Learning to have sales conversations, pour lattes and create a Jackson Pollock Swan


It’s been raining this afternoon, so I went for a walk around Scituate Harbor (growing up in Wales makes me head outside when it rains). I ended up in Lucky Finn, our local café, to watch the sea and have  a cup of tea – very British, I know.

Not everyone is drawn out by rain, so it was quiet in the cafe.  Lucky Finn’s manager was taking advantage of the peace and was teaching some newer team members how to use the high-end espresso machine and pour lattes.

Because while you can watch, hear, read about how to learn a skill – whether it’s making a beautiful-looking latte or learning to have sales conversations, we learn by doing even though at first we are uncomfortable, nervous, or unsure.

You can’t get to master any skill without these first unsteady attempts. But you have to go get uncomfortable, be ready to learn and willing to make mistakes.

As we get ready to launch our next ’90-Day Brilliant Sales Challenge,’ I know that some of our group will feel uncomfortable – but I also know this is a great thing.  Changing your business, bringing in more money, getting clarity on how you want to bring into your business – these all mean doing new things.  For some entrepreneurs this is about having sales conversations, or learning how to ask for more money. For others it’s about getting on stage or speaking, or declaring and owning your expertise, or even saying ‘no’ to things. It’s usually a range of these things, but there’s always some things that make us a little more uncomfortable than others and it’s true – that true growth lies on the other side of our comfort zone.

I’d even go as far to say that if you’re not doing things in your business and your life that make you feel uncomfortable then you should be – stretching, trying new things and bringing new experiences into our lives (and businesses) is a brilliant thing.

At Lucky Finn – after  going through the mechanics of the machine, talking about the beans, serving styles, the “sheen” and presentation – one of the trainees proudly explained her trial drink was decorated with a “Jackson Pollock swan.” Her first latte, and the start of a new skill.

Want to apply new sales skills to grow your business? Then sign up today to join our ‘90-Day Brilliant Sales Challenge’ this week.






Increase sales? Sell from your vision.

How do you increase sales if you have lost sight of your vision – the ‘how and why’ you are selling?

For 18 years I’ve worked with businesses of all sizes, stage of growth and across different markets. One thing in common?  The desire to maximize sales, shorten the sales cycle, excite and engage their marketplace – and create a bigger impact.

Yet sometimes companies may be on the brink of marketing-self-sabotage — where marketing and sales initiatives undermine or delay sales — and they don’t even know it.

One of the symptoms of this is when a company doesn’t lead (by which I mean consistently act with a deliberate direction) from their vision.

Your company exists for a reason. There’s an underlying vision of what it wants to change in the world or in people’s lives; there is an impact the founder of the company envisaged. Yet companies lose track of this and stop leadiIncrease salesng from their vision.

I like to ask companies about their vision right up front, and it’s surprising how many people within a company — sometimes even founders — aren’t crystal clear on their vision, and how inconsistently the vision is articulated, with so many different answers. Get clear on your vision, share it with your company and then lead from it — not just in terms of management, but in terms of positioning and marketing.

Do you believe in your vision and act in ways that constantly and consistently support it?  Does every part of your business reflect your vision – from the way you communicate to your market, to the way you articulate your sales cycle, to the way you treat your staff? Are you acting on, reinforcing and underpinning the vision every single day ?

Help your prospects and your communities understand why your company exists and make it easy for them to engage with you.  Build your vision into your working practices. Remind and inspire your co-workers. Because if you’re not clear and engaged on the vision, then no-one else is going to feel part of it.

If you are looking for fresh inspiration on how to accelerate and reinvigorate your sales cycle then join us for our FREE Sales Mastery webinar on August 25. You will learn more about how a shift in attitude and a killer sales plan can dramatically and immediately boost your sales conversions. We look forward to you joining us!

Why don’t you spend more time selling?

Sales. It’s the one activity that any entrepreneur can invest time in to yield consistently generated business results, connect you with the people you want to serve, grow your company, reduce business pressure and personal stress, lead you to what you WANT from life and make you happy.

It’s something that every entrepreneur knows their business needs, but it’s also commonly avoided.

Many business owners and entrepreneurs shy away from sales. They fill up their time with so many activities, and after a long and busy day they may feel exhausted – but they haven’t worked on the main direct revenue-generating, business-building activity – by which I mean sales. 

Do any of these sales-avoidance tactics sound familiar to you?

