Keeping Your Salespeople in the Game. By Chrystal Austin

Keeping Your Salespeople in the Game. By Chrystal Austin

Driving higher sales, more accounts, stronger customer service and better customer retention in a competitive economic environment.

A study with Sanofi-Aventis showed an increase in sales by over $2million per month.

How much does your organisation rely on the performance and success of your sales force?

Keeping your sales people in the game is going to become a greater challenge in the future and will largely be affected by their ability to connect with and understand what their customers’ needs are.

The economic market has changed drastically over the last decade, but unfortunately, most sales techniques, skills and training have failed to evolve with the market creating a threat to most companies who rely greatly on their sales people to produce required revenue for long-term sustainability

The current buyer market has evolved into a more social one, requiring sales people who are able to connect on a deeper level with customers. This will include the ability to read and understand current and potential customers’ buying styles, personalities and behaviours at a level as never experienced or needed before.


In a study conducted by Dr. Benjamin Palmer and Sue Jennings, the power and skill of emotional intelligence was demonstrated and determined to account for over $2 million increase in monthly sales.

Sanofi-Aventis split their sales team into random control and development groups. The development group was selected to receive EQ/EI Training which lead to an increase of their overall EQ/EI by an average of 18%. The development group of 40, out-sold the control group by and average of 12% or $55,200 each totalling $R2,208,800 per month higher or better than the control group. The investment value calculated meant that for every dollar they invested in the EI training, the value earned in return was $6.

Other companies that invest in Emotional Intelligence training who outsell their competition include companies like L’Oreal, MetLife and Amex Advisors.

Emotional Intelligence is at the core of relationships that will give sales people the advantage when dealing with customers. Sales people who have higher competencies of Emotional Intelligence significantly outsell those who have lower capability.

Rozell, Pettijohn and Parker explored the relationship between EI and performance in a sample of sales people and proved that it was a highly reliable predictor of performance leading to higher sales and greater customer relationships. (E.J Rozell, C.E Pettijohn & R.S Parker. Emotional Intelligence and Dispositional Affectivity as Predictors of Performance in Sales people 2006)

With access to information, most buyers or customers have already acquired sufficient information about your products and services and aware of the solutions that you offer. They are however, expecting a unique experience that sets you apart from the competition.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE skills training is crucial in assisting sales people close the gap between just presenting a product, to being able to really connect the with customer and adapt to offer the solution that the buyer is seeking. This is where soft skills help to produce effective and hard results.

Top 20 Assessments and Evaluation Companies of 2017

Top 20 Assessments and Evaluation Companies of 2017

Training Industry continuously monitors the training marketplace looking for the best providers of services/technologies in support of corporate learning and development. This annual list is designed to help buy-side organizations in their search for assessment and evaluation partners to evaluate an individual’s or organization’s knowledge, skills, or performance related to a particular subject, topic, or process before, during or after a training engagement.

Selection to this year’s Top 20 Assessment and Evaluation List was based on the following criteria:

  • Diversity of assessment capabilities
  • Quality and innovativeness of evaluation techniques
  • Company size and growth potential
  • Quality and number of clients/users
  • Awards, recognition and competitive differentiation

We are proud to announce that we represent not one, but two of these outstanding brands.




Top Ten Leadership Tips For First Time Managers

Top Ten Leadership Tips For First Time Managers

If you’ve just been promoted to a leadership position for the first time, whether you worked your way up the ladder, fell into the position or were made a manager due to company need, you’re probably pretty excited… and terrified. The transition from team contributor to team leader can seem like a daunting and difficult challenge, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few helpful tips from Profiles International® for first time managers.

  1. Accept that you still have much to learn. You will have worked hard for your promotion and have ample expertise in your chosen field, but you may find that you lack self-confidence in your ability to lead. Be prepared to learn from others – including your new team.
  2. Communicate clearly. Always keep your team fully informed of project goals, priorities, and those all-important deadlines. Effective communication will be essential in both establishing your credibility and gaining the support of your team, so be sure to provide clear direction and always welcome questions and feedback from others.
  3. Set a good example. Demand from yourself the same level of professionalism and dedication that you expect from others. If you expect the team to be upbeat and friendly, then make sure you are! If you expect written reports to be error free, then double check your own work!
  4. Encourage feedback. Sometimes employees are unwilling to speak up about certain issues unless they are prompted. Canvass for opinions on issues such as support, training, and resources while maintaining an open door policy so that your team knows that you are willing to listen to their concerns and ideas as well as help provide solutions to any problems.
  5. Offer recognition. By publicly recognizing the efforts and achievements of your team, you not only build up their confidence, but also encourage future contributions and effort. Praise does not always have to be formal – praising employees can be part of your day-to-day communication with your team.
  6. Be decisive. A quality leader needs to make decisions and stick to them. People do not feel comfortable with someone who changes his or her mind. You only have to look at public opinion on government U-turns to see how easily confidence in a leader can be weakened or lost altogether. 
  7. Help your team see the “big picture.” Take time out to explain to your team how their assignments and projects fit into the company’s larger goals and overall objectives. This will help demonstrate that every task they complete can have an impact on the company’s reputation, success, and bottom line.
  8. Create an environment of constant learning and development – and include yourself in this process. Encourage your team to explore new methods for reaching their individual goals and those set by the company. Allow them to make – and learn from – mistakes and be sure to reward new and innovative ideas. 
  9. Provide professional guidance. A good manager and leader will also be a mentor. Make yourself available to staff members and show interest in their career development within the company. Don’t overlook the motivational power of positive reinforcement – your staff will appreciate your commitment to their progress.
  10. Be patient with yourself. Developing strong managerial skills takes time – especially as you adjust to your new position. Seek guidance from colleagues, your line manager, or your professional network when you need it. In doing so you will enhance your leadership abilities and make strides toward becoming a great manager.


