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  1. Our top 10 tips for effective telephone prospecting

    If you’d like to be more effective when it comes to telephone prospecting then there are some simple ways to do it. These are our top 10 tips for getting more from the effort that you put in.

    • Prepare a range of responses. Each call will either go to voicemail, be answered by the prospect or someone who handles the prospect’s calls. You need to have the right response prepared for each one of these scenarios so that you don’t waste time or opportunities.
    • Find the right time of day. The more you experiment with call times the more likely you are to see patterns. The reality is that you may have a higher chance of success with some prospects before 9am and with others after 5pm. Experiment as you gain experience so that you have more of an idea of what is likely to work with each one.
    • If you don’t believe in yourself why should they? Self-belief is essential if you want to get better at telephone prospecting. If you sound positive, energised and like you’re backing your own words then it’s likely your prospect will too.
    • Focus on who you’re speaking to. If all you’re doing on the call is talking about yourself or the product you’ll struggle. Instead, focus on the prospect, what their needs are and what information they will find valuable.
    • If you’re leaving a voicemail, be brief. Make sure you know what to say on a voicemail in advance of the call so that you don’t waffle. Keep it to 15 seconds and be succinct.
    • Vary your approach. If you don’t get through on one day make sure that the next call is a different time on a different day otherwise you’re effectively just duplicating effort. It’s also important to make sure that you don’t leave the same voicemail twice so keep a record of what you’ve said, and when.
    • Free up your hands. We are usually much more effective at being convincing if we’re able to use our hands expressively while talking. Even if the prospect can’t see you, being hands free can make you more compelling. That may require you to wear a headset.
    • You may not get through straight away. It can take multiple attempts to break through to a prospect so if this doesn’t happen immediately that’s no reason to just give up. Plan for 4-6 contacts and if nothing is achieved after that then back off for a month or so and try again.
    • Think about the other person’s schedule. For example, most meetings start on the hour so if you call five minutes before you might just be able to catch them.
    • Stay the course. Telephone prospecting is very effective but persistence is essential – be ready to keep trying to achieve those exciting breakthroughs.

    These are just some of the ways that you can be more effective when it comes to what you can achieve with telephone prospecting.

    Find out more by booking onto our Advanced Telephone Prospecting Training Course…

  2. How to become a better project manager

    Becoming a great project manager is possible for anyone. No one starts out with exactly the right skill set and there are always opportunities to improve and do better. If you’re keen to evolve as a project manager then these are some of the simplest ways to do it.

    • Be a consistent and effective communicator. This means ensuring that communication is maintained for all parties, from stakeholders to managers, and keeping lines of communication open. Use all the tools at your disposal to do this, from video conferencing platforms to email and face-to-face meetings where practical.
    • Learn how to listen. Many of us listen to others while thinking or doing something else and, as a result, we can miss subtle emotional signs or behavioural cues. Being able to listen actively means being fully present with the speaker and learning how to empathise with their perspective and see what they’re saying from their point of view.
    • Be clear about next steps. Every time a meeting takes place make sure that everyone walking away from it knows what they need to do next and when that needs to happen by.
    • Be transparent and authentic. If you’re using access to information as a means of control then you’re likely to end up in a sticky situation because other people talk. Instead, be transparent if you want to build trust and work on your own authenticity – aligning who you present yourself to be with what you say and do.
    • Deal with issues quickly. Establish a simple, routine project control cycle so that any issues that arise are being tackled as soon as they are identified and are not left to escalate.
    • Work on self awareness. It’s easy to get set in your ways as a project manager. However, the best opportunities for improvement often arise from working on self awareness and through the constructive criticism of others.
    • Always look for the problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re struggling to identify the end objective for a project then look at it from the perspective of the issue that it exists to solve. If you take the time to define this clearly then everyone involved will understand the goal.
    • Use technology and templates. Both can save on time and standardise processes across the project.
    • Stay on top of the process. It’s essential that parts of the project don’t end up without observation. Setting soft and hard deadlines can be a simple way to ensure that progress is measurable and everyone remains motivated. Regularly looking for project ‘gaps’ by checking in with time, cost, objectives etc will ensure that these don’t have the opportunity to become voids.
    • Review and learn. Take the time, either within the project cycle or when it’s finished, to review recent progress and work out whether anything could have been done better.

    Becoming a better project manager requires a series of small shifts in the way that you approach and steer people and project cycles.

    Find out more by booking onto our Project Management training course…

  3. How to develop resilience

    Resilience is basically the ability to recover when something in life goes wrong. The more resilient you become the less likely you are to dwell on failures or feel defeated by adversity. Instead, you’re much more able to learn from situations and to move forward whatever happens in life. If you’re looking to develop more resilience for life there are some key steps involved.

