How Your Health Can Affect Your Sales

HealthHealth picture
Are you healthy? Really healthy? Are you sure? The overwhelming majority of salespeople I have encountered are not healthy. The life of the business person does not lend itself to healthiness. You may well be physically fit and not overweight, but this is not the same thing as being healthy.

Why is this important? Simply because you cannot perform at your best when you are unhealthy. You experience peaks and troughs of energy and fluctuating moods. It is difficult to get up in the morning. Your thinking is dramatically affected. When unhealthy, you think more slowly and less accurately. Memory is impaired and reactions are poor. Many people put this down to the first signs of ageing but they are wrong! The human body is quite capable of sustaining an active life to well over one hundred years old and to living to over one hundred and fifty years.

What is “healthy”? The most important factor is diet followed closely by exercise and rest. Looking at these three factors:

1. Diet. Poor diet is the reason for the dramatic increase in “lifestyle” diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and Arthritis. Are you shocked? You should be! What you eat largely determines how healthy you are and how long you will live. (More on this later.)
2. Exercise. Most people would agree that moderate exercise is good for you. Their reasons however would vary. The best reason for exercise that I have found is that by exercising, you are raising your pulse rate and stimulating the muscles in your body to stretch. Your heart is one of those muscles that you are stretching and this helps to keep it working properly.

What I am not advocating is spending hours in a gym every day or running miles. I am suggesting a gradual raising of physical activity such as:
• Walking up and down stairs rather than taking the lift
• Walking up and down escalators
• Go for a short walk at lunchtime
• If you drive to work, park a little way away from your office and walk the last few hundred yards. If you take the train, walk to the station.
• Get into the habit of walking rather than driving for short journeys

You will not have to take any more time out of your schedule to accommodate any of these actions and small as they may seem, they will make a dramatic difference to your health.

Please consult your Doctor before you change your diet or undertake any form of physical exercise.

3. Rest. The balance of research points to us needing about 8 hours to be fully rested and refreshed. But not all sleep is equal! The first four hours of sleep are used by the body for body repairs or rejuvenation of the tissues worn down during the day. The first hour is the deepest sleep with the first hurried elimination of the major aspects of purely physical fatigue with the next three hours being progressively lighter sleep while the more intricate physical repairs are accomplished – such things as reflexes and various physically derived judgements such as distance, form and colour are thus returned to normal through cell repair and reproduction.

The next four hours gives you the mental sorting and cataloguing that keeps you mind in good shape. If you are depriving yourself of sleep, you are probably suffering mentally rather than physically as it is very unusual for anyone to receive less than four hours of sleep regularly.

The message is simple. To be at you sharpest mentally and physically, you need about eight hours sleep regularly.

By my definition a healthy person eats a balanced diet, is physically fit and is well rested and alert. This describes the ideal situation and I know from my years in sales that sticking to it the whole time is close to impossible.

If you want to change your health you must change what you are eating, the exercise you are getting and how long you sleep. This need not take up much more time if you are sensible – and remember that you will be improving your ability to do your job and live longer into the bargain!

My suggestions on exercise above should not tie you up for more than a few minutes a day – you just need to remember to act on them. With regard to sleep, work out honestly how much sleep you get on average and then try to increase that gradually to as close to eight hours as you possibly can.

I found that the best way to improve my diet was to follow the advice of a qualified nutritionist. He checked my vitamin and mineral levels as well as testing me for food intolerances (approximately 50% of adults have an intolerance to wheat, yeast or sugar). He was then able to recommend a diet that I could follow as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. None of us eat a perfect diet and the supplements make it possible to have the correct levels of vitamins and minerals without eating a ton of cabbage and spinach weekly!

The best nutritionists are those associated with health food and complementary medicine centres. In my experience GP’s are unable to offer effective advice on diet and nutrition.

How To Use Questions To Get What You Want

Questions are the lifeblood of every conversation.  Whilst Active Listening is a great skill to have, without someone asking questions there are no answers to which you can listen!

The mind is a very logical instrument and tries very hard to predict the next question and therefore “opens files” in anticipation.  If the answer to the next question lies in one of these “files”, the question will be answered accurately and with detail.  If not, the other person will find the conversation hard going and will not be able to give good answers to your questions. This means that first you must approach the topic with the person and when his mind is on the topic, then ask a question specific to it. You will find this much more rewarding with the answers you receive.

