Steve Claydon

The Truth Always Wins.

What place does truth have in the sales process?

The highest of places, says Steve Claydon.

You know that unless you put a clients mind at ease, they are initially going to have a prejudice against you at the start of your relationship… unless you give them reason to think otherwise.  

Steve Claydon started out his journey as a car salesman.  And quickly became so successful that he became not only a leading performer, but also a gun sales trainer.

Why?  Because he was able to draw out his clients fears, expectations and hesitancy by calling them out.  By being honest.

This strategy may feel awkward with layers and layers of ‘techniques’ that have been taught over the years.  And yes, technique still has it place.

Sometimes though, your best ‘technique’ is knowing the perceptions, objections and stalls that are going on in your clients mind, and calling them out.  Being upfront with them.  Getting ahead of the conversation.

As Steve said during our interview, “Go with the perception, rather than fight it, then educate them on what you will do differently.”


The truth always wins. Upcoming #dayinthelife series on Steve Claydon. #sales #crm #truth

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Mel Ghadban with Sales VA

#dayinthelife: Financial Planning, Gratitude & X-Plan

The Financial Planning industry has come under heavy fire over the past few years.  It has gone through copious amounts of change, including a massive amount of regulation increases, compliance and auditing overhauls and a rebuilding of trust with the general population.  

Those who have not only survived, but have flourished during this period of uncertainty are those with integrity, drive and a phenomenal amount of personal skills.

Mel Ghadban is one of them.  In the Financial Planning Industry for 17 years, Mel has navigated all sorts of financial environments for his clients.

We met Mel 6 months ago when we were looking for Beta Sales VA clients for the Financial Planning Industry.  During this period we have learnt so much about the industry, it’s opportunities and challenges, that we asked to do a #dayinthelife with Mel, so that you could get your own insight as well.

Mel Ghadban, Financial Planner

Mel, what does your average day look like?

I always start the day with the gym and a coffee… but not at the same time!  I then prepare for the day ahead.  The more preparation that I can do for upcoming meetings, the better the outcome for both the client and I.  I will do a couple of face to face meetings, with numerous calls to clients, insurers and fund managers, in between.


If you could tweak anything in the industry, what would it be?

We need to move with technology, to create more efficiency, and to deliver better services to our clients.  Delivering advice via video over the internet, would be great for compliance, but we need to get our clients to trust it – and that is a big hurdle to overcome at the moment.


How do you deal with rejection?

People who aren’t in this industry are blown away when I say that I was only rejected by 1 client last year.  But what people don’t understand is that 1 client requires a 30 hour investment.  So I have a process where lots of questions are asked initially, along with a detailed needs analysis, which means that we don’t move past the first contact unless they are very committed.


Do you check in with social media during the day?

Not often, I only really have personal social media accounts.


When it comes to your clients, what has been the biggest difference in them and their focus, over the last 17 years?

It has always been difficult to get the husband and wife to meet at the same time, and the wife still buys emotionally, while the husband buys based on the $ investment – of course that’s a generalisation – but it’s quite a common outcome.

What’s changed is the amount of financial education brought to the table – it’s great to see that it is now pretty even between the husband and wife.


What do you love about what you do?

It sounds corny, but it’s true.  Helping my clients.  It’s a non-tangible investment which people only realise the benefit from when something bad happens.  Getting those phone calls during those tough times, assuring them that it is handled (because of something we put in place 2 years earlier), and hearing the relief in their voice.  THAT is what makes me love what I do.


What do you find challenging?

The administration and paperwork.  But I’ve now got 2 things in place which help with that.  The first is XPlan.  The second is Sales VA.


Dream House/Holiday/Car?

Ok.  So I’m really clear on each of these, and working hard towards them.

  1. A house in Morocco, with a basement full of cars, swimming pool and views of the ocean.
  2. A sports holiday.  The English Premier League, La Liga, NBA game, NFL game, then the Monaco F1.
  3. McLaren P1


Who is your favourite client and why?

Now, I can’t name names.  So I’ll just describe them.  They are a young couple from the country, who come to the city on a regular basis.  They visit, and check in, and revise and update with me just as often.  And they are SO grateful.  They really appreciate how much effort I go to, and the results that I get for them.  That’s a really nice feeling.


