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December 2006

Vol 1  Issue 7    


Welcome to Markets View, the newsletter from Young Markets. As 2006 draws to an end I would like to thank everyone who participated in, or booked people on to, our training courses during the year. 2006 proved to be a very good year for Young Markets and we are looking forward to an exceptional 2007.

In this issue, we raise the old chestnut "Are Salespeople Born or Bred?" with an article by Shaz Quereshi, our resident sales trainer. We also look at the importance of graphics in your business presentation. Finally, there is a special offer for anyone booking a place on our "Close More Sales!" courses in January or February.

While it may be a little early, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Christmas, and I hope that Santa brings you everything that you deserve.

Please feel free to forward this on to your friends and colleagues.  If you have received this second hand and would like your own personal copy of future issues, please subscribe here.

If you prefer to see the nicely laid out Web version click here.

Upcoming Courses

At long last the new training course conspectus and calendar is now available, with dates and locations of our public courses for the first half of 2007. You can view or download the pdf version here or if you would prefer me to email you a copy, please just reply to this email and ask for the calendar.

There is just one course left to run this year, Effective Business Presentations,  in Oxford on 13th December. You can book on-line or by calling 01276 502257.

The cost of courses will be rising in the New Year to £265 (excl VAT) per delegate, due to increases in the accommodation costs, which we have been absorbing for the last few months. But don't worry if you have already booked a place or if you book any places on next year's courses before 4th January 2007, we will hold the price at 2006 levels. That's a £20 saving per delegate.

January's courses include:

  •         Effective Presentation Skills in Reading on Wed 10th January

  •         Close More Sales!   in  Reading on Tues 16th January 

  •         Effective Presentation Skills in Basingstoke on Wed 24th January

For more information and to book click here.

Are Salespeople Born or Bred?

Shaz Quereshi of SOCA Management Consultants says that they are a product of their environment, experience and training; they have to be both born and bred.

The sales profession still remains one of few where people need to be competent (not just aware) in multiple skill sets, some of which we’re born with and others that we have to acquire. But there’s little help available for managers to test sales professionals. How do we select people who will turn out to be top performers? Most managers have different opinions on what are essential sales skills and few can agree on what is truly important.

We know that the market pays handsomely for successful salespeople, which proves the value of sales skills. So why is it so difficult to define and measure these? We are not even aware of any universities awarding degrees in sales, which adds to the lack of definition of sales disciplines. We have come a long way during the last 30 years or so in psychometric profiling to identify and measure personality traits but as a sales manager I’m interested in how well my staff know the sales cycle, how good they are at closing, their ability to forecast accurately and whether they can build a sales pipeline that delivers what it promises. Naturally I want my people to be competent in all those skills but weaknesses (or worse still being unaware of the weaknesses) often work against people’s strengths and makes them average performers.

At a simple level, we believe that successful salespeople are confident, likeable and knowledgeable (we call it the CLK model – as we think it’s the best way of salespeople driving one). But having only two out of these three attributes will lead to failure. The need for rounded skills has never been more acute. Today’s salespeople need to understand their products, charm their customers without taking them to lunch and above all make customers believe in them.

It’s about having competence in both selling and salesmanship. There is a critical difference between the two: selling is science-based, where people mainly use technical and managerial skills, while salesmanship is more like art, where personality and behaviour are blended, based on an individual’s knowledge and experience. Like art though, different things work for different people. Consequently the key to sales success is to possess significant strengths in both. Whether you are employing or training people, as a manager you need to understand their ability in all the skills that make up selling and salesmanship to reduce the risk of failure.

Shaz has been working with sales professionals for over 20 years and coached hundreds of account managers in the hi-tech industry. In his opinion, the major difference in people who make sales target year on year is that they not only understand their strengths and limitations but have found ways to prevent their weaknesses getting in their way. But how does one pinpoint these? The key is objective measurement of the critical skills and coupling that with a reliable and easy to understand report.

