How can Training boost your Profits?

The benefits of training can trickle down to every aspect of your company. From improving staff moral to boosting profits, training can improve your business’ performance. Recognising the need and implementing a training strategy in your business could see your profit margins increase by 47%. Training is an investment, not a cost.

Why is training so important for business?

Training enhances your employees’ skills. Any positive changes you want to make for your business will usually transpire through your staff. Trained employees will not only have the correct skills to be able to do their job effectively and efficiently but will also be engaged with the company. If they feel like you are investing in them through training, then they will feel more satisfied with their role and appreciated as an individual. In turn, this has a positive effect on their performance.

Training is also thought to impact staff turnover. Staff retention is much higher within companies that invest in training. Most people want to learn new skills and add to their professional development and are more loyal to companies that offer good training packages. If an individual feels as though they are valued in their role, their work is likely to be more valuable. Around 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year. The costs of staff turnover are much higher than that of the costs of training. You don’t need to waste money on churning staff when you could be training them instead.

How can training boost profit?

Every other part of your business stems from the people in it. Profits and performance are directly linked to the efforts of the people working towards this. Quality training can improve your team’s communication, increase customer satisfaction and boost profits. According to Craig Hane, the CEO of online training site StaffingTools.com “Training is one of the best, if not the best investment you can make in your company, your people, and your customers”.

Training your staff increases productivity, confidence and communication. It is not just factual knowledge that your employees will learn, they will also upgrade any existing, more general skills. Imagine if all of your employees were as proficient at their role as they could be. Think about how this would impact the bottom line. Your sales team could be closing more deals, your office could be communicating more efficiently and the managers could be leading more effectively. This will increase profits and performance in every aspect of your business.

Ripley Training

We provide high quality accessible training and coaching to help businesses like yours improve individual, team and organisational performance. We offer bespoke in-house and one-to-one training as well as open courses all over the UK. Get in touch now to see how we can help your business and boost profits.

How traditional brands can remain relevant in the digital world

Technological change has transformed consumer’s lives and the way we do business. In the past decade alone, there has been the most rapid change since the industrial revolution of the 18th century. And if you work in marketing, you need to ensure that you look into the future and anticipate change in order to keep your brand relevant.

According to leading digital business strategist, Brian Solis, we’re now in the age of “Digital Darwinism”; which he basically describes as the “evolution of technology, business models and society”, which makes the customer experience more intangible. So what does this actually mean?

Digital Transformation

The days when a company could establish its brand, sit back and wait for the customers to come knocking on the door are long gone. Your brand is no longer defined by what it says but also what it does; the World Wide Web has become your online shop window and your business portfolio, accessible to everyone, globally, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

In this rapidly changing technological market, it is important for companies to recognise the importance of adapting their brand to meet the requirements of their customers and stay relevant. The goalposts are constantly shifting; nothing remains the same for too long. This means that brands must capitialise on the full digital toolkit of website design, social media, content marketing, SEO and so on; to portray their businesses in the best way possible and effectively cater to their customers.

More traditional brands such as B2B organisations and those involved in manufacturing or engineering, for example, may question the extent to which their company brand should have a digital presence. There could be some confusion over the benefits of this, or perhaps some reluctance to change. In order to make a seamless transition into the digital era, we recommend you consider the following:

1) Know your customers (and your competitors!)

Take time to routinely research your market. This can happen quarterly or monthly if necessary. Review, update and refresh your market knowledge to stay ahead of your competition and better anticipate customer needs. Never ‘rest on your laurels’ as the old adage goes. Your target audience may have grown and evolved; so don’t make mis-informed decisions – customer needs are ever-changing. Use the web to research customers. Sites like LinkedIn offer a massive opportunity to research target customers by name, location, job title, industry and so on. You can also speak directly to your customers via Twitter for a more personable approach with your brand.

