July 2020
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials


Tell us what you need in Pulse Check 4

Dear CHAMBER Members

Many of you have reached out asking for help and guidance during these trying times.

We’re listening.

Two weeks ago, we started conducting ‘pulse check’ surveys on BCMindreader.com to find out how businesses are faring in the age of COVID-19, and how your needs are evolving.

This information will inform ongoing recommendations to government and, perhaps more importantly, help track the efficacy of government programs and initiatives as they roll out.

Our previous COVID-19 Pulse Check survey saw over 1,300 responses and informed many of the existing supports for business already put forth by the BC government.

This is your opportunity to be heard on an ongoing basis and get the support you need.

Take our latest COVID-19 Pulse Check Survey.

We will keep you informed as the results come in, please reach out if you have any questions.

Stay safe,

Mark Drysdale
Executive Director
Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce

Six Deadly Sales Sins


Six Deadly Sales Sins

The world of sales is an ever-changing chameleonic experience. And COVID has multiplied this by a factor of heaven knows what. Even in "normal" times products change, customers' preferences and expectations change, purchasing habits change, and buying strategies change. But, the thing is, at their core, people don't change all that much. They all want the same things – value for their money, honesty and integrity in the sales process, quality customer service, a company that stands behind its products and its people, and a genuine respect or regard for their needs. Nowadays, of course, add safety to that list.

If you keep those things in mind as you navigate all the other changes, you will be less likely to make mistakes that might cost you sales. Consider these seven deadly mistakes, work to avoid them and you'll see a dramatic increase in your sales success.

1. Thinking it's all about you

Going into a sale thinking it's all about how well you present the material or how convincing you are, will never result in sales success. That kind of thinking leads to over-talking, intimidation, exaggeration, and other annoying behaviours that turn customers off. The best sales strategy is to listen more than you speak, hear where your customers are hurting, find their point of need, and know what they want. Only then can you genuinely offer something that will inspire them to purchase. Put sales quotas out of your mind when you're in the moment with your customer, and focus in on them. If you do that, you'll have no trouble reaching your sales targets.

2. Giving too much information

This happens when you don't pay attention to the first point. If you listen, you can zero in on the more precise product or service offerings that will meet your prospect's specific needs. If you don't listen, you may be tempted to try to tell your customer about everything you have available, assuming that in that broad spectrum there's got to be something they might want. The more specific you can be in addressing their needs, the more successful you will be in selling them something that can meet those needs.

3. Making judgments about your customers

While salespeople who are adept at reading their customers tend to have greater success, making assumptions too quickly can prevent you from gaining a sale. When hearing objections, or even outright refusals from your customer, try to discern what's underneath those objections rather than make the judgment that they're a lost cause. Is it really a money issue, or is it fear of trying something new? Is it about not wanting to buy from you, or is it about a bad experience they had with someone else? Persevere to find the real pain, and you'll be closer to the sale.

4. Disregard relationships in favour of making a sale

It's been said that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is especially true in the sales process. You can have the best, proven, inexpensive, quality item on the market but if your customer doesn't feel you care about them, they won't care about your product. Choose building relationships over making the sale every time. You may risk losing the sale in that moment, but it guarantees that someday down the road that person will consider you when it comes to making their purchasing decision.

5. Failing to do your homework

If you're rushing off to a sales meeting and haven't had time to do some research about your customer or prospect, their needs, your product as it relates to their need, your competition and anything else that might be relevant, you should consider rescheduling the meeting. The more information you have going into a sales meeting, the more success you are likely to have. These insights will help you anticipate objections, be prepared for questions, and be closer to meeting their needs and getting the sale.

6. Giving the reins to your customer

If you allow your customer to lead the sales process you lose credibility and the ability to be effective in the sale. If your customer is asking all the questions and putting you on the defensive, you'll be too busy trying to think up intelligent responses rather than understanding what they want. Be in control of the process and lead by asking questions (both those you've prepared in advance and those that come out of your conversation during the sales process). Listening closely to their answers will generate more questions, bringing you ever closer to the core understanding you need to make the sale.

We all make mistakes, and if any of these have been part of your repertoire, don't beat yourself up. Just acknowledge it and do it differently next time. The key to becoming a great sales person is a willingness to learn and grow and change in changing times – and anyone can do that!

Six Deadly Sales Sins


Increase the Effectiveness of Your Training

The world is changing and so is your business. As business owners and managers struggling to adapt to a new world, a new normal, it's very likely we'll need to offer our staff new training, or perhaps in some cases re-training.

The question is, how do we ensure it is effective and delivers value for money? If you've ever attended a training session with another person, you will probably have noticed how differently each of us learn and absorb information. We all have different learning styles, different knowledge bases, different IQ levels, and even different experiences that affect how we interpret and internalize information. Every person on your team will have a different learning experience, and view training differently. Given that, how can you provide effective training for your staff that ensures your training dollars are being well spent? Regardless of how people learn, there are some training strategies you can use to increase the power of the learning experience.

