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 The Activia Training blog 

 Main page for John Boddington 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Boddington
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Hi! I am John Boddington. I worked in the training industry for close to 15 years. Prior to that, I enjoyed a career in branch banking in South Africa's largest bank, as well as sales, after having left the bank to follow a computer programming career. I think that it gives me quite an interesting slant on things, as my experience covers sales (and related professional topics like presentations and marketing), management and technical IT. As someone that had the capacity for programming, but not the temperament, most of my articles are about helping you in whatever realm you find yourself, and opening up options about what is available next. For those with careers in IT, or those in sales, or other areas of management and company ownership and general administration, I hope that my articles provide you with as good advice as possible, and often as many options to consider as possible too. B.A. (Hons) in Business Management - obtained through the Open University after initiating studies at both University of Cape Town (UCT) and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
Today’s sales teams need to employ smarter tactics than ever in order to secure that big win, and the B2B market can be a particularly tough crowd.

Where selling direct to a consumer (B2C) involves gaining that one individual’s buy-in, B2B (business to business) sales are a lot more complex. There may be dozens of people and multiple departments to convince of your proposition’s value.

But the biggest p...
Image for John Boddington John Boddington
Jan 21, 2019
A lot of people end up in sales, but very few people end up being truly good at it. Only 3% of buyers trust salespeople and up to 50% think that those working in sales are pushy [1], which might explain why it seems so hard to achieve success and longevity in this particular career.

So why is it that this is such a tricky talent to master? Perhaps the first hurdle to overcome is thinking that it’s ea...
Image for John Boddington John Boddington
Oct 10, 2018
While most companies' sales teams do use their own KPIs to track activity and results, here are seven specific things that you can and should be tracking to see how best to train and improve sales ability.
Image for John Boddington John Boddington
Aug 21, 2018
There are seven main reasons that people would give a presentation or speak in public. This article looks at each one, and how you need to make allowances for differences, and then gives hints for each one.
Image for John Boddington John Boddington
Aug 11, 2018

First impressions count
Your company has already invested a great deal of time and money on promoting its values. These beliefs need to be re-enforced when your customers visit your premises fo ...
by John Boddington, Jul 07, 2015

It is perfectly natural to feel nervous before speaking in public. After all, it is an experience that is generally out of ordinary. In our everyday lives we are not in the habit of holding forth to l ...
by John Boddington, Jun 17, 2015

However good your presentation skills are, they will be of only limited use if the presentation itself is not up to scratch. A bad presentation given by a good presenter is like a great actor playing ...
by John Boddington, Apr 29, 2015

Many of us don’t really understand the difference between B2B and B2C sales strategies. This can lead to a lot of time and money wasted with fruitless attempts at selling your product. When you are ...
by John Boddington, Mar 25, 2015

If you’re not yet on LinkedIn, you’re seriously missing out. The platform has over 277 million users, with over 3 million company pages created on a daily basis. It’s undoubtedly an integral par ...
by John Boddington, Mar 04, 2015

Everyone who’s involved in sales wants to increase their conversion rates, that’s a given. But not many of those will actually take the necessary steps to make that happen. This gives you a perfec ...
by John Boddington, Feb 18, 2015

When you’re in sales, you know that even the best product on the planet won’t sell if it doesn’t come bundled with a solid pitch. You need to convince the consumer that you’ve got something wo ...
by John Boddington, Feb 04, 2015

Being a salesperson is tough, especially in the current economic environment. Companies are being harassed by sales calls on a consistent basis, supply often outstrips demand, and it can often feel li ...
by John Boddington, Jan 22, 2015

Unlike what some people say, great salespeople don’t appear out of nothing. You’re not born with the tools required to make a sale, far from it. You can train yourself to become a very effective s ...
by John Boddington, Jan 07, 2015

Being a successful salesperson isn’t about luck or being born with certain abilities. The fact is that all heavy hitters in the sales world tend to have certain traits in common, most of which can b ...
by John Boddington, Dec 17, 2014