2) Plan ahead

As we’ve emphasised above; it’s important to take precautions to stay one step ahead. Complacency runs the risk of your brand being ignored for something more relevant. Create actionable marketing plans with schedules, timings and key tasks. Schedule social media content and plan content for your blog every month in advance. All of these are great ways to boost your content marketing activity and drive visitors to your website whilst also entertaining/educating your audience at the same time, to highlight your brand’s credibility.

Websites for more ‘traditional’ companies don’t just have to be functional. Stand out from the crowd with a magnificent eye-catching design that’s visually pleasing as well as functional! This could mean the difference between a new customer and a missed opportunity.

3) Be innovative

Companies that have been around a while are sitting on a goldmine of opportunity: the opportunity to rediscover what your brand is all about, its heritage and core values. This doesn’t involve steering away from what made you successful in the first place, but instead regaining the spotlight and becoming front page news by doing something different and being at the cutting edge. By rediscovering your brand story, you have something interesting to tell and it’s a great way to not only engage customers and prospects; but your employees too.

4) Don’t be afraid to take risks

Risk aversion is certainly important in business. But how do you know if a decision was ever the right one if you never make it? The answer is, you won’t! What made you relevant before may no longer resonate with your target audiences, who today, are more tech savvy than ever.

Keep an open mind and consider all options with a fresh perspective. Today’s digital environment is rapidly expanding and exciting. Social media offers a host of possibilities for engagement and increased brand awareness.

Making the digital transition

Change can seem daunting or even unnecessary. But we’re not suggesting change for the sake of it. Use digital technologies that you have at your disposal and make improvements to all areas – they can be small or huge, it’s up to you. But consider your website, social media and the content you produce all as key opportunity to attract and win new business. After all, losing relevance is dangerous in a world where customers constantly alter their views and opinions through a continuous flow of communication.

The brand benefits of transitioning to the digital world are vast; from increasing customer conversions and loyalty; through to creating a more engaged and empowered workforce, and increasing your overall competitive advantage.

Experience, insight and instinct should help to provide you with the courage you require to make the right decision, and if you’re considering a corporate change project and need a step in the right direction, consider Leading Change – a leadership development course from Ripley Training, designed to explore the impact of change and the approaches that can be taken to successfully manage its impact. Our Sales and Marketing courses are also a great way to learn key skills in sales and marketing, to help you develop and learn about new technologies in marketing.

To find out more, why not give us a call on 01423 861 122? Or fill in our short contact form - we’d love to help you!

How to make mentoring work for you

Many business managers and entrepreneurs have benefited from trusted advisors and mentors, a person they turn to for advice and guidance to help them succeed in business. But how does mentoring work?

Benefits of mentorship

Mentoring can be a powerful, cost-effective tool for management, and is a proven way of transforming business performance. Mentoring is hugely popular amongst entrepreneurs and business owners; as sometimes, being the sole person in your business, having a friendly advisor and mentor to talk to, can greatly improve how you run your business. There’s a trend for mentorship programmes being brought in-house within organisations; either sourcing external mentors for their management team, or assigning managers as mentors for other team members – or both.

A mentor is ordinarily a person with more experience in a particular field, who takes the time to personally give guidance, advice, listen, and takes an investment in your success. Mentoring, like other personal development activities, can quickly increase anyone’s value and income in business, and is a great way to learn from successful business people or senior colleagues who can share their experience with you. But for mentoring to really work, you need to manage expectations and set clear objectives.

Firstly, think about what you’re looking for. Do you need a mentor or are you interested in becoming a mentor?

Deciding that you need a mentor is a great step forward in your personal and professional development. If you’re employed as a senior manager in a business, volunteering to become a mentor to less experienced staff can also be a great way to boost your leadership and management skills.

Once you’re clear on what you need, set some clear goals and objectives – so you know what you can expect from the process.

Coaching or Mentorship?

