Thursday, 23 June 2011

Selling to the NHS- How Sales Champions keep improving their skills

Sporting champions and Champions in Selling have been much on my mind this week .

Rory Mcilroy's fantastic victory in the U.S. Open over last weekend and the first week of Wimbledon Tennis Championships fortnight got me into Champion mindset mode.

Just in the last two days I have had the privilege to work with a great group of sales champions from Dansac UK.
I met a young lady ( quite possible a sales champion of the future from Romania who was both nervous and excited about attending her very first sales course within the renowned Marriott Group in London.
Lastly I had a inspiring conversation with a Birmingham Cab driver whose courteous but focused hunger for increasing his corporate business with his executive car company uplifted me -even though by all rights I should have exhausted after a running a very intensive programme.

I was so inspired by the fantastic result of Rory Mcilroy at the US Open, What fantastic mental toughness that young star has. After his disastrous capitulation just a few weeks before at the Masters where an overnight lead of four stokes on the last day of the Masters disappeared he just learnt from his mistakes and moved on. He is a super example for professional salespeople to emulate in their striving to be champions of the Selling greens.

(Signage for DHL's Corporate Golf Day at the Marriott Forest of Arden Country Club and Hotel)

We all need our heroes and its nice to adopt new heroes as well.

Much of the real sales life is working a process which can become a set on unconscious routines which if we are not careful makes us become a bit stale and we can lose our sparkle.

Reading autobiographies of sporting stars can inspire us. The stories of the likes of Andre Agassi in tennis, Bobby Charlton in Soccer, Lance Armstrong in Cycling show us what focus and hard work and particularly how to tackle the disappointments and failures on the way to becoming a champion.

I have just come back from a great trip up in the Midlands at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel. I have not been to the hotel for a few years .

From a trainer’s view point Marriott are top draw and top dollar. Comfortable bedrooms , great dining and they understand what trainers need in terms of support and decent sized rooms. The Forest of Arden is a beautiful setting. The lush greenery of the Aylesford and Arden Courses with attendant ducks and deer make for a superb setting.

. Whilst I was there were two Corporate Golf Days. One day was for the Courier and logistics Specialists DHL and the other for Comet that was a combined fundraiser for Cancer Research campaign.

Despite the numbers on the corporate golf days, the group I was working with, DANSAC, was well looked after by the Marriott Team despite all the other guests.

( Tee No. 1 of both the Arden and Aylesford courses)

We did not have time for Golf but we still had a lot of fun refreshing our professional selling skills. Dansac are market leaders in top quality ileostomy products offering products not only of the highest quality from a clinical perspective but also in designing a product for ostomists that is comfortable and discreet.

Selling anything into the NHS is particularly challenging for suppliers and procurement at the moment as a result of Government Cutbacks and increased drive for value for money. Both Acute services and NHS Trusts have to strive for cost savings targets arising from the Public Accounts Committee ( PAC) on the procurement of consumables of 10% of their consumables expenditure, by amalgamating small orders into larger, less frequent ones, rationalising and standardising product choices and striking committed volume deals across multiple trusts.

So the Dansac Sales team and I were working on revising and refreshing the offers of their differentiated value proposition in this very individual market sector.

We set about examining ways to keep the conversations with the NHS business directed.
We set about understanding how champions maintain the winning mentality. The recent success of McIlroy acted as a great catalyst. We developed a deeper appreciation of which skill sets needed refreshing both from an individual and team standpoint.We examined and developed how to keep the Dansac story fresh for both ourselves and clinical and procurement sectors within the NHS.We considered how we should be support clients within the NHS in this period of change.

(Jill explains how she goes about dealing with a particularly challenging objection.)

( The team take note and Listen to Jill's wise words and advice)

We used a number of ways of learning from visualisation, metaphor and creative thinking to fundamental marketing strategy, brand extension and management to business development and sales skills appropriate to the special needs of the public sector and particularly the NHS.

This was an intensive skills workshop for an experienced sales team. They were up for plenty of stretching both mentally and physically.

(Hands on training- preparing for the mini- role plays)

So far as the detail of what we covered, debated and 'strategised' clearly industrial confidentiality requires me to give readers of this blog no detail.

Only to say the Dansac team have been sharpening their selling tools which will give their competition something to think about!

(Team Dansac UK - even Aleksandr Orlov( Meerkat to the stars gets in on the act as well!))

The Dansac team have a great open hearted enthusiasm for their business. They worked hard and played hard. We learned together in creative ways and had a lot of fun doing it. - as you can see-

(Leo and Debbie in full skill practice flow sharing particular business challenges)

A number of members of the Dansac team had travelled some distances to take part in this Sales Refresher Workshop. One had just come back from a European Trade /Clinical Conference in Bologna Italy another came down from Dundee, Scotland to join the team colleagues. Some have serve in the industry nearly 20 years others had been just four weeks with Dansac so the totality of Sales wisdom in the room was immense.
( Mr Appeal posing for a photograph!)
Other realted links

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