For over a thousand years The Royal Mint has made and distributed United Kingdom coins, blanks and official medals. It is now the world’s leading export mint of coins and blanks, supplying over 40 countries each year to Central Banks and National Mints across five continents. Its success and prestige are commonly attributed to the company’s high quality coins and a long tradition of craftsmanship, heritage and artistry.
The Royal Mint is a government-owned company. It must provide a financial return to the UK government in the form of organic growth and sustainable profits. Helping to meet these goals is a global sales director and four regional sales directors each supported by an account manager. Together they sell The Royal Mint’s coinage and capabilities to central banks and their governors or directors of currency around the world.
Why the need for selling skill development?
The Royal Mint has a number of unique selling propositions. It is the largest integrated and most technically advanced minting facility in the world. This helps to support cutting edge innovation such as anti-fraud technology, as featured in the new pound coin introduced into the United Kingdom in 2017. It also supports money saving, manufacturing processes including plating onto steel instead of using the more expensive solid metals.
As appealing as these capabilities might appear, the sales teams face a number of challenges.
Coins often have a lower perceived value than paper notes. With an average tenure of a governor or director of currency of 3 to 5 years, there’s often not the time nor the appetite to replace notes with coins requiring, as it would, the need to influence public perception and manage the change or risk involved. Additionally, improved anti-fraud features and cheaper coinage are not high priorities in some countries; managing the economy is.
Added to this, the sales team may only get to see some prospects and customers once a year, and for only a short time. The challenge is to not only understand their priorities and so position products in a compelling way, but to do so quickly. Speed is crucial in this most unique of selling environments.
Why SPIN Selling®
SPIN® Selling was chosen because of its question-based methodology.
Director of Sales, Simon Lake said: “We felt that the question-based approach of SPIN® would enable us to uncover priorities more quickly.” He added: “We also liked the professionalism and experience of Huthwaite International. We thought they would be a great team to work with and a deep source of expertise to tap into. Both proved to be the case.”
The benefits of SPIN® Selling for The Royal Mint
With training only just completed it’s early days for The Royal Mint. Focus has now shifted to embedding their new skills into a more natural behaviour.
Said Simon: “It’s really important that we not only remember what we have learned, but that it becomes our defacto way of selling. Because our teams were already good before SPIN® it would be easy, over time, to slip back into more familiar ways of working. We won’t let that happen however. We don’t want to be good; we want to be outstanding so we are taking care to achieve a permanent behaviour change.”
To this end, Simon and the senior team have implemented a number of tactics. These include:
- encouraging teams to adopt SPIN® Selling by setting targets and giving bonuses to help stimulate them from their comfort zone
- creating targets around the number of SPIN® based sales.
Simon has also accompanied his team on their early SPIN® meetings to ensure the SPIN® Selling questions are being executed correctly. Each regional director has a review after each meeting and their progress and issues are noted and discussed with the wider team so everyone learns from each other.
Simon shares other additional insights:
“Our customers and prospects know us. To suddenly start speaking to them in a different way would be odd. For us embedding SPIN® Selling is an art. It’s about taking the methodology and making it our own.”
He expands: “We only have a very short time with our prospects, so getting the questions absolutely right first time in order to get the information we need to progress the sale, really matters.”
Through using SPIN® Selling questions, Simon says the team are working together to turn formal questions into informal and natural discussion. He says: “It’s just a matter of practice. The important thing is to work as a team, to share our experiences and we’ll get there much quicker.”
The Royal Mint’s advice to other companies embarking on SPIN®
Simon has some key advice for others starting, or thinking of starting, their SPIN® learning journey:
“Don’t let your sales teams loose on their own after training. They’ll revert back to their comfort zone, especially if they were doing well anyway. Travel with them, audit them, review them before and after and be ready for the process to take time. Changing habits doesn’t happen overnight.”
With periodic reviews from Huthwaite to ensure they’re on track, and with the full backing of the senior team, The Royal Mint’s sales professionals will, without doubt, go from strength to strength. With SPIN® knowledge at their fingertips they can go forward doing what they do best, making money for everyone, whatever sales challenges they face.