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  1. Our top 9 tips for increasing exhibition sales

    Exhibiting can be a goldmine when it comes to sales. It’s an opportunity to get face-to-face with potential customers and put your business on the map. So, how do you ensure that you’re generating positive return on an exhibiting investment and increasing the number of sales that you make?

    • Create your stand carefully. In an exhibiting environment you’re going to be present with all your competitors so it’s important that your stand design really makes an impact. Only 20% of banner designs feature a call to action (CTA) so you can distinguish yours by including this. Make sure you keep your messaging clear and simple, don’t clutter the design and focus on that all important CTA.
    • Set your goals. In particular, focus on what it is that you’re hoping to achieve from the exhibition when it comes to ROI. Be realistic about this and be sure to factor in all the costs that have been involved, from transport to banners.
    • Activate your team to achieve more on the day. Do your staff know how to convert visitors? Have you made sure they understand the dos and don’ts on the day (e.g. put your phone away)? The people that you take with you can be your biggest asset if you give them the tools to convert more.
    • Make sure they have all the right knowledge. Crucially, staff should be able to answer any questions put to them about the business and also the products and services that you’re selling. Are they ready to answer questions about USP, brand history, objectives and benefits?
    • Find ways to keep everyone motivated. Motivated staff want to be there and are keen to open prospects’ eyes to the benefits of your products and your brand. Setting goals for staff, offering prizes and making sure they get regular breaks can help to ensure that the people representing your brand make the right impression.
    • Aim to attract attention – but avoid gimmicks. Anything that you include on your stand on the day as a way to engage visitors should also be something that your staff can use as a conversion tool. That may mean thinking in advance about the best methods to show off products in a way that will enable sales too.
    • Avoid the hard sell. Not everyone will be the right match for what you’re offering and bullying people into a sale on the day could leave a sour taste in the mouth for everyone involved. Instead, ask questions and listen to comments on need or expectations – look for ways in which your offering matches up with this as opposed to just listing all the generic benefits.
    • Be open and respectful to everyone. If you’re just targeting senior staff you might miss out on the opportunities that someone else could present for making sales. Treat everyone the same and be open, friendly and approachable to all. Follow up with everyone too – research shows that up to 50% of sales are won by the vendor who is first to respond after an exhibition.
    • Don’t leave early. If you want to maximise the potential for sales then that means staying until close.

    These are some of the simplest steps you can take to increase your exhibition sales. Find out more by booking onto our Selling Skills for Exhibitions

  2. 10 tips for busting stress

    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…

  3. How to manage a sales team

    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.

  4. 9 top skills need to become a successful administrator

    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…

  5. How to effectively coach a sales team

    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

  6. 7 basic skills for personal effectiveness

    Personal effectiveness depends on a range of different factors, from the experiences you’ve had so far to the talents that you have developed and the knowledge that you have acquired. Being more effective can help you to get closer to your goals in life and may help you to identify ways to achieve those goals that are smarter and more efficient. You can develop personal effectiveness by nurturing 7 basic skills.


    1. Focus


    Being able to focus single-mindedly on your goals can be crucial to ensuring that you don’t get distracted from achieving them. This may require a combination of developing more self-discipline and also learning when you need to take a break and start afresh tomorrow.


    1. Resilience


    Knock backs and rejections are something that happen to everyone but if they throw you off course every time then you will find it hard to be effective. Resilience means developing a kinder mindset that allows you to keep moving forward even if you make a mistake or something doesn’t go your way. Combined with persistence, developing resilience will ensure that you’re able to overcome obstacles and keep getting closer to your goals, no matter what happens.


    1. Self-confidence


    Being confident in who you are starts with understanding what you’re capable of and what you want in life and recognising where your strengths lie. You can demonstrate self-confidence in the way that you walk, speak, stand and present yourself to others in terms of your appearance. It’s important that this comes from a genuine sense of being comfortable and happy with who you are and what you can do, so do the internal work first.


    1. Coping skills3


    Particularly if you’re ambitious, stress is going to be a part of every day life. Stress can be created by anything, from deadlines to the attitudes of those around you. Developing the skills to cope with stress may require a combination of improving communication skills, learning how to find alternative solutions and using tools such as meditation or yoga to help you wind down and relax when you need to. The more you’re able to switch off from stress the less it will slow you down.


    1. Thinking outside the box


    Problem solving is an essential skill to have for anyone who aspires to be more effective. It can help you to identify solutions to obstacles and challenging problems, as well as more efficient and effective routes to your ultimate goals.


    1. Being able to generate original ideas


    If you know how to find your way to an original idea you will be able to reach your goals more easily and also establish yourself as a valuable resource to partners or employers. There are lots of tools to use to develop this, such as mind maps that help you to visualise, analyse and develop ideas to help generate new ones.


