Simon Darlaston talks about sales training and debunks the myths.
30s: How are you in Harrogate? I’m from Gloucestershire and grew up there, I got to Harrogate after many stops. My first job was as a professional footballer which I did for 12 inglorious months at Bristol City. Joe Jordan said maybe you shouldn’t consider a career in football. It sparked my interest in terms of experience there in sports psychology.
1min 31s: I went to Leeds Beckett university and I went to the states every summer. I learnt how to use soccer as a vehicle to develop children and it helped their self esteem and helped them to improve in school.
2min 31s: I was a sales rep for Coca Cola but it didn’t feel right. I went to Harrogate in 2002 and my boss said you’ve gotta put 50 staff and 1800 members in that building by 30th August. I spent 4 years working with that health club. Everyone can be involved in sales and growing a business.
4min 42s: I started with Sandler about 15 months ago training sales people by growing them as people and adding techniques so that in the long term, they become great sales people.
6mins 35s: What attracted you to the job? Dr Gary Russell is a doctor in human behaviour and wanted to know why kids were failing in schools. He helped us learn as a soccer coach then as a sales person. The failings are psychological and it aligns with sales training. Sales training doesn’t often work, the problem is conceptual.
9mins 34s: Is it a British thing? The work at Sandler comes out of TA (transactional analysis) and the first 6 years of our lives. We create scripts and emotions which work when we are children but not as adults.
11mins 0s: Can you expand on that? If you were told you had to go make 50 cold calls next week, how would you feel? My stomach sunk. I could teach you and after 2h you’d be good at it. If I left you to it and then you had to make the calls, most wouldn’t. As a child, we are told “don’t talk to strangers” and cold calls are talking to strangers.
13mins 43s: Many people try sales training and after 3 or 4 weeks on, nothing has changed and they think they are no good at sales – why aren’t they? My son Freddie is 5 years old, he said to me “are you going to have coffee” I said yes, he said “and will you just talk” I said yes, probably, so he says “when you are having coffee and taking, can I play?”. He does this because he thinks you’ll say no. It’s about staying safe and he doesn’t want to feel the rejection. He asked 2 smoke screen questions before the actual question. As sales people, we are taught to either ask or answer a question.
17mins 47s: Other scripts are about money. It’s rude to talk about money and we’ve grown up with that difficult money script. Should we state our pricing structure? I would need to ask you more questions before I could answer that.
20mins 16s: How do we change behaviours? Become aware. What’s your biggest fear in selling? Rejection, price. Selling advice isn’t easy, it isn’t appreciated. A free conversation might be great and what they need. Years ago in tribes, if we upset a tribe member, we’d be left to die and this links in with the fear of public speaking but we won’t die if we do that.
25mins 2s: Which business people do you admire? Pep Guardiola who played for 3 teams – Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. He created a culture and a way of playing. He looks after players and has no fear.
27mins 45s: When you go to work with a new client and you see there are obvious errors in the business, how do you tell them it’s their personality flaws coming out in the business? We build a relationship and of course we say it in the right way. We serve up tough love if the owner is open to growth and is open-minded. If he isn’t ok with honest feedback then the team won’t be because of the culture there.
30mins 8s: Donald Trump – he made every mistake but what could he teach business owners? If the competition are doing it, stop. He does the opposite.
34mins 35s: What are some business myths? “we don’t have to sell in our business” people who say this are people who bury their head in the sand, they like to stick to their comfort zone or they actually believe that. It’s not true.
35mins 40s: What is your morning routine? My boss said to do exercise in the morning for 30 minutes and then I do a journal for 20 minutes 5 days a week.
37mins 0s: Do you have an evening routine? I try to spend time with my boys before they go to bed.
38mins 12s: Do you have any tips on how to use LinkedIn? I spend 1h per day no more no less. I use it to connect to the right people, I look into their contacts for 20 minutes for people I want to meet and I try to be part of the community by responding to posts etc.
41mins 18s: Do you have advice for those setting up a business? I’d want to ask them questions, mainly why – why do you want to set up yourself?
43mins 6s: Who works the hardest? It depends. It’s hard mentally to run a facility. No one works harder than a hotel manager. Business owners find it hard to switch off but when it’s still running even after you’ve gone home, it’s hard.
45mins 33s: People hate going to networking events. What are your tips? Understand your fears, people look for a reason for it to not work. Have a reason for going, a clear goal whilst you’re there and review it after you leave so you say did I achieve what I set out to achieve, what did I do well, what could I do differently and what could I do better next time. It’s easy to blame the event etc for it not working.
48mins 10s: What do you see on the business horizon? It’s a great business community. It’s relatively easy to get to know a lot of people fairly quickly. You don’t need to be in a city to have a really good business.
49mins 41s: Who would be your typical clients? An owner managed business Up to 50 people but as small as 1 person.
52mins 45s: What would your rivals say? My competitors would say they can train people in a day and that we take too long.
54mins 19s: What was the most influential moment? The end of Bristol City, opened me to the world of psychology and to develop great people. Sales is the life blood.
56mins 16s: Americans get sales and marketing. Sandler is originally American. What do they do well? It’s about scripts again, they embrace selling. They don’t have to unpick the scripts when they’re older. Sales isn’t dirty.
59mins 16s: For a growing business struggling with sales, what do you suggest? Don’t dive in and try to fix the problem too quickly. Ask yourself “do I know why I struggle?” Look at the underlying problem, work on the right end of the problem, don’t have unrealistic expectations and commit to it.
1 h 1mins 19s: Some people struggle because they don’t believe that what they’re selling is any good. They have no belief or perception of belief in themselves.