Put pride to one side and focus on how do you make it better - Talk Marketing 027 - Ben Kench

Put pride to one side and focus on how do you make it better – Talk Marketing 027 – Ben Kench

Martin Henley  0:14  

Hello there, my name is Martin Henley, this is the Effective Marketing YouTube channel. If you’ve spent any time here at all you will know that I am on a mission to support you with whatever it is you need to be more successful in your business. As far as I understand it the only way to be more successful is through your sales and marketing so not only am I giving you everything I know about sales and marketing on this channel, I am also pulling in anyone who will agree to talk to me to share what it is that they know as well. Today’s guest has run his business, The Business Booster since 2003. He is the author of Selling for Dummies and More Money, Less Stress, that sounds cool. He was a single parent for 10 years and incredibly successful. He has a passion for energy and health, which is why he is so healthy and has so much energy. Today’s guest is Ben Kench. Hello, Ben, how are you?

Ben Kench  1:10  

Hi, Martin. I’m really well. No, thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here really is, meeting of minds, sharing of ideas, and just having fun. So yeah, it’s cool. Martin, nice to meet you.

Martin Henley  1:22  

Nice to meet you, too. You actually remind me of a friend of mine who’s almost got as big a smile on his face as you all of the time, almost. So here we are. Thank you so much for agreeing to spend this time with me. I mean, it’s amazing. If you’d said to me, by Episode 27, I would be speaking to the author of Selling for Dummies in this series, I would not have believed you that’s clearly down to the generousity, brilliance of our friend Warren Cass. So thank you, man for coming and agreeing to talk to me today. I’m really excited about this.

Ben Kench  1:57  

Yeah, well, you know, it’s, it’s great to be here, it’s great. Because ultimately like yourself, I believe my role is to give, to share, to help. I’ve been fortunate, I would argue that I’ve earned some of the successes rather than just been lucky but you know, at the end of the day, it’s not about me, I love to say, well, this is what I’ve done it’s worked try it. This is what I’ve done, try it. You know, the reward for me, is the feedback from someone saying that was great. Thank you.

Martin Henley  2:32  

Yes, I really believe that as well. I really believe that there is something you know, we’ve just been talking, I’m on this mission, I still want to help the people who aren’t ready to be helped. I still want to be converting the non converters. People go into business. And they don’t understand, this is about finding winning and keeping customers profitably and that’s the whole gig, you know. They don’t want to do the bit that will actually have the biggest impact in terms of their success, which is the sales and the marketing. So yeah, that’s what this is all about. It really is about giving people everything they could possibly need. That’s what this is about. So you know, the drill here, there are only five questions. The first question is, how are you qualified to talk to us about sales? Who are your customers and what is it that you do for them? How do you add value to their lives? What is your recommendation for anyone who is interested to get better at sales? or invest more in their sales? What should people read? And who can you throw under the bus to have one of these conversations with me? So let’s start at the beginning. How on earth are you qualified, Ben Kench, to talk to us about sales?

How are you qualified to talk to us about sales?

Ben Kench  3:42  

Okay, so a potted history of my life selling. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. So from about the age of seven or eight, if you like I was selling. I’m sure you and anybody watching or listening would understand that what we now know is the biggest sales processes in the world are religion and politics. So ultimately, I without knowing the label was raised to do that and I’ve always, I guess, had the entrepreneurial spirit. I had little businesses on the side aven when I was at school. I left school and set up my first business cleaning windows, I sold that because I was suddenly successful, cleaning 400 houses every week and then I went into selling the windows that I’ve been cleaning, so it sort of just naturally progressed. I found, always have found, that I could connect and relate to people. I didn’t ever know the word selling until I was 21 and somebody saw in me the potential to sell double glazing because they met me when I was cleaning windows and that’s the first time I really heard the word or understood selling. I’ve been doing it, I always will do it but it was a natural process, not an engineered one. I’m sorry, you know, then then going forward, really, I did all the things that probably people say, well, well, I started selling double glazing, my mother said, Oh, that’ll do to get a proper job. Since then I’ve gone on to sell the timeshare, the property industry, the life insurance industry. I’ve sold b2b capital plan to large industry with a with a sales process that’s 12, or sometimes 18 months. I’ve sold home improvements and training products to the consumer and you know, you’ve done the deal within an hour or certainly on the day. I’ve done 45 years of leading in sales, in all aspects of sales. Then when I was on the stage sharing sales skills, that’s when I got approached by the largest publishing house in the world to write the book. So quite proud that they did their diligence and came to me and I don’t say that I know it all but I say that every single day, I’m learning more and I’d love to help.

Why aren’t people encouraged to pursue a career in sales?

Martin Henley  6:28  

Okay, so a couple of things. The first thing that intrigues, interests me is that nobody, no careers advisor, I don’t think, has ever advised somebody to go into sales. We’re not taught at school, what sales is, or the huge benefits, or the other great career that you can have in sales, I’m sure, not everybody does. I said this, it’s amazing how you guys are coming in two’s, so i Two PR people and I’ve got two salespeople called Ben. But I said to Ben, in the conversation that’s going up tomorrow, if somebody had said to me when I was 15, or 16, you could have a career where you could play on amazing golf courses in South Africa, go to Cricket World Cup finals, basically be paid to take people out for lunch and schmooze them, you know, I’ve had trips away. If somebody had said that, to me, when I was 14 or 15, I would have taken their hand off for that opportunity. Except if they’d said, but it’s a sales job because, you know, we have no idea of school or sales is, but we’ve all got a sense that we don’t want to be in sales. So it seems to me that every lairy kid, I don’t know, if you’re a lairy kid, I was a lairy kid at school, someone should have sat me down and said, you’re going into sales, you know, what you do jumping up and down, getting people’s attention, getting people to laugh, making friends with people, all of that stuff that you do, your tailor made for a career in sales and that’s what you should do. It doesn’t happen.

Ben Kench  8:06  

No, I think I think there’s two fundamental issues with that. I mean, part of the work that I do, and the part of that, in my book, part of the reason why you get better at selling is you study and you learn about people, and the psychologies and characters of people. So as a broad spectrum of people, you know, 80% of people are raised in a world and come into life, under a fear of risk, you know, risk averse, play it safe type mindset. Unfortunately, massive percentages of those become teachers and influencers and so going through the schooling system, which is designed to keep you in line, and designed to put you in a factory or an office, because it’s a machine created to serve another purpose. I’m not saying education isn’t good, but the system that is currently education doesn’t actually serve the learner. It tells them what to learn to serve the overall purpose. So you’ve got a teacher that comes from a different mindset, encouraging the student to stay in that safe mindset. Those of us that are more maverick, more confident, not so risk averse, we generally get ostricised. I’ve been in direct sales, as I’ve said all my life, and I’ve probably always felt the odd one out. I still do. I think the truth martin is most people are told, don’t go that way you need to be over here it’s safe. The other side of that is in the early days of the sales profession, let’s be honest, there were some very negative instances, we probably all have got stories of how someone was ripped off. So the play it safe brigade always had examples to point out that painted selling as a profession bad. So I think you put those two together, it’s unlikely you’re ever going to get someone from a, shall we say normal household being encouraged to go into sales. Thankfully, what tends to happen is they’ll get into teenage life, and they’ll want more money, and all of the things that the new world gives them, like YouTube or social media, and all of a sudden, they’ll they’ll find an outlet for their flare and hopefully progress from there.

Martin Henley  10:44  

Okay, good. So, you’ve also then – double glazing, I did about 20 minutes of double glazing. That’s how long I lasted double glazing. That’s, that’s hard sales. Insurance and did you say timeshare? 

Ben Kench  11:02  

I did yes. 

