How did I get into Sales Training? Well I suppose the honest answer is that, after running a business for 17 years, I tried to get a job and discovered I have entered that rather strange world where you become unemployable, because you no longer fit in any of the standard ‘employee’ boxes anymore! One poor man who interviewed me looked positively terrified by the questions I was asking him.
So a rethink was required.
I had a good sales background – 7 years in direct sales with Xerox followed by 17 years heading up the Business Development function of a successful private college. I love delivering training, so the obvious answer was to become a sales trainer. I got myself accredited by The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management and launched myself on the unsuspecting people of Enfield.
Whilst people will always tell you that a business plan is important, it is interesting that once I began, I realized that my target market was wrong and that there was a real need in a sector that I’d not even considered – Entrepreneurs and small businesses. This is world where many people are utterly passionate about their work – real experts producing beautiful, skilled or brilliant products or services for people. But (and this ‘but’ is big) they were often genuinely scared or baffled by the process of selling. Even worse, they were getting stuck in a trap of discounting because they didn’t know how to explain the true value of what they did.
So I started running a basic course in selling – called “I’m not a Salesperson” (because people kept saying it to me) and discovered I had a hit on my hands. The course covers all the most important things that people who are new to selling need to know – for example, how to meet and greet a potential customer, how to ask deep probing questions, how to recognise ‘buying’ signals and of course, the classic question nearly everyone wants to know ‘how to close’.
What do my students get out of the training? Well the main tangible result is that they start to sell more, because they have a process to follow and they learn lots of new sales skills. It is so good to hear an excited voice on the phone telling me that they have tried something I suggested and it worked! However, I think one of the most satisfying things is the increase in their self-confidence. I try to ensure that everyone is stretched, because that is how they develop, but push it too much and people just end up scared – something I absolutely do not want. Selling should not be frightening.
So do I claim to turn everyone into selling superstars? No of course not, but I have helped a whole load of small businesses make genuine improvements in their sales skills. That translates into more money, which for any business (but particularly the small and micro ones) is absolutely essential. I often say I think I have the best job in the world, because I help other people do the most fundamental business function of all – sell more. Seriously, what could be better than helping other businesses to thrive by doing something I love?
Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.
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