You are browsing the archive for 2011 December.

Make 2012 The Best Year Yet – Put Yourself First!

December 21, 2011 in Assessments, Attitudes & Behaviours, Coaching, Communication, Success, Teamwork

As we all come sailing in from the rather stormy seas of 2011 for a brief rest in a safe harbour we can chose to look back and reflect on what has happened in 2011; the challenges, mistakes, triumphs and lessons learned. Although reflection is very important we must not forget to take time to rest, relax and recharge before we look forward and dream about the future and what it holds for us.



2011 may have left you feeling overwhelmed running from one task to the other never stopping to rest and recoup. If you can take time to just forget the business world for a while and instead just ‘be in the moment’ enjoying your time with friends and family and getting some well deserved R&R you will be in a position to put your best foot forward in 2012. If you’re not taking leave you may find the quietness that can accompany this time of the year can give you space to reflect, recoup and recharge for 2012.

Either way, why not consider giving yourself a gift for Christmas this year.

Pick up and play that musical instrument you’ve been meaning to play, do that yoga class, go for a swim at your local pool or enjoy the rush of the waves at a nearby surf beach, take an early morning walk in the park, have a picnic in a beautiful botanical garden, ski down a snow covered mountain, ride a horse, paint a picture and don’t forget everyone is an artist, tell jokes to each other and laugh out loud for real, forge a new friendship, rekindle an old friendship, hug someone you love and tell them how much they mean to you, give and receive 20 hugs a day and see what happens, get a massage or two, drink clean water, take a nap under a tree on a warm day, look into a flower and really see what is in there, do some gardening and pretend the weeding is removing all the debris from your year, be still and listen to the sounds of nature, go for ride on the Puffing Billy sitting on the ledge with your legs hanging out and remember what it is like being a child again, hold hands with your partner/ children/ friend/ parent/ sibling, say ‘I love you’ to as many people as you can and especially to yourself.

walk on the beach

walk on the beach

Taking time out to rest and relax is good for our brain and allows us to gain a clear perspective on things, especially those things that are important to us.

Whatever you choose to do, we would just like to say thank you for your loyal readership, support and your endorsement of Barrett. Your support of our philosophy that ‘selling is everybody’s business and everybody lives by selling something‘ is wonderful and we’re seeing a growing body of support across individuals and businesses as they make the transition into the new century.

We have connected with many people over this year, some only via this blog and other publications as well as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, and others in much more personal ways via our coaching, training, consulting, assessments, public speaking, events, etc. However we have connected with each other we hope that we’ve listened to you and exchanged something of value and that in some small way you’re better at the things that matter to you for having met us.

2012 holds a lot in store for us all and we need to have our reserves fully stocked for the journey ahead. We also need to promise ourselves to make sure that we make regular time for these lovely activities throughout the year ahead because they nourish us and keep us connected to what is important and this is our cherished relationships with each other. If we take care of ourselves we’re able to listen more effectively and exchange something of value with each other more often, and wouldn’t that be nice?

At Barrett we’re preparing for a phenomenal year in 2012 and are very excited about what we have in store for you all. I would also like to thank my fantastic team at Barrett and our Partners who are really committed to our vision to positively transform the culture, capability and continuous learning of leaders and teams by developing sales driven organisations that are equipped for the 21st Century.

So season’s greetings to you, your families and teams and may 2012 be the best year ever for us all.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, MD of www.barrett.com.au

Why LinkedIn Invitations Need To Be Purposeful

December 14, 2011 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Communication, Social Media

LinkedIn is about creating and nurturing relationships. It’s a marvelous tool for researching and connecting with people and helps you forge genuine relationships based on substance and value.

I’ve been on LinkedIn for many years now and have been steadily growing my network. I only connect with people I know personally or have connected with via an event or activity. As much as I am for prospecting and building new networks and business I draw the line at sending out impersonal LinekdIn requests, random or otherwise to people that I don’t know.

LinkedIN Standard Invite

LinkedIN Standard Invite

So why do so many people send out LinkedIn invitations with no explanation as to why they want to connect with you, no personalised note introducing themselves and no obvious reason for linking in?

In the last six months I have received more LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know with the standard line, “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” They neglect to provide any explanation or valid business reason (VBR) for connecting with me.

I’m at a loss to explain this lazy and careless approach. My view of this practice is that it appears insincere and grasping for business. On the other hand, a friend of mine says he accepts these random invitations to grow his database. He doesn’t send them himself because he agrees it seems unprofessional, but happily accepts invites from those he doesn’t know. While I see his point of view, I’m not convinced it’s worthwhile. Many people I speak to are expressing similar frustrations with impersonal LinkedIn requests. Is frustration of the recipient really the aim? In my opinion, sending impersonal LinkedIn invitations is the equivalent of spam.

