The Most Important Change Your Business Might Make This Year

The world’s most successful revenue-generating organisations all have one thing in common:  their entire organisation, from Reception to CEO, is aligned with a strong and consistent commercial mindset, which basically means they are aware of the impact sales has on the company.  We call this a Commercial Culture.

Establishing a Commercial Culture at your company has phenomenal benefits:  it drives significant new business revenue, while also doubling, or even tripling, your current client spend via cross-selling, up-selling, referrals and repeats.

In this article, Natural Training CEO Matt Drought explains how you can go about establishing a Commercial Culture. Done well, it’s easily the most important organisational change you can implement this year.



Kevin “Ringo” Masterson is a bit of a sales legend at his graphic design agency Transplant in Farringdon, which employs 43 people.  He sells nearly £1m of graphic design a year, in addition to the work that clients brief him on.  The next best salesperson from the sales team of 6 sells £300K per year.  The thing is, Ringo isn’t even on the sales team.  He has no sales targets, and has never ‘sold’ in his life.  He is in fact, a graphic designer.  He just has a knack for being able to sell.

When asked how he manages how to sell £1m per year without being a ‘sales person’ Ringo can’t define why.  But his clients can.  They love talking to him.  Ringo is one of those people who we humans just gravitate towards.  He talks easily, listens intently, and makes his customers feel good.  He is a ‘go-to’ person – his clients like the stuff he sends them, they go to him for advice, and he loves what he does.  That’s what makes him so great at selling – not because he has had any formal sales training, but just because he’s Ringo.  Proud, passionate, alive, focused and authentic.

Luckily for his company, what Ringo is really doing is uncovering opportunities and making offers – the two core activities that define “selling”.


Creating Opportunities Beyond The Brief

For every Ringo, there are ten others like him who are great in so many ways, except for turning rapport and engagement into money. Most client service and delivery people react beautifully, and satisfy the brief, but they don’t proactively and creatively create new opportunities beyond the brief.  So Ringo is worth his weight in gold.

The challenge for most companies is how to help great client service people become effective additional revenue generators as well, without compromising their natural qualities.  So many organisations need to train non-salespeople to actively uncover opportunities, and then to make an offer, without compromising their natural style, their beliefs, and turning them into what they might perceive as “hard-nosed salespeople”.


Not Just Training – Culture Change

The answer is: Treating this not just as a training exercise, but as a culture change programme.  Shifting to a more sales-aware culture takes consultation, a proper strategy, and time – at least 90 days and up to 180 days of “little and often”.  If executed properly, it is absolutely achievable.  Over time, you can help your people, from Receptionist to CEO, tune in to the commercial reality and opportunity of your business.  It can be very subtle shifts – a few small changes can make for massive outputs in revenue.

Here are two examples of small changes that had 15-20% revenue increases:

Example 1:

The Finance Department from one of our clients in recruitment started placing a message on their e-invoices about an additional fixed-income service.  As part of the Commercial Culture programme we trained their finance people to be able to field the enquiries they are getting.  That particular revenue stream has grown by 15% company-wide, which has paid for the salaries, plus some, of all their finance staff.  Can you imagine the feel-good factor in a finance department becoming a profit centre rather than a cost centre?  It’s magic. Each time they make a sale, which is on average twice weekly, the whole department celebrates.

Example 2:

One of our clients in the resort industry involved their groundskeepers in their Commercial Culture Programme, training them to ask guests a couple of additional questions if they happen to get into a conversation.  A simple question such as “What are your plans for the week?” and the associated answers, have driven cross-selling opportunities up by 20%, into the Spa, Kids Club, Tours and Restaurant business units of their resort.  All we needed to do was to give Groundskeepers (and others, such as Housekeeping) the confidence to ask the questions, and a simple system (using their smart phones & Yammer) to feed back the intelligence to the relevant department.  And because there is accountability from all business units within the resort, the intelligence is ALWAYS followed up on.  That’s the commitment that they have made to each other, which is to ALL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY to do the little things that drive new business revenue, such as up-sells, cross-sells, referrals and repeats, that benefit everyone in the long term.


Natural Style is Paramount!

Changing a culture is not always easy, particularly when it involves moving to a sales culture.  The reason why non-salespeople run a mile when they hear the word “sales” is that they think they will have to compromise their style and belief system.  This absolutely does not have to be the case.  At Natural Training, we have worked out a range of techniques to work with the natural style of each individual, so that they stay true to themselves.  It is possible, and we have proven many times, that non-salespeople can, and will sell effectively, if trained in the right way.  The key to this is what we call “whole body training”:  to start with the heart (I want to contribute to our overall sales effort), and then the brain (I understand the sense in selling), and finish off with a few skills (I know how to sell in a way that fits with my natural style).


Over to you…

Call us today to find out how you can implement a cost-effective Commercial Culture Change programme at your organisation in order to increase your sales revenue, stimulate customer referrals and repeats, and create a lasting legacy of sales awareness that puts daylight between you and the competition.   It starts with a 3-4 hour no-obligation workshop with one of our Commercial Culture Change experts, and finishes 90 days later with the results you need to drive sales success!

Call Jemma, Nick or John at Natural Training on 0207 043 1582 for more information and for a discounted first consultation!


Extra Resources:

A Sales Culture: From Groundskeeper To CEO

Webinar – 6 Ways to Double Client Billings

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