Star speakers including singer Midge Ure and former hostage John McCarthey provide inspirational stories at The National Sales Conference 2015
To be a successful leader you need to be able to take a step back, take responsibility for the situation you are in and most importantly understand the views and feelings of others, according to John McCarthy, a former hostage and keynote speaker at the National Sales Conference 2015.
Reflecting on his kidnapping in Lebanon almost 30 years ago, McCarthy told delegates that in tough situations the way leaders work with colleagues is really important.
“If the situation is dire then maintain a connection with each other - a human, empathetic, sympathetic connection, and also strive to find something to lighten the moment.”
Making connections was a key theme of the conference. In his breakfast session on networking, Rob Brown, CEO of the Networking Coaching Academy, helped 100 delegates share stories, swap cards and do elevator pitches on each other. “We gave them some great networking tips and within half an hour they had learned lots of networking skills and gained more confidence.”
Business guru Geoff Burch said that to succeed, sales teams need to do more than just connect with their customers. They also need to connect with their colleagues too.
“At this National Sales Conference we are trying to encourage sales people to encourage every person to sell - from the engineer to the driver. It is for the sales force to sell not just to the customers but to orchestrate the sales process, which involves everybody.”
The conference was organised by Lincoln West and supported by the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management, at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. This year more than 500+ sales leaders and 44 exhibitors attended from around the UK.
Keynote speakers covered a range of topics including communicating with impact, how to manage change, sales strategy and increasing influence.
As well as the keynote from former hostage John McCarthy the conference heard from musician Midge Ure. He shared his journey from musician to the man behind Band aid and Live aid. He told the audience that to be successful, sales leaders must believe in what they do.
“The best advice I give young musicians is never believe anything that is written about you whether it is good or bad. Sometimes it goes to your head, sometimes it makes you feel dreadful. You have to believe 100% in what you do. And make sure you listen to people around you too. Listen to others and then filter the information you receive and guide that information in the direction you want to take it.”
As well as the conference sessions, masterclasses covered networking skills, buyers’ views of sales people, and leadership and motivation. In the exhibition hall, delegates networked with suppliers who demonstrated the latest tools and services to help sales teams improve their impact.
Exhibitors and delegates hailed the conference a success. Mike Mister, international director, Battlefield Leadership, said: ‘The National Sales Conference is a terrific event with a huge number of people attending, lots of new ideas being shared and the opportunity to pick up ideas that you can take back to work and apply instantly.
Andrew Hough, CEO at the Association of Professional Sales, agreed that the conference is great for picking up new thinking.
“The conference provides sales leaders with a different way of looking at things. The studies we have looked at show that great leaders who want to develop themselves have one common character trait and that is looking outside for inspiration. Where better to come for that than the National Sales Conference.”
The National Sales Conference 2016 will be taking place at the Ricoh arena, on 6th October. Tickets are now available here