Jul 25

How To Deal With The ‘Summer Holiday’ Objection….

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why so many people get the ‘call me back after the summer holiday’ objection…..only to find that after the break, they can’t get hold of the person ever again!…..

It’s always interesting as we head into the summer holiday period, how many people fall for the ‘call me back after the summer holiday‘ objection!

Have you ever had anyone say those words or something similar to you? For most salespeople, this objection starts to rear its head from the middle of July onwards, or perhaps November, depending where you are in the world!.Continue reading

Jul 14

Sales Lessons From Hobbiton – The ‘Lord Of The Rings’ And ‘The Hobbit’ Film Set!

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

I was doing some work out in New Zealand recently, and while I was there, took time to have a look around and see some of the local attractions.

One of the trips I was really looking forward to was the trip to ‘Hobbiton’ – the movie set of the Hobbit village from the films ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’.

hobbit holeI’ve been a fan ever since I read the books as a child, and was looking forward to seeing that actual set itself – which had been left intact after filming had finished, and has now been made into a tourist attraction!

One of the interesting things I noticed while I was there however, was the Sales Lessons we could all learn from it! Here they are……

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 1 – Know Your ‘Conditions’ Before You Start To Negotiate!

One of the clever things that the landowners did, was know their ‘conditions’ before the negotiations started for the filming of ‘The Hobbit’. They’d already had the experience of the ‘village’ being used for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series, and therefore knew what they wanted, when they were asked if the land could be used again for the filming of ‘The Hobbit’

hobbiton villageYou see, the first set of the village was mainly cosmetic in nature – literally just doors put into the hillside etc, and removed when the film crew left.

However, that didn’t stop people approaching the landowner and saying ‘did they film Lord of the Rings here? Would you mind if I just went over and looked at it?’

When that started happening more and more often, they realised they had something here. So when Peter Jackson came back to ask if they could use the land again for filming The Hobbit, the landowners said yes.

However, it was based on the condition that they built and left them a permanent set, so that it could be turned into a tourist attraction afterwards.

Even though that was a substantially higher cost, the landowners got their way, as Peter Jackson desperately wanted the land!

So what can we as salespeople learn from this? If you set your ‘conditions’ at the start of a negotiation, you are far more likely to get them at the end of it! And knowing how important what you have is to the other party, definitely helps your negotiation stance!

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 2 – Provide A Great Experience!

One of the things they do really well at Hobbiton, is provide a great experience.

Now they do have a slight advantage, having something that people have read the books, or seen the films, and could be slightly ‘geeky’ about, but you still have to provide them with a great experience, even so!

Bilbos HouseOne of the things they did really well here was the tour guides were not only briefed really well, but they were obviously fans of the films themselves! Therefore they were really excited and motivated to talk about the topic and answer any questions from the group.

They knew all the stories, and while bits of the films were filmed in what parts of the village for example, so for the real ‘uber geek’ fans of the films, they could show them exactly what parts of the set where used for which parts of the films!

They then took you into the pub, the Green Dragon Inn, where you got a free drink (Beer, Cider or Soft Drink) which is good on its own, but they served them in mugs that looked exactly like the ones used in the films for example!

green dragon sign
A nice touch, that isn’t much effort to do (or much cost), but provides a great experience. The amount of people talking selfies with their mugs in the Green Dragon, or outside Bilbo Baggins’s house was ridiculous!

So how can you implement that in your role and your organisation? What can you do in your sales or service process to give people the kind of experience that they will rave about? That they will come back to you for? That they will recommend and refer you to others for?

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 3 – Don’t Forget To Upsell!

One of the things they do really well at Hobbiton is to provide upsell opportunities to their clients. We sometimes forget that some people will want to pay a premium for better service, a better experience or a ‘premium’ option.

Are you providing them with that option right now?