    1. Nurturing creativity


    Creativity is something we all have but some are better at using than others. It’s this skill that will give you access to big ideas as well as shorter pathways to end goals – and innovative approaches that can make more impact. Nurturing creativity is an essential skill if you want to be more effective.


    There are lots of different ways to improve personal effectiveness – these 7 key skills are a good place to start.


    Find out more by booking onto our Personal Effectiveness

  7. How to improve negotiation skills for buyers

    When it comes to negotiation advice this often seems to be aimed at the salesperson. But what if you’re the one looking to acquire as opposed to sell? Whether you’re a manager or an entrepreneur running your own business you are likely to have a whole range of pressures that make it important to get a great deal. So, how do you improve your negotiation skills as a buyer to ensure that you achieve a positive result?

    Go in well prepared

    That means finding out as much as you can about the product or service and the company or person who is selling it to you. In particular, do what you can to establish the actual value of what you’re purchasing – research online, look at competitor pricing and read information and reviews from other customers. This type of knowledge will be useful when working out where you might have leverage in negotiations – and avoiding an inflated starting price – as well as demonstrating that you’ve done your research.

    Avoid timing issues

    It’s well known that salespeople will often try to inject a sense of urgency into a situation with deadlines and schedules. The idea of this is to put pressure on a buyer to agree to purchase at a specific price and without further negotiation. If you want to avoid feeling this pressure don’t let yourself be rushed through the sales process, take your time. It’s also a good idea to look out for other common sales tricks, such as ‘this discount is only available today’ or the suggestion that your business might start losing money if you don’t buy within a specific time limit.

    Be aware of your physical cues

    It’s very easy to accidentally give things away in negotiations, for example by the facial expressions you use when certain figures are suggested. Try to keep your expressions and reactions mute during a negotiation and adopt a confident posture and gestures.

    Know your limits

    Before you go into the negotiation decide what your upper spending limit is going to be and then don’t move from it. Start from a lower price and, if necessary, gradually move towards that top limit but don’t allow yourself to be pushed over it.

    Ask for what you want

    If there’s something missing from what’s on the table that you feel should be there then ask for it. If you’ve been pushed higher and higher on the price then don’t be afraid to look for value add ons that will justify paying more for the product or service. If you don’t ask for what you want then there is no way for the salesperson to know what that is.

    Walk away if you need to

    The ultimate fallback for any buyer is having the ability to walk away from the deal. If you’re really just not getting what you want and the seller isn’t going to change their position then cut your losses and start researching other vendors to deal with.

    Negotiating as a buyer takes a lot of skill and the ability to stand firm when necessary. It’s something that anyone can learn with the right training.

    Find out more by booking onto our Negotiation Skills course

  8. Top 10 business writing skills you need to learn

    Business writing is an essential ability to have if you want to be able to communicate professionally and get your ideas across. Doing it effectively requires mastering a number of key skills.

    1. Be clear and to the point. Particularly in business writing, the ability to be concise is incredibly important. Say what you mean with as few words as possible and you will be much more effective as a result.
    2. Who are you writing for? It’s essential to bear in mind your audience when you’re business writing. This will affect everything from the tone and detail to the language you use. You can also personalise what you’re creating by tailoring it to the individuals or demographic you’re aiming at.
    3. Learn how to structure your writing. If the document you’re producing is unstructured and unwieldy you may find that people struggle to get to the end. Bear in mind that a good structure will help a reader to absorb the information in the piece – and also that many people will make a judgment about whether to read on based solely on the first paragraph.
    4. Set yourself a goal. Crucially, before you start writing whatever it is you’re producing, make sure you know why you’re doing it. What’s the reason for the writing you’re about to begin and what are you hoping to achieve with it?
    5. Steer clear of an overly formal tone. Business writing needs to be professional but also accessible. It’s very easy to slip into formal writing that can be dull and mean that people switch off. A conversational tone ensures that a reader can engage with, and enjoy, what you’re writing and won’t be put off by too formal an approach.
    6. Use the right language. Most important is to use accessible vocabulary that is easy to understand – jargon and trending terms don’t usually add much.
    7. Switch from the passive voice to the active voice. Your writing will be more powerful if it’s framed in active terms e.g. switch from “if you want to know more we can be reached at” to “if you want to know more call me on this number.”
    8. Write for the appropriate channel or platform. Business writing for a blog is very different to writing web content or producing a report or white paper. Take the time to appreciate what the differences are between each and to tailor what you produce accordingly.
    9. Stick to the facts. The more facts, statistics and hard data your writing contains the more credible it will be. If you want to integrate opinions use facts to support them and avoid including those that don’t have a factual basis.
    10. Check everything you write – twice. Bad grammar, spelling mistakes and missing punctuation can detract from the point that you’re trying to make.

