Fri, 02/5/2016

Top  producers get promoted to sales management because of their ability to source, sell and close business. These individuals are also good team players, optimistic and great at building relationships.

So, with all these wonderful attributes, why are so many sales managers such lousy sales coaches?

Most sales managers get set up to fail. They have not learned the No. 1 skill to develop their sales team:  the ability to transfer the knowledge, skills and habits that made them a top producer.  It’s called teaching, training and coaching, which are different skills than selling and closing business.   

Here’s one key principle that will help you become a better coach: Understand and know the difference between training and coaching. 

Training is imparting knowledge. Coaching is testing to see if the knowledge has landed and can be applied. 

Have you considered SalesLeadership's TAKE THE LEAD sales management program?

Here’s a classic example. The sales manager has taught his sales team the top 10 compelling and customized questions to ask during a sales call. He watches a sales meeting with a new prospect in which the salesperson fails to ask five of the questions.  When the sales manager asks the salesperson why, she replies, “I forgot.” 

The sales manager responds to this trigger and moves into training mode, telling the salesperson, once again, which questions to ask.

Stop the madness. Your salesperson knows what to do and telling them one more time won’t change their behavior. This salesperson either has a self-limiting belief around asking questions or just isn’t buying into your way of selling and influencing. So it’s time to become the coach and get to the root cause of this poor selling behavior by asking great coaching questions. 

“Did you forget or were you uncomfortable? What makes you think the prospect is going to get upset by answering these questions? Is that based on perception or data? When you asked these questions in the past, what was the outcome? What information will you be missing in winning business if you don’t get the answer to this question?” 

 Stop telling (training) and start asking (coaching). 

There is a time to train and a time to coach. Great sales managers learn them and know the difference. 

Good Selling!

tags: Colorado Sales Training, denver sales training, Sales Management Program, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales
Fri, 01/29/2016

I love this quote from Nick Saban: “One thing about championship teams is that they're resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity.”

Super Bowl 50 is Feb. 7.The top two teams make it to the Super Bowl because of such factors as top athletic talent, great playbooks and, yes, resiliency. Just look at Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning. Critics said he was done because of age, surgeries and injuries. Is he playing in Super Bowl 50 because of his incredible talent or his equally incredible resilience? Probably both. 

Championship sales teams are no different. I have seen really talented salespeople fail because they can’t bounce back from failure and setbacks. It wasn’t the sales playbook holding them back; it was their inability to execute the plays during tough times. 

Salespeople that score low in resiliency score high in stress. They get fatigued and don’t have the energy or creativity needed to pursue and close business. Stress also results in salespeople getting frustrated, giving up on their goals or worse, turning into victims. Instead of taking responsibility for their success, they turn to blame and excuses.

So what can sales managers do to build the resiliency muscle? Here’s my number one tip: 

Teach your salespeople to separate their “DO” from their “WHO.”

Sales is what you do for a living. However, it doesn’t define your character or self-worth. Without this separation of the DO and WHO, salespeople take failure personally. Self-doubt and negative self-talk set in. “I’ve lost my touch. I’m not cut out for this profession. I never was good at asking the tough question.” 

Resilient salespeople take failure on their “DO” side. They don’t let failure define how they feel about themselves. That enables them to get fierce about learning the lessons from failure. “OK, what can I learn from losing this piece of business? What part should I own? What part is simply attributed to learning?” 

I remember my first year in this business, when I was floundering and failing. One of my early mentors helped build my resiliency muscle by changing my perspective. He told me that instead of trying to close business, I should go out and get 100 no’s. His explanation was simple: After you fail 100 times, you learn 100 great lessons and are on your way to success. Now, that was one goal I could achieve! 

I earned those 100 lessons and now I help others learn. Sales managers, keep teaching the hard skills required for sales success. But also teach about resiliency. It will get your team across the finish line.

Go Broncos!    

tags: Colorado Sales Training, sales training, denver sales training, sales management, sales, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, Resiliency, Playbook, Sales Manager
Thu, 01/21/2016

We live in the information age. Salespeople have access to more information than ever to help them succeed, such as webinars, podcasts and a gazillion sales books. So with all this knowledge, why do sales organizations still face the same selling challenges as 20 years ago? Challenges such as:   

  • Gaining access to the decision makers
  • Selling value, not price
  • Writing proposals for unqualified prospects
  • Being in chase mode

Here’s why: Sales managers often work on the wrong end of the problem. To overcome selling challenges, they resort to teaching more hard selling skills. It’s time for a reality check. Most salespeople know what to do. But during tough selling situations, they allow emotions, rather than effective selling and influence skills, to run the sales meeting. It’s the knowing-and-doing gap. 