1)   I have a lot to do – social media, writing blogs, working on my website. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything

2)   I’m going to focus on sales more tomorrow / next week / next month / once the new website is up and running

3)   Okay, I’ll admit it- I hate people saying “no” to me so I don’t like to ask in the first place

4)   Salespeople are pushy, so I’m not comfortable doing that

5)   I don’t know what to sell

 6)   I don’t know how to sell

 7)   I don’t need to pick up a phone, that’s not how my business sells – I’m depending on inbound marketing

 8)  I’ve never liked sales, it’s not what I do as a founder or business owner (frequently accompanied with: “When my business grows, I’ll just employ a sales person and they can do it all.”)

  9)  I’m going to use social media to sell, so I don’t need to sell by picking up a phone or asking people if they want to buy from me

  10)  If I cut prices adequately enough, then someone will buy from me (even if they aren’t my ‘ideal client’).

Taking a long and thorough look at your perspective on sales can be the first step in making improvement – perhaps one step at a time – toward a more robust and fruitful business.

Want to prioritize sales in your business?  Then it could be time to look at what YOU want and how you spend your time.  If you want to clarify your goals and shift your results, then why not join us for our three-month personal transformation program, Butterflies and Frogs.


The Importance of Aligning Sales with Marketing

Hazel Butters: Sales CoachFor 18 years I’ve worked with businesses of all sizes to help them realize their key objectives and entrepreneurial goals.  From one-person startups searching for funding to global leaders that want to maximize sales, shorten the sales cycle and have a bigger impact; I’ve worked the full spectrum. No matter the size of the business, though, companies may be on the brink of marketing-self-sabotage — where marketing initiatives undermine or delay sales — and they don’t even know it.

A common misconception is that the ‘Sales and Marketing’ team is just that – one team. The false-combining of these two departments into one has always baffled me. The skillsets held by the sales team differs drastically from those leading the marketing efforts. While there is a mutual responsibility between the two groups to grow revenue and boost sales; their approaches won’t look the same and, sadly, sometimes their goals aren’t aligned.

In the worst-case scenario these miscommunications delay company growth, waste valuable budget dollars – and can even create animosity between the two departments.

During April, I’ll be sharing a series of blog posts on some of the best-practices I’ve worked to implement with businesses to maximize – and align – sales and marketing goals.

Success in life is about showing up

Want success? Then SHOW UP. This may seem like a simple, even obvious statement, but it’s important, and applies to both our personal and professional lives.

By showing up, I don’t just mean just being physically present, but being emotionally present – to be yourself, your authentic or true self, and to have the conviction to admit, and to be, all that you are and that you want to be.

In our personal lives, showing up and being present is fundamental to connecting to other humans, and the basis for relationships. I think it’s fundamental to success, happiness, fun, and experiencing life’s amazing opportunities.Success and showing up

These opportunities and the success they bring extends into our business lives.

If you are an entrepreneur, showing up is vital. By showing up, and then stepping up, or being your best self, you reach and aspire to all that you want for your business and for all the people that you want to serve. You show the true passion for what you do or what to do. It’s real. It’s genuine. And it resonates. In turn, this fuels the ability to be open to and seize opportunities; to take ideas, nurture them, and do everything possible to make them happen.

For an entrepreneur, this ability to show up and be truly present means that you give yourself permission to commit to what you want to do, and just as importantly to be clear with yourself –  and with others – on WHY you do it.

Gleeful challenges of running a business

Running a business has its challenges.Running a business

What’s interesting is how – and when – other people point them out to you. When I started my first business, people would tell me “the first year is the hardest.” Then, when we opened offices on the other side of the Atlantic, others said, “Running a trans-Atlantic team is hard.” Then we changed our business model. Some shook their heads and said, “You can’t just change your business, you should stick with what has worked so far.”

The fact is that running a business is always a challenge, but that’s why we do it. We want to see what we can do and how we can do things differently. I admit to having a total sense of glee over working for myself – even on days that do bring challenges. One of the elements that fascinates me about running my own company is seeing how I will react to new situations; I’ve learned so much about myself, how I react to challenges, and how resourceful I can be when pressed.

We’re not all perfect. When the economic downturn hit in 2009-2010, our business specialized in early-stage technology companies with a roster that almost disappeared overnight. We signed a lease for a San Francisco office just as Lehman Brothers was packing up at its location. “Why didn’t I act quicker?” was my lament. For a number of months, I blamed myself – you’d swear that I was single-handedly responsible for the credit crunch. Meanwhile, friends would simply ask: “Can’t you get a job?” as if the reason I didn’t seek employment was due to a lack of skills or job openings, instead of a steadfast refusal to consider such a move.

I feel blessed to work for myself – and I love business, helping people and what I do. If I didn’t, I can change it – because I can. Like I said, gleeful challenges – I wouldn’t have it any other way.