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I used to think you were either born with a sales instinct or you weren’t.

My husband, for example, is a natural. He’s got the chat and the charm – and he’s making a successful living from it. I, however, find it very uncomfortable. I feel bad-mannered discussing money. Thanks to my confident other half, I’ve learned some tricks to help me in the business world – including my personal favourite “respect the power of silence”.

According to Gordon Mackay at Elevator who deliver Business Gateway in the North East, many companies struggle with the sales process.

“A lot of business owners don’t have experience in sales, they’re at the mercy of CVs and Billy Bullsh*t,” he told me. “They employ some sales people and leave them to get on with it, without any proper supervision or plan.”

It seems that even if you’re not a natural, you can be taught. After seeing the issue come up again and again, he designed a course called “The Structured Sales Process” with six steps and a logical order to follow.

“We focus on the key aspects and teach people to build relationships,” he explained.

“You need to cover genuine needs and understand the economic or efficiency challenge. We should only ever put a round peg in a round hole so you need to help the client understand what they’re looking for.”

I’m not surprised his workshops are so popular. Having lived in Aberdeen for three years, I’m well aware of the changes in the market over the last few years. As difficult as the adjustments have been for many industries, change always breeds opportunity.

“If there has ever been a time to differentiate yourself, this is the time,” Gordon agreed. “You need to be able to offer more value than just being the cheapest! We get people to think this way right from the get go.”

Tomorrow I’ve got a cracking case study from the poacher and gamekeeper. Kleboe Jardine is a scaling recruitment company helping many other scaleups find their staff – all the while searching for their own candidates. Read my chat with MD Ewan Jardine tomorrow.

Kim McAllister is a Journalist & Communications Consultant and director of Impact Online


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