There’s a difference between a mentor, a friend and a coach. A mentor will guide you in what you need to achieve; unlike a friend who may be a little too subjective and tell you what they think you want to hear, which isn’t necessarily helpful. A business coach will focus on helping you with generic skills; whereas a mentor’s aim is to teach you based on specific situations/scenarios, and on experience. The same person can’t be all of these!

Communicate progress

Once you’ve started your mentorship programme, make sure both parties communicate on a regular basis. You’ll want to agree frequency of meetings, will this always be in person or will there be some telephone and email support? Decide what you need and what you are comfortable with. A good mentor will monitor their mentees’ progress and get satisfaction from your growth and development.

There is nothing that makes a potential mentor more open to helping you than you making it clear that you are implementing recommendations, and demonstrating what you’ve learnt and how you have benefitted from their support.

Where to look for help?

Websites such as Mentorsme, are an initiative that act like a gateway for businesses, and is a good place to start if you are looking for a mentor to help you with your business. You may also want to help your existing employees improve their leadership and management skills, and may be considering introducing a mentorship programme at work.

As a business owner or manager, learning coaching and mentorship techniques can help you to get the best from your employees, and understanding the different contexts of when to use different skills will enable you to positively influence and inspire your team.

Our Coaching & Mentoring Skills for Managers course is a great way to learn key skills in coaching and mentorship, to help you develop a culture of personal leadership and responsibility, whilst also enhancing your own interpersonal skills, self-development and self-confidence.

Learn how to improve your mentorship skills with Ripley Training

To find out more, why not give us a call on 01423 861 122? Or fill in our short contact form - we’d love to help you!

5 Ways to Negotiate Effectively

Negotiation and persuasion are key traits of a successful sales person. Understanding the art of negotiation will not only increase your chances of clinching a deal, but also create a win-win scenario for both parties involved.

Here are our five ways to negotiate effectively when in a sales situation:

1. Be Prepared

Before entering a negotiation situation it’s vital to be prepared. Do your research. Look into the company and individual you’re meeting and make sure you fully understand what their role is and exactly what the business is about. Also, ensure that you know your company, product or service inside out. You want to be sure you can answer any question that is put your way. Perhaps most importantly of all, confirm that you’re going to be meeting or speaking with the right person who can make decisions within the company!

Make sure that you eliminate any potential surprises. This includes having a set budget in mind, with limits on how flexible you can be, as well as having a fail-safe and realistic sales strategy in place.

2. Have a strategy

Don’t go into a negotiation situation blind. Firstly, you need to ensure that both parties are on the same page before entering a negotiation. There is no point in negotiating if you’re both after different outcomes. Your first negotiation will have an effect on the entire meeting, so make sure the first offer is at the upper end, or above, what you really want. Don’t be afraid to be bold, as long as you aren’t being unreasonable.

It is imperative that you remain consistent throughout the negotiation. Always make sure your offer is the last on the table and don’t back down when seeing the other parties’ reactions. Remember, the person you’re meeting with will also have a negotiation strategy. Identifying their approach early on will also help you to remain constant with your offer.

3. Making an Offer

When it comes to making, or even accepting, an offer in a negotiation make sure you are fully clear of all aspects. Know what you will be getting from the other party as well as what is expected of you. Don’t be confused by distractions or decoys, stick to your guns and be confident.

Remember, when you make your offer, the other person will most likely make a counter-deal. Reaching a compromise somewhere in between, if realistic enough, may take a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), an individual gets uncomfortable after around eight seconds of silence and will naturally want to fill it with a counter-offer. However, you should never accept a counter-offer straight-away. Remain in control for the entirety of the negotiation and be persuasive. The only way you’re going to move someone to a new position is by using persuasion techniques.

4. Create a Win-Win Situation

In negotiation it is vital to listen and understand the other party. Find out what they want and what matters most to them. Finding a price that is right for everyone is the first step to achieving a win-win situation. However, be aware of how else you can manage this. Something that they will appreciate but won’t make much difference to you is ideal. For example, timing or implementation and delivery could matter a lot to them. Be flexible by adapting to their needs and build this into your offer. Everyone gets what they want, at an agreed price, and everyone’s a winner!