One option you can purchase at Hobbiton is an ‘early access’ small group package, where not only do you get access to Hobbiton before the larger groups arrive (so your pictures don’t have lots of people in etc, so more like the films), but you also get better chance to ask questions of your guide (as they are less people), and more time in the location to take pictures etc.

green dragon breakfastAnother upsell option they do is that you can have ‘second’ breakfast (fans of the films will get that reference) in the Green Dragon Inn itself.

So they take you into one of the small rooms and your group has breakfast together – again, for an additional charge!

A great option – particularly for fans!

So in terms of learning form this, what ‘upsell’ or ‘premium’ options are you providing your clients with right now?

How many are taking advantage of them?

And what else could you be doing?


If you want some help getting your team to get far sales results, call +44 (0) 161 401 0142 or contact Andy here……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Jun 17

7 Tips To Get More Appointments From Your Cold Calls

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains what steps you and your team need to take…..right now…to get more appointments from your cold calling…..

You know, it’s always interesting to read articles on cold calling….from people that don’t have a clue what they’re talking about! A client sent me a few articles this week that he was laughing about – all about cold calling – all written by people that can’t, won’t or don’t cold call – hilarious!

As most of you know, I’m well-known for my cold calling expertise and results I’ve got with clients from implementing the methods. So here are 7 tips for getting more appointments from your cold calls. Study them. Pin this article up on the wall. Make the techniques work for you. And I promise you’ll see a marked difference in your sales figures……

Andy’s Sales Tip No 1 – Stop Thinking ‘Cold Calling Is Dead’

There are a number of so-called ‘experts’ saying that cold calling doesn’t work, how it’s ‘dead’ etc etc. They’re wrong. Dead wrong. Funny how most of these ‘experts’ use that statement to then try and sell you their ‘referral system’ or their ‘internet marketing system’ instead, and talk about how it’s so much better?!!

Let’s be straight here. Cold calling is still one of the best (and quickest) ways to get new business. But it’s changed. It’s evolving. You need to be aware of what’s changing so you can stay ahead of the game….and your competition.

Andy’s Sales Tip No 2 – Stop Asking Stupid Questions!

This is one of the things that loses you credibility, rapport and respect straightaway on a sales call – asking stupid questions! So what do I mean by ‘stupid questions?’ Anything that asks about things they don’t want to disclose (whilst they still hardly know you, and you have no rapport whatsoever), asking about things your competitors will also ask about, and asking questions that have no value for the recipient of the call!

Let me give you some examples… ‘When is your contract up for renewal?’. ‘How much do you currently pay for’…. And my personal favourite ‘What will it take to get your business?’

Now before you fall off your chair laughing at this, these are REAL-LIFE examples of questions from sales calls I’ve observed in the past month! How scary is that?!!

You might as well say to the prospect ‘these are my pathetic attempts at qualifying you in order that I can decide if you’re worth my time or not right now, or whether I should call you back in 3/6/12 months time in the vain hope you remember me (rather than forgetting me within seconds of putting the phone down). Please let me know the answer to this so I can get on with calling the rest of my list of people I’m supposed to call today’.

Andy’s Sales Tip No 3 – Have A Strong ‘Reason’ For Calling

This is another thing the average salesperson fails to do. So if you do it, you’re already well ahead of the game. The prize for ‘worst ever’ call reason goes to someone who I once heard say ‘the reason for the call is to find out when your contract is up for renewal’.

Brilliant! Abject failure to understand tip number two! Great effort. Collect the envelope containing your P45 and join the queue at the job centre.

Your ability to grab your prospect’s attention is a major factor in whether you get a little more time on the call. And an important part of that is having a strong call reason. You do have a strong reason for calling, don’t you? And it’s about the prospect, not you?

Andy’s Sales Tip No 4 Call With Confidence And Belief

This part is often missing – particularly if the salespeople concerned are calling over a period of more than an hour. If they’re not careful, their motivation can drop off over time, and their confidence and belief can be affected in a negative way just by one bad call!

