Counter Culture, Motivation Strategies From Solutions The Magazine For Sagecover Members

The negative attitude of an individual can quickly permeate through an entire company’s culture if not kept in check. We ask the experts what we should do with the whingers.

Troubleshooting. To eliminate negativity in the workplace, you must first identify those who are responsible. “Negative people are very good at weeding out those who can be “turned” and after a few moaning, whining, coffee breaks, things can rapidly take a turn for the worse,” warns Gavin Ingham, leading motivational speaker and trainer.

Lead by example. “To change the behaviour of others, a leader must first change their own behaviour,” says Robert Heller, founding editor of Management Today. The employees know they should do better. They may indeed want to do better. But you cannot simply ask them to do better.”

It’s time to get hands-on. “By managing results and not behaviour, you are not so aware of what your team are doing on a day-to-day basis and how the team perform,” Ingham explains. “Action is as important as results when you seek to motivate teams and individuals.” Secondly, you must take time to outline and explain what you believe positive and constructive behaviour is… and practise what you preach.

“By staying close to your team and ensuring that they are working together, feel valued and take responsibility. spottig unsuitable behaviour will be relatively easy.”

Mr Motivator. “Most misguided staff are off course because they lack direction, not because they are disruptive,” Ingham continues, “Most disruptive behaviour finds its root in misunderstanding.”

Not surprising, really. What motivates one individual is not necessarily what motivates the next. And although you might be driven by bonuses and promotion, your disruptive employee may not. Ingham explains, “Many managers assume that money and promotion motivate individuals. Unfortunately, it may be that these particular factors may not motivate a specific individual at all; they may want security, or fun, or a friendly environment to work in. None of these motivators are right or wrong but we need to know how to harness them ot maintain motivation of individuals.”

Open up the lines of comunication and get to know your team better – that way you can gain an insight into what drives them.

Listen Up. So, is it possible to change negative culture once it has embedded itself? Absolutely, says Ingham, “We need to get to the root causes of the dissatisfaction. Listen to the teams and the individuals; find and nurture common goals; set boundaries and rules; and get the team working together and realising that a positive environment is far more fulfilling.” Most important of all: you need to genuinely want to change yourself. If you don’t feel passionately about the company’s wellbeing, how can you expect the rest of your team to follow suit?

Whinger to winner in five easy steps

  1. Loosen up. The more hands-on and approachable you are, the more you’ll understand the individual needs of your employees. Be open to feedback and change.
  2. Lead by example. Your own behaviour must be consistent with the demands you ask of the rest of your workforce.
  3. Let go. Let those lower down in the company contribute to their full potential.
  4. Common goals and values. Everybody should be clear about where the company is going and what they’re aiming for.
  5. Care and share. Understand and care for individuals. Learn what drives and motivates them. Look for the positive intent behind their actions.

Interested in finding out more about how I can help you and your managers motivate your teams? Check out my Motivate People open training seminar or contact me about consultancy work.

Article courtesy of Sagecover magazine October 2007.

The Sales Apprentice 2008: Sales Training Tips From The Hit TV Show, Part I

So here we go, 12 more weeks of The Apprentice and 12 more issues of The Sales Apprentice. Are we going to be wowed with amazing sales techniques and strategies? Are this year’s apprentices going to prove themselves to be sales gurus and experts? What sales training, business and personal development lessons will we learn? Will I regret ever starting this report at the start of the last series? Only time will tell…

Towards the end of last season I was losing patience with the self-serving, self-satisfying apprentices. Would this year’s new start and apprentices give me hope?

In a word, no!

It was clear from the opening credits that, despite Sir Alan Sugar’s protestations in The Times today, this year’s Apprentice was going to be as show-biz-candy and eye catching as last year’s. Apparently, he wants it to be a “serious” business show but I can’t see that in the current format… But that doesn’t mean that there is not fun to be had and sales training lessons to be learnt.

In the opening credits two of our group rated themselves as excellent salespeople, one girl saying that she was probably “the best in Europe”. Now, and as I have said time and time again, sales is an amazing profession and provides virtually unrivalled career opportunities… if she really were that good, what on earth was she doing here?

Of the clips we saw of the other candidates all displayed the kind of arrogance that would leave Tom Cruise (at his most confident) needing shades to hide from the glare. Why do these people feel the need to display this level of arrogance? Especially when chances are that they are going to get exposed for all of their weaknesses on prime time TV.

