Tag Archives: 2019

The ‘BackBrief’ As A Business Communication Tool – TERRY WILLIAMS

What is a ‘BackBrief’? I first encountered the concept running a delegation workshop for a prestigious law firm.

The point of delegation is to drive optimal productivity, right. The lowest cost resource that can do the work should be assigned to do that work. The high-cost resources such as the partners, specialists and so forth should be doing high value work. Those in supervisory roles need to be delegating effectively, using systems to ensure work is done to standard, to time, and on budget.

There’s a lot that I could write about delegation and perhaps will in future but, for now, I want to focus in on one person. That person is a senior solicitor in that firm. He knew at a logical level that he should be delegating but his personality was such that he struggled. “No one can do this as well as me”. “Even if someone could do this as well as me, it won’t be the way that I would do it”. “Look, it’s just quicker and easier if I do it myself”.

Obviously those are just excuses and you can probably counter those excuses yourself. It’s short-term thinking, ultimately unsustainable, and certainly not optimal productivity. He was however able to cite several instances where he’d assigned work that ended up being poorly done, or not done at all, due to a lack of understanding on the part of the people being assigned the work. You could argue that adult professionals should not go around nodding that they can do a task when they aren’t sure. You could assign blame to the delegator who is ultimately still accountable for the work and its quality and timeliness. Better is to implement a simple system that invests a small amount of time upfront that ensures there is accurate understanding or there isn’t. Another lawyer in the room was ex-military and she introduced us all to the concept of the ‘BackBrief’.

‘BackBrief‘ is exactly what it sounds like. The person or people receiving the instructions give a synopsis of the instructions they just received. The person originally giving the instructions can then determine whether the message was received properly. If it’s a small task, then the ‘BackBrief’might be a swift verbal remark. If it’s a task of substance, then it might warrant some time and a small presentation.

It’s a great idea that I’ve been introducing into my workshops the past two years. Many professional non-military workplaces are picking up on it. It increases certainty and clarifies expectations. It lessens the odds of ambiguity, uncertainty and misunderstandings. It addresses issues around people’s fears of speaking up. It’s a simple, low-cost communication tool that people take to quickly, leading to fewer mistakes and enhanced productivity and leadership. Change doesn’t have to be scary, giant leaps into the unknown. Sometimes the best change comes about via small things like the ‘BackBrief’.

Improve your business… One month at a time…

1 ½ hours focused on Real Estate to do list – 8 activities for listing success!

This sessions helps Real Estate professionals identify what a great week looks like for them and the key activities that make you more money.

This session covers:

  1. Busy vs productive;
  2. Success actions;
  3. Your to do list;
  4. Create more systems;
  5. Key activity for listing opportunity;
  6. Calls, calls, calls;
  7. Creating a plan in concrete;
  8. Accountability system.

Create your weekly system

I was at a client’s business a couple of weeks ago and one of the key things that we devised for their business was our ‘weekly plan’.  What identified on each day of the week was the key tasks that were needed to be completed every week and on what day.  What got the team thinking was, “what were the things that we did during the week that needed to be done by a specific date?” and then we identified the days on which those tasks were going to be completed.  By creating this ‘weekly plan’, it started to give everybody in the business a clearer vision of what needed to be completed and on what days.  Since then, we have started to have the team looking at days the activity is required ahead and being able to identify things that they could be doing to make the business more efficient and getting these things done earlier and faster.     

I am seeing in business today that they are always in catch-up mode.  They are constantly chasing themselves to be more organized and get more up to date.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to get your ‘weekly plan’ of standard key activities that you are normally required to do and ensure that this is locked in for everybody each week.  From a manager’s perspective going through this checklist each day and each week, provides you a much clearer reminder of exactly what needs to be completed and by when.  Try this for your business.  Set this plan up with your team to identify the key tasks that need to be done on each day of the week and then start reviewing this on a weekly basis. It really does improve the output and efficiency in your business.