Every salesperson knows she is supposed to ask questions, listen, provide thoughtful insights and be a trusted advisor. But if she gets in front of a challenging, intimidating prospect, her reptilian brain takes over, and she defaults to fight-or-flight behavior. 

Fight behavior is just what it sounds like. The salesperson gets defensive or nervous. She defaults to a product dump, more commonly known as “show up and throw up.” Or a salesperson can experience a flight response. This is like a scene from the famous sales movie, “Tommy Boy.”  “Okey  dokey. I’m outta here.”  Neither response results in closed business.

Here are three tips to help your sales team members manage their emotions to avoid fight-or-flight responses.

  1.  Get some downtime each day to reflect. What triggers are going to show up today? What response will I choose? 
  2. Name the emotion. When you are getting emotionally charged, the old brain is running the show, not the logical brain. By simply naming the emotion, you gain control. “I am feeling nervous. I am feeling defensive.”
  3. Change your story. Ask yourself this powerful question and apply the EI skill of empathy: “What else is going on? Is the prospect really a jerk or just under a lot of pressure?” Change your story and you will change your emotions, which changes the outcome of the meeting. 

Keep teaching and coaching hard selling skills. Incorporate soft skills into your sales training programs because they help with the execution of hard selling skills.

Join me February 4 for Dave Stein's Sales Executive Series webcast - I will provide more insight on bridging the knowing and doing gap by integrating hard sales skills training and soft skills training.

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales training, sales, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, EQ, sales management, Denver Sales Management
Fri, 01/8/2016

You’re a top sales producer that has been rewarded with a promotion to sales manager.  You’re excited about the opportunity to grow your leadership skills and help your sales team improve. 

Then reality sets in.  You realize that holding people accountable to sales metrics is difficult.    When asking for reports, you find yourself fielding excuses such as, “Do you want me to sell or generate reports?  I’ve been selling a long time…. don’t need to be micromanaged…”   Or in a one-on-one coaching session, you make great suggestions to improve productivity and sales results.  You get a lot of head nodding and no change.  

It’s time to have the tough love or truth telling conversation.  If not, you’re on your way to creating a mediocre, status quo, don’t rock the boat sales culture.  Many sales managers settle for this type of culture because they are conflict avoidant.  They don’t like having the difficult conversations---who does?  But as a leader, it is part of your role. 

So what can you do to embrace conflict and be a more effective sales manager?    

  1.  Apply a healthy dose of emotional self-awareness.  Schedule time to reflect and ask yourself a few questions:   
  • What makes you think conflict is bad thing?  Change your perspective.  Challenging a salesperson to do better means you care about them--otherwise you’d just let them flounder.   
  • Is your need to be liked greater than your need get sales results? 
  • Do you simply need more formal training and coaching on giving feedback?
  1. Apply a healthy dose of reality testing.  The reality is the most effective sales managers, leaders and coaches stretch their teams.  They teach and instill new habits, thoughts and skills.  

One of my first jobs was in retail, where I was sportswear buyer.  Talk about accountability.  Every day a set of reports would land on my desk informing me of how my merchandise was ‘turning.’  (Or not turning….)

It was not unusual for my boss to come into my office and start drilling me on numbers.   He expected me to know what was selling, what wasn’t selling and my plan to course correct.  By today’s standard, the conversation wouldn’t be regarded as emotionally intelligent because of his demeanor and approach.  However, this tough boss taught me to know my numbers and my business. 

Today, I have a better appreciation for that ‘awful boss” who didn’t avoid conflict.  His high expectations helped me in future positions as a salesperson, sales leader and business owner.   Be that boss and be that sales leader. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, Sales Manager, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, denver sales training
Thu, 12/17/2015

The sales manager is conducting the weekly one-one coaching session with her salesperson.  As they review the sales activity plan, she notices a gaping hole:  the salesperson isn’t asking his best and most satisfied clients for referrals. When pressed, the salesperson replies, “I forgot.” 

This is a good sales manager, so rather than accepting this answer, she redirects the conversation with the powerful question.  “Did you forget or were you uncomfortable?”  