Prospects can ‘hear’ confidence and belief in your voice…and they notice when it’s missing! You need persuade people to buy into you and what you offer. They need to have faith in you and trust that you know what you’re talking about. But if you don’t have strong belief and confidence they won’t do either. Lost sales opportunity!

An example of how vital this area is – I worked with an internal sales team last week whose role it is to get appointments for their field sales colleagues. Purely focusing on motivation, confidence and belief we achieved a 60 PERCENT increase in appointments!! Note: I didn’t change anything about what they said, just their motivation, confidence and belief! Anyone else out there want similar results?…..

Andy’s Sales Tip No 5 – Do Some Preparation!

It often astounds me how little preparation your average salesperson does. Like I mentioned above, Cold Calling is evolving, and you need to evolve with it to give yourself a good chance of success. No longer can you call companies with a name of the person you’re trying to reach and have a good success rate in terms of getting through to them, or getting appointments with them.

The minimum preparation you should be doing prior to a call is to get the name of the decision maker, direct phone number and email where appropriate, an idea of your call reason and what you’re going to say, likely objections and how you’re going to handle them, plus access to your diary (or your colleague’s diary) to book those appointments in!

Remember, you need to know exactly the date and time that you’re trying to make the appointment for before you start to close – otherwise you’re affecting your chances of success in a negative way!

Andy’s Sales Tip No 6 – Focus Your Time

If you’re starting any sort of calling session, whether it’s cold or warm calling, make sure you’re focused before you start! This means eliminating any distractions. Far too many salespeople allow themselves to get interrupted during calling sessions, which then has a negative impact on the results they get from them – which falsely leads some people to the conclusion that it ‘doesn’t work for them’ or they’re no good at it.

Interruptions would include things like colleagues talking to them, incoming phone calls, emails, making a drink etc etc. Particularly if the salesperson isn’t enjoying the session, they’ll take advantage of the interruption, therefore ruining their chances of success in the calling session!

If you’re going to start a calling session, make sure you’re focused on it. As well as the end result you want to achieve.

Andy’s Sales Tip No 7 – Create Some Energy

Another big mistake the average salesperson makes is sounding bored and tired. Remember, when you’re making a phone call, your voice is all you have to persuade people, so make sure you give it your best shot! You need to have energy and enthusiasm in your voice in order to persuade others, so why are you making calls where you sound like you’re terminally depressed?!!

The longer the calling session goes on, the more you have to be careful of your energy levels. Sometimes short breaks between focused calling sessions actually produce better results, as well as the salesperson managing their energy levels during the session.

Remember – If you’re going to bother making a call, make it sound like a good one!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

May 07

Why You’re Not Converting Your Sales Leads Into Customers

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why you’re not currently converting enough enquiries into customers…..and what you can do about it to get the results you deserve……..

One of the things I’m noticing at the moment is that businesses aren’t converting enough of their sales leads into business. Let’s face it, if someone has taken the trouble to enquire with you, then you should be getting a high conversion rate from that, right? That isn’t always happening right now.

In addition, many companies right now have what I would call ‘non-salespeople’ doing activities that would be traditionally handled by a salesperson. This may be due to things bring ‘tight’, a new focus on ‘new business’, staff leaving (or being made redundant), so their activities now get passed to other people.

What Do I Mean By ‘Non-Salespeople?’

This means for example in some cases that marketing staff are making cold calls for appointments, customer service staff are making outbound sales calls and the worst thing ever – admin staff are taking incoming sales enquiries!!!

Think about it. You’ve paid all that money for advertising, networking, marketing, or whatever lead generation method you use to ‘earn’ that sales enquiry. Then the person taking it has little or no sales ability, little or no training in what’s needed to convert it into a sale, and has no idea how much business they could be losing through their lack of understanding!

How scary is that? Even people employed in a sales role don’t always handle sales enquiries as well as they could, so what chance has a ‘non salesperson’ got?

So, below are some reasons why you’re currently not converting as many sales enquiries as you could be – and what you can do to get them back on track!