Implement Movement

Learning takes place throughout our entire bodies, not just in our head. Have you ever been in a long lecture and become uncomfortable? It becomes difficult to focus. It's been said that the mind can only retain as much as the posterior can endure. When running or facilitating training sessions, make sure you allow movement and encourage the use of participants' bodies as part of the learning experience. Get them to stand up, change positions, move around the room, do a physical activity (hands-on), role-play, talk to each other, play a game – anything to get them to move.

Use Repetition Along with Active Learning for Greater Retention

It's proven that repetition aids learning and retention. This is as true for children practicing their times tables as it is for adults processing new information. A study on the retention of textbook materials shows that typical adults forget almost half of what they read after just one day. After 14 days they've forgotten more than three-quarters, and after a month they've forgotten 81%. A similar study showed that after listening to lectures, students forgot more than 90% of what they heard after just 14 days. This is because during a lecture, participants can't stop to reflect, ask questions, clarify, or interpret. So when you're training, make sure you use lots of repetition coupled with active learning.

Combine Repetition and Movement

Now combine repetition and movement. Take a key learning point and ask them to repeat it out loud. Ask them to write it down. Ask them to interpret it to the person next to them. Be creative in the ways you use repetition to aid their retention of important points.

Ask Questions and Get Feedback

Involve participants by asking them to give feedback on the material that's being taught. This requires them to pause, reflect and internalize the concepts. For those who learn best by thinking out loud, it gives them the opportunity to process as they speak. For others, it forces them to think through the concepts in order to answer your questions. For all participants, it reinforces learning because they are hearing questions answered, and opinions offered, around the topic that's being presented. Never train by simply giving the lecture and assuming everyone has heard and correctly understood the material.

Use Breaks to Your Advantage

Remember the saying about the mind and the posterior? Allowing people to have frequent breaks in the presentation will help them to stay more focused. During the breaks, take time to talk to participants and use repetition one-on-one to reinforce learning. "So Debbie, what did you think about the material we presented this morning?" "Hey John, I noticed you taking a lot of notes during the session. What are your thoughts about this training session?" Talking with participants during breaks, and getting them to tell you what they've learned, helps you to see if you need to go over something again to clarify. That's a big bonus.

You can increase the impact of your training sessions by incorporating these few ideas into your training plan. Doing so will increase the value of your training as your employees retain more of what they learned and apply it to their jobs – which is after all, the whole point isn't it?

Six Deadly Sales Sins


What's Holding You Back?

Often we have ways of self-sabotaging ourselves or holding ourselves back. Here are four ways we might inhibit our progress.

1. Procrastination.

One of the ways we slow our own progress is through procrastination. Too often we put things off, things we know we should be doing. We may think that the task is too arduous, time-consuming, or boring or we may simply not feel like doing it and come up with a myriad of excuses. One way to beat the cycle of procrastination is to choose one thing we can do right now, right this minute. Often just by making a start, we end up doing it. Think of the Nike motto "Just Do It!" which is very appropriate.

"My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time."
Charles Dickens

2. Avoidance.

There is an important distinction between avoidance and procrastination. Ask yourself, "What am I avoiding by not doing this?" "What will happen if I continue to avoid it?" " How will I succeed if I persist in avoiding doing this?" Discovering the reason for avoiding doing something and understanding the consequences of not doing it, will help you confront your "demons."

"A day can really slip by when you're deliberately avoiding what you're supposed to do."
Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes

3. Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist can truly inhibit us from reaching our goals and attaining success. It's not about accepting mediocre, it's more about finishing even if it's not necessarily perfect. As a perfectionist we prolong finishing something because we are afraid that it is not perfect. Ask yourself, "What does perfect look like? Is it really attainable and worth the extra time? When do I need to stop the tweaking and finish up?"

"Don't aim for perfection. Aim for 'better than yesterday'."
Izey Victoria Odiase, Web Designer

4. Indecision

Too many facts, too much information, a feeling you don't have all the facts, or that there is more to consider, can hold you back. These are the fundamental causes of indecision. When we understand that we won't ever have all the facts, we can accept that there comes a point where a decision has to be made. Ask yourself, "What is one decision can I make that will get things moving forward? What is the best choice for me right now?"

"Indecision and delays are the parents of failure."
George Canning, English Statesman

These are just four of many ways that you can self-sabotage yourself into not making progress or at the least inhibit your progress. When you recognize one or more of these traits in yourself, you can take steps to overcome how they are holding you back and move towards success.

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development


Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 598, 33 Roberts Street, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A4
Phone: 250-245-2112