Martin Henley  11:03  

So if you wanted a CV of like the most notorious sales activities, that’s kind of where you started?

Ben Kench  11:13  

Well, as I say I started with a Watchtower and Awake magazine on the doorstep, now you don’t get much more rejection than that. So I think if you’re going to go into a field where you make success, if 80% telling you to go forth, then that’s the best arena, you know religion go away is where you get your skin thickened. But yeah, you’re right. I’ve been at the absolute coalface and at the absolute coalface you just have to learn to be a person, a human being, and relate to the human being on the other side. You do still have a need, if you like, in the old days a need to sell but you have to put first the relationship, because, you know, selling a holiday property in southern Tenerife, the people walking along the beach are not saying, Oh my God, I want to go and buy a property today.

Martin Henley  12:11  

Yeah, so these are 100% Commission type roles, are they? 

Ben Kench  12:16  

Yes, yes. 

How do you put the customer first, when you’re not gonna make any money at all unless they buy something?

Martin Henley  12:17  

How do you put the customer first, when you’re not gonna make any money at all unless they buy something?

Ben Kench  12:28  

Well, to put that in context, if I was selling windows, and I walked into a house that had new double glazing, then I wouldn’t be selling them windows because they clearly don’t need them. However, if they had, which was the case, invited us in, because they were interested in buying windows at some stage, then, you know, arguably, the need, or the one can be a grey area between two, but they had already the initial thought. So my skill was to convert the thought into action, rather than hit them with a club on something they didn’t initially want.

Martin Henley  13:11  

Okay, good. Now, what do I think, I think that is the skill of a salesperson is to somehow identify what it is that people want to buy, and make that available to them. It’s not what happens in sales, in a lot of sales. So we’re getting towards like why sales has such a terrible reputation. So if you say to people, you know, what kind of animal is a salesperson, they’ll tell you they’re a snake, or an, eel or a boar, or, you know, all of these not – or a jackal or a wolf, you know, sly, conniving, blah, blah. That’s it. How much of sales is that? Do you think? Like, is sales worthy of its terrible reputation? That’s what I’m kind of interested to know.

Ben Kench  14:05  

Well, yeah, great question and I hand on heart I’d probably say yes, it is, sadly, there have been countless instances, and arguably still today. I mean, you know, without being political in any way, the biggest snake oil salespeople types in the world, come from the banking sector, where they, you know, they just basically mislead and then they pay a fine say, sorry, we got that wrong. You know, there are still instances in everyday sales and in corporate life, where I don’t think they do it with any morality, and I would never stand for that. I’m a passionate leader in sales from a integrity, and morality, and good for all perspective. If someone can genuinely benefit from what I’m offering them, then I believe it’s my duty to help them have it because they will genuinely benefit. If I know that they won’t genuinely benefit, and it’s just about my commission, then I subscribe – one of my mantras that I share all the while with my audiences – just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Martin Henley  15:20  

Yeah and I also 100% believe that, and I’ve never knowingly mis sold anyone anything. You know, I have always been on a mission to find out how … you see, this is what I think about salespeople, I’ve never met a salesperson who isn’t interested in helping people. I’ve been in sales environments where that all gets a little bit sketchy. I’ve been in sales environments where people openly lie, to make the sale and don’t care at all because you know, customer service can deal with the backlash whenever it is. They’ve made their commission they move on. The one I do care, sorry.

Martin Henley  16:05  

No, I can say I agree 100%.

Martin Henley  16:10  

Yeah, the ones who do look after their customers, do a good job, provide a good service are the ones typically in the long run, certainly who are the most successful, because they’re the ones that now have a network of happy customers, you know, they’re the ones that will get the referrals, those are the ones who will enjoy their money more because they’ll know that they haven’t had to rob anyone, or connive anyone to get that money. So yeah.

Ben Kench  16:36  

I think the biggest difference Martin is that we now have, so when I was first in people’s houses in the early 80s, you know, you could and the world did lie, because the wasn’t the network of information sharing. If you’d like the consumer, you’d like to didn’t really know how to check it out for the truth, what we’ve now got 40 years later, is thankfully a network of technology where we’re actually you can’t hide and you can’t hide for long. So the playing field and the awareness of the consumer or the purchaser, the balance of power has shifted, and that’s a good thing, because most consumers or purchasing people know that A, they don’t need to do that choice today. B, they can find out some recommendations or referrals or, or history before they proceed. I’m grateful for technology, although it’s arguably, also still allowing negative influence or false image, it does give us a way to check out the scam rules and protect ourselves.

Martin Henley  17:47  

Yeah, I do think that apart from you know, there’s Watchdog and those kinds of programmes where they show that people are still doing this, you know, people will always find a way. I think people are like rats, in that they will always find the easiest way, they’ll go the easiest way they possibly can. I’m sure that there are salespeople out there who know that they’re fleecing people. But you know, it’s like, it’s like everything in life, I suppose you get conditioned into a position where this is just what you do and then you just do that. 

Martin Henley  18:18  

Okay, good. A friend of mine who’s too successful currently to come and talk to me at the moment, was a sales trainer when I first met him and he says, I don’t know if you speak Norse do you?

Ben Kench  18:31  


Martin Henley  18:32  

His thing was, or one of his things was that the word sales comes from the Norse word Selja which means to serve. It sounds like complete bollocks to me every time I say it, but you know, I’m saying it. That to me is is the way it should be. It should be that salespeople are employed by businesses to help people to make the right buying decisions, you know, to support those people to address the challenges, the needs, the desires, the whatever it is that they come with, in which case selling should be the easiest job in the world.

Why do small businesses need salespeople?

Ben Kench  19:18  

Arguably. Often there’s two sides to the sales challenge if you like. First side is I’m selling something that you’ve never used, didn’t know you needed, and what you’ve never had you don’t miss so my sales challenge is Martin you really need to have this life insurance will writing service and you’re sitting there go well I don’t really think I need to, why do I need to, to me it just looks like an expense. So the sales hurdle number one is selling something that you don’t see a need for and to show you where actually yeah, that would be a really good thing to have. Sales hurdle number two is where Martin says, actually, you know, I do need to buy a new sound system, I do need to buy something else and will writing service or life insurance again and so Martin looks for three or four comparative choices before he decides. So the second hurdle from a sales professional is you need to pick me out of them and you know, you’re going to get a mixture of both in your daily life as a salesperson. Ultimately you’ve you’ve whichever approach is going to be different and that’s probably where I’m constantly seeing a challenge. Salespeople inverted commas today, by and large are not very good, so they will resort to a blunt instrument approach rather than a refined approach. They often have, you know, one presentation, whichever your issue is, they just say the same thing. So, sadly, I see a few scoundrels who don’t care and the majority who are just not very good. tThe caveat with all of that is ultimately, buyer beware and there is a responsibility on the consumer or the purchaser to just buy cleverly.

Martin Henley  21:20  

Okay, 100%, I agree with that 100%. Now, I had a career in sales, short career, 10 years, I really loved it, really enjoyed it. When I came to start my business, I decided to position myself as marketing because I’d always been a marketing, I’d always been like one of these hunter gatherers, you know, the things I sold had never been marketed. So everything I sold started with a conversation, me phoning somebody up saying, you’ve no idea who I am but we should have a conversation about this. So what I think now, because I positioned myself as marketing back in 2004, is that really if your marketing is good enough, then your sound should be really easy. I think very often part of the issue is salespeople getting in the way of the sale happening and I think another part of the issue is marketing, not generating the quality or quantity of leads, which are the work of salespeople and that forces people into this situation where they have to behave like snakes or wolves, or whatever it is.

How should sales and marketing work together?