In the board room the hopeful apprentices and Sir Alan’s trusted advisors Margaret and Nick are sitting waiting when Sir Alan enters. After a brief introduction he tells the apprentices that the real prize for winning is not the money or the job but working with him…

“This is a business bootcamp, Mary Poppins I am not”, he barks. But this year he has a twist. There will be none of this pansyesque settling into the house, oh no. This group have to start their first task right away and in their Sunday best…

“I’ve got you two van loads of fish worth 600 quid and permission to roam around the streets of London and trade. The team who brings back the most money wins. Boys versus girls. See you back at 7pm tonight.”

A simple sales task. Surely there must be some good sales training lessons to learn, even in this early show!

Raef, who I took an instant dislike to, despite the fact that he later tells us that he can get on with anyone “prince or pauper”, starts off in the pompous way he means to carry on, “If I am faced with a situation that will create mere mortals to quake, I won’t.”

Sara is also bragging to the camera, “To me business is simple. It’s about making money, making money and making more money. ”

Sometimes I want to have a kindly word with some of them. Have they not heard of the phrase “under promise and over deliver”? And did none of them see how quietly Michelle progressed through the first few rounds before beating the badger two years ago? Or are they just so arrogant that they cannot keep their mouths shut?

And then Michael read my mind saying that if anyone accused him of being arrogant he would say, “You’re 100 % right, I am arrogant. What are you going to do about it”

And then they set off to sell their fish…

Have you ever noticed how people who can’t get the job done spend a disordinate amount of time focusing on activities that won’t make sales? You’ve seen them… Salespeople spending hours on their emails and admin and not enough on the phone or in front of prospects. Small business owners expending all of their time and energy on ordering the right photocopier rather than tracking down some people to sell to…

Well this lot fell right into that trap alright spending rather too much time on deciding what their teams should be called rather than focusing on planning and preparing for their sales efforts. And, let’s be brutally honest here, there was little of originality in the names or the conversations that made it worth talking about it for so long… Alchemy, Dynamic, Impetus, Relations, Gravitas, Strike… and finally the winners, Renaissance for the boys and Alpha for the girls.


I’d have called my team First and been done with it. If asked, I’d have said that it was the first name that came into my head and I saw my time far better spent planning my sales strategy…

At least they had all worked out that stepping up for team leader at this early stage is bad news because if you lose you are guaranteed to be up for the sack. Being up for dismissal at such an early stage is not good because Sir Alan has little knowledge of you or any of your redeeming factors. Eventually, Claire and Alex stepped up to lead the girl’s and the boy’s teams respectively.

Notably, Raef ducked the cut stating he didn’t have the “experience” although I am not quite sure what “experience” he was referring to.

After many discussions, both teams decide to go to Islington market. The girls however seemed to make this decision a full hour or more before the boys. Barring anything else untoward, game over right there.

1 hour extra selling time and the best sales pitch equals the best sales results. Period. What were the boys doing taking from 8am until noon to get to Islington? I’d see this as a bad case of sales reluctance and procrastination…

Sales training lesson 101 – Know Your Product.

Sir Alan provided each team with a van with 600 pounds of “top class” sea food in it. The teams had to work out what all of the produce was and how much to sell it for. To help them with this he provided them with a book with pictures of the fish in it and a wholesale guide to prices.

Rocket science this was not and I think that most bright school kids could have worked this bit out…

As the girls arrived in Islington the locals saw their chance. The girls might think that they’re the second coming but the locals saw them coming. Clearly not impressed by our team they set about “robbing” them of their fish before they had even priced it up. Swarming the girls who were trying to set up their stall none of the girls demonstrated either the nouse or the confidence to halt trading until they had priced everything up correctly. (Sales training thought – controlling your sales arena is essential for success).

Maybe the boys still have a chance after all…

As the boys arrive there are shouts that they need to get selling straight away but Alex is determined to set up properly. He gives the job of identifying the fish to Raef and gives Nicholas, the lawyer, the task of working out the wholesale prices and marking the fish up to sales prices. Nicholas tells us that he has never failed at anything ever except for a B in a French (?) exam once and he considered that as a failure. I hear a wake up call coming…

Alex then had a good idea, quickly noting the prices of other retailers and deciding to underciu them on one premium product to attract customers.

