The economic ecosystem is getting more and more competitive – gone are the days when one advertisement or a sales call could convince people to open their wallets. Digital marketplaces and the Internet have made things super tough for traditional sales teams; giving rise to a new type of customer who is extremely knowledgeable and well-researched – they already know what they want and turn to friends and people they know and trust (like influencers) to pick their products or services.
While the B2C market must emphasise customer engagement as a sales methodology, the B2B sales processes still work largely on the traditional sales model of prospecting, convincing, and closing a deal. In this scenario, a strong sales team can greatly influence people’s decision-making. Hence, enhancing your team’s sales skills can have a direct result in your business’s profitability.
Naturally, when you hire someone for a sales job, you consider their past experience and personality during the interview. But this doesn’t mean they will be able to sell to YOUR TARGET COMPANY or will get a deep understanding of YOUR INDUSTRY overnight. Their past experience might not translate to your job profile on day one.
To make sure your sales team has the product/service or brand knowledge to represent your company convincingly to prospective clients, it is best to equip them with in-house training. This could be product knowledge, pricing, or a presentation as well as information on current clients, sales scenarios, and questions that generally come up during the sales process.
A sales team is made up of people with different levels of skills – while one person might be great at negotiating and closing, another might be better at making presentations and pitching to new clients. Sales training is a good way to ensure everyone gets the chance to enhance their skills and learn new ones.
Here are some selling skills and tools that can help salespersons reinforce customer interactions and surpass their sales goals.
By far, the biggest and most important skill needed to succeed in the sales ecosystem is communication. A sales training programme concentrates on providing holistic communication skill enhancement, this includes –
Conversation – whether you are talking on the phone or speaking to a client face-to-face, communication skills can make or break your deal. From the introduction to sentence formation to listening actively to nonverbal communication – a conversation has many parts that must come together at the speed of thought to be convincing.
Sales training tackles many of the Dos and Don’ts of usual sales scenarios and offers tips on how to improve verbal and nonverbal communication.
Business writing – apart from conversation, a salesperson also engages a lot through email and sometimes through phone text messages. Sales training usually covers the writing communication style, as well.
Presentations and pitching – no business meeting is complete without a presentation! In fact, they are usually the initial, go-to document for all sales pitching sessions and are widely circulated via email as well. Sales training also teaches the art of building a logical and good-looking presentation AND teaches salespersons how to present it confidently and clearly.
Negotiation – not every sales situation requires a negotiation, but there are many that require some sort of compromise to close the deal. Most sales training programmes spend a fair bit of time on teaching participants how to communicate in a way that avoids conflict and ensure both parties feel they have got a fair deal.
Like everything else in the business world, sales also follows a process. It might seem like a lot of is based on personal rapport, but in reality, salespersons must adhere to a template or process to keep their sales effort moving in the right direction.
Sales training acquaints participants with the various stages of a sales process in relation to their organisational product, target, or goal.
For example – the usual 7 stage sales process includes research, prospecting, needs assessment, pitching, objection handling, closing the deal, and follow-up. A salesperson can learn best practices, new technology, and methodology from tailored sales training that might not be a part of his/her previous experience.
Salespersons hear NO a lot! They also regularly live in high-pressure work situations where meeting targets are put on a pedestal. Not everyone can function effectively in such an intense environment.
A vital part of sales training is also helping participants develop a mindset that gives them stability in the long run.
Your sales team is the final step of the entire sales process – they not only close the deal but also represent your company to potential clients. As competition heats up, their role becomes even more critical; for an organization, apart from hiring the best talent, the only way to meet growing sales targets is to enhance the skills of the existing team. Because no matter how evolved a person’s communication skills are; there is always room for improvement.
People often talk about wanting to improve their personal brand. For quick understanding - your personal brand is how other experience you when they interact with you. David McNally and Karl Speak, authors of ‘Be Your Own Brand’ explain it further, “Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”
It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that we want the world to see. It is the telling of our story. It reflects in our conduct, behaviour, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes. And when it’s done well, it can enhance our profile in ways that go far beyond just our professional expertise.