Ben Kench  22:31  

Yeah, so well, so, you know, I know that, if you haven’t spoken to, you know, of Barnaby, and Barnaby and I constantly having these, cause he’s a marketer, he says, you only need marketing, and I’m a salesperson and you still got to convert the lead. That that’s an ongoing debate but where I see it is, marketing has a job to create interest. When it’s done well, it creates well qualified interest but most people that are purchasing, even when they’re in the funnel from a good marketing campaign, they genuinely want to get more than one price or more than one bit of resource information. If it’s a low value product, an easily purchased item, they may just click and buy and marketing has done its job. The higher up the value scale, you get when you start to spend something which means more to the purchaser, they do consider that purchase by looking at other options. Marketing will stimulate an inquiry, but three other companies will have done marketing and so the purchaser is looking at three or four. At that point, you’re going to need a salesperson with skill to address what I mentioned earlier, the second option where pick me from those other three. I don’t see a world where you can just have marketing, unless it’s a commodity, box shifting enterprise. The more you go up the difficulty scale, the more you go the price scale, the consumer or the purchaser wants more. They want to talk to person and that’s the sales conversion process.

Martin Henley  24:18  

Yes. Okay. Good. I’m glad you realise that I’ve been speaking to Barnaby because I have been speaking to Barnaby. Barnaby was telling me adamantly, that there is no need, you shouldn’t invest in outreach anymore because there are enough people looking for the products and services that you sell. You need, really need, to position yourself so that they come to you. Now, because Barnaby is amazing, you know, I’d forgotten why we do outreach and I didn’t challenge him hard enough. Maybe if I speak to him three times, I will on the next conversation. So the point of me going looking for my car Most in my sales career was that I would approach the people I wanted to sell to, you know, so I have absolute control, I want to sell to that business, here I go. If you’re relying entirely on inbound, you don’t get to choose who those people are. I mean, arguably, it doesn’t matter because they want the product, or some variation of the product but there’s that. The thing that never occurred to me in those 10 years, is that all the time I was looking for customers, there might have been customers looking for me, and they would never gonna find me because I never had a website, I didn’t have a stand at an exhibition, I wasn’t advertising anywhere. So I think this is interesting. I think it’s interesting that Barnaby is so adamant. 

Ben Kench  25:45  


Martin Henley  25:45  

No need for outreach anymore.

Ben Kench  25:48  

Well, I love him to bits. Here’s the thing, categorically, time and time again, go back to the old days, we had Yellow Pages, everything was Yellow Pages. I can tell you dozens of stories where I’d meet a client, and they say we do lots of marketing, we in the Yellow Page, we get loads of inquiries and then I would sit down and be a bit diligent with the measurement and possibly say, Okay, how many, how many of those inquiries purchase, what was your margin? What was your sale value? I can tell you from measurement after measurement, that the shopper that responds to an advert will shop to three or four, and the shopper that shops at three or four will always be more price aware and the salesperson will always make less money when it’s a conversion. If you can be brave enough to pick your right profile, and skilled enough to sell from seed of idea all the way through to signature for purchase, then you’ll get more money out of that customer. So there’s always room for both, you’re always gonna need some sales skills to convert the inbound inquiry but if you good enough with the targeting and good enough with your testimonial and showing what your benefits are, I think you’re good enough to go and get the high ticket cream sale, where they weren’t looking but they found you or you found them and they go Yeah, I’m glad you did thank you. I’ll have it.

Martin Henley  27:23  

Yeah, I agree with you. I think there’s definitely room for both. I teach digital marketing now so I’m telling people that somebody who searches for something is essentially a motivated buyer. There’s levels to awareness, you need to know, at some point that you’ve got a problem that needs to be addressed, to actually invest in addressing that issue, so that’s part of the awareness. People who are searching for something are already on that journey, you know, so, but it hadn’t occurred to me also that they were engaging with more than one supplier and so that’s going to have an effect on the way that conversation goes.

Ben Kench  28:02  

There’s a great deal of psychology involved in relationship connection. It’s never going to be so black and white that you can draw conclusive, it’s this way or this way. I will always come at it from it from if you’re good enough with your people skills and your connection skills, and you planted the right seed, very, very often, even when people didn’t think they wanted it, then you do a blooming good job, then they go before I buy I’ll look round and then they look around, and come back to where they started. You have a different place in their mind and heart if you did a good job at the beginning. You’ll talk to a lot of shoppers even, my wife, she’ll go out, she will look for a coat, she’ll see one in the shop one and spend all day and then come back at the end of the day and get the first one, you know, it’s just a part of our brain pattern. So that’s why I believe that if you’ve got the skill set, right, and your offer and your benefit for the consumer or customers right, then going out and picking the right client will get you more success. The inbound ones you are quite right if they’ve already got an awareness, they want it they will buy off someone but my experience in selling is that it’ll be a lower margin deal.

Martin Henley  29:25  

Yes. The thing about having these conversations is that I’m reminded of really brilliant stuff that I used to know and do and haven’t done forever. So when I started the Effective Marketing Company, it was like sales consultancy, essentially it was like I would go into businesses it’d be okay what would I do if I was a professional salesperson in this business? Of course I do my canvassing and you know, that was the advice but why used to say to people then that they loved was who exactly is driving this bus? You know, because if you’re not driving the bus that is your business if your customers are driving it, you’re in trouble. If your staff are driving it, you’re in trouble. So you need to take control. This led to a tagline, which was take charge of your business, that was the tagline for a period of time, until I had a barbecue and invited a load of customers and I was standing in my kitchen, looking out into the garden, watching these people essentially fight over the barbecue and it’s like, oh, my God, I’ve attracted a load of control freaks, because of this take charge thing. I think that’s what it’s about, it’s about deciding who your customers are going to be, it really has an impact on how effective you are in delivering for those customers, and how successful your business is. So I want to say again, what I said before, which is if your marketing is good enough, then and the salespeople have the right attitude, then sales should be the easiest job in the world. If you’re doing Barnaby Wynter style, marketing, where your marketing is actually qualifying the people, then the sales bit should be really easy. They shouldn’t need, any dummy should do it, they shouldn’t need a book.

Ben Kench  31:15  

You’re right, of course but unfortunately the world isn’t black and white and some of the people that come through some of those funnels are not quite as qualified as we’d like them to be. Or they could be, you know, completely qualified, but actually, misaligned in terms of oh, I didn’t think it was going to cost that much. So it’s a beautiful dance that we all have to play with. Anybody that’s running a small business, or anybody that’s running any business, they’re going to have to have both, they’ve got to have marketing, that is really drilling down into the right prospect target, and really nurturing a good qualified lead through a funnel. Then a salesperson that really is doing it with integrity, and helping and serving. The Nirvana would be that the marketing and sales people talk and share ideologies and marketing messages and sales language and it all works. The sad thing out there is the marketing department go off and do their own thing and say, well, we’ve done our job. The sales department think of the marketing department as a people who spend a lot of money. So you know, the beautiful disruption between the two is what keeps interesting.

Martin Henley  32:32  

Yeah, it is what keeps it interesting, but it is completely stupid. I mean, it is completely stupid, because the attitude towards salespeople is so maligned that even business owners I’ve worked with have employed these sharks, to go out and they encourage them them maybe to, to rip off customers for the benefit of the business. They  paint them into a corner where they are almost forced then to behave like that as well. So that’s the first thing. The thing about sales, and the thing about sales and marketing and the difference between the two is also insane. It should be a virtuous cycle. It’s a  chronology. You do your sales, marketing, you do your marketing, you get the lead, the lead is the work of the salesperson. That’s the way it works. That’s the order in which it works. It should be a virtuous cycle, because the marketing people should speak to the market, and make sure that they let them know this thing’s available and then the salesperson actually gets to have a conversation with the people who are most interested in that thing. They should be feeding back into marketing, so the thing becomes tighter, and tighter, and tighter, and more, and more efficient. That doesn’t happen.

