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.    


#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.   


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
Thu, 08/11/2016

More than one salesperson has been derailed during a sales call when the prospect brings up an objection. There’s a variety of objections, such as, “I think we can do this in-house,” “We need to put this off for a couple of months” or “Why is your company  so much higher than your competitor?” 

Objections often send salespeople into fight-or-flight mode and the result isn’t pretty. Salespeople start overselling, defending and justifying, or discounting in an attempt to keep the prospect’s interest. A salesperson’s inability to handle objections costs companies thousands of dollars each year. 

So what can you do?

Teach your sales team to bring up the objections!

Sales and objections are predictable. Conduct a whiteboarding session with your sales team.  Ask them to write down all the objections they hear from prospects and clients. (I promise that your sales team will be able to fill a whiteboard with objections.)

Now, ask your team this powerful question: When would you like to know about these objections? Overwhelmingly, they want to know sooner rather than later. So this is where your teaching begins. 

Salespeople often are reluctant to bring up the objection. They mistakenly think they will plant a seed of doubt in the prospect’s mind. Well, your prospect already has thought of several reasons not to do business with you, many of which are based on false data or a previous experience with another  vendor. 

Salespeople that bring up the objections create truth-telling and high-credibility sales conversations.

They don’t look like they are trying to hide anything. By bringing up the objections, the salesperson has an opportunity to figure out the real reason behind the objection. 

Effective and emotionally intelligent salespeople avoid being put into a fight-or-flight position. They bring up the obvious objection, which might sound like this: “Carolyn, many times when I meet with business owners like yourself, the real question to be addressed is, ‘Can we do this ourselves? Do we really need to outsource?’ Why don’t we look at both the pros and cons of outsourcing and at the end of our conversation, you and I should have a good idea of the best direction to take.” This becomes a partner conversation, not a desperate, I-need-to-hit-my-quota conversation. 

Stop avoiding the obvious and predictable objections during a sales meeting. Bring up the objection. By doing so, you will look like the professional you are.

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, Speaker, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales management, Colorado Sales Training
Thu, 08/4/2016

We are running into some of the same selling challenges we did 25 years ago, despite the explosion of technology and information. Knowledge isn’t the issue; application of knowledge is. 

For example, how many of you have observed a salesperson move into a product dump, even though he knows that he should be asking questions -- not presenting solutions? Or the salesperson that discounts early and often, even though she just attended a negotiation-skills training course. 

The problem is that most sales managers and CEOs are focused on the wrong end of the problem. When a salesperson isn’t hitting quota, their boss focuses on teaching and coaching more hard selling skills. Those are important. But in many selling situations, emotions start running the meeting, which affects the salesperson’s ability to execute the hard selling skills.   

Let’s look at a couple of hypothetical situations.

A salesperson is meeting with a challenging prospect or customer whose behavior triggers an emotional response in the salesperson -- a fight-or-flight response. The salesperson gets defensive or sets out to prove the prospect is wrong. A flight response results in the salesperson simply shutting down, and nothing intelligent can enter their brain. 

In both cases, all those good selling skills taught and coached by the sales manager went out the window. Emotions, rather than effective selling and communication skills, ran the sales meeting.

The second scenario is little different. The salesperson meets with a positive, warm prospect that says all the right things. “This looks really interesting. We need to do something. We are always looking to improve.”

The salesperson gets excited and starts buying the buying signals, tossing the sales playbook out the window. The salesperson skips over all the qualifying questions and selling stages. She offers to write a proposal because she’s “got one.”

When she returns to present her solutions, she hears excuses from her positive prospect such as, “The timing isn’t right” or “I need to run this up the ladder” or “This is more expensive than I thought.” Chalk up another practice proposal to emotions, rather than effective selling and communication skills, running the meeting.

So what can you do? 

Teach your team members self-awareness. When they start responding either positively or negatively to a prospect, have them take a deep breath and ask one of two questions: 

  • Negative prospect – “What else could be true? What else is going on here?” By asking the question, you change the story, which changes the salesperson’s emotional state. The salesperson moves from getting defensive to getting curious.
  • Positive prospect – “Am I hearing information or evidence?” Where is the proof that this prospect is really committed to eliminating a problem or achieving a goal? This helps the salesperson get back on track to ask the qualifying questions.

