Don’t be the salted caramel of the business world, please…

Has anyone else noticed how salted caramel is everywhere these days? You can’t escape it, much the same way as chorizo and peri peri have crept into our lives over the years. 

I prefer just normal caramel, like a Cadbury’s Caramel chocolate bar. Why has salted caramel suddenly become the go to flavour? 

It’s likely to be another trend, as it doesn’t seem like a revelation of gastronomic creation to me. 

But why is this related to business? 

Well it got me thinking: why is everyone making salted caramel products? 

And, therefore, what could be the next bandwagon? 

Is it really ‘innovative’ to apply the same core flavour to various products? 

Or is it good business to take advantage of a popular wave of flavour fashion?

It’s akin to the fast follower or first mover strategies.

My point is this: in a crowded world of salted caramel, when will you be prepared to break the mould, pivot, and become the new ‘flavour of the month’?

If you don’t innovate, or keep looking over the horizon, then you’ll constantly be chasing the pack just to stand still.

We love supporting businesses to be disruptive in their markets, who want to stand on their own, and who want to make a real change. 

So for me, please don’t be the salted caramel of the business world. Be the next big flavour, and you’ll taste sweeter success!* 

*Yep, had to get the puns in, sorry…

Business Therapy – Have You Ever Considered Benefiting From A Business Mentor?

“Yes I have one already” – then great! Hopefully it’s working well for you!

“No I don’t have one or know how it would benefit me” – then
read on!

This has nothing to do with normal conceptions of business, yet everything to do with business!

Therapy in the traditional sense – being able to open up to someone completely disconnected to you – may sound counter-intuitive at first, but it has a number of advantages in business today.

Forget about using the non-execs on the board or industry advisors, this is about you as an individual first and foremost.

And the value-add to the business is a by-product of the personal mentorship.

What’s more, it works for the CEO just as much as the admin staff, and for start-ups just as much as established companies.

Firstly, let’s look at the mentee-mentor relationship.

Have you ever felt better after opening up to someone about how you’re feeling? A friend, family member, a colleague, your doctor… even a total stranger!?

Offloading what’s on your mind, no matter how trivial you may find the concern or worry, is proven to alleviate stress instantly.


But what’s that got to do with business?

Well, offloading your personal and/or business concerns to your mentor is only the first step.

Your mentor will listen intently and then provide the appropriate response and feedback depending on the issue present.

Some mentees will want a sympathetic ear; some will want to be provided with the view of the other side in a challenging manner; some will look for tools on what to do next to solve any problems; and some will want a combination of all three and more.

Remember, you’ll have selected your mentor to feel comfortable working together, maybe after a trial session or two, and agreeing on what type of assistance you want them to provide going forward.

You’ll have agreed to conduct the sessions in person, on the phone or via skype, or a mixture, and for a decent length of time.

The second step is a direct result of the empowering effect that an independent set of ears and fresh eyes can have on what you do going forward.

The mentor will effectively act as a soundboard: providing feedback, working through the good and bad steps taken, problem solving with you, and finally signposting you to the next steps that need to be taken.

You should feel clear headed at this point – with a great weight lifted from what’s been consuming your mind, and a direction to head in with tools at your disposal.

Thirdly, if you want to develop on a more advanced level, the mentee may benefit from being set goals by the mentor, both personal and professional. Nothing that would drastically affect the person or business, but perhaps some suggestions to try, tweaks in how to deal with particular issues, or maybe some structure to adopt.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to frame a mentor/mentee relationship – how often the meetings are, how long they run, how they’re conducted etc – it is all about what works for the mentee.

But commitment is the only way it will have a chance to work.

As you learn to utilise the outlet of a mentor at your work, you will develop personally and professionally; becoming burden-free and
capably equipped to move forward with renewed drive which will translate into increased productivity and the crucial work/life balance you deserve.

Look deeper, see further.

We’ve seen the power a business mentor can have on individuals, because we have one as well as providing that service! Through
a range of roles, Allan Panthera has the proven experience and emotional intelligence to meet your mentoring needs. If you have any more questions about how business therapy can transform you personally and professionally, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Why The Auctioneer May Be The Ultimate Salesperson

A few years ago I attended an auction with a wide range of goods on sale: art; signed sporting memorabilia; NASA astronaut items; rare whisky; laptops… the list went on.

And I ended up spending way more than I had planned!

Was I a naïve novice? Would I have spent the same on a different day, with different items on offer? Or was I the ‘victim’ of great sales technique?

So many aspects of what makes a successful auction can be attributed to the skill of the person at the helm: the auctioneer.

And upon reflection, I noticed that the auctioneer deployed many classic sales skills.