A bit of market research and a strategy. Are things looking up for the boys?

No! After a mess up the boys price lobster as £4.90 per lobster rather than £4.90 per kilo (pound?). This was mostly Nicholas’ mistake. Perhaps not so smart after all when it comes to common sense then Nicholas. (Ed. Is this deja vu or does this not remind you of a similar pricing mistake last year also made by someone who should have done better?)

After 2 hours trading the girls stock is still not properly labelled. There are 8 of them for goodness sake. What on earth are they all doing? I don’t get it. In my local market the fish stall is run by two salespeople. What are this lot all doing? How can they possibly not have labelled everything?

To make a profit the teams must take £600+ the voice over says. Sara has counted £440 so far in the girl’s kitty with ¾ pf their stock already sold. Jenny, a sales  manager was “shocked to the core” by this. Talking for talking’s sake Jenny. I don’t know what you’ve been doing but why hadn’t you noticed before? As a sales manager and as a salesperson I always knew what I had to sell to hit target, where I was against target, what my commission was, what my team had sold, how they were doing against target, what commission they would take home that month…

Towards the back end of the exercise both sales teams decide that they might have a better chance of meeting their sales targets if they bulk sell some fish to prevent them being left with valuable sales stock…

In west London (how did they they get there?) the girls try to ditch the lot on a posh restaurant…

Girls: “150 for the lot. We want to get rid.” Fabulous! What a pathetic presentation. Tell the customer you have no alternatives why don’t you.

“I’ll give you 120”, offers the somewhat generous customer.

The girls I think got 125.

Meanwhile, in an North London solicitor’s office (just where you’d go to sell fish right!) the boys want to get £130. Unfortunately for them they run into a rather more ambitious sales negotiator. What follows is not pretty at all…

Boys: “We’ll selll the lot for 100.” What?! When negotiating, an opening stance is the figure at which you start. Team leader Alex, who wasn’t in on this negototion, told the team that he wanted 130 for the lot. This would mean starting at 130 or, better still, considerably higher.

“We’d do it for 50”, responds the prospect. Nice move. Half the amount and said with confidence too! A strong statement of intent to negotiate.

Boys: “Can we do 80?” A closed question from the boys. It begs the answer, “No” but doesn’t even get that much sympathy from the customer.

“50”, repeats the prospect.

Boys: “75”. I am feeling a little sorry for the boys here. This is pitiful. Since their opening line they were never getting more than 50! This is a slam dunk. There is only one person who understands selling skills and negotiating techniques here and it’s not one of our boys.

“50”, repeats the client.

“What about 65?” squeaks one of the boys with a hint of deseperation.

“No. The customer is always right.” Nice introduction of “No” and a reason for not moving, albeit not one that could not have been overcome if only…

“Can we have a moment to confer?” ask the boys followed by, “This is really the most we can do. 55.”

“No. 50”, states the client who knows he has never had anything but the upper hand here.

Brilliant. Boys, you have just been sold. Deal. They shake hands at £50.

“I negotiated as much as I could”, said Michael. I won’t be promoting him to head negotiator any time soon then!! Raef backs him up however, “We made an executive decision. We didn’t think we could get more.”

The results…

Boys team £632.69, a £32.69 profit. Girls team £753.98, a marginally better £153.98 profit.

The girls head off to the house for the first time and dinner cooked by a top chef. “It’s a taste of the lifestyle the winner can expect”, croons the narrator. What! On £100k? In Central London? I don’t think so!!

Back in the board room Sir Alan reemphasies how simple the project was, “It’s like Janet and John… You left here at 8. What did you do until 12?”

On asking Raef, “Why did you get the fish wrong?” Raef said that he only got one box wrong, Margaret, clearly not “feeling” him any more than I am was very quick to bark out “3 boxes” in very acidic tones. “Was it 3?” he asked innocently.

Nicholas was in full on lawyer mode, “I do admit some fault in this matter”.

Oh really! That’s big of you!

Not surprisingly Alex elects to bring back Nicholas and Raef but Sir Alan, full of surprises this week (the big tease!) says that he is tired and he will see them tomorrow.