What has your favourite customer experience been?

I had the best customer service experience ever in 2015.  And it was all around 1 pair of shorts.  You see, I went in to buy said pair of shorts.  The lady introduced herself, and asked for my name.  She then used my name subtly throughout the entire shopping experience.  She asked fantastic questions around how I would use the shorts, how I wanted to care for them, how long I expected to wear them and about my all time favourite piece of clothing.  When I was trying them on, she automatically had alternatives ready once I had finished looking at them in the mirror.  It was such an easy experience and refreshing to have that level of attention in a retail environment.

As an added bonus, I bought 4 pairs of shorts AND the next time I went there, my name was remembered.


Who inspires you?

It’s no one famous!  It’s the people in countries who have electricity for 6 hours a day, have unreliable food sources, uncertainty around water quality – and yet they are happy.  They are happy that they have electricity for 6 hours.  They are happy to have 3 ingredients to turn into a meal for their family.  They are happy to to have running water, even if they have to boil it to drink.

When little nuisances come up in life that we could get ‘stressed’ over, I think about how grateful I am for the life I live and the opportunities that I do have.  And I get over those little nuisances pretty quickly.


How do you keep healthy on the road?

I keep it really simple.  Nuts in the car with plenty of water.


You use the XPlan CRM – what do you love about it?

I love the ease of producing a Statement of Advice.  The access to everything, along with the reporting.


What challenges you about it?

That actually comes back to you, Emma.  Sales VA is only just getting known in the Financial Planning industry.  I really believe that the more planners that use Sales VA, in conjunction with XPlan, are going to knock their customer service AND their compliance, out of the park.

You can connect with Mel Ghadban on LinkedIn here.


Rob Lowe of Evolve Digital

A Day In The Life of Rob Lowe – LinkedIn Expert – Not The Movie Star.

The first question Rob will ask you is this. How many leads did you generate for your business from LinkedIn in the past 7 days? If the answer to this question is “zero”​, or “not enough”​ then he says that you owe it to yourself and your business to reach out to Evolve Digital.

After spending a few hours with Rob, I tend to agree! I’ve never seen someone so excited, and so passionate about what they can do for their clients.

So what does a Day In The Life of a LinkedIn Marketing Strategist look like? We’ve got the breakdown here.

What’s the plan for the day?

I always start my morning off with a run with some friends. We start so early that we have time for a quick coffee. With such a jam packed day, this ritual is my anchor. It keeps me sane! Once I’m in the office, we have a quick debrief with the team, focus on the strategy for the day and share what big things are lined up.

Then my schedule gets hectic. Our team is active on our clients LinkedIn accounts every 2 hours, so between keeping an eye on that, and doing 6 client meetings a day – it can get crazy. I stay focused by staying passionate for the client in front of me, and excited about the opportunities of what we can do for them.

How do you deal with rejection?

I don’t get it a lot. We categorise our prospective clients into not ready, not yet, soon, and let’s do it. It is totally fine at whatever stage they are at. I don’t see that as a rejection. It’s certainly not a rejection of me as a person.

When needs align, business happens.

How do you use Social Media?

We focus all of our resources on LinkedIn. Yes, we do a little bit on all the platforms – but we see the biggest return from optimising and accelerating activity on LinkedIn. Most people haven’t even heard of optimising LinkedIn – it’s an industry secret that is so powerful, yet significantly undiscovered. The leads that come out of it are really strong, but often, the sales skills of a business will let them down. To add value we now find ourselves inadvertently training our clients to improve their sales skills. Strong leads + solid conversion mean that they can really measure their return on investment with us.

What do you love about what you do?

I love opening eyes up to the LinkedIn opportunity! The optimiser and accelerator plan really blows my mind. Can you tell I’m excited for my clients?

What do you find challenging?

Overcoming the lack of understanding of social media. I know that is my job, and it’s a massive generalisation – people are really starting from a base level when it comes to social media.


We also educate our clients on burn. If we are helping to generate really strong leads, they need be responded to within 2 hours. This is a really important time for the prospect and that must be respected.

2015-12-07 10.02.20

What do you dream of?

