Fri, 12/2/2016

Jim Rohn, author, speaker and millionaire entrepreneur, mentored the likes of Tony Robbins, the world-famous personal and business development guru, and Mark Hughes, founder of Herbalife International. Growing up on an Idaho farm, his work ethic served him well. Consider this Rohn quote: “Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.”

This quote always reminds me of the differences between excellent salespeople and average ones. I’ve had the great privilege of working with some of the top salespeople in the business. It’s no surprise that the best keep trying to get better, which is why they invest in training.

Here are traits that I have found in these top producers.

  1. Excellent salespeople possess high emotional self-awareness AND self-regard. They are confident and introspective. This combination allows them to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They readily admit their mistakes and more importantly, learn from them.

No CYA going on here. The focus is on learning and results, not excuses. No wonder they keep exceeding quota.

  1. Excellent salespeople are students of sales and regard it as a profession. They seek advice from veteran salespeople, better salespeople or successful people outside their industry. A successful vice president of sales that I have worked with for more than 10 years applied this strategy. When he first entered the sales profession, he sought out the best salespeople in his company and offered to buy them breakfast, lunch or dinner so he could pick their brains. He knew they had to eat! While his mentors were eating, he was learning.
  2. Excellent salespeople are team players. Yup, the really good ones understand it takes a sales village to win and retain business. Excellent salespeople build relationships with their external and internal customers. They recognize that their peers are executing the sale after the sale. They don’t have the “I brought it in the door, now it’s up to you” mentality.

They are competitive AND collaborative.

  1. Excellent salespeople are fun. They take business and client results -- but not themselves -- seriously. They hit the fun quota and the sales quota because they like sales and they like their clients. Excellent salespeople recognize that the selling profession, done right, creates great business relationships and friendships.  
  2. Excellent salespeople make lemonade out of lemons. Years ago, I hired a salesperson that really wanted to join our company. We didn’t have a lot of openings, so she moved from Naples, Fla., to south Alabama. Yes, that was a bit of a culture shock. On paper, the territory didn’t look good. There was a tough competitor and our company lacked brand awareness. She started making lemonade, knocking on doors and knocking out the competition. Her lemonade-making skills paid off and she became rookie of the year. 

What are the traits that you see in excellent salespeople?

Good Selling!

tags: sales, Sales Speaker, Sales Trainer, sales management, denver sales training, Colorado Sales Training, Emotinal Intelligence, colleen stanley
Fri, 11/18/2016

Hard working salespeople expend a lot of energy chasing prospects that aren’t returning phone calls or emails.  You know the scenario.  Salesperson meets with prospect and has a nice conversation.   The prospect says, “This sounds interesting---give me a call in a few weeks.” 

The salesperson enthusiastically agrees to follow-up, only to fall into the black abyss of voicemail and not return emails.  Trying to show persistence, the salesperson continues to follow-up, with no engagement from the prospect. 

This salesperson has now moved from a salesperson to sales stalker.

This title doesn’t get deals closed because the salesperson is treated like a transactional vendor, not a trusted partner.

It’s time to apply your reality testing and assertiveness skills to avoid the dreaded chase mode.

Reality testing is the ability to see things as they are versus how you’d like them to be.   Apply this skill during the first discovery call to determine if your prospect is qualified to stay in your sales pipeline. 

A qualified prospect has a problem or goal your organization can fix. A qualified prospect is committed to solving the problem.  This commitment is demonstrated by their willingness to commit time, money and resources to achieving the desired outcome. 

When meeting with a prospect for the first time, look and listen to see if you are meeting with a winner or a whiner.   

Winners take action.  Whiners talk about taking action---and keep whining.

For example, when that prospect says, “This sounds interesting…..” your sales antennae should go up along with your qualification process.  Prospects don’t invest time, money and resources based on ‘interesting.’  

Use your assertiveness skills and remember that it’s okay to disqualify a prospect.  Not everyone deserves to be your customer.  Salespeople end up in chase mode because they schedule second meetings with prospects that aren’t serious about improving.  As a result, the salesperson sets up a second meeting with the non-qualified prospect and the prospect cancels the meeting.  The salesperson tries to reschedule and chase mode begins. 

Stop chasing prospects that are never going to buy.   Work with winners, not whiners and watch your sales double. 

Good Selling!