I am sure you must be have seen some successful examples of Personal Branding within your peer group. You might have even seriously considered starting with a branding exercise yourself; or you might already be putting a thoughtfully constructed branding strategy into action as I write this. Regardless of which stage of personal branding journey you are currently passing through, networking is a crucial aspect that deserves some deep thought and strategizing.
Naturally, you must already be networking and meeting people as part of your operational activities, but is that useful for your personal brand? Most people tend to think that an organizational meet and greet will automatically feed into their personal brand!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. As you are representing your organization at networking events, you naturally end up talking more about your work or your company’s reputation. This does not equate to networking for your own personal brand.
The more connections we make—and the more value we can provide in our interactions—the more likely it is that our personal brand will be recognized. The best networking opportunities for our personal brand are cultivated over time and consist of a combination of integrity and quality that we can offer to people. Michael Goldberg puts it succinctly, “Networking is simply a proactive approach to meeting people to learn with the hope of helping them.”
Even for an experienced hand-shaker like you, there is always a way to add to your business bonding skills. Here are some ways to up your game:
You are the sum of many different things – your work is just one of them. You have to bring the elements of your personal branding message into your official interactions. In case you haven’t yet crafted a personal branding strategy and elevator pitch or a message, then now is the time to decide how you want to present yourself. A very simple example of this would be - If you want to present your down-to-earth, straight-talking credentials to the world, then you can eschew jargon-heavy, indirect talk and stand out as the person who says-it-like-it-is.
Be a giver, and you will be remembered! You don’t have to be a giver in the material sense; even being generous with your time and attention is sometimes enough. While interacting with peers at an event or even online, try to maintain an overall aspect of helpfulness. Advice, encouragement, a compliment, referrals, and sharing connections – all don’t require much effort, but when done consistently, these small acts of kindness will undoubtedly add to your personal brand.
It’s important to know who’s going to be at an event, which we can often do by checking social media – conference hashtags on Twitter are a good place to start. Then make a shortlist of people you want to meet. Google them and view LinkedIn profiles, so that when you do meet someone new, you will know something about them.
People often think that networking means meeting as many people as possible. But that's not the case. Making a few meaningful connections is far better than working an entire room. If you can have three or four deeper conversations, then both you and the people you meet will be more likely to remember the interaction.
You don’t have to keep your online and offline networking efforts siloed. Use them as an extension of each other. Follow up meetings and interactions by connecting with people on LinkedIn or engage with your LinkedIn community to organise physical meetups at events.
Engaging with people online is important for people of all ages, but particularly if we want to make contacts with younger prospects or companies working in a digital space. Remember, though, nothing solidifies a business relationship like meeting face-to-face.
By making networking a priority and regularly reaching out to people from different fields, you can broaden your network even outside your industry. You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from.
Yes, it can sometimes be a challenge to network for your personal brand. Many of you may feel a bit uncomfortable with the concept of personal marketing; after all, being self-effacing or not bragging are ingrained in our collective psyche as admirable qualities – and personal marketing does require some amount of blowing your own trumpet which might put you off!
I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like this! Sure, you can share your photos or videos of receiving awards and giving talks, but that is just one part of it. The rest is all about respect and trust; it is about being truly helpful and kind to people in your circle; it is about valuing your contacts and not taking your friends and business connections for granted.
Networking is a long-term investment. You don’t have to bombard your social media feed today! But do keep the tips I shared above in mind and practice them gently. With time, you will feel at ease, and nurturing your personal brand will slowly become second nature.
The copious amount written on Gen Z is only rivalled by the number of discussions the Millenials have faced! And they aren’t even out of college yet! So, here we are adding our bit – but not with a condescending tone of 'How to deal with them' but focusing it on their thoughts and needs to make it more easyfor us oldies to understand them.
Simply put, Generation Z or Gen Z comprises people born after 1997. It is our youngest generation, and the oldest amongst them are just joining the workforce and colleges.
