New business 55% above target
Chris Leigh-Browne, regional sales manager at City Link, a British parcel courier company, met Mark Webster of Flexible Minds at a sales conference in early 2010. He liked the innovative concept that Mark presented and invited Mark to one of his sales team meetings. Chris was looking for improvement and change, but never expected his team to achieve new business sales of 55% above target in 2010's difficult trading conditions.
About 25 of his sales team attended the meeting and Mark, with his jeans and laid-back demeanour, was obviously not the average sales trainer. After an introduction and an exercise in mindfulness, about eight people expressed an interest in trying out Flexible Minds' approach. This was whittled down to five, including Chris, as they focussed on customer facing staff.
The training started with a group session to explain what Mark wanted to them to do. Each trainee then had a weekly phone call with Mark and there was audio support: mindfulness and relaxation CDs to play in the car. The group met monthly to discuss what they had learned, practice their new skills and exchange ideas. This was followed by a one-to-one session with Mark.
All five participants exceeded their new business targets: two of them by 100% and another by 75%. Before the training, one was already a very successful salesperson, but the others were relatively average. All are now in the top of league of sales staff at City Link. Chris explained that the dramatic improvement in one particular member of staff was wholly unexpected: he really hadn't thought this person was cut out for sales before.
To find out what two participants thought, see the views of Graham Jarvis, area sales manager below and see personal view of the training from Bridie O'Halloran, area sales manager.
Mark: "I am really surprised how quickly the team grasped the concepts and turned it into sales. BTW I am not a hippy."
Chris: "I think I can speak for the group: we have had a terrific year, both financially and emotionally. Because we have performed so well our commission payments have been good and, on top of that, we've been much happier as a team.
Chris: "Mark really tore up all the scripts, taking us all down a path to self awareness. It was as though we were all on a hamster-wheel and he gave us the opportunity to jump off. For some it was a very personal, cathartic experience, exploring their own potential."
Chris: "One piece of advice for anyone considering using Flexible Minds: the team leader must be completely open to the idea and buy into it. If they are then the results are outstanding."
Chris: "This is not your usual run-of-the-mill training. It is far more personal. This is about seeing yourself in a different way and discovering new skills. These enhance your life experience and help you focus more effectively than you previously thought possible."
Graham: "Flexible Minds training made me think about the consequences of my actions. Email and phone requests come in and I’ve learnt to consider what the outcomes are if I deal with it and if I don’t deal with it. I consider the impact upon me and the person asking for something. Then I decide whether I delete, forward or focus upon it."
Graham: "I used to be a bit of a control freak. If I forwarded something on to another person, I had to check that it had been dealt with. I spent a huge amount of time just following everything up. I’ve learnt to let that go, I do it naturally now. If the request isn’t dealt with properly, they’ll come back to me anyway."
Graham: "I had a good sales year in 2010, but I reckon my sales in 2011 will easily be 50% higher again. I’ve got roughly the value of last year’s sales lined up already and it’s only mid January."