 

tags: Sales Speaker, sales, sales training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales management, Chase Mode
Fri, 11/11/2016

It’s Monday morning and Sales Manager Jennifer needs to provide feedback about sales performance and attitude to Joe, a team member. She dreads having this conversation because Joe is a drama king. He takes all feedback personally and usually responds with blame and excuses. Joe is what I call an “eggshell salesperson.” He cracks any time he receives feedback on his job performance.

Jennifer decides she just can’t deal with Joe on a Monday and reschedules the meeting for Wednesday.

Wednesday rolls around and Jennifer’s schedule is getting tight with unexpected meetings.  She realizes she doesn’t have the time needed to deal with Joe. So she puts off the feedback meeting again, hoping that Joe will magically improve his attitude and sales performance.   

So Joe doesn’t receive feedback. As a result, he leads a comfortable life and continues to produce status quo sales results, which creates a status quo sales culture.

What can sales managers do to prevent and eliminate drama sales cultures?

1.      Hire salespeople with high self-regard. They have inner confidence that allows them to admit strengths and weaknesses. High-self-regard salespeople own the outcome of their actions and choices. When you give them feedback, they embrace it because they know it’s about their job performance, not their worthiness.

2.      Improve your emotional self-awareness. Determine why you are reluctant to give feedback. Are you concerned the salesperson is going to leave the organization, leaving you with a gaping territory to fill? Is your need to be liked getting in the way of your need to be respected and lead? Are you conflict-avoidant?   

3.      Improve your sales-management skills. Once you’ve identified the real reason you are not giving feedback, work on the hard skills of communication. Giving feedback is like any skill -- it must be learned and practiced. Use the ICP approach. 

I - Intent. When giving feedback, start by stating your intent. Remind the salesperson that the reason for giving feedback is because you know and believe this information will help your salesperson to be more successful.   

C - Concern.  Next, state your concern that the feedback won’t be received in the spirit in which it is being given. It’s important to remind people of that instead of assuming they will know your intent and concern.

P - Permission. Ask permission to give the feedback. When the salesperson grants it, they feel in control, which lowers stress and defensiveness. 

Eliminate sales drama by hiring salespeople with high self-regard. Learn how to give feedback so that the receiver can accept it, which enables the right sales coaching conversations to happen.

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, sales, sales training, sales management, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, Colorado Sales Training, denver sales training
Fri, 11/4/2016

It’s fourth quarter, and your sales team is racing to meet this year’s target  AND set up Q1 of next year. As the sales leader, it’s important for you to help your sales team run to the right opportunities.

Salespeople struggle because they slip into the working harder, not smarter loop.  They work really hard---at pursuing the wrong prospects.

Get clear on your ideal prospect and your sales team will soon be working smarter not harder. 

When designing a pursuit strategy or target list, sales organizations tend to focus only on the potential client’s demographics, such as company revenues, number of employees and locations. 

I encourage you to dig deeper to uncover other key criteria that will help your sales team win more business. Conduct a win-loss analysis and look for common trends for winning and losing.  For example:

  • Pain point.  Is there a common pain point where you are consistently selected over your competition?    Why are you being hired? 

For example, we win business with prospects that have technical salespeople. These sales team members have high IQs. But they may be missing the EQ (emotional intelligence skills) which is a pain point. Their salespeople need training on both the soft and hard skills.We are selected over the competition because we integrate consultative selling skills with emotional intelligence skill training.

I have one client, after conducting an analysis of her business; realize her best prospects were BUSY prospects experiencing hyper-growth.They weren’t looking at low price options.They were looking for help, expertise, shortcuts to sustain the momentum.Her best clients pain was the inability to keep up with the growth and give their clients excellent service.

  • Psychographics.  This is the personality or attitude of a prospect, and it’s important to consider as you create the list of desired qualities in a qualified opportunity.

Let’s say your product or service requires a prospect that has business culture of innovation. If your salesperson keeps calling on potential clients that cling to the status quo, she will achieve frustration, not revenue goals.

Your salesperson’s ideal client is one that thrives on progressive, next-level thinking and is willing to pay for it.Your salesperson isn’t hitting quota because she is pursuing dinosaurs which are not your ideal client.

  • Lead Sources.  Field salespeople often meet with potential referral partners, which are non-competing vendors that sell to the same prospects. Referral partners introduce members of their networks to each other. This is a great strategy for prospecting--- if you and your referral partner pursue the same ideal clients.

