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Key takeaways – National Sales Conference

Yesterday, my fellow Flume team member Rich Myles and I attended the National Sales Conference in Birmingham where sales leaders and experts from all over the world took to the stage to share their knowledge, stories and experience. As trainers we love to learn and yesterday we learned a lot!

All of the talks were great, but there were two in particular that stood out for me during the day, they both covered positive habits and behaviours that we can employ to improve our lives at work and our personal lives too.

At Flume we’re all about helping salespeople develop new positive habits and behaviours that drive results, so these really piqued my interest.

Behaviours that could help you and your team focus time on what really matters.

Award winning author, prioritisation, productivity and leadership expert Zena Everett, hosted a session called “Crazy Busy: Managing Time Energy and Focus”  something that’s incredibly difficult for us all in this modern era of constant distraction.

Zena quoted a statistic by Bain, “Globally, office workers spend 61% of their time on non-meaningful work”.  Things like, answering group slack messages, attending unproductive meetings, MS teams chats, checking and answering work WhatsApp groups, managing tech issues, trying and failing to login to password protected documents etc etc etc. The list was extensive.

According to Zena all of these tasks interrupt our ‘Flow’, the state we all need to be in to get any real meaningful work done.

So what can be done about it? How can we increase the amount of time we spend doing real deep work?

Responsibility must be shared equally by business leaders and employees.

Business Leaders

At Flume we always say that to become a world class salesperson you need to shift your perspective to that of your customer, step into their shoes, truly understand their world, their challenges and their goals. Once you have done that, you can work out what to do to make the buying process as easy as possible for them.

Zena took a similar approach to solving what she termed “productivity drag”. She said that business leaders and managers must try to put themselves into the shoes of their employees, they need to ask themselves the question “what things can I put in place or remove to make it as easy as possible for my employees to do their jobs in working hours?”

Business leaders and managers must make it their mission to smooth the path, remove unnecessary distractions and keep their workforce in flow for as much time as possible, they also need to ensure that employees aren’t doing work during personal hours, so that they can be refreshed and ready for work each day.

Zena’s tips on how business leaders could do this ranged from giving employees more autonomy, removing excessive collaboration on tasks, not communicating during non working hrs and keeping teams and working groups small, ‘If you can’t feed your team with a couple of Pizza’s your team is too big’.


Her big tip for employees, don’t sweat the small stuff.  Concentrate the majority of your time on tasks related directly to your KPI’s.

She used the analogy of Lions hunting for food. Lions rarely hunt small creatures, or if they do they only do to warm themselves up for the day. They save their energy for the big game, Antelopes! Which provide a bigger return for their efforts.

So we must be like Lions, concentrate the majority of our time and effort on the big things we need to achieve and ignore the distracting small stuff, it might look like easy prey, but the more small things you chase the less energy and time you have left to go for the real goals.

How easy do you find doing the above? Let me know in the comments.

Behaviours that could help you set goals and achieve them.

At Flume we believe it’s essential that salespeople take the time to plan and have a clear goal for every customer interaction, enabling us to to take control of the conversation and coach customers towards the right solution for their needs.

Setting a direction for what you want to achieve in life and in business is essential for success, we’ve all heard the statistic that “people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them”.  Goal setting puts us in a positive frame of mind about what we need to achieve and as Henry Ford famously said “If you think you can, you can, if you think you can’t, you won’t”.

World renowned speaker Brian Mayne has taken things a step further, by putting a case forward for not just writing down our goals, but drawing them as well.

His rationale for doing this stems from the way the human brain works. He says that ordinarily when we write down goals and objectives we do so using language and written words that speak to the rational, strategic part of our brains, primarily found in the left hemisphere, this part of our mind requires conscious effort.

Brian argues that to ‘light up’ the right side of our minds and access our subconscious (or helpful autopilot as he puts it), we need to use images instead of words, as this side of our brain responds more effectively to imagery, sounds and smells.

So to get your whole brain working on your goal, you need to write down your goals and draw them too, he calls this Goal Mapping.

“Once a conscious decision or goal has been set, a sub-conscious process is triggered that begins to influence the transformation of that decision first into an attitude, then into an action, and ultimately into to an achievement. By creating a Goal Map, you develop a clear plan of what you want, why you want it, when and how you intend to achieve it, and who will support you in the process.” – Brian Mayne

I might give it a go and I’ll report back on my results with it.

Thanks to all who helped to arrange the NSC 2023.

Ed Povey - Flume Training

Ed Povey

Sales Performance Coach


Goal mapping example.