In my role I get exposed to lots of presentations and pitches -- so I thought I'd offer you some pointers for when you next present. Some of these tips seem obvious (but sadly not practiced enough) and others less so. So, whether it's a one minute presentation at a networking event, or a 1 hour pitch for a life-changing contract, pick out the ones that will help you personally.

Brilliant sales results do not happen by accident. Of course there'll be an occasional fluke - but on the whole, sustained sales success certainly does not happen by chance. To be relaxed, confident and in control -- and ultimately successful in sales -- takes some level of preparation...

Despite the onslaught of social media and on line networking, 'real life' networking is still a crucial element of many companies' sales and marketing strategies. Quite right too - there are massive benefits to be had from attending networking events.

We as sales professionals have to be absolutely on top of our game. As Steven Covey puts it in his 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' we have to 'Sharpen Our Saw'! So lets sharpen our email marketing skills. Let's make sure we get it right in our email campaigns to give us the best chance of sales success.

Has Sepp Blatter failed at FIFA -- or just received some timely feedback? I'd love to ask him! There's no such thing as Failure... Just results! Some results you'll like. Some results you don't like. The key thing is to learn from each of your experiences.

Do you know customers that have been in the same job since time began? Or that have the same lunch every day? Or lived in the same house for decades? In sales psychology terms we call them 'sameness' people. They simply don't like change, certainly not in the contexts mentioned. Then again you may know customers who revel in change -- at work, possibly at home, again it can depend on the context. We call these 'difference' people. There is no right or wrong -- but if you can identify these particular characteristics in your customers, increasing sales is easy! How about you?

You will know by now I'm on a mission to improve the nation's selling techniques. It seems every day I get collect more evidence of just how big a challenge that is going to be! On the other hand a bottom less pit of potential work it seems. Take my colleague Jonathan's example from a while ago...

"When you say something about yourself it's bragging. When other people say it about you -- it's proof!" (Jeffrey Gitomer) How good are you at collecting testimonials from your happy customers? Great? Then well done, keep it up! You're in the minority though! Many business owners simply never get around to it, or are a little bit nervous about asking or don't do anything with them once they've got them. Here are some 'off the top of my head' thoughts when it comes to testimonials...

But for most of us, after our summer holidays, we share that foreboding as we crack up our laptops wondering what 'the figure' of emails will be. Then there are the bragging rights. I reckon most people share their inbox total with their immediate colleagues within 30 minutes of discovering it (go on -- be honest!). And there's that tinge of disappointment if a colleague has a higher total than you! My challenge to you is...in amongst the emails, the meetings and your other tasks and projects, how are you going to make sure you do enough selling?.

Are old fashioned sales techniques dead and buried? Probably, according to this fascinating article "Death of the old-style salesman" from earlier this year. I thought it was a great read. It struck a chord with me and definitely reflected the changes I have witnessed during my 30 years in sales. The theme of the article is to explore how sales techniques have had to change in the past few years and continue to do so. In short...