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Archive: Dec 2019

10 tips for busting stress

Posted: December 26, 2019 9:54 am
Stress has become a constant in today’s busy world. From individual problems to stress that affects us all, such as political upheaval, it’s difficult to escape no matter what you do. Given the constant presence of stress in most of our lives it’s important to learn how to cope with it – these 10 tips will help to ensure you’re able to keep stress under control.  
  1. Exercise

    . Being active will help to disperse some of the tougher emotions that stress can trigger, make you feel strong and make room for clearer insight. It will enable you to approach issues with a calmer mind and be more productive when it comes to finding solutions.
  2. Reach out to others

    . Connecting with friends or family will instantly help you to feel less alone with your problems. They may be able to provide an alternative perspective and hanging out with people whose company you enjoy may take your mind off the major issues.
  3. Get outside your comfort zone.

    Tackling personal challenges helps to build resilience and confidence, which can be key when it comes to stress. Try challenges, activities or adventures that will help you to learn and grow as a person and acquire new knowledge.
  4. Be proactive

    . One of the main reasons why stress starts to escalate is often because we believe that we can’t solve the problems that are causing the stress. Being proactive and taking steps to tackle whatever is happening to you will help to considerably lessen feelings of hopelessness and not being in control.
  5. Give back to others.

    Activities such as volunteering help us to get outside of our own lives, make new connections and see life from a fresh perspective. Even a small favour like helping someone with their shopping or cat sitting for a neighbour can create good feelings that last.
  6. Make time for you.

    We often assume that our lives should be divided into work and time spent with others. However, it’s just as important to have time that is just for you. Regularly set aside time to do what ever makes you feel good, whether that’s exercise, reading or walking and thinking – at least 2 nights a week is recommended.
  7. Be wary of avoidance behaviour.

    When stressful situations get too much there is always a temptation to turn to alcohol, smoking, food or overeating as a way to avoid or numb the situation. However, this is not a solution and can often make stressful feelings more intense.
  8. Work smart. Learn how to prioritise tasks so that you’re completing those that are the most important first and focusing your energy on what will make a big difference to overall outcomes.

  9. Practice acceptance.

    This doesn’t mean giving in, just accepting what you can’t change so that you can focus on what you do have some control over.
  10. Be positive.

    Gratitude is incredibly important when it comes to stress management – the more positive and happy we are the better equipped we feel to cope when things get stressful. Start by making a daily list of everything you’re grateful for. Even if it’s only three items long, it’s a good start.
Learning how to manage stress can be transformative – these 10 tips will enable you to start today. Find out more by booking onto our half day Stress Busters training course...

How to manage a sales team

Posted: December 19, 2019 9:50 am
Successfully managing a sales team isn’t rocket science. However, it does require insight, experience and an understanding of what makes your people tick. These tips will help you to get more from those that you lead on a daily basis.

Clarity is key when it comes to expectations

Successful management of sales people means being up front about what you expect from them. Ensure that your team understands the lines between over performance and under performance and whether you’re looking for a consistent % of quota or will accept figures that are high one month and low the next.

Be transparently sales driven

Sales is a competitive environment and attracts people who are motivated to succeed. Key to successful management is being open about targets and rewards and drawing a clear line between productivity and results (as opposed to just activity). Be transparent about the sales metrics you’re focused on so that everyone is on the same page.

Focus on high, yet achievable, goals

If your team achieves 65% of a stretch goal they will be doing more than if they’re achieving 100% of a mediocre goal.

Make ongoing training and development a priority

A robust training infrastructure will support the positive development of everyone in the team. Depending on your business this may include modules that focus on product knowledge and understanding, communication, leads and prospecting and competitive intelligence.

Get your team comfortable when it comes to taking feedback

Not everyone finds it easy to accept feedback about their performance. If you’re interviewing people to join your team you can role play a situation and see how they respond to receiving feedback. For an established team introduce regular constructive feedback sessions so it’s a habit everyone gets used to going through and learning from.

Don’t forget to incentivise

This could be a system of rewards and bonuses – or it could be something as simple as public recognition of achievement. In a sales environment, displaying tables and live feeds of sales closed and each person’s totals can be very motivational.

See your team as individuals

You’ll need to identify the needs and motivations of each member of your team to understand how to manage them effectively. For some that could be more ambitious targets, for others it may be protecting them from office politics so they can go on and do a great job.

Allocate the right people to the right tasks

For example, the most expensive team members are usually best allocated to tasks that are low volume but high value, such as building partnerships and relationships. Lower value team members can focus on converting prospects to leads.

Return to transparency at every opportunity

The more transparently a business is run the more information the sales team will have to work with. With this approach, everyone understands what is expected of them, what the goals are as well as how the business’ culture, processes and policies are defined. Effective management of a sales team can make all the difference to how successful it is overall. It’s a key skill that can improve your team’s career prospects, as well as your own.