Reason Number 1 – You Don’t Respond Quickly Enough

For any incoming sales enquiry right now, responding could mean the difference between you converting that enquiry into a customer, and missing out on the business to one of your competitors.

Right now, people have more choice than ever before, and more companies are desperate for their business than ever before – so are you prepared to let one of your competitors get business that could have been yours?

Ask yourself – how fast do you currently get back to your sales enquiries? And then, how could you speed that up?

Reason Number 2 – You Only Take The ‘Specification’

This is another example of poor handling of a sales call. This is where the person taking the incoming sales enquiry only asks questions that get the specification, or the details that they need in order to quote for the work.

Empty Notebook PageBizarrely, this is what most companies train the staff responsible for taking the sales enquiries to do! So those staff give a quotation without asking anything about buying motivation, current supplier, other quotes, buying timescales or other information that would help them secure the business.

It’s almost like the business equivalent of giving a quotation, crossing their fingers, clicking their heels together 3 times and ‘hoping’ that the person rings them back to place the order!! Is that really the way we want to treat those precious sales enquiries in the current business climate?

Reason Number 3 – You Fail To Qualify The Opportunity Properly

Another thing that seems to get missed when staff are handling sales enquiries is understanding the full cope of the potential opportunity. This has been made worse by the customer service people and poor sales trainers in the past that have banged on about ‘you must treat every customer the same’. What a load of old rubbish!!

Should a printing company treat differently a customer who buys £50 worth of business cards once a year, compared to a company that spends £25,000 on their annual print requirements? Of course they should! Now of course both customers should receive good service, but would you want to ask different questions of these 2 different enquiries? Would your sales process change based on their potential spend? Would you service the account differently? Of course you would!

The problem is, you need to qualify the potential opportunity first – so start doing it!

Reason Number 4 – You Don’t Take Control Of The Situation

Another mistake most people make is that they don’t control the situation properly. Once the potential customer has put the phone down (or walked out of the shop in a retail context) – if you haven’t defined or agreed the ‘next steps’, you’ve just lost control of the sales situation.

If you just give them your quotation, or hand/send them your literature and then leave them to Plan Your Sales Strategytheir own devices, they’re probably going to buy somewhere else, or not at all! If they’ve bothered to take the time to call you, send an enquiry over the internet, or arrive in your showroom then right now is the opportunity. Not tomorrow, not the day after, not next week – but right now.

So if you can’t take advantage of this opportunity, then you have to define the ‘next steps’, what will happen in what sequence and get them ‘locked in’ to you, rather than letting them go off ‘shopping’ and comparing prices with you and the competition – or against their existing supplier!

Reason Number 5 – You Don’t Follow Up

There is no excuse for this! ‘I was too busy’ doesn’t cut it. ‘I got caught up in other things’ doesn’t cut it. ‘Well they’d come back to me if they wanted it, wouldn’t they?’ is just plain stupid!

If you’ve bothered to take the enquiry in the first place, and weren’t able to convert them into a customer on that occasion, yet you know they’re interested enough in what you do to have enquired in the first place, why on earth wouldn’t you bother to follow it up?

If you’re guilty of this one, you might as well email over all your sales enquiries to your competition, because you’re giving them the business as it is! Follow up each enquiry quickly, and secure the business for you and your company, rather than giving it to someone else!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

Apr 14

Simple Sales Tips – From A Partner Sales Conference On The Vaal River

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

I was booked to speak at a client conference recently on the Vaal River, on the border of the Free State in South Africa. It was my first trip to the Vaal River, a very beautiful part of South Africa.

Vaal River
It’s always interesting when I work with clients that sell through Channel Partners, rather than selling direct to the end client themselves. Selling as a Channel Partner has some distinct differences than when you’re selling your own products and services.

So here are some tips on Selling as a Channel Partner.


(Note: These tips are based on you being the Channel Partner yourself – if you’re the Vendor interested in how I work with clients who ‘sell through the channel’, then please contact me here…)

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 1 – Don’t Be Afraid To Lean On The Vendor Where Possible!