Be persuasive. Say you’ll throw in some extras for free. Use your persuasive skills to bargain with the other party. By leading the negotiation and being confident you’re also being more influential. Just remember to be subtle, don’t let the other person know that they’re being swayed.

5. Seal the Deal

This is the pinnacle of the entire negotiation. If you have got this far then you really can’t afford any mistakes. Be aware of your body language. According to Entrepreneur, sitting down while sealing the deal indicates calmness and confidence, and suggests consistency throughout the negotiation. Be positive, have full eye contact, smile and don’t be afraid to add a little humour. By making the other person feel comfortable and relaxed, they will be more likely to accept your offer and confirm the deal!

Master the art of negotiation with Ripley Training

Become a successful sales person and improve the bottom line for your business by developing your negotiation and persuasion skills. Our Sales Negotiation Skills course will help you navigate and lead successful negotiations. If you are likely to be on the other side of the table, our Negotiation Skills for Purchasers/Buyers course will help you get the best results for your company when dealing with suppliers.

To find out more, why not give us a call on 01423 861 122? Or fill in our short contact form – we’d love to help you!

How to Pitch for New Business

Attracting and impressing new clients is essential to any business looking to grow. Ambitious companies are all vying for new business alongside you, and having an edge over your competitors through an exceptional presentation can mean the difference between a contract and a handshake goodbye.

However, pitching for new business is one of the most intense and nerve-wracking parts of business today. As tensions run high, you can start to feel the pressure. This is because your body releases cortisol, the stress hormone, which increases your heart rate and makes you sweat. Cortisol can limit your creativity and leave you incapable of interacting with the room. This means you’re in danger of failing to nail the pitch and win that all-important contract. So how can you stop this happening and ensure that your pitch is successful?

Preparation is Paramount

An effective presentation comes after much preparation. Your number one priority is to prepare properly. You need to research the company that you are meeting, figure out their strengths and weaknesses. Make sure that you aren’t just selling them your idea; you are selling them the perfect solution – designed specifically for their company.

If you’ve gone over all eventualities, then you won’t have anything to be anxious about. Practice some ‘what if?’ scenarios, such as a PowerPoint failure, to make sure that you can deal with any scenario and have a back-up plan.

Telling your Story

All the pressure of the pitch can make you want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. Professional public speakers recommend speaking 10% slower than you normally would. Remember that people have got to take in everything that you’re saying. Communicate with confidence by speaking in a lively, engaging way. Leave natural pauses for everyone to digest what you’re saying.
Be yourself, as people will quickly see through a façade. Don’t rely on jargon and buzzwords; instead, speak from the heart using the type of language that you use every day. Remember to leave time at the end for questions.

Consider your Body Language

Everything has an effect on how you come across to your potential new clients, not just what you say. According to researcher Albert Mehrabian, the words you use and your tone of your voice accounts for just 45% of communication with over 55% of communication deriving subconsciously from your body language.

In your meeting, slouching, frowning, and hunching all make you look smaller and less impressive. People are looking for emotional cues when they listen to you. Instead of acting uncomfortable, you must exude confidence. Stand up straight with your shoulders back, meet people’s eyes when you speak, and smile.

Richard Branson has some excellent advice for people pitching for new clients. He says: ‘Enthusiasm is contagious.’ If you can share your genuine excitement about working with a new client, you’ll no doubt impress them.

Perfect your pitch with a little help from Ripley Training

At Ripley, we offer a number of courses to help you nail your presentation, teaching you everything from effective planning and preparation, to how to Q&A sessions to help you engage with those on the other side of the table in a more effective manner. From basic courses to advanced presentation skills, we’re here to help you with your pitch and presentation techniques.

We run courses across the country to help you hone your voice and perfect your pitch. Give us a call on 01423-861-122 or fill in our short contact form.