“Pull Up Your Knickers and Go to Bed”

Editor’s note:   Yvonne’s latest post is rather cheeky, but I’m letting it go up. Let me know if you enjoy it!

It’s 12.48 a.m. on a weeknight and I’m sitting at my laptop.

Crazy? Well, that’s how I roll.


And it’s not because I have just rolled in from a wild night out on the tiles. If you’re a Dragon Sisters client reading this, please note that I don’t mean that I am actually crazy.

If you’re sniggering, then you’ve probably been with Dragon Sisters a looong time.

I’m still up at crazy-o’clock, because my daughter is swotting for an exam. Since I’m no Marine Science whizz, I’ve been pretty much hanging around for moral support, supplying essentials like cups of tea and chocolate.

Michelle and I have been playing phone tag all day, so when the text ‘you still up?’ comes through, I ring her. She’s been out all day and so have I.

She’s in The Northern Territory. I’m in Queensland.

For our out-of-Oz friends, that’s a distance of 3424.5 km. If you drive your car with an average speed of 112 kilometres/hour (70 miles/h), travel time will be 30 hours 34 minutes. I know because Google says so. That’s assuming you don’t catch a kangaroo on your fender or run down the night roadworks Stop sign guy. If you’ve ever hit a kangaroo, you’d know which one you’d wear better.

At this hour, I don’t feel particularly like being politically correct. Ho hum.

The one thing that is great about working with your sister, is that there’s no P.C. code to observe; nor office hours.

If we’re up for bouncing around ideas at a ridiculous hour, we can. So, we spend a happy forty minutes nattering and nutting out some campaign ideas and off-the-wall marketing strategies.

It’s perfect. I’m just about bouncing off the wall with my in-take of caffeine anyway. Clients don’t know when you come up with your best stuff or that your creative muse was a midnight snack.

It doesn’t matter that the creative process is interspersed with give-aways like the sound of me foraging in the fridge like a mole after a maggot, having told Michelle off for talking with her mouth full.

What are you eating?”

Crackers! Not as in she’s crackers.

As in, she’s driving me crackers because it sounds like someone is driving an ice-breaker through my ear-piece. Michelle is enjoying cheese and crackers, more than I am, hearing her enjoying them. But it has made me hungry, hence, pay-back, in the form of rustling every bit of refrigerated packaging I can find in close proximity to the microphone. Ha! Take that!

By the time we’ve chomped and guzzled our way through the duration of our conversation, we’re pretty excited about our new ideas. Which, naturally, will be presented to each client in rather more style than their inception. Which is just as well …

As I’m about to ring off, I hear the tell-tale toilet flush. I bid good-night to my sedate sibling, “Pull up your knickers and go to bed.”

Too much information?

Ah well, sorry about that.

Don’t worry, we hatched your marketing strategy in a stereo-typical meeting room, over bottles of Perrier. Really.

Fly like a dragon!


Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

Networking – the most powerful ingredient for success

Networking ¬ (noun)interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

You hear the word networking bandied about with great regularity.  Everyone always talks about the importance of building networks.

But what exactly does it mean?

Yes, yes. You and I both know it means making connections.

You meet people all the time. Attend formal networking functions.  Join groups. Connect on LinkedIn.

Speaking of LinkedIn, it’s important to make sure that your profile is setting you up as the prize.  It needs to showcase you in the best light and if you’re not sure that it is, grab my FREE guide here 

Connections not working?

You’ve exchanged business cards, and have lots of ”connections”, but still, something seems to be missing.

What is frequently overlooked is that networking is all about maintaining as well as making connections.

It is not enough to just use a speedy few moments to get out your elevator pitch.

To build an authentic network, you need to do more than just an exchange business cards.

Business cards are not the be-all and end-all.

What is important is knowing and remembering some key points about them and their business.

Things like  – what do you have in common? Do they have a problem you could help them with? Can you introduce them to someone who could be of value to them?