Creating actual processes

Many clients ask me from time to time how they actually design or develop a process for their business.  My simple answer is this:

  1. Take a piece of A4 paper , write on the left hand side numbers 1-30 then begin to think about how a particular component of your business works or the components that are needed. 
  2. By simply creating this list of steps that you complete for each part of your business, you will start to build a process that you can follow.  
  3. Once you have initially created this list of 10, 20 or 50 components into a process, the next key step is to provide this list to other people in your team that are involved in this process within your   business. 
  4. Ask them to review your list, add more detail or components that you may have missed to ensure that we are now developing a really strong consistent process.  
  5. Once this list has been created, get it typed into an excel    spreadsheet using an appropriate template.  

At darrenpratley.com and INK Consulting Associates we offer a template that you can use.  This template is designed so that you can insert new rows to enable you to move and develop your process.  Once this process has been developed into your template, it can now be printed and provided to the team in your business.  At this point we usually advise that there is a one month trial for people to be actually using this process day-to-day in the business.  What you are wanting to receive now is feedback on the process, how it is working and ensuring that there is improved efficiency and consistency.  Once this month’s trial has been conducted, the next step is to formalise the process and ensure that it becomes the consistent format for all events relating to that process.  This basically means that every time a particular job or function is required in the business, there is a process to follow and it will enable your team to provide a consistent, accurate outcome everytime.  

Climb Mt. Everest, lose weight, make sales? You need ‘momentary courage’

Regardless of whether your challenge is preparing to crash land an aircraft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (in the dark), steeling yourself to motivate your team towards a seemingly impossible sales target or losing weight – you’ll find the steps to getting there are the same.

You may wonder how can we compare ditching an aircraft in the ocean to team leadership, or even other challenges like weight loss, learning a new skill or hobby? Take it from somebody who has crashed an aircraft into the Pacific Ocean, climbed Mt. Everest and run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents – the tools, the attitude and the basics are the same.

In my keynote I go into more depth on what those tools are, but here’s the two that you absolutely need.

Momentary courage

While you may not be a pilot or mountaineer, every challenge is your challenge and every challenge requires an instant of courage. I call itmomentary courage; it’s the courage you need at the point of decision – that moment in time, when the scales are evenly poised. 

You can either stand down, close your eyes, turn away, even surrender, or you can take the next step. 

I recall, close to the summit of Mt. Everest (when every step, every breath is life or death), coming across a climber who didn’t make it – lying across my path, frozen in time. At that point I could turn back, or I could make myself safe, assess my situation and step over him.

In those moments in time, I tell myself: “You need momentary courage now…” Just saying it gives you the courage you need.

Basic brilliance

There’s brilliance in the basics. Take any challenge, break it down into its constituent parts. Those are your basics. You’ll find that 90% of your struggles can be overcome by defaulting to the basics.

For airline pilots, when overwhelmed, its back to basics, “aviate, navigate and communicate”. When things get really overwhelming, those basics become, “aviate, aviate, aviate”.

What are your basics?

Perhaps you want to climb Mt. Everest, learn a new musical instrument or be a good mum or dad. None of those goals are any less significant than the other. You can do it. You can do anything, just remember – momentary courage and basic brilliance; they’ll get you there.

Get your team involved

A great way to help build your plan for the year ahead is to get your team involved.  Identify the key people in your business that can assist with creating your business plan and get them all in the room at the one time.  Have a discussion around what you are wanting to achieve for the year ahead and what are the opportunities. 

Keep building your Credibility

One of the key areas of developing trust is the ability for you to develop your credibility with your client base.  One easy way to do this is to create a summary for your future clients explaining what you have done and how you have ended up in this industry.  By doing this, it will enable you to explain the length of time you have been in the industry, the roles that you have had in the industry and how you have learnt important skills and knowledge that can really help the customer in their selection of product but also the ongoing relationship.  