Next day in the board room Alex, Raef and Nicholas break into some kind of pseudo class war. At this point I would have sacked Raef but Nicholas puts his head on the block saying that he thinks the team has split into “educated against gritty salespople”. Alex is insulted. Nicholas, not finished chopping off his own head yet, continued, “I am very into art and culture and I find it difficult to talk about football and these are the type of people who are into that.”

Yes Nicholas. This is called rapport. I will spell it out for you “R-A-P-P-O-R-T”. It means getting on with people of all different types and backgrounds and there is no way that Sir Alan will hire you now because you just told him that you cannot sell for toffee.

“Nicholas you told me you have an outstanding pass from the bar. You were devastated with the B in French. You’re going to be even more devastated by this. You’re fired.”

So what do we learn tonight?

1.    Sales is a great leveller.

You might be the most educated person in the world. You might have an IQ of 200 and a first from Cambridge. You might be a neuro-surgeon or a nuclear physicist. And all of these are great achievements.

Well done.

But they mean nothing in sales. When you stand on the start line of your sales career it’s down to one thing and one thing alone and that’s you.

You either do it or you don’t. You either close the sales or you don’t. You either hit your targets or you don’t. And your background, education and IQ are not going to help you. They might open a door for you but once it’s open you have to keep it open.

This was not the first time one of the most educated people was pushed from The Apprentice and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

2.    Selling is about people.

If you want to be a great salesperson you need to be great with people. You need to be great with many different types of people. Only being able to sell to people you went to school with is a start but it’s not enough!!

Salespeople need to be able to build rapport with people like them AND people not like them. And that requires flexibility in your communication patterns (check out my Professional Selling Skills seminar).

No matter how good you are at communicating you can always get better. Read books on communications. Read books on selling. Read books on personal development. Attend sales seminars and sales training programmes.

Make understanding and communicating with others your life’s study. It will be worth it.

3.    Take responsibility.

So let’s leave tonight’s final thoughts with Nicholas, “Were it left to me I would always succeed.”

Well Nicholas it was and you didn’t. Sure, you can blame Sir Alan, you can blame Alex and you can blame your bad luck at being in the losing group on day 1 but ultimately these things were all of your making. Only you can change them.

To be a great salesperson you need to take responsibility for your own success. If others are difficult worry not about  them but ask, “What can I do to improve things?”. If you don’t get the results you want in a market downturn don’t blame the downturn ask, “What could I do to turn this around?”

Being a great salesperson is all about taking responsibility. Responsibility for youself. Responsibility for your actions. Responsibility for your clients. And responsibility for your sales results.

Until next week, sell with passion.

Motivational Speaker Gavin Ingham Interviews Goal Setting Expert Andy Smith

One of the issues that comes up frequently when running sales training seminars is the thorny issues of goals and goal setting. In my experience, few people seem to set any goals at all and even fewer stick to them! Ever since reading Anthony Robbins in my early twenties I have been a keen goal setter… and it has worked well for me. As a salesperson they helped to keep me on track, motivated and focused. As a manager they empowered me to take action to get results. As a motivational speaker in the sales training arena they have helped to give me the edge that I need to get the results that I want.

It’s common knowledge that most successful people set goals. Most successful people know what their goals are. Most successful people are aware of the power of goals and goal setting. I have written about how important setting goals is before so today I thought we would do something different…

I have interviewed my good friend Andy Smith of Coaching Leaders about the power of goals and goal setting across your whole life not just your sales and business goals. Andy is well qualified to answer these questions: he is an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) trainer, EI (Emotional Intelligence) expert and executive coach who is a specialist in goal setting that really works. Andy is the author of the Dorling Kindersley book Achieve Your Goals: Strategies to Transform Your Life and has been featured in many publications talking about goal setting and other personal development subjects.

1.    How will people benefit when they set goals?

Apart from being much more likely to achieve the goal itself, going for goals has an effect on our happiness levels. We are biologically hard-wired to feel happier if we have some sense of control and choice over our lives, which is what setting goals and taking action gives us. We change from feeling like victims of life’s circumstances, or at best passive consumers, into someone who knows they can make a difference. We are also learning along the way – even the mistakes we make, though they aren’t enjoyable at the time, will bring us valuable wisdom if we choose to learn from them.

2.    Can you give us some specific examples of goals that people you know have set and achieved and how they have benefited?

