What will a sales trainer like you do for someone like me?

Stop you making the mistakes still made by 95% of all sellers; the ‘also rans’ .

Start you making your first £million by becoming one of the 5% who know what really sells.

(And start you getting very rich indeed)

(FREE) The 8 key steps in selling….and how to do them properly for once:

  • Your customer learns about your product or service through this Directory or through prior experience or even by word of mouth.

The ‘also-ran’ 95% ….react by immediately launching into their one-size-fits-all presentation or demo and give away too much irrelevant information. They show lots of features their product without showing how those features could solve a problem for this customer. They do all this within a few minutes of their first meeting. They are then surprised when the customer quickly asks about the price.

The TOP 5% … Ask a lot of pre-planned questions about problems they know they can fix. The customer enjoys this as it develops a two way conversation rather than a one way pitch. These ‘top 5%’ never start with a presentation and probably don’t give one at all at the first meeting. When they finally ‘present’ their ideas they do it with panache, showmanship  and humour.


  • Your customer evaluates whether your recommended solution meets their needs

The ‘also ran’ 95%…react by pitching the company range whether the customer has asked about it or not.  They can’t wait to give answers and talk about solutions.

The TOP 5%….Ask about the knock-on effect of problems (ones they know they can fix) in the current situation if these problems are allowed to persist. (These ‘knock on effect’ questions are very powerful and persuasive and are always planned by top sellers in advance.) They show great insight from customer point of view.


  • Your customer prepares a request to their financial management.

The ‘also ran’ 95%…react by offering brochures and canned ‘boiler plate’ documentation and presentations to justify any price or cost issues. They quickly offer discounts in an effort to secure the business.

The TOP 5%   …Work with the customer and rehearse them in the best ways to present their price justification.


  • Senior management send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ) to your competitors (just for comparison and to keep you honest!! )

The ‘also ran’ 95%…..Wait for end users to make requests for content of the RFP/RFQ. Are paralysed with fear and believe they can do nothing. They often offer even more discounts.

The TOP 5%…Visit relevant customer departments in an effort to influence the RFP/RFQ content and focus it on their own particular Unique Selling Points which the customer has said it needs.


  • Customer’s ‘buying committee’ (or similar) interviews vendors (you and others) to screen for specification match to requirements  etc

The ‘also ran’ 95% …Show their usual canned demo again…oblivious to customer need to see specific relevant solution now. (I once saw a drinks transport company proudly showing their new Red Bull canned drink transport commercial to a potential fine wine customer. They lost it immediately and couldn’t understand why!)

The TOP 5% ….. Give focused presentation which deal specifically with problems and issues this client has said they need to fix. There is nothing superfluous.



  • Committee gives short-list approval to (usually) two vendors and requests final meeting/presentation

The ‘also ran’ 95% …Sell well only when they have a price advantage. Unable to differentiate themselves from low cost alternatives.

The TOP 5% … Show importance of unique features sought and stated by client which differentiate their higher priced offering from lower priced alternatives.



  • Customer is ready to sign contract but has final concerns which need clarifying (Liability, performance guarantees, contract length etc)

The ‘also ran’ 95%… Try to ignore difficult concerns or pretend they don’t exist. Say ‘Trust me’ when client has doubts.


The TOP 5%…Draw out customer concerns and help resolve them.  Introduce customer to existing satisfied clients. Acknowledge shortcomings but emphasise the importance of the unique things you can do for the client which client has said are really important.


  • Follow up after contract signed

The ‘also ran’ 95%…Give good support but no further attempt to promote other services. (They forget it is 80% easier [and 80% less expensive]  to get more business from an existing happy customer than it is to go out and find a new one)

The TOP 5%… Give good support but also use as an opportunity to sell more to other departments and end users.

Simple? You bet! But most sellers just don’t do it. So I get paid anything between £2500 to £25,000 a day to show my clients how….but you’re getting it for FREE. The trick, you see, is knowing precisely what you have to do at each step to make it work for you.

Give me a call…I will show you how to make a million or more too…..just like me.

(Or you can carry on doing it your way …..and not.)


Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]



8 ways to shove your customers away

The biggest driver of customer loyalty is not after all the things you may think like ‘value for money’, ‘customer service’, ‘ range of choices’ and so on. No…in fact it is the speed, effort and willingness with which you handle customer complaints.

In fact it so important a factor that any customer who has had a problem with your business which you have fixed to their entire satisfaction is almost always more loyal than a customer who has never had a problem.