I treat LinkedIn invitations like prospecting calls. How you position yourself is very important. You need to think about why you want to contact and connect with that person and develop a Valid Business Reason (VBR). A VBR must be meaningful and relevant to the LinkedIn contact. It should be a reason why the LinkedIn contact should want to speak to you further. It must be of value and important to the LinkedIn contact and answer the What’s In It For Me (WII-FM) if they connect with you.

If I contact anyone I do not know via LinkedIn it would be with a well thought out message first seeking permission to speak with them to ascertain if it would be beneficial for us to connect/ meet/ work together.

So how do you deal with these potentially unsolicited LinkedIn invitations?

Benefit of Social Networking

Benefit of Social Networking

I have developed a strategy to test how genuine people are that ask to connect with me. Firstly I look at each person’s profile to see if I do know them and if I can see some sort of benefit from our connecting. Secondly I send out the following message after I have received the “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” invitation.

Thank you for your invitation. I must apologise if we have met before however I am not sure where I know you from. Are you able to let me know how we are connected and how you think we would both benefit from our shared association?

Cheers Sue

It is very interesting what happens next. One of 4 things usually occurs:

  1. I never receive a response and I delete the invitation.
  2. I receive a detailed reply from the person stating how they know me and how they would like to benefit from our association. I usually accept the request if everything seems ok.
  3. I receive an apology that they may have made a mistake.
  4. I receive a ‘snippy’ or ‘hurt’ reply, upset that I would actually question their invitation.

I do not take my LinkedIn invitations and connections lightly. In the earlier days I probably accepted more LinkedIn invitations from people I didn’t really know. Today, however I see much more value in developing a real network of contacts who are seeking mutually beneficial outcomes and support from their peers. Like any relationship, LinkedIn relationships have to start somewhere. So if you are thinking of using the festive season to build your LinkedIn network, consider starting off a new relationship on the right note, keeping in mind that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, MD of www.barrett.com.au

Getting Personal Or Time To Get Personal

December 8, 2011 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Communication, Customer Service, Sales Relationships

‘Getting Personal’ was voted as the Number 12 Sales Trends for 2011. Despite the advances in technology and the rise of the Internet, customers still want personal and single contact satisfaction. Contrary to some pundits who believe the role of salespeople is becoming obsolete with the proliferation of Internet and mobile technology, effective sales professionals and a personal approach to selling remains important to successful business this year and in the years to come.

Smart salespeople are offloading functional and transactional activities to better concentrate on the personal aspects of selling, including understanding the customer’s business and providing more personalised service. Our client surveys show customers who know their salesperson by name are 90% more likely to stay loyal!

But it’s more than just being ‘nice’ or friendly. Customers do like “nice” but they want more. Good salespeople recognise that customers buy from people they TRUST and that TRUST supersedes LIKE. Sure it helps to be likable but a buyer is looking for someone they can trust and work with over time.

If you think it’s a simple walk in, present your product and walk awaythink again. Companies with a purely transactional mindset “walk-in-walk-out” mentality are finding it harder to sell and stay in business.

turnover of sales people

turnover of sales people

Companies with large turnover or salespeople with short tenures are in a difficult position to achieve customer familiarity and loyalty. One example is the business banking sector, especially in the SME business space. Here, there seems to be a revolving door policy when it comes to business bankers and relationship managers. The moment you think you have secured a good business banker, they’re gone and replaced with a new one and you find yourself starting over, explaining your business all over again. This presents a real problem for SME’s, especially in big cities. I hear many complaints from SME business owners about their frustration at the lack of care or interest shown by business banking. The only exception I can see in this are the business bankers living and working in regional and rural Australia. These guys seem to be more dedicated and committed. Their jobs are entwined with their lifestyle choice and they are genuinely part of the communities they work with. Their relationships extend beyond their jobs and they “get personal” with the people they service.

By contrast business bankers in the capital cities are dime a dozen and don’t have to have interest in you because they can disappear into the crowd never really having to practice what they preach. In short big city business banking is impersonal and simply not as effective. This lack of a personal approach means city based SMEs are missing out.

Everybody lives by servicing someone

Everybody lives by servicing someone

The banks and other “transactional” based businesses are missing the fact that the customer wants to work with someone who will add tangible value to their business or life. These businesses need to start interacting strategically with their customers; offer beneficial solutions based on value and be consultative (listen and assist beyond the product).

Almost every business is now in the service industry. Consultants, medical practitioners, professional services firms, the list is endless. Any business that sells expertise and time knows the importance of working to maintain healthy relationships with their clients because if they don’t bill anything they don’t earn anything.

Product business, if they are to maintain their margins and build value in their client relationships beyond the product need to develop a ‘service business’ mindset and get personal.

I know what I prefer. The business bankers I’ve met in regional and rural Australia are by and large decent people, who are genuine and interested in people beyond their jobs. Personally, I’d love to receive the regional and rural business banker approach in our big cities. What a difference that could make on all levels.

