Live interview with Stephen M. Covey today


How do you follow the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People?  Well, Stephen Covey’s son, Stephen M. Covey has followed it with “The SPEED of Trust”.

The lack of this one thing, trust,  could damage your company, your personal reputation, and your relationships.  But can we learn to improve it? restore it when it’s lost?

In his book ‘The SPEED of Trust’ Covey outlines the 5 waves of trust

  1. Self trust – how to improve your credibility with the 4 cores of credibility (integrity, intent, capabilities and results) and how you need all four to be credible.
  2. Relationship trust  – how you can build trust through consistent behaviour (included in the 13 behaviours that are common to high-trust leaders are demonstrate respect, show loyalty, clarify expectations and listen first)
  3. Organisational trust – how leaders can build trust into their structures, systems and symbols of trust
  4. Market Trust – your reputation in the market will determine whether people will buy from you or not
  5. Societal trust based on your contribution to others – to give back rather than take, to create value rather than destroy it.

His book has changed the landscape of how we look at the way we do business, and TODAY, Monday 24th June at 5PM BST Talent Dynamics co-founder Michelle Clarke will be conducting an exclusive interview with Stephen all about how trust drives employee engagement, enables success in the midst of change, and is the greatest leverage for executing your top priorities.

For your chance to put your questions to Stephen and listen in to this live interview, register your place on the call here. Please not there will NOT be a recording of this interview.


How to get results on Day 1

How to get results on Day 1

You’ve just been promoted to Head of Sales and you want to make a good impression and get results fast. How?

As part of the Superhero Sales Manager programme, one of my clients has recently got the promotion he was looking for and now has a sales team to manage for the first time. He asked me what he should do first to make the best impression.  I told him to focus on the 3 most important groups of people.

 1.Your managers

Your Senior manager(s) are going to be judging how well you are doing at the end of the day and the value that you bring to the organisation. So it is worth spending time right at the beginning clarifying expectations and goals.

Not having clarity in your new role can hold back your progress. For example, I’ve had sales managers focused so much on delivering VOLUME of sales that they’ve discounted, given special offers to their customers  so the actual VALUE of the sales and therefore the profit actually dropped rather than increased. Make sure you are focusing on the right measurables and Key Indicators.

Insist on a clear job description, transparent goals, incentives and sales targets. So the company’s expectations of you are clear. Check your understanding of them by asking questions. There is nothing worse than putting your efforts into achieving a goal only to find you have misunderstood it and wasted your time and resources at the end of the quarter or even at the end of the year!

2. Your team

You are not going to deliver any results without your team

Find out what motivates each member of their team (it might not just be money; they may love travelling, working alone or a particular job title).

Speak to each member of the team individually . Find out what suggestions they have for improving sales, customer relations, marketing, etc. Find out what they love most and least about their jobs. This team meets the clients more often than anyone else in the company so getting feedback from the Sales Team is nearly as important as getting it from the clients themselves. At this stage your job is to listen. They will feel good about being listened to and even better if you agree and can do something about it.  It sets the stage for them coming to you with ideas and suggestions in the future.

By really listening you may find that something as simple as having  a kettle and tea/coffee making facilities within the department could boost morale, save time out of the office and improve productivity . You are not going to please everyone all the time but some decisions may be a no-brainer, perhaps no-one has actually listened and actioned it before.

3. Your clients

Use the Pareto Principle (which states that 80% of results come from 20% of effort) – learn where to put your effort. It’s crucial that you look at your most important clients. They are probably bringing in 80% of the sales. Make sure you are aware of who they are and what more can be done for them. Create a plan aimed at improving results from your key clients (encourage your Sales Team to help you in this).

Use the news of your new appointment to connect with your client base as a whole – send an introduction letter stating which products and services you are delighted to be working on, invite them to contact you with any ideas or issues they have about your products or service.  Really make the most of the “new broom sweeping through” idea so you can draw a line under any problems in the past.

This is what I said.  What would you advise?  Is there anything there you could implement now, even if you have been in the job for a while?

If you have any questions about Sales Management, send me an email or post your question on my new Facebook page Superhero Sales Manager and they will be answered every Thursday.


To make the most of your first 7 days as a Sales Manager – download the free Induction Kit “Superhero Sales Manager in 7 days” – fill in the box on the home page.

How to give your exhibition stand presence

How to give your exhibition stand presence.

You’ve seen those exhibitions where smartly suited people are sitting behind their stand talking amongst themselves on their phone so not engaging with anyone.  They will go home thinking the exhibition was a waste of time and money!

Or the stands where the exhibitors have wide smiles and  outstretched arms asking “Can I help you?”  Your obvious answer is “No, thanks” and scuttle on as you don’t know what they do or what to ask for.   They will wonder what they did wrong!

