As part of promoting the valuable mentoring support delivered through Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme, we highlight some of the mentors behind the scenes that work with Lancashire businesses.
So take a break for a minute and read about Stephen Leishman, a multi-business owner and selling specialist.
Why did you choose to become a mentor?
I never set out to be a mentor, it was a total accident that I fell into it. Due to my extensive sales experience, I was asked at short notice to write and present a sales training course for a Boost training session to cover for another presenter.
So I created the workshop and wrote up the course notes late into the night and delivered it to 22 people the next day. All the attendees enjoyed it, and most wanted me to then mentor them in sales! So I did and that’s how I started out as a Boost Growth Mentor.
How do you make a real difference to Lancashire businesses?
It’s about the person behind the business you’re asked to mentor and getting under the skin of the business and the challenges they face. I can totally relate to a lot of their issues, I’ve either been there or had similar issues in the past.
Having my own business, experience can make a real difference when you say to a business owner I’ve been here before and here’s what I should have done, or have you thought about this? It’s getting the business to see the wood from the trees, then “working out what type of wood you have!”
What is your area of expertise and why is it an important area to for business leaders to address?
I have been in sales for 38 years, I own Selling Sells, a sales and customer service training company. I live and breathe it every day, I don’t just train sales, I really love what I do. So I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with others, whether it’s pitching, sales strategy or closing the deal or identifying markets that you have not thought of.
Sales is the engine room of a business it needs feeding fuel or it stops working. Potential customers are fuel for the business moving forward, but more importantly: Who are they? Where are they? How do I get to them? – That is where I can help.
What has been your most inspirational moment as a mentor?
I’ve had many over the years working with hundreds of companies. Those moments come from the business owners themselves, I am not there to tell them what to do but to open their minds to new ideas and possibilities.
One company I worked with during at the start of COVID-19 and throughout the first months of lockdown was Scrap Local, I worked with Martin Handley the business owner. They went from very little turnover and no employees, growing to 12+ employees and on target to do £500,000+ all during lockdown! It’s been inspiring to see this young entrepreneur embrace the mentoring, more importantly, grasp his business by the horns and drive it forward.
What are the key challenges for Lancashire businesses at the moment?
Change, embrace it! Get your people to do the same, take them with you on your journey. The unknown at the moment maybe challenging for business owners alike. Sales growth for some, is challenging and how do you plan for the uncertain and unknown, so keep moving forward, get out of your comfort zone, work harder then you ever have before, but remember to step back and breath now and then.
Ask for help, Boost has mentors for just about anything business related, use their pool of experts in their field, you never know! They may just catapult your business in ways you didn’t think possible.
As a mentor, what are your three business growth tips?
1. Look after your current customers – everyone is suffering the same.
2. Look to be part of the ‘Empathy Economy’ and support the ‘Isolation Economy’ through these times.
3. Investigate the market potential and plan how you’re going to reach out to those potential new customers.
Stephen Leishman is owner and founder of several businesses including Selling Sells, a sales training, customer service training company and Creotempus Engineering, a business that sells and markets products for manufacturing companies wishing to grow their business into international markets. As a multi-business owner his specialism is everything sales related.