A salesperson can get very busy running multiple coffee meetings with referral partners.  The problem is the only outcome to these meetings is a caffeine high. The salesperson’s referral partners isn’t able to refer the right type of business because:

  • The potential partner wins business on low price. Your company wins on providing high value. The result is your salesperson is introduced to and wastes time with meeting with cheap, transactional prospects -- not your ideal client. 
  • The potential referral partner’s decision makers are mid-level managers. Your salesperson calls on CEOs and CFOs.  Lots of introductions are being made to prospects that can’t make a buying decision.  Again, not the ideal client.

Set up your sales team for success.  Determine your ideal client and disqualify the rest.  It’s amazing what will happen to your sales team’s productivity and sales results when salespeople work harder and smarter. 

Good Selling!

 

tags: Sales Speaker, sales, sales management, sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, Colorado Sales Training, denver sales training
Fri, 10/28/2016

Emotion management is a key selling skill.

After meeting with a challenging prospect, more than one salesperson has asked, “Did I really say that?” or “Why didn’t I say that?” The salesperson has just experienced the knowing-and-doing gap. They know what to say, but in difficult selling situations, emotions, rather than effective selling and influence skills, start running the meeting.

It’s the classic trigger-response-regret sales loop. A challenging prospect triggered the salesperson to respond in a manner they later regret. So what can a salesperson do to stop the trigger-response-regret loop?

Change Your Story!

When you find yourself getting emotionally charged during a sales conversation, it’s because of the story you are telling yourself about the prospect. 

For example, you’re meeting with a prospect for the first time and she says, “I think we can do this in-house. I’m not sure if we need to outsource this project.” TRIGGER. 

The salesperson may respond in a manner he later regrets. He starts overselling in order to overcome the objection. Or, he shuts down because nothing intelligent is entering his brain other than asking himself how to end this meeting quickly. 

It’s time to change the story (trigger), which changes the emotion (response), which changes the outcome (regret). Perhaps this prospect just invested with another firm that fell dramatically short of expectations, so they are protecting themselves from another salesperson that is promising the moon. Maybe the prospect doesn’t know how to buy your product or service. They are guarded because they don’t want to be taken advantage of.  

When you change your story, you respond in a manner that you don’t regret.

“Mr. Prospect, that’s a fair assessment and you may be able to do this project yourself. Why don’t you and I discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing? At the end of our conversation, we should be able to figure out what is the best path for your organization.”

By changing the story and the accompanying emotion, you are able to execute the hard selling and influence skills needed to keep this prospect feeling safe and open to a bigger conversation.

Avoid the trigger-response-regret sales loop. Change your story and you will change sales outcomes. 

Good Selling!

 

tags: Sales Speaker, Colorado Sales Training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales management, sales development
Thu, 10/20/2016

“I don’t like to be micromanaged” salespeople say. And who can blame them? No one really likes someone constantly checking in or double-checking their work. But here’s the big question: Are your selling behaviors creating a micromanager boss?

Last week, I ran a two-day course teaching sales managers principles and concepts on building high-performance sales cultures. One of the concepts is the trust model from Stephen Covey. In his book, “The Speed of Trust,” Covey shares traits of trustworthy people.

Salespeople demonstrating these characteristics decrease the need for sales managers to micromanage them.

Apply the EQ skills of reality testing and emotional self-awareness to see if you’re the problem. Look at the actions that create trust and see if you are creating the need for your sales manager to hover over you. Trust me: Your sales manager would rather lead and guide than look over your shoulder. 

1: Consistency. This shows up on several levels. A salesperson charged with business development should be consistent about calendar blocking and booking time each week for new business development or account management. The consistent salesperson builds a sales activity plan and executes the plan every week. This salesperson increases trust and reduces the need for micromanagement.   

The inconsistent salesperson shows up at the office on Monday with no specific plan. They prospect when they feel like it. They miss prospecting targets because they haven’t carved out a specific time to reach out to prospects and clients. This lack of consistency leads to micromanagement. It also lowers your sales manager’s trust in your ability to finish the job.    

The high-trust salesperson also is consistent in how they show up to work.  Regardless of what is going on at home, they bring their “A” game.   

