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
Thu, 08/27/2015

I am really tired of salespeople acting like a tired old porch dog. They are sitting on the sales porch, waiting for the prospects to contact them. They’ve repeatedly heard the message that the buyer is 67 percent of the way through the buying process by the time he/she contacts a salesperson.  Hearing this message over and over again has resulted in three selling behaviors.   

  • Reactive salespeople – I just need to wait for the prospect to contact me. They don’t want to hear from a salesperson until they’ve done all their research. 
  • Transactional salespeople – I’ll need to lower my price because the prospect is so well-educated, they really don’t need my expertise.
  • Excuse salespeople – Today’s buyer is more educated. It’s a lot tougher to sell in today’s market.   

Let’s dispel all of these myths by starting with some great data from SiriusDecisions, a leading global business-to-business research and advisory firm. 

Its 2015 B-to-B Buying Study examined the buying behaviors of more than 1,000 B-to-B executives.  It found that more than half the time, a salesperson’s involvement with a prospect starts at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. 

SiriusDecisions Results from New Study

Lesson for salespeople – Stop waiting for inbound leads and the phone to ring.  Do what effective salespeople have done for 50 years.  Get ahead of the opportunity and be the salesperson that creates the first sales conversation rather than wait for the prospect to initiate.   

This study also showed that the highest level of buyer/seller interaction for all buying scenarios occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey, often the first selling stage in a purchasing decision. 

Lesson for salespeople – Educate your prospects. However, don’t confuse educating with a badly disguised product dump. Part of education is slowing down prospects and making them think. What is the real problem they are trying to solve? Often the presenting problem isn’t the real problem.   

For example, in the sales training business, a vice president of sales believes he has a closing issue. Instead of moving into an educational presentation, we ask a series of questions. And, both parties often arrive at a different conclusion. This sales team doesn’t have a closing issue, it has a target issue. Its members are calling on the wrong type of prospect. The late Zig Ziglar couldn’t even close these deals!  

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales leadership, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales management
Fri, 08/14/2015

Sales managers are hit with information from all sides on how to create high performance sales teams. Hire the right people, create compensation plans that drive behavior, incentive programs, provide consistent feedback and the list goes on. 

With so many choices, it’s hard for sales managers to figure out where to focus their attention. Here’s a  tip that will simplify your job as a sales leader. If you want to motivate your team…..


Let’s look at the importance of teaching with an example outside of the sales world. I live in Colorado where many people enjoy downhill skiing. It’s exhilarating to glide down the mountain while breathing in the fresh air.   

For some individuals, skiing isn’t much fun. They’ve never learned how to ski. Instead of gliding down the mountain, they end up in what I refer to as a ‘yard sale.’ They fall and skis, poles and gloves are all over the place. As they gather their equipment, the snow covered individuals say to themselves, “This skiing isn’t enjoyable and I’m not doing it again.” This person isn’t motivated to continue the great sport of skiing because they’ve never been taught the fundamentals of skiing.   

‘Yard sales’ occur every day in the sales profession. For some reason, CEO’s and sales managers think that salespeople have magically developed the many skills needed to be effective in sales. Take a look at a partial list of attributes and competencies needed to succeed.   

  • Prospecting skills
  • Qualification skills
  • Emotional intelligence skills
  • Listening skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Time management
  • Conflict resolution  
  • Customer service
  • Presentations skills
  • Building rapport

Whew---that’s a long list. Teaching, training and coaching is the number one way to motivate your sales team to greatness. It’s common sense. When people know how to do ‘something’ better, they enjoy doing that ‘something.’ And when they enjoy doing that ‘something,’ they do that ‘something’ more often. 

Salespeople that know how to prospect enjoy prospecting and do it more often. Salespeople that know how to hold a sales conversation with the C suite buyer enjoy those sales meetings and schedule more of them. 

Take a look at your calendar. How much time and money is your sales organization dedicating to motivating your sales team the right way by providing them training and coaching? Avoid ‘yard sales’ and apply the number one motivational tool: teach your sales team how to sell and influence.     

