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sales training Essex Archives - Tadpole Training

Janet Efere, Sales trainer saying 'shhhh'

Take some sales advice – you can win more sales by being quiet!

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As a sales trainer, I often try and get people to shut up more, to win more sales.

So do you know when to shut up?

It matters a lot.

Even among sign language speakers, studies show that typically we leave just a fraction of a second between taking turns to talk. BUT, our perception of silence differs dramatically across cultures – for example –

Research conducted at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in Dutch and also in English found that when a silence in conversation stretched to four seconds, people started to feel unsettled.

But, here is where it starts to get really interesting – a separate study of business meetings found that Japanese people were happy with silences of 8.2 seconds – nearly twice as long as in Americans’ or anglohones’ meetings.

In the US, there is a saying that ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ while in Japan it’s reckoned that ‘a silent man is the best one to listen to’.

In Japan, the power of silence is recognised in the concept of haragei (belly talk), which suggests that the best communication is when you don’t speak at all. “As soon as you need words there’s already a failure to understand each other so you’re repairing that failure by using words,” says Dr Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in the US.

WOW!

So, why does this matter in sales?

3-5 seconds is powerful.

I have won deals because I just shut up and let the customer work things out.

Do you think you should be speaking less?

#salestraining
#salestrainer
#salescoach
#listening

Janet Efere looking frustrated

What sales mistakes have you committed?

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What terrible mistakes have you committed in sales? As a sales trainer and sales coach I see loads of sales mistakes, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t committed a few in my time!

One of my worst was at Xerox. As a senior member of the team, I often had the newbies shadowing me.

We had this one call. The trainee hadn’t started yet, but had been on the training. So he was out with me for the day.

I had a meeting. It was with an ideal client. I’d done my research. I knew our solution would work for them.

I conducted the meeting.

It went perfectly (you know when everything works, you ask the right questions, you get the right answers?). It was one of them.

The client gave agreement to go ahead – I needed to submit the quote for it, to be rubber-stamped, but basically all-systems-go!

The trainee was ridiculously excited about how well it had gone – along the lines of ‘that was brilliant – I see how everything fits together, thank you so much Janet for showing me how it should be done”

So far so good.

Then I made my mistake. I can’t even pretend it was something I did …. it was something I didn’t do.

Can you guess what?

Well full marks to you if you got it …..

I never followed up.

I didn’t do the quote.

Then I felt bad because I didn’t do the quote straight away, so then it became this ‘thing’. I couldn’t even ring to apologise I was so embarrassed. Just all that effort down the drain.

Big lesson there.

Just do what you should do in the right order. No bells, no whistles. Just common sense.

Silly Janet (I’m smarter now I hope!)

So what are your howlers – if you’re brave enough to share?

Janet Efere typing on her laptop

Do you Prep for Meetings?

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So you got the meeting….. now what?

Do you turn up and hope for the best, or do you prep?

Yesterday I was invited to a meeting with a potential new client regarding sales training and, as usual, I did some research first.

There is a lot out there if you look:

? Companies House (I checked their financials and their directors)
? LinkedIn (of course …. we’ll come to that in a minute)
? Their website
? From that I could see they were recruiting, so I checked out the sales roles they advertised
? Twitter – lots of company posts
? Now, back to LinkedIn – I discovered hundreds of employees, searched by job role and then had a look at some of their profiles to see how they presented themselves and how active they were on LinkedIn
? I also had a look at the people who were going to be in the meeting

I found out a ton of stuff.

Some wasn’t that relevant, but loads was – it helped me understand about the size of the company, the culture, I could quickly see some of their issues as well as what they were good at.

It made the meeting more focussed, more relevant and personalised.

They liked that I took the trouble.

I wouldn’t do it any other way.

You see, I think it’s about respect, but it is also about positioning yourself as being better than the competition (I haven’t got the faintest idea who I am up against, but I can only be the best version of me).

And that’s how I like to work.

So, back to my question, do you prep before a meeting?

Most people don’t understand sales

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Most people don’t understand sales.

So if you think these qualities will help you sell, they won’t

❌ having the ‘gift of the gab’


❌ never giving up on a deal


❌ having an answer for everything


❌ great sales people are born not made


❌ you have to be confident in sales

Whereas actually …..

✅ what you really need is the ability to ask great questions, shut up and actually listen to the answers


✅ Sometimes it makes sense to give up, so you can focus on the deals you can get over the line. Simple common sense not to bang your head against a brick wall


✅ In sales, as in life, none of us know everything. It’s fine to admit you don’t know something (if you pretend and then get it wrong, you will be in much worse trouble!)


✅ Sales is a skill – like learning to drive a car or ride a bike. It takes practice, so while some people may have an aptitude for it, it also means that anyone can learn it


✅ Confidence is an interesting one. Too confident and it seems like arrogance, not enough and you don’t seem trustworthy. You want to aim for the sort of quiet confidence true masters have.

So if you had some preconceived ideas about sales and selling, I hope this helped you.

Happy selling!