Just some examples from my clients and students: some people have used these methods to hit and maintain their target weight and fitness levels for the first time for years, some have made their transition to a new career easier, or finally got around to living in a new country after dreaming about it for years. People have also used goal-setting to cope better with the curveballs life throws at us from time to time – divorces, redundancy, getting out of debt.

In my own life, I’d say the two biggest things so far becoming a published author (by Dorling Kindersley, a ‘proper’ publisher) and rather more significantly meeting my life partner Jules. I actually did set a goal of being happily married by the end of 2000, despite there being no remotely suitable candidates around at the time – and I’m happy to report that we did just squeak it in on December 29th of that year!

3.    Given that, why is it do you think that most people don’t set goals?

I think there are two things going on here. One is that in today’s busy society, they never get round to it. There is always something “urgent” clamouring for our attention, with more tasks waiting in line when that one is dealt with. If people do try to think about their goals, they may be too tired from all the busywork to do them justice. So it requires a conscious effort to step off the hamster wheel and take some time to think about what’s important to you and where you want to get to. The best advice I’ve ever been given was “plan the time to plan” – set aside some protected time so that you can think about the future. This is equally important whether you’re working for yourself or in employment.

4.    Is the old story that written goals are better than non-written goals true?

There’s a famous story about the “Yale Study” in which researchers asked Yale’s graduating class of 1953 how many of them had specific goals for their future in writing. Twenty years later, the 3% who had written goals had more personal wealth than the other 97% combined!

It’s a compelling story, it’s quoted by Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar, plus legions of other motivational speakers and it sounds as if it ought to be true – but, alas, it never happened. You’ll never see an academic reference for it, Yale have no record of it, and when ‘Fast Company’ magazine investigated the origin of the story, Robbins’ people directed them to Brian Tracy, Tracy said he heard it from Zig Ziglar, and Ziglar’s people suggested the source might be Robbins!

It’s still a good idea to write your goals down though – it’s the best way to get clear about them and keep them in the forefront of your attention.

5.    What sorts of goals should people set?

I would urge people to think big and set long-term goals that excite them, without worrying at first about how they are going to get there. It really is a shame when people limit their lives by telling themselves that what they really want isn’t realistic. The only way to find out what’s realistic is to go for it.

You also need short-term goals to aim at, to give you something that’s achievable and to give your unconscious mind some behavioural reinforcement when you achieve them. Psychologists have found (Ken Sheldon and Tim Kasser if you want to look them up) that people are happier when they achieve “vertical coherence” in their goal-setting – that is, when your higher-level and short-term goals are aligned so that achieving the immediate goal takes you closer to the big one.

6.    How should people go about setting goals?

First, get yourself into a positive emotional state by reviewing what’s already working in your life, what you like doing, what you’ve achieved already and what you’re proud of. This will help you find your direction, get you thinking more strategically, and also help you to feel like you deserve success.

Then clarify your values – what’s important to you – in the area of your life in which you want to set goals. Typical areas might include work and career, relationships, finances, health and fitness, and personal development.

Only then, when you’re feeling good and you know what’s important to you, should you start thinking about specific goals that will satisfy your values. Get clear about what you want, get a clear sensory image of what it will look, sound and feel like, and set a specific date for it in your future.

7.    What are your top 3 tips for successful goal setting?

Okay, the first one would have to be focus on what you want, not what you want to get away from. If you don’t know what you want, how will you know if you’re on the right track, or recognise when you’ve got there? It may sound a bit “cosmic ordering” to say that your unconscious mind attracts what you focus on, but it’s only another expression of that principle widely recognised in business that you are going to move in the direction of whatever targets you set. “Towards” motivation gives you a direction, it gets even stronger when you get close to achieving your goal, and you feel good when you have it. “Away from” motivation, by contrast, is undirected, it runs out when you get far enough from the thing you want to avoid, and it’s stressful.

Next, form a sensory image of your goal – what will you see, hear and feel when you have it? This is vital for motivation. Most people are familiar with the idea that goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed – but you’ll notice there’s nothing in there about whether you care if you achieve them or not. Using your senses gives you that missing piece by providing something to engage your emotions.

Finally – put a date on your goal! Until you have put a date on your goal, it will keep getting pushed to the back of your queue of priorities. Even if you say “in a year’s time”, the goal will always remain a year ahead unless you turn that into a proper date.

