Janet Efere tells us how to sell without pressure and without being yucky
Tony Radford 0:00
Hello, everybody and welcome to another episode of the Small Business heroes podcast. Today's guest is Janet Efere of TadpoleTraining.com.
Janet, how you doing?
Janet Efere 0:12
Hi, I am so good. Thank you for having me, Tony.
Tony Radford 0:16
Excellent. So can you tell us a little bit about your business, Janet?
Janet Efere 0:20
Yeah, so I'm a sales trainer and coach and in particular, I specialize in helping people close the deal. And I set up Tadpole Training in 2013 because no one can pronounce my name, which is why I didn't just call it Jennifer Efere coaching. So yeah, tadpole training. I hope to be memorable and I'd focus on helping small businesses and business owners sell without being pushy or yucky, but very successfully, because if you haven't got any money coming into that business is not a business it is a hobby.
Tony Radford 0:56
Yeah, very good point. Hopefully I pronounced it incorrectly. So you said that you, you help people to learn to sell and without being pushy or yucky. Could you just tell us, you know roughly how you actually do that? What's your process? What do you do?
Janet Efere 1:17
Okay, well, I'm very lucky that I, my background is sales. I learned my sales skills at Xerox and Xerox, we were pretty much always the most expensive. And it's a very competitive marketplace. So I had to fit Yeah, they really invested in a lot of training for me. And the primary system is called with something called SPIN Selling. So maybe some of you are familiar with that. But it is very, very good method of selling. It's all about understanding what the customers problems, needs and desires and wants are.
So I guess for most normal people - most normal people understanding that people buy for two reasons. There's only really two reasons customers going to buy something from you. And one is that you solve some pain. And the second reason is that you move them closer to an objective. So if you can really understand and getting the customers minds and find out what motivates them, actually, selling shouldn't be pushy, because actually selling is just about helping them isn't it it's about helping them get rid of pain or move towards a goal. Yes, making informed choices to come to that decision. If you don't allow them to make informed choices, you're just being pushy, and chances are something called buyer's remorse will kick in where they agree to the sale just to get rid of you and then soon as they possibly can the council. So decent proper good selling without being pushy is about helping people.
Tony Radford 2:57
That's great. Thanks for that. So what about your challenges? What's the biggest challenge you've faced in in business.
Janet Efere 3:03
It was absolutely setting up in the first place. Because when I set up my company, it's all very, very complicated. But the short story is that the business I have been my husband failed. So we pretty much overnight had to close. So that meant laying off the staff. It meant I had no job I had no money. And when I started tadpole training. I was so broke, I couldn't afford internet. So I used to go to the McDonald's on the A10 in Enfield, if any of you are based in Enfield, I'm sure you know the one. And I used to take my scruffy old laptop and my sandwiches, and he used to stay there all day while the children were at school using the internet. Got to know everybody really quite well. So my biggest challenge was absolutely not having any money. I mean, you can set up a business with no money. It's not that you can't but to Little bit of help. So my biggest challenge was having to, for example, I knew I needed a website, couldn't afford to pay someone for a website. And this is before things like Wix. Were around. So I created my own website. It's absolutely dreadful, but at least I had one and then once I did start to get some money, and I could pay someone to do a proper one, but everything was very much DIY. So I think my biggest challenge is actually not having money at the start.
Tony Radford 4:30
When you say to start, you mean to start off being a sales trainer as a business?
Janet Efere 4:34
I didn't have any issues or lack of confidence in terms of being a sales trainer because I had such a good education at Xerox and also the college I ran with my husband. for 17 years I headed up business development and part of that was I recruited trained and motivated a customer service sales team. So I'm a new things I needed to do in terms of the product comes into office. Which was the training, I had the knowledge. And I wasn't intimidated by setting up a business because I've done that too. But it was actually the sort of nuts and bolts of getting going. That was the bit that was a challenge for me.
Tony Radford 5:14
Do you remember any of your first customers?
Janet Efere 5:17
Oh, I remember my very first customer. I'm not gonna say who it is. But I remember when she rang me up, she was inquiring about my sales course. And and we got to understand this because this is automatic. And so she said, Yeah, I'm interested in your sales course. So my first question to her was, Why are you interested in the sales course because I didn't want someone to come on it if it was the wrong fit for them. And I can remember she sounded so surprised.