    Download this article as an eBook

    OOPS! Did you recruit using an Ipsative Assessment? By Chrystal Austin

    OOPS! Did you recruit using an Ipsative Assessment? By Chrystal Austin

    Ipsative versus Normative Assessments…

      “must-know” facts for anyone using assessments in the workplace.

    There are many assessment tools on the market that are considered effective and safe to use from a legal perspective for both the employer and the employee (only if you use it for its intended purpose).

    Ipsative assessments like DISC or MBTI type tools or any other IPSATIVE assessments do not compete with NORMED PSYCHOMETRIC ASSESSMENTS when applied to a HIRING/SELECTION situation.

    When it comes to hiring/selection, you may ONLY use normative assessment tools.  Many reputable assessment publishers explain that their ipsative tools may not be used in hiring, however, there are many companies which still use these because they claim to know the tools well enough to interpret the information for selection of personnel.

    Everyone involved in the use of assessments for recruitment and selection for an organisation must be entirely conversant with the points made here in an interview with Dr. Lindley, a well-established and respected assessment specialist in the British Psychological Society:

    Mr. Creelman: “Personality tests are the tests everybody knows, but at the same time experts say don’t use it in recruitment. What can personality tests do for us in recruitment?”

    Dr. Lindley: “Certainly I’d agree that DISC or Myers-Briggs type test should not be used for selection. The people who developed, published, and market these tools would also stress that. It isn’t a tool for selection; rather it’s a tool for personal development. It can be used in groups to help individuals understand one another but it’s certainly not a selection test.” For selection, you want to rule out tests that are just referring to yourself rather than comparing you to a larger population. Anything that talks about how you are better at one thing than another, but doesn’t compare you to the outside world, isn’t helpful.

    What is an IPSATIVE type test or assessment?

    IPSATIVE TESTS is the technical term for these types of tests which uses the “self” as the point of reference, in other words, “my opinion of me”.

    The assessment participant is scored through the use of forced choice questions and responses. An Ipsative test would ask: ‘Which do you prefer, socialising or organising an event?” You might like or hate both but are required to make a forced decision as to which one you would prefer if no other option existed. You might be operating at a very low level or a very high level but all the ipsative tests will tell you is which one you prefer rather than how that preference compares to other candidates.

    The test results provide insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses, but there is no objective comparison to any other individual. This makes them ineffective as hiring and selection instruments.

    They are, however, very useful as developmental instruments which can be used for personal development or  Team building.  They give you very little information as to the individual’s capability. They do not provide the credibility which is required and sought by the analytical minded members of the leadership or management teams.


    A Normative Assessment measures quantifiable attributes or constructs on individual scales. These are then compared against the “normed” population (in our case, the working population of South Africa).

    The ProfileXT® is a normative assessment that overcomes all the shortcomings of some of the Ipsative tools described. The ProfileXT® compares the assessed candidate to two key audiences in the `outside world’ referred to by Dr. Lindley above:

    1. The general working population as represented by a sample of more than 140,000 assessment takers that form part of the validation and reliability studies for the ProfileXT® (No assessment vendor has a larger population of assessment takers in their validation study population, and this number is rising all the time thanks to ongoing research).
    2. The population of “top performers” in the position that the person is applying for in the form of the concurrent pattern developed from these top performers PXT results.

    The ProfileXT® assessment can be used for developing job descriptions and position benchmarks. Results from the assessment are measured against the job benchmarks for recruitment, selection, on-boarding, development, training, coaching and succession planning.

    Recruitment: The system generates unique questions based on the candidates scores or measure against the job position and allows for objective questioning from the interviewer.

    Selection: When assessing multiple candidates, it clearly reports on the order of the candidates from the highest match to descending lower match percentages against the job benchmark, eliminating the need to view every report for candidates who may not be a good match to the position.

    If you want to know more about this psychometric assessment and/or how it can be used for on-boarding, development, training, coaching or succession planning, call us today to see if you qualify for a risk-free assessment demonstration on one of your existing staff members.