DO NOT just give them your card and hope they’ll get in touch. That is not networking – it’s more like a face to face letterbox drop.

You need to nurture your connections.

Offer support and help where you can, with no expectation of gain.

When you next turn up to a networking function be sure that you’re ready to create and maximise all opportunities. You never know who you will meet!

Do not consider what they can do for you – it’s about what YOU can do for them. And I don’t mean it’s about what you can sell them. That’s just icky, and pushy!

From personal experience, I can honestly say, that some of my very best opportunities have come from the least expected places.

Networking & Referrals

As you build the relationship, you gain trust.

When trust exists connections start to open up, referrals happen and business starts to flow your way.

I love referring people to others in my network.

But…… I’ll only do it when I know the person I am referring to is trustworthy.

By that I mean, I know they’ll be upfront about what they can deliver. They’ll be professional.

This will, in turn, build further trust in me.

Why? Because I have referred the right person for the task at hand. It’s good for my own networking.

Can you see how this works?

Referrals are a privilege awarded when you are an authentic networker.

With a strong and authentic network, you have a powerful tool. These are people you can turn to in your times of need. But, not until you’ve built a solid foundation of trust.

Networking is something that is ongoing. It needs to be valued and nurtured.

To your success!


Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.


Understanding A Sales Meeting

There are meetings, and there are meetings (very often too many of them!), but one thing every meeting should produce is measurable, achievable and progressive outcomes.

As elementary as this sounds (My Dear Watson) it’s sometimes quite astonishing how often meetings fail to produce this result.

This happens for a variety of reasons, though it’s safe to say that the main two reasons are (a) that there has been a lack of understanding, and (b) that there has been a lack of commitment. Both issues arise from the incorrect positioning of the dialogue.

The giveaway is in the title. If the meeting does not produce sales resultant outcomes – budget, orders, market share, etc. – then it has no business calling itself a Sales Meeting. As they say, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … well, it’s a duck, not a Sales Meeting.

Understanding a Sales Meeting
Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been a party to sales meetings my entire working life, as a participant and as a manager. The most common failing of many sales meetings is that the chair does not understand the basics of running such a meeting.

Naturally, every sales meeting is about performance and sometimes there is a distinct lack of understanding of how to successfully translate this objective into meaningful, dynamic, real time, meeting outcomes (sales!!).

For example, if the meeting revolves simplistically around looking at last month’s figures, berating those team members who haven’t hit target, lavishly praising the team star and worst, kicking the team trailer (while she’s down) what you have is a Head Kicker Session not a Sales Meeting.

Similarly, if the meeting is all about what the company needs and wants with no substance (dialogue) as to how the team individuals can actively go out and achieve this, you might just as well send out a memorandum directive email. That’s not even a meeting!

The absolute worst sales meetings have been those where the boss expounds at length on a particular individual’s poor performance or that of a few non-performing team members.

That’s not a sales meeting. That’s a performance review. The reason (other than HR legislation) that those are done in private is that if there’re performance issues to address these should not be aired in public. At best you’ll end up with one shattered, humiliated individual (and how great is his performance likely to be then?!); at worst you’ll end up with the entire team thinking you’re a complete bar-steward, eager to stick the knife in at the earliest opportunity. The ‘sales meeting’ then moves on to projections for the new month, often in similar vein.

Too often the finale, in the guise of Any Other Business, degenerates into a whinging session or the boring minutiae of office housekeeping, e.g. the admin staff have again complained that no one is washing up their lunch dishes. Be still my beating heart! Boy is this going to project your team like so many sales-seeking-missiles out of that meeting room ready to wrest the best out of the day’s opportunities – not.

There are two things any chair must get out of the Sales Meeting:

  1. The team’s understanding of how to achieve their target
  2. The team’s commitment to achieving their target

We’ll talk about how we achieve this next time. Meantime, watch out for ducks!


Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

This post originally appeared on Simple Team Meeting on 3 June 2015