Ben Kench  33:59  

No, no. I agree with that, you know, they should be working together for the same common goal of the company but they’re often working against each other because of egos or budget over the monetary amounts that they get paid, or don’t. You know, the simple, hard, hard reality is for all of those people in businesses that don’t like sales, don’t really want to do sales, they’ve accepted the negatives and not looked at how it should be done. The simple hard reality is until a sale is made, there is no money for anything or anyone else it is the top of the food chain, whether you like it or not

What prevents small businesses from investing in sales and marketing?

Martin Henley  34:43  

100% and this is why we have to have this conversation because business people go into business, not wanting to do sales or marketing and you’re right if nothing is sold the business fails. This is what I said to Ben in the last conversation. It’s like sales and marketing people are the least respected people in the business. They’re like the two smallest kids in the playground picking on each other and yet they’re feeding everyone. You know, it’s absurd. 

Ben Kench  35:15  

I think it changes Martin in, if you look at a lot of truly medium, small to medium type enterprises, they genuinely are entrepreneur led. A lot of the time that entrepreneur is salesy. Now sometimes the entrepreneur is brilliant at technology and has a partner and a lot of really great businesses are partnerships, where they don’t argue who’s got the best skill, they just know they need each other. There are a lot of entrepreneur led businesses that have grown successfully, because they come from a sales drive in the very first instance. Not quite the same with corporates, because corporates are then run by finances, and accountants, and balance sheets, which isn’t quite the same feel for either the consumer, or for the way the money is generated. They only care about the money that’s generated. So you know, I think a lot of us totally, independently would say we don’t like dealing with corporates, they don’t care about us, they, they fob us off, they treat us like we’re just a number. Most of us do not like dealing with a corporate entity, maybe we should change our buying habits, maybe we’d live in a better world if we all tried to support and buy from the local, and the smaller business, because then we would have a world where it’s about the people, you’ll have greater integrity or access to them if they’re not operating with integrity. The corporate world we’ve got at the moment, especially global corporate, they are bullies, they’re impersonal and we’re not helping ourselves by supporting them with our money.

Martin Henley  37:04  

I knew I liked you. The thing is this is a big part of the issue and what’s gone on in the last two years has, you know, essentially what’s going on …. what’s interesting about what’s going on. I sometimes talk about myself being a revolutionary communist, but I don’t believe I am actually that, what I am is maybe a sensible person who’s looking at how skewed business has become, where so much is gobbled up by corporations and there’s so little left for small businesses. It is, I think, small businesses versus the corporations. My mate was a butcher and he closed his shop 10 years ago, because Tesco opened up eight doors from him. His business became unviable  in that second. I really believe that is the fight that’s going on. That’s the fight that I’m interested to fight through these videos.

Ben Kench  38:10  

Yep, sorry. Just, there’s a bit of a lag. I, you know, I, I see, whenever I’m at an event or speaking there is an audience and part of their excuse is where, you know, I can’t make the money because of the Sainsbury’s or the Tescos, or whatever. Then I say, Well, I you know, I hear that, but can I just ask you, where do you go for your shopping? They go to Sainsburys and Tesco because its easier, and therein lies the problem. We’ve got somebody that’s moaning about an issue, but actually for their own buying, I buy off Amazon, Why? Because it’s easy, and cheap, and convenient. Well, there’s your problem. You know, I’ve made a concerted effort I can’t change the world, but I can change me and hope it ripples out. If I’m looking for something, I’ll try always to find somebody independent, and preferably local, but at least British maybe. If we all did, that, the only God that the corporate serve is money and as soon as they realise that they couldn’t command our money, they might actually try to win the money by being nice, but the power lies with us, as consumers, as does the solution to the problem. If we moan about a problem, what are we doing? We’re probably usually part of the problem.

Martin Henley  39:30  

Yes, that is entirely true. That is entirely true. What can we do about that other than empowering smaller businesses to provide viable alternatives, you know?

Ben Kench  39:46  

Well, the butcher could have gone on the attack. One of the great things that happened here in the UK with all the oppression of lockdown, smaller pubs, said, shit, can’t not open for three months so why don’t I do takeaways? 

Martin Henley  40:06  


Ben Kench  40:06  

And so, necessity being the mother intervention, a few publicans closed and moaned. A few publicans stayed open, and tried, and a few again, expanded into a whole new business, actually, we’ve got a kitchen, let’s make an effort to talk to all of our existing customers, all the people within a mile, five mile radius, let’s gear up to just shift until we can open for beer, we’ll deliver the food and some of them were delivering the beer as well. So you know, that’s the evolution of a species, isn’t it? We evolve when there’s a different hardship.

Martin Henley  40:44  

Yes, yes, that is. I think that comes, bringing it back to marketing, I will be there with you for the revolution, don’t worry, man. Bringing it back to marketing that’s just, great marketing is having the ear of the market, or having that channel open and when I started this, I was asking that question, you know about the lockdowns about how people are evolving, adapting all of those things. I’m not asking that question anymore, because I’m bored of it and hopefully, it’s over. It’s really, it’s really interesting. So let’s go to question number two, you’re clearly qualified to talk to us about sales. Question number two, who are your customers? What is it that you do for them? How do you add value to their lives?

Who are your customers? What is it that you do for them? How do you add value to their lives?

Ben Kench  41:32  

This one’s a little easier, really, because because I love helping a smaller business, where it’s a person. Well, I’ll bore you for just a moment with my story. I’ve been around sales environments, and I decided to come back to the UK from Tenerife and Spain and I came back to the UK, and I knew how good I was at sales, I used to run a sales operation that did half a million a week, just a small room, I’m damn good at sales. I came back to the UK to write or get into a sales career, nobody would hire me because of one word, they didn’t bother to interview me, they didn’t talk to me to see how good I was at selling, they just saw the word of timeshare, and I never got any further. So I thought I better start my own business. Setup, and started going and because I felt I’ve got no option I went to other people in marketingm and training and, and basically all they were trying to sell me something for several thousand pounds, which I didn’t have. Long story short, I got going but after two years of not really going far enough, fast enough, I had to put all of my efforts and my cabinet and my files into a skip and I kid you not, I was in a very tearful, low place for a good year, year and a half, I just felt such a failure, but the cascade of that the disruption in the house, the arguments from my wife, my daughter, seeing the turmoil, you know, the pressure on the finance, and the stretch that gives with everything, the cascade of a business failing is the home and the family. To me, the one thing that drives me every single day with the small business audience is, and it makes me tearful but there is a child in a home where the parents are fighting and splitting up because of something as stupid as money because their business wasn’t right. I have very few things I’m good at in life, but I can fix the business to solve the family problem and out of love that’s what drives me. So who’s my customer? It’s the entrepreneur lead small business that’s still impacting families, because it’s the family that is important, not the money.

Martin Henley  44:11  

Wow, I’m not crying. The thing that you’re saying is 100% correct. The reason that this war is worth having is because it’s too hard to run a business and it is too close to people’s well being. You know, it really is so typically a small businesses owners house is at risk if they don’t, if they don’t pull off this ridiculously difficult thing which is being successful in business. Their relationships are at risk and then you know, you just go down a horrible wormhole of horrible things that could happen. Like there are 10s of laws that specifically, there are 46 ways you can go to prison by being a business owner, then not. You know, it’s ridiculous what the small business owners put on the line to run a small business. It is ridiculous the benefit that the small businesses bestow on the economy, every growth in GDP, in employment, in all of these things, comes entirely from small businesses, you know, big businesses, corporations, they’re not interested in employing people. They’re interested, like you say, in turning a profit. So this war 100% is worth having. It absolutely is worth having. Okay, good. So that’s who your customers are, what is it that you’re doing? How are you delivering value to their lives?