The inconsistent salesperson keeps their sales managers guessing about which personality type is going to show up to work that day. Is it the effective salesperson or the one that emotionally reacts to every adversity in life and brings it to work?  

Are you consistent? Can you be trusted?

2: Competent. $20 billion is invested in sales training each year. Sales managers invest hundreds of hours in teaching and coaching their teams. The competent and committed salesperson learns the sales playbook.  When the sales manager asks this salesperson to share specific value propositions or talk tracks, the competent salesperson demonstrates sales expertise. Trust goes up and micromanagement goes down. 

The incompetent salesperson shows the opposite behaviors. They stumble and bumble through role plays, further eroding their sales manager’s trust. The pressure to perform increases and the salesperson complains about, yes, micromanagement. 

The competent salesperson takes the time to thoroughly understand the business of business. They understand how their customers make money. They learn how their products and services support their customer’s key objectives. As a result, their customers trust them.

The incompetent salesperson can’t demonstrate sales skills or share subject matter expertise. Customers have lots of choices today. And while they may really like you because you are personable and likable, customers need to work with a partner that adds value to their world.

Are you competent? Can you be trusted?

3: Character. More than one sales manager has dealt with salespeople fudging numbers in their sales pipeline report. I quickly correct these managers to call it “lying,” not “fudging.” The numbers and opportunities are either real or not. 

Salespeople that fudge any kind of data demonstrate low integrity, which leads to low trust and results in, you guessed it, micromanagement.   

High-character salespeople report the real data. If they are falling short of the plan, they don’t wait for their sales manager to approach them with the problem. They eliminate excuses and present their plan to correct their course. The sales manager listens, gives advice and sends them on their way. No need to micromanage. 

Are you a salesperson of character? Can you be trusted?

The next time you feel you are being micromanaged, stop and look in the mirror.  Ask yourself if your selling behaviors are creating this type of management style. Trust is a two-way street. Make sure you are paying attention to your side of the street. 

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, denver sales training, sales, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, Colorado Sales Training
Fri, 10/14/2016

Christmas decorations are going up in stores, though it’s not even Halloween.   (That is another blog...come on…)  The decor reminds me of the beloved play, “The Christmas Carol.”

It’s the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas. A big part of the story is the ghosts that visit him during the night – the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. Their visits change the way Scrooge views the world, and he becomes a generous and happy human being.

I often have told sales team members that their biggest competitors are not the obvious ones, but rather, the sales ghosts of the past their prospects have encountered.  When salespeople meet with a new prospect, they forget that he or she may have had unpleasant experiences  with previous salespeople. Memories of prior sales meetings are hanging over their heads---sales ghosts--- and often create guarded and limited conversations. 

Let’s look at a couple of sales ghosts hanging out in your prospect’s office. 

Sales Ghost of the Past – ABC. This salesperson uses outdated selling techniques and subscribes to the mantra of “always be closing.” He asks leading questions, such as, “So if we could … would you want to? Or, “Wouldn’t you agree our solution is better?” Both questions are designed to back the prospect into a corner and shout “uncle.” 

The salesperson’s best approach with prospects visited by this sales ghost is to disarm them by giving them an out. Let the prospect know, upfront, that “no” is OK.  Assure your prospect that you aren’t the going to overcome the objection 17 times.

Sales Ghost of the Present: We live in the Information Age. But still, some salespeople don’t prepare for a sales appointment. They don’t subscribe to any major newspapers, so they have no clue what’s going on in the world – forgetting that the C-suite executives they’re calling upon DO stay informed.

When asked about their company, they deliver a generic value proposition or one focused only on them.  “Well, we are the largest in the world and have a deep bench of expertise.  We’ve been in business for a thousand years.”

They invest no time in preparing thoughtful questions. Instead, they lob yawners at their prospects, such as, “So what keeps you up at night?” (The answer? “Meeting salespeople like you!”)

The only way you will win over this prospect still reeling from this ghost is to show up prepared and as an expert. That means you have designed a customized value proposition based on their position and industry and potential pain.  You are able to discuss trends and how your other clients are responding to the changing demands from their clients and business.  

This preparation results in the prospects saying, “I have never really looked at it from that perspective.” Now, the prospect starts relaxing.  No ghost here and a relevant conversation begins. 

This is a great time of the year to set strategy, and analyze your wins and losses. As you do so, remember that dealing with sales ghosts needs to be part of your strategy to win business.