Today’s sales profiling tools only go part of the way to doing this and are mainly salesmanship based without really testing the selling skills. As a consequence key skills, such as the " ability to resource" , are often left unchecked. We believe that people need competence in technical, managerial, personality and behavioural skills – so   we breakdown these categories into their most significant skills and measure each of them with equal weighting. We have found that salespeople who have the most rounded ability across the spectrum are more successful than people who have more highs and lows. But having weaknesses is not the problem, it’s being unaware of them or ignoring them that leads to failure.

The SOCA Score is designed to give sales managers greater insight into their staff’s abilities and helps them in hiring and retaining successful people. The SOCA (Sales Online Competency Assessment) test was developed with support from Kredo, a consultancy with expertise in designing competency frameworks. We use 140 statements to test competency in 35 critical skill sets. Candidates are shown a series of statements and asked to indicate how strongly they either agree or disagree with each one. The test is conducted online, takes about 30 minutes and provides results immediately. Our clients have been impressed with the accuracy of the results and we believe that at last sales managers and recruiters have a reliable template for measuring and understanding people’s skills and potential.

Shaz Quereshi is MD of SOCA Management Consultants and lecturer on all our " Close More Sales!" courses.  See or call 01923 842200 to contact Shaz. This article has previously been  published in Salesforce magazine and Winning Edge, the magazine of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management.

Our "Close More Sales!" course provides a valuable insight into both the science of selling and the art of salesmanship, see below for a special offer.

A to Z of Effective Presentations

In previous newsletters, which you can access here, I have covered A to F , so now it is the letter " G"

G is for Graphics

‘Death by PowerPoint’ is a well known phrase these days, but is it really PowerPoint’s fault?  While after dinner speakers rarely use PowerPoint nor comedians or entertainers that does not mean that any presentation that uses PowerPoint or similar presentation software is at a disadvantage. 

Personally, I believe Effective Business Presentations can be made even better by the right use of PowerPoint.  Surveys have shown that audiences remember up to 40% more if they have seen it as well as hearing it.

The trap many presenters fall into is using PowerPoint to build their presentation in the first place.  This makes the slides more like speakers notes than visual aids.

PowerPoint slides should be "visual aids", doing exactly what it says on the tin. That is being both visual (rather than textual) and help to convey the message and make it more memorable. This medium is ideal for showing graphs, charts and images, which elucidate, compliment and reinforce your message.

Instead of a bullet saying the company was formed in 1969, why not have an iconic picture of something that happen the year the company started, in this instance, the first moon landing. The image of a light bulb as a balloon in the above example would allow the speaker to talk about floating new ideas, not just how to brighten up peoples lives by think through the five key components of a presentation.

Once you have worked out what you are going to say and even written out your cue cards, that is the time to start thinking about using PowerPoint or a similar tool to create your visual aids.  Think about what imagery you could have to illustrate each point. If you can't find a substitute for the bullet points, even this type of  text can be transformed by embedding the text into conceptual block diagrams. For example:


Instead of:


why not have:


Or instead of:


how about:

Animation can be used to make each element appear as you start to talk about it, to stop the audience from getting ahead of the speaker and build to the final slide.

People remember more if they see and hear it.  Spending time creating appropriate visual images that compliment your words is invariable worth the effort.

Special Offer

Every person who books a place on our "Close More Sales!" courses taking place in January or February 2007 will be entitled to a complimentary SOCAscore assessment of their competence at selling. Normally, these tests cost £25 each and provide a comprehensive measure of both your sales and salesmanship skills.

Why not take the test first, simply go to and follow the on screen instructions. When you book on the course just let us know that you took the test and we will reduce the fee by the amount you spent on the test. We are confident that the test and the training course will equip you better to tackle next year’s sales targets. In fact, let’s call it an early Christmas present from us to you!


Improve your presentations

I hope you have found this newsletter useful and interesting. You can learn a lot more about how to structure and give an Effective Business Presentation, by attending a Young Markets Effective Presentations Skills training course (see above), or from my ebook " The A to Z of Effective Business Presentations" which you can download from my website  ( today, for only $15  or  £8.75 .

Please feel free to forward this on to your friends and colleagues.  If you have received this second hand and would like your own personal copy of future issues, please subscribe here.

I hope you have found this issue of Markets View interesting and informative.

Effective Business Communication 

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