Ben Kench  45:50  

Well, so you’ve got to go to a business that’s sitting there saying, firstly, the biggest recognition is that there is there a problem because because the saddest thing is that pride or ego or reputation, get in the way and the ostrich, buried head is, is the deathblow. Too often, if there was more, you know, the mental health type argument, just just talk to someone, don’t sit there night after night, saying, it’ll get better, it’ll get better. It’s not that bad. If it is painful, it’s bad, get it fixed. So you know, the first thing we’ve got to as a society, as neighbours as loving friends, we’ve got to say, Talk to someone, man, you know, if it ain’t right, get someone to help you. Because it’s better to swallow some pride and get a solution than it is to be full of pride and go down in flames. It’s just no fun. So so the biggest hurdle is to get that, will you help me? But once someone says up, I think I could do some help. And then it’s just a question of pulling apart bit by bit insane. What exactly are you selling? Why should people buy it? Why should people buy it from you? What are you doing to attract people and what’s going right and what’s going wrong? The first stage is to pull it all apart and find out exactly which bits you’ve got to tweak. But then usually in in a business, it’s a series of little tweaks, and it’s a compound effect for the growth, it isn’t one, one massive thing that’s broken, it’s maybe 20 Things you can improve. And it’s that old adage, if you have a 1%, tweak, 100 times over two years, you understand growth. So you know, let’s treat it with love and respect. But let’s not leave it to just gradually die. Because because there’s too much at stake.

Martin Henley  47:54  

There is too much at stake and I think that is a real issue, this pride thing. Nobody wants to be seen to have failed. I mean, in the UK, it’s exacerbated, because you’re not also supposed to be seen to be trying, you know, if it’s not effortless, then it’s not cool. So you can’t be seen to be trying, but also you can’t be seen to fail. Gary Vaynerchuk, who I don’t have very much respect for, but he said a brilliant thing recently, which is nobody really gives a shit. I wish I’d known that, I wish I’d known that when I went through some of the more challenging times because the pressure was, you can’t fail. Basically, you’ve stood up in front of everyone and told them that you can do this and if you can’t, you’re going to look like an idiot. That I think is the biggest pressure, I’ve never been in in real financial difficulty, but that’s the issue, the pride, that is a big issue.

Ben Kench  49:00  

I’m hoping that we’re evolving, and we’re being more loving, and we’re realising the emptiness, and the inadequacies of anything that’s material I mean, who gives a fuck if you’ve got a boat, you know, how big is it? Is that the game we’re in, comparing size, really? Let’s just be human and loving and and you know what, if you’re happy and healthy, I don’t care if you rent your house or you own a mansion. I don’t care if you’ve got three houses, three boats and a Ferrari on the drive if you’re not happy, it’s worthless. Now, I’m not saying you can’t be happy and wealthy. I’m not saying you can’t be, you know, without money and healthy but really, we’ve got our values out of alignment as a society. The only way we’re going to shift that is one by one for us to be just let .. who told us that it was important to be wealthy? who sold us the dream to have lots of material goods? My guess it’s those people that want to sell us credit and keep us trapped and make them rich while we’re paying everything off. It’s just empty. Until we shift that, in me, you every one of us, for ourselves, we’re going to be in their trap. Be in business yes. serve people yes. Make money, yes but don’t make it about money. Because that’s, that’s a hiding to nothing.

Martin Henley  50:35  

Okay, welcome to the revolution, brother. Because this is where we almost got to when we decided we should start recording this is. Barnaby and I had this conversation. He sits his clients down and he says to them, what do you need to sell? Like, what are your costs? What are your this? What are your that? What is everything? What do you need to sell, and we will just sell that. That, to me, is something that I used to say, I used to give away a free hours consultation, this is something I said five times a day, for two years, like work out what it is that you need to sell, because if there is no ceiling, there is no end. That is a stressful situation. You know, when you at least know it, I’ve got all of my bases covered, and we’re good, then that’s a really healthy situation to be in. The other thing that is going on for business owners is that they are thinking about their business for every waking second of every single day and then they’re going to bed and they’re dreaming about it, and that’s also not healthy. So I think but you’re not supposed to say this because you wrote Selling for Dummies, you’re supposed to say, like HP would, convincing their salespeople to go out and buy multi million pound houses, so that they’d be saddled with that debt so that they’d have to carry on working for them. Is that not what you’re supposed to be saying?

Ben Kench  52:10  

In the 80s that is what we did, you know, I ran sales teams and ran me and the whole ethos was, you know, throw your cash around, because it means you got to earn it again next week so you, you keep them hungry, you keep them in line, that was the approach of the 80s. Maybe in some dinosaur type minds or cultures it’s still there, but the honest truth is we have to, and we hopefully are evolving. It’s an empty, shallow world if it’s all about the money and thankfully, there’s a few that are starting to say, yeah. I constantly ask clients and audiences when I’m speaking, do you want to be rich and they go, no, not bothered about being rich. We don’t need to be rich. If it happens, great but what we want – Maslow’s hierarchy, we want all our needs covered and some breathing space. So actually, as you’ve said, and as Barnaby says, you know, we have to approach selling from a less is more, as we talked about. My book, More Money, Less Stress, because I’ve always stood there saying, okay, nothing wrong with making money but let’s not do it at the cost of burning out. How do we make your level of success with less effort? Okay, let’s improve our efficiencies, systemise where we can, and less make your business an efficient machine, not pure grunt to burn you out. Yeah, you know, it’s not all about the numbers, it’s about the right numbers.

Martin Henley  53:46  

Yeah, I 100% agree with you. I don’t know what the statistics are for this small business owners who do get burnt out. I mean, I’m speaking to people, there’s people I’d love to be speaking to here that just don’t have the space to give me an hour and 15 minutes,  people I know well, don’t have the space to give me an hour and 15 minutes to get this done. I think it’s a real danger. I think it’s a real risk.

Ben Kench  54:11  

Yeah, you know, if you know, people are that let me have a chat to them. If that’s the case, they’re, they’re out of alignment and you know, sooner or later you me, anybody, if we’re out of alignment, the wheels are gonna come off.

Martin Henley  54:24  

Yes. 100%. What did I want to say? It’s changing isn’t it, 20 years ago, apparently, there were 4 million businesses in the UK, there’s now 6 million. So what does it … but we know that the corporations have driven lots of styles of business out of business. So what does that say about the landscape I wonder?

Ben Kench  54:47  

I think, I think what we’ve experienced since, remarkably so, since you know, probably end of the 90s, certainly mid noughties, we’ve seen this lifestyle, cultural change, self employed, live to live instead of live to work. Now that that’s been a huge rising wave up until two, three years ago and in my view I think that’s why the powers that be have brought in some of these oppressions and what have you in the last two years, because because we were sitting there as a planet going, let’s just have a laptop and go to Bali, and have a life. That doesn’t serve the machine that they want us to be a servant to. So I think there is a sway amongst humanity generally, to have income or money from something that I’m in control of, so that I feel better for my life and my family. Refinements are needed but there’s more of us in small business now than ever, because we are trying to get rid of the oppression of the slave mentality. It’s not quite right, because they’re still a bit of a slave to themselves but at least they’ve recognised that slave to the machine isn’t where they want to be.