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, sales, sales management, sales training, denver sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, Colorado Sales Training
Fri, 09/30/2016

This time of the year is painful for me because I see too many sales managers putting together ineffective forecasts and sales budgets for the upcoming year.  And often, money is being left on the sales table resulting in slow growth or no growth. 

I love teaching the soft and hard skills needed to close sales.  But I also know that many companies could accelerate growth simply by improving their approach to setting sales budgets.    Here are two common mistakes and fixes to create stronger sales forecasts and revenues.   

#1:  Eliminate generic, one size fits all quotas.    This approach requires no thinking or strategy.  The sales manager simply assigns each salesperson a ten percent increase, regardless of each territory/vertical potential or prior year’s sales. 

For example, one salesperson’s territory may warrant a 40 percent increase because of the large number of untapped prospects, a weak competitor or ideal geographic location.  On the flip side, another salesperson is only given a 5 percent increase.  This salesperson has worked a territory or vertical for years and has earned major market share and deep account penetration.    

ALL QUOTA’S ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL.

#2:  Lousy data base.  Most sales organizations feel they have a fairly good data base.  With further analysis and questions, they discover they are missing a really important piece of the sales puzzle:  prospects.  A data base filled with just clients isn’t a data base, it’s a client list.      

When prospects are not clearly defined and visible in the data base, sales goals are set too low.  The total market potential is not visible.   Ask yourself this question.  How much bigger would a sales quota be if the sales manager and salesperson knew there were 500 opportunities in his territory/vertical, not just 50 opportunities?  Bigger opportunity creates bigger goals resulting in larger revenues.

Now I understand there are many other important factors that go into building sales budgets.  Is the company capable of handling increased business and deliver on the promise to customers?  Is there seasonality to the business, resulting in shorter time frames to sell and close business?  Are there macro influences, way out of your control, influencing sales results? 

Consider all of the above.  HOWEVER, pay attention to the points noted above and you will accelerate revenues. 

For more information on how to scale revenues, join us October 13 and 14 at our Ei Sales Management® Boot Camp.  We will be rolling up our sleeves learning how to apply proven principles for revenue acceleration. 

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, sales management, sales management training, sales, sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, denver sales training
Fri, 09/23/2016

Oprah Winfrey conducted a refreshing interview with Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, which recently was sold to Microsoft for $26.2 billion. That’s an impressive price, so I was intrigued to learn more about the reasons for LinkedIn’s success.

Weiner said compassionate leadership is one of the driving principles at LinkedIn. He defined compassion as stepping into another person’s shoes and really trying to understand where they are coming from. “Compassion creates connections,” he said.

For many years at SalesLeadership, we’ve taught the power of empathy, which is similar to Weiner’s description of compassion. Empathy is the ability to walk a mile in another person’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.

How can we possibly think we can influence other people unless we work at and care about seeing their view of the world?

Oprah asked Weiner a great question: “How can you apply compassion if you need to fire someone or move them from their current role?” His response was brilliant. “It’s not compassionate to leave someone in a role where they are failing. They lose confidence, the team knows they aren’t succeeding and the individual takes that self-doubt home, which affects his or her personal life. The compassionate thing is to have the truth-telling conversation and determine the right course of action for this individual.”

Weiner said that in his 20 years of leadership, he never has had an employee come to him and say they couldn’t get the job done. After all, employees are supposed to aspire to a career path full of promotions and next steps. Weiner said success comes when you marry passion with skills. Perhaps the next step up the corporate ladder isn’t the right step. Great advice. 

If you’ve been in a management or leadership role long enough, you’ve experienced an employee that’s just not cutting it in a new position. It’s tough to hold the necessary conversation with such employees, so many leaders avoid doing so.

However, when you practice compassion and empathy, it changes the view.

What individual wants to keep showing up at a job they aren’t succeeding at or enjoying? This week, examine the conversations you aren’t having and need to have. Then, schedule the meeting with the right intent and approach.  

Organizations are putting plans and strategies in place for 2017. Perhaps your best strategy is compassionate leadership. It seems to have served LinkedIn well. 

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, Denver Sales Speaker, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales, sales training, sales management, empathy
Fri, 09/9/2016

An elevator pitch is a conversation starter and selling tool used to describe your business, product or services. It’s the answer to a prospect asking, “Tell me about your company. What does your company do?”

