial for ensuring you make it through to the interview stage of a recruitment process. Most employers make decisions about CVs in a matter of seconds and it takes just a few errors or a lack of information for yours to end up in the wrong pile. So, how do you perfect your CV ahead of job interviews to ensure that you make it through to a face-to-face?

Be concise

Your CV has roughly eight seconds to work its magic on the person viewing it, so a lengthy tome is going to be almost useless. In terms of your career, focus on the best bits and the headlines, ensuring that everything is relevant to the role you’re applying for – you don’t need to tell your entire career history.

Say why you’re the best person for the job

You may think that the skills and experience in your CV make it clear why you’re the best person for the job but a potential employer may not make the same links. A personal statement is a short, direct paragraph that sets out exactly why you are the ideal candidate, making the connection in case the employer hasn’t.

Make sure your CV is up to date

You’re wasting a huge opportunity if your CV doesn’t have all your most recent experience on. Employers tend to be suspicious if all the experience listed is old and out of date so take the time to keep your CV up to date. You’ll also need to explain any gaps in your career timeline – find a positive way to illustrate time spent on something that wasn’t work and why this has been valuable to your development and growth in the long run.

Never lie

Yes you should always use your CV to reflect the best possible version of everything you’ve achieved. However, embellishing or lying about what you’ve done and what you’re capable of just means you’re likely to get caught out at interview or when your references are checked.

Don’t be that person…

… who ends up in the “no” pile simply because they didn’t check the spelling. Employers will always be put off by spelling and grammar errors so it’s just not worth letting such unnecessary mistakes slip through the net.

If your CV is online, include keywords

If your CV contains keywords that are relevant to the sector you work in and the role that you’re looking for then you’re much more likely to get employers coming to you.

Make your CV stand out

There are a number of ways you can do this, including identifying any statistics, figures or other ways of quantifying what you’ve achieved to give your CV more credibility. Remember that the CV needs to look good and flow easily so pay attention to paragraphing, use bullet points and apply a little bit of graphic design so the end result is professional and easy to understand. Your CV is the key to the door of the interview room so don’t neglect it. With a great CV you’ll be able to increase the opportunities that are available to you and find that dream role. Take a look at our Half Day Masterclass in Brushing up your CV Writing and Interview Skills for more tips.

How to improve your consultative selling style

Posted: October 18, 2018 1:04 pm
According to Gallup, less than half of customers feel that their needs are adequately addressed by sellers. This is a big issue for sellers, not just with respect to customer satisfaction levels but also whether the best use is being made of resources and effort in terms of results achieved. If you want to be more effective at selling then it’s crucial to understand how to meet the needs of the customer – and there is no better way to do that than with a consultative selling approach.

Why use consultative selling?

Consultative selling focuses first and foremost on building a relationship with the customer. It’s from that relationship that insights and trust can be built so that it becomes possible to position more compelling solutions for the customer. A consultative approach works best for everyone, as the customer gets what they need and the seller achieves results. While it’s not always the easiest approach to master there are lots of ways to improve your consultative selling style.

Don’t overdo the questions

Yes, it is crucial to question the customer so that you can understand what their problems are, which will enable you to position the best solution. However, a barrage of questions will quickly make a customer disengage. The key is to pick your questions carefully, don’t waste them, and balance those questions with insights so that you come across as credible and the questions feel like a logical next step from your insight sharing.

The value of knowledge

Consultative selling is much more of a conversation, which means that knowledge gaps or a lack of industry understanding can be easily revealed. So, it’s important to ensure that you have done plenty of research about the business and the sector in advance – the conversation may be short so you need to be ready to impress.

Establish reliability

If you’re selling over the phone then building credibility can be a challenge. However, if you can establish yourself as reliable and knowledgeable then you are half way there. An easy way to demonstrate this is to ensure that you achieve at least one follow-up after the call. The important element here is not the follow-up itself but the fact that you deliver on it. This will establish credibility, reliability and give the customer reason to believe you can deliver.

Learn how to communicate without being dominant

If you’re dominating the conversation, customers can quickly switch off. Moments of silence can provide emphasis and it’s crucial to listen as well as speak. Ideally, a consultative selling conversation is one that is guided by a seller who is concise and well-informed.

View every piece of feedback as valuable, even the negative

Although you might hear an obstacle when someone articulates negative feedback, what is actually being communicated is a need. Effectively, even negative feedback is useful when it comes to refining customer need and identifying how the relationship could progress. Our Consultative Selling course is ideal for those who are looking to develop a selling style that achieves both better results and stronger relationships. Get in touch for more advice and course options today.