Why? Your unconscious mind acts like a good and faithful servant, and it will do its best to give you whatever you ask it for. But it will always take the line of least resistance. If you don’t put a date on your goal, there will always be something more urgent to deal with. This is why important but non-urgent tasks tend to be neglected,

8.    What pitfalls do people new to goal setting have to be careful of?

Three that I can think of straight away: firstly, not taking into account potentially unwanted knock-on effects of achieving the goal. If you don’t consider all the consequences of your goal – on your health, your family, your friendships, and the wider community – you may end up with something you don’t want. The smarter way to set goals is to take the consequences into account, allowing you to make changes to your goal and/or your route to achieving it. That way you stand a chance of getting the benefits of your goal while avoiding unwanted side effects.

Second, taking too much on and getting discouraged. It can be very easy to set a big, compelling goal – and then feel overwhelmed by the effort you think it will take to get there. The goal is so big, and so different from how things are now, that getting there by the deadline you have set will surely demand too much of you. And the more you think about the legwork it will take, the more discouraged you feel. The remedy is to break it down into smaller steps that feel more achievable, and recognise each step as an achievement. The key really is to get started – not necessarily to “take massive action”, but to take some action to get you going.

Finally – and this is the biggest pitfall of all – not knowing what you want. In the absence of some powerful external motivation, like getting yourself out of debt or meeting a deadline set by someone else, how do people motivate themselves to even think about what they want – as opposed to what they want to get away from? I’ve certainly had large periods of my life when I was more or less drifting. The way out of it is to think about what’s going well, what you are good at and what’s important to you – then it becomes easy to build a picture of where you want to go.

9.    Tell us a little about your book on goal setting and how it can help people.

Well, Achieve Your Goals: Strategies to Transform Your Life (Dorling Kindersley 2006) is a step by step guide for how to determine what you want, how to set goals so they happen, and how to keep yourself motivated on the way there. It wasn’t easy to write it to fit in with the publisher’s very exacting design standards, but it’s actually come out as twice the book it would have been if I had just written it as a conventional textbook. I had to collaborate with the designers to find visual ways of getting the main points very concisely, and the result is a beautifully designed and illustrated book that is a lot easier to read for the busy person. It’s something you can work through from start to finish, or just dip into for a quick fix if you run into a specific obstacle. Judging by the number of five star reviews on Amazon (all the reviews are five star at the time of writing), it’s doing its job.

10.    Is there anything else you would recommend people to do, read or look at?

It’s definitely worth taking a course like the four-day ‘Create The Life You Want’ workshop which is also the first part of the NLP Practitioner training – it’s one thing to read about goal-setting methods, but you really have to experience them in practice to get the best from them.

There’s a lot of interesting research on goals and motivation coming out of the Positive Psychology movement at the moment – you can keep up with it on my ‘Practical EQ’ blog.

And, if coming on one of our courses is not practicable for you at this time, why not get together with some of your friends and form an Achieve Your Goals book group so you can support each other as you work through the exercises? Social support is a key component of goal achievement that makes it much easier for most of us – you don’t have to do it all by yourself!

As you can see, goal setting can form a key element in keeping yourself on track and focused. If you want more from Andy we also conducted an audio interview which will be available from my shop in the next few weeks. In the meantime, why not take some time out to review and revise your goals? I look forward to hearing of your successes.

Why Repetition Is The Key To Improving Your Sales Performance And Your Sales Results

A few things have happened recently that got me thinking about something very serious, something that could make a huge difference to your sales results and your sales performance…

Last week I went out for a meal with some friends and one of them had brought along someone whom I had not met before. This person was in IT sales. They were in their mid to late twenties and had been doing it for about 3 years. Judging by their conversation, description of their job and a few other factors I guessed they were doing ok… comfortable in their job but no sales superstar.

He had no idea that I was into sales training or was a sales motivational speaker and during the meal we talked about various things but towards the end of the meal this chap (let’s call him Pete) mentioned that he was a bit bored of his job. He is finding it “so so”. He explained that he has to keep doing the same things over and over.

