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Pareto Week at Wilmslow - Sales Fundamentals

Just before the Christmas holidays, I had the pleasure of attending the Sales Fundaments course, a bespoke Pareto Law course, in Wilmslow, Cheshire. This was a five-day course where I joined other newly placed salespeople at one of Pareto’s offices in an effort to learn how to sell better. Or I thought so before I arrived. Once I left, I came to realise that this course was much more than a simple course on ‘how to be a better salesperson’, for me, the experience highlighted how important it is to be great with people and to understand that you’ve been hired to help your customers through having purposeful conversations.

Thanks to the guidance and the tutelage of Michael Horrocks and Samantha Sloan (my instructors on the course), my colleagues and I came away with a different perspective on sales than when we arrived due to the knowledge they shared with us. In the paragraphs below, I am going to elaborate further on some of the most pertinent points I learnt on the Pareto week. In the first section, I will discuss two of my favourite acronyms: Always Be Curious and Keep It Simple. Thereafter, I will touch upon the Transitional Buying Process and how it impacts my role at Acuity. Lastly, I will talk about S.M.A.R.T goals and their benefits.

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Two of the acronyms and lessons that really stuck with me were Always Be Curious and Keep It Simple.

Firstly, Always Be Curious, means that you should always ask questions so you can build-up a large bank of knowledge, therefore, you’re able to give better responses to the clients. This might sound obvious, but it was the insistence from Samantha and Michael on asking a plethora of questions when the clients are speaking. If a client mentions they’ve been busy lately, ask them what’s been keeping them occupied, if they mention an issue they’ve been having with the service you/your company have been providing, get to the bottom of the issue so you ensure there are safeguards, so this doesn’t happen in the future. Furthermore, the best way to envision this process is to become an extremely curious person, always asking ‘why, what, where, who, and how’ to anything left open-ended by the client. This is all in the belief that the more you know as the caller, the better you can respond to your clients’ needs.

Secondly, Keep It Simple, emphasises the streamlining and simplification of the calling process. Having the stress of a strict list of questions you need to ask or make sure you mention the dozens of advantages of your business are examples of ways where the conversation can become stagnated, awkward, or confusing. I know that I for one have over-complicated the calling process in the past with these examples, so the revelation of keeping it simple was a great learning curve.

Another eye-opening lesson I learnt at the training week was about the Transitional Buying process. This nine-step pattern shows how most consumers tend to assess buying products or services, from the start when consumers have an interest e.g. walk past a shop and glance at a product, all the way towards buying the product e.g. buying the shoes you really wanted. Such a process is incredibly useful for my role at Acuity because when I identify where the client is situated in the buying process and what my next target should be I can move forward in promoting Acuity’s products. Such as, being able to identify that my client is unsatisfied with their current product would place them at stage three: assessing options, so I now have a roadmap ahead, allowing me to make sure I’m qualifying all the right things for the client and making it more likely that I will make the sale.

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During my first day on the course, we were asked to give ourselves a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound goal. Such measures were taken because generic goals, such as “be more friendly to clients” aren’t specific enough and breed indifference. If you set yourself the aforementioned role, you have very few ways of actually measuring it, resulting in the goal becoming pointless. Whereas, if you add quantitative elements like: dates and numbers, make it a reachable ambition, then you have a much higher chance of trying to reach your goals.

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Now, having had time over the Christmas holidays to ponder the new information, I am already implementing a lot of what I have learnt and will do so more in the future. For the rest of my colleagues on the course, I cannot wait to speak to catch-up with them and see how the course has impacted them in their roles.

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