Structure is very important if your questions are going to yield the answers you want.  Consider for a moment a filing cabinet.  To get to a file you must first open a drawer then select a folder and finally select one file from many in that folder.  If you had started out by opening a drawer at random and selecting the first folder you saw, would you find the information you were seeking?  Unlikely.

Types of Questions
Most people will identify with two types of questions.  Open questions are where the respondent needs to give an answer that is more than a simple yes or no or monosyllabic reply.  Good examples may be:

How do you feel about nuclear disarmament?
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Why would you climb that mountain?

And so on … You should note that these questions begin with How, What and Why.  These words typically invite the respondent to talk at length and are great for opening up a conversation (hence “open” questions).

The other form of questions are closed questions and these result in a factual and short response.  Good examples are:

How much is that?
What day do you want to meet?
When do you want to go ahead?
Do you want to buy this?
Would you like this delivered?

You will see that all of these questions can be answered with a one word reply that will close the discussion.  Most questions that start with How Much, What, When, Do or Would will be closed questions.  They do not offer the respondent the opportunity to talk at length.
In most sales training, you are told that open questions are good and closed questions are bad.  This is wrong!
Both open and closed questions have their place in any conversation and need to be used in combination to steer you to your desired outcome of the conversation.

Closed questions should be used to take control and direction of the conversation when you feel as though it is going off the topic you want to discuss. Open questions are used to gather information usually. This information could be whether you have something that you can offer them as an organisation or something specific to what you are doing for them.

Open questions are great for getting details however they can sometimes lead to the conversation away from your topic, in this case you should use another closed question to bring it back to what you want.

Using “yes tags”
A “yes tag” is the bit you tag onto the end of a statement that turns it into a question that the other person will answer “yes”.  Examples include “isn’t it?”, “don’t you?”, “wouldn’t we?” and so on….
The human conscious mind has two basic emotional states.  Positive and negative.  They are called many other things, but these are two main conditions that we maintain.  It therefore goes without saying that one must be in one or other of these states at any one time – you cannot be both positive and negative at the same moment.
We are going to have a far more productive conversation with someone in a positive state than a negative one – right?

So, how do we ensure that we keep ourselves, and the person that we are talking with, positive?  We use “yes tags” on questions and ask questions that we know will be answered “yes”.  It does not matter whether the person answers your question out loud as long as you know that it will be being answered somewhere with a yes”.
Remember from above that our goal is to keep the other person positive during our conversation so that they are able to say “yes” when you ask for some commitment.  So, to keep them positive have them saying “yes” or other positive statements regularly.  Let’s look at some examples:

“Hot today isn’t it?” – notice the “yes tag”
 “Do you expect the need for XYZ Service to increase?”
“You would need more staff to do that – wouldn’t you?”

The purpose is not to have a conversation full of these questions, but to include them regularly to ensure that the other person remains in a positive state.

The Maths of data

QuestionsOften when we are planning an email campaign for a client, one of the biggest questions we face is “how many records are needed to achieve the results expected?”

Whilst we are firmly of the opinion that you can never have too many contacts to engage with, there are practical limits, especially if you are purchasing records or gathering them by telephone research.  So here is our rule of thumb for email campaigns:

  • Starting at the end and working backwards…
  • Campaign outcome: Require 4 good leads per month
  • Therefore need 20 interested contacts (1 in 5 can be classified as a lead)
  • Need to call 200 contacts following up the email campaign (one in 10 being interested) so we need to generate 200 interested contacts with the email campaign
  • Anything from 5% to 0.1% of contacts will engage with a good email campaign depending on the data used, message and market sector.

For well targeted, researched and opted in data you can achieve 1.5% engagement, for cold, purchased data, the figure is probably closer to 0.4%.  This means that if you want 4 good leads per month, you need:

For Good, warm contacts: 13,300 records and for cold but well targeted purchased data: 50,000 records.

The good news is that if you are willing to invest in your campaign and allow interest to build over a few months and be very rigorous with re-engaging the contacts that were “maybe”, you can reduce your data requirements by half, but this is still a lot of data to acquire, manage  and engage with…

Nett Sales: Right person > right message > right time


It has become apparent that we all need to work harder to convert and make the most of every sales opportunity. Commentators suggest that every sale is taking 20% more effort with contacts having become more mobile and less contactable.