An academic study by the Customer Contact Council has found that customer loyalty isn’t created by delighting the customer with your general service levels. Your customer’s loyalty is based on how little effort they have to put in to getting their complaint or dissatisfaction dealt with satisfactorily.

The Council has devised something they call the Customer Effort Score which has a 1-5 scale when this question is asked of customers: “ How much personal effort did you have to put in to get your request satisfied?”

Even a small reduction in effort is translated into a much greater increase in loyalty and by default ‘revenue’. On the other side an increase in ‘effort required’ has a 4 times greater ‘negative’ effect. Customers who have to put in a high amount of effort are 61% less likely to purchase again compared with your ‘average’ customer.

Right now I am waiting for the gardening company, who keep my garden in check on a fortnightly basis, to resolve two simple queries. They are easy fixes on work carried out (or not) in this case. The owner of the company could say (after 10 years of a satisfactory –customer delight- relationship and lost of my money): ”Look I don’t know who’s right or wrong here but why don’t we just forget about the disputed charges and carry on as before?”

I would be perfectly happy with that. And would tell my next door neighbour how happy I was.

But In fact the issue has now been dragging on for three weeks while they ‘look into’ my complaints. I have made several ‘chasing’ phone calls to them. I am still expending a great deal of effort with no conclusion in sight. I am not happy. If it doesn’t get resolved I will cancel their contract and go with a competitor. They will lose a loyal 10 year customer and all that future revenue. I will get a new gardener.

So, do you run a business (gardening or otherwise)? Do you know your CES score?

8 ways to upset your customers,,,,,

  1. It takes too long to fix a problem
  2. Promises are broken
  3. Being treated in an offhand manner by someone who wants to prove they’re ‘right’
  4. Being transferred from department to department.
  5. Having to chase the company
  6. Being held in uninformed suspension for days
  7. Being asked for more business when this problem is still unresolved.
  8. Finding the ‘Support’ facility on or off the website completely inadequate


And the single easy way to make them come back for more:

Next time a customer raises a query or complaint, who ever’s ‘fault’ you think it is, try saying this:

“I’m so sorry to hear that Mr Customer. What can I do to put things right immediately?”

Then just do it. You’ll be amazed at the resulting hapiness and loyalty. Remember…you’re not there to prove you’re ‘right’…you’re there to do more business.

It is 80% easier and less expensive to get more business from an existing happy customer than to go out and find a single new one.

Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]



How you really decide

As the new UK PM Theresa May travels between EU leaders to ‘negotiate’ Brexit …the speed of Article 50 implementation….and all the other ‘exit’ details, she and the people she has to speak to  will have to make a lot of decisions. So it is interesting to remind ourselves of the truth behind complex human decision making: What should I do about this? : What is she thinking?  What do I want? Why do I want it? ……………………………How do we really ‘decide’?

Rational thought? …actually its largely an illusion

On the surface there is the official, written down, formal decision making process.. “Give us the all facts and we’ll decide!” The imagined process is that a draft proposal on some topic or other is arrived after initial discussions between relatively junior people on the opposing teams. This is made into some sort of hardcopy document which is then presented to ‘the next level up’ in the organisation. These middle management ‘officials’ then consider the proposal and send it back for tweaking after which it is resubmitted and ,if OK, passed to the next level up in the hierarchy and so on upwards and upwards until it reaches the boss.

If all is OK the boss will then sign it……..or if not he/she will send it back down the formal chain for further tweaking. And so it goes on backwards and forwards until everybody is happy. When that happens the boss will finally sign it and the decision will have been made.

That at least is the theory.

The reality (The neuro science) is quite different: facts are (in fact), very rarely , the basis for making decisions.  In fact the more valid reasons (or arguments) you use to try to persuade the other side about the reasonableness of your proposal the LESS likely you are to persuade them. This is because (Psychologists tell us) a weak argument always dilutes a strong one.

So the first rule to apply when trying to get someone to ‘decide’ in your favour is to concentrate on preferably just one strong argument. If you feel you must add something else to justify your proposal you may expand that to two strong reasons. And maybe…only maybe….if you’re really experienced just possibly three strong reasons…………BUT THAT’s IT!  Because facts are not very persuasive.

And once you have decided on the strong argument you will use, then look for the emotional triggers you can build your arguments around.

New research over the past decade shows that just about all (ALL) human decisions are driven not by facts but by EMOTIONS.  We make most of our decisions on the basis of likeability, feelings, friendships, familiarity, passion, desire. Very few important decisions are fact or ‘evidence or fact  based’. Even in a court of law good looking criminals get away with serious crimes because people (juries) just like the look of them.

