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Sales Training

“To train or not to train”, that is the question. Well, there are actually more questions to ask yourself. Can we afford to train our team now in the current economy? Will our sales/revenue go up if we invest in a sales or customer service training program with our team? Will our Customer Service be positively impacted? Can our team become more engaged and productive? Do we plan on doing more business with more customers in the future that requires having the best people? There are many questions that most business owners or leaders ask themselves when it comes to training their employees.

The potential answer to all of these questions is, “YES!”

“When the economy slows down is exactly the best time to re-invest in your sales and service training as it is like sharpening the tools for the upcoming hunt. There is no official bell that sounds when the economy begins to recover. Those that have honed their skills are poised to take advantage of the recovering market. Too often organizations cut too deep with training, layoffs etc. and are then left scrabbling to rebuild their depleted teams. Sales opportunities are not lost… They are seized by someone else.” -Joe Gagliardi, FCPA, FCMA Managing Partner, Recruitment Partners

It has been proven that Professional Development/Training and engagement are key factors with employee retention, but is there an ROI with your training costs? This can be difficult to measure in the short-term but more apparent on a longer-term basis. (12 months plus) There are no guarantees that your business will realize a suitable ROI on training. (only you as the leader can determine this)

DID YOU KNOW????

If your business is approved for The Canada-Alberta Job Grant, this grant will cover 2/3 of the cost of new training initiatives, to a maximum of $10,000 per employee to a maximum of $300,000 for organization. This is a way to realize a return on your investment as the grant requires your business to pay for your training cost when training starts. You will receive 1/3 of that training cost shortly after your initial investment. At the end of the training (e.g. 6-12 months) your business will receive an additional 1/3 of that total training cost that you invested in your employees. How’s that for a return? Canada-Alberta Job Grant FAQ

Our business, X5 Management is excited about this great news for Alberta business for several reasons:

It is a tremendous opportunity to realize a return on your training costs.
The Grant encourages Alberta business to invest in their employees now.
Investing in your employees can reap future benefits for your business when the economy heats up again…..and it will.
Now is the time to invest in your greatest asset….your people. Training and development will get your business ready for future growth opportunities!
X5 Management offers more than 20 Sales & Service related courses/workshops that can support the training needs of virtually any business, in any industry. If your business wants to take advantage of the grant so that you can expand on your Sales & Service related training for your employees X5 would be pleased to discuss your organization’s training needs. Contact X5: info@x5management.com

“X5 Management has provided professional development to our team to improve outcomes of various initiatives and projects. We have been very pleased with the impact that X5 has had on our business, specifically on how we communicate internally and how we impact customer service. We look forward to the continued professional support that X5 will offer our business. X5 Management was referred and recommended to us, and we are very pleased with their approach and impact that they have had on our business.” -Eddy Stahl, President Stahl Peterbilt Inc.

“We engaged the services of X5 Management to help enhance our Edmonton and Vancouver team’s soft skills and to develop their professional growth. We have found the team at X5 to be very easy to work with and committed to tailoring their approach to meet our specific needs and objectives. We have been very pleased with the impact that X5 has made.” – E. Najjar, President and CEO, Carco Auto

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Top 5 tips for Team Development

by mikemack on August 1, 2015

Collaboration, teamwork, idea sharing and prioritizing organizational initiatives all seem like they would be foundations to business growth and success. All organizations have specific challenges and opportunities that require discussion and attention in order to move forward in a positive direction. However, very few growing organizations take the time to work “on” their business for planning, communicating as a team, and confronting the issues that stifle productivity and team development.

Recently, our team conducted a survey with some of our business connections in the Edmonton community. The intent of the survey was to identify what topics on team training and development would be most beneficial to stimulate team development and success. Below is a list of the top employee training and development topics on the “wish list”, based on our survey along with a brief description.

Effective Communication: Effective communication amongst organizations and their teams can be the number one success contributor. Having systems in place that keeps employees informed, engaged and productive is key.

Customers Service skills: Do your team members relay a consistent message to your customers? Is it remarkable? Getting feedback from your customers on your products and services and applying/implementing their suggestions will help retain them.

Creating daily habits that get results: From the time you wake up, go to work, serve your customers, have dinner with your family and finally go to bed, your habits matter. Good habits are valuable and some “bad” habits can drain momentum and results.