In the words of the late John Wooden, the famed UCLA men’s basketball coach: “Manage your emotions or they will manage you.” 

Good Selling!

Join SalesLeadership on September 15 & 16 for our Ei Selling® Boot Camp!

tags: Sales Speaking, Speaker, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales, sales management, sales training, denver sales training
Fri, 07/29/2016

For sales professionals, fewer things are more frustrating than spending time and effort on a prospect who is never going to become a client. On the flipside, when you connect with a prospect that’s “qualified” to work with you, it can become a very rewarding professional relationship and boost your sales quotas.

What exactly makes a client “qualified” to work with you? To answer that question, think about some of your favorite clients and analyze your relationships with them. You’ll probably see commonalities amongst your best clients – the kind of clients you wished you encountered all the time.

For example, do they share similar demographics such as revenues, locations, and business practices? How about the psychographics? Do they value their employees? Do they treat their suppliers like partners, not just vendors? Are they committed to creating win-win relationships? If you see patterns emerge, it’s not a coincidence. These are the qualities of your ideal prospects, the ones you should be spending more of your efforts on regularly.

Apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing and start disqualifying opportunities that don’t match the above criteria. Then focus on fostering relationships with your ideal client profile. The reality is that you win more business with prospects that fit your ideal client profile. Stop wasting time with prospects that are never going to buy.

It pays to know which characteristics make potential prospects most qualified to work you and to seek out individuals and businesses that fit those profiles. So if you want to succeed, we suggest you slow down, take a deep look at your client base and analyze what makes these clients uniquely and genuinely qualified to work with you. Stop putting effort into dead-end situations and shift your focus to prospects that are qualified to work with you. As the old saying goes, fish where the fish are. It will improve your sales.

Good Selling!

tags: Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, Sales Speaking, Denver Sales Speaker, sales management training
Fri, 07/22/2016


A participant at a recent sales conference said to me, “I think we are making this sales thing way too complicated. If we practice the Golden Rule every day with every sale conversation, close ratios will increase.” 

That person is correct. The Golden Rule has been touted in personal development and religions for years. 

The Golden Rule says to treat others the way you’d want to be treated.

Yes, a powerful selling skill indeed. For example:

#1: Preparation -- Has a poorly prepared salesperson called on you? She didn’t take 15 minutes to look at your LinkedIn profile to see if there were common relationships or connections. No time was invested on the website reading blogs or recent awards, which are key ways to create commonality and likability.

Golden Rule salespeople apply their delayed-gratification skills and put in the work to run an effective meeting for both parties. They don’t to waste their time or the prospect’s time.

#2: Desperation-- There is nothing worse than running a sales meeting with salespeople that have  desperation breath caused by empty sales pipelines. They force conversation, ask leading questions and use outdated closing techniques because they have an unmet quota hanging over their head.

The root cause for desperation breath is an empty sales pipeline.

Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Your empty sales pipeline is not this prospect’s problem. Show up at every appointment as if you already have exceeded your quota. This mindset creates an environment for curiosity, patience and sincere desire to see if your product can provide value. If your product or service isn’t the right fit, be honest and direct your prospect to other resources. 

#3:  Gratitude.  I am still amazed at how many salespeople will not take five minutes to write, not email, a thank-you note. Really? Come on; this prospect is giving you her business, and you can’t take the time to acknowledge how much you appreciate this new opportunity?

Golden Rule salespeople are self-aware and aware of others. And they know that a good old-fashioned thank-you note goes a long way in a world where the personal touch is disappearing.

Think about and practice the Golden Rule every day. It just might be the most important selling skill you master.

Good Selling!

tags: Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales, sales management, sales training, Denver Sales, Sales training colorado
Fri, 07/15/2016

Marketing departments invest thousands of dollars in client acquisition, teaching tactics and strategies to initiate first sales conversations. Inside sales department members are hired and trained to qualify prospects, then hand them over to the account executive team. More money is spent to train members of both teams about how to close business at the right margins.

Congratulations. You’re bringing new clients in the front door. But the problem is that just as many clients are going out the back door. The result is stagnant or declining sales due to your company’s reputation on the street.