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales leadership, denver sales training
Thu, 08/6/2015

Empathy is an emotional intelligence skill. In simple terms, it’s the ability to ‘walk a mile’ in another person’s shoes. It requires paying attention in order to know what another person is thinking or feeling.   Empathy is a huge influence skill, one that is often not covered in sales training courses or sales books. 

Why?  Empathy just sounds too soft and touchy feely. Top sales producers don’t buy into this myth because they know and understand the importance of empathy. They incorporate empathy into daily interactions with prospects and clients.  Here are two ways top sales producers win more business by being empathetic.   

#1:  Validation.    A salesperson, selling recruiting services, meets with a potential buyer.  She has done a good job of building rapport and trust. As a result, the prospect opens up, shares goals and challenges such as, “I am having a difficult time finding good people.”  The salesperson hears a buying signal and does a good job of not offering up an immediate solution.  She continues to probe, asking further questions about the hiring problem.  Sounds like a good sales call, right? Wrong. This salesperson missed an important cue from the buyer. The prospect doesn’t want to be asked more questions---he wants more empathy!

Being empathetic is as simple as acknowledging you’ve heard the prospect. “You know, you’re not the only one having difficulty finding talent.  Hiring good people is one of the more difficult and frustrating aspects of running a business…you’re not alone.” 

#2:  Objection handling.  The empathetic salesperson knows the power of bringing up potential problems before the prospect does.  Empathetic salespeople are good at seeing the world from the prospects point of view.

For example, a prospect knows that her current vendor is average, however, the fear of change and the unknown lingers in the back of her mind. The empathetic salesperson knows what the customer is thinking and brings up the fear of change. “Joan, if I were sitting on your side of the table, my biggest worry would be the perceived hassle of change….is it going to be worth it?  Should we talk further about that?” Empathy demonstrates expertise without product dumping because you show the prospect that you get her, her business  and her concerns.   

Empathy elevates trust, exposes potential elephants and increases close ratios. Soft skills do produce hard sales results. 

Good Selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales training, sales management, sales, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, empathy
Thu, 07/30/2015

The customer is always right phrase has been tossed around the business world for years.  The intent of the phrase is good:  serve the client and exceed expectations.  The problem is that in our desire to serve and exceed expectations, we often don’t set clear expectations with clients to insure mutual success.   Great business relationships are built when both the vendor and customer accomplish goals. 

For example, how many of you have sold a product/service to a new customer and then find disaster hitting.  The deal is falling apart because the customer isn’t honoring commitments on their end of the agreement.   Information needed from the customer to move forward on a project is missing.  Key people from the client side aren’t attending meetings and deadlines are missed.   

In an effort to serve, your team puts on their tennis shoes and starts jumping through hoops to achieve the promises stated in the proposal and sales conversation.    They are trying hard but success is a two-way street and the goals can’t be accomplished without the client partnering with the vendor each step of the way.   

So what can you do to insure a successful launch of a new client?  Create an on-boarding process for new clients.  This process might include a hand-off meeting from the salesperson to the operations team or client services team.    During the hand-off meeting, apply the emotional intelligence skills of reality testing and assertiveness.  Discuss potential elephants (problems) that can jeopardize success such as:

  • Deadlines and needed information.  Get very clear on what your team needs in order to achieve milestones.  Discuss the uncomfortable.  Is the customer okay with changing a deadline if their team fails to supply necessary information in a timely manner?
  • People involvement.  Everyone is has busy schedules and so availability of personnel can be a predictable obstacle to success.  Talk about this potential problem---before it becomes a problem!   What’s the plan if key stakeholders can’t make it to a meeting?    How does their lack of participation affect goals and milestones? 

You get the idea.   Keep the intent of serving and exceeding client expectations.  Apply reality testing and assertiveness skills and set clear expectation for mutual success.   Remember, success is a two way street between a vendor and client doing what they said they would do. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales leadership, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotinal Intelligence
Thu, 07/23/2015

As many of you know, I am an avid reader and like to share great books with clients and colleagues.  My new favorite is Triggers by author and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith.  He shares a lot of great ideas and tools on how to be a more effective in both your professional and personal life.   