In response, businesses have begun to look for repeatable sales processes for getting more business. We have developed one such system for you to share knowledge, build relationships and get more sales. We call it the Nett Sales Process.

The goal of Nett Sales Process is to create “perfect” enquiries for you. Diagrammatically it looks like this:


Trying to get the right message to the right person?

If you have concerns over the accuracy of your sales and marketing database, you will recognise these scenarios:

‘Every time I send a physical mailing ¼ are sent back ‘return to sender’.

‘Every time I send an email campaign my key data shrinks by 10%’

‘Each time my sales people make calls I find my contacts have gone away / moved on’

If so, you might lack of control over the size and accuracy of your database. It’s worse still if a customer search produces no database match or if 5 contacts match with varying details. But worst of all is the wasted time of sending sales people or information to the wrong place.

If you feel like you’ve got to get more accurate data and stop everyone keeping their own records, follow this link

It’s a big and complicated job isn’t it?

Database cleansing and research needn’t be expensive. Our rates start at 30p per contact – £300/1000.

Intrigued? Follow this link to see how this works for you.

Nett Sales has many happy clients. But don’t take our word for it. See what one of them says here.

Get in touch now on 01672 505050 or contact us to begin engaging your customers and not their old details.

Nett Sales is recruiting!

Part time Telemarketer

We have an immediate requirement for one or more telemarketers / researchers to work for Nett Sales LLP at our office in the beautiful village of Aldbourne, south east of Swindon on the Marlborough Downs (close to M4 Junction 15).

This will be a fantastic role for the right person. This is a half-time ongoing requirement (4 hours per day) for telemarketing and telephone sales support for a major client in the training market.

You will be making calls to follow up interested businesses.  This is NOT cold calling!  You will require a conversational style, rather than following a sales script. The ability to quickly establish rapport on the phone and talk knowledgeably about a subject based on a brief is vital.

Initial training and most of the work will be done at Nett Sales but there is the opportunity to work from your own office / home part of the time.

Key skills

  • A genuine interest in sales, lead generation and customer relationship is important
  • You must be able to think for yourself and contribute to the debate on getting more sales and winning opportunities
  • Must be able to communicate verbally, in writing and be efficient in typing
  • Interpersonal skills important – the ability to chat to business people
  • Confidence on the phone
  • Can work unsupervised
  • ‘Can do’ attitude
  • Good knowledge around IT, technology and business use of IT is helpful be not essential
  • Interested in people and their views
  • Experience in a customer facing, telephone sales or telemarketing role preferred but full training will be given

The Job

This position is for an ongoing ‘half time’ (4 hours per day) member of staff to join our telephone team. The successful applicant will be able to work flexibly and choose their hours within reason.

Any work undertaken outside Nett Sales office will require Windows PC with good Broadband.  We will provide a VoIP phone for making calls. In order to help you be as effective as possible we record all calls and give you regular feedback.

Duties will include:

  • Making conversational, telephone follow up and sales calls to follow up knowledge led emails sales or web registrations, to an engaged contact list
  • Updating client data and telephone activity in a CRM system and / or spreadsheets
  • Various web research
  • Process email replies
  • Handle new customer enquiries and questions
  • Handling feedback, product updates, offers and additional training from the above parties
  • Weekly and monthly sales admin and reporting into Excel spreadsheets
  • Working with the team to run sales campaigns


Located in Aldbourne, 6 miles from Swindon on the 46 & 48 bus route from Swindon & Marlborough in a friendly and relaxed office. Parking is available.


All calls will be made within normal UK business hours but within reason you can select mornings or afternoons with us in advance. Salary rate is approx £10 per hour rate. Wage quoted is approx and will depend upon experience. Payment will be based on hours worked and telephone performance levels achieved.

If you are interested, please call Carl Wheatley on 01672 505050, email or visit


How To Regain Your Audience’s Attention In a Presentation

Asleep in class

Your talk should always be stimulating, relevant and interesting to your audience (otherwise, why are you talking to them?).  If you have mixed interests in your audience, it is likely that some parts of your presentation will be of less relevance to some people than others.  It is therefore vital that you are able to regain those people’s interest.