Like every generation, Gen Z too has many characteristics that are uniquely their own. Here’s a look at some of the main features that are associated with them -
Gen-Zers are the true digital natives. Even the oldest of them have never been without the Internet - and we are not talking about dial-up modems and giant cell phones! This generation has not seen the evolution of mobile or Internet technologies or ever done without them – for them, these technologies are not luxuries they are necessities.
With technology comes social media, and as comfortable denizens of the virtual world – Gen-Zers are living a vast amount of their lives online. Unlike older generations, they came into social media really early and have used this as a benchmark for relationships and socializing.
Naturally, all this exposure to the Internet and social platforms, ensures extremely wide access to information – not just about what’s happening in their towns or countries, but also on the other sides of the world.
Along with access to information comes the ability to form opinions and to voice them. This translates into youngsters that are mature beyond their years and dabble in activities that their older counterparts reached much later in life. This need for independence and autonomy is reflected in the strong entrepreneurial abilities demonstrated by the Gen-Zers.
Deloitte conducted a survey called the Global Millennial Survey 2019, which surveyed 13,416 millennials across 42 countries and territories, and 3,009 members of Gen Z from 10 countries, including India, the US, the UK, China, and Japan. According to the survey the top three priorities or ambitions of Gen-Zers are -
In India, Gen-Zers put earning a high salary as one of their top ambitions with 68% of participants opting for it (globally this falls to 58%).
57% of both age groups surveyed put travel and seeing the world on top when asked about their priorities – in India this percentage was even higher as 60% of the Gen-Zers prioritised traveling.
The priority that came a close third was making a positive impact on society or community, and here again Indian Gen-Zers (with 58% positive reactions) felt more strongly about helping others – globally 47% of Gen Zers prioritised helping their community.
Born in the age of the matured Internet and digital technology, Gen Z students expect their classrooms to keep up. As a generation that lives with an information overload they want learning to be visual and engaging – textbooks are being shunned in favour of video tutorials, and they are demanding that old educational systems change to keep pace with their technological needs.
Students are also looking for more personalised learning experiences. Online learning has made that possible, and they desire more control over what they learn, how they learn, and when they learn.
They lead busy, multitasking lives and want education to be useful and to the point. With access to information, they are impatient with an education that is slow and narrow in scope and wants teachers who can go beyond the basic and teach life skills and guide them through the confusing array of the information available online.
Yes, money, security, and stability are essential, but Gen-Zers want more. They are willing to get paid less if the work is more meaningful. The focus is on changing the world and doing good, and they are most satisfied if they get work that allows them to make an impact.
Gen-Zers are also highly entrepreneurial. They see professional careers becoming less stable and are open to taking risks and following their passions. Job opportunities where they learn and grow are perceived as highly desirable to most students emerging into the workplace.
Most Gen-Zers also value technology and want to work around it. A research conducted by Dell Technologies in 2018 polled 12,000 members of Gen Z from countries including Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand and found that 97% believe technological literacy matters, and 80% want to work with cutting-edge technologies.
Till now, everyone was focused on the millennials, but as they grow older, the attention has shifted to the next generation. Millennials, to some extent, got bogged down with stereotypes – the general feeling was that they had to be 'handled' or that they were 'difficult' or 'spoilt.' This approach wasn't constructive for anyone – the millennials, the educators, or the companies.
Lets us not go down that road again – we need to move beyond superficial stereotypes to understand that every generation is a product of its circumstances and upbringing, but ultimately what they want is not such different people before them – the opportunity to live a decent life!
And it should be – surveys and reports state that an average worker admits to wasting at least 3 hours EVERY DAY – not including lunch!
Of course, all this is costing organizations billions (yes, that’s right - BILLIONS) every year. But let us step away from the cost to the company for a bit and talk about the cost to our lives and our relationships. Because no matter how much fun you are having at work – the wasted time comes back to bite us sooner or later, either as extra-long office hours, wasted weekends, missed family events, stressful vacations or reduced salaries.
