Twelve Days of Christmas for Sales and Recruitment Professionals


Twelve Days of Christmas for Sales and Recruitment Professionals

December in business can be a seductive time of year particularly when you’re in a sales role.

We’ve all worked hard during the other months and when December arrives it’s very tempting to slow down. To rest on our laurels and think

‘It’s December who wants to buy in December anyway?’

Well lots of people actually and even if people didn’t buy in December they might well talk to you about what they will buy from you in January!

Yes we all get a break over the actual Christmas period but lots of companies are open for lots of days around that time. If you find yourself reading this any time prior to the 21 December then please realise that the race isn’t over yet. You can still bring in new clients, approach new prospects and keep building your sales pipeline.

But if you want to do that you might actually have to work harder and faster than you have the rest of the year. People do have time off at Christmas which cuts down the number of actual days when you can reach them in December.

To bring this into focus I was a little shocked myself when this morning I realised that with it being the 5 December 2012 that there are only 12 working days left prior to the last Friday before Christmas!

Now for myself I have some hefty research and marketing plans for December which I have just realised need to be done at a fair pace if I’m to get everything on my wish list done prior to Christmas. And in fact when I factor in prior commitments and engagements I’ve got far less than ten days left prior to Christmas … and a long wish list of things to do!

So sorry for breaking this to you but the reality is that in December sales people and recruiters need to work faster and harder than they do at any other time of the year.

So get cracking today and then you can feel entirely justified to take a break when Christmas actually arrives not to mention that all your extra sales efforts during December might just help pay for all those Christmas presents!

And now if you will excuse me I have a client meeting to go to …

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,

How to create sales opportunities and avoid being a sales dodo

How to Create Sales Opportunities and Avoid Being a Sales Dodo

Do you know what a Dodo tastes like? No, neither do I.

And do you know why? Because on the islands that the Dodo lived its prey was in such abundance that the Dodo species, over thousands of years, lost it’s ability to fly. As a result when man arrived on the islands and started to chase it for food they were easy to catch and were wiped out. (Which frankly gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘terminally lazy’!)

Now admittedly if it had been able to fly we’d probably still eat one or two here and there but the species would have survived.

Sales people are just like Dodo’s. They can get lazy when sales pickings are easy. And just like the Dodo they can forget to do the very things that kept them going in the first place.

Creating sales opportunities is the key activity that all sales people must do. Indeed it could be argued that it is only half of the key activity with the other half being the ability to convert the opportunity into a sale. And that’s the thing – if you don’t create the opportunities then you have nothing to convert.

So here are four quick pointers aimed at creating sales opportunities:

Make the call

If you have a reason to speak with a client or prospective client then pick up the phone and do it. Good phone conversations with your clients and your prospective clients are the corner-stone of business to business sales relations. It’s more personal, more powerful and creates more opportunities than sending a letter or email. (It’s also often quicker – crafting a well worded email can often take longer than making a call.)

Visit the client

The single most profitable thing you can do in sales is to visit your clients. Yes there has to be a reason for it from the clients point of view and you should qualify visits to ensure they are worth your time but where there is a reason make the offer to visit.

Client’s appreciate a sales person who has taken the time to visit and especially in the recruitment world the benefits of meeting the client and seeing their offices and set up is immeasurable. It empowers you to talk with much greater credibility about the client and the opportunity to your candidates. Additionally you will probably take a much better job brief when doing it on a client visit.

Send the comment

This is a subtler and softer means of creating opportunities but it can still create some over time. On social media when you see that your client or prospective client has posted a comment or discussion that you could credibly reply to, then do so. You don’t have to be a nodding dog and agree with everything that they say but rather add your view and aim to add value to the discussion.

The more you do this the more you will be seen as a credible business individual. It also might be that by adding a comment to a discussion it escalates the discussion possibly to a phone call and then a visit. If you don’t interact then nothing has the potential for starting!

Present the full range

It’s very important to maximise each sales meeting and call. Be prepared to discuss the whole range of relevant services that you offer. Let me share a true story:

I train across five topics and with one prospect in 2011 we had discussed four out of the five and in each of those four areas he was fully satisfied with his current suppliers. The final area, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), was however of interest and the conversation moved from ‘I’m quite happy thank you’ to ‘Send me a proposal and let’s talk tomorrow after I’ve had a chance to read it’.

I sent the proposal and duly called him the following day. The prospect agreed to hire me to deliver my NLP for Recruitment Professionals course.

After delivering that course he hired me to deliver a further three courses in the sales area. Which on the first conversation had been ruled out as not needed. This individual has also recently rehired me to deliver further NLP and sales courses and a LinkedIn course – so this client has now taken training from three of the five areas that I specialise in.

All of which came about because I made sure that I talked about all the areas I work in on that initial call.

Sometimes the conversations don’t develop sufficiently for you to discuss everything you can offer but the point is that as a sales professional looking to maximise their opportunities you should have the intention to discuss your whole product range.

