Bruce Bowen – The Ethical Sales Trainer
An Introduction By Your Sales Trainer
Upfront I just want to put forward that I am not one for hype and self promotion. I’m a Sales Trainer not an entertainer. However I was asked for this information in order to help future website visitors. To help people get to know the guy they are considering for their next sales training workshop. I do what I do because I have a genuine passion for teaching people what I have learnt. I hope my story is of some help in your own journey.
A Creative Beginning
In a previous life, I was a musician. Whilst studying for my Bachelor’s Degree in Music I did what many students do to pay the bills – I worked. I started teaching music at private secondary colleges. It didn’t pay a lot. However, I realised how much I enjoyed teaching and that I seemed to be pretty good at it. It was here I discovered my passion for empowering others to be better. This formed a crucial foundation for my current vocation in equipping sales professionals.
So at this point, I was studying and teaching music. I was also fortunate enough to be trusted with the production assistant role for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. It was called “Starlight Express”. At the end of this appointment, I found myself with a few weeks of spare time and nothing to do. A friend suggested I go out with him as a door-to-door salesman for a roofing company. While I would usually have turned down such a suggestion, it would give me 2 weeks worth of income. What I discovered was that I actually enjoyed it and selling was something I was quite comfortable with. Right there was the beginning of my sales career, a career which later turned into a passion.
Now starts the journey as a sales professional. I followed all of the advice and tips of the great American sales gurus. Gurus like Zig Ziglar and Tom Hopkins, I became the consummate ‘closer’. I could sell ice to Eskimos, sand to Saudis and Beer to Aussies! I knew all the sales tricks and gimmicks in the book, which earned me a lot of money.
However something was wrong, my conscience was prodding me that this behaviour wasn’t at all aligned with my value system.
My Internal Discord
One morning I woke up realising how much hard work this approach to sales was. Whilst I got the sale more often than not, what I wasn’t getting was repeat business and referrals. In contemplating why this was, I realised I was indeed full of trickery and deception. While I was earning a lot of money I wasn’t earning respect or loyalty. It was time to look at something different.
This was the beginning of my journey of discovery. A journey which has led me to create the simplest most effective sales approach that genuinely puts customers before profit – Core+Selling.
The Day I Will Never Forget
By this stage, I had become quite a successful salesperson. One morning I came to work and found a few of my work colleagues sitting at my desk waiting for me. I realised something was up and asked what it was.
They told me they were frustrated with my levels of success. They could not figure out the secret that kept me at the top of the sales board every month.
On hearing their frustration, I had empathy. So I invited them to our company training room and lightly unpacked my sales approach. I was only too happy to teach them a bit of what I had learnt, and this reignited my desire to teach! I always knew I would end up imparting knowledge somewhere somehow – I just didn’t know I would end up a Sales Trainer!
After I had shown them some of my sales principles and where they were going wrong they gave me some great feedback about how simple this was. But what they said next was a game-changer for me.
“We have never seen anything like this before, you need to be teaching this stuff.”
Their comments set in motion a pathway to my hard work mapping out my sales methodology in a way that I could easily teach it to others.
Up Skilling Myself To Ensure I Become A Great Sales Trainer
While I had the WHAT I was going to teach, I realised I needed to learn the craft of HOW. So I embarked on a new journey to develop my skills as a professional trainer. I was prepared to make quite an investment into this as I didn’t want to be ‘just another teacher’. I wanted to learn the art of empowering others and equipping them for a greater level of success.
Learning Psychology and Adult learning techniques was an eye-opener for me. Particularly understanding how to keep the undivided attention of a room full of different personalities involved by changing their physical, emotional and mindful state every 8 minutes. Part of this journey involved becoming a Certified NLP Practitioner with the American Union of NLP and a DISC Behavioural Science facilitator.
Combining all these with interaction, fun, audiovisual and even the odd magic trick I believe my training room is not just a great learning environment but a fantastic all-round experience.
Building The Framework To Become A Sales Training
In the process of mapping out my sales methodology, I realised there were 3 vital components attributing to its simple yet powerful application. It took me 12 months sitting at a desk writing and rewriting my sales training program before I put it together in a way that made sense. What made it hard to create is that each of these 3 components are inter-relational not stand-alone attributes.
My First Experience As A Sales Trainer
Although I was quite comfortable teaching until now it had always been in a musical context. It was wise to do a practice run in front of family and friends. So I organised a dummy training day where I rolled out a few hours of my content. At the conclusion, I asked for brutal and honest feedback about me as a trainer.
The first comment was “You Rock…”. Feeling full of pride, happy and excited I expressed my gratitude, however, they replied with the second half of their comment “You Rock…. Stop it!” They informed me that for the last 3 hours they had watched me rock back and forth on my feet like the pendulum of a Grandfather Clock!
Apparently I made them dizzy and nauseous! On self-analysing, I realised it was something I did to overcome my nerves as a result of speaking in this new vocation. Due to applying an NLP Technique and reprogramming myself not to rock, I can assure you I don’t do this in the training room anymore!
I have now moved to a place of excited anticipation. Anticipation about the prospect of being able to invest myself and my knowledge into the people I am about to spend my time with.
My Hope For The Future
Because of the behaviour and unsavoury tactics of far too many in the sales fraternity, salespeople, in general, have gained a bad reputation.
Every year I look at a list of the top 100 most trusted professionals in our society. The most trusted is a nurse, however, sitting right down the bottom at 100 is the ‘stereotypical’ used car salesman.
Unfortunately, salespeople, in general, are currently rated at 87 out of 100.
My business goal is to spread the word about Core+Selling so it becomes the preferred sales method used everywhere. Then together we can restore faith, respect and integrity back into the sales industry at large.