Building your credibility is now becoming one of the key important components in developing your service proposition and some real serious consideration needs to be given to ensure it forms part of your future success.  

Developing your skill

Recently I was at a presentation where I was talking to the audience and through some light-hearted banter with the audience participants, one of the front row attendees was discussing how they had been in this industry for over 34 years.  This got me really thinking.  Over the 34 years that this person had been in their industry, I was considering how much skill and knowledge that person had built up in their role.  I think this is something we all need to consider as we progress in our chosen careers.  How much time and effort are we putting into developing our skills, knowledge and improving our proposition.  As we enter some industries, we are often pulled into believing that we will continue to just do what we have always done and that will be fine.  

A key component we have to keep considering is how we get better in our role and keep developing the skills to become more and more valuable.

We all know that as technology and new systems enter our workforce, there are always those that will be left behind because they have not continued to keep up.

Please write down the 5 key skills that you have working in your current role and have a think about how you could get even better in these 5 key areas this year.  What training, what education, what mentorship would be of benefit for you to become that one step better in 2019.

The Power of Silence… The biggest secret to successful negotiation

5 ways to increase your authority and negotiation skills.

Do you believe that silence is golden?

Why is it that so many in the sales profession don’t value the art and skill of remaining silent? 

Why do many of us think of silence in a negative fashion?  According to the Washington post… “Silence, it turns out, is one of the mostpowerful weapons an individual can bring to the table.”


1….. When Negotiating

Silence will give you immense power when negotiating. Most people dislike silence and will replace silence with constant talking. You will be surprised what you can learn from the other party when you are silent. If you practice the skill of remaining silent, you will be amazed by the additional information you receive which may have been kept previously to themselves.

Silence may not be easy, but the results are worth it.  Using silence usually put you in the far more powerful negotiation situation.

2…..When Presenting

when speaking in public, many of us suffer from nerves, and that leads us to speak more quickly than we would normally do. Slow it all down and introduce some silent pauses.

Check out www.jdouglasedwards.com.au….A master of the silent pause.

When presenting, the power of silence can deliver greater credibility when used by the presenter. When delivering a key point, try using silence is a positive tool to bring the audience back to you and also emphasise the key point.

3….. When responding.

Rather than responding to someone’s enquiry or question immediately, the positive power of silence before you respond as greatly to your response. By pausing, you are showing you are thinking about and reflecting on your reply.

Silence always expects a response. When you give people silence to respond, they will give you far better, more thought over responses.

4….. When building trust

In order to build and develop better relationships, trust must be built. One of the best ways to build trust is to actively listen to the other party.

When you are actively listening, you are silent. Maximise the power of silence by making notes and using your head in acknowledgement of what the other person is saying.

Your feedback to them during the conversation will show that are interested in what is being said and the speaker will appreciate that.

This action of active listening will create and build trust.

5….. When listening

Very few of us perform well in the art of listing, particularly active listening. The power of silence plays a big part in you being highly effective in this area. Having silence is your first response will in many people’s eyes make you wise you will see more useful and more intelligent if you can resist the urge to respond immediately when something is said, it will serve you well because you will only give will thought out and more intelligent responses.


“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence
Leonardo da Vinci

Silence is a source of great strength
Lao Tzu

Silence is better than one meaning words

I am rather inclined to silence
Abraham Lincoln

Silence isn’t empty, it’s full of answers

Silence is one of the great art is of communication

Silence is sometimes the best answer
Dalai lama

Sometimes it’s best to stay quiet. The silence can speak volumes without ever saying a word

Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer
Mohammed Ali



Disconnect your laptop and mobile devices and have an evening of silence.