And this isn’t new either; reflect on the culture some of the World’s most ancient civilisations in the Middle and Far East …..from Egypt to China.  In this 21st Century, to get natives of any countries in these areas to decide to do business with you, then you must first get them to like you. In order to do this you must first spend a considerable amount of time in their company NOT talking about the business you have in mind or the decisions you would like them to make. Only when they ‘have the measure of you’ and get to know you will they entertain the possibility of being persuaded by you. The informal structure which actually gets things done is always far more important than the ‘formal’ political hierarchy. And it isn’t JUST in these ancient cultures either….it is actually the same across all cultures but we just don’t admit it; Who ever said, “Its not WHAT you know but WHO you know!”  knew his fellow man alright.

So as you watch Prime Minister Theresa May on her charm offensive in these early days of her Prime Ministership see how she is using this knowledge of human persuasion and decision making. First ‘home’ visits (Charity begins at Home) to Scotland, then Wales and Northern Ireland all potential trip-wires in her quest for control. Not laying down the law about the need for a “UNITED KINGDOM!” but just listening and getting to know the senior people in each of these countries….making friends. Then on to Germany and France not starting negotiations just making friends. She knows it is so HARD to say NO to people that you know’ ….people who like you…even if their driving needs appear different from yours.

So if you too want to become a similar expert in the field of persuasive, human, decision-making, just follow these 10 steps: You will be amazed at the impact they will have on your life when dealing with other people:

  • Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
  • Show respect for the other person’s feelings – never say “You’re wrong!”
  • If you’re wrong admit it quickly and emphatically.
  • Let the other person do most of the talking
  • Try honestly to see the situation from the other person’s point of view
  • Be sympathetic to the other person’s ideas and desires
  • Let the other person save face


Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]



Should I start a business now? Ok what business?

As a serial entrepreneur I often get asked by other people: “What business would you suggest I start….right now….in the middle of all this ‘Brexit’ uncertainty?” I could be deliberately difficult and ask “Well what type of business would you love to start?”, as your answer to that question will ultimately determine whether or not you just ‘get by’ or become a multimillionaire. But to keep it simple (and quick) let me give you the bare bones together with a real business idea you can have for FREE even though it could make you millions!

First of all most successful businesses started life in the Complaints Department. Any area of human existence in which you may have heard someone else remark; “This is dreadful….why doesn’t somebody…………?” or “Why isn’t there a shop around here which……?”  or “Why can’t I find on the internet a reliable service which…………………….?” Or “Why isn’t there a ………………….locally?”, …………..is potentially a great business for YOU to start.

What you don’t do (unless you secretly want to fail) is say to yourself,  ‘I am a trained software designer I will start a business designing software’  or ‘I am a trained accountant I will set up my own accountancy practice’ …Then spend a fortune renting an office, buying all the desks, chairs telephones, computers then sit back and wait for your client base to find you. It will not happen and you are likely to run out of money and fail fast.

The reason is that most (i.e. 90%) of successful businesses are successful simply because they solve a particular problem.

So take three initial steps: 1) Start with writing down the problem you aim to solve first with your business. 2) Then research the physical area in which you think there is a shortage of solutions for that problem. 3) Then test the market as cheaply as possible to see if anyone actually wants (and would pay for) a solution to that problem. If you discover they would then it is probably safe to say you have a solid business idea.

I watched a young friend of mine do just this when she left University with a degree in finance and economics. She couldn’t find a job and had very little money. She had an idea that in her relatively poor area of North London there were many one-man-band business owners (window cleaners, plumbers, decorators, electricians etc) People who were good at their jobs but hopeless with keeping their books, doing their accounts and paying the tax man; and they had a problem that couldn’t afford a conventional accountant. So she advertised her small business book-keeping service in every free place she could …mostly the FREE noticeboards in supermarkets.

That was 10 years ago. The response was so strong to her free advertising and built up so fast that she now franchises the business throughout the UK and has become very wealthy. And it all started because she identified a real problem that needed a solution. Anyone could have done it….but nobody had…….so this is the niche which she now fills.

In the city area in which I now live, it is difficult (i.e. a problem) to find (reliable!) decorators, gardeners, window cleaners, cleaners, odd-job men (or women) dentists, child minders, auto body repairers and so on and so on.

