Guest Speaker Series – Dr. Paul Stanley – CEO at CNG
“There’s no such thing as a born salesperson, they are created through training and practice – that’s why SaaSLeads exists.”
Dr. Paul Stanley is CEO at CNG, one of the most trusted suppliers of gas for Small and Medium sized Enterprises. He started his career at HSBC and went on to work in roles such as Business Development and Director. In terms of education, Paul studied The Analysis of Science and Technology with Life Sciences at The University of Manchester and completed his Masters and PHD at York University, earning his status as a Doctor.
Paul took us on a journey of professional selling throughout the years.
Paul began with the present day of sales, coining SaaSLeads as unique and interesting. The Academy focuses on sales and development, which universities sometimes fail to do. Paul hopes that one day people will view sales as a proper profession, as sales provides organisations with great value. Paul has found there to be a shift in company management and compliance, as corporations now carry a social and environmental responsibility to support these causes.
Back to the beginning
Sales has always been around. It started with bartering between hunters and farmers to new policy agreements in the Government. Even now, everyone is involved in sales from parents getting children to eat their vegetables, to negotiating your salary. Sales is about persuasion, credibility and evidence, figuring out why you believe in your product and why your prospectus should too.
John Henry Patterson and Thomas Watson
Patterson simplified his sales tactics and expected all salespeople to rehearse and know their script for sales transactions and general meetings, which is an idea that has survived over 100 years. Paul applied Pattersons technique in his business and saw sales go up.
This brings us onto Watson. Patterson decided to fire Watson, so he set fire to Watsons furniture, so that he was truly fired. It was thought that Watson was more positive than Patterson and thought about motivation within the company, with a strong focus on culture. Both Patterson and Watson believed in the professionalisation of sales.
Edward Kellog Strong Jr
Edward has a long distinguished academy career. He has written Psychology books, with the objective to sell and build relationships that you nurture.
Strong’s questions to ask yourself when handling a sales transaction:
- How does my brand resonate with customers?
- What influenced the customers’ decision to buy?
- What was their level of satisfaction with the product?
Dale Carnegie wrote international sensation How to Win Friends and Influence People, where he taught millions of people around the world about relationships and provided processes for navigating tough situations. Dale teaches that people buy from people they identify with and praises the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) process.
If we were to ask ourselves why some sales tech businesses are successful and some not what answer would we come to? Neil dissected this and put together a 2-step framework that provides an answer:
Recognition of need – first of all the customer needs to know that they need a product.
Quantify for neat payoff – then how does the product enhance their life? Does it increase their profit margin?
Paul went on to speak of Malcolm McDonald, who was our guest speaker from last week. Malcolm started as an AD man before becoming an academic. One of his focuses is key account management. It might be tempting to aim for those big accounts when you’re starting out, but don’t let it take away from other work that could bring value if you’re not ready.
Question Time with Paul
What is the most important behaviour for sales professionals?
Curiosity – learn as much as possible as often as possible and pride yourself on knowing more about industry than those around you. Use sources like social media, apply critical analysis and interpret what the data means and how this can bring impact for you. Also read newspapers cover to cover and pick 5 companies and figure out how they will benefit from your service.
How do you build relationships with prospects?
Check their social media to find out their interests and navigate that into the conversation. Be sure to listen for cues while they are talking. If they mention tennis, learn about tennis, so that you can have common interests. Alternatively, recognise the network of individuals around you, as you can meet anyone if you connect the dots. It’s important to use these techniques with skill and ask the right questions.
How do you approach building relationships when people have different cultural expectations?
Generalising cultures can lead to error. Paul has seen extreme contrasts of culture, like when he spent time in Africa, where the lines between work and home life are blurry. In France and Germany you can’t be contacted outside work hours, whereas in Hong Kong you can be contacted anytime with an expectation that you will respond.
The main lesson to learn here is don’t take on preconceived notions or think your culture is superior, because it may not be exportable. Each action is tailored to the market and culture within that country.
Paul’s Final Thoughts
Of course you want to win deals, but instead focus on lifelong business relationships as this will create dependency. Know the product, market, and competition, but acknowledge your competitor will likely have the same market information that you do, but they may analyse the same market and reach different conclusions.
Ready to talk? Get in touch today