Salespeople usually answer with a combination of self-focus and bragging -- or make a pitch that sounds exactly like the competition. “We are a 50-year-old company that helps organizations launch new products.” Or, “We are the largest company in the world providing IT and business process consulting.” Please get me a cup of coffee -- I’m falling asleep!

A well-designed elevator pitch is important because how a salesperson starts a conversation determines how well it will progress. It either will be a value conversation or a transactional, vendor conversation.   

There are three problems with the above responses.

1. These elevator pitches aren’t connecting to the brain. In “Made to Stick,” authors Chip and Dan Heath discuss six principles of why some ideas stick and other don’t. Concreteness is one of those principles. Brains are wired to remember concreteness and most elevator pitches are ambiguous. For example, what the heck is business process consulting? 

How to fix: Create a value proposition that paints a picture of your services. “We help companies install reliable systems that don’t crash every time an enhancement is rolled out.” 

2. Benefit selling rather than pain selling. Most elevator pitches focus on the positive, preaching the features and benefits of their products and services. That’s nice. But research shows that people move two to three times faster to avoid pain rather than achieve gain. 

How to fix: Focus on the problems you solve for your customers. No one cares about what you do. They care about problems you solve. Instead of talking about what you do, talk about the problems associated with product launches. “We help companies that are falling behind their competitors because they keep designing products that no one wants to buy.” 

3. Generic elevator pitches. This one is a real conversation killer. Most sales organizations do not have customized, documented elevator pitches. Instead, there are a few one-size-fits-all elevator pitches that don’t resonate with a potential buyer.    

How to fix: Create elevator pitches customized to the industry, buying influence, and product or service. “We work with CEOs in the construction space that are concerned about poor profits due to project cost overruns caused by poor planning or bad job estimates.”  

Elevator pitches are one of the most important tools for a salesperson, whether you are in new-business development or account management. If you want to escalate sales, then elevate the content of your elevator pitches.

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, Denver Sales Speaker, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales, sales management, Elevator Pitch, sales training, denver sales training
Thu, 09/1/2016

You’ve been a sales producer for a number of years and a sales management job opens up. You’ve consistently been the top-producing salesperson at the company, winning awards and accolades from upper management. You apply for the position of sales manager and earn the position based on your previous performance and great attitude.

But three months into your new position, you are asking yourself, “Did I make a mistake?”

Some of this regret can be attributed to a steep learning curve because the skills that sales managers need are different than those of a sales producer. Or, the regret may be that you’ve realized you made a wrong career choice.

Ask these questions and decide if you really want to become a sales manager.   

1. Do you enjoy training and coaching? Teaching and training always looks like fun — and it is. It is also tedious, requiring endless patience as you conduct role plays and drill skills in order to elevate your team’s selling skills. Salespeople are like well-trained athletes. They have to run the plays over and over until they become second nature, enabling the salesperson to execute under stress. There is a saying, “Infinite patience produces immediate results.” 

Instilling new habits and skills takes time, effort and patience. Do you have the patience to develop people?

2. How comfortable are you holding people accountable? As the sales leader, you must make sure your sales team is engaging in the right activities and number of activities needed to create a full sales pipeline. My philosophy is that a salesperson can always do the work because they control how much effort they’ll extend. If a salesperson isn’t doing the work, effective sales managers are willing to have a tough-love meeting.

They aren’t worried about being liked. Their concern is helping this individual achieve their full potential -- or find a job where they can do so. A professional selling career isn’t for everyone.    

3. Do you enjoy analyzing numbers and data? Sales managers are charged with analyzing sales forecasts, conversion rates and win-loss analysis, capturing trends and working through mounds of big data that needs to translate into relevant data. Wing-it sales management doesn’t work in a sales organization, so if analyzing data doesn’t rock your boat, then stay in the individual sales producer boat.   

Everyone has a special set of talents.

Apply the EQ skill of emotional self-awareness, and ask yourself the tough questions to assess your strengths AND motivators before applying for that sales-management position. Companies need strong leaders and strong sales contributors.

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales training, sales training Denver, sales management
Thu, 08/25/2016

Sales is the department that drives all the others. Without revenue, there is nothing to ship, install or invoice. So why is it that this important department often is the last one to be systematized? 

