Pioneering project to transform the selling power of small businesses

Pioneering project to transform the selling power of small businesses

The Institute of Sales Professionals is launching a series of free masterclasses to boost the selling skills of small businesses thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with the Department for Education.

The classes will give SMEs immediate and practical help to transform their sales results by achieving bigger deals and better profits more quickly.

After taking part, SMEs will finish the courses with their own action plan tailored to their company - a clear template focused on developing better business. Once this plan is established it can be repeated effectively with other organisations. Companies that already use this method have reported some stunning successes, including:
:: an increase in sales growth from 6% to 70%
:: record level orders with different organisations in different markets
:: reinvigorating a struggling product and service against the major competitor in the market.

Initially, the workshops will be offered to small businesses through colleges in Hampshire and Surrey with a view to expanding them across the UK.

John Tunstall, a sales leader and fellow of the Institute of Sales Professionals who has used his extensive experience to develop and run these masterclasses, said: “The selling challenges often experienced by SMEs are not difficult to put right. Good selling is about doing the right things at the right time and in the right order. If you do what’s best for the customer, the rest takes care of itself. That doesn’t mean saying yes to everything, but it does mean spotting and analysing the problem then focusing, with the customer, on how to provide the best possible solution. Knowing how to do this is the key to successful selling.

“The workshops will be using a template refined over many years which, I am pleased to say, has helped businesses achieve some outstanding results. In one example, a firm turned the size of their average order from just £236 to an average contract value of £70,000.

“Businesses have made some striking improvements because this method is not difficult to put into practice. Salespeople can achieve great results by focusing on their customers’ needs and by being organised and methodical which is the essence of this approach.”

The initial courses, which are free to SMEs in Hampshire and Surrey, were funded by the Department for Education in recognition of the shortage of professional sales skills as reported by the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. ( workshops are being hosted by colleges in Farnborough, Basingstoke, Winchester, Guildford and Epsom.

The programme involves some short preparation work sent to the learner in advance, two face-to-face evening classes, an online assessment, and a one-hour virtual meeting which is a recap of the course with a question-and-answer session.

Guy Lloyd, a founding fellow and board trustee of the Institute of Professional Sales, said “This is a brilliant initiative that recognises the acute need for better sales skills in our SMEs, something that became very clear in the inquiry reports into business-to-business selling commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Professional Sales.”

See the reports in full:
1 The Missing Link: SME selling challenges and solutions
2 Supercharging Sales: How the UK can prosper in a global marketplace

More details about how to sign up for the SME masterclasses will be released once dates with the colleges are confirmed. The Institute of Sales Professionals expects the first classes to start in November, with others possibly running in the new year.

Once these classes have been completed, the programme will be made available to SMEs through colleges across the rest of the country on a paid-for basis - unless further funding is secured.

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