On what she loves about sales, why emotional intelligence is so important today, the the lost but vitally important art of listening, and the most amazing experience she’s had as a buyer.
Colleen’s career has always been all about sales—and there are a couple things she really loves about it. “I have always been fortunate to be with companies, my own included, where there were always two constants that made sales fun and rewarding:
- Great clients – I’ve always been fortunate to work with great clients. They are smart, expect a lot and are appreciative of good work.
- And ever changing landscape which requires continuous learning and improvement.”
“No boredom ever going on in this profession!”
A primary portion of Colleen’s focus is on the subject of emotional intelligence. She sees this as of primary importance in today’s sales landscape. “Emotional Intelligence skills are important in helping salespeople consistently execute the right selling behaviors and skills,” she says. “We live in the information age, so lack of knowledge is not the issue….it’s lack of execution.
“For example, salespeople know they should ask questions. However, many salespeople get triggered by prospects and start product dumping, rather than diagnosing issues and challenges. It’s the knowing and doing gap. With EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) skills such as increased self-awareness and self-regard, salespeople stop making the same mistakes over and over.”
Colleen goes on to explain how a salesperson or a sales manager could begin learning and using emotional intelligence. “The first step is asking yourself if you really believe that soft skills produce hard sales results. Next, when diagnosing sales performance challenges, ask yourself if lack of performance is about soft skills, delayed gratification or hard skills, consultative selling skills.”
If sales has a single fault, it could be said that not enough salespeople stop to listen. Colleen clues us in on how this vital skill is learned. “The art of listening starts with the art of paying attention,” she elaborates. “And in a world where people are constantly checking into technology, many people are losing their ability to focus and pay attention.”
Colleen hones in on the relationship between sales and listening. “The art of listening is also about sales mastery,” she continues. “If you show up to a sales call wondering what you should say or do, you aren’t capable of listening because your are too focused on yourself, not the prospect or customer. Masterful salespeople show up relaxed and prepared which allows them to listen more intently.”
Lastly, Colleen shares the most memorable sales experience she’s had as a buyer. “When I was in my 20’s, I met with a financial planner to start saving money, planning for the future,” she recalls. “She didn’t ask me about goals. Instead she asked one question: ‘Do you have the discipline to accumulate wealth?’ Now that was a great question, one that challenged me to think, dig deep and…make a decision.”
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