Spend more time with an inspirational book to bring you insight in the day


Enjoy the silence of nature that is around you. Rise early to take a stroll around your neighbourhood


Practising silence can bring in a piece to you, to Brit business relationships, and to your world


When we grab a moment of silence, it gives us a chance to refocus on what is important to you e.g. your family and friends. Additionally learning to be silent will help you become a better listener


Dream big by writing down your deepest wishes and thoughts. Right ways of accomplishing these goals in the future

About David Jackson CSP 

David is internationally known as “THE SALES DOCTOR” for his Vitamins for Success and prescriptions for uplifting Profits.  He has over 30 years of experience as an internationally recognised Sales Skills and Communication Coach including Keynote Public Speaker. David brings the ability to positively transform the skills and attitudes of his audiences with humour and real world experiences. He will lift you to a new level.

10 Tried and True Proven Strategies for Sales Follow-Up

FACT ….. 48% of salespeople NEVER follow-up with a prospect

Most salespeople never follow-up a customer after the product or service has been delivered.

There is so much opportunityfor the sales and customer service people who want to make follow-up a priority and habit.

So much business is left on the table through a complete lack of any systemised follow-up.

We all must follow-up, follow-up, follow-up….It’s one of the most successful strategies for exceptional and consistent results and improved incomes.

Excuses for not following up that I’ve heard

  • I just don’t have the time
  • I don’t know when I should follow-up
  • I don’t know what to say
  • I’m uncomfortable when making follow-up calls
  • I feel like being a pest
  • I have enough new inquiries to handle on a daily basis
  • If they’re interested, they will call me

Remember….Over 48% of salespeople never follow-up with a prospect. The professional. Do what the pros do. Don’t listen to the whingers and whiners that haven’t adopted follow-up as one of the key priorities.

The calm true sales pro and adopt the following 10 proven strategies.

10 strategies for sales follow-up

STRATEGY 1….. Making your priorities a priority

Fact: People do business with people they like.

They also do business with people, on a regular basis who follow them up on a regular basis.

Follow-up must become one of your top priorities EVERY DAY. You must allocate a certain amount of time per day for this important priority….Follow-up.

The amount of business you can do by making eight previous customer calls per day will make you a member of the winners circle. 40 calls a week to previous owners of your product or service will give you enough new business opportunities and referrals to keep you more than busy.

Add to this activity, the follow-up of your current prospects. Many of these prospects will have already decided that they want the product, but they haven’t decided who they will entrust their business with.

Your follow-up should put you at number one on their list, because over 48% of all salespeople will never call them.

STRATEGY 2….. Get and use their name

One of the biggest gripes we get from customers is that sales people either do not use that name at all or say it incorrectly.

When asking for someone’s name, ask them “how do I spell your name?” Once you have done that, repeated back to them for correctness and use it often.

Make sure that when you are data basing your prospects or customers’ details and that their name / partners name is spelt correctly.

STRATEGY 3…..Ask what is their preferred communication channel?

It is essential for you to know your prospect or customer’s preferred communication channel. This will be either:

  • Phone call….. My preferred option….. Quick, use a script you. This strategy allows you to gain feedback on your product or service and the much valued opportunity to ask for a referral. You can also update your database as to their degree of ITCH for a new updated product or service.
  • Text message….. quick, very fast response time.
  • Email….. Good for short messages.
  • Letter….. Be different, stand out from the crowd. You competitors don’t send letters.
  • Via social media… LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.
  • E-newsletters….. Helps you to remind your database of upcoming news and reminds them of who you are and where they can find you.

It definitely pays dividends for you to ask what the customer wants regarding their preferred style of communication.

STRATEGY 4….. Always have a reason to follow-up

A great line to use is…” The reason for my call is…..” It lets the caller know that this is a professional and courteous follow-up call. You should have a list of beneficial reasons to call. It is really beneficial to prepare and use a list of say 20 reasons to call. Examples include:

  1. Happy birthday
  2. Merry Christmas
  3. Product upgrade
  4. New product released
  5. Sale starts at
  6. Limited time offer on manufacturer’s rebates
  7. Special offer….Limited time
  8. Product anniversary purchase date
  9. So many people don’t call because they have not planned any reasons to call.
  10. Be prepared….Get yourself a list

STRATEGY 5….. Sending out hand written Thank you cards

3 a day. That’s the goal. Sending out 3 hand written thank you note per day, which equates to 15 a week, which equates to 60 people a month receiving your personalised thank you notes.