Also make sure that when you send out marketing emails regarding your services that the range of offerings is highlighted.


So the Dodo was lazy, got caught, eaten and became extinct. Don’t be like that – create your own sales opportunities and avoid being eaten up your competition!

Until next time; be successful!


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When sales meets social media on the football field

When sales meets social media on the football field

This blog started off life on LinkedIn as a discussion around whether cold calling was dead. (Killed by social media) It’s a discussion that has generated a lot of interest and debate with supporters for both yes and no.

Then there’s me and those like me who believe in a combined approach – cold calling and social media development combining to create the most powerful business development solution.

I chipped in with my thoughts and there was a degree of approval and support and then I explained my position using the following analogue and there was a loud chorus of approval including people sending me private messages saying they loved it.

So always being willing to be responsive to what works I thought I’d share my thoughts with the Edenchanges blog readers – I hope you enjoy it as much as the LinkedIn crowd did.

Sales and Social Media – one way to think of it is…

The whole sales vs social media debate can be thought of as planning to win a football match (I take a slight risk here as I’m no football fan!)

In that analogue social media is the equivalent of training your team, picking good players and getting them on the pitch in the right formation. 

If it’s really good social media activity then it might even be like taking a few pot shots at the goal or passing the ball around a little. 

Business development calls (cold calls if you want to call them) are the equivalent of actually playing with intent, working your formation, tackling and dodging the opposing team and hammering the ball in the back of the net. 

So…it seems to me that you do your social media bits and bobs and then play full out on the phone to get the ball in the back of the net! 

As I said at the beginning I’m no football fan but surely playing like that is the right way to play to win?

A challenge was then raised when I posted the above on LinkedIn (and a fair one I must say) when a person asked

Like the analogy Stephen – but for most, don’t the shots constantly hit the corner flag?!

To which I replied

That’s okay – if I remember my football correctly a corner can be developed in to a winning position to have another shot at goal – if done properly a score will follow!

The point was well taken by the other gentleman and several other people also commented positively.

The whole discussion indeed was very interesting and I think the consensus was clearly in favour of a mixed approach. The only challenge to ‘cold calling’ was really the difference in perception between making a traditional ‘blind call’ and a modern ‘researched call’.

As one person put it

If you are a specialist in your market, have done extensive research on a company, got key intelligence they are hiring, leveraged contacts to name drop, genuinely have a network that can add value and pick up the phone to proactively reach out to this decision maker and make contact for current or future needs – is it still a cold call? If so then YES cold calling lives on.

So blend your approaches, take a modern, intelligent route to market and boot the ball into the back of the net!

Until next time; good luck scoring!


Selling with Value

Selling with Value

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
Warren Buffett

And as a friend of mine said to me years ago when I was deciding which computer to purchase for my business

When you buy quality, you get value.

Now you might be thinking that this is a Motivational Monday blog given the quotes I’m starting with but it isn’t; I simply like quotes!

Those two above make the perfect case for why you should consider value when you sell to your customers. From their perspective it makes a normal purchase into a great purchase!

So let us look at three aspects of value when you are selling.

Give them more than they expect

This doesn’t have to be a physical item. Indeed I’m not a big fan of the word ‘free’ when it comes to sales. At least in terms of ‘free items’ or ‘free services’. You have to think like a commercial business person when you sell and giving stuff away isn’t the wisest of business decisions.

So what can you do instead? Well how about deliver times?

What can you do to make items arrive faster or to provide services faster? Can you extend longer after care times or spend longer with a client showing them how to use their new purchase than you would normally?

Or how about adding in some more knowledge and advice?

Take a recent example; a client of mine who is a recruiter won a retained contract with a client. Whilst preparing for the pitch we naturally did research on the prospect which included reviewing his LinkedIn profile and that of his colleagues.

There were a couple of minor errors on a few of the profiles so my client, after winning the business, took the time to email each of the individuals with errors on their profiles and pointed them out in a constructive manner. The purchasing contact was very appreciative.

The above recruiter has added value to his relationship with his client in a very simple way.

Keep in touch after the sale

It is the job of a sales person to sell things. That’s a fact. But it can be a rather cold fact sometimes especially if you have spent considerable time winning a sale only to then disappear over the horizon before the ink has dried on the contract!

Sales people tell me constantly that they never do this but I constantly catch them doing it!

Ensure that you speak with clients after the sale. Ask their opinion about the product or service. Genuinely show interest in their experiences and also their continued situations. Yes you might have account management teams but you were the one the client had the relationship with and it adds value if you show your face again after purchase!

Tell them when not to buy A.K.A. Give them proper advice

This can be a tough one for new sales people…actually it can be tough for all sales people! Sometimes the truth of the matter is that your top product is not the best solution for your clients. At times like that you add more value to the long-term relationship with the client if you tell them the truth and sell them a cheaper but better fitting solution or product.