Well, there are many tips and tricks to make your day more productive. Here are some of our favourites –
The first 30-45 minutes at work is usually a waste! No matter how conscientious you are, you WILL end up wasting the first half-hour greeting colleagues, settling in, checking your mail and generally thinking of what to do first.
There are two ways to fix this
(This has to be a written down to-do list, not something in your head)
The frog here is the most tedious or the hardest job of the day. The idea is to do it first and get it out of the way. Why? Because we all tend to delay complicated tasks, and as the day progresses, they just become bigger and bigger in our minds.
We wrote ALL in capitals because there are many distractions at work! On average, we switch activities every 3 minutes, and it takes us at least 25 minutes to refocus.
Several studies have pointed out 5 main time-wasters at work – emails, meetings, browsing online, socializing with co-workers, and procrastination.
Here are our tips to fix these
This might seem counterproductive, but it actually works. If you get uninterrupted 8 hours, you won't be able to focus continuously – that's not how the human brain works. We look for distractions, and we are very good at finding them. Giving yourself small goals or shorter deadlines stops you from getting overwhelmed and gives you the carrot of a break to look forward to.
The Pomodoro timer app is a great way to stay focused on small chunks of time.
Even if you take every trick in this article seriously and start tomorrow – you will NOT see any change. For a while.
Productivity is like a muscle; you need to keep working at it to strengthen it. The first day you might only be able to stay away from your phone or WhatsApp for 10 minutes, but I promise you it WILL get better. You just have to keep doing it. It takes time and constant effort to make a dent.
In the long run, you will not just be able to see changes at work, but the positive impact will also spill over to your personal and emotional side. Believe us; you will sleep so much better with a to-do list that's all crossed out and a calendar that is planned.
A large part of becoming more productive is about changing your mindset and habits. At Soaring Eagles, we offer coaching and training programs for individuals and corporates that can help people achieve peak productivity at work. Call us or email us to find out more.
Placement season can be a stressful AND a very confusing time for youngsters. On one hand, you have to deal with the pressure of starting your career on the right note and on the other, you are bombarded with a lot of pretty conflicting advice.
Be confident, but don’t be cocky.
Give detailed answers, but don’t talk too much.
And my favourite – BE YOURSELF!!
It’s no wonder then youngsters on the less-confident, more-introvert spectrum sometimes gets left behind in the placement race. Many of them are brilliant and would likely prove to be valuable employees, but a hiring manager never gets to see their value in a chaotic group discussion or a short interview.
But placement season can trip up the confident and smart ones too. Sometimes, in order to stand out, they tend to overplay their hands. The desire to make an impression could make them talk too much or say the wrong things.
So, how do first-time job seekers find a balance? Well, clearly, practising for interviews in front of the mirror is not going to work – what youngsters need is professional guidance – from someone wiser and experienced in the art of cracking the job placement process.
This is where training for placements becomes a valuable tool for students preparing to start their professional journeys. At SoaringEagles, we conduct a group-based, weekend program called Acing Placements. This is an experiential learning program, which uses a combination of self-assessments, role-plays, and a host of mock sessions to prepare students for group discussions and personal interviews.
Let’s take a deeper look at what our placement training program offers and how it can benefit the students.
How can you present your best side or manage your weaknesses if you don’t know what they are?
At Soaring Eagles, we believe that we all have strengths and weak spots; but when we understand our personality, motivations, and triggers, only then can we control them or turn them to our advantage – not only in an interview but also in other situations that might arise in the years to come.
We use a variety of tests and self-assessment exercises to help students understand themselves better. Along with this knowledge, we also help them maximize their assets and work towards covering their weak spots.
Participants can –
Every organisation has unique job requirements, culture, and approach. Do your skills fit into this?
An important part of our training is to help participants understand how to research companies and analyze the offered job profile. Students can use this information to tailor their resume and approach for each organization. They can highlight their skills and abilities to align with what the organization might be looking for.