Ben Kench  56:07  

I think though, that the biggest, as we said a moment ago, my personal belief is that if we shift the buying habits, then everything else will unfold, there’ll be more people wanting to jump into small business space, because more small businesses are being supported. If we adjust our buying habits, there won’t be the issues of, you know, getting ripped off and getting bullied and not being able to do anything about it. If my internet service is crap, I can go to someone that cares but I know that there isn’t an internet provider anywhere that actually cares, that I’m too small for their machine. So you know, when we wake up as spending people and businesses, and we shift our buying habits, everything else will follow.

Martin Henley  56:54  

Yeah, I really think that and I think we have to shift our buying habits more, I’ve got this idea that will change the world called Spare to Share, which is just letting people know, just let people know that they have enough, they’re good enough, And in fact, they have stuff to share with people who are less, less well off, you know. I think, yeah, and I think that’s really important. We really need to start thinking about what we need to buy and how we’re motivated to buy because I’m sure part of the reason that the news is so stressful is because stressed people buy more stuff. it feels like the machine, I’m not saying that, this isn’t a conspiracy theory, the machine has adjusted to this consumerism where if people aren’t as happy as they could be, then they will buy more stuff, the whole point of everything is to have stuff bought, and so on, and so and so on. I could buy less, and I think everyone could buy less, and they would be a little bit happier if they were. If they were investing that energy in helping someone who genuinely genuinely needs help, that genuinely makes people happy. 

Ben Kench  58:15  

Your a parent and I’m a parent, as I said, it’s been the focus of my life. That child is grateful maybe for the gift that Daddy or Mommy buys them but they would much rather have the time, not the trinkets. That’s one of the mantras that I’m always trying to share with business owners. It’s time that’s more precious than the trinkets that you can buy. Just adjust your value system, you know, that maybe we need counselling or loving, or just a smack for a wake up but we we’ve got to adjust our value system, because I believe that it’s the machine creating the stress because they know that stress drives purchase. It’s by design. However, if we just …..  a brilliant book out there, you may have heard of or read Stuffication. I read it because I’m already on that get rid of stuff, I don’t need stuff. Actually, we just don’t need the crap that we don’t wear, or you know, that we throw away two years later, because there’s a new one out. Why does anyone need a new phone every year? The one that’s five years old still does more than we could ever imagine. We’re trapping ourselves. So yeah, you know that I have this diverse head that I love business, and I love sales and where the customer wants and needs it, sell it and sell it ethically with integrity and help. Conversely, we don’t need to be encouraging people to buy stuff that they don’t need. Let’s all save some of that pressure and go and have genuine time with our kids, get there with energy, roll around and hug, be not so knackered that you can give and share and be interested. We’re just all out of kilter, the last 40 years of this consumer society, maybe the last 50 years, it’s not served us and I hope that we wake up as a race. There’s nothing wrong at all with being in business and if you can serve someone and feel good about it, but less as a race of just our value system, and our buying habits. I think in five years time, it could be all a lot healthier, a lot happier.

Martin Henley  1:00:37  

Yeah, good. What a shitty sales podcast, this turned out to be we’ve turned into a couple of luvvies telling people to care more and sell less. Actually, what this is about, for me, always, is about reframing this stuff so that people don’t have to feel shitty about selling. Just think about it slightly differently, and do it slightly differently, and you can be happy doing that. Don’t be under pressure to hit stupid sales targets that nobody knows why they exist because then all you’re doing as you’re putting pressure on your production people to produce more, which means more stuff is likely to go wrong, less people are likely to be happy, and so on, and so on, and so on. So I think if what we’re arriving at in this conversation is a situation where people feel better about sales, and realise that they have to do much less of it than that, for me is a really nice place to have got to, I think,

Ben Kench  1:01:39  

Martin, the question is to the business owner, why? Why are you doing this? Why do you need that level of target? Why do you want to have that, you know, some sort of presence? So many staff? When you start asking, and peeling back that issue of why usually comes down to a distorted sense of worth and so there’s, there’s some healing inside and when you dig down into why you’re doing this, you change the approach of the business. If you dig down into why should the customer buy it, you also change the sales process. We’re doing stuff because we’re caught up in a merry go round, it’s the hamster wheel, isn’t it? It’s the classic hamster wheel, we’re all running, because someone said run. Hello! 

Ben Kench  1:02:30  

Yeah. The thing is, the thing about small businesses, the danger of serving small businesses, is that you are dancing with that ego. So famously, if you’re the person who turns up on the day that they’re in a shitty mood, you are in trouble. I think that is a large part of the issue with small businesses is that they are ego driven. Like, I suppose, by necessity, who’s gonna put their hand upi and say, I’m the person to do this, you know, if they haven’t got ego? It seems to me like, especially if you’re providing sales and marketing as a service, those egos feel that they may not have control over a lot in their business but this is so vague, the sales and marketing piece, and so they can decide exactly how it should be done. Do you think?

Ben Kench  1:03:29  

Well, I think so, arguably, the sales results decide how it should be done because if you do one way and get the right results, and if you include in the measurement of results, the feeling and the spin off, and the customer service and everything. If you get the right results, by measuring as a whole, then that will tell you you’re doing it the right way. If you’re doing it a certain way, and getting, shall we say, volume of sales as a result but the cascade, as you mentioned earlier, is service drain and a not good reputation, then you you’re not getting the whole result, you’re getting a part of the result. So your system needs to be changed. I’ve said this, and I know we agree on it, if you have got a holistic approach to that businesses needs it mean’s that all the customers are in tune with the business. They get the business, they become fans of the energy of the business, they’ve been sold on more than the it. I used to be a fan of Apple and it wasn’t just the machinery, or the phone, or the computer. It was when I went into the shop I got proper service and it was the culture of looking after the customer that made me an Apple fan for many years. I’m not now because of their recent stance on other things, but you know, we’ve all got experiences where we bought from somewhere and it was a pleasure to buy from them, because every time we went there or spoke to them, they remembered us, they looked after us, they were interested in us. When you drill down, any of us into those experiences of a business interaction, it’s the human side of those experiences that created the loyalty and the fans. SIf we shift the business, I’m a salesman, but I’m going to grow sales with a human connection, approach, not the it and the benefits approach. I’m going to always work with the business to make sure that there’s vulnerability, honesty, integrity, because bizarrely, the business owner that stands up says, hey, I don’t get everything, right but I always try because I care, that’s the business owner that actually gets more deals.

Martin Henley  1:05:56  

Yes. I believe that as well. I think every business is an opportunity to have a positive impact on the world, you know, so it can support that ego. I think the role of people like you and I, is to direct that ego a little bit so the energy is going in the right places. I’ll tell you how bad this is, the last customer I had that got, I don’t want to say I lost them, because I didn’t, I definitely decided, we achieved 300% growth in two years but this particular business owner, got it into their head that it was 30%. There was nothing I could do except in the end, I just had to say, look, I’m not going to feed this delusion any longer. That’s how bad the ego can be sometimes, where they will just change the reality to suit what it is that they want that and that is the danger, I think, for small businesses.

Ben Kench  1:07:06  

Yeah, well, so I’ve had similar experiences more than once, where, you know, the ego of the business owner, was they want it to be seen as successful. More, particularly, if I if I’m hired to just do sales training, which I, I’m more careful of these days but you know, a business owner says, I want you to come in and do the sales training but the sales manager didn’t ask me in, then there’s a conflict of interest. The ego says, I don’t want this guy to show me I’m not driving the right sales team. So although I could have had an impact, the sales manager becomes a barrier, because it would reflect badly on him. So you do have ego issues. I’m with you, I’d say look, you know, if you stand clearly, squarely, this is what I stand for, I know me, and I know what I expect in terms of values and actually, I’ll sack a customer if the value alignment isn’t there.