So you’ve practiced your routine a million times, you’ve got your voice down to that perfect tone, and you’ve perfected your strategy to get past the gatekeeper on a consistent basis. But you’ ...
by John Boddington, Dec 03, 2014

Anyone who has worked in B2B sales has faced objections at one stage or another. As frustrating as it can be, it should actually be welcomed because it can give you a helpful insight on how to close t ...
by John Boddington, Nov 19, 2014

No matter how confident we are in our product or service, most of us will do everything in our power to avoid cold calling. Even the best salesperson will go through days where they try and avoid the ...
by John Boddington, Nov 05, 2014

Ten years ago, while working for a company that provided training on how to build an IT career (such as becoming a programmer), the company arranged a series of presentations that I was to give at sec ...
by John Boddington, Oct 15, 2014

How do I use quiet periods in sales productively?
Almost every industry has peaks and troughs when it comes to business. I have yet to see a single company that expects to make the same money e ...
by John Boddington, Oct 09, 2014

A friend of mine recently recommended a nearby police officer ask me for some friendly advice on how to speak publicly using a translator. The people officer (let's call her Lindsay) had to go in and ...
by John Boddington, Sep 24, 2014

How do I avoid dips in sales?
Many years ago, while I was in office automation sales, I had a colleague that almost everybody in the sales team knew had a weakness. He would never admit it, but ...
by John Boddington, Sep 17, 2014

Many years ago, while studying cross-cultural communication, we were taught things that I have remembered to this day. I have never forgotten the statistic that 7% of communication is verbal, and that ...
by John Boddington, Sep 10, 2014

Ten years ago, the owner of a company that I worked at made our entire sales team watch a film called Door to Door. It is the true story of an American salesman, Bill Porter.
Bill Porter was bo ...
by John Boddington, Sep 04, 2014

Much of the public speaking that I did in my 20s was in Africa. I was part of a team that did community building. We would travel to different places across the continent where targets had been identi ...
by John Boddington, Aug 14, 2014

How does knowledge of the competition improve sales?
At one of the training workshops that our company offers, a young salesman gave an example of a deal that he had lost. He admitted that he h ...
by John Boddington, Aug 05, 2014

A few years ago, while visiting friends for the weekend, I accepted their invitation to go with them to church on the Sunday morning. It came time for the main sermon, and the pastor was really entert ...
by John Boddington, Jul 31, 2014

When I was just out of university, I was lucky enough to attend public speaker training while sharing a house with many of the other people on the course. While the course produced different results f ...
by John Boddington, Jul 25, 2014

How does product knowledge improve sales?
Earlier this year, a well known South African businessman, Louis Luyt, passed away. While he was alive, he had been a very controversial character, and ...
by John Boddington, Jul 17, 2014

In 2002, actor Russell Crowe created a media storm by accosting the director of the BAFTA Awards ceremony after his acceptance speech on the night had been edited when televised. Many people felt that ...
by John Boddington, Jul 11, 2014

How do I present my benefits to a client?
There is a wonderful restaurant in the town of Hermanus, along South Africa’s coast on the Indian Ocean side. A large portion of the restaurant has l ...
by John Boddington, Jul 08, 2014

Just over 10 years ago, I had considered leaving the banking industry. A friend had suggested that I consider programming as a career, as it seemed that my strengths and way that I preferred to operat ...
by John Boddington, Jul 03, 2014

Prepare for Your Presentation in Advance
Many years ago, while running a sales team that was often going out to do presentations to clients, I used to always get new salespeople to deliver thei ...
by John Boddington, Jun 08, 2014

How do I ask a client the best questions?
Ten years ago, while working for a computer training company in South Africa, I received a call from a client that was looking to be trained on Microso ...
by John Boddington, May 25, 2014

First impression counts
Have you ever seen a presentation, or a speech, that you have never forgotten? I have seen literally hundreds, if not thousands, of “talks” in my life. Many were in ...
by John Boddington, Apr 11, 2014