The best techniques I have found to regain attention are:

  1. Silence.  Silence is often a good ploy.  Just pause for a few seconds after making a point, maybe looking in the general direction of the person not paying attention, and she will suddenly realise everything has gone quiet and look up with a start.  The aim is not to embarrass her, just to regain her attention.
  2. Questions.  If you ask a question of your audience (even if you don’t expect an answer), the change in tone and interaction will restore attention, particularly if there is a few seconds of silence after you ask your question.
  3. Change tone.  If you have been delivering your presentation in a level voice then a change in volume (louder or quieter), accent or pitch will cause a person who is daydreaming to look up.
  4. Loud noise. Find an excuse to drop a big book on the floor, clap your hands, stamp your feet, cough or do anything else that will generate a loud, sharp noise.  Even those who are asleep will respond to this!
  5. Transitions.  If you have broken up your presentation into segments, you will give an introduction and summary between each segment.  You can use these transitions to enliven an audience.  Write your transitions in terms of audience benefit.  Sell them on the next segment coming up and maybe even “preview” up coming segments.  “That is one way to increase your profits by 10% and I’ll be showing you four other excellent ways by which you can increase you nett profit using this product, but first I want to tell you about………”.

Watch your audience’s eyes as you use these approaches and once you are satisfied that they are paying attention, you can move onto your next point.

Are you listening carefully?

IMG_1000It has been said that you should talk and listen in the ratio of one mouth to two ears!  On this basis, how you listen is twice as important as what you say and how you say it.  How do you listen?  Surely listening is listening you are either listening or you are not?  What do you think?

Imagine two situations.  In the first you are in a product briefing being given by a supplier whose products you don’t sell much.  It is Friday at 4:30PM, the sun is shining outside, the room is hot and the presenter is appalling!  He is talking in a monotone and has been taking about the same graphic for the past 30 minutes.  Half the people in the room are asleep!  How are you listening?

In the second situation you are with the senior buyer of your largest client.  He is describing his plans to take your complete product range.  You know that by the end of this meeting you will have done your annual target for sales twice over!  How are you listening?

Given these two situations, there are different levels of listening:

  1. Glazed Eyes.  You are not far away from dropping off to sleep.  You would be hard pressed to remember anything about what has been said at all.
  2. Automatic Response.  This is typical in meetings and conversations where your mind is somewhere else.  You are making the standard, automatic responses to the other person: “Sure”, “Yeah”, “oh that’s nice”, “no problem” and so on.  You wake up with a start when you realise that you have congratulated him on his son’s drug addiction problem!
  3. Last Few Words.  This goes all the way back to the schoolroom when you were listening with one ear whilst daydreaming.  The teacher asks you “What was I just saying, Smith?”.  You are able to dredge up the last few words that the teacher said and thus avoid their wrath.
  4. Answer Questions.  If you can answer questions about the discussion, you are paying attention and thinking about the subject in hand.  When you are in this mode of listening you stand a reasonable chance of remembering some of the discussion later.
  5. Tell Someone Else.  If you can tell someone else about the discussion, you are attentive and probably verifying the information as you go along with questions and confirmations of your own.
  6. Teach Someone Else.  If you are also able to teach someone else about the material, you are at the peak of attentiveness.  This is the optimal state of listening.  You are enjoying the subject matter, confirming points with questions of you own and you feel highly involved in the conversation.

Now, consider how the other person will feel about you if you are listening to them at level 1, or level 3, or level 6?  Do you think that they appreciate being listened to?  If so, do you think that she will be able to tell the difference between the different levels at which you may have been listening?  Of course she can! Rapport develops rapidly between two people where they are both actively listening to each other.  That is, they are both listening at level 4, 5 or 6.

Actively listening to someone is the fastest way to build rapport with that person.  And selling is all about influencing the buyer to your point of view.  By actively listening, you can persuade without saying anything!  When you do speak, isn’t it likely that the other person will now pay attention to you as well?  He or she is going to actively hear your sales message rather than listening with glazed eyes.


12 steps to persuasive conversations

IMG_1012If you consider the many hundreds of conversations you have each week, some long, some short, some business related, some not, then it will become clear to you that this is a vital part of our business and social lives.  We can do little without becoming involved in a conversation, whether collecting an order from a client, or ordering lunch in a restaurant. Therefore by turning our attention to these conversations and improving their content, you will be able to improve the standard of your conversations.