I dream of the elusive work/life balance. I am working on building an awesome team to take some of the time pressure off, while also delivering more superior service than I can do at the moment.  (See Rana Saini with Rob inset.)

I dream of moving to Bulimba (a beautiful suburb of Brisbane, Australia), cruising Antarctica, buying a white Q5 Audi and spending more time with my kids.

With such a busy life, how do you keep healthy?

Running daily and eating good food. I try to keep it all pretty simple. We have a healthy culture in the office – that helps to.

What is the ideal customer experience?

When the client ends up selling your own product back to you. That is the most exciting experience ever.


You can connect with Rob Lowe, of Evolve Digital here:

Using Excel as your CRM

Using Excel As Your CRM

Millions of businesses around the world recognise the importance of keeping all of their contacts, and sales activities, in one place.  They don’t necessarily want all of the features of a cloud based CRM, but want to be able to do the following:

  • keep records of client details
  • keep records of client interactions
  • keep records of sales activity

Using Excel as your CRM covers those bases.

As a business that manages the CRM of thousands of clients, some of them using Excel, we have seen all manner of templates and formats!

One we love, and refer many clients to is available here.

It’s simple.  It’s free.  And it has some added features.

It is also a great one to use if you are migrating your data from one CRM to another.

If using a CRM is new to you, and you want to learn about managing your CRM, getting the most out of your CRM, then join us to discuss all things Customer Relationship Management at our upcoming webinar on YouTube here.


Sales VA and Insightly CRM

An Insight Into Insightly

Over the last 12 months, on behalf of our clients, we have been working with many, many CRMs.  

As we learnt more about our clients, we continued to discover a hold point. A number of prospective customers managed client information record keeping in their own way, but without a recognisable CRM.

As an Assistant As An App Service, one which inputs data into CRMs – this was a challenge!

Sure, we could do a workaround, and input the data into a shared spreadsheet.  But we wanted our clients to understand that a CRM isn’t scary, and it is worth it.

A few of the best things about a CRM:

    1. It’s a platform that is scaleable.  It may just be you and a partner right now and you know your business, but using a CRM early on is going to help you scale your business faster, bring new team members up to speed quickly and ensure you are managing your clients well.
    2. It brings together several platforms of data, into the one platform.  (Think email, notes, contacts and tasks – all in one.)
    3. It will give you a snapshot of the key KPI’s of your sales process.

There are many more benefits of using a CRM from the start, but these are all you should need.

So, back to our challenge.  Some clients were holding off selecting a CRM because:

  1. Too many choices.  With over 40 CRMs applicable to their industry,it is difficult to make the “right” choice when they have a business to run.
  2. Too hard and time consuming to set it up.  Time.  Time.  Time.  Clients felt that it was going to take too much time to bring across the data to set it up and they didn’t know where to start.
  3. Ease of use.  Running a business takes bandwidth.  Everyone is familiar and comfortable with their own system.  Learning a new CRM takes extra bandwidth.  Is it worth it? (For the reasons listed above, of course it is!)

Once we better understood the position of our Beta Clients, we started testing some CRMs.  We concentrated on CRMs that made it easy to move clients from a spreadsheet to a CRM.

We discovered that there are over 40 of them.  Yikes!  We whittled them down to a few, and will share their stories over the next few months.  (Yes, we will work with any CRM, but bring clients into only a few, dependant on their needs.)

One of the best fits for a new or small business is Insightly.  Yesterday, our CEO, Emma Monro, visited their office in San Francisco.  Here are sometake outs for businesses considering moving from a spreadsheet to a CRM:

    • Great, welcoming vibe.  Dwight Foster, VP of Sales & Business Development, is open to new integrations, such as SalesVA, and is continually looking for ways to make it even easier for their clients to work with their CRM solution.
    • They specialise in bringing businesses across from no CRM or using Excel as a CRM.
    • They have put a lot of work into making their integrations seamless – if you already use Google Apps and Gmail, you are going to love how that works with Insightly.
    • Under two users is free

If you are an Insightly user, what do you love about your CRM?

Keep an eye out over the next week for our How To Video Series on setting up Insightly, as your CRM.