    Growing Businesses Great – A Reality Check. By Basil Smith

    Growing Businesses Great – A Reality Check. By Basil Smith

    The term “growing” immediately tells me that it’s a process and not an event.  If I let my mind wander around that concept for a while I start to realise that the greater the vision/end product, the longer the process is likely to be. There are no short cuts.

    Some years ago, I was a member of a small MBO (management Buy-Out) team which, with the assistance of an investment bank, acquired an ailing business. We thought that we had done our homework, figured that the business had potential, and that we would conservatively turn that business around to profitability in 5 years.

    Well… it was 12 years later when we finally disposed of that asset. Was it worth it? Absolutely! But there were times, many times – perhaps too many times, that we thought (but didn’t often express it aloud), “What have we got ourselves into?”

    We weren’t dummies and we weren’t in this for the sole benefit of some anonymous or faceless investors. We were them!  We were the key shareholders. Each was highly competent and experienced in his area of expertise: management, finance, marketing, HR, manufacturing, distribution, and sales.

    It wasn’t the breakdown or failure of policies, systems, or processes within the scope of our expertise and control that torpedoed our plan; it was those things and situations over which we had no control that were the culprits. While our overall business goals and plans were sound, dealing effectively with the unexpected was the real challenge. Sometimes it felt as though “Black Swans” were arriving in flocks.

    Hundreds of millions of Rands and thousands of jobs were at stake. The team was under extreme pressure to do the right things and do things right- first time every time. We had to develop flexibility and agility at a strategic level which gave a whole new meaning to the concept and practice of strategic (risk) management and of how teams actually work under pressure (Not what they tell you in the classroom).

    It was one thing having learned the theory but in practice it somehow seemed that that theory became a “once upon a time” fairy tale- unreal and far removed from the gut- wrenching fear, tensions, stresses and frustrations that made up the reality.

    There were times when situations and events needed immediate on-the-spot answers or solutions, which gave one little or no time to calmly think through lists of options. Similarly, this wasn’t the worn-out textbook example of knee-jerk reaction to crises management! This was the harsh reality of how business actually works and there wasn’t always an immediate answer on hand. Sometimes there was no answer whatsoever let alone a “textbook solution”.

    It exposed one’s own inadequacies and flaws and it wasn’t a great feeling at all.

    Somehow we managed and lived to tell a tale of success and a sense of personal achievement. I kick myself for not having written an account of my day-to-day experiences in the form of “A Diary of a Turnaround Business Owner”. In any event, I think that I was just too exhausted at the end of each day. Growing a Business Great is not for the faint-hearted but… it is really exciting and rewarding.

    By Basil Smith


    “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”                                                                                                                                                                                                ~Zig Ziglar

    Life’s Lessons Learned from a Mother. By Basil Smith

    Life’s Lessons Learned from a Mother. By Basil Smith

    I’m not about to enter into the Nature vs Nurture debate, other than to say that a caring mother, with a solid sense of responsibility and a work ethic to match, raised me and contributed to the formation of my character.

    The chasm of a 40-year generation gap and the exuberance and irresponsibility of youth often prevented me from perceiving or fully appreciating the depth of her character, the power of her example and the wisdom of her counsel in a simple maxim, forged in the crucible of her life’s furnace; “Be calm Son. You can do it. ”.

    To say that I was impatient and bad-tempered when things didn’t go as I wished was an understatement.  In situations, when impatience, frustration and anger were driving me speedily to breaking point, the last thing I needed was to hear her words.

    I recall gritting my teeth and dismissively regarding her advice as a social nicety, offering little or no practical assistance whatsoever to solving the problem; Kinda like “Kissing it better”. She, however, patiently persisted, as many mothers did and sowed a seed which would have a significant influence upon my life and career.

    What I didn’t realize then was that the actual problem was in my mind and not the difficulty I was experiencing accomplishing the task. My ageing mother could see what I couldn’t… or wouldn’t- I had an attitude.

    In the 60’s EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, hadn’t yet become a buzzword and neither we teenagers, nor our parents, had the faintest idea that such even existed! Our parents however had another word for it, experience.

    I became more aware of the ineffectiveness of anger and of the positive power of calmness when dealing with life’s challenges. I came to appreciate that her advice was profoundly simple and simply profound.

    Twenty years into the future, business caught up with parenthood and discovered the mantra; “Hire for ATTITUDE and train for skills.”

    Mark Murphy, the author Hiring for Attitude and the CEO of the company, Leadership IQ, stated in an interview by Forbes magazine that research into 20,000 new hires revealed that 46 % failed within their first 18 months! 89% of those failures did so for attitudinal reasons and only 11% for a lack of skill. Among their prominent attitudinal deficiencies were; a lack of teach-ability; inability to cope with failure and to assimilate feedback; a temperament reflecting low levels of emotional intelligence and a lack of motivation.

    You can look forward to even greater success in your career by developing the right attitude… You may even want to ask your Mom.

      By Basil Smith

    Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
                                                                                                                                                 – William James