This is the bit where most Channel Partners go wrong – right at the beginning! Don’t be afraid to lean on the Vendor if necessary! Most will be only too happy to help!

Most vendors will be only too happy to support their Channel Partners. Whether that’s with face-to-face joint visits, telephone or marketing support.

It’s often a good idea to ‘wheel in’ the vendor to face-to-face meetings, to add some ‘firepower’ and gravitas to your own organisation.It can also help when there are multiple people attending from the potential client, and there’s only one or two of you!

Plus, and documentation and marketing material is likely to be better produced by the vendor in most cases, and therefore gives a more favourable impression to the client, and increases your chance of winning the business! So don’t be afraid to lean on the vendor where you can!


Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 2 – Don’t Forget To Sell Yourself However!

Even though it’s a good idea to lean on the vendor when you can, that doesn’t mean you can forget about selling yourself!

You still need to get across to the prospect why they should work with YOU! Especially if you are pitching against other agents/channel partners for the same vendor as you! Or similar offerings from a different vendor/partner.

You need to establish YOUR credibility. Why they should choose you over the other people wanting the work. Your experience. Your expertise. Make yourself and what you’re offering irresistible (or as close as possible to!)

And the more potential suppliers the prospect is looking at, the more important this is!


Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 3 –Stay In Control

Staying in control isn’t easy in Sales. Especially when you’re a channel partner, and involving your vendor now has 3 parties involved in the sales situation!

You still need to take responsibility for taking control and guiding the sales process however. The vendor is there to assist you, not to replace you! They shouldn’t be taking over the sales process, you should still be leading and controlling it!
Vaal 2 - Andy speech

You need to control the sales process. Where you are at.
What the next step is. What you need to do to get there.
And gain commitment from the prospect to going there too.

Follow the tips above and start to sell like a Stand-Out Salesperson!



Oct 07

Quick Sales Tips #3 – Are You A Leader Or A Follower In Selling?

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

So, are you a Leader or a Follower when it comes to Selling?

This is an important distinction I often reference in my speeches, between a Standard salesperson, and a Stand Out Salesperson.

So How Do We Define The Two?

A Leader (Stand-Out-Salesperson) is someone who ‘leads’ the prospect – challenges their perceptions, gives new ideas, imposes themselves on the sales process, delivers and demonstrates value in the process, and gently ‘leads’ the client to the best solution. #proactive

A Follower (Standard salesperson) is someone who does what the prospect asks, follows their instructions and does what they are told. #reactive

Often you would find the Follower in Account Servicing roles (see my “Account Management Is Dead” blog here for more on this)

So Where Does This Have An Impact?

Here are just a few examples of where it can impact a salesperson….

  • When the prospect asks ‘can you send me a proposal?’ – do you lead or follow?
  • When you get an incoming lead with the specifications to quote – do you lead or follow?
  • When the prospect at the meeting says ‘here is what I would like’ – do you lead or follow?
  • When you get an ‘invitation to tender’ – do you lead or follow?
  • When the prospect says ‘your competitors can do it at x price’ – do you lead or follow?
  • When you get the chance to quote – do you lead or follow?
  • When the prospects tells YOU the price they’re willing to pay – do you lead or follow?
  • When you get told to ‘put everything in an email’ – do you lead or follow?

    So, when it comes to sales, are you and your team Leading or Following?

    Are you and your team standard salespeople? Or Stand-Out-Salespeople?

    red phoneIf you and your team want to find out how to be Stand-Out-Salespeople (not standard salespeople), get in touch here  or
    call +44 161 401 0142 
    and we can talk about how we can get you and your team more like Stand-Out-Salespeople!

    I look forward to hearing about your future sales!

    This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article, or to use Andy’s ideas, tactics and IP in your company, contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Sep 01

Video Sales Tips – Are You Building Deal Momentum?

