Fri, 05/22/2015

In the classic book, “Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill introduced the importance of having a mastermind alliance.  He describes it as an alliance of two or more minds, blended in a spirit of perfect harmony and cooperating for the attainment of a definite purpose.   Sounds easy, right?  So why aren’t more sales professionals engaged in this powerful strategy of growing their sales?   

Salespeople often confuse a mastermind with a networking or leads group.  The definite purpose is different for these types of groups.  The purpose of a leads group is to create opportunities by providing warm introductions from each person’s network. 

A mastermind group’s definite purpose is to help fellow participants create new opportunities by bringing their unique talents and perspective to help you think about your business in a different way. 

For example, in my speaking mastermind group, there is a variety of brilliance in the group.  One person is really great at publishing and public relations.  Another person is excellent with leveraging technology and social media.  Still another has developed a great strategy to engage large companies.  Each person’s expertise helps every member continue to grow their business. 

So how do you get a mastermind started?  Look for other individuals with similar values and goals.  Be careful that you don’t attract people that are looking for just another social outlet.  You have enough friends.  Look for partners that elevate and stretch you and your business.  

Look for truth tellers.  Think of the title of Marshall Goldsmith’s popular book.  “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.”   A strong mastermind group can help you get there by challenging assumptions and business models.  They are good at asking, “Now, what’s the reason you are doing that….want to do that….need to do that?”   

Mastermind groups are not just for CEO’s and executives.   If you want to grow as a sales professional, surround yourself by the best and the brightest.   Create a sales master mind group.   It worked for Ben Franklin, Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill---why not you? 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Mastermind, Emotional Intelligence
Thu, 05/14/2015

Emotional intelligence and sales are usually not even put in the same sentence.  Sales management professionals often confuse emotional intelligence with being soft and a push over—two traits that are not going to accelerate sales results.

It might be time for a reality check.  Emotional intelligence has been taught in the leadership world for years.  And there is a substantial amount of research showing that EQ is a key factor for success in effectively leading a team. 

#1:  Emotional self-awareness.    In the words of Socrates, “Know thyself.”  It might be time to ask yourself the tough question:   am I the problem?  Emotionally intelligent sales managers take time to reflect on how they show up every day with their team. 

For example, are you really paying attention when meeting with members of your sales team.   I have had more than one salesperson tell me that he or she doesn’t go to their  manager for advice because, well, the sales manager  just can’t seem to quit checking email or taking phone calls.  (It’s the equivalent of someone holding up a newspaper as you are talking to them.)   As a result, the salesperson doesn’t feel important, quits asking for advice and expertise and skills don’t grow.  Neither do sales. 

Make a decision to be present when meeting with members of your team.   Put away your smart phone, close the door and put your phone on do not disturb.  Treat your salesperson like you would treat your most important customer---because he is!   Make a decision where you want to be. 

#2:  Self-regard and assertiveness.   There’s an old saying that it’s lonely at the top.  Without confidence, sales managers avoid holding truth telling conversations with members of their team.  Salespeople are not held accountable and the result is a sales culture of mediocrity, complacency and excuses.    

Tough love managers are confident and willing to hold truth telling conversations.  That conversation might be around a salesperson’s unwillingness to turn in needed reports for forecasting or a bad attitude.  Assertive sales managers state what they need nicely without getting aggressive or emotional.  

Got EQ?  Soft skills, emotional intelligence skills, do produce hard sales results.   

Good Selling!

tags: Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley
Thu, 05/7/2015

I’m excited to introduce you to a great new book being released this month, Activate Your Brain:  How Understanding Your Brain Can Improve Your Work—And Your Life.   Author, Scott G. Halford, has put together some tremendous insights in harnessing the power of the brain to be more effective at work and in life.  I suggest watching this video at your next sales meeting.   It provides great information on ways to activate your brain and achieve greater results. 

There were so many things I gleaned from Scott’s book, however, here are a couple to get you started.    

#1:  Reframing.    We’ve all heard the phrase that perception is reality.  The same holds true in bringing your “A” game to work and life. 