Let’s apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing.  Are salespeople really forgetting  to ask their best clients for referrals when this strategy can eliminate cold reach outs, decrease  sales cycles and increase close ratios? It’s time to call this sales behavior, or lack of, what it is.  It’s referral aversion.     

Joanne Black, author of No More Cold Calling, is an expert at helping sales teams build proactive and productive referral strategies. When I interviewed Joanne about salespeople and their reluctance to ask for referrals, she shared great insights into referral aversion. 

“Referral selling is the most personal kind of selling we can do.  Some salespeople feel that asking clients for referrals is pushy and intrusive.  However, the number one reason is salespeople fear hearing no.  The client isn’t satisfied or we said something to upset them.  Rather than face the possibility of a client saying no, salespeople just don’t ask.  The second reason is that asking for referrals is not incorporated into the salesperson’s sales process, so salespeople aren’t sure when to ask.  Often, they wait and wait and then decide it’s too late.”  

Click here to take Joanne's referral quiz

Now, let’s suppose your sales team is asking for referrals but not receiving any introductions. The reason:  your sales team is engaged in ‘drive by’ referrals. Out of the blue, they call clients and ask,   “Bob, who do you know that could use my services?”  The client is not prepared and gives the predictable answer, “Uh, let me get back to you.”   The self-fulfilling prophecy of my clients don’t give me referrals begins.   

Make it a goal to work smarter, not harder in 2016.  Harness the power of client relationships and referrals to accelerate sales. 

Good Selling!

 

 

tags: sales, sales training, denver sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales management
Thu, 12/10/2015

In 1960, Dr. Walter Mischel became famous with what is now known as the “Marshmallow Study.”  He and his Stanford University research team studied the concept of self-control working with four year olds. Many years later, Dr. Mischel was asked to consult with the Education and Research Group at Sesame Workshop. He worked with the Sesame Street team to create shows that focused on teaching their young viewers the importance of self-control. The subject matter expert was the Cookie Monster, that blue character who exhibits little self-control! He is best known for his frequent “Me want a cookie” requests. 

I laughed out loud reading this because there is a little bit of the Cookie Monster in all of us. “Me wants a sale now. Me wants to be masterful at sales now.” Cookie Monster behavior creates less than desirable sales results. Here’s just a couple of ways that our desire for instant gratification affects sales results.          

#1.  Ineffective  prospecting.  Salespeople modeling Cookie Monster behavior gets easily frustrated prospecting for new accounts and large accounts. Without instant results, they default to less stressful activities that provide instant gratification such as surfing their personal Facebook page or meeting friends for coffee in the disguise of ‘talking business.’ 

#2.  Sales skills development. The Cookie Monster shows up saying, “Me wants to be good now.”  The low self-control salesperson has difficulty setting aside time to practice new skills or even read a good sales book. She chooses comfort over improvement by sitting in front of the TV, mastering her remote control skills, watching a program that does little or nothing to improve her career or sales results.     

So how do we improve the Cookie Monster that lurks in all of us? Apply emotional self-awareness and track and measure when you give into the pull of instant gratification. Research shows that self-control decreases when you’re tired. Make it a priority to get seven to eight hours of sleep. Research also shows that you adopt the behaviors and attitudes of the people with whom you associate. Avoid hanging out with Cookie Monster types. Choose to invest your time with salespeople that score high in self-control and sales results.     

Watch this video of the Cookie Monster demonstrating his strategy for improving his self-control.   Improve your self-control to increase sales results.   

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales training, sales management, sales management training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Thu, 12/3/2015

It’s that time of the year when we’re able to reconnect with colleagues and make new connections because of the many Christmas and holiday events.  Unfortunately, most people won’t take full advantage of making connections because they’re addicted to love. And the recipient of this love is their cell phone.   

In a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of cellphone owners said they had used their phones during the last social gathering they attended.  And 82 percent of the owners felt that the way they used their phones in a social setting hurt the conversation.  But like most addicts, people continue to engage in bad behavior that produces less than desirable outcomes.   

Perhaps you’ve experienced a conversation with this “89 percent.” You’re engaged in a good conversation, at least you thought it was a good conversation, and the person you’re speaking with interrupts the conversation to check an incoming email or text. You are now left talking to yourself, feeling a little embarrassed, inferior or annoyed. Once the phone is checked, your colleague returns to the conversation and asks, “Now, what were we talking about.” His addiction to love of his cell phone just killed this conversation.      