If you’re looking for a business edge, you will be creating 60 positive impacts per month and building your business network.

With many businesses now focusing on the value of referral selling, you have just created 60 opportunities as a result of your thank you cards.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a printed card on one side with THANK YOU and a place on the inside for you to write a handwritten note and have your name contact details et cetera printed. My strong suggestion to you is to immediately get organised and have a thousand printed. The three day habit is one of the best strategies for follow-up I could ever recommend.

Some benefits for sending out thank you cards include: 

  • It’s a tangible way of showing your appreciation for their business.
  • It is an unexpected gesture.
  • Many people keep thank you notes as keepsakes.
  • You will be different! Very few businesses take the time and effort to use thank you cards.
  • It gives you a reason for follow-up phone call
  • It’s a great habit to have.

STRATEGY 6….. A current, clean and methodically updated database/CRMsystem

A good CRM program will assist you in organising your contacts and tracking important dates. It can also keep for you huge amounts of information regarding your prospects, their buying habits, a section for notes, and likely times of next purchase. I have always regarded my database is my goldmine. The more good stuff you put into it, the more valuable it becomes as a resource for you in gaining more business, more easily.

STRATEGY 7…..Persistence

There is nothing truer than the statement – “Persistence overcomes resistance”. Our statistics show that over 50% of all salespeople lack any form of persistence when it comes to follow-up. That leaves the door open for anyone who can adopt the award-winning habit of persistence. With a little bit more determination and a focus on an extra 1% effort in all you do, you’ll be amazed by your results.

STRATEGY 8….. Always end your communications with a proposed next step

As most of your follow-up will be on the phone, it is always good to finish your call with a proposed next action step.

  • “May I have your permission to……” – Is an extremely courteous and nonthreatening question to ask of your prospect/customer. This question is answered YES in 99% of time…. “ May I have your permission to call you in one week”.
  • “May I have your permission to email you the…”
  • ”May I have your permission to send you a proposal regarding….”
  • “May I have your permission to visit with you and….”
  • “May I have your permission to send you important information on …”

This step guarantees continuance of the conversation.

STRATEGY 9….. Ask for referrals

FACT: You will never lose the sale for asking for a referral… But you can lose a lot of business if you don’t ask for one. Your choice.

Most sales pros set a target for referrals on a daily weekly or monthly basis. Why not set yourself a target of 1 referral per day. That will deliver you 20 referrals per month. These referrals will be the most profitable and easily closed business that you can get.

When asking for referrals, the key term you must use is… Who do you know…?

 STRATEGY 10……. Creating customers for life

In his bestselling book, CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE, Carl Sewell asks… “How good you want to be?” He also asks… “Ask your customers what they want… And give it to them”.  Your customers will be the best barometer for you in gauging your level and provision of good customer service.

MUST READ… CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE written by Carl Sewell

In his book, Carl Sewell gives 10 Commandments of customer service.  My favourite chapters are:

  • Under promise and over deliver… Customers expect you to keep your word, exceed it
  • Your mother was right….Show people respect. Be polite. It works
  • Japanese them… Learn how the best really do it, make their Systems your own. Then improve them

The strategy of creating customers for life is not all that hard when using the above eight time tested strategies.

Remember….Relationships are like plants, you must nurture them or they will wither away and die.

About David Jackson CSP 

David is internationally known as “THE SALES DOCTOR” for his Vitamins for Success and prescriptions for uplifting Profits.  He has over 30 years of experience as an internationally recognised Sales Skills and Communication Coach including Keynote Public Speaker. David brings the ability to positively transform the skills and attitudes of his audiences with humour and real world experiences. He will lift you to a new level.