    The fundamental qualities of resilient people

    According to research there are a number of key qualities that set resilient people apart from those who are less likely to bounce back in the face of adversity.

    • Being able to reframe the problem. If you’re resilient then when something goes wrong you can view this as a challenge as opposed to an immovable obstacle.
    • A commitment to life. Resilient people tend to be fully committed to achieving goals and to everything, from career to friends – there are no half measures.
    • Directing energy to the right places. Being able to determine what can be controlled and what can’t, and to channel energy where it can have the biggest impact, is a key quality of a resilient person.
    • Protecting self worth. When something goes wrong resilient people don’t blame themselves but see the situation as the reason, thereby protecting their self worth.
    • It won’t last forever. Resilient people view setbacks as temporary and know that obstacles can be overcome. They are also much more likely to restrict negativity to a single issue (e.g. I didn’t do well on that project) than their entire being (e.g. I never do well on any project) which makes progress seem a more achievable goal.

    How to develop resilience

    • Get the basics right. To give yourself a fighting chance at resilience make sure you get enough sleep, eat well and spend time away from the office.
    • Observe how you speak to yourself. Our internal chatter can have a big impact on how well we cope with the world. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re not enough or that you can’t cope then this will eat away at your potential to be more resilient.
    • Reframe the hard things. For example you can use cognitive restructuring to develop a different view on issues and problems when they arise.
    • Look for the lesson. If you make a mistake or experience a setback look for something to learn from the experience rather than engaging in self-hatred or blame.
    • Focus on improving self-confidence. Resilient people know deep down that they will succeed eventually and this requires confidence in your abilities and approach. Developing confidence will nurture your sense of self and ensure that you have your own back.
    • Be flexible and allow for change. One of the easiest ways to develop resilience is to work on a mindset that accepts uncertainty and the fact that everything changes all the time.
    • Maintain perspective. Being able to see the bigger picture means that you won’t get dragged down by individual issues or crises.

    Resilience is crucial to getting ahead today and these are just some of the ways that you can start to develop it.

    Find out more by booking onto our Introduction to Building Personal Resilience Training Course…

  4. Our top 10 tips for project management success

    In any sector and at any stage there are challenges when it comes to project management. These are our top 10 tips for driving momentum and ensuring the eventual outcome is success.

    1. Get to grips with the project. Be clear about who the clients and stakeholders are and where each of their interests lie. What are the goals and objectives for the project and what plan is in place to ensure that these are achieved?
    2. Create the right team. Once you have a plan in place you can start to identify how to resource the project. Identify a team, define roles and make sure you have all expertise requirements covered.
    3. Work with individual strengths and weaknesses. When you’re leading any team you will always get more from people if you focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Tap into the strengths of every team member so that each is tasked in the area where they can contribute the most.
    4. Identify the milestones. In order to keep a project on track you need to have a clear pathway to success with specific milestones marked along it. What needs to happen at each stage of initiation, planning, execution and close?
    5. Make sure that someone is steering the project. It’s crucial to have a clear leader in project management – collaboration is important at every stage but there needs to be a project manager who will take control and responsibility where necessary.
    6. Ensure that channels of communication remain open. Whether it’s among team members or between stakeholders and managers, poor communication can mean negative project outcomes. It’s essential to ensure everyone remains informed and has the opportunity to ask questions where necessary.
    7. Use technology. In particular, project management software can make it much easier to deliver a successful outcome. It’s a great way to ensure that everyone has access to information, to facilitate collaboration and to help to make sure that momentum is maintained.
    8. Get familiar with the risks. The risk component in any project can be off-putting and it might be tempting to ignore it and hope it goes away. However, effective risk management is crucial to project management success. Go through the process of identifying potential risks in advance and then putting contingencies in place in case these do actually arise. The reality may be that you never have to deal with them but you’ll be ready to take action if you do.
    9. Test, test, test. Every time you reach a critical milestone test your deliverables. This is the clearest way to see whether the project is on track or not.
    10. Review the project afterwards. Whether you achieved success or not, post-project review is essential. If there have been mistakes and failures then these present a chance to learn and this is also a good opportunity to embed those actions or initiatives that worked particularly well.

    Project management success depends on a number of different factors – these top 10 tips provide a great place to start.

    Find out more by booking on to our Introduction to Project Management training course…

  5. How to manage people without them knowing

    Learning to manage people without them knowing may sound Machiavellian. However, the intention behind this is simply to start managing people in a way that allows them to effectively manage themselves. It can take time and effort to get to a stage where your team is able to be autonomous where necessary, own their decisions and be creative about problem solving but it is possible to get there. These are some of the key steps involved.