Dealing with Conflict: Workplace conflict can be a significant distraction and productivity killer. It can also break up teams and result in employees leaving their jobs because of unhealthy relationships. Identify the cause of these issues and why the conflict exists. Learn how to collaborate with your colleagues and customers.

Sales Management: How do you coach and lead your sales team? Managing and communicating expectations from the top down will help sales team members understand what they are doing well and where they may be able to improve. Do you inspect what you expect?

DID YOU KNOW????

If your business is approved for The Canada-Alberta Job Grant, this grant will cover 2/3 of the cost of new training initiatives, to a maximum of $10,000 per employee to a maximum of $300,000 for organization. This is a way to realize a return on your investment, as the grant requires your business to pay for your training cost when training starts. You will receive 1/3 of that training cost shortly after your initial investment. At the end of the training (e.g. 6-12 months) your business will receive an additional 1/3 of that total training cost that you invested in your employees. How’s that for a return? Canada-Alberta Job Grant FAQ

Our business, X5 Management is excited about this great news for Alberta business for several reasons:

It is a tremendous opportunity to realize a return on your training costs.
The Grant encourages Alberta business to invest in their employees now.
Investing in your employees can reap future benefits for your business when the economy heats up again…..and it will.
Now is the time to invest in your greatest asset….your Team. Training and development will get your business ready for future growth opportunities!

X5 Management offers an extensive list of Sales & Service related courses/workshops that can support the training needs of virtually any business, in any industry. If your business wants to take advantage of the grant so that you can expand on your Sales & Service related training for your employees X5 would be pleased to discuss your organization’s training needs. Contact X5: info@x5management.com

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Do we service what we sell?

by mikemack on June 1, 2015

This is a very simple concept but many businesses struggle to consistently achieve it.

At X5 Management, we work with many customers who truly demonstrate how they value their customer and strive to create a “remarkable service” experience for their customers. What does “truly valuing service” really look like?

I was speaking with a business connection of mine and he commented that he purchased a very high-end vehicle. (I will keep the Brand of the vehicle out of this post)

His vehicle required warranty work. After the dealership did testing on the vehicle they determined that nothing was wrong. (The vehicle didn’t have the same problem that the client experienced a week or two before) While the vehicle was under full warranty, the dealership proceeded to charge him for their time. While the bill was only $400, the impact on their decision to do this with a $65,000 + vehicle could have significant impact on the customer’s next vehicle purchase.

In my observations, this happens way too often. The team members within a respective business lose connection with one another. While the Sales Rep. knows the client very well, no other member of the Service Dept. or any dealership department has any form of connection with the customer. This is often why we tend to call our Sales Rep. because “we had connection with them.”

The Sales Representative holds the customers hand every step of the way and promises that he will take care of everything if the customer ever has any problem, but “after sales” service can be a totally different story.

In your business, be mindful of what message you are conveying to your service team. (Everyone in your business must be “the service team”) Do you want this customer for the next 5 years, 10 years, or a lifetime? Simple actions to get all of your team thinking this way can make a big difference in the long run.

As I have learned and appreciated over my business career, when someone (a business) makes a promise and you have to honour the promise, acting on the promise needs to hurt. While I am not suggesting that you always waive fees or never charge a customer, sometimes the perception of what decisions you make, regardless of the size of the bill can have a significant long term impact with your customer and their relationship with your business.

When you Service what you Sell you are allowed to potentially sell again and again to the customer. Failing to service what you sell may prevent you from ever having an opportunity to sell to that same customer in the future. Is it worth it to your business?

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Golf Lessons or Sales Training

by mikemack on April 1, 2015

Unless you are heading for the PGA or LPGA, you likely golf for fun. Perhaps you take some lessons, or shoot a bucket of balls and chip and putt before a round. Most of us will at least do this to “try” and improve our game.

Did you know that some Golf College students average 6 hours of practice each day from Monday to Friday during college time, and then they practice and play outside of those hours as well. It is all focus as they have a lot riding on their future success. This means that when they practice they are not checking their text messages or surfing the Internet, they are going through their routines with discipline and focus.