If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, there is a good chance you’ve run a lousy sales call.  It’s easy to beat yourself up and let the negative self-talk take over.   “I’ve lost my touch.  I have the worse prospects.  I’m not sure I can do this.”  None of this negative chatter is going to help you improve or change. 

Reframe a lousy sales call by asking yourself one question, “What’s the lesson learned and how will this lesson serve me during the next sales meeting?”   By reframing a less than perfect sales call to a lesson learned sales call, you decrease stress and get back in the sales saddle.   A focus on the lessons learned rather than your shortcomings improves future sales results.    

Another way of reframing is normalizing a stressful situation.  Scott shares a great story in his book where he was feeling overwhelmed with the daunting task of writing and rewriting content.  His editor reframed his perspective by replying, “Scott, it’s supposed to be hard.”  That simple statement normalized the stress he was feeling.  As a result, he had a new perspective and new energy toward the project - a great lesson for all of us to learn.   Achieving great things can often be and is supposed to be hard. 

#2:  Get some sleep.  I have never attended a sales or sales management training course where the instructor encouraged the participants to get more rest in order to close more business. 

Research shows that lack of sleep leads to brain decay.  It affects your ability to learn and focus.  Not surprising, it also makes you cranky and magnifies your perception of the negative in your environment.  Decision making is impaired and memory becomes faulty.  I could go on but I think you are getting the picture.  A rested sales team just might be your most important competitive advantage.  Go to bed!

#3:  Read the book.    Successful salespeople and leaders recognize that education never stops.  As simple as that sounds, some people are done learning.  My belief:  when you’re done learning you are done earning!

My copy is highlighted, tabbed and used as a resource for bringing my A-game to my personal and professional life. Get your copy today!

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales management, Scott Halford, Activate Your Brain, colleen stanley
Wed, 04/29/2015

It’s called an elevator pitch, a 30 second commercial and a value proposition.    Whatever you choose as a name, the goal is the same:  deliver a statement that quickly engages your prospect’s interest and desire to continue a sales conversation.

Value propositions are one of the most important selling tools a sales organization can develop and hone.  A poorly crafted value proposition quickly leads to a ‘what’s your price or we already have a resource’ objection.   Unfortunately, there are a lot of mediocre value propositions being used by salespeople, e.g., “We have a national footprint, we do this, this and this.” 

Here are two tips to help improve your value propositions and open up value sales conversations. 

#1:  Sell emotion, not logic.  Most value propositions are focused on what the company or product does, with the emphasis on the positive features and benefits of the product or service.  Research shows that people buy two to three times quicker to eliminate pain.  It’s neuroscience 101.  The reptilian portion of the brain is wired to avoid pain. Effective sellers create value propositions focused on problems they solve for customer, not positive benefits.   

#2:  Customize, customize, customize.  Today’s sellers expect you to know their world.  They are being trained by the like of Netflix, who gives you suggestions of movies you should watch based on your last selection.  (And yes, that can backfire after watching a bad movie….) 

Generic, one size fits all value propositions do not emotionally connect with potential buyers.  It’s really common sense.  Look at all the buying influences involved when purchasing your product or service.  Is the economic buyer going to have a different set of pains and needs than the user or technical buyer?  Is the power buyer going to have a different set of goals and worries than the influencer buyer?  The answer is yes.  Effective sellers use the emotional intelligence skill of empathy to demonstrate that they have walked a mile in their prospects shoes and customize their value propositions to each buyer’s pain.  The buyer feels understood and is open to further conversation. 

Sharpen your value propositions by selling emotion, not logic.  Create and customize value propositions by the position and industry.  Create value propositions that open up value sales conversations, not what’s your price. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, Emotional Intelligence, sales management, colleen stanley
Fri, 04/24/2015

I just finished presenting and participating in the AA-ISP (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals) Leadership Summit 2015 Conference and was thoroughly impressed by the content and sophistication of the attendees. 

Inside sales is a broad term and one often associated with a sales team that is smiling, dialing and setting up calls for the outside sales team.  It’s time to remove that paradigm and start evaluating how inside sales professionals can accelerate your company’s revenues.  

