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 Activia Blog – Sales 

 Professional sales development for individuals, managers and teams 
 

Latest Articles


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
70%. That's how many prospects will never buy from anyone.

In the book Selling to Zebras, Koser and Koser noted that the most competitive company in an industry closes only around 15% of its forecasted sales, while its competitors close another 15%. This means a whopping 70% of prospects in an industry will never buy from anyone!

Now, upon hearing this, most salespeople will try to double down on their effort...
Image for Ashley Andrews Ashley Andrews
Apr 10, 2018
More Articles
Go-getter. Dogged. Highly motivated. Won't take no for an answer.

These are common terms used to describe many salespeople, but how many times have you heard someone being described as original or creative?

I'd bet never, right?

The industry has lumbered...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Apr 04, 2018
Every salesperson has received negative responses at some point in their career, whether a definitive "No!" or simply no decision having been made yet. And many of them!

Studies have shown that it can take up to five follow-ups for 80% of sales to occur, yet...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Mar 27, 2018
For people that work in sales, there's no nice way to say this, but unfortunately, most prospects are suspicious of salespeople.

Think about it: when was the last time a prospect answered the phone and said, “Oh, I'm so glad you called! You're just the per...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Mar 20, 2018
What's the most important task in the sales process?

No, it's not closing.

No, not mastering the follow up either.

It's prospecting.

Think about it: if you don't have any leads to contact, who are you going to follow up with? Who will you hope to close...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Mar 13, 2018
It happens to even the best of us.

You'll find a seemingly ideal prospect who wants your product, but they just don't seem willing to commit. On the one hand, you're glad the prospect is interested in the product, but there is obviously something stopping th...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Mar 06, 2018
I've met them. You've met them. At some point, we've all had to deal with a salesperson that left a bad taste in our mouths.

You don't even have to be in a technical or formal business environment to have met one. Whether it's the insurance salesperson calli...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Feb 27, 2018
As a salesperson, you’re probably very familiar with rejection.

Of the hundreds of prospecting calls you've made (and will make) in your career, you’ll find that no matter how well you prepare, a percentage of your cold calls will end in hang...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Feb 20, 2018
Ask 100 salespeople and I bet at least 80 of them will agree that making cold calls is the one part of the sales process that they all dread.

Despite your best interests, your prospects hate being cold-called, and most of them see it as an intrusion into the...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Feb 13, 2018
Congratulations! Getting past the gatekeeper and getting access to a decision maker is no mean feat.  However, you can't rest on your oars just yet; your sales cycle has only just begun.

Did you know that most sales are closed before the meeting even starts...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Feb 06, 2018
There isn’t a salesperson in the world who hits his or her target every single month. Not one. Even if you’re a sales wiz, and you’ve never known anything but success – you’re probably going to feel like Old Gil from The Simpsons at some poi...
Image for Ashley Andrews by Ashley Andrews,
Dec 19, 2017

Sales are the lifeblood of every business. Without a healthy pipeline of sales, it can soon become difficult to pay your staff and suppliers.
This fact is often forgotten, however... especially ...
by Ashley Andrews, Oct 25, 2017

You know the old-school ABC of sales: ‘Always Be Closing’. It’s hardly practical advice, but it reminds us that closing the deal is everything to a salesperson. From finding prospects, to pitchi ...
by Ashley Andrews, Jun 21, 2017

If even a small part of your job involves sales, then you probably already know how vital good communication is to your success. I can’t explain it any more simply than this: selling is about persua ...
by Ashley Andrews, Nov 21, 2016

Anyone who knows me will testify that my first, and biggest, message to salespeople is that if you want to sell something, people must like you. My second message is that you can’t fake it: what you ...
by Steve Warren, Jun 24, 2016

When you’re on the phone, selling your company’s product and ultimately earning the commission that helps you live a happy life on pay day, it’s important to realise the full potential that tele ...
by Ashley Andrews, Jul 06, 2015

The correlation between sales and social media has grown over the past decade, with many small-to-medium sized businesses taking to several online platforms to boost their income. The social networkin ...
by Ashley Andrews, May 13, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do You Have A System?
Have you ever sat at your desk and wondered why the person next you seems to be getting better results? This, despite the fact they spend comparatively less time on the ph ...
by Philip Andrews, Sep 26, 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

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

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

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