Technical Knowledge May Not be Enough


Maybe time to refresh your softer skills

Smack in the middle of COVID-19, as home working became the norm and people sought a sanctuary of garden space, we decided to pop into a garden office showroom near Telford. Beneath the cavernous building, we sheltered from the torrential rain outside. We admired the hundreds of fabricated garden offices spread across the floors.

One of the sales assistants popped her head around the wall of an exceptionally spacious garden office that we liked and asked if we needed any help. Shelley and I had dozens of questions of a technical nature which we fired at the confident young lady.

She answered our questions perfectly. Not a stutter or a pause for thought; she knew the answers to every question we threw at her. Her technical knowledge was to be respected.

the sales assistant didn’t do any selling at all. She merely answered our questions

“Have I answered all your questions?” she exclaimed. “Yes, thank you so much; you’ve been most helpful”, we replied in unison. We wandered the floor some more, then agreed that we would continue our research online and left to return home.

Nothing weird about the story; it was true. On the drive home, I mentioned to Shelley that the sales assistant didn’t do any selling at all. She merely answered our questions. Brilliantly might I add. But no:

  • Qualifying our situation
  • Probing to find out more about us
  • Seeking a little commitment from us
  • Obtaining some form of budget
  • Asking what our motivation to buy a garden office was
  • Asking how committed we were to buy
  • Laying a sense of urgency in our minds.
  • Giving a compelling reason to act now in her store.

And she didn’t even take down our details, which we would have been glad to provide.

Nothing at all apart from answering our questions.

The parallels for those involved in the mortgage business are pretty stark. Most mortgage brokers and advisers have been order-takers from the back end of 2020 until the tail end of 2022. So much business to be had by all we endeavoured merely to soak up demand and place mortgage cases. It was long, arduous work but rewarding financially and emotionally, helping all those people achieve their dreams and raise finance.

These two years witnessed thousands of people buy home offices for their gardens. Glorified sheds that allowed them to work from home in peace and efficiency. There were just a few places you could buy one within a half-decent time frame, so purveyors didn’t have to work too hard. Just take orders from customers. That’s probably what motored my sales assistant friend in Telford. She didn’t need to work too hard and just hoovered orders.

But times change. Her industry has taken a hammering. Many workers have flocked back to offices driven by varying cultures and demanding bosses. People’s challenge with disposable income has threatened any purchase of an expensive home office—an unnecessary luxury.

In the same manner, our sector has changed. We can’t survive merely taking orders from mortgage customers or relying on the phone ringing and the email inbox pinging.

We will have to start working just a little bit differently. Not harder. Merely peddling faster against the current won’t cut it. We have to be more innovative in 2023. We need to learn to sell, which, by the way, is not a dirty word. Sell in Norwegian is selge, meaning “serve a customer” who wants to buy.

No more order taking or simply answering questions from your impressive product knowledge.


About Author

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Paul Archer is an Online Sales Trainer, Speaker and Conference Host. He’d be happy to assist you in moving your workshops online during this challenging period. Email him on or LinkIn with him at The world of sales development has changed, many have missed this and boldly go on to run courses in the old-fashioned way. You want to develop your people – professional advisers, salespeople, coaches - and know there is a better way. He can help you. Think about music. I mean the music industry. In 2000 music became free, illegally at first with Napster, downloads became cheap as chips and streaming now cost $10 a month. In the same way, traditional self-development is now free. Everything is available online. Music artists and bands now make their money performing live. The live experience is what fans will pay money for. Recorded music is merely to create demand for the live experience. He brings his 35+ years of sales expertise and experience to you in two ways: Online, on-demand, just in time. He doesn’t run “just in case” training courses, they’re a thing of the past. Development should be “just in time”. Curated video, live videocasts and webinars, podcasts — books, articles and blog posts delivered via his Learning Platforms, YouTube or your in-house systems. Live. He can bring his expertise to your teams in live sessions, but these are rare now and need to be exceptional events. Conferences, seminars and events, he can educate, entertain them with my unique speaking style that has been enjoyed by thousands of sale people and advisers across the globe. Forty-five minutes, 2 hours, maybe a day – you choose. You figured there was a better way to develop your sales teams, you are right, and now you may want to make contact with him so you can talk further. You can Linkin with him at, and he’ll start a conversation or head to his YouTube Channel for more at email him at or phone him on +44 7702 341769, and where ever you are in the world he’d love to hear from you. Paul is a prolific writer and blogger – maintaining three blogs, with attracting thousands of hits from all over the world. He has published eight books. His latest tome "Pocketbook of Presentation Skills” was released in January 2020 and is available from Amazon. The third edition of his book “Train the Trainer of the 21st Century” is also available from Amazon.

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