I recently had to find someone to fix some water damage in my kitchen. I eventually found an emergency ‘ handy man’ service advertising in my local Sainsburys…£50 per hour callout charge! But I was stuck and had to use him. He completed the job beautifully and when he had finished I asked him if there was much call for a handyman service in my part of town. He told me the market was enormous and that he had recently taken on two assistants. (Even in these uncertain post Brexit times) But the truly amazing thing was his added comment. Because he told me that 90% of the work they were asked to do was: ‘putting up pictures’. With all such business ideas it is not necessary for you to actually DO the work; you just have to find people who CAN and then promote and manage the business. So why don’t you try either of these ideas outlined above in the UK area YOU live in?

It need only take a small FREE card advertising the service (i.e. the problem you solve) in all your local Supermarkets. If they (potential customers) start biting you may have a business….If not it has cost you nothing and you can think of something else.

And IS this the right time?  Well just remember this last point……over the last century thousands of business people have become millionaires by starting businesses during difficult financial times…..just like these. When everyone else was sitting on their hands in a ‘wait and see’ mode they just got on and started.

So what’s stopping you?


Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]



America probably worse than you thought ….Maybe better than you imagined

I’ve just returned from a business trip to New York. I lived there for nearly seven years in the 1990’s.

It is a great place to do business if you can provide what they need (in my case top class sales training). But many of the things you may think you know about NY (or the USA in general) are not true) here’s the three top truths.

  • You need money to live or be in USA; lots of it…there are no Social Security type ‘safety nets’ as ,we know them in UK.  Everything [apart from gasoline (petrol), cars and property outside the main cities] tends to be more (a lot more) expensive: electricity (especially in the summer when air conditioning is a must), gas, food, corporation tax, health care, are all very much more expensive in USA. So make sure that if you quote for business over there you put a handsome mark up on your normal UK price….they expect to have to pay a lot for stuff from Europe. (x 10 isn’t out of the question)
  • Watching the 1990’s sitcom ‘Friends’ you might be forgiven for thinking that most ‘20 something’ New Yorkers live in large fashionable apartments each with his or her own bedroom. Alas this is not the case. Most young new Yorkers live in tiny apartments in which they share bedrooms with others not uncommonly in bunk beds. Their job security is tenuous, wages often not high, and they will rarely argue with their boss about anything or propose an alternative way of doing things. Such public displays of ‘disloyalty’ are seen as negative so they knuckle down and do as they’re told. In this way they avoid getting sacked and all that that entails…including loss of any health care insurance…..a major essential benefit. So once you have found and secured a good trading relationship in your own field try to avoid disagreeing with your main contact. They are not used to it and will find your contradictory views quite challenging. Your hard won business relationship is always on a knife edge.
  • Their culture is very very different from ours….despite the almost common language. Most Americans tend to max-out on their credit cards and pay the minimum back each month. They buy most things on credit and have little notion of the word ‘savings’. It is a fact that most Americans would find it difficult to pay an unexpected (£600) $1000 bill in any one month. Only 9% of the 300 million strong American public have Passports so their World view tends to be quite limited. ‘Limited’ that is, compared with anything you’re used to in UK or Europe. Americans are not bad people or stupid people at all…far from it. They have little sense of irony and a very different sense of humour. They believe totally in their own country and are extremely patriotic. It is a fact that just about every American believes that every non American in the World is just waiting to become an American. So be very careful how you express yourself and check and recheck any proposal you write. When speaking remember that (for example) the word ‘fortnight’ doesn’t exist in America. Or casual throw away ‘light’ swear words “That’s bloody good!!” are viewed as totally blasphemous and can bring about a sudden, unexpected attack of ‘no more business’…this is a very very religious country where 80% of the people attend church. Or that the word ‘quite’ (as in “This is quite a good proposal”) means not that it is just OK’ as it would in UK but that it is absolutely brilliant!!  Check your language…check your jokes….and enjoy your business…I always do!


Oh and I nearly forgot….tipping and Yellow cabs. Make sure that you always tip at least 10-15% in restaurants and diners. The waiting staff get very very little in the way of wages from their employers and rely on your tips to build to a living wage. Your failure to ‘tip’ adequately on any occasion will be regarded as an expression of total disgust with both food and service. And Yellow cabs?….This isn’t like ‘over here’ when you hail a Yellow cab. There is no ‘Knowledge’ exam for taxi drivers like there is in London and no requirement even to speak English! So know precisely where it is you’re trying to get to and its location in any town. Just saying the name of the hotel you’re staying in is no good…your driver just won’t know where it is. And PAY the driver BEFORE you get out otherwise he will think you’re aiming to run away without paying. It’s not ‘wrong’…its just totally different from anything you’re used to. Have a nice day!…..I love it!!

Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]