Group discussions are no one’s favourite! It is a strained conversation, where it’s hard to find the right balance between being too aggressive or too shy. But it is the first big filter of the placement process; to get a chance for one-on-one interview students NEED to get through this part.
Training can be really helpful to help students pass this stage with confidence. With practical mock discussions and lots of tips, we help students prepare well for these sessions.
Students learn –
If the skills on the resume match the job profile, then the student is halfway to the finish line already. Now all the youngster has to do is to back up what’s on paper with his/her personality.
For this confidence and clarity is key. From communication skills to stress management, our training sessions are geared toward ensuring that students enter the room at their best.
The session focuses on –
There is little doubt that approaching a placement situation with professional preparation and guidance can increase the chances of landing the job, but the benefits extend far beyond that.
The skills learned here are not just limited to the upcoming interview – abilities like communication or body language can be used for the rest of a participant’s professional career.
At Soaring Eagles, we conduct group-based placement training sessions. So if you are an educational institution looking to give your students an extra boost for the next placement season then do get in touch. We will be happy to help!
We all have the same 24 hours, 1440 minutes, and 86400 seconds every day. Then why is it that some people get more done!
While personal skills – such as education and experience – and metal abilities – such as intelligence – play a role in how you perform a task, managing your time efficiently is also a major factor for professional success.
Being able to eke out every drop of efficiency from your work time is an art that everyone must learn and practice to climb the corporate ladder.
Here are some well-tested tips and tricks from SoaringEagles’ training sessions and research –
Before you start downloading a bunch of apps and start making to-do lists, you need to find out what needs to change! Track your workweek to find out how you are spending your office time. Seeing it in black and white will enable you to understand blocks of time-wasting activities you could do away with – like checking email, for example!
When it comes to active time management, you can’t expect things to just flow! Activities must be channelled – continuously – for them to start and end at a certain time. You have to take charge and plan; in detail. The best way is to start your day with a complete schedule of daily activities – which means that the last thing on your day’s agenda should be planning the next day’s schedule.
We recommend you put pen to paper (or at least type) your plan for completing a task. Write down every step, along with information on what it would take to complete it. This gives you a well thought out list of actions to follow
As you go up the seniority chain, you will find that time remains the same, but work becomes more – more demanding, more urgent, and more complex. For you to use your expertise in the best possible way, you have to decide what you want to spend your time on – you can’t possibly do everything yourself, so something MUST be delegated. However, don’t delegate blindly, you have to factor in the time to teach your subordinates to do the job correctly. Delegation saves enormous amounts of time, but only if you invest some of your precious time first.
The 80-20 rule states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our effort. So focusing on finishing tasks that offer the most value is an excellent way to go. Naturally, whatever task is most important/valuable will not be simple or quick. The eat the frog approach tells us that we should get the most difficult, time-consuming, and painful tasks over with first. The human mind likes to shy away from things it doesn’t like, and we have to bring it back to doing what it is putting off.
Planning is great, but you have to start somewhere. Take a look at your plan and pick a starting spot and just GET ON WITH IT. Even if you don’t complete that step, it’s OK. Just the fact that you started will give you enough mental momentum to see it through.
An excellent way to make progress in large projects is to break it into small bits and then pick each tiny task and finish it. Not only do you make progress, but you also break down the mental resistance that comes from starting big projects.
Often we start a week with a nice enough plan, and by Wednesday, the whole thing has changed, expanded, and leaked onto our weekend! While some things are important and must be attended to, the fact is we get stuck in a lot of extra, last-minute activities due to our inability to refuse. Whether it’s a boss you can’t refuse or a colleague you want to help out or a fantastic opportunity you don’t want to lose – new projects get added, and old ones still stay where they were.
You have to understand that time is finite, and you can only do so much – so you must learn to prioritize and REFUSE some work.
“Until we manage time, we can manage nothing else.” – Peter Drucker
Truer words have never been spoken.
Believe us – whatever you are doing today will ONLY get better when you gain control of your time. Just try it!
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