But what makes them so good at what they do, and why is that comparable to a traditional sales person? Let me highlight some of their skills below:

  • They know their audience – having engaged with them before the auction starts, from the podium they can then read the room in front of them and interact at the required level
  • They can dynamically adjust their sales strategy in the moment – they respond to rapid changes based upon the bidders in front of them: does a slow-moving item need to be more enthusiastically promoted and helped along? Can they simply leverage the existing energy of a bidding war and use it to maximise the potential price?
  • They quickly, clearly and concisely present the value of the goods on offer – they have to, there is no time to go through a powerpoint of the item’s spec
  • They know when to stop – they don’t want to annoy their audience by ‘flogging a dead horse’ (excuse the pun): they need to keep them on board for the next sales opportunity and not lose them completely
  • They know all about the items they’re selling – knowledge and interest in every item conveys trust to the bidders, which is crucial
  • They project charisma – most people are happier buying from people they like, and most auctioneers can create that feeling with complete strangers
  • They multitask – they have to manage their colleagues who are speaking with bidders on the phone, online, and bidders in the room: all at the same time!
  • They create demand – at the auction I attended, the auctioneer made me want to buy every item for fear of missing out!
  • They’re innovative – like any other competitive industry, how do you attract clients to use your services and stand out? One Australian auctioneer I know wears a kilt!

From your own experience or from the post above, how many of the 10 classic sales skills below, that the Institute of Sales Management recommend mastering, can you identify an auctioneer as having?

  • Listening
  • Communication
  • Rapport building
  • Great memory
  • Art of persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Objection handling
  • Public speaking

In my opinion they easily capture all 10.

So is there something sales teams can learn from watching an auctioneer at work? I’d say so.

It can be difficult to find an opportunity to watch and learn from a seasoned sales person in action, but in a lot of other professions this ‘shadowing’ aspect of training is critical – lawyers, doctors, teachers, police, IT, nurses etc.

Try and visit an auction near you, and pick up on the various skills in action. Maybe even speak to the auctioneer for any tips they can pass on.

If that’s not possible, contact us at Allan Panthera and take our CHALLANGE™ on how we can support your sales team to reach their full potential.

The ‘Good’ Sales Guy Vs The ‘Bad’ Sales Guy…

For our first Blog post, we looked at a topic we’ve seen in nearly every single business. Can you relate too?!



He never shows up to work or meetings on time, and always seems to be out of the office ‘working from home’ or at ‘client meetings’.

Often you can’t reach him on phone or email, and rarely get a response.

He is arrogant.

He’s very friendly with the boss and seems to be given an easier time than the rest of the team.

He treats his colleagues as inferiors and doesn’t offer to help them.

He doesn’t get on with the team.

He follows no defined sales process, either the company’s or an industry standard.

He doesn’t do admin – he rarely updates the CRM.

Manufacturing and accounts have to tidy up his booked order mistakes.

He frequently gets caught stretching the truth about things.

His aftersales service to clients is non-existent.

He’s middle aged or older, and isn’t interested in progression.

He often brings in large, lump sum orders.

He meets or exceeds his targets.

His remuneration package is £100k a year.

Q. Why is he ‘good’? A. “He brings in the most money to the business, about £1m p.a.”

The Devil is in the detail…


He’s always on time and puts in extra hours in the office when not at meetings.

He responds on phone or email as soon as possible, if not straight away.

He is lacking in confidence.

He always gets a hard time from the boss.

He treats his colleagues with respect and always offers to help them.

He gets on well with the team, and they all seem to like him.

He follows the agreed and defined sales process every time.

His CRM and admin is flawless.

Manufacturing and accounts love dealing with his booked orders.

He always tells the truth and acts with integrity.

Clients love him, they can’t speak highly enough about his level of service.

He’s young, keen to learn and has the potential to go far in the wider business.

He brings in a steady amount of smaller orders.

He meets some of his targets, but not all.

His remuneration package is £45k a year.

Q. Why is he ‘bad’? A. “He doesn’t bring in the most, only about £700k p.a.”


So who would you rather work with?

And who would you rather manage?

Of course, there are a huge number of other variables in the background to consider than our brief example.

But frequently, the perception of good and bad in sales can so often be viewed narrowly, based on how much one person ‘brings in’ to the business.

There are other costs which are regularly forgotten about, tangible and intangible, that actually mean the ‘bad’ sales guy provides the
best value for money to the business.

Look deeper, see further.

If you want to understand the true cost and benefit of your sales team to your business, and how to maximise employees’ potential, speak to Allan Panthera about taking our CHALLANGE™ to achieve your business growth ambitions.


 *Any reference to the masculine gender includes the feminine.