Here is one of my favorites tools shared in his book.    At the end of each day, ask yourself a series of “Did I do my best” questions to evaluate how you are showing up every day.   It’s an active question that gets to the heart of whether you’re showing up ‘all in’ or simply coasting through life.   

Here are a few questions to consider: 

  • Did I do my best to add value to every client interaction?
  • Did I do my best to invest time in pre-call planning to insure the meeting was valuable for the prospect and me?
  • Did I do my best to eliminate excuses and take personal accountability for my success?
  • Did I do my best to improve an emotional intelligence skill or hard selling skill?
  • Did I do my best to learn something that will add value to my work with clients?
  • Did I do my best to avoid the pull of instant gratification?
  • Did I do my best to be fully present in all conversations with colleagues, clients and prospects?
  • Did I do my best to recognize other people on my team for their contributions towards my success?
  • Did I do my best to be an effective leader and manager?
  • Did I do my best to run a great sales meeting? 

You get the idea.  Repetition is the key to mastery and this tool shared by Goldsmith is a winner.  Craft your questions and find an accountability partner to review your questions---and answers with each day.  Get started on doing your best every day!  

Good Selling!


tags: sales, consultative sales training, sales management, Sales Manager, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Thu, 07/16/2015

Emotional Intelligence skills are critical in achieving hard sales results. Well-intended sales managers often work on the wrong end of the problem when diagnosing sales performance challenges. They continue to teach and coach hard selling skills, which are important.  But if a salesperson has been taught selling skills and still is not executing the selling behaviors or skills, it’s time to look at coaching soft skills.

Assertiveness – the ability to state what you need -- is an important emotional intelligence skill needed to create win-win relationships. Salespeople lacking assertiveness turn into sales victims. They complain that prospects and customers taking advantage of them when in reality, they lack assertiveness. 

Budgets are one area of the sales process where lack of assertiveness creates poor sales outcomes.

Here’s the scenario. The salesperson is at the selling stage where they must discuss budgets. When the salesperson asks how much money the prospect has set aside for investment in his product or service, the prospect responds with a predictable answer.  “I have no idea. Just put something together.” 

The non-assertive salesperson goes along to get along.  He spends valuable time putting together a recommendation.  He sets up a meeting with the prospect and shares recommendations, only to hear, “That’s more than I wanted to invest.” 

The prospect obviously had a budget. The salesperson wasn’t assertive enough to uncover it. This salesperson just wasted valuable selling time on a prospect that wasn’t qualified to be in her pipeline.   

The first step in being more assertive is to raise your self-awareness.  Ask yourself this powerful question: What are you afraid of losing? In this case, the salesperson is afraid of losing a deal. He believes that if he asks about a range of investment, the deal will go away. So he goes along to get along.  And you know the end of the story. 

If you want to close more business in the second half of the year, work on your team’s assertiveness skills. Help team members to learn to share what is needed to create true win-win opportunities. 

Good selling!

tags: denver sales training, sales management training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales
Thu, 07/9/2015

“Shark Tank” is a popular show where enterprising entrepreneurs showcase their products and services, with the goal of gaining an investor, strategic partner or both.    

I am surprised that so many entrepreneurs show up unprepared to meet and sell to the sharks.  The sharks are master negotiators.  They throw out counter offers and question the success of the product. More than one entrepreneur has become flustered, blowing his pitch or giving away too much of his/her company. 

We all run into sharks in the sales profession.  Here are some lessons from “Shark Tank” to apply on your next sales call.   

#1:  Emotion Management.  If you’re going to play with the sharks, it’s wise to improve your emotional intelligence skills. When the negotiation tactics begin, it’s easy to go into fight-or-flight mode. Nothing intelligent is landing in your brain or coming out of your mouth.      

Solution  – Normalize the interaction.  Good negotiators negotiate, so be prepared! Visualize the predictable responses from the sharks. Practice your responses in the mirror. It’s important that your nonverbal communication matches your verbal communication. Strong negotiators can spot a crack in the armor.   