There are several reasons for clients dropping your product or services. Here’s the biggest one I’ve observed in my work with clients:

There’s no on-boarding process for new clients.

Sales organizations know the importance of creating an on-boarding process for new hires, one that ensures success and helps the new salesperson feel a part of their new sales family. Apply this same logic to your new clients.

In most organizations, after the sale is completed,  another department will work with your new client to install or launch the new service. This handoff to the other department is average at best. The sale is made and then the client is told, “Thank you so much for your business. You will be working with Marcia, our sales engineer. She will be reaching out to you to set up a time to connect regarding next steps. Thank you for your business.”  And goodbye.    

Apply your empathy skills and step into your client’s shoes.

What are they thinking or feeling? I’ll guarantee you they are starting to wonder about their buying decision. They have questions such as:

  • Who is Marcia?
  • Is she competent?
  • Will I ever talk to you, Mr. Salesperson, again?

Avoid the pull of instant gratification; set up a formal handoff with the person that will be servicing your new  account. I suggest a video call, as there is still nothing that replaces human interaction, actually seeing and meeting your new contact. Set clear expectations, including answering those questions, for that handoff meeting.

  • Who is Marcia? – Tell your client that Marcia is a rock star! Remember, they purchased from you. They don’t want to think they are being handed off to the “B” team.
  • Is she competent? – Oh yes! Let your client know Marcia’s credentials and expertise. Tell them that one of the reasons Marcia will be taking care of their account is to make sure they have an expert working with them to ensure installation success and great service after the sale.
  • Will I ever talk to you, Mr. Salesperson, again? This varies by organization. Set the expectation that you will reach out two to three times within the next six months to make sure everything is going as expected. After two to three touchpoints, your client will be in love with Marcia and comfortable with the new relationship.

Stop whining that you don’t have time. I guarantee you such phone conversations and email contact  take about 30 minutes. Not a big investment to keep a happy client that will repeat business and refer business.

   Stop the revolving door of clients and focus on the back end of the sale as much as the front end.

Good Selling!


tags: denver sales training, sales training, colorador sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales management
Fri, 07/8/2016

Empathy, by definition, is the ability to understand or share the feelings of another person. In terms of Emotional Intelligence and sales, empathy is the ability to “walk in a client’s shoes” and is a vital skill set. It has huge influence in your sales transactions and conversations.

Psychologists debate whether empathy is simply innate or can be nurtured. We, at SalesLeadership, think there’s some component to both of those elements but that doesn’t mean that you cannot strengthen and improve your ability to empathize, especially using it as an Emotional Intelligence skill. In fact, we know and believe many of us can and do.

Empathy isn’t just a soft and touchy feely skill. Top sales producers are often the best at utilizing empathy in their customer connections and prospect conversations.  Here are a few of the benefits to building this critical Ei skill.

Empathy can build rapport, trust and validation.  Imagine that you are meeting with a new prospect, an inherited prospect or a prospect that might appear to have reservations or concerns. Showing empathy by listening, acknowledging what he or she shared, and relating to the person can put the client back at ease and help to build trust. It helps to hear from others that we are not alone in our challenges. Empathy allows you and the customer to air out concerns and potential road blockers to sales.

Empathy allows you the ability to address a client’s fears and concerns. More than likely, your client will be walking into your sales meeting with fears or concerns already in the back of his or her mind.  Rather than avoiding the topics, it can be beneficial for both of you to discuss them openly. Do not underestimate the value of acknowledging another’s concerns. This can make a huge impact, not just on the current sales transaction but in keeping the sales relationship thriving long term.

Being empathetic allows you to acknowledge that you have heard the other person correctly. Here’s one secret to building stronger professional sales relationships that can boost your rapport and numbers: Acknowledgment. Have you ever had someone repeat back to you what they thought you said? Did it always come out correctly the first time? If not, did it help you to get it right the second or subsequent times? Chances are it probably did. Acknowledging and mirroring back to the other person will get you both on the same page and can clarify information. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Empathy can elevate trust, build rapport and validation, and help both you and your client to meet goals. Sales professionals that are willing to continue to grow, listen and sharpen their empathy skills often see a payoff. We recommend it.

Good selling!


tags: Denver Sales Management, sales training Denver, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, sales management