By Andy Preston | Video Sales Tips

Are You Building Deal Momentum?

Andy discusses here why most salespeople struggle to build deal momentum. And why most of their deals ‘stall’ as a result!

Andy’s Global Sales Tips are filmed on Andy’s travels on whatever equipment is close to hand! Be that Phone, iPad, DSLR or whatever. We’ve gone for ‘quality of information’ over ‘quality of video’ in most cases.

More professional quality videos and clips are on other playlists on Andy’s channel. This is about quality of information and speed.

The video below is a YouTube video. If you are one of our clients that has YouTube blocked, Contact us here if you have any problems accessing these. Enjoy!

Jul 17

Quick Sales Tips #2 – Are You (Or Your Sales Team) Being ‘Blown Up’ By ‘ Sales Landmines?’

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

This is something I talk about a lot in my Stand Out Selling Sales Training sessions.  And it’s unique to myself and the SOS methodology, so you won’t hear any other trainer or speaker talk about this (or if you do, let me know ;-))

Sales Landmines are things that will ‘blow up’ in your face if you don’t find out about them first, and ‘defuse’ them correctly.

The context for this is either on a telephone call (where you are moving through a lot of the sales process in one go) or on a video or face-to-face sales meeting, where you are about to ‘pitch’ the prospect on your product or service, or move them to the next step..

Most salespeople are guilty of moving too quickly towards pitching their product/service, when the prospect is still to see the value.  In other words, they still haven’t decided whether they need this product/service yet, and the salesperson is going into ‘this is my product/service and isn’t it great’ mode!

So What Happens If You Do That?

If you move too quickly towards ‘pitch’ mode, very often you’ll get hit by a ‘sales landmine’.

Let me give you an example here.  Let’s say that you are selling advertising (doesn’t matter whether it’s online or offline for this example).

sales_megaphoneYou’re starting to pitch your advertising, and the prospect could ends up saying something like ‘yeah, but we’re not going to pay for advertising again’.

What this means is they paid for advertising in the past, got ‘burnt’ by another provider, and that made them determined not to pay for it again!

Traditional sales training will tell you that this is a ‘bad prospect’, other sales trainers will say they should have been ‘qualified out’.  They are wrong.

So What’s The Truth?

The truth is this is a ‘sales landmine’  You should have found out about their previous experience with advertising in the questioning phase of your meeting/call.  (You are following a defined sales method/process for your call or meeting aren’t you?  If not, message me here and we can talk about why that is essential for sales success).

Selling By Email - MistakesBecause you didn’t, it’s now ‘blown up’ in your face, and it will be almost impossible to turn this sales call/meeting around, and get them to invest with you.

That’s the salesperson’s fault for not finding it out earlier, and having a plan (or angle) to deal with it.

‘Stand Out’ Salespeople find out potential ‘landmines’ during the questioning phase of their call/meeting, create ‘angles’ to defuse and deal with them, and progress the call/meeting to the next stage, or close.

red phoneIf you and your team want to find out how to do that better, get in touch here  or call +44 161 401 0142 and we can talk about how we can get you and your team better at overcoming ‘sales landmines’

I look forward to hearing about your future sales!

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article, or to use Andy’s ideas, tactics and IP in your company, contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Jul 01

Video Sales Tips – Are You (Or Your Sales Team) Guilty Of Complacency?

By Andy Preston | Video Sales Tips

Are You (Or Your Sales Team) Guilty Of Complacency?

Andy discusses here why most salespeople can become complacent if they’re not careful. And how it affects them as a result!

Andy’s Global Sales Tips are filmed on Andy’s travels on whatever equipment is close to hand! Be that Phone, iPad, DSLR or whatever. We’ve gone for ‘quality of information’ over ‘quality of video’ in most cases.

More professional quality videos and clips are on other playlists on Andy’s channel. This is about quality of information and speed.

The video below is a YouTube video. If you are one of our clients that has YouTube blocked, Contact us here if you have any problems accessing these. Enjoy!