"I've rung up to do something and you're almost challenging me".
But actually, that's what you should be doing because you don't want to just take someone's money and then it's not a good fit for them anyway, she was a good fit for me and I'll never forget the excitement of don't run get to the customer and that customer is brilliant.
Tony Radford 5:57
Something that people struggle with is pricing. How did you get around that?
Janet Efere 6:04
Oh my goodness, right. If you're struggling with pricing, I understand where you're coming from. And I could have launched a full three months earlier, if I just chosen a price and just gone with it. And so I really, really get it. If you're struggling with price. I think the best advice I can give to you is just choose a number. Okay, don't be the cheapest, don't be the most expensive, but just choose a number. And try it. You could be surprised. I'm going to give you a tip on pricing too.
So I trained sales teams as well. And my daily rate used to be depending on the client and how many sessions they wanted. It used to be between about 600 and 750 a day. And then I started doing associate work for another company and they were charging me out at 1500 pounds a day. It wasn't any more difficult to close deals. So I literally overnight doubled my prices, and it might not the slightest bit of difference to my closing rate. So I think Don't be too distracted by price. It really isn't the only reason that people buy just choose a price and go for it to happen.
Tony Radford 7:17
Yeah, when I started out in software, this would have been 1999 and found my first developer in Romania and I could make a business of it. I calculated how much I should charge this customer and then then I doubled it and he said yes.
Janet Efere 7:36
You'd be surprised what people say yes to. If you can deliver enough value, I mean, if you look at what I do as a sales trainer, and you could pay me I don't know if you came on my coaching programs, it's several thousand pounds. But what if I can deliver you 50 or 100,000 pounds extra revenue or one of our best customers, they Had a turnover of a million, and we increase their revenue by 48% without any other expenditure. So if if what you do tangibly adds value or helped bring in money to a client, then you're absolutely worth it. A company that's turning over a million pounds I'm the cost of hiring me is less than 1% of their annual turnover. And it's sort of a no brainer. So what can you do that delivers value to a customer and remember that often it's a monetary value and it's much, much greater than whatever it is, they're paying you.
Tony Radford 8:34
People, when they're starting out, maybe they've come out of employment and others have employed or some form of freelancer. Quite often they underprice themselves. Why is that?
Janet Efere 8:49
It's lack of confidence and, and possibly lack of research. I mean, one of my bugbears is that people don't do business plans unless they're told to by the bank to help them. Get them Finance, sort itself out a business plan is a working document, and also test the market. If you're really not confident about your price, here's a tip, charge a price even if it's too low. And once you've sold five, lots of whatever your thing is, then you know the market can take it. So put your prices up, make 10% make 20% and then when you sold another five, put your prices up again. And there will if you are closing absolutely every single deal and you're not charging enough, so just try it put prices up and see what will happen and as you get confident and as you get credibility and as you get testimonials, and that price increase, it won't feel like any sort of jump at all. So just try things my place.
Tony Radford 9:49
Okay, thanks for that. One thing that was going around my mind was, are you still teaching telephone sales?
Janet Efere 9:57
The main thing I teach it used to be a two day course. But it's not really now it's a six week part time course. But my main course is called How to Sell, which covers all the basics of what you need to know to get much better at selling. And part of that is telephone sales. And interesting, I just picked up a client where her her only job is to answer inbound phone calls, and convert them into sales, which sounds really easy, but actually, there's quite a lot that's involved within that. But it's a real pain point for her employer, because they're spending a lot of money on marketing to get the leads. And then through no fault of her own. She was struggling to close them so often, it could just be few simple little techniques like what questions to ask, and how to uncover that pain I was talking about and and also asked good closing questions at the correct time. And often it's very straightforward, but I mean, you need phone skills now because, yeah, we're returning to meetings, but let's face it, nearly all meetings are still either online or on the phone. And so I'd encourage anyone to get get some good phone skills training in there, it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.
Tony Radford 11:10
No, that's cool. So if the phone is still relevant, your sales course, okay? Just like email, basically.