I recently met with a salesperson and the meeting was over before it started. She sat down and put her phone on the table.  After the phone vibrated three times, interrupting the flow of conversation, she said, “I guess I better put this away.” My inside voice said, “Yes, because this deal is not happening.” She blew the opportunity to sell her services because of her addiction to love.  

It’s time to lose your love addiction and develop a new addiction. Become addicted to being present and focused. Don’t lose the opportunity to make an emotional connection. 

Good Selling!

tags: Emotional Intelligence, sales, denver sales training, colleen stanley, sales management
Thu, 11/19/2015

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You learn more from your successes than failures.” Now, let’s apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing.  Companies and sales organizations don’t really believe that statement. How do I know? 

Walk into an office and you will find a success wall filled with plaques such as vendor of the year, CEO of the year or best places to work. Look around. Do you see any failure walls? If failure is our greatest teacher, why aren’t organizations boasting about their failures?  (Okay, a failure wall in the front lobby might be a little much.)     

Sales managers unknowingly create ‘play-it-safe’ sales cultures by not addressing the issue of failure. Here’s the real irony. If a salesperson is trying something new, such as opening a new market segment or going after a large opportunity, there is a good chance she doesn’t know everything needed to succeed.    

The fear of failure looms over the salesperson’s head and she defaults to doing what’s comfortable, what she knows. Status quo and comfort zone become the norm and sales revenues decline.

So what can sales managers do to create risk taking, failure loving sales cultures?

#1.  Reward failure.  At your next sales meeting, ask your team to share selling scenarios where they took a risk. Encourage a high five celebration for moving out of their comfort zones and into the profit making zone.

#2.  Ask the powerful questions.   “What lesson did you learn from the failure? How will this lesson serve you in the future in winning business?” 

These questions help salespeople see the tangible results of failing. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  

Go out and fail.  Get the lessons learned and apply them towards your next sales adventure and sales success.   

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales management, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales management training
Fri, 11/13/2015

It’s the sales managers weekly one-on-one coaching session with the salesperson. They are examining the salesperson’s once full sales pipeline---that is now empty. The salesperson’s explanation:  “Everyone is happy with their existing vendor.”    

News alert!  Of course, your prospect is happy with their existing supplier. He or she is a human being and human beings cling to comfort and avoid change.  (How many of you are putting up with mediocrity with one of your personal or professional vendors?) And of course, the prospect is happy with the existing vendor---because the salesperson didn’t give him a compelling reason to change or invest more dollars.   

This objection is a fairly predictable one. So why are salespeople still getting stumped by it?   

#1.  Lack of pre-call planning.   There is a direct correlation between pre-call planning and the emotional intelligence skill of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the ability to put in the work to earn the reward of a well-run sales meeting.  i.e.,Research, practice.    

Instant gratification salespeople conduct appointments, without even knowing who the incumbent is and what they are offering!  As a result, the salesperson can’t create appropriate questions or value propositions to point out gaps in the competitors offering. 

Instant gratification salespeople hope the prospect will do their job and just figure out reasons to switch vendors.     

#2.  No customized value propositions.  A well designed value proposition points out gaps in a competitors offering---without ever mentioning the competition. 

For example, we worked with a client to help them unseat a well-liked, local firm. Because of their research, my client knew the incumbent wasn’t offering service or support beyond their state.   

We designed a value proposition to point out this gap---without mentioning the competition.  “Mr. Prospect, a lot of our clients come to us because they are really satisfied with their existing partner, however, are concerned about the business they are losing because they can’t support national or international clients.”   

Stop losing to existing vendor excuse.  Apply the EI skill of delayed gratification.  Put in the work to earn the reward of a new client.  Take time to research the competition and expose the gaps in their offerings through great value propositions and questions. 

Good Selling!   

tags: denver sales training, sales training, sales management, sales, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Fri, 10/30/2015

Verne Harnish has a great new book, Scaling Up, where many examples of best practices are discussed on how to scale your business rapidly and profitably.    

Of course Chapter Five, which focuses on training and on-boarding, really grabbed my attention. Harnish shares stories of several companies using training and development as their competitive weapon to create fast growth companies.    

One such company is City Bin Co. located in Galway, Ireland. The CEO, Gene Browne, created an internal training program titled, “Garbage University.” Every two weeks, from September to May, three hours of training is delivered to his team. 