By giving clients genuine real advice at this stage you have a much larger chance of cultivating that client into a long-term purchaser.

This can also happen when a sales person is trying to get a sale at an earlier time than the client wants or needs. Sometimes their time-scale is the one to work to.

The really hard decision is of course if none of your products or services truly fit what they want –  the truth is that your clients will respect you a lot more if you make things clear. And also sometimes that prospect is just not right for you. Ideally that mismatch is identified early on but when it becomes clear then I think it should be admitted to.

Perhaps that’s one of those moments when you present the facts and let the client truly decide for themselves.


There are lots of ways of adding value during the sales process and I’ll return to this topic in future sales blogs. For now I’d suggest you consider which client you recently sold to and have you stayed in touch and added some value to the relationship?

Until next time; happy selling!

Stephen Hart

Champagne, Birthday Hats and Sales Points Part 1

Champagne, Birthday Hats and Sales Points Part 1

Put on the party hats and pop some champagne corks! Edenchanges has just celebrated its third birthday!

And we’d like to thank all our loyal clients and delegates who have hired us, rehired us and generally been wonderful to work with. We look forward to many more years of working with you all.

Now celebrations aside we at the Edenchanges headquarters like to learn from the past. We have spent some time looking at what we have done over these last three years – both good and bad –  as well as considering what global lessons we have learned working with and observing our many and diverse clients.

This analysis has brought up some interesting truths about sales and business generally and we thought you might like to see them for yourselves.

(Now whilst these points apply to business generally we are sharing them in our Thursday sales blog slot so the focus of this set of articles will be sales…you have been warned!)

So what’s the single biggest truth that has become evident?


Whether it is making business development calls, networking or developing new products, consistency comes out time and again as a key factor in determining the end results.

With regards to sales I think it is fair to say that I know very few companies who would like less business. In fact I think it is fair to say that ALL the companies I know would like more business! Certainly all the sales people I work with would like more sales, bigger results and greater commission.

So let me offer a thought born of personal observation across a wide range of our sales clients over the last three years which is a practical application of the above fact:


Don’t bother making excuses or reasons why you don’t have the time to do it. Simply dedicate some time every day to purely selling, either in person or on the phone, and I guarantee the results will follow. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, (although the more the better) but any amount of time dedicated to consistently making calls will add up.

And following on from that another business fact which has become clear to us is:


If you are in sales and planning to be successful then please develop a high level of honesty with yourself.

The truth is that you know when you’ve had a slack day and you know when you’ve worked insanely hard. Please don’t kid yourself over which days were which or which type of day you have had more of.

If your sales pipeline is down then by accepting the truth of the situation you are free to do something about it. The type of person who waits for their bosses to kick them into action has no place in sales. Accept the negative truths and take action to reverse things.

B aware that sometimes the difference between a truth and a lie can be subtle. I have witnessed a lot of sales people over the last few years who, during their prime selling time, are glued to their laptop screens either reading or typing.

When I ask what they are doing the most common replies are ‘research’ or ‘emails’. Very often those people are genuinely interested in being successful but they are not recognising the truth of their own actions. The truth is that whilst staring at their computer screen they are not selling.

Not at all.

The truth is that at best, emails are marketing tools; and‘research’ should be done prior to the core sales times. So yes they were being busy and working hard but they were deluding themselves if they thought they were selling. And that is a slippery slope.

On a related point, and this is a simple yet powerful fact for sales managers and directors…if your sales floor is quiet then people aren’t selling. You have to be speaking to people to be selling. Everything else is, at best, marketing or at wors, admin!

And whilst we are talking about truths let me share a very positive one:


Yes times are challenging and companies are being, understandably, carefully about on what and when they spend money; but just as in every recession since records began there are millionaires being created right now and many companies are doing very well. 

And if you are wondering how do you get the business that is out there then I would refer you to my points above as well as sharing a final truth that is particularly relevant in these times:


Some doors need to be knocked on many times before they open. Calling on a company once to pitch for business is no guarantee of success. Calling on it eight times is no guarantee either but is makes the chance of success significantly higher.

Equally marketing needs to be both consistent and persistent. Continually present your company details, and your personal details in this world of personal branding, in front of your prospects. They might not bite at the first offer but by persistently presenting them with offers, options and invitations you are much more likely to succeed.

Sales in this day in age should be a powerful combination of clever marketing and determined sales both done consistently and persistently over the long term.

I guarantee to all of you reading this that the consistent sales professional who persistently chases sales leads down will do well.

In part two of this article, due out next Thursday, I will share the further lessons that Edenchanges has witnessed and learned over the last few year in particular the lessons and power of innovation, flexibility and social media.

Now where’s that champagne?

Until next time; cheers!

Stephen Hart

Corporate trainer and consultant

07733 88 11 90


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