    Be clear about when you need to be part of the process

    Most managers want to steer clear of a micro-managing approach and this rarely suits teams either. However, it’s difficult to achieve this if there are no clear guidelines on what needs your input and when an issue or decision is something that staff should be handling on their own. The first simple step to managing people effectively is setting out unambiguously when you should be involved before the team makes a move. Once this is in place it should mean that you’re not constantly being asked for input but also provide reassurance to everyone that it’s clear when you need to be consulted.

    Don’t deviate from the path you’ve designed

    Particularly if you’ve been overly involved in every single decision for some time it might be difficult for your team to give up asking for your input on everything. You might still need to make contributions in unprecedented situations or help junior – or new – staff but on the whole you should stick to the new path that you’ve designed and what you’ve put in place about when you need to be involved and when the team needs to make their own decisions. One simple tactic to deal with staff who are repeatedly returning to ask for your input on every single thing is to turn the tables on them. Next time they come to you with a question try asking them “what do you think?” It means that they may come up with their own solution and will get them into the habit of starting to tap their own internal resources first.

    Stay in touch

    When management style changes there is always a danger that the team may feel like they are being ignored or abandoned. To avoid this, schedule in regular meetings – face to face or via video chat – so that there is the opportunity for them to ask questions and talk things through. This approach may also encourage them to save questions for the weekly chat rather than constantly bombarding you with them.

    Give your team the opportunity to shine

    Instead of solving problems on behalf of your team, when an issue arises give them a chance to do it themselves. For example, if there is a process that currently requires your input to complete but could actually be effectively done without you could a template be designed to facilitate this? Instead of designing this yourself put the problem to the team and let them come up with a solution – it’s likely that they will be more creative and come up with something much more appropriate as it will be designed by those who use it most.

    There is an art to managing people without them knowing and it starts with clear communication and a willingness to trust.

    Find out more by booking onto our Managing People on Projects training course…

  6. Top tips for world-class customer service

    Customer service has always been a foundation of business growth. Recent events have made achieving positive customer service more challenging but not impossible. As brand reputation continues to have a key role to play in whether or not consumers choose your business over another it’s becoming increasingly crucial to make world-class customer service a priority.

    • Give your team the right tools. In the current situation that often equates to technology. Whether that’s an effective CRM, upgrades to accounting or billing systems or marketing automation, the right tools can make it much easier for your customer service team to excel at what they do.
    • Clear and honest communication is essential. Most people don’t respond well to being patronised or overloaded with information and almost all will switch off if they feel they aren’t entirely being told the truth. It’s crucial to train staff to communicate clearly and honestly with customers, to avoid platitudes and practice authenticity.
    • Make sure you have a system in place to handle complaints. When customers aren’t happy it’s important to take note of this. Although it may not always be a sign that there’s an issue you have to resolve it’s always worth making space for the complaint so that the customer feels heard. Train your team to acknowledge the complaint and act so as to control the situation and refocus the discussion on a more positive outcome. Problem solving is essential in a complaint situation as it enables a customer to potentially walk away happy.
    • Avoid rushing customers. Most consumers can sense when they are being pushed hard towards a goal and will resist if this is done in a clumsy way. Customer service teams shouldn’t be clock watching and should avoid being pushy to drive customers towards their goals too quickly. On the flip side, most consumers today don’t want to waste precious time on business interactions so it’s also important to make customer service communication concise.
    • Learning the art of closing is essential. Whether this is closing a sale or simply a conversation, when it is done right it will leave the customer with a sense that the business cares about getting it right – is focused on whatever the customer thinks ‘right’ is – and isn’t going to try and force a conclusion.
    • Learning how to say thank you is key. Gratitude can create some serious ROI and leave a positive impression on customers. Most businesses rely on customers to evolve and grow and expressing thanks for this regularly can be enormously beneficial.
    • Invest in a good team. Exceptional customer service people can have a huge impact on how well the business does overall when it comes to interactions with consumers. Customer service will never be better than the quality of the people delivering it so it’s worth taking the time to find great people, to train them well and to provide opportunities for learning and growth that benefit individuals and the business as a whole.

    These top tips for customer service will enable any business to make an impact on key variables such as brand perception and audience size.

    Find out more by booking onto our Outstanding Customer Service Skills training course…

  7. How to improve your employees listening skills

    Listening is a crucial component in positive communication, which provides a strong foundation for effective business practices. Becoming an active listener can enable an employee to be more productive and make fewer mistakes and means less time is wasted asking the wrong questions. It can create an open and positive atmosphere in the office and make people across the business feel genuinely valued. So, what steps can you take to help employees improve the listening skills they are already have?