How do I maximise profit when selling?
I must admit, I have a taste for fast food. Left up to my own devices, I would eat far too many take away meals. While I now strive to keep that in modera ...
by John Boddington, Mar 26, 2014

How do I get the most from my time so that I can sell more?
The best natural salesperson that I have ever met is a personal trainer, Steve, in Cape Town, South Africa. I do not think that he wo ...
by John Boddington, Dec 17, 2013

I have shared this example many times in the past, but I personally can tell you that I learnt about this because I was making this error myself. When I was quite new to sales, I started to work for a ...
by John Boddington, Nov 06, 2013

The world has recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr’s famous 'I Have a Dream' speech.
So, with all the televised coverage of it, ...
by John Boddington, Sep 24, 2013

Can you imagine what project management was like 30 years ago? Before technology provided so may useful tools that makes things easier?
One experienced project manager explained to me some of t ...
by John Boddington, Sep 17, 2013

Managing Sales Territories
Many years ago, I used to work in office automation sales. I had a sales territory to manage, and most of the day was spent going into companies, seeing what type of ...
by John Boddington, Sep 10, 2013

My wife and I had relocated to another country, and were in the market for a new car. Very close to us was a dealership that sold the same car we had in the country we had just left, so we knew the pr ...
by John Boddington, Sep 04, 2013

February 2013 saw some rather startling statistics about the impact of stress being released. Research published was from various sources e.g. Canada Life insurance and public sector Unison.
Al ...
by John Boddington, Mar 05, 2013

Many years ago I interviewed somebody for a sales role, and they actually had the confidence to say that they “could sell ice to an Eskimo”. While it is an expression that you do hear used, people ...
by John Boddington, Feb 21, 2013

When planning to undertake any certification exam, whether IT related (such as Microsoft, VMWare or Cisco) or skills related (such as PRINCE2 or ITIL), there are a number of factors that need to be ke ...
by John Boddington, Feb 01, 2013

A question that often comes up when clients ask about training is whether or not the manager of a team should join his staff or not?
Ultimately, I think that it depends on the situation, so let ...
by John Boddington, Jan 15, 2013

While certain industries have seen an increase in the use of mystery shoppers, it seems that across the board, as a tool it is being used less than before. Perhaps it is because people have come to mo ...
by John Boddington, Jan 10, 2013

When last did you consider some coaching or mentoring for yourself or your staff?
Professional sports teams have coaches, even though the players themselves can have brilliant skills. Some of t ...
by John Boddington, Jan 08, 2013

So you have identified some training requirements for your team. Now all that is left is to organise it. Is there a best time for it to be done?
The simple answer is that it depends on the situ ...
by John Boddington, Dec 04, 2012

Have you ever used a database that was so slow you wanted to stop using it? You hit a button to run a query and you were still waiting for results to come up a little while later. In that time it felt ...
by John Boddington, Nov 29, 2012

In today’s age, the speed of life is now at such a rate that a large number of people do find themselves struggling to cope with everything and this can cause a lot of stress. The current economic c ...
by John Boddington, Oct 01, 2012

One of the most frequent responses we hear in the training industry is that companies think that they are too small to do training. While I can understand that a small company might not have the same ...
by John Boddington, Sep 27, 2012

While many companies focus on training their managers (and rightly so) in such areas as Coaching and Delegation, the one topic that often gets overlooked is possibly the most important. It is Decision ...
by John Boddington, Sep 24, 2012

Just over a year ago, HR magazine posted an article on their website about employees who felt that they were being asked to make decisions that they were not qualified to do (HR Magazine, David Woods, ...
by John Boddington, Sep 20, 2012

Many years ago whilst at university, I read Alvin Toffler’s book Future Shock (1970). At the time, it blew my mind and I have often thought back to some of his predictions because I have seen them c ...
by John Boddington, Sep 17, 2012

People always seem to forget that there are two sides to the redundancy coin. Being made redundant must be among the worst things that can happen to a person and I would not wish it on anybody.
...
by John Boddington, Sep 13, 2012

