Saturday, 21 April 2012

SMEs Sales Masterclass with Islington's Entrepreneurs Cobden's successors

On the morning of Friday 20th April, I found myself at Mornington Crescent Tube station on my way to run a workshop for the Islington Chamber of Commerce at the co-working space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers the Metro Lab in Crowndale Road .

Opposite the tube station is a statue to one Robert Cobden ( 1804- 1865) who is probably best remembered as a campaigning politician associated the repeal of the infamous Corn laws.
Richard Cobden  ( 1804-1865)

Pedestal of the Cobden statue

Cobden in his early life was as an entrepreneur.
By fifteen years old he was a salesman (commercial traveller) in the cotton trade. By 1828 he had formed a partnership with two other young men to start a company selling calico prints in London.
The business was an immediate success. By 1842 Cobden and his partners had turned an original £1,000 investment into £80,000.
Following his experiences of travel across Europe and North Africa he published a book in 1835 . In it he warned that in the future Britain would find it difficult to compete with the emerging economic power of America. Cobden's book also advocated a policy of free trade, low taxation, reduced military spending and an improvement in our system of education.
Uncanny how so many of those types of  issues of two hundred years ago are still with us!
What has all this to do with Selling?

Walking down Crowndale Road towards Metro lab, I wondered what 21st century ‘Cobdens’ I might meet at the  Islington Chamber of Commerce event.

In our group at the Metro lab were entrepreneurs from the tutoring world, handmade natural body care remedies, party organising, bridal shop, a tax and accounts specialist, owner of a children’s educational toys and books business, two of ' interns' from the Islington Chamber on secondment from their business studies courses at London Metropolitan University plus a couple of colleagues form the TACK International , Colin Hurst and Iqbal Kanji.

The title of the session was "Managing Sales for small businesses" .Using the data from the Buyers’ views of Suppliers survey we had a lively interactive morning from 9 .30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m..
Debbie and Julia completing a survey on social Media in the Sales Process

Iqbal Kanji, TACK International operates the command master pebble ( white pebble)
for the response poll.

Using the Pebble voting system we gathered views on Sales strategy with regards to protecting existing Customer business, expanding sales through growth of existing Customer base and vitally the developing of new business.

We have been using Interactive Education's Pebble response system for a while now.

We find it helps to engage, motivate and empower each delegate immediately in a session. This is particularly important when, as in the case of  this ‘taster session’, we have just 3 hours from start to finish to get the work done.

The introduction of the system early on also works  as an excellent ice-breaker.

From a trainer’s point of view the Pebble system quickly confirms delegate understanding of key concepts  and helps create instant interactive learning atmosphere  in an enjoyable environment.

 Iqbal and I  were able to gather  opinions and present the results instantly and this all promotes group discussion and delegate engagement.

The more we work with the system the more we will leverage the data captured to both analyse and report on the information it renders.
Through a survey using Pebble's Genee World Classcomm software our group considered the various pricing strategies relevant to their businesses  and the impact and use of social media at both the strategic and tactical application levels

Julia and Inessa with Richard listening in on the discussions
Alana raises a point on how the 'long tail' has changed
so many business models and Anthony listens in
Key points of the " Managing Sales" agenda covered:-
  1. How to sell to your customers the way they like to buy
  2. What customers like and dislike about sales people
  3. The importance (or not) of price in the final decision
  4. How to build and retain customer loyalty
  5. What part can social media play in B2B markets?
  6. What makes an effective Salesperson ?
The Group in discussion on how trust is earned and
 loyalty developed in managing sales

Back from break time ( left to right) Adriana (Islington Chamber of Commerce
 and London Metropolitan University), Alana, Anthony (resuming his seat),
Sophie( Islington Chamber / London Metropolitan University)  and Hugh Alford TACK International

(Back row standing left to right delegates) Debbie, Julia, Inessa,
Iqbal, Hugh  Alford (Speaker-Tack International), Colin
seated right to left  Richard, Jacalyn, Adriana, Alana ,Anthony
and Sophie at  Islington Chamber of Commerce's
" SMEs Sales Masterclass"  April 20th 2012
held at the Metro Lab,

Leaving the Metro Lab I returned to Mornington Crescent tube station. It was lunchtime so I popped into No 1 Camden High Street The Lyttleton Arms opposite the tube station and had a great pint of Purity Brewing's UPU beer.

Supping my pint I looked out of the window towards the Cobden statue and pondered on a quote of his - still pertinent on Friday April 20th 2012- and beyond.

"The progress of freedom depends more upon the maintenance of peace, the spread of commerce, and the diffusion of education, than upon the labours of cabinets and foreign offices."

 Richard Cobden 1804-1865

Related links

Croydon Chamber of Commerce - managing sales

Metrolab Ltd

Metrolab is a co-working space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers. We provide support for individuals and business and a physical space for permanent residents and drop-in members. Our services range from:- Call Answering, Service/Registered Business Address, Mailing Address, Mail Forwarding, Personal Assistance Services, Desk space, Event/Conference Room Hire, Private Office Hire, Training & Courses, Document services, Accountancy services.

The British Chambers of Commerce - are the ultimate business network- and have for over 150 years been promoting British Business. Their mission is to make the chamber network an essential part of growing business; they do do this by sharing opportunities, knowledge and expertise.

Islington Chamber of Commerce is one of 52 accredited chambers across the country representing over 100.000 business across the country

1 comment:

  1. Really awesome article for small business.Thanks for sharing this article with us.