Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The value of free

Have you ever struggled to get take up of your free seminar, free quote, or free consultation?  Has it become that even in business that some of us are sceptical of a catch, or that we feel or think that free has little or no value?

Yet what truth does this have, as free is still being widely advertised - "come to our free event, have a free trial, take a free test drive" - so does it work, does it have value? As sometimes it may feel that we struggle to 'give "it" away for free'.

Free on its own carries little value - it's the experience associated with what is being offered that builds the desire to use or take for free.  If you've ever commuted into a mainline station in London you'll regularly see promoters handing out promotional giveaways of cosmetics, confectionary, magazines and drinks.  A swarm of people change their course, anxious to get this new product for free.

When it comes to an event, seminar or consultancy, the purpose of free is to attract interest from a range of people who you hope will attend, increase their curiosity about you, and hopefully do business with you. 

Some event organisers in an attempt to address the mind-set of 'free' may place a nominal charge to encourage attendance on the day, and contribute to the cost of refreshments.  This can really slim down the guest list particularly if this is a new event or trying to attract a new audience, though at least you can be mildly confident that someone will show up.

To achieve success we should consider who our likely respondents are, and what would be their motivation to engage with free. 
There are numerous ways we can provide added value - collaboration with other subject matter speakers that compliment your business and will be of interest to your audience, the venue, and 'take away' materials or plan - and if you are providing refreshments make sure the biscuits are of a good quality; or cake if you wish to get my attendance.

Thanks for reading - for free.


John is a Director of Vector Resources Limited and helps businesses increase sales and improve sales performance.  Find out more at

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Why the wise should not always choose the best seller

Should the sales manager be a better 'sales performer' than their team? 

Being a sales manager of a team brings its own rewards and challenges – managing sales colleagues, sales performance reporting, financial projections, hitting/exceeding team targets, and developing a portfolio of clients. Most are responsibilities that the 'solo' sales executive may have had limited, if any, exposure to.  Yet there are times where a high performing sales person is promoted to a team manager position as a way of retaining them. 

This often occurs when the companys’ ability to acknowledge the worth' of the sales person is limited, or when the justification for an increase in salary requires them to have a role with a 'higher level of responsibility'.  All too often the 'new' sales manager receives the trappings of their new role - upgraded tools and toys, bigger salary and greater capacity for commission - yet is simply left to get on with it. 

There are many good sales managers out there who do develop their team members and who involve colleagues in various aspects of the sales managers’ tasks; though this is not always the case.  With an absence of support (such as mentoring and coaching) or solid leadership the new manager is at the peril of their inexperience and other ‘forces’. 

Of course it can all work out well, particularly if the sales person has a desire to be a team manager. Though by simply moving your best sales person into a management role, rather than assessing their ability to lead a team, you may have already taken a risk with your customers, the team and their results.

Recognising that it’s the sum of parts (the team) that leads to the greater success is sometimes overlooked. Think of the coaches who have supported successful sports people – some were good, yet few were great in their own sporting career – however it’s their ability to work with and enhance the performance of their protégés that make some of them great coaches.

This is the same for good sales managers who lead, coach and mentor their teams. They are able to demonstrate skills and provide qualitative feedback that enhances the abilities and results of their sales people.  Yes, individuals transcending into sales management should be good at sales, however sometimes just picking the best sales people to be the team manager is not always best outcome for your customers, the business or the team. 

What do you think?


John is a Director of Vector Resources Limited and helps businesses increase sales and improve sales performance.  Find out more at