    Parrot style can be a good approach

    While we don’t recommend employees parrot everything that is said to them, repeating what someone else has said to ensure that you have it right can be a useful listening technique. It will ensure that employees are genuinely listening and also means that comments or questions can be posed straight away. This technique demonstrates to the speaker that they are being heard and can help to avoid miscommunication.

    No interruptions

    This may seem obvious and yet so many of us don’t let people finish before we start talking. Proactive listening isn’t about waiting for the opportunity to speak but actually sitting and taking in what is being said without looking for a chance to interrupt. Interrupting is learned behaviour frequently seen where junior staff or female staff are speaking so it’s important to emphasise how key it is to listen well and wait for the speaker – whoever they are – to finish before providing a response.

    Opting for objectivity

    Emotions and feelings are natural but when it comes to listening they can cloud the situation. Encouraging employees to listen actively and without judgment will make it much easier to open channels of clear communication. Empathy is crucial in a listener as it will enable them to identify with the speaker and perhaps see issues or complaints from their perspective. Encourage employees to listen and react as professionally as possible to improve basic listening skills.

    Ask your employees to use nonverbal cues

    These can be very useful in encouraging the person speaking and ensuring that they know that they are being heard. Eye contact and the occasional nod of the head demonstrate that the person speaking has the full attention of the listener and that they are taking in what is being said. Slouching, yawning, fiddling with pens or standing with hands in pockets can give negative signals to the person speaking and damage communication as a result.

    Distractions mean poor listening

    There are a lot of distractions in an office that can interrupt good listening. From a phone screen lighting up to the sound of an email arriving in an inbox, an open window or being to close to a break out area, all can detract from the conversation. Especially for important conversations, advise employees to choose the right location and put away devices etc that could interrupt.

    Being a good listener can improve employee career prospects and help individuals to interact more positively with each other. It’s a skill that all employees should be encouraged to develop.

     

  8. Our 15 tips to improve your sales skills

    Being successful at sales requires a particular skill set. Studies have found that those who go through sales training can be 15+% more effective at closing deals and improve profit margins too. With that in mind here are our 15 top tips for improving your sales skills.

    1. Invest time in training. Training will help you to hone specific skills, gain more insight and understanding of the process as well as how to make the results that you’re aiming for happen.
    2. Work on being a confident communicator. It may be useful to tackle a big fear to help improve this skill – public speaking. Around three quarters of us hate public speaking and yet it can be essential for everything, from product demos to sales presentations. The more you practice public speaking the better you’re likely to get at it and the more confident a communicator you’ll be.
    3. Ask others. If something goes wrong, ask for advice from others about why they thought that was and what they would have done differently.
    4. Include roleplay. Anything can happen in a sales situation and roleplay can help you to be prepared for it. Practice every day situations as well as the more challenging, such as overcoming common objections, extreme conversations and finding out why prospects are stuck.
    5. Stay up to date. The sales industry is constantly changing and you can improve your sales approach by staying informed, whether that’s via publications or podcasts.
    6. Review your sales calls. A review approach will allow you to identify if the same issues are coming up repeatedly and to find a different way to tackle this next time around. Your attitude, authenticity and how well you grasp buyer pain points will all be important.
    7. Look for a mentor. A quality coach can help you improve performance by at least 19%. Look for a successful sales person who will be able to provide feedback and advice, as well as inspiration and participation in roleplay.
    8. Be ready for questions and objections. If you’ve practiced and prepared for this it won’t throw you off track when it happens.
    9. Work on prospecting. For example, use techniques such as warm calls and webinars.
    10. Listen to feedback. Constructive feedback is crucial to improving your sales skills. When you get it be open to it even if it’s hard to hear, as this will enable you to identify a path to improvement.
    11. Be authentic. It’s important to understand how to build a rapport with a customer and most of the time this starts with having authentic conversations about work or life.
    12. Try different closing techniques. There are lots of approaches you can take to closing a sale, such as a summary close where you reiterate key information in order to move the sale on.
    13. Iterate on your sales cycle. This will make it easier to improve both skills and numbers.
    14. Learn how to listen. Active listening and paying attention are essential for a sales person, whether that’s with respect to identifying potential obstacles and helping to close the deal.
    15. Track and monitor. Set yourself goals and track how far you get each month. Identify metrics, such as close rate, so you can compare your progress from one month to the next.

    If you want to improve your sales skills these 15 tips will provide a firm foundation.