How can you improve your key account management?

Posted: October 11, 2018 11:44 am
Key accounts are those that are the most valuable to the business. These are the clients whose loss would make a significant impact, whether that’s purely financial or reputational too. Given their importance to any enterprise, it makes sense to invest time and resources in key account management that nurtures these critical contacts. But how do you make sure that key account management is generating more sales and entrenching longer-lasting relationships, as opposed to increasing cost and lowering margins?

Key account management – the when and how

When you adopt key account management – if you haven’t already – depends on your particular business. You may choose to wait until you have a dedicated key account team or until it’s obvious that your competitors are reaping the rewards of this kind of investment. For key account management to be really beneficial, a relatively long sales cycle is required and this type of programme often works best where there is upselling and cross-selling potential. It’s important to make the distinction between key account management and selling – sales is often a very short-term perspective whereas key account management is all about prioritising the future. Identifying key accounts isn’t just about revenue. Other criteria may also be important, such as cultural fit, solvency, the possibility of becoming a channel partner and product fit.

Improving key account management

Make sure your team has the right skills

Effective key account management is all about the people who you assign to do it. They should have an in-depth understanding of the client company, from strategy to market position, and able to provide custom services, offers and products, as well as handling both short and long term planning. The right training can make all the difference when it comes to generating real ROI on key account management investment.

Delegate different responsibilities

Separate your key account management team from your sales team. As already noted, the two are not the same thing.

Create a customised key account management plan

The purpose of the plan is to help you identify where the opportunities lie when it comes to growth, what the potential obstacles are to that growth, as well as where competitors present a threat. Key information for the plan includes account targets and strategy, as well as information about the customer, such as business plan and financial health.

Be selective in terms of the accounts that you focus on

Define your key accounts using a set of established selection criteria and regularly review whether these are providing the right foundation. You’ll also need to review the accounts you define as key accounts fairly frequently, as relationships can change over time.

Have an infrastructure

A CRM is essential to ensure that you can keep track of interactions with key accounts and make sure every opportunity for growth is taken.

Track and measure

What you’re looking for is a constant upward trend in terms of the account’s engagement and loyalty. Part of the process will be regularly checking in with the client to get their feedback about their experience with you. A sound key account management process is essential for any business – our Developing Major Accounts course can help any of your salespeople currently trying to develop skills in this area to deliver more to the business overall.

5 personal skills that every successful administrator needs

Posted: October 4, 2018 2:37 pm
Administrators are the unseen heroes of almost every business. They not only keep the wheels of the business ticking over but have the knowledge and insight to suggest innovative change within an organisation. With the right combination of experience, ability and personal skills, an administrator can become crucial to the future success of the business.

5 key person skills administrators need to have

Strong communication

The ability to clearly communicate, both in writing and verbally, is essential for an administrator. You might be the first person clients or customers come into contact with, as well as the reference individual for all the teams internally. Given the range and diversity of people you’re likely to have to deal with it’s essential to be able to clearly and concisely communicate with each one, whether you’re explaining or persuading.

Able to handle the pressure

As an administrator you will often find yourself in challenging situations, whether you are stretching the limits of your skill set or dealing with individual demands. Being able to handle any pressured situation with composure and calm is an important skill for an administrator. You’ll need to be able to assess the situation and make decisions on your feet in order to find the right solutions.

Embracing the new

Being an effective administrator requires a desire to get into the latest technology and systems so that you are primed to identify the best option for the business. Knowledge of key systems, such as Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel is a basic requirement and a breadth of understanding when it comes to everything from payroll through to PowerPoint will also be incredibly useful. The most valued administrators are often those who are always testing out new ideas and willing to learn new systems and processes so as to be of benefit to the business. For example, an administrator with a sound understanding of social media who is able to kick start this channel for an employer - and explore its potential for the business - will be a huge advantage.

A cost effective mindset

Every business is always keen to make cost savings. An administrator with a natural eye for opportunities to reduce costs and introduce efficiencies will be a huge asset to any organisation. The person in an administrator role is often privy to a wide range of information and insights that others in the organisation may not have. As a result they are often perfectly placed to be able to suggest cost cutting solutions that could prove to be invaluable to the business.

Always having one ear to the ground

Being an industry insider is a crucial skill for an administrator, both when it comes to understanding the language of the sector and the systems and technology that support and drive it. Being in touch with industry trends and able to identify those that might be beneficial to the business is also a great skill to have. Our Effective Administrator course is designed to help nurture all the key skills that are likely to be most useful to an administrator in developing a long and fruitful career. Get in touch today to find out more.