Did the training investment pay off? Well, the company’s revenues grew by 100% and the company earned Deloittes Best Managed Company award in 2009, 2010, and 2011. That math works for me. 

So let’s call the elephant in the room. There is plenty of evidence that training and development of people yields a high return on investment. So what prevents sales organizations from implementing this proven strategy for growth?

Sales managers are stuck in the tyranny of the urgent. To use emotional intelligence terms, the sales manager has low impulse control and gives  into the pull of instant gratification.   

In his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey discusses the challenge and consequences of instant gratification through his Quadrant I and II model. Most sales managers get stuck in Quadrant I, doing activities which Covey describes as Urgent and Important (Instant Gratification). These activities range from fire-fighting, proposal writing or attending endless internal meetings. Quadrant II activities are defined as Not Urgent and Important (Delayed Gratification). These activities include training and development, relationship building, planning and preparation.   

 Sales managers look at training and development and “see” the amount of time and dollars required to improve a salesperson’s emotional intelligence and influence skills. What they don’t “see” as clearly is the hours of wasted time and missed revenue because their sales team isn’t properly trained. The team might be busy but not very productive.   

Apply the EI skill of reality testing to adjust your thinking and actions. Add up the number of hours your salespeople are wasting because of poor business development skills. Add up the dollars wasted writing proposals for prospects that are never going to buy. 

Do the math. Is it time to start training like a garbage company?      

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales, sales management, sales management training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, Sales Elephant
Thu, 10/22/2015

“Disruptive technology” is the new buzz phrase in business. It’s described as innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually displaces earlier technology. Companies invest dollars in R&D (research and development) to remain relevant, be disruptive and not turn into the next dinosaur. 

An equal number of dollars should be invested in another type of R&D: recruiting and  development of people. Innovation is really great when it’s accompanied by equally great people.   

Last week, I traveled to Poland to speak at the Harvard Business Review. The Boeing Dreamliner lived up to expectations. But what really made the trip across the ocean great were the excellent flight staffers of LOT Polish Airlines. They smiled, didn’t act like work is work and attended to each passenger’s every need.

What made a long trip great? The innovation behind the Dreamliner or the excellent flight attendants? It was a combination of both. 

In Warsaw, I stayed at the Intercontinental hotel. To my dismay, I quickly realized that I had purchased the wrong adaptors. A really bad hair day loomed ahead. I journeyed to the front desk to ask where I could purchase this “thingy majiggy.” The bellman overheard the conversation. Five minutes later, he showed up at my door, smiling and handing me an adaptor.  My stay and hair were about to get much better! Was it the lovely hotel or the people working at the hotel that turned me into a raving fan? 

The Harvard Business Review staffers were very gracious. They are bright people, scoring high in IQ and equally great in EQ. The team took time to educate me on the nuances of Polish businesses and business people. All the small details were handled, leaving me time to focus on delivering a compelling presentation. Hmmm. Anyone see a theme here? 

Perhaps one of the best ways to provide disruption isn’t anything new. Instead, it’s doing what’s always worked: Recruiting and developing great people.    

Good Selling!

tags: sales training Denver, sales, sales training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales management
Thu, 10/1/2015

Whether you are a new sales manager or veteran sales manager, you recognize that the skills needed to lead and direct a sales team, are very different than those required to be a top sales producer. Sales management requires skills such as training and coaching, giving feedback and running effective sales meetings. These are important skills to continue to improve, however, if you don’t master this one sales management skill, THE REST DOESN’T MATTER.   

What is the one skill? Learn how to hire great people. When you master this skill, sales management becomes easy. 

The golden rule in hiring is the mantra, “Past behavior is the best predictor of future sales results.” But here is the big however. Past experience doesn’t guarantee future success your company.   

For example, a salesperson might have been successful selling because they sold a need to have product or service such as insurance or accounting. You hire this person with a great track record and they flounder. Your company sells a nice to have service such as marketing or consulting. These are two different sales positions which require different types of selling skills. Past success may not translate to future success. 

Or, the salesperson was successful in their previous role because their leads were generated by an inside salesperson or the marketing department. Your firm doesn’t have either position and the new salesperson fails because he lacks the experience and/or skills to source his own leads. Past success is not translating to future results. 

Set you and your future sales team up for success. Become a student of hiring and selection. Without this important skill, the rest doesn’t matter.