Janet Efere 11:17
Well, not so sure about email. That's not really worked for me. But that's because I come from a sales driven background as opposed to a marketing driven background. I'm interesting. I'm gonna start dipping my toe into email marketing. And but yeah, I'd always rather pick up the phone. Do you feel that people should set themselves targets? Yeah. Otherwise, how will you know if you've achieved it? I see a lot of people who just have a sort of vague idea of I want to be successful or I want to have more money. Well, if you've got a target to achieve 100,000 pounds this year, then you fall backwards. colony has 100,000 How much is that each month? That's really 8000 something. Okay, so how much is that a week? Well, that's probably about 2000 pounds a week. Okay, so I know No, I don't know, say my, my widget that I'm selling for instance is 100 pounds. That means I need to sell 20 of those every week. Okay, how many customers do I need to sell to? To see to sell one widget? Well, maybe I need to see 10. So suddenly, I now got to see 200 customers. So if you work backwards, you need to have a target because it's the building blocks of what you are tactically going to do to actually achieve that target. Don't ever target you just going to drift and that was a nice day that was busy. I've done well. Maybe you've been busy, but you haven't actually closed anything. So you targets a terribly important you wouldn't expect to work in a corporate without a target. Because that target stripping for target helps you gives you structure.
Tony Radford 12:58
Yeah, no, I totally agree. inside of our application for small business owners, we have daily rituals which you can add numeric targets in. Yeah. And then you've got reports that will show you exactly what you spent your time on. Yeah, over any period that you want. If you're a freelancer, or micro business owner, you're kind of only accountable to yourself, right? How and therefore you, you know, unless you're quite strong, strongly motivated or have strong willpower, you How do you stay motivated to reach those targets?
Janet Efere 13:32
I think it depends what sort of person you are and different things work for different people. So some people will like a vision board. Some, you know, if you're visual that will probably work very well for you. What I tend to work with is numbers. So I've got a I've got a figure in mind how much revenue I want to earn. And I just break that down into how many clients on which product is allowed. Like little tick boxes, so I've got some stuff on my wall. As I achieve things are ticking off and I like to, I like the satisfaction of I've filled out or ticked it off or I've completed it. And the other thing I would one of the best tips that's ever worked for me is the humble post it note, if you've got a goal to get 10 customers and stick post it notes everywhere you go. So bathroom mirror is a classic, because you How often do you go and look in the mirror and bathroom probably quite a lot. And that's not implying for a second unveiling an idea a lot, but it's just a place that you look at. So I'm on your PC where you're going to see it, put a post it note with the things you want to achieve because too many people write down a target, in a folder in a document in their business plan, they create it they never look at it again. So it's out of sight out of mind. You need to constantly remind yourself of what your targets are. So whether it's visual or whether you get challenge every day, I don't care. But just keep reminding yourself what your target is. And that's the surest, surest way to get your head around achieving it.
Tony Radford 15:11
One thing I do, and I've done it for quite a few years now is to have a weekly accountability partner.
Janet Efere 15:18
Yeah. Oh, they're brilliant. We it's ironic, actually. Because when when I am coach clients, that's often one of the biggest things. They say, you know, I know what to do, but I need someone to make me do it. So a big chunk of my time is contacting people saying, Have you done the thing you're supposed to do? Yeah, I'm a great believer in accountability buddies. Really? Yeah. Is, is that you might do it the night before. really late. At least you'll do it. Excuse me most business forward.
Tony Radford 15:47
Yeah, exactly. The one I do is like, I just write a list of what I did last week, and what I'm going to do next week, and just send that email to the person and they send me theirs and it's Very simple but surprisingly powerful. Yes.
Janet Efere 16:03
And you don't want to let down your buddy or yourself, do you? So you try really hard to make sure you do everything on that list. And, look, sometimes you won't achieve everything. But if if you're consistently doing most of the things that you should be, then that's a business. It's going to grow, move forward. So it's incredibly important.
Tony Radford 16:20
What is the next step for your business?