Getting Personal is so much more

Getting Personal is so much more

Getting personal is more than just showing up and being pleasant. “Getting personal” is about being personable, substantial, and authentic and applying these traits with your knowledge, experience, skills, creative problem solving and business acumen.

To “get personal”, you need to work with your client with the intention of delivering results and caring about the outcome. Buy in to the possibility of making a difference to your clients’ businesses and personal lives and great things can happen. Getting personal is not some soppy, ‘wet’ idea, it’s what’s at the heart of all genuine relationships.


Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, MD of www.barrett.com.au

What Athletes, Top CEO’s and Pop Stars Have in Common

December 1, 2011 in Coaching, Sales Coaching, Sales Leadership, Sales Management, Sales Training, Self Development, Success

Elite athletes, pop stars, top selling writers, politicians, Fortune 100 CEO’s all have one thing in commonthey hire coaches to help them achieve their goals faster and become or maintain their ‘number one’ status. Elite performers see the value their coach brings to their craft. They know their coach will help them gain and create insights that transform their performance. The rest of us can take the same approach. Many salespeople see the value of hiring a sales coach to help maintain an edge internally and over your competitors.

Changing Jobs

Not being heard, thus changing paths

As highlighted recently in the article ‘Are you at risk of losing your top sales performers?‘I mentioned the story of a young sales woman who contacted Barrett looking for expert sales coaching. Here is the excerpt: ‘My repeated requests to my manager for coaching and training were dismissed as too costly. I went outside to get the development I craved. My manager just wasn’t interested in giving me any of his time to coach me and certainly wasn’t interested in paying any money for my development. So I paid $3,000 of my own money for 6 one-on-one sales coaching sessions and they really helped. The benefits of one-on-one sales coaching were enormous. I achieved 130% of my budget in my first year and made the annual incentive trip overseas. My manager tried to claim the credit for my success. Needless to say into my second year nothing changed on the management front so after a further 9 months in solitude I left the company to pursue a career where personal development was valued.’

This young woman is an example of a growing number of sales professionals looking externally for coaching support to help them succeed and achieve their goals. They often tell us that that they are not getting the professional development or coaching they crave from their sales managers or business leaders. Often left to fend for themselves, these high performers want to be successful so they employ their own coach.

But a word of caution: you need to know what you are looking for. Not all coaches are the same and not all will be able to help you. If you are going to employ a sales coach make sure they:

  • Have had relevant sales experience and know how to sell well themselves (in a 21st century consultative sales way of course; no used car, product flogging, charm merchants)
  • They have knowledge and experience in sales strategy, sales planning, prospecting, sales communication, account management, negotiation, team work, etc.
  • Have recognised coaching qualifications with at least 100 hours of real time coaching experience and testimonials to back up their success.
  • Use an integrated mix of recognised coaching tools and resources
  • Know where their professional boundaries lie – they do not delve into nor try and fix any clinical or deeply personal issues, unless they are clinically trained in psychology and/or medicine. If they claim to be able to work in this space without appropriate qualifications do not continue with them.
  • Have your interests at heart and remain professional at all times. They do not try to make you dependant on them.

RobynCreed, Head of Coaching

RobynCreed, Head of Coaching

Robyn Creed, head of Barrett Coaching says that a coach can wear a number of hats at any one time. They can act as your sounding board, someone who listens without prejudice. Your coach should be a person who helps and guides you while you set your own goals and strategies. They keep you accountable and focused on the priorities that are most important. They might also critique the way you do things, which may be the difference between winning that $200M deal you have been trying to close for months! Here is a lovely quote I found on coaching: ‘A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.’ John Wooden, American Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee.

A good sales coach knows the difference between Deal Based coaching and Strategic Coaching; they know what type of coaching you need based on where you are at – skills, transformational, remedial, or high performance coaching. If you want to read more about what qualities you should look for in an experience coach then go to Why Barrett Coaching.

Fortunately you don’t have to go it alone. Like the young woman mentioned previously you can get your own sales coach, however the good news that more and more Sales Leaders and Managers are now being trained on how to coach properly. Sales Management is quickly seeing the merit in coach training from a team engagement perspective and for staff retention, as well as the obvious and financial viewpoint.

Gallup research has demonstrated that there is a very significant connection between outstanding salespeople and their managers. The research indicated that having the right sales manager/coach can result in a 20% improvement in a sales person’s performance. In addition, it is not uncommon to find that almost 90% of what salespeople learn in a sales training program is lost unless it is effectively embedded and integrated back in the workplace and led by managers through effective coaching.

Stay on topSo if you desire to be at the top of your game and stay ahead of your competitors, remember great sales people don’t hesitate to ask others for support. Just like our proactive sales capabilities we take our role seriously and enlist the coaching that will make us a truly top performer and one of the best.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, MD of www.barrett.com.au

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