There are many reasons for the changes.   Prospects have been ‘Amazonized.’  They are comfortable making big purchases without a face-to-face appointment.  On-line tools nurture prospects through the buying journey, educating and building trust through the use of e-books, demos and videos.  This is not your mothers inside sales team.  Many inside sales teams are carrying big quotas and closing big deals.   

Times are a changing; however, not everything has changed in the world of sales.  What hasn’t changed with inside or field sales professionals is the need to conduct a value added sales conversation.  Case in point. 

I recently downloaded an e-book which had peaked my interest in a product. I promptly received a phone call from the company’s inside salesperson.  Their technology had alerted the sales rep that there was a potential buyer ‘on the loose.’  The company did a good job of getting me interested, however, that’s where their good sales and marketing efforts came to a stop.   

 It became apparent to me that this organization had focused more time and money on marketing automation than teaching their sales team good consultative selling skills. The sales conversation quickly moved to a product dump and my interest, along with my willingness to invest money, waned.   

What’s the lesson?  Embrace the new and old approaches to selling. Integrate new selling models, ideas and strategies.  Don’t forget proven principles of influence such as listening, asking questions that make your prospects brain hurt.  

Is it time to get a new pair of selling jeans?    

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Thu, 04/16/2015

Here’s the sales scenario.  You’re meeting with a new prospect and it’s a pleasant meeting full of statements such as, “It’s always good to look at other options.  We are committed to being best in class.”   The salesperson digs, questions and probes to uncover pain or that big hairy audacious goal---without any luck.

At the end of the meeting, the prospect says, “Let’s continue the discussion.  This sounds interesting.”  Now, the salesperson didn’t really hear any reason to continue meeting with this prospect because the prospect doesn’t have any real pains to solve or goals to achieve.  However, she schedules a second meeting, wasting valuable time that could be better invested with qualified opportunities or new opportunities.  Why? There are two reasons.   

#1:  Lack of assertiveness.  The salesperson lacking assertiveness goes along to get along.  She forgets that sales is a two-way street.  If a prospect doesn’t have a big enough problem to fix or goal to achieve, it’s okay for a salesperson to disqualify the prospect.    

The assertive salesperson knows that he has the right to continue working only with opportunities that are serious about taking action.  Salespeople scoring high in assertiveness are comfortable stating the obvious and doing it respectfully.  ”Mr. Prospect, I’m not sure I am hearing enough reasons for you to make a change….what am I missing?” 

#2:  Mistaking interest with evidence.    It’s easy to get caught up in motivational rhetoric such as, “We are always looking to do better.”  The salesperson has not heard any real reasons for getting better.  He’s confused hearing information with hearing evidence. 

Effective salespeople are heat seeking missiles for gaining evidence for the stated need.  Is the need to get better coming from the fact that a competitor is getting more aggressive?  Is the need to get better coming from the changing demands of customers?  Or is the need to get better really about the prospect’s ability to open up new markets and verticals?  

The most effective salespeople get to the truth quickly.  They only work with prospects that have a problem big enough to address or goals large enough to achieve. 

Improve your assertiveness and evidence gathering skills to better qualify or disqualify opportunities.  Not every prospect deserves a second meeting. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, Sales Trainin, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Fri, 04/10/2015

Meet Eddie.  Eddie is a prospect that has been in the sales pipeline and forecast WAY TOO long.    You know this prospect.  He is the prospect that always takes your call, is pleasant and assures you that the company is going to ‘do something’ next month.   

Salespeople like the Eddie’s of the world and often adopt them as pets.  They go back to them to get strokes, receive strokes and create petting zoo pipelines, not a qualified sales pipeline. 

What makes salespeople create petting zoos that are never going to give them money or business?   Here are three common reasons.

#1:  Comfort Zone.   It is comfortable calling on a prospect that always takes your call, is polite and encourages you to call back.  It is uncomfortable pursuing new opportunities.  You might have to talk to strangers.  There is work and energy involved in new prospect development:  cold calling, emailing, networking,  meeting with referral partners, asking for referrals, attending trade shows and speaking.  It’s no wonder petting zoos are rampant in the sales profession!