#2:  Pre-pitch planning.  There is a basic principle taught in every negotiation course.  “If you can’t walk, you can’t talk.” Translation:  you have to know your walk-away point in any negotiation.  On a recent  “Shark Tank” episode,  a gentleman got so flustered that he conceded 10% more of his company than he needed to.   He wasn’t mentally prepped and certainly had not figured out his walk-away point. 

Solution – Know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em, prior to walking into an appointment. 

#3. Be assertive and ask for what you need.  Negotiators typically use time pressure as a tactic. Again, this is predictable behavior from the sharks.  You have to make a decision right now or I am pulling the offer off the table. 

Solution -- There’s a pretty simple fix to eliminate this tactic. Be assertive and set expectations at the beginning of any negotiation. In the case of “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurs should politely inform the sharks that they are going to call on each shark to hear their opinion and possible offer.     

Are you ready for “Shark Tank”? Visualize and rehearse responses to predictable objections and negotiation tactics. Figure out your walk-away point.  Be assertive and ask for what you want. Remember: Sharks put on their pants, skirts and shoes the same way you do. 

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Wed, 07/1/2015

There is an old Chinese proverb, “Talk doesn’t cook rice.”  I laughed when I read this quote because it reminded me of how easy it is to fall into the trap of getting ready to get ready. 

For example, in the sales training business, I see a lot of salespeople getting ready to move from average selling and influence skills to great selling and influence skills.  Let me explain. 

If you’ve been in sales long enough, you know some of the predictable questions and/or objections you will hear from a prospect.  One of those predictable questions will be, “Tell me about your company?” 

This predictable question should be answered with a predictable answer:  a customized value proposition designed specifically for the buyer you are meeting with.  Instead, most salespeople answer with a value proposition focused on what they do, not problems they solve.  As a result, look and sound like their competitor.  The sales conversation moves to a transactional sale, not a value sale.  I.e. What’s your price?  

The salesperson walks out of the appointment or hangs up the phone and says to himself, “I really need to work on getting a better value proposition.”  Translation:  This salesperson is getting ready to get ready.   

Here are a couple of tips to help you start “cooking sales rice.” 

  • Make a decision.  Apply the emotional intelligence skills of reality testing and self- awareness.  Take action and stop talking.  Decide if you are going to be average or great.  If not, quit thinking and talking about what you’re going to do.  You are boring yourself and everyone around you.
  • Get an accountability partner.  Marshall Goldsmith, popular author and executive coach, pays his coach to call him every day and ask specific questions designed to keep him on track, moving forward on personal and professional goals. 

It’s halfway through the year.  Stop talking and take action because, “Talk doesn’t cook rice.”     

Good Selling!

tags: sales, sales training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, Sales Manager, sales management
Fri, 06/19/2015

At some point, all of us have walked out of an appointment or hung up the phone and said, “Wow that was a difficult meeting.” It’s easy to shift blame to the prospect. “Gee, she was having a bad day.” Or, “Guys like him don’t just don’t respect salespeople.”

The next time you encounter a tough prospect, own the outcome. Don’t complain about tough prospects. Be grateful for difficult prospects because they are your best teachers. Tough prospects elevate your selling skills, keeping you competitive.

Heck, you may even want to write difficult prospects a thank you note! Here is an example to get you started.

Dear Mr. Prospect:

Thanks for meeting with me this week. Your good questions and thought provoking questions made me realize my selling tools are in need of serious sharpening.

I wasn’t prepared for the meeting. I chose the ‘wing-it method’ and didn’t invest the appropriate time in pre-call planning. The questions and objections you asked aren’t new. However, without preparation, I stumbled on answers---which probably raised concerns in your mind about my company’s credibility and ability to execute.

Thanks for reminding me that I might be getting complacent. In this day and age of information, there is no reason not to be prepared for a sales meeting. If I had been better prepared, perhaps the meeting would have been more relevant and a second meeting would be on the calendar.

I also want to thank you because you made me realize might be taking my existing customers for granted. My complacency is rolling over into how I manage existing clients. You’ve motivated me to figure out new and better ways to WOW my customers. (I’ll be writing them a thank you note as well.)