Janet Efere 16:23
As I said, I've been so fortunate I've had a really, really strong lockdown. I've been extremely fortunate because I think when times are tough, I guess that's when people want a business coach. And the fact that I can teach people to sell has been massive. But at the moment, I'm, I'm in the process of putting together a program because I think a lot of people have been made redundant or have decided, having worked from home for a bit that they really don't want to keep commuting and working the nine to five. So I'm in the process of setting up a new Academy for Even newly redundant or newly, I've left my job, people who want to set up in their own business. And one of the reasons I was motivated to do this, I was having a discussion with someone about a month ago and they were telling me this story of a slightly dubious business coach from the sound of things, who charged someone other than if it was 20,000 or 25,000. It's a lot of money to coach someone into starting their own business, and they hand over all this money and at the end of it, they still didn't have a business. Now, you know, my story. I mean, I started on a shoestring So, and although I didn't mention it earlier, two years after I started in McDonald's, I was infills startup Business of the Year 2015. And I also got featured in The Guardian as a startup I got in their final their startup business of the year. So I know what you need to do to set up a business and it doesn't cost 25,000 pounds for most people. I mean, obviously If you buy from overstock, then it could do. But I really feel that there is there's a gap for really sound business advice for people who've got a little bit to invest, but don't want to go crazy, and spend all that money and then nothing at the end of it. So I'm launching an Academy where literally there's going to be this is how to do it for free. And this is a resource to use if you've got a bit of money to invest in and people can sort of mix and match and choose what they want, but all rounded off with me guiding them through the process so that they're up and running. And they're earning money at the end of it. So quite excited about that. That was a very long answer, because I'm really excited about it.
Tony Radford 18:42
It was good. When would that be kicking off?
Janet Efere 18:45
I want to kick it off in September. So I'm just finalizing the details now. So I'm not going to share my details at the end. But if people are interested message me and I'll put you on the mailing list and I'll let you know when I've got the details confirmed.
Tony Radford 19:00
Thank you very much. Simple but difficult question. If somebody gave you 500 pounds of spend on marketing, how would you spend it?
Janet Efere 19:08
I'll tell you what I do. I've just engaged a company to manage my social media for me. And they know things like algorithms that I don't know about and they have time to post, which I don't have. So, the answer is, I'm outsourcing my social media marketing.
Tony Radford 19:26
Right? Okay, good one. Do you have a business mentor or support group or trainer, you know,
Janet Efere 19:34
that the answer might be quite interesting. And my support group is I'm part of BSI which is business networking International. And yes, it's a networking group, but is more than that because we do support each other. And we are there for one another, and particularly during lockdown. It's been brilliant that once a week I've got a meet a business meeting. But with people who are not just my colleagues, a lot of them become friends. And there's someone there to turn to, if you need advice, or if you need someone to sort something out for you, or just have a giggle that's been massive for me during lockdown. And I also do have a coach. And this lady used to be a sales trainer. And in fact, she's gone into social media. That's her sort of current role. What it means is she understands me extremely well. So that is wonderful. So I'd encourage anyone, get yourself a coach, get yourself a mentor, get yourself some training, I don't care what it is personal development, because if you're working for yourself, no one's gonna do it for you. You have got to go get your own bum and do it because it isn't going to come to you. So you don't have to spend a fortune. You can buy a book from Amazon or if you've got money to spend on a coach spend money on a coach. If you don't take the middle ground. Maybe you can get someone to be a mentor do short course. But personal development TED Talks, doesn't Results. I'd encourage anyone see I'm on the hobbyhorse. Now 10. You have to shut me up. Sorry.
Tony Radford 21:06
No problem. And it's quite useful when a guest is has plenty to say so yeah, feel free. Okay. And final question. Really? Can you give us one actionable sales tip?
Janet Efere 21:17
Yes, you have two ears, one mouth using that proportion. In particular, ask really, really good questions. And I'm going to suggest you ask open questions and open questions begin with the words who, what, why, where, which, and how. And they're very hard to answer with just one word. So if you would, if you said to someone, what is the process for doing ABC in your company, then they'll probably go into quite a lot of detail. So if you can ask really good open questions It takes the pressure off you, because the customer that you're talking to is giving you information, but also is really valuable stuff. Because later, they may talk about things that are problem for them. And if you remember I said people only buy because they're either in pain or they want to move towards a goal. So you're getting amazing nuggets that you can use later to match whatever is you do to a solution for them. So yeah, my my simple actionable tip is get them to do the talking by using lots of open questions.
Tony Radford 22:31
Excellent. Thank you very much. And also thank you very much for being our guest today. What's the best way that people can get in touch with you, Janet?
Janet Efere 22:42
I would say jump over and connect with me on LinkedIn. If you say that you saw me on Tony's podcast and you are assured of the connection. Yeah, LinkedIn is probably the best place. Otherwise, the website is tadpole training.
Tony Radford 22:58
Okay, great. Thank you very much.
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