Can you imagine your accounting department not having systems for paying employees, vendors and the government? 

Or, how about a manufacturer lacking a repeatable process for producing high-quality products? There are several reasons for lack of systems and processes, but here are a few common ones (and excuses.)

#1: I hired veteran salespeople. Translation: Your sales department looks like the Wild West with everyone running their own ranches. Sadly, most of the methodology is outdated because business has changed dramatically in the last five years. Without a sales playbook, it also takes longer to onboard new hires because, well, which playbook should you teach them? Betty’s, Bob’s or Joe’s? 

#2: Delayed gratification. This is the ability to put in the work to achieve the reward. In this case, work is needed to document your selling stages, scripts, frequently asked questions, competitor information, product knowledge -- and the list goes on. In smaller companies, this job often falls on sales managers to lead this project. Guess what: They like closing deals, not documenting how they close them.

#3: Inability to transfer knowledge. For many sales managers, the biggest challenge is transferring the knowledge that made them successful. They are unconsciously competent, often not knowing just how they do what they do. 

So what can and should you do?

Documenting your sales organizations sales approach can seem overwhelming. Take the savvy advice about eating an elephant – do so one bite at a time. Based on your time and talent, you might consider hiring outside help to do this important job.

Let’s look at three areas for getting started. There are many more.

#1: Hiring process. Work on this process first because if you don’t hire well, you will need to learn how to fire well.

Create a customized hiring manual filled with 20 to 40 great questions that test the key competencies identified for success at your company. Get clear on your go/no go questions (your non-negotiables) that help disqualify candidates early in the process. 

#2: Business development. There’s a lot to document at this selling stage. Start with your value propositions. Without these, salespeople can’t start a sales conversation. Create customized value propositions designed for the specific industry and the buying influencer, i.e., the CFO in healthcare.  

#3: Sales meeting. Document the key questions your sales team should be asking and will be asked by prospects. And I am not talking about a product dump. Questions such as, “What are the changing demands from your customers? What are you doing to keep up with those demands?”

Include the responses because if your salespeople knew what to say, they would! If you are up against a tough incumbent, design questions that expose competitor gaps without mentioning the competition. 

If you’re serious about scaling your sales organization and revenues, get serious about systematizing your sales department.

Good Selling!

 

tags: Sales Speaker, sales, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales training, Colorado Sales Training
Fri, 08/19/2016

The alarm goes off, you roll over, hit the snooze button and drift off for 15 more minutes. Once you get up, you immediately check your smartphone because it’s been eight hours since you’ve fed your technology addiction. 

So your day starts in a stressful, nonproductive manner thanks to the incoming email messages and because you’re running late. And how you start is how you will finish: stressed, tired and less than productive.   

THERE’S A BETTER WAY

Study the habits of highly successful people –- such as Tony Robbins, world-renowned life coach; mega publisher Jack Canfield; and Phil Jackson, coach of multiple NBA champions -- and you will find an entirely different morning. Some suggestions:

#1:       Carve out quiet time to reflect on how you are going to show up today. Successful people are proactive in deciding how to respond to the challenges of the day. Mental preparation helps them show up like the person they want to be rather than a moody, temperamental human being. 

#2:       Exercise. Health is wealth and successful people schedule time to protect this piece of wealth. If you are low on energy, there’s a good chance it’s because you are carrying 20 extra pounds that stress your joints and heart. 

#3:       Gratitude. In the business of sales and sales management, it’s easy to give into the stress of hitting numbers and keeping clients happy. Successful salespeople manage this stress by focusing on the positive. They know you can’t be grateful and anxious at the same time. 

#4:       Positive affirmations. Successful people understand the power of neuroplasticity and recognize you can change the wiring in your brain. It’s called Hebb’s Law. Cells that fire together, wire together. Affirmations may include, “I’m great in negotiations. I am the best at defusing upset clients. I am a game-changer for my clients and that’s why everyone buys from me.” 

Start your day with these success habits and your work week will be more enjoyable and profitable. Stop hitting the snooze button and get up. Avoid checking your smartphone and instead, check in with yourself first thing in the morning.

How you start the day predicts how it will progress and how you finish it.

Good Selling!

 

tags: Sales Speaker, Denver Sales Speaker, colleen stanley, sales, sales management, Emotional Intelligence, Colorado Sales Training

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