Thanks again for a being a tough prospect. I will reach out next week and admit my less than perfect sales performance. If you give me an opportunity, I will show up prepared and ready to add value.

Best regards,

The self-aware and accountable salesperson

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Fri, 06/12/2015

Click on image above to watch video blog.

I’ve read the book Seabiscuit and watched the movie Secretariat.  Neither one of those things really puts me in a position to comment on horse racing.   However, I was intrigued by the media hype around the possibility of a potential Triple Crown winner, a feat that had not been accomplished in 37 years.  I watched the Belmont Stakes, along with thousands of other people, and cheered on the winner, American Pharoah.      

The interviews after the victory provided some great lessons.    The first came from listening to media interviews from the owner, trainer and jockey.  All three parties seemed reluctant to take any credit for winning the Triple Crown.  However, they were all consistent in giving one entity the credit:  the horse, American Pharoah.   

Lesson:  Give credit where credit is due.   The horse certainly couldn’t speak up, however, his entourage did so on his behalf.    

I love hearing the “back story” on all the people involved in these types of events.   For example, I learned that Bob Baffert, the trainer of American Pharoah, is the second oldest trainer to win a Triple Crown at the age of 62. 

Lesson:  You are never too old to show up, try and win.   Age doesn’t determine your ability to participate at intense, high levels. 

The jockey, Victor Espinoza also has a wonderful story.  The eleventh of twelve children, Victor grew up in Mexico herding goats, not riding horses.  He eventually moved to San Francisco with his brother and was overwhelmed trying to adapt to a new environment.  He adapted and went on to become a great jockey.

Lesson:  It’s not where you come from.  It’s where you end up.

A final lesson is that of generosity.  Victor Espinoza has always donated a portion of his winnings to the City of Hope, a California based cancer research and treatment center.   Winning the Belmont Stakes is no different.  He donated his entire winnings to the City of Hope.

Learn and apply the lessons from the Triple Crown.    Look around your office and give credit to peers and colleagues that deserve recognition for your success or the company’s success.  Quit using age as an excuse for not showing up and competing at a high level.    And stop worrying about where you came from.  Get busy creating a new and better ending to your personal and professional life.    

Good Selling!

Colleen Stanley

tags: sales, sales training, sales management, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley
Fri, 06/5/2015

The sales meeting is going well and then the curve ball, better known as an objection, is thrown out by the prospect.  Objections range from timing, we are satisfied with our current vendor or we’re not sure we need to change. 

When salespeople hear an objection, one of two selling behaviors usually occurs.  The first behavior is to overcome the objection.   Unfortunately, too many salespeople have been taught to overcome the objection---at least three times.  Now, that’s an annoying sales call.  Prospects learn to avoid bringing up potential concerns.   As a result, the salesperson can’t get a second meeting because the spoken or unspoken objection has not been discussed.    

The second selling behavior that occurs is panic.  Emotions take over the meeting and salespeople move into defend and justify mode.    The salesperson is now in that uncomfortable position of convincing rather than influencing.    

The best way to handle objections is to bring them up.  Every salesperson knows the objections he or she is going to hear from a prospect.   So why wait for your prospect to bring up the objection?  Bring up the objection and put yourself in the offensive position, not defensive position.   

Bringing up potential objections requires the emotional intelligence skill of empathy.   Successful salespeople step into their prospect’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.  For example, if a prospect was recently “burned” by the existing vendor, she might be worried about:   

  • Can your company really deliver?    
  • What is your level of service after the sale? 
  • Is it going to be worth the hassle of switching? 

A great way to demonstrate empathy and proactive objection handling is to say something like, “Joyce, I know you shared your existing vendor is falling short on delivery.  If I were sitting in your seat, I would be concerned on whether or not my firm is going to have some of the same issues.  Should we discuss that further?”   Or, “Joyce, if I were you, I would be concerned about the hassle factor of moving the business.  Should we discuss that?” 

Be real world and authentic.   Bring up objections.  Put yourself in a proactive position rather than a defensive position.  Your prospect really doesn’t want you to overcome the objection seven times. 

Good Selling!

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