In a business context, this means improved relationships with your clients, prospects, peers, staff and management.  In your personal life you will also have the opportunity to improve your relationships and persuade others to your point of view without browbeating them. The basic rules that you should follow are as follows:

  1. Think of a chess clock.  This is two clocks in one.  Only one of which is running at any one time.  When one player has made his move, he presses the button on his side.  This stops his clock and starts his opponents.  When his opponent has finished his move, he presses the button on his side.  This stops his clock and re-starts the first player’s clock. If you view your conversations in this way, giving your “opponent” a chance to talk then when she has finished, she will give you the chance to talk.  Apply the “two ears to one mouth” rule so that if they “overrun”, you can gently interrupt with a closed question (one that required only a one word answer) and then start talking. Shining the light on the other person in this way will help her to open up and give far more information than you would have received otherwise.
  2. Maintain eye contact.  If you keep looking at the other person while he is talking, not only will you pick up all of the non-verbal signals he is giving off (unintentionally), but you will also reassure him that you are paying attention and listening.
  3. Make notes.  I am not blessed with a photographic memory and unless you are, you need to make notes.  This also re-assures the other person that what she is saying is so important to you that you want to write it down!
  4. Don’t finish other’s sentences.  This ranks as number one most annoying habit with many people.  Tempting as it may be, let him finish – you may be surprised!  This point is particularly important when listening to someone with a stutter.  Let him finish on his own.  He will be extremely grateful and you will build great rapport, as most people automatically finish his sentences for him.
  5. Don’t jump to conclusions.  This goes hand in hand with finishing others sentences.  Give them time to finish and elaborate.  They may well reveal more information than you were expecting.
  6. Do respond.  There is nothing worse than talking to a person who sits with a blank face not saying or doing anything.  We all need the verbal and non-verbal responses to reassure us that we are being listened to and appreciated!  Nodding, smiling, “hmm” and leaning forward in our seat are all reassuring gestures to keep the other person talking.
  7. Watch your speech habits.  The moment you meet someone, they are judging you.  By the time you have spoken a dozen words they will have decided in which “box” you belong.  People will judge you as much by how you say something as by what you say.  If you have a weak ineffectual style then no matter how positive and upbeat your words, you will be judged weak and ineffective.  Watch how you judge other people!
  8. Use Questions.  Questions are great!  You can use them for clarification, to show interest, to voice objection, to show support and many other uses.
  9. Watch body language. Be aware that your body language speaks far louder that your voice.  If there is a conflict between what you are saying and how you feel about it (maybe you are uncomfortable giving the information) an astute observer will spot the conflict and probably either ask highly penetrating questions or dismiss the information she is receiving.  Where there is a choice, people tend to accept the non-verbal communication (body language, posture, etc.) as accurate and the verbal as false.
  10. Ask “Why?”.  In many situations, this simple three letter word can extract more information than any other approach.  The simple act of asking “Why?” after someone has made a statement and then sitting quietly, leaning forward slightly in your seat, pen poised, will cause most people to gush forth with information.  When repeated (“Yes but why?”) it can be even more revealing.  It also demonstrates that you are interested in what the speaker is saying.
  11. Take a pause.  There are two good uses of a well-placed pause in conversation.  The first is when the speaker has finished.  If you pause and look as if you expect him to continue, he may well do so and give you more information.  A variation of this is to pause and if he does not continue say simply “…and?”.  This may prompt further where the pause on its own did not. The second use of a pause is when answering a question.  Just before you answer a question pause and take a small breath.  This does two things: first, it gives you a chance to think before replying; and second, it shows that you are considering the question carefully.  This will add weight to your answer in the other person’s eyes.
  12. Remember what she said.  If you are able to demonstrate your complete recall of previous conversations with a person, they will be impressed.  Active listening helps you to remember, making notes will also aid your memory.  A useful technique that you can use is to repeat back to yourself everything that the other person says.  As she is talking simply repeat the words to yourself (don’t move your lips!).  You will find that this helps your concentration as well as improving your memory as you are hearing everything twice.

During your conversation ask questions about topics that you have discussed previously.  She will be impressed that you remembered and you will be able to build rapport. I have found that jotting down keywords in meetings and then writing up the meeting notes afterwards is the best way of ensuring complete recall.  Review your notes before the next meeting and pick on a few points to raise at this meeting.

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