16 Winning Edge
When the going
gets tough…
The importance of resilience in tough times emerged as a key theme
during an em...
Winning Edge 17
National Sales
Exhibition 2015
Now in its fifth year, the
exhibition proved the
ideal place for
of 2

National Sales Conference 2015: Show Report

8th October 2015, Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Business      

Transcripts - National Sales Conference 2015: Show Report

  • 1. 16 Winning Edge When the going gets tough… The importance of resilience in tough times emerged as a key theme during an emotional and action-packed day at the National Sales Conference 2015. Tom Nash reports H undreds of delegates packed into Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on 8 October for National Sales Conference 2015, supported by the ISMM. Steve Lindsey, managing director of event organiser Lincoln West, kicked off the proceedings, welcoming delegates and thanking the headline sponsors, Actimizer and New Voice Media. Lindsey then gave way to Sean Brickell, host for a day that was to prove inspirational – full of new ideas, practical solutions, networking opportunities and entertainment – and, above all, brimming with emotion. Most moving was a memorable speech by John McCarthy, the British journalist captured in civil war-torn Beirut in 1986 and held hostage for over five years. At first, one could be forgiven for thinking that McCarthy’s experience, though dreadful, could have little to tell us about professional selling. But this turned out to be very far from the case. McCarthy’s interminable, often brutal captivity told us everything we could ever wish to know about the importance of personal resilience when times get tough. For him to survive – as for salespeople to succeed – resilience was founded on a mix of practical skills, personal relationships and an indomitable, never say die spirit. Even when McCarthy suffered “grinding moments of hopelessness”, he found ways to cope with his day-to-day ordeal, using his imagination to picture the world beyond his dark cell, bonding with his fellow hostages, and retaining his humour and humanity. “No matter how tough it gets, there’s always a reason to keep going, a way of achieving it, and people who can help you,” he said. Finally, after 1,943 days, he was released to a hero’s welcome home, a moment so cathartic that, even in the retelling so many years later, it left many delegates close to tears. Other speakers faced a tough task to match McCarthy’s dramatic story and yet, in different ways, they all built upon his theme of triumph over adversity. The famous rock Workshop wisdom During breaks in the conference, delegates had the opportunity to attend superb breakout sessions run by: Rob Brown on networking mastery (above); David Joel on leadership and motivation; and Samantha North and Patrick Joiner, with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), on a TACK International study into buyers’view of salespeople. “No matter how tough it gets, there’s always a reason to keep going, a way of achieving” ismm.co.uk
  • 2. Winning Edge 17 National Sales Exhibition 2015 Now in its fifth year, the exhibition proved the ideal place for businesses to market their products and services to one of the UK’s largest gatherings of sales professionals. Delegates were able to mingle freely with conference speakers at the event, as well as tapping into the knowledge and expertise of a host of other sales specialists. Lincoln West’s Steve Lindsey paid tribute to the many excellent exhibitors.“Without their commitment to professional selling we would not have been able to put on such a popular event. We hope all delegates will take the time to look at the fantastic propositions these businesses provide,”he said. Save the date Next year’s National Sales Conference and Exhibition take place on 6 October 2016. Early booking discounts for delegates and exhibitors apply until 17 December www.sales-expo.co.uk musician Midge Ure explained two seemingly impossible challenges: first, how he rose from a modest, working class background in Glasgow – where he was often discouraged from pursuing his interest in music – to become a global superstar; second, how he helped galvanise the pop world and the public into raising millions for the victims of famine in Ethiopia, through the phenomena that became Band Aid and later Live Aid. “All the doubters who said it can’t be done were wrong,” he said. “Never take ‘no’ for an answer. With passion, determination and focus you can achieve anything.” Several other speakers addressed the attitude and skills needed to succeed against the odds. Richard Newman focused on the value of interpersonal skills and, specifically, how adopting the right body language can make all the difference when it comes to building productive relationships. Newman, who is the official specialist on business communication at the London Business School, used examples of US presidential candidates to show delegates how they could increase their personal presence. His high- energy presentation involved plenty of audience participation as we learned the importance of both knowing what to say, but also how to say it, so as to avoid being “all sausage and no sizzle”. Nigel Mackay explained how best to equip your sales team with the right competencies to succeed. The answer, he said, is to embark on a “training needs analysis journey”, something Mackay himself has done with great success as a consultant at sales trainer Mercuri International and, as “poacher turned gamekeeper”, at payment company Worldpay, a former client that is now his employer. Mackay showed how a training needs analysis could assess three key competencies – skills, knowledge and attitude – identifying gaps that could then be addressed through appropriate personal and professional development. “The result will be a massive value boost to your sales,” he said. Tongue-in-cheek “business guru” Geoff Burch brought the all-important ingredient of humour to the Ricoh. His hilarious observations and anecdotes, compiled over his many years as “the Hell’s Angel of management consultancy” (as he has been described by the Sunday Times), had the audience in stitches. But there were some serious nuggets of advice from him too, such as the importance of instilling a strong customer service ethic among all staff, not just frontline salespeople. “You need your people pitching, not bitching,” he declared. Geoff Ramm also had some pithy advice on the importance of customer service – and, indeed, “celebrity service”. He asked delegates, “What would you do if a celebrity customer walked in to your business? Would you do anything differently?” You certainly ought to, he maintained, “But many businesses fail to provide the quality of service they are capable of. Ask yourself what more you can do”. The day was brought to a rousing finale by dynamic motivational speaker Gavin Ingham, whose mantra is “Be more, do more, sell more.” Echoing previous speakers, Ingham urged delegates, “No matter what happens to you in life, it’s up to you what you make of it. But be honest about your skills, attitudes and results. Too many people lack critical honesty. Are you really authentic? Do you network properly? Do you take control of your life? And do you treat every customer as if they were a celebrity?” Ingham concluded, “Most of you have great skills and experience, so the real question is, do you exercise these skills and use your experience all the time? To put it bluntly, do you turn up?” There was no doubt that most delegates were glad to have turned up at National Sales Conference 2015. Powerful, moving presentations were made by John McCarthy (left) and Midge Ure (above), while Geoff Burch (top left) added a liberal dose of humour ismm.co.uk

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