Your average Sales or Marketing Manager will make sure you are present – the stand is booked in a good position, staff are on the rota to cover the opening times, the stand and marketing materials are all present and correct.

The Superhero Sales Manager will make sure your exhibition stand has presence – everyone talking about it, the stand everyone wants to visit, gets press coverage and brings back new leads, new business, new investors and lots of new interest.

So how do Superhero Sales Managers do that:

Here are 3 of the many ways to give your exhibition stand presence: 

1.      Don’t try and sell anything.

2.      Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card

3.      Make your stand an interactive experience


1.      Don’t try and sell anything.

Don’t expect or try to sell anything immediately. You are there to build a relationship first and foremost so spend time engaging with your visitors, finding out more about them. Have some form of short survey to gain valuable market information, have something free to give them that tells them more about you, your services and your products.    Make sure any freebies relate to your products or services. Too many people have something to give away that is just a waste of money as it is not relevant to your business nor is it memorable.

However, make it easy for your visitors to buy should they choose to by having special offers for the exhibition only as some people buy on impulse if you have explained your products and serivces well.  (There is a different mind-set  between selling something and enabling a visitor to buy something and that difference could cost you the sale!)

  • What questions could you use to engage and draw visitors in?
  • If you choose to have a free gift, what does it say about you? And what benefits does it give your visitor?
  • Plan special offers to give on the day.


2.      Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card

Adding new names to your database is a key objective of being at an exhibition but visitors are more reluctant to give away their details these days for fear of being bombarded with irrelevant emails. So you have to make the give-away prize or prize draw something really special.

I have given away Break-through VIP coaching days in a Spa in the past or an experience of being Superman in a wind tunnel, part of my Superhero Sales Manager Challenge programme, anyway.  They are each worth £1000 and my target market are busy Sales managers that either are in need of relaxation or craving new adrenalin rushes!  Relevant prospects are prepared to exchange their business cards for the chance to win either of these.

  • How will you encourage and reward visitors for giving you their contact details?


3.      Make your stand an interactive experience

In order to engage with your visitors, you want them to spend time with you on your stand, so give them something to do while they are there.

Have some kind of game or competition that engages people and gives them a reason to visit your stand, tell others about it, and return for another go later.

I recently helped a fashion retailer plan her stand at a big exhibition.  One of her key selling points was fashionable clothes at a low cost. So the obvious thing to do was to dress a mannequin in a full outfit and have the visitors guess the price of the outfit by writing it on their business card and putting it into a draw.

Not only did they collect more business cards, they raised awareness and surprise at how affordable their clothes were.  They also had people returning to the stand to find out the answer, the winner and what the next outfit would be like.

  • What is your key selling point?
  • How can visitors have an experience or an insight of what you do in a few minutes on your stand?

I have all sorts of activities planned for my stand SD220 at Sales Management & Performance, happening at ExCeL, London on June 6/7Book it in your diary and come and find out what they are!


Mental preparation for success

Mental preparation for success

Personal vision of Sales Manager 2. Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey’s second habit is at the heart of most coaching (sports and business) in achieving the goals you set yourself.

One of the many ideas in this habit is that you create things twice: once in your mind, i.e. you visualise your goals, your life’s work, your Olympic race, whatever it is you want to succeed in; then once in reality – you make it happen.  After the fantastic success of the TeamGB athletes in this years’s London Olympics, you will hear a lot of them talk about the importance of their mental preparation as well as their physical preparation in achieving their medals.

The most famous example is that of Mohamed Ali, his mental strength and mindset were what set him apart, in addition to his natural talent. Over the years in books and TV interviews he has revealed how he conditioned his mind before a match to give him a very high chance of success once he got in the ring.

He once described in a TV interview how he would focus his mind on the actual experience of being there in the ring. He would feel the sensations, see the reactions, feel the punches, be aware of the sweat, the sounds, the sights, the flashes of the cameras.

He would rehearse the fight in his mind as if he were recording each moment. He gave this mental routine a name which coaching experts have since picked up. He called it creating a “Future History.”

How does this help you recruit and train your new Sales Managers?

Before you promote your best person, or before you decide who to promote, get your potential Sales Managers to put in writing what they would do if they were made Sales Manager. Encourage them to visualise themselves in the role before you appoint them, how they would manage and motivate their team, where the big new accounts will come from, how they want to be remembered in that role.

This visualisation technique will give them ideas before they start, and give you a good idea of who is ready for such a role and what level of success you can expect from them.

You can get your external candidates to do this exercise as a pre-selection activity before their job interview too.  (Tip 1 of 49 in “Superhero Sales Manager in 7 days”)

Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

When I first became a sales manager, the book that gave me the support, tools and inspiration I needed was Stephen Covey’s “The 7 habits of highly effective people”.  The 7 great principles he taught enabled me to have confidence, manage my time, and achieve a lot which led to me gaining promotion or a new job every year of my career.

