Hundreds of ISMM members and guests packed into Coventry’s Ricoh Arena for Successful Selling 2012, held on 12 October. It was an action-packed day, and has received superb feedback from delegates:
“What an absolutely awesome day! The best conference I have attended.”
“One of the very best events ever!”
“Larry Winget stood out for me, how refreshing to hear someone saying what we all think.”
“Larry, was superb. Unconventional and memorable.”
“A brilliant day and really enjoyed the experience.”
“Really enjoyed it and made some great contacts, thank you.”
“It was brilliant and I was buzzing with all the info and ideas I got... can’t wait to take them back to the business and implement them.”
“Once again a fantastic day… well organised and executed … Probably the best yet!”
The UK’s early autumn conference season culminated in fine style with the country’s sales professionals gathering at the Ricoh for the event.
While the political party conferences attracted political activists, Successful Selling was a magnet for sales activists and sales enthusiasts – the people charged with making economic growth actually happen, rather than just be talked about.
The auditorium was crammed full, with an audience attentive and involved by a superb mix of speakers with different styles, specialists in a wide range of aspects of selling.
ISMM President, Eric Peacock, welcomed delegates and introduced Nadine Dereza, a familiar face from television and the official host for the event. Throughout the day, Dereza, introduced the speakers and adeptly summarised their sessions.
Speakers included just one politician, Toby Perkins, shadow minister for small firms, who stressed the importance of sales to the UK economy – and a willingness on the part of HM Opposition to listen to the sales community about how to support sales professionals in helping to get the UK economy off the rocks.
The undoubted star of the show was the wonderfully provocative and humorous Larry Winget. His message was a simple home truth: “Success in selling is about hard work and excellence” and it is up to us to take responsibility for our own lives.
Although himself a motivational speaker, Winget lampooned some of the nonsense doing the rounds on the conference circuit such as “the secrets to success”, and trite 'new age' rubbish claiming that all we have to be is “happy” or “passionate” to achieve our goals. Similarly, he made us laugh at the notion that we could learn to "do the impossible" and the ridiculousness of performing at 110% “when 100% is all there is!”
Winget claimed to have read over 4,000 books on leadership and success. Most of them were rubbish, making things more complicated than they need to be. “There are probably only 18 good ideas anyhow,” he reckoned.
“Want to know the 'secret ' of customer care? Be nice! Want to know the 'secret' of selling? Ask (again and again if necessary. And if that doesn't work, go see somebody else!). Want to know the 'secret ' of leadership? Get out in front of people – give them something to follow!”
He also poured scorn on the idea that if you “love what you do” all will be well. He explained that most of his own work consists of the grind of spending 200 days a year travelling, which is what he has to put up with in order to spend 70 hours on stage or in a TV studio. The core of Winget's message: success requires sacrifice.
Above all, he said, if you’re not happy with some aspect of your life (and all of us would like to change something) then “do something – anything – different. Don’t talk success and practise failure.”
Equally entertaining and insightful was the master of body language, Allan Pease, still one of the finest conference speakers around, who mixed entertainment with top learning. Pease concentrated on a few key body language skills for delegates to develop to become a ‘people magnet’. We need to get our body language right in the first four minutes of meeting a client or risk jeopardising success.
Pease reminded delegates of the importance of non-verbal messages, which make up 60-80% of messages we emit and interpret.
Other top speakers included business leader PY Gerbeau, the colourful Frenchman who explained how he inspired employees to revive the fortunes of the Millennium Dome and EuroDisney, and who now heads his own leisure consultancy, X-Leisure; and Steve Backley MBE, the successful British Olympic athlete and now a master of motivation.
And there were sales trainers in the persons of Andy Bounds, James Dening and Grant Leboff, who each added key insights into the art of successful selling. In addition, conference delegates had the opportunity to choose from a range of informative interactive workshops, sending everyone away with a host of helpful advice to implement in their day-to-day roles
Alongside the main conference, Developing Sales Talent offered specialist insights in sales education, while Successful Selling Expo 2012 added a further dimension to the day, with delegates able to mingle freely with the speakers, as well as tapping the knowledge and expertise of a host of other sales specialists. The Expo was double the size of the previous year – a tribute to the event organisers ISMM and Lincoln West.
ISMM’s Ben Turner thanked all the sponsors and exhibitors: “Without their commitment to professional selling we would not have been able to put on such a fantastic event. We hope all members of the ISMM and delegates of the Successful Selling 2012 will take the time to look at the fantastic propositions these businesses provide.”
Throughout Successful Selling 2012, the halls of the Ricoh Arena were buzzing with a wonderful array of professional salespeople with a thirst for learning and sharing new ideas.
Hugh Alford, ISMM Fellow and an sales training specialist of 30 years, sums up the whole event: “It was a brilliant and inspirational day – a great way to get your selling batteries re-charged for the last quarter of the year. As well as great speakers, there’s was a chance to catch up with professionals old and new and precious time out to think, take stock and focus,” he said.
“I had a fantastically inspiring day at Successful Selling 2012. What a showcase for the profession!”
Tom Nash, Editor, Winning Edge