When the boss says, “You’re the new Sales Director so take my ticket and see what you can find out at the National Sales Conference, Ricoh Stadium, Coventry”, the initial reaction is “Oh great, another sales day lost and a bonus 400 mile round trip!”
I’ve run, hosted and been part of many exhibitions and while it can be a nice jolly, especially when you are younger and can drink 10 pints during the evening and bounce out of bed, fresh and raring to go the next day, at 52, I need my beauty sleep!
Reflecting on what we have to offer, writing winning tenders, it made sense to be part of a 600-strong audience… you just never know who you might meet and what might come from it AND you stand a much better chance if the audience are likely to need some of what you have to offer.
How many sales people do you know can do joined up writing? Never mind write a comprehensive winning tender… perfect feeding ground. Pop along, say hello to a few folk, made sense since the ticket was already paid for.
The day before I went on LinkedIn and invited the speakers I was going to see do their thing to connect and Julie Holmes, being from across the pond, was straight on it, within the minute…
“Nicely done, Jonathan! I was wondering how many would take the initiative to connect in advance of the conference.”
How many do you think did… 600 sales professionals in the house… how many used LinkedIn to connect to Julie? Put an answer below and we’ll get Julie to answer at the end of the week…
Fist full of business cards at the ready, I set off Wednesday morning after dropping the dogs off with a local lady who keeps me updated with texts of them doing their favourite things… like eating rabbit poo ? . Put £20 in the tank as figured petrol would be cheaper up north and I’d fill up for the return leg. After taking a wrong turn on the motorway I had 10 miles of fuel in the tank with 2 miles to go to the venue when I hit a traffic jam, caused by an accident… was a tad nervous but got through and filled up at the end of the day when the traffic had cleared… saved myself about £2.50… not sure it was worth the stress!
Alan Hanselman was our afternoon’s entertainment… lots of useful information shared and when he mentioned dealing with councils, that was a sign for me to make sure I said ‘hi’ after, get us on his radar… he seemed to be pleased I did, time will tell…
After the workshop, I went and got some fuel and grabbed a bite to eat in Pizza Hut. I love the all you can eat salad… and a full meat pizza on the side… yum! Then back to the venue for drinks and networking. I hung around an hour, spoke to half a dozen folk and then it was time for me to go get some kip and leave the younger sales bods to do their thing.
Novotel did a top breakfast, so I filled my boots and went over to the Ricoh Arena for 8am… I didn’t take advantage of a 2nd free breakfast, just grabbed a coffee and started networking… I had over 50 cards in my pocket at the start of the day and by the end I had exactly 5… not everyone reciprocated but I’ll be joining the dots with 30+ by email and on LinkedIn during the next few days and sharing a link to this story so they can add a few words and offer their take on the National Sales Conference 2017 and the value it has brought / they hope it will bring them…
Julie Holmes shared stories from across the pond of how she applied lessons learned on the family farm (seeing the animals and crops grow) to her sales roles, realising her own successful sales methodology that saw her make it BIG in IT… great start to the day…
Allan Pease has an amazing life story from taking venom from snakes in the Australian bush to getting Putin to make him a nice brew in Moscow! 10,000 brain cells get busy when you write it down with a pen & paper… about 8 when you start typing… so if you really want it, write it down and write it down again…
Dr Graeme Codrington was sharing his insights from the future… starting with ‘if you want young people to stick around for the long haul then give them the best tech and an ocean of bandwidth for them to swim in… allowing them and their brains the freedom to explore and come up with great new ideas… if you want them to leave within the year then just give them a 2nd hand laptop and 2Gb a month’.
Andy Bounds was on the same page as we are at Winning Tenders, his approach very much along the lines of what we preach… getting buy-in, compelling proposals and improving your hit rate… need to follow up with him and see how we might support his great work.
Then lunch… and how I needed that… I’m a growing lad who is used to popping down to the kitchen for a fresh brew and perhaps a biscuit as the mood takes… 4½ hours of listening and networking and I was ready for the fine spread provided by the organisers. Took some time out to get my shoes shined… this guy knew how to make them shine… and the stories he had to share… invite him to be part of your conference, Mr. Swervy’s Shoe Shine Shop 07968 154909, those networking chairs meant while he’s shining, you’re networking… great idea.
I love all that neuroscience and NLP stuff… not that I really understand it mind, but love to try and understand it! So the afternoon session by Simon Hazeldine (Masters Degree in the psychology and management of performance) had my grey matter working overtime and, with scientific research in recent years massively increasing our understanding of how it all ticks, it was fascinating.
The last chap I listened to, as had heard the key note before, was probably my favourite. Brian Mayne came onto the stage and just let the audience stop talking in their own time… no shouting ego saying “HERE I AM, why are you still talking?” Just silence. He left in similar vein simply saying, “Bless you all…” and in between what a story… from rags to riches and back again… seemed to me he’s taking Allan Pease’s V6 engine and adding a turbo with pictures… BRILLIANT… dyslexia hasn’t slowed him down… so he learned to read and write at 30 after making and losing his first few million! Now focused on empowering young people so they fly higher than they ever thought they might… I really need to introduce him to Rotary International so he can grow his network even faster than his amazing work to date.
I learned a ton of stuff from the day and a half and am very pleased I went along… you should make the effort one year… obviously make sure you get a good deal on your ticket!
I’ve added links to the speakers LinkedIn profiles below and while I’m no brain surgeon, my guess is you’ll find them all over YouTube if you’d rather listen to them talk than read their profiles.
National Sales Conference 2017 – link to 2018
Andy Hanselman: The 7 Steps to Maximize Your Sales Effectiveness
Julie Holmes: Whole Company Selling: What if everyone in your company was helping you sell?
Alan Pease: THE ANSWER: How to program your brain to change your life and reach your goals
Dr Graeme Codrington: Future-Proof Your Sales Team
Andy Bounds: Sell More by Saying Less
Simon Hazeldine: Brain to Brain (B2B) Selling
Brian Mayne: Programming your Subconscious for Sales Success and Goal Mapping
Sir Clive Woodward: The DNA of the Champion
Sales & Marketing Director