Maria Clews began her sales career in media aged just 17. She sold advertising space for the Sheffield Star and then quickly moved to Yellow Pages at just 21 years old.
Yellow Pages provided fantastic training and this is where Maria Clews developed her passion for training. It is often said ‘salespeople are born and not trained’, this is not true. Anyone has the ability to sell and it is much more straightforward than many sales trainers would have you believe. Selling is just about ‘Finding out what people need and making it easy for them to get it’.
Maria Clews later returned to local media and became National Sales Training Manager for major regional and county titles such as the Yorkshire Post and Lancashire Post.
In 2004, Maria Clews took the leap and opened ASK Training Services. She had no idea this would take her all over the world. ASK Training Services has gone from strength to strength and experienced many challenges and has helped businesses to adapt to the changing world of work.
Maria has trained both sales people and buyers alike. ‘If we see each other as the enemy, we cannot benefit from the process, if we see each other as allies, it is possible we can both get what we want’
Sales is no longer a charmed environment where sales people with a smooth patter and a tempting price are able to penetrate the complexities of a procurement department. Procurement departments have a legal and ethical obligation for objectivity in their procurement decision making. Procurement professionals, buyers and procurement departments will no longer be ‘charmed’ by smooth talkers. Procurement people want and need to be able to demonstrate their procurement decisions are fact based rather than subjective procurement negotiations steeped in long term procurement relationships which can’t be substantiated.
Maria Clews truly believes that if we are able to work effectively with procurement, SME’s can hugely benefit from procurement contract opportunities which provide business security and certainty during otherwise turbulent trading conditions.
Public sector procurement departments offer ‘meet the buyer’ courses which are excellent and we would encourage you to attend. They are generally free of charge and a great way to develop your understanding of how to work with procurement. What they won’t do, is tell you how to influence the procurement process before the procurement opportunity to bid is raised and this is key if you are going to win the procurement contract opportunity profitably. Neither will they encourage you to challenge procurement decisions.
Procurement are only part of the decision making unit and once it goes through the procurement process, your only differentiator can be price and that’s difficult if you are to get a sustainable and profitable contract in place.
At ASK training services, we can help you to understand the whole procurement process, differentiate yourself from the incumbent supplier and navigate the whole procurement process effectively and efficiently.
In procurement there are no guarantees. Procurement processes and procurement decisions are complex. You will lose more procurement opportunities than you win. The key is to make sure you invest your time efficiently so you are chasing procurement opportunities you can win and want to win. The training can only help you to do this.