9 top skills need to become a successful administrator

Posted: December 12, 2019 9:50 am
At the heart of any successful business is a talented administrator. It’s a role that involves not just the ability to ensure the smooth running of an office but also providing support to key people at management and executive levels. There are exciting opportunities available for those who make a success of an administrator role – these are some of the key skills that you’ll need to do it.
  1. Strong communication. As an office administrator you will be working with people of all levels within the business, handling a wide range of tasks and often tackling urgent matters. From dealing with new starters to handling office supplies this is a varied role that will require robust written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills to ensure success.
  2. Organisation and efficiency. Being organised is essential for an administrator. Others may be relying on you to manage calendars and schedules, meet deadlines, track calls or organise documents and records.
  3. Familiarity with current technology. Every business today uses technology at some level and it’s often in administration where it’s most frequently employed. This could be something as simple as formatting documents or could involve managing a CMS or web content. The more developed your tech abilities, the more likely you will be able to make a success of the role.
  4. Effective time management. Whether you are managing someone else’s time or your own it will be essential to be able to do this in a way that maximises productivity.
  5. Writing skills. Today, much of the communication within a business takes place in writing, whether via memos, email or chat. Skills like sound spelling and grammar, proofreading and an understanding of business terms may be essential.
  6. Problem solving abilities. Circumstances can change in an instant in business and one of the key strengths of the successful administrator is being able to respond to change positively and swiftly. Whether an issue relates to a staff conflict, a problem with orders, a shortage or a schedule change, being able to problem solve on the spot is a huge advantage.
  7. Office management. Being a good administrator requires an understanding of office management and the ability to grasp all the systems involved, from ordering supplies to anticipating and booking maintenance.
  8. Management skills. A more senior administrator may need to develop management skills, for example in order to deal with clerical staff or handle requests from other employees across the business.
  9. Attention to detail and planning. Being able to look ahead and anticipate what is required is the mark of a successful administrator. That could be with respect to something as simple as ensuring schedules don’t conflict or planning an event or meeting. An eye for detail is key – missed details can have wide ranging consequences.
A successful career as an administrator requires mastering all of the above. From problem solving to organisational abilities, each of these skills is key to ensuring eventual success. Find out more by booking onto our The Effective Administrator training course...

How to effectively coach a sales team

Posted: December 5, 2019 11:29 am
Effectively coaching a sales team is a crucial skill to master. Not only will this enable you to pass on coaching skills to the next level of sales management but you’ll also be able to positively influence your team’s results and develop their abilities and confidence. There are a number of key steps involved in effectively coaching a sales team.  

Move from manager to coach

  Coach is a very different role to manager and the first step is to be able to effectively put down the management baton and pick up the coaching one instead. Coaches are listeners who react in a non-judgmental way when staff are open about key issues. Once you’ve established trust in your team about what your coaching role entails you’ll be much more effective in it.  

Master the use of effective questions

  As opposed to giving instructions, learn how to ask the kinds of questions that will allow individuals to arrive at their own solutions. Questions that stimulate thinking and inspire results will encourage ownership of outcomes and can be much more motivational than simply telling people what to do.  

Avoid multi-tasking

  When you’re in your coaching role, work with staff on one particular area for improvement at a time. Trying to focus on multiple areas can not only feel dispiriting to the employee but is also likely to dilute efforts and make them less successful. Work on the basis that helping your sales team to individually improve one area per year is a measure of success.  

Give your team choice for greater buy in

  When it comes to selecting that one area for improvement you are much more likely to get buy in to it if you allow the individual to choose this for themselves. You may think you have the right idea when it comes to what that area should be but if you allow a suggestion made by the employee instead their commitment to change is likely to be higher.  

Encourage self-assessment

  It’s all too easy to provide your feedback from a management perspective. However, in a coaching role your goal is to give people the confidence and space to self assess. When employees are able to recognise their own achievements and also identify themselves what they can do to improve leads this inevitably creates greater confidence and commitment.  

Put a plan in place

  It’s essential that any planning is put into writing and it should be the individual who takes responsibility for this process. This will not only provide the opportunity for the employee to consider what they are committed to but also how they plan to achieve it.  

Follow up is essential

  We all tend to be more focused on a task if we know we are going to be held accountable for completing it so it’s crucial to follow up with an employee once you’ve gone through this process. Use the questioning method to do this in a coaching style, for example by asking what success they have seen with the plan they created, as well as identifying obstacles and solutions to those challenges.   Being able to effectively coach a sales team is a crucial skill that can be a transformative experience for those you lead.   Find out more by booking onto our Coaching Skills for Sales Managers