#2:  Reality Testing.   Reality testing is the ability to see things as they really are rather than what you’d like them to be.    This emotional intelligence skill is really important in pipeline management.  Here are a few reality testing questions  to qualify or disqualify your opportunities:    

  • Is the problem shared by the prospect big enough to address? 
  • Is the prospect committed to investing time money and resources to fixing the problem or achieving the goal?
  • Are you more committed to success than your prospect?
  • Is there urgency around implementation of a solution?    

Here’s a reality check.  Prospects that are committed,  take action.  They find the money and resources to fix problems or achieve goals.  They also reap the rewards of action rather than talk.

#3:  Decision making.  There is an old saying.  Decision makers make decisions.  If a salesperson struggles with being decisive, there is a high probability they will have difficulty asking prospects to make a decision.  The result is two non-decisive people continuing to meet, having conversation and deciding to meet again.  The salesperson has turned into an event planner, not a deal closer.    

Look at your sales pipeline and apply some reality testing.  Do you have a too many pets taking up valuable real estate? 

Good Selling!

Colleen Stanley

tags: Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley
Wed, 04/1/2015

Ever notice how every once in a while a client can be a bit, shall we say, unreasonable? 

One tech company sales executive (Linda) had a client (Richard) who wanted to get a quality product from her firm in an impossibly short amount of time. He suggested her firm add more staff to get the product out the door faster. 

Linda explained that that wouldn’t change anything. Richard ignored her comment and insisted that adding more staff was the solution. Exasperated, Linda finally said, “Listen, Richard, you can’t give three different women three months each and get a baby. Some things require more time and process stages to develop effectively. This is one of those things.” Richard paused, realized immediately that what she said was true, and withdrew his unreasonable time demand.  

Defusing resistance is just one example of how metaphors come in handy in building business and relationships. This highly effective tool for persuasion has the power to help in an almost limitless number of ways  getting appointments, demonstrating unique value, overcoming resistance, closing deals; wowing a crowd; raising funds; rallying the troops; selling change; even transforming the world (Think Steve Jobs).

Metaphors (and analogies) are so powerful because listeners instantly “see” what’s being said in a fresh way. And because images carry emotions and associations with them, metaphors and analogies, thoughtfully crafted, and artfully used, can shape perceptions to your advantage When logical responses fail, metaphors turn a listener’s mental kaleidoscope into new patterns, which tends to get the agreement you seek.  

In short, metaphor mastery is a critical skill in today’s world of information overload, short attention spans, and intense competition, where people would rather tune you out than in, if only for survival purposes.

Caught up in the excitement of technology, prisoners to performance metrics, and often under extreme time pressures, sales people frequently overlook the basic power of language to effect the results they want, which is like running a marathon without sneakers. You can do it, but why would you?

Words Matter--Make What You Say Pay!

Anne Miller

Demo/Presentation Pro

To view Anne’s new infographic, “Metaphor: The Shortcut to Yes!”  Click here

tags: Metaphor, Anne Miller, sales, sales managers
Fri, 03/27/2015

In last week’s blog, I shared my new favorite book, authored by Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed Of Trust.  I shared Covey’s work regarding the three components of trust:  character, competence and commitment.     

Let’s talk about the third component in building trust:  keeping commitments.  You sign up for the profession of sales which means you commit to do the work necessary to achieve the sales goal.  That commitment may mean “X” amount of outreaches each day, each week, to insure “X” amount of qualified appointments.  You commit to joining several associations to build a network.  Commitment can also be as simple as practicing and improving selling skills to increase close ratios.    

 It’s easy for a salesperson to think, “Well, if I don’t hit my revenue goal, I am the one that gets hurt because I don’t earn as much commission.” 

Not true.  The company gave you this sales seat.  In your interview, you didn’t say, “Well, I can’t really commit to do what it takes to hit my revenue goal.  Can you give me a little wiggle room for error?”  When you accept a position, you committed that you would do the work necessary to hit the revenue target.