Good Selling!  

tags: colleen stanley, sales, sales training, Emotional Intelligence, sales management
Thu, 09/24/2015

There are hundred books written on how to close more business. Ask questions to insure you know the prospects goals and challenges. Read their personality style and adapt your communication style to create trust and likeability. And of course, ask for the business!     

The easiest way to improve close ratios is to get clear on your ideal prospect, who you serve best. Then develop a plan to pursue and open up sales conversations. Sales organizations develop complex pursuit strategies, messaging statements and positioning based on the demographic of their target prospect. Demographics include things such as size of the opportunity, market segment, number of employees or geographic location.  

Equally important when developing a pursuit strategy---and often missing, is the psychographic of your best prospects. This is the attitudes and values of your target prospect. Take a close look at the attributes of your best clients, the ones you enjoy doing work with every day. 

  • They treat us like partners
  • They value outside advice
  • They are progressive
  • They’re smart
  • They value AND pay for expertise

Note that all of the above are psychographics, not demographics. It’s important to include both when deciding who and what business to pursue. For example, in the business of sales consulting and training, our close ratios increase when meeting with prospects that value education and outside counsel. They look at training and education as an investment, not an expense. 

Improve your close ratios by targeting prospects that fit your demographics and psychographics. No need to waste time calling on prospects that are never going to buy. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales management, sales management training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Fri, 09/18/2015

“My sales team doesn’t ask enough questions.” This complaint consistently ranks in the top three voiced by CEO’s and sales managers. There are hundreds of sales books emphasizing the value of asking questions. 

  • Ask questions to better understand your customer’s needs. 
  • Ask questions to eliminate assumptions. 
  • Ask questions to build rapport.  

So what’s the reason salespeople still prefer to present solutions rather than ask questions? Well, there are a couple of reasons. 

#1:  You. Most companies invest time and resources in product knowledge training, not active listening and questioning skills training. The salesperson knows the features and functions of your product or services; they don’t know the questions to ask during a sales meeting. An organization’s focus on product knowledge training creates ‘product dumpers’ not consultative salespeople. 

Solution: Invest more time in teaching selling and influence skills. Product knowledge is important, however, without selling skills there is a very good chance you will educate your prospect and not persuade him to buy from you.     

#2:  Presenting is safe. Asking questions is not. When you ask a question, you aren’t guaranteed of the answer given by the prospect. This unpredictability is dangerous ground for a lot of salespeople. They’re worried they will look and sound stupid—and who wants to be put in that role? 

Solution: Practice, practice, practice. Write out possible answers from your prospect and think about your response. Apply your impulse control skills.  Slow down to think through the smart, compelling answers. 

It’s time to get your “people” asking questions. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, colleen stanley, sales management, Emotional Intelligence
Wed, 09/2/2015

TED started out as a conference in Monterey, California in 1984, over 30 years ago.  It was designed to spread ideas, change attitudes and change lives. Today, TEDTalks are viewed at a rate of 1.5 million a day and year-to-date, over a billion video reviews.

There are great lessons for sales organizations to learn from the popularity of TEDTalks. The first is recognizing that people are hungry for information that will make them more successful, in their personal and professional lives. In the words of the late poet and author Maya Angelou, “When you know better you do better.” Informed and inspired sales teams will always beat the status quo sales team. 

So the question to ask yourself as a sales leader is:  Do you have a sales culture of learning? Companies often tout that their salespeople are trusted advisors - business consultants that provide value add solutions. But the irony is these very same companies have not instilled the habit of learning in their sales organizations. The sales team isn’t any smarter than they were six months ago. It’s kind of hard to be a value added provider when your salespeople are showing up to sales conversations with little or no new ideas for prospects and clients.    

Take a lesson out of the TED playbook and instill the habit of learning at your sales organization.  Learning is a habit and like any habit is developed through repetition.  During weekly sales meetings, ask each member of the sales team to share something they’ve learned in the previous week that will improve results in their professional and/or personal lives.  Establish a learning library with books, audio’s and films. Find a TEDTalk that enlightens or inspires your sales team.  Show it during the next sales meeting and discuss how the concepts apply to your business.

Congratulations TED. You’ve inspired and informed thousands of people.  Start creating a TED culture at your sales organization today. 

Join me for my TEDTalk on Saturday, September 26th in Loveland, CO.

Get Informed. Be Inspired. Ignite Action.

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales management, sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, TEDxArenaCircle

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