Alison Edgar is the founder and managing director of Sales Coaching Solutions and ‘The Entrepreneur's Godmother’. Recognised for her dedication to helping the entrepreneurial cause through coaching and mentoring, Alison was named in the top 50 of the 2017 Smith & Williamson Power 100.
I caught up with Alison to find out more about ‘The Entrepreneur’s Godmother’.
It’s in the name, but tell me about Sales Coaching Solutions
I teach people to sell their fantastic products or services because if they don’t know how to sell, they don’t have a business.
I primarily teach the four key pillars of sales. The first pillar is ‘behaviours’. It is easier to sell to people who are like you, but by adapting to more people, you will inevitably sell more.
The second pillar is the ‘sales process’. This is important, because, for example, if you are manufacturing a product, you would follow a process. Therefore, in terms of sales, if you don’t have a process, you will sell to fewer people.
Thirdly, I teach ‘sales strategy’. A lot of people have a marketing strategy, but they don’t have a sales one. I work with them to look strategically at who their potential customers are, how they get to them and how they access them via digital media or networking events. They have to be where their potential clients are whether it’s online or face-to-face.
Then finally, ‘confidence’. Many people think selling is like swearing. The reason most people lack confidence in sales is because they don’t understand the behaviours, the sales process and they don’t have a strategy. So, when you have the other three components of the four key pillar areas of sales, confidence will some naturally. However, if you are not confident in your product or service, then your customers will not be confident in you.
The other part of the business is ‘The Entrepreneur’s Godmother’, where I work with start-ups, micros and owner-managed businesses, where they tend to be doing the selling themselves.
I work with Jordan Daykin from Gripit Fixings and Ben Towers from Towers Design, who have both have been involved in The Great British Entrepreneur Awards. I have been working with them since 2014 and have both become incredibly successful and are also on the Smith & Williamson Power 100 this year.
What’s the best advice you can give an entrepreneur just starting their journey?
Definitely sales. Especially in a tech start-up environment where you spend a lot of time creating a product to make it perfect, but then no-one buys it.
According to Forbes magazine, 90% of start-up businesses fail. This is why I created ‘The Entrepreneur’s Godmother’. I wanted to do something to stop this from happening.
Also, I find that start-ups don’t test the market, and I think that’s really important. Before you go and invest a lot of money in something, do the research to find out what customers are really looking to achieve.
What are the benefits of coaching?
Well, if you look at the top sports people in all types of sports, they all have a coach. So many business owners think that they can do it all by themselves and that they don’t need any support, but it’s not as easy as you think.
Entrepreneurialism can also be a very lonely place when you just start out, so to have that type of support at that early stage, gives you a real sounding board and a critical friend. This can be very useful, especially when you’ve come from being an employee and you’ve always got someone to be accountable to. Yet, if you’ve got your own business, you’ve got no accountability, so it’s easy to get distracted. That’s why you need to have someone to be accountable to, even in your own business.
What are you currently working on?
As part of ‘The Entrepreneur’s Godmother’, I have found that a lot of people want training from me, but I can’t be all over the world with all my clients at all times. Therefore, I’ve created an online course teaching the four key pillar areas of sales, which is available on my website.
There are two courses available: ‘The Entrepreneur’s Godmother - Guide to Starting a Business’ and ‘The Four Key Areas of Sales’.
What are your greatest achievements so far?
There are so many! When I started the business in 2011, my children were small, I had disabled parents and I was still working. I only went limited in 2014 and in that time, I’ve been voted one of the UK’s top 10 business advisors. I won a special merit at The Great British Entrepreneur Awards and I was invited to the Queen’s Royal Garden party for my work with the UK enterprise. I’m now travelling all over the world; I’ve just returned from running the first ever event in the Middle East of its kind.
However, I think the greatest achievement for me is not what I do, it’s about but what my clients have achieved. I have a number of clients, such as Jordan, who have had tremendous success. His current crowdfunding campaign has the company valued at £17 million. Therefore, for all businesses, if you can learn how to sell it can change your life. The greatest achievement I give is the gift to people.
Alsion has been kind enough to offer Fresh Business Thinking readers FREE access to her online course ‘The Entrepreneur’s Godmother – The Guide to Starting a Business’. Just enter the code ‘startup17’ at the checkout.