I have a friend that never used to be able to say no to anybody. Whether it was his family, his girlfriend or his work colleagues, he was run ragged doing things on behalf of other people that he shou ...
by John Boddington, Sep 03, 2012

One of the biggest issues when planning training is the optimal class size. Whether you run training internally at your organisation or you outsource it to a specialist training company, what class si ...
by John Boddington, Aug 30, 2012

In a recent poll, many companies stated that their staff’s overall time management has actually deteriorated over the last five to ten years. The single biggest reason that people have given is thei ...
by John Boddington, Aug 28, 2012

As a training company, one of the questions that we get asked the most when it comes to training is, once you have identified a need, what course should somebody be put on.
A perfect example of ...
by John Boddington, Aug 23, 2012

Some people enjoy, even love, delivering presentations. I was not always one of them. Like me when I was younger, many people get incredibly nervous and absolutely hate delivering them.
When I ...
by John Boddington, Aug 20, 2012

For many companies looking at private courses, one of the biggest elements to make a decision about is where the training is to take place. With options such as having the training run at your own loc ...
by John Boddington, Aug 13, 2012

We monitor the number of courses scheduled on a monthly basis as well as the number of delegates getting booked onto each course. We can tell you which one proved to be the most popular course each mo ...
by John Boddington, Aug 06, 2012

Regardless of how good you feel you are at your job, there is always the room to improve as a salesperson via sales training which can make you a little bit more money. In some cases, people can impro ...
by John Boddington, Aug 02, 2012

As one of the first year courses that I did at university, Personal Selling was a course that most of us hated. Almost everybody in the course would not have intended to be a salesperson but along wit ...
by John Boddington, Jul 30, 2012

I get asked about returns on investment (ROI) for training all the time and if it is possible to work out. People want to know that what they are investing in really is going to see a return. The simp ...
by John Boddington, Jul 26, 2012

One of the most frequently asked questions that we get asked is what makes us different from other training companies? If you are considering using companies for training that you might not even have ...
by John Boddington, Jul 23, 2012

I once heard a very wise man say that all good Customer Service training can be summarised as demonstrating effective problem resolution and then having the capacity to turn around the problem into po ...
by John Boddington, Jul 19, 2012

So you’ve had a great idea, seen that gap in the market and seized the opportunity. Your startup company is taking off and you now have a group of people working for you. From being the man with a p ...
by John Boddington, Jul 16, 2012

This article is the follow up to our previous posting on how HR staff are undervalued and will include some tips on how to change your perceived value at work. Did you read the previous article? If so ...
by John Boddington, Jul 02, 2012

With there being an increasing amount of talk about school and even university not preparing people for the real world, are there a set of essential skills that everybody should have? If so, where wou ...
by John Boddington, Jun 28, 2012

With all of the bad press about HR recently, many HR staff the world over are starting to feel a little unappreciated. What has caused this opinion of HR staff and why are they undervalued?
HR ...
by John Boddington, Jun 25, 2012

A question that is asked very often of our training staff is whether you actually need to be certified or not? It is a very tricky question to answer because the different certifications and situation ...
by John Boddington, Jun 21, 2012

Regardless of which version you intend doing (MOS for 2000, MOS for 2003 etc.) are there any tips which can be used to help you pass MOS exams?
At Activia, we have a considerable number of cert ...
by John Boddington, Jun 18, 2012

People always ask what the difference is between a Project Management course and a PRINCE2 course. (And to be honest, some of the other accreditations too, like Agile, SCRUM etc) They also question wh ...
by John Boddington, Jun 14, 2012

We have previously discussed how to maximise the most of your training budget. Assuming you have done that so you get ‘bang for your buck’, what can you do to ensure that you are getting the most ...
by John Boddington, May 31, 2012

Doing a search on the internet on how to maximise your training budgets seems to always bring up the same issues. It almost seems like once one article has been written, everybody else has copied it t ...
by John Boddington, May 28, 2012

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