The company builds out their strategy based on your commitment to hit your sales target. Now, I understand there are companies that hand you crazy revenue goals, with absolutely no thought or detailed analysis.  I’m not talking about that crazy scenario—that’s another blog. I am talking about sales organizations that take time to set realistic, achievable, stretch goals.   

When salespeople don’t honor their commitment of doing the work for which they are hired, the entire company suffers.   For a software company, it means they don’t have the dollars to invest in the brightest and best developers.  In a manufacturing company, there aren’t dollars to invest in new equipment, so the company falls behind in its competitive advantage. 

And here’s the really bad news.  Your boss and peers don’t trust you!  They might like you; however, they don’t trust you to get the job done.  Honor your commitments and do what you get paid to do.  Trust does accelerate the speed of sales. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Fri, 03/20/2015

Marginalizing the emotions of others is bad for business. In fact, in his defining work, Working with Emotional Intelligence, author Daniel Goleman found that 67% of the competencies essential for optimal performance in the workplace are directly related to emotional intelligence. Despite this, new research indicates that, as you look higher in the ranks of corporate management, you see diminishing levels of this important skill – and this is something that should be of concern to anyone committed to the success of a company.

Action-oriented leaders are often essential for a company’s financial future. However, when these actions lead to marginalizing the thoughts and feelings of others, they can actually be a hindrance to success. This makes it important to build and maintain emotional intelligence skills at all levels of management. Being aware of your employees’ feelings and taking time to complement their successes and constructively guide them past their mistakes can help ensure better interpersonal office relationships and higher levels of productivity and workplace satisfaction.

Please visit our free resources page for more information about developing and sustaining EQ, or see how well your company is doing by taking our sales EQ quiz.

Fri, 03/20/2015

I recently read Stephen M.R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust.  Not sure how I missed this one, however, it’s my new favorite.  In his book, Stephen talks about three areas of trust:  character, competence and commitment.   

Now most of us have talked about the importance of character.  We aspire to show good character in our roles as leaders.  We look to hire salespeople that are honest.  My ‘duh’ moments came when I delved into the other two areas related to trust discussed in his book:  competence and commitment.    Let’s take a closer look at competence and building trust with members of your sales team.  

Sales managers are charged with leading the sales team.   Salespeople watch the leader, like kids watch parents, to see if words and actions are congruent. 

I have the good fortune of working with some of the best sales managers in the world.  One of the key differences between great sales managers and average sales managers is competence.      

For example, a key role for sales managers is training and coaching his/her sales team.  If you can’t demonstrate high level selling skills, a salesperson isn’t going to ask you for advice.   (It’s kind of like asking an out of shape person to be your personal trainer.)  And since you can’t provide advice, the salesperson’s skills often remain average---like yours.  

If you aren’t modeling emotion management, there’s a good chance that you are building a sales team that buckles every time adversity hits.  Emotions are running the day rather than effective sales and communication skills.  As a result, days are lost on the calendar recovering from set-backs rather than bouncing back. 

Competent sales managers run good sales meetings.   Are you showing up late, harried and unprepared for meetings?    Or are you modeling the behavior you’d like your salespeople to demonstrate during sales meetings with prospects and customers such as:

  • Pre-meeting planning – what questions and answers do you need to prepare?
  • Purpose and objective - do you have defined agenda or is this a ‘wing-it’ meeting?
  • Listening - are you telling or gathering information from your sales team?    

Competent sales managers earn trust and develop sales teams that are open to following their advice and guidance.  Trust really does accelerate the speed of sales results.    Stay tuned for Part II.   

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, sales managers, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Fri, 03/13/2015

March 17th kicks off the NCAA Men’s March Madness College Basketball Tournament  where 68 teams participate in a single-elimination tournament competing for the national championship.    There’s also a little bit of madness in the sales world.  March 31st marks the end of Q1 in 2015.  Is your sales organization on track for revenues or are you on your way to ‘elimination rounds?’ 

John Wooden and his legendary UCLA dynasty won 10 NCAA national championships.  And while the tournaments are labeled March Madness, you will find there was no ‘madness’ in his approach to building great teams.   If you want to improve sales results, look no further than studying the habits and attitudes of this great coach.  