Sadly Stephen Covey passed away this week but his books and ideas will live on for generations to come. His ideas influenced a lot of my book “Superhero Sales Manager” with multiple responsibilities, tasks and goals to answer to.

As a personal tribute to Stephen Covey I will apply his 7 habits to today’s Sales Manager, starting with his first one: Be proactive.  To Covey being proactive means more than just taking initiative, although that is a strength in itself. To him it means that we take responsibility for our own lives. We no longer blame our circumstances or other people but we choose our response (response-ability) consciously based on our own values above our feelings.   It’s being a grown up.

Reactive people are affected by the weather, by someone else’s moods, by the reaction of one phone call.  Proactive people carry their own weather. They are value driven so if their value is to produce good quality work, it’s not relevant whether the weather is conducive or not, they’ll do it anyway.

It is a source of personal power that others can’t take away, to choose your response to any given situation and make it a positive proactive one.  As a Sales Manager years ago, this gave me a lot of confidence to take decisions. I didn’t worry what others would think or wait and see what decisions others would make. I would look at a situation, whether it was poorly performing staff member, recruiting a new team member or distribution partner, decision whether to exhibit or not and base that decision on what was right for the business with the information I had.  This meant I could make quick decisions. And as they were based on values, not emotions they were decisions I couldlive with and make work no matter what the consequences.

Today’s business is full of the fear of taking risks, of doing the wrong thing because the focus is often on revenue and profit rather than Values and taking responsibility for making proactive decisions based on those values.

When I work with my clients at all Executive levels one of our first sessions together is exploring, clarifying and highlighting their values as they are sometimes buried beneath years of following orders, being seen to do the right thing.

What are your personal values in the work you do?  What can you do today to make sure that the decisions you take are based on those values?

Next week: 2. Begin with the end in mind


Quick wins for new managers: 5 lessons from Roberto Di Matteo

QUICK WINS FOR NEW MANAGERS: 5 lessons from Roberto Di Matteo

Picture this: You have been promoted as a caretaker manager to a highly paid, highly skilled team of individuals who are currently underperforming and you have just a couple of months to change that culture, and turn that group into a highly performing winning team.  Where do you start?

Lessons all managers, particularly Sales Managers can learn from the recent success of Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea F.C.


  1. Communicate – talk to your team members
  2. Listen to what they say and take action
  3. Focus on getting quick wins to turn  the culture around
  4. Have an unwavering positive belief that you can achieve great things
  5. Keep calm.

Communicate : talk to your key team members. Di Matteo has been praised for the huge turnaround  in attitude by his players, his team members and a lot has been said about the “magic” he has performed. Yet when the players are interviewed and asked what his secret is they all agree it was basic good management skills of talking to them, finding out why they were demotivated and not enjoying their jobs.  When a manager joins any new team, the first priority must be getting to know their team, what motivates them and only then does the new Manager know how to turn it around.

Listen: All staff want to be listened to and understood. They will reward that simple action with loyalty and an improvement in their performance. Especially if they see that the manager is taking action. There may be some element of their job they don’t currently feel confident in, through lack of skills (or fitness) so training, coaching, mentoring can quickly and easily be provided if it is holding the team back.

Quick wins. When a team gets in the habit of losing, just the fact of having a new manager in can sometimes break that pattern so a new Manager needs to capitalise on that fact. He or she has to  make sure everyone is focused on the next win, the next contract, the next prize, the next match. The manager can have a strategy for the long term future but the team must be focused on anything quick and relatively easy.  That way the habit of success can grow and build up to the even bigger prizes.

Positive mental attitude.  An underperforming team will start to have a negative, lazy attitude and stop caring about their performance. A new manager has to bring with them a positive vision of the future, a belief in the team that they won’t have yet for themselves and the strength of character to stick with that belief even when there are setbacks.  Coupled with the quick wins, the team members will start to believe in that positive vision themselves, their confidence will return and with it the best performance they are capable of.  As part of that, a good manager will always give credit to their team members when they perform well and take all or some of the blame when they do not.

Keep calm. With massive success or massive failure a confident and secure Manager will keep calm throughout, knowing that the strategy and path they are following will turn out to be the right one in the end.  That way the whole team stay focused on the next step, the next deal, the next match and not let the euphoria or the despondency of the previous event overshadow their thinking and performance for the next step. This is probably one of the most difficult things to do.   I don’t know if Roberto Di Matteo has a personal coach or mentor but I would imagine he has good advice from friends in the business that help him to formulate his strategy, stick to it and so stay calm.  When everyone else around the manager is losing their head and blaming others, staying calm and quietly positive will have results and show that the Manager is capable of even bigger things in the future….