What are the typical challenges that small businesses struggle with?

Martin Henley  1:08:04  

Yes. I think you have to that’s the truth. Okay, so you’re saying that there are typically or there might be up to 20 small things that need to be addressed when you work with your clients, what are the most common ones or the most impactful ones? Where people are not getting it quite right? Let’s just say because there’s these egos, they’re big, they’re get it wrong, these egotists.

Ben Kench  1:08:33  

Now let’s look at a what I see quite commonly, will have a smallish business, maybe only three, four or five employees. The same principle applies to the one man micro business but if we take the stereotypical five to 10 employees, the owner is too busy to speak to you. Now, when you drill that down, I will almost guarantee that there will be inefficient systems and not an awareness of the task time scenario. So I ask a business owner, how much do you think they’re worth? They’ll say I’m worth, you know, 250 grand a year because that’s what my business generates and I go, Okay, so that’s, you know, a lot of money per day, maybe so much an hour, 250 pounds an hour, what are you doing with your day? They say, well, I had to do this, and I was there doing that, and I was here doing that, and I’m like, okay, why are you doing that? And they say, well, because it needed doing. And I say no, but why are you doing that? Because you’re we’re turning 50 pounds an hour and I can get that task done for 20 pounds an hour. So really simple alignment of skills to tasks. Secondly, we wrapped up in admin, you will have a business that’s just overloaded with admin. You should not have a business that 50% of the time is consumed with the administrative process, you need to have a sort of my simple breakthrough rule of thumb is 20%, admin 40%, marketing 40% sales. Now, if you’ve got a sales and marketing bias and efficient systems, you don’t get drained with administrative process. So they’re the sort of overview initial looks, where’s the time going and what are your processes and systems like, because there’ll be a clogged, and you got to clear the clog, and then you’ve got breathing space. Great. Now I’ve got two hours a day, let me go and find some new customers and then you drill into, well, who do we want to go to before we go charging out there? Let’s go charging at the right people or else we just burn out two hours of effort. So there are some really quite simple things where we start. If a business says that I’m quite well streamlined, and I’ve got some good departments, and I know it’s quite efficient, well, then we look at the language and the style of selling, and typically a sale is a presentation, not really a two way communication. The sales delivery is so selfish, they hardly listen to what the potential buyers got as a problem. So you know, they’re, they’re fairly easy things to adjust. Anybody who’s listening, thinking I could have some problems, you know, don’t lose faith that they can be fixed quite quickly. If you want to put pride to one side, and just focus on how do I make it better.

Martin Henley  1:11:46  

Yeah. This is the first time I’ve had this conversation, I think it really is a barrier. I think it really is, you know, astounding how you can be drowning in admin, when there are only four or five of you, you know, but you actually can. The other thing is that I was thinking while you were talking is, you know, you get on this treadmill, where you’re taking on all of these new ideas, where you feel like you have to make every part of your business as, probably start out thinking, as good as possible. Then you just go through these, like time management we were talking about earlier. I got fanatical about time management, and I would go into the office on a Saturday morning and try and organise everything differently so it would be better. I’d probably been better off getting on my bike for a couple of hours and being on the downs, you know. So I think you just fall into this like archetype, where you’re wanting everything to be better, you’re doing stuff about making it better, but maybe it takes somebody from outside to actually do the work. I don’t know what you think about that. 

Martin Henley  1:12:57  

But I say here’s the here’s asimple analogy, Martin, do you drive I’m sure you do, we both drive now. Before we were in charge of a vehicle that could crash, and burn, and damage people’s lives, we went through a training process to be proficient in a test before we were let loose with something that could crash and burn and wreck lives. 

Martin Henley  1:13:19  

Yes. Sounds like a business.

Ben Kench  1:13:21  

Businesses crashes and burns and it wrecks lives. What bloody training did we do? Oh, we didn’t, we just thought we knew. Oh, hello.

What are your recommendations for small business owners if they feel that their business isn’t quite going right?

Martin Henley  1:13:31  

But it is like that and there’s very few places, like you’re saying, you know, speak to somebody, finding people who are good to speak to is also a mission, I think. I really think that. Okay, so I’m not sure if you, if we’ve already covered this already, but what are your recommendations for people if they’re feeling some of what we’re talking about?

Ben Kench  1:14:01  

Okay. Fundamentally, take responsibility and don’t ignore the problem any longer. You know, that it we all know, we’ve got an inner voice, we know when something’s not right. We can dismiss it, deny it, bury it, ignore it and carry on and carry on but we know you got to listen to that inner niggle, accept responsibility, and just ask for help. The biggest and best success stories are often, the ones that were humble enough to learn from others and not be so, you know, pride comes before before so yeah, that’s, that’s number one. We know there’s a niggle, we listen to it and we say can you help me, what’s going wrong here? It’s better to ask out than crash and burn. As for being in the advice or coaching game people say oh, yes, but I haven’t got the money to ask for help. Okay, well, we’ll go and do some online stuff or buy some books, you can get a lot of stuff that’s okay, as a start point for free, you know, invest 10 or 15 quid in some  brilliant books. There’s a library of knowledge out there. Firstly, you know, have the balls to just try looking and try learning, secondly, invest a little bit in yourself because if the problem is several 1000 pounds a month, hey, invest some money in yourself to solve it, don’t try and do everything without spending because that’s half the problem. You know, there are books are there are there are courses out there, there are leaders out there that will help to a degree for free, because we’re not all so commercially driven that, you know, we’re charging even for the first phone call, like a lawyer might. One thing’s for sure. If you’re sitting there as a business owner with a problem, and you know, in your private thoughts, you’ve been there while it ain’t going away, do something.

Martin Henley  1:16:00  

Yeah. The vehicle analogy is perfect because what you don’t do, if you realise you’ve got a problem in your vehicle, is keep the pedal to the metal. You know, you slow down. I think I could have done with that advice. You know, I did whatever it was, 14 hours a day for nine years. My most popular YouTube video had 600,000 views. The most, what’s the word for it … abusive, comment just went straight through me and this comment was just about how sick I looked, like you look sick, you look like you need to sleep you need, you need to do some exercise, you need to do something else. I removed it, because it was so fucking true. You know, I had worked 14 or 15 hours a day for nine years and I was in bad shape. I was in really bad shape. You know, and I think too many business owners are there. That’s what I think.

Ben Kench  1:17:03  

Yeah, the other thing is just very, very quickly, it came to me as you’re talking, I see a lot of business owners that then jumped ship or say, Oh, I got no business out, you know, and, and hum, there’s nothing wrong. There’s no right or wrong just an is. Usually a person changes a badge or what they’re focusing on with a new business because the other one wasn’t right and I didn’t put it right. I see that in life with people that go through relationship after relationship, got a new girlfriend got a new boyfriend. The common denominator isn’t the business or the partner, it’s something in here we’re not addressing. Yes. Yeah, I wish people wouldn’t say I’ve got a new business now because that wasn’t, you know, things have changed, that wasn’t, not successful. No. When things aren’t going right, look inside because the answers there.

Martin Henley  1:17:58  

Yes. Okay, cool. This has been way more interesting chat than I was anticipating. And, yeah, way more interesting and not really, I don’t know if it’s been salesy enough. I think what we’re saying isn’t what salespeople are supposed to say but it’s probably what should be said, you know, adjust your attitude to sales, adjust your attitude to your customers, sell less, you know, and, and potentially be much happier. 

Ben Kench  1:18:32  

You mentioned the word serve. Yes, that’s it serve.

