Ian Pownall – Interim Sales Director for hire.
Helping small business owners with limited sales experience to breathe when stressed by sales. I help them to love sales even just 1% more! Honesty | Loyalty | Integrity | JFDI | DBaD
I am a “Sales Consultant”. A self-confessed, life long learner of all things sales. I do my very best to impart that knowledge to everyone I meet such that they might learn to love sales, even if it’s just 1% more than they did before they met me. I work most closely with small or micro business owners that understand sales is one of many hats they have to wear in their business but, quite frankly, it makes them want to run away, cry or throw up.
I provide consultation on strategy, process and execution. Working with my clients I coach, mentor and do. The doing part is my favorite!
The result, my clients find the sales hat they have to wear fits far more comfortably and thus wear it for longer, which ultimately gives them the results they seek, more sales.
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant or did you fall into the role?
I walked away from corporate life with little to no idea what I would do next back in 2014. Consulting found me as I spoke to those closest to me and it was pointed out I needed to go back in to sales, as this was perceived as my strength.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
Insatiable curiosity. The ability to listen with the intention to learn. A clear self-awareness of what they consult in and the humility to stay in their lane. It also helps if they have a support network, or little black book, of other consultants in other specialist areas that are subject matter experts. I have found what makes bad consultants is attempting to be a generalist.
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
There is always room for improvement, that is why I have a coach. Building the business YOU want requires you knowing what YOU want. We are often the last to take our own good advice but having a coach to help you reflect on this is absolutely key in my opinion.
Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
Yes. I only ever schedule 80% or 4 days of my working week. I always leave one day for surprises, reflection, or unscheduled meetings. I like to meet new contacts, local or otherwise, and make time to do that, which is why I have time today to do this.
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
Leaving it until the last minute to speak up. I get calls all too often when it’s fire fighting time. Unpacking this it is overwhelming the case that the stories they clients are telling themselves is crippling them in some way, be that procrastination, constant changing of strategy or a victim mentality. I really wish people would speak more openly about the stresses they face and seek help, without the stigma, because there is help out there
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
Split. Face to face networking is by far the single most enjoyable “marketing” that I do. I have a broad network and receive great referrals from them. I also LOVE to write/blog/post/comment on LinkedIn. Not so much for biz dev more to just give back, I try to share as much as possible.
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
I play Minecraft with my son, this is our time. For me I am really in to my podcasts at the moment and I am consuming all of Steve Bartlett’s content at the moment. I’m a bit of a busmen when it comes to unwinding, I like to learn via reading, watching, listening to sales and psychology stuff. I also focus on my breathing, not quite meditation but along those lines. I like to listen to the universe.
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
Pick a lane. Choose what you are going to consult on. Stay focused on that and learn everything you can about it because you can never know it all. Be curious. Practice your listening skills.
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have many pleasures in life and I have learned to feel guiltless for all of them. I appreciate that this is a turn of phrase but it’s one I find counter-productive. I love great food, I enjoy wine, I sleep odd hours, I speak my truth (not everyone welcomes that) but I feel absolutely no guilt in doing or being any of these things.
Q10. What’s your goal for next year?
I would am going to be returning to delivering face to face workshops, covid killed them and I dislike doing them online. I am also planning to start a podcast, about which I am procrastinating due to the commitments I am currently engaged in. My work is very fluid, which is by design. I can tell you what is happening in 4 years’ time and what I must do today, tomorrow and nest week to achieve that, but I don’t typically set 1 year goals.