    Find out more by booking onto our Advanced Selling Skills training course…

  9. Our top 10 ways to innovate at work every day

    You know what they say, only boring people get bored. No matter how mundane you find some of your every day tasks, if you apply some innovation to daily problems then you can not only get more from what you do but help to move your career forward too.

    1. Buddy up. If there’s someone else looking for similar progress, who has a similar mindset to you, buddy up to help encourage and motivate each other. This is a great way to ensure you have accountability that will keep you inspired and moving in the right direction.
    2. Small-scale innovation really works. You don’t have to focus only on the big ideas and projects to make a difference. Making lots of small, innovative changes can add up to a greater whole, from something as simple as altering the wording on your email signature to getting up an hour earlier every day.
    3. Look for inspiration. From travel images to movie posters or tycoon quotes, use anything that gives you a feeling of motivation to help boost your daily mood by surrounding yourself with it at the office.
    4. Make it visual. If you have ideas then put them into physical form, from images and graphics to prototypes – visuals make more of an impact and people are much more likely to understand what you’re trying to achieve if you present it in this way.
    5. Consider the option of standing up. From meetings to informal chats, standing instead of sitting changes the entire dynamic. You might find you get more done this way and that others are more efficient too.
    6. Identify when you’re sleepwalking. All of us have moments in the day when we’re just on autopilot. Identify the times when this happens to you and find ways to do those jobs differently so that you’re always present.
    7. Look around you. Make sure you spend enough time out of the office each day to feel refreshed and remain alert. Use your time outside to be fully present and notice everything around you, from the smallest blade of grass to huge buildings and the details of human faces.
    8. Explore the idea of a ban. You can force yourself to do things differently if you take certain things off the table. So, for example, you might ban yourself from using a word that you tend to write a lot or certain communication tools. See how innovative you can be when your regular patterns are disrupted.
    9. Feed creativity with creativity. Spend the first hour of your day immersed in creativity, whether that’s listening to music or podcasts, sharing ideas or doing something like sketching or singing. You’ll find your imagination sparked by this far more than just diving into your emails as soon as you wake up.
    10. What would Obama do? It doesn’t’ have to be a historic ex president but take your hero and think about what they would do if faced with a situation like you’re in and use that inspiration to approach it differently.

    It’s simple to innovate at work every day – try these 10 steps and see how much more inspired you feel afterwards.

    Find out more by booking onto our Creativity & Innovation training course…

  10. Our top 6 steps to understanding financial statement

    Being able to understand the financial statements generated for your business is crucial, especially in unsettling and uncertain times. This will provide you with essential data when it comes to the current financial health of the business and what risks and opportunities might lay ahead.

    1. Value chain analysis

    The first step required is all about context. Identify the chain of steps involved in what the business makes or provides to customers, from creation to distribution.

    1. Look at what is on offer

    It’s essential to get perspective on the business offering. This will include current profit margins and the USP of the business and the product or service. You’ll need to be able to identify factors such as brand awareness and commitment among customers, as well as cost control, supply chain and geographic reach.

    1. Review the structure of the statements themselves

    At this stage you’re looking to understand whether the statements are well constructed and offer all the necessary information. For example, does the balance sheet provide an accurate overview of the business’ financial state? Does the income statement give you all the information that you need when it comes to economic performance? And when you’re looking at the cash flow are you able to clearly see where cash came into the business and where it went out and how liquidity within the business has changed over time as a result?

    1. The analysis stage

    Financial statements really come into their own with respect to making decisions about the future of business and planning strategy. This can involve some key analysis, including looking at how profitable the business is relative to its assets and how profitable it seems to key stakeholders such as shareholders. Financial statement ratios such as asset management, debt management/coverage, risk/market valuation and liquidity are all going to be essential when it comes to taking the information in financial statements and converting it into analysis that can be productively used.

    1. The forecasting element

    It’s often difficult to take existing data and turn it into a prediction for the business in the future but this is also an essential part of strong ongoing management. Making assumptions about the future of the organisation like this – in the context of the industry in which it operates – will steer decisions made for both cash flow and funding so it’s key that they are based on strong data and sensible forecasting.

    1. Establish a valuation approach

    Being able to value the business is essential, and not just in a situation where it is about to be sold on. There are a number of different approaches available when it comes to valuation, from a discounted cash flow methodology to accounting-based or relative valuation strategy.

    Financial statements offer key insight into the way that the business is performing and the potential that it has for the future. Understanding them is the first step towards being able to use this data to make a positive difference.

    Find out more by booking onto our Interpreting Financial Statements training course…

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.