Martin Henley  1:18:38  

I’ve got this brilliant presentation called I’m in the mood for selling, it ends up playing the Nolan sisters with everyone standing up dancing, ideally. It’s a lot of fun. The point of that, why am I telling you this? Because it’s got a definition of sales in it. My definition of sales is there’s three things it’s making it easy for people to buy. I can only ever remember two of them making the most of leads and making friends with people you know that for me is what sales is, essentially if you’re employed as a salesperson, oh no is this in your book? Am I going to get done for plagiarism now?

Ben Kench  1:19:26  

I’ll tell you what I’ve got as a definition.

Martin Henley  1:19:30  

The thing is if you are employed as a salesperson, that for me is your job your not employed to knock on doors, your not employed to cold call, you not employed to do all of that stuff. You’re employed to make friends with people, make it easy for them to buy maybe, let’s say make it easy for them to buy the right thing and make the most of leads. That’s your job. What a great job that is. No, yeah, yeah. 

Ben Kench  1:19:53  

Well, I’ve always defined selling as a transfer of emotion. Oh, Because the way I feel about this, because I love it, and it’s gonna save your life, it’s gonna change everything, you know, whether that’s the religion, so you got saviours, or whether it’s politics because everything’s gonna be changed. When I feel passionate about something, it’s my emotion that sways you into thinking the same way. So, truly, selling is about a transfer of emotion, so that the person’s emotions change, and then they choose to buy, so that they can align with what they’ve just bought, emotionally.

Martin Henley  1:20:35  

Wow, that’s powerful and it’s better than mine, it’s annoying. 

Ben Kench  1:20:42  

Sorry mate.

Martin Henley  1:20:43  

This is what I’ve wanted to say throughout this, for me sales is always relationship. You know, I want to get my first sales manager on, I was telling you about that. He was amazing. We were relationship sellers, we were selling advertising, you know, so everyone had five or six options, everyone had five or six advertising companies phoning them every day. We were selling because we were mates with these people. And I still do it now with my customers. Like my intention, if I’ve got an hour with a customer is spent 55 minutes talking about them, and their lives, and their holidays, and their football team, and then all the rest, and the last five minutes saying, and we just need to get this stuff done. You know, that, to me, is what it’s about. If you’re paid to make friends with people, that should be the best job in the world. If your marketing department is doing their job, then it should be the easiest job in the world, everyone be sales people.

Ben Kench  1:21:36  

Well, here’s the irony of that is, whilst most people hate the label, everybody sells.

Martin Henley  1:21:45  


Ben Kench  1:21:47  

Because if you’re a parent and your teenagers got a dirty bedroom, you have to find a way to convince them, and we soon learn that just bullying a teenager backfires. So we learn to coerce and persuade, you know, persuasion is selling, although it’s a different position language. If you want your kid to do something, or your neighbour to do something, or you and your wife are having a discussion about holidays and one person’s got, why don’t we go here? Bali, obviously, I’d choose to go there. That is a sales process. It’s just that convincing you that you should think about Bali, like I think about barley let’s both go there. Yeah. So we’re all we’re always selling. It gets into a different position in the head, when it starts to be about money, then we get frightened.

Martin Henley  1:22:36  

Yes. And the way I’d like to be thought of as a salesperson is my my mate Martin, is the guy who helps me to get the very best deal on whatever it is that I’m selling. Do you know I mean, that should be the intention of the salesperson. So when I am at a, I don’t know, cheese and wine, I can’t shut up about the fact that I buy this stuff for Martin, you know, I mean, then you should buy it this stuff from Martin, like whether you need it or not, if you ever need it, then you should buy it from Martin and Martin, Martin, Martin, Martin. That that’s what I want to be in the world. I don’t want to be that snake Martin took me for another 200 quid. You know, who wants to be that? You know, I mean, okay, good. We have gone long. 

Martin Henley  1:23:22  


What should people be reading?

Martin Henley  1:23:23  

No, I love this. I love this so much. Okay, so I’m going to ask you the new question, which is what should people read, you’ve suggested that there’s books out there that will help people? What are those books?

What should people be reading?

Ben Kench  1:23:35  

Well, well, I’ve always had time, timeless classics. So How to Win Friends and Influence People, let’s develop a personal skill set. You know, one of the really great books as a cornerstone for me was Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power or Awaken the Giant Within. Stephen Covey his Seven Habits, again, a legendary book, but his next one Principle Centred Leadership, Stephen Covey was great. I could flip the other way and let’s have some really beautiful stories in which there’s a great message. So Augmon, Dino wrote, The Greatest salesperson in the World, It’s a lovely story. He wrote five or six others, which are equally great. I’ve got you know, so many, The Saint, The Surfer and the CEO. There’s just so many great books out there. So sometimes I’ll go for, and I would recommend, a book that’s specific about learning and sometimes a book that’s more about the message, rather than the exact how you should do it. There are some great books on sales, and leadership and systems. There’s a great book on here the 80/20 Principle, because that applies to any business. Yeah, you know. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Martin Henley  1:24:55  

Yeah. Cool, brilliant. I’ll list all of those below here so people will know where to go and buy them.

Ben Kench  1:25:03  

Okay, good. This one?

Martin Henley  1:25:07  

That’s for Dummies, isn’t it, that one? Okay, good. So the last question and then is who do you think I should talk to? Who would I benefit from, and my minuscule audience, who might benefit from having a conversation like this with me?

Who do you think might be interest to speak to me on the Talk Marketing Podcast?

Ben Kench  1:25:24  

Well, you know, I can think of just had a good hour with a ski buddy. He runs a digital marketing agency. But you know, we got really well. So Steve from Porsche, I can share the details there. Another really respected guy I know but not don’t know as well as like, really, he’s, he’s made a brand for himself in the last three years, Daniel Disney does social selling, because the whole culture of social media and being a friend first very much marketing led sales messages. Yeah, I’ll have to sift through my head and think, because as soon as we start talking, I think three others Oh, yeah, go and see them. But um, okay, cool. All

Martin Henley  1:26:09  

So here’s what I’m actually going to ask you to do. The reason we’re speaking is because Warren sent you that brilliant little message. So I’m going to ask you to do is do something similar to that, and then share it between us because that really, really works. I have had such a thoroughly good time, man. Thank you, Ben. This is really not the conversation I was expecting to have but they so rarely are. Is it the conversation you were expecting to have?

Ben Kench  1:26:36  

Well, I think it’d be you know, just touching on it quickly. The label of sales and selling has a preconceived negative connotation in most minds. I’m very, very proud to be a salesman, I’m bloody good at it, I can help your business be good at it, but not sales, how you used to know it. Sales, how it should be done, which is actually, lovingly serving people and suddenly, people aren’t expecting that.

Martin Henley  1:27:02  

Yeah, they’re really not expecting that and it’s such a relief when they get it, I think. Yeah, I’m really so happy with this conversation. Thank you so much.

Ben Kench  1:27:11  

Yeah, I just could say it’s not all about money. Is it ever money doesn’t make us happy. Let’s have an adjustment in our values. It’s been a pleasure, mate. Really? Thank you, Martin.

Martin Henley  1:27:20  

Thank you so much. Okay, good. We’ll do the pretend goodbye now and then I’ll stop the recording then we’ll say goodbye like normal human beings.

Ben Kench  1:27:27  

Okay, well, thank you very much. I’ll say goodbye.

Martin Henley  1:27:31  

Goodbye to you too.

Ben Kench  1:27:32  


Martin Henley

Martin Henley

Martin has built a reputation for having a no nonsense approach to sales and marketing and for motivating audiences with his wit, energy, enthusiasm and his own brand of audience participation. Martin’s original content is based on his very current experience of running effective marketing initiatives for his customers and the feedback from Effective Marketing’s successful and popular marketing workshops.



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