Now, how many of us are in Sales just for fun? Almost everyone is in sales, in one form or another. While it might be fun, it generally is more serious and essential to our business well being and success. $$

As a Sales professional how much time do you actual practice Sales?

There is on old saying in golf, stating that, “you drive for show and putt for dough”. There may be some truth to that statement, however it has been suggested that every “good” golf stroke adds value. The closer a swing gets you to the hole without finding trouble, the higher the value.

Golf lessons or Sales TrainingGolf is a lot like sales. Every “good” stroke (i.e. action step within a sales process) that gets you closer to the hole (i.e. closing the sale) adds value. The objective in golf is to get the ball in the hole in the fewest possible swings. (i.e. steps in the sales process)

Sales, like golf, requires practice, but as my life/business mentor, Arnold McLaughlin suggests, you must have “perfect” practice to improve your game. Practicing bad habits won’t win the day! (Arnold has 50 years of Sales experience and is still an active Commercial Realtor in Vancouver at the age of 80, and continues to perfect his game and helps me perfect mine)

One of our service offerings at X5 Management is to coach, train and consult many sales professionals for our corporate customers and we have identified three areas that make the difference from the average sales professional to the championship sales professional.

FOCUS, WILL, and CAPABILITY

Like golf, the sales professional is Laser Focused on the goal or objective. i.e. Sink the putt, or close the sale) You won’t see the leader at the PGA Championship walking up to the 18th green with a mobile phone in his hand and texting friends and family about how awesome his round is. So, why is it that so many sales professionals (or any other career for that matter) do this daily, to intentionally distract them from their game? Focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions that take you off of your “sales game”.

Winners in golf and sales are Willing to “practice”, eat healthy, exercise, meditate and get plenty of rest. As a sales professional, are you willing to do whatever it takes to improve your sales game? What bad habits are you prepared to stop doing? What good habits must you do more of?

Not everyone will win a PGA Championship, nor will they be the top sales producer in their industry, but all of us can be better at the game. How can you develop new Capabilities and skills to become better every day, week, month, or quarter? What do we read, study and follow to get better? Can you use the support of your Sales Manager, Sales Coach or Mentor to take your game to the next level?

A final comparison to sales and golf. A PGA tournament has 4 rounds. A fiscal year in your business has 4 quarters. You can have a bad round or quarter, but the key to getting back on track is to focus on the outcome, make necessary adjustments and avoid distractions that don’t add value to your results and continually improve your game every “hole”, every “sale” and every day.

A great quote from golf legend, Arnold Palmer: “What do I mean by concentration? I mean focusing totally on the business at hand and commanding your body to do exactly what you want it to do.”

Here’s to a good summer of golf and a great year of sales success!

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Caffeine for your Sales team

by mikemack on March 1, 2015

What is the fuel that drives your sales team? Did you ever ask them?

Perhaps it’s money, success, recognition, or satisfying their customers.

Whatever drives them, it is a big factor in their ongoing momentum. Best-selling author and speaker, Darren Hardy talks about “momentum” in his book, The Compound Effect. He likes to call it BIG MO. As Hardy suggests, “Big Mo is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful and enigmatic forces of success. You can’t see or feel Mo, but you know when you’ve got it.”

CaffeineLike a great cup of coffee, Big Mo can give you a buzz and energy that can drive you through the entire day, week, month, or quarter.

The key to Big Mo as I see it, is to never lift your foot off the pedal. When times are great for your sales team, have them understand why they are successful and key doing what is working. When times are tough and sales are slow reflect on what worked in the past and get back to the basics. They may have to kick start their momentum, especially if they aren’t moving.

Within our business at X5 Management we work many businesses and sales professionals and we have observed that some have BIG MO way more often than others. Why is that? Momentum in anything we do is all about habits, consistency, discipline and a genuine desire to accomplish something specific. (i.e. Sales goals, revenue targets, etc.) Think of a well conditioned athlete. They wouldn’t workout and exercise for a few days and then blow it on bad eating habits that negate everything that they have been working on, or stop working out.

“Some” sales professionals actually stop doing what has brought them success in the past! Sales momentum is much the same. Keep up with consistent habits that produce results, and minimize the habits and routines that don’t add value. These small, but potentially valuable habits will help with momentum.

“Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.” -Darren Hardy

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