#1:  Teamwork.  John Wooden embraced and practiced the concept of team.  He said, “It takes 10 hands to make a basket.”  How about your organization?  Who are the 10 hands involved in acquiring and retaining customers?  Sales is not a department and it takes ‘many hands’ to win and retain business.  Take time to appreciate the invisible talent involved in creating a great client experience.   Write a thank you note to team processing orders.   Buy the warehouse crew lunch.  Bring dessert for the accounting department.   It takes 10 hands to win and retain business.

#2:  Emotion Management.   “Master your emotions or they will master you.”  This quote from Coach Wooden can sound a little soft, especially in the hard charging game of college basketball.   John Wooden recognized the importance of emotional intelligence over 30 years ago.  He knew he could recruit the greatest athletes in the country.   However, if those athletes got frustrated on the court they would not be able to execute the plays. 

The same philosophy holds true in sales.  You can learn a sales playbook full of the great selling skills.  Can you execute those skills in high stakes negotiation?   Too often, emotions start running sales meetings rather than effective consultative selling and negotiation skills.    

#3:   Passion.  I am guessing the teams participating in March Madness are passionate about the game of basketball.  How about you?  Do you love sales?  Do you work hard at honing your selling and influence skills?   Are you an expert in your field, which makes customers eager to meet with you?  If you don’t love sales or what you are selling, do everyone a favor:  get out of the profession.  It’s too hard without passion and your sales spot on the team is too valuable to be wasted on mediocre attempts at greatness. 

It’s March Sales Madness.  Finish Q1 strong.  Recognize your team mates, master your emotions and have passion about the game of sales. 

Good Selling!

tags: colleen stanley, sales, sales training, sales management
Fri, 03/6/2015

In the early 1960’s, Walter Mischel, professor at Stanford University conducted the infamous marshmallow test.  Mischel and his team of researchers tested four year old children on their self-control, a skill often referred to as delayed gratification.    Each child was presented with a marshmallow and given a choice:  eat this one now or wait, and enjoy two marshmallows later.  

His research showed that children displaying self-control at a young age achieved more success as they moved into adulthood.  They typically scored 200 points higher on SAT scores and enjoyed more professional and personal success. 

So what does grabbing marshmallows have to do with hiring good salespeople?   Perhaps everything.     

Here are three places where poor self-control impact sales outcomes. 

#1:  Prospecting.  The sales manager works with the new hire on designing a sales activity plan that insures a full sales pipeline.  The new hire is pretty good at executing the sales activity for the first month.  Then the need for instant gratification kicks in.  The marshmallow grabbing salesperson  doesn’t take the time to calendar block time for proactive business development each week.  The only plan being followed is the ‘what am I going to do today’ plan.    Prospecting efforts are inconsistent and so are the sales results. 

#2:  Skill Development.  The salesperson connects with a prospect; however, the conversation is short, stilted and non-productive.   Marshmallow grabbing salespeople don’t and won’t take time to practice and hone their selling skills.  The salesperson possessing delayed gratification skills will put in the work of practice to earn the reward of a conversational and relevant sales call.  

#3:  Major Account Selling.   Elephant hunting takes time.  There is no room for instant gratification in the pursuit of large deals.  The high self-control salesperson puts in the time on pre-call planning, designing effective questions and value propositions to uncover the gaps in the competitor’s services.   They take time to meet with multiple decision makers.

The marshmallow grabbing salesperson looks at the work required in pursuing the big deals and give into the pull of instant gratification.  They pursue low hanging fruit, rather than big deals.    

Apply self-control and design several interview questions to test for delayed gratification skills.   Let your competition hire the marshmallow grabbers. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, Hiring, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Fri, 02/27/2015

What is a practice proposal?  Practice proposals  are those time consuming documents created for prospects that have no intention of doing business with your company.  This can be the prospect that buys on price not value.  Or, the prospect that doesn’t really have any pain, however, thinks it’s always a good idea to take a look at what’s out there.  (Yawn…..)