    Great business writing takes a combination of focus, detail and understanding who you’re writing for. Nurturing these key skills will help you to considerably improve what you produce.

    Find out more by booking your place on our Professional Writing Skills course

  9. How to manage budgets

    Managing a departmental budget is often a skill that goes untaught. If you’ve recently been promoted into a managerial position then you may have the people skills and industry knowledge to excel in the role – but perhaps not the budget know how. A corporate budget is similar to a personal budget except that there are different stakeholders involved. There are some simple ways to approach the process to ensure that you get it right.

    Review the existing budget

    For most managers there will already be a budget to work from and refer back to. This is a good starting point, as it will reveal how spend has been allocated in the past and what elements you may have to include in your own calculations. Even if you choose to take a slightly different approach further down the line, using an existing budget as a benchmark is a smart place to start.

    Get a good understanding of how resources are used

    Managing a budget will often take you outside your own area of expertise and experience and into allocating finances for teams that you may have little or no experience of. It’s essential to communicate with key people whose work is covered by your budget to ensure you understand how resources are allocated. For example, there may be software or hardware that you’re not aware of that needs to be part of the calculations, equipment maintenance costs to include and the potential to make changes to the way existing spend is managed to make savings.

    Make sure you understand corporate expectations

    While individual departments are responsible for their budgets it’s usually at the corporate level where increases and decreases are determined. That’s why it’s crucial to understand corporate expectations as far in advance as possible. For example, it may be that the message is that budgets this year need to be within 7% of what they were last year. The earlier you have this information, the easier it will be to accommodate it.

    Identify operational and discretionary items

    If there comes a point where the budget needs to be reduced the simplest way to do this will be via operational items (paid monthly with no long-term contract) or discretionary items (expense allocations for a certain activity or project).  This will give you some flexibility if budgets need to be adjusted because corporate targets have not been met.

    Be resourceful – but ask for help if required

    There are lots of different ways to ensure that your budget works, from finding interns to cover certain roles to switching to a better value supplier. It’s key to ensure that you know who to turn to if you need help with the budget or if there is a particular budget related expense that you need to evaluate This is often the finance team – and, if not, they are usually well positioned to help you find someone else who can provide support.

    Managing budgets may be a new experience but it’s a skill that can be quickly acquired with the right direction.

    Find out more by booking your place on our Managing Budgets course

  10. 9 tips for dealing with difficult people at work

    It’s impossible to go through life without coming across challenging people. In the workplace, which can be competitive and stressful, people are often not at their best and can be difficult to deal with. If you find yourself in a situation with someone who isn’t behaving well there are a number of different strategies you can use to cope.

    1. Focus on empathy. It’s difficult to do if someone is really pushing your buttons but being empathetic is actually a powerful response. It enables you to understand why someone is behaving as they are and what their triggers might be, which will also make it easier to find a positive solution for you both.
    2. Talk to other people. Whether it’s the same person you’re struggling with, or someone similar, it’s likely that your friends, family and colleagues will also have experience of difficult people at work. Talking, sharing and asking for advice can be effective ways to help you cope.
    3. Be respectful. No matter how much someone else aggravates you, staying respectful will always help in terms of your responses. If you become disrespectful then the situation can only escalate, leaving both sides without a way back to a positive place.
    4. Don’t be triggered. Staying calm and in control will not only reflect well on you in terms of the way you’re handling the situation but will also make it easier for a resolution to be found.
    5. Try to communicate better. Often, issues arise between two people because intentions are being misunderstood. Start by clearly communicating what you’re trying to achieve and where you’re coming from so that there is no confusion in terms of what is being said and done. Understanding can create empathy on both sides and pave the way for a solution.
    6. Connect in person. Whether it’s the individual you’ve been struggling with, or other colleagues in general, it’s important to spend time connecting face-to-face. If you only ever communicate by email or messaging it’s easy for the personal touch to get lost.
    7. What action steps will resolve the situation? If emotions are running high and things have become personal, sometimes it can help to focus purely on practicalities and what needs to be done in terms of action.
    8. Rise above it. If you’ve tried all of the above and someone is still being difficult then it might be worth taking a step back and not responding. This can give the other person time to cool off and consider what they want from the situation, especially if they’ve been lashing out.
    9. Ask for help. Unfortunately, some professional situations do get out of hand and you may not be able to diffuse a conflict on your own. An immediate superior or manager should be able to step in and help to find ways to resolve the situation.

    It’s never easy dealing with difficult people at work. However, there are lots of different options when it comes to the strategies that you choose to use to cope. Find out more by signing up to our Dealing with Difficult People 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.