Every day he goes in at about the same time. Every day he leaves at about the same time! Every day he makes the same kind of sales calls to new and existing prospects and clients. Every day he structures his calls the same way and handles challenges with the same lines. Every day he sends out similar marketing and sales emails and information. Every day he updates his prospect database. Every day he researches the internet. Every day he has the same sales conversations about the same products, the same services and the same solutions.

Every week he attends sales meetings which apparently are always run by his sales manager and are all nearly the same. Every week he sets the same kinds of sales targets with the same kinds of clients. Every week his manager runs similar mini sales training sessions. Every week he goes to see similar customers, with similar challenges, similar needs and wants and similar objections.

He is getting bored.

  • Pete has a job – field sales.
  • He has a car – a small BMW.
  • He’s getting a salary and commission – I’d guess £30k + £20k + car (tops).
  • His sales performance and results are ok.
  • He is not getting sacked or made redundant any time soon – not that I know of anyway!

But there’s something not right here. Something not right here, at all. Pete’s sales performance and results should be sky rocketing. He should be on his way to £100k+ and promotion but he’s not…

The problem is that Pete has Sales Repetetits! That is – Peter gets bored by any task that he has to do over and over.

In my experience many salespeople have Repetitis. Salespeople with Repetitis get bored and moan about having to repeat the same tasks over and over. This in turn leads to lack of motivation and causes them to lose focus and to start to go through the motions. This in turn will impact their sales performance and results. Salespeople going through the motions do not make successful salespeople. Salespeople going through the motions will gradually lose their edge and become less effective. Salespeople going through the motions will not make great cold calls, nor will they run strong sales meetings nor make powerful presentations.

Sales training tip: Salespeople who are going through the motions usually think they’re ok but they’re usually wrong. Salespeople going through the motions often have a nasty shock coming.

Let’s look at why solving this inability to deal with repetition is essential not only for your sales perfornance and sales results but also for your long-term personal and financial success…

Firstly, as Anthony Robbins says, “repetition is the mother of skill”. The more you do of something, the better you get at it. Period. As a sales superstar in training you want to sweat the basic stuff.

How well you plan and prepare matters. How you conduct yourself matters. How you formulate your conversations matters. How you present your solutions matters. In today’s YouTube generation many people want to be titillated and amused on a minute-to-minute basis and do not have the stickability, the perseverance or the focus to really get good at anything, particularly not the basic stuff.

If you want to make real money out of sales you need to learn to focus so that you can repeat things over and over, constantly improving and sharpening your winner’s edge. You’re own mini-sales training programme if you like. Only by doing this will you become a truly world class salesperson. Only by doing this will you increase your sales performance and your sales results. World-class cold callers obliterate also-rans. World-class salespeople outsell and outmanoeuvre also-rans. World-class negotiators squash also-rans. World-class presenters destroy also-rans.

What’s more, whatever your job, repetition is unavoidable. Doctors see person after person after person with minor ailment after minor ailment after minor ailment. Police officers deal with drunks, drivers and burglaries time after time after time. Firemen and women fight routine small fire after routine small fire after routine small fire.

By doing this they become expert at what they do. But what if, instead of this, they all started going through the motions? What could they miss? What disasters could befall them and others? How culpable would they be?

What would you have to say if the fire crew attending your house didn’t get to your house as fast as you would have liked because they thought it was going to be another simple call?

I rest my case. Repetition is essential in any role. Repetition is essential for skills development and improvement. Repetition is essential to keep you sharp and on the edge. Repetition is essential to increase your sales performance and your sales results.

What does Tiger Woods do when things aren’t going as well as he would like? He goes back to practicing his basic shots… over and over. What do top snooker players spend hours and hours practicing? Basic pots and cue control, that’s what. What do pianists spend hours practicing? Basic scales and more scales.

As a salesperson, like in any other role, if you want to be world-class you need repetition. You need to sweat the basic stuff. If you have a case of Repetititis, mild or severe, then the only cure is to deal with it now…

Next time you find yourself repeating daily tasks keep your focus on how you can improve. Ask yourself some good old sales training questions like, “How could I be more effective?”, “How can I improve my sales performance?”, “How can I increase my sales results?” and “What can I learn here?”

Once you get over Repetitis you will be amazed by how much you can increase your sales performance and sales results with simple stuff that you might until now have thought of as “boring”.

One way of improving rapidly is to create your own sales training and development programme focusing on core sales skills, techniques and practises that until now you might have thought too boring…