So how does this price shopping or 'content with current vendor' prospect end up in the sales pipeline?  It could be lack of hard selling skills or sales experience.   It’s usually due to lack of assertiveness, a soft skill. 

When the price shopping prospect asks the salesperson to “put something together,” non-assertive salespeople go along to get along and invest time on writing proposals they have no hope of winning.  They avoid rocking the sales boat and avoid truth telling conversations such as, “It sounds like the main decision criteria for your organization is price and we aren’t the low priced provider.  My firm probably needs to bow out….even though we would like your business.”   

Assertive salespeople are comfortable stating what they need because they know win-win relationships are just that---both parties win.    With the "it’s always a good idea to look prospect," the assertive salesperson might say something like this.  “Ms. Prospect.  I really appreciate the opportunity to bid on this work.  However, I haven’t really heard enough reasons for you to switch from your current vendor….is there something I’m missing?” 

Examine the proposals in your sales pipeline and do some serious reality testing.   Did you write proposals to go along to get along?  Do you have evidence that your prospect is committed to changing vendors or improving their current situation? 

Stop going along to get along.  Good business is a win-win scenario.  Get assertive, be nice and ask for what you need. 

Good Selling!


tags: sales, sales training, sales management, proposals, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Fri, 02/20/2015

Many owners and sales managers have been successful as a salesperson.  However, in scaling and building a company, it’s no longer how good you are….it’s how good  you are at building and training your team to take your sales to the next level. 

As the great author Maya Angelou said.  “When you know better, you do better.”  SalesLeadership wants to help you ‘do better’ in hiring and training top sales producers.  Join fellow CEO’s and sales managers at this content filled and sales leadership changing boot camp.  CLICK HERE FOR AGENDA

DAY ONE:  ‘High-er Expectations’  – How to identify and hire top sales talent

Can you really afford another bad hire?  Hiring is one of the most difficult AND most important decisions in accelerating growth.  Studies show that the wrong “hire” impact is 3-5 times the annual compensation of the position.  (Not to mention opportunity costs, reputation and personal mental energy.) 

Key Take-Away’s:

  • Telephone interviewing techniques that quickly qualify or disqualify candidates.  Stop wasting hours interviewing candidates that can’t or won’t sell.
  • Customized interview guide that helps you identify the best candidate for YOUR industry, YOUR culture and the lifecycle of your company.  
  • Behavior based interviewing skills.   Avoid hiring mistakes based on gut and missed competencies,  e.g. self-starting, problem solving, work ethic. 
  • On-boarding tips for decreasing ramp up time and increasing revenues. 

DAY TWO:  Professional Training and Coaching Skills – Good to great

Managers are easily distracted by the administrative requirements of running a sales team.  In the end, skill development and coaching contribute the most to the bottom line.  Research shows a coached team will outperform a non-coached team by 20%.

Key Take-Away’s:

  • Better diagnose sales performance challenges.  Work on the right end of the problem.   (Do you really need to tell the salesperson one more time….?)
  • Learn the difference between training and coaching.  Discover the power of ‘baton’ training to hone in on specific skills or attitudes.   
  • Develop skills to transfer the knowledge and habits that made you a top sales producer.
  • Avoid the top three training and coaching mistakes made by sales managers.  
  • Discover how to be the sales leader people want to follow and model. 


  • Telephone screening templates and guides
  • Proven behavioral based interviewing questions
  • Templates for pre-briefing and debriefing sales calls
  • Templates for role plays, exercise and drill skills
  • Tip and tools for running more effective sales meetings
  • Coaching and Feedback questions
  • Breakfast and lunch


Colleen Stanley, president of SalesLeadership is the author of Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success.  She is also a monthly author columnist for Business Journals across the country.  Prior to SalesLeadership, she was Vice President of sales for Varsity Spirit Corporation where she directed a national sales team of 130.  During her 10 years at Varsity, sales increased from 8M – 90M. 

Clients include:

Blue Sky Restoration, PCL Construction, ThinkHR, Arthur J. Gallagher, Clear Channel, OtterBox, BIC Graphic and Clear Channel.

tags: sales, sales management, Sale Training, Emotional Intelligence, Sales Manager