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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Creativity in Sales virtual learning session sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on December 14, 2020. It featured an interview with Colleen Francis. She is the author of Non-Stop Sales Boom.]
Find Colleen on LinkedIn.
Colleen’s TIP: “Carve out some time between now and December 31 to really take a good, hard look at what happened this year, analyze the numbers and plan to make some changes. One of the first things I would do is look at what’s working even if I don’t necessarily like it and then commit to doing more of that in January, including maybe getting a mentor or finding someone in the organization who’s been more successful than you and reaching out to figure out what they’re doing that was such a success this year. I think that will help you to create some activity, remember that action creates motivation, not the other way around. If you can find someone who has great ideas on what’s creating success in your marketplace today right now and you implement them, you’re going to be more motivated which is going to help your mindset.”
THE PODCAST BEGINS HERE
Fred Diamond: We’re talking to Colleen Francis. I have a copy of Colleen’s book from 2015, she’s working on the new one, it’s called Nonstop Sales Boom. I’ve told people this is my favorite sales book of the last 5 years. Colleen, I just moved into a new office, I found this unopened copy, my copy that I’ve been reading is over there on the bookshelf. If you’re watching today’s webinar and you want a beautiful signed copy of Nonstop Sales Boom, if you’re the first person to go to the question panel and say, “I want the book”, I will mail it to you along with a couple of others.
Colleen Francis, it’s great to have you here. Optimal Sales Mindset, we’re talking about overachievers. We already have five people who say they want the book, the first person is our good friend, Jeffrey Olson. Shoot me an email, Jeffrey, with your mailing address.
Overachievers 2021, what have you got for them? Let’s get started.
Colleen Francis: Let’s talk about mindset because mindset has made all the difference in the last few months. Mindset always makes a difference, we know that, it’s just that the last 9-10 months have been really challenging and I’ve noticed that there’s three key things that top performers in all markets are doing to help reframe the way they’re thinking. We’ll go into these a little bit more deeply but I was thinking about the three buckets of mindset, they are being open to change – we’ve been through more change since March 15th than we probably have in the previous 10 years before that. Being flexible and change-oriented is critical, that’s mindset #1. #2 is acceptance, we’ll talk a little bit more about this but what I think about acceptance, we know empathy is really critical, always has been in sales, acceptance is really empathy on steroids. The third piece is resilience, resilience and persistence is the glue that holds all this together and quite frankly, if you’re not open to change and you’re unwilling to accept, then you’re not going to be resilient so they build on each other there. These are the three big ones, why don’t we just dive right into them?
Fred Diamond: Let’s do it.
Colleen Francis: Let’s talk about being open to new ideas. I was giving some thought to this over the last few months because we have clients who are struggling and we have clients that are succeeding because of the types of businesses that they’re in. One thing that they’re all doing really well right now is they’re eliminating, blowing up, crawling out of what we commonly refer to as the success trap. The success trap is that idea, that mindset that says, “I’ve always done it this way and it’s been successful, therefore I’ll just do more of it and I’ll continue to be successful.” A client of mine says, “We’ve always made cold calls, that’s the way we’ve been successful so we’ll just make more of them and we’ll be a success.” That creates burnout because they went from having to make 30 to making 200 in order to have the same level of success and that’s really critical right now because what worked last January is not going to work necessarily this January. Maybe in some markets it will but you have to be open to measuring it because we have to take a look at what’s working today in all markets, so you have to blow up that idea of the success trap and really start looking at things differently.
#2, this has been one of my favorite ones, I’ve been calling this micromanaging or micromeasuring. We had a client, for example, before the pandemic they would look at their metrics maybe once a month, coaching sessions. When the pandemic hit, they went from measuring weekly or monthly to measuring three times a day, they started looking at the data in their business when they first came into the morning, over the noon hour and at the end of the day and that was because they wanted to micromanage the change and capture trends. We know when something happens three times in a row we spot a pattern, and if they could spot that by the end of the day they would shift, and as a result they’ve been successful. One of the mindset changes I’ve been asking leaders to make is throw up the notion that micromanaging is a bad thing. It’s not nagging, we don’t want to nag, we don’t want to babysit but you have got to micromanage your numbers right now and micromanage the activities that your salespeople are doing. Not because you don’t trust that they’re doing them, because you need to know what’s working now in this current business minute so that you can change course being open to a new way of measuring and managing your data.
Here’s one I think is interesting to talk about. It sounds funny for me to say, “Embrace digital.” I was really shocked today, I was struggling with a sales leader who’s been a sales leader for the last 4-5 years and he was struggling getting me meeting invites because yesterday was the first day he’d ever set up a Zoom call. Like, “What have you been doing for the last nine months with your clients? How have you been meeting them if you haven’t been using video conferencing?” I was dumbfounded. This sounds basic but we really need to embrace all things digital and I think that for salespeople, they need to make the investment or have their companies make the investment to buy the right audio, video, lighting. They need to be able to work on their cellphones if they can’t work online. If all the kids go back to school and Zoom crashes, you’ve got to be able to have access to technology that you can still talk to your customers with and that really is a mindset issue, it goes along with the success trap. My dad was successful with a car, a roll of nickels and a payphone but you can’t do that now [laughs] I’m not just going to drive around until I find more payphones. The digital side of things is critical because that’s what our clients are demanding.
In a recent study that Gartner did, they found that 33% of buyers would prefer a seller-less environment and 44% of millennials. If you look at the way that numbers skew, they’re heavier with the younger generations because we’re more – I shouldn’t put myself in that category [laughs] – they are more digitally native. We’ve got to embrace this not because it’s the only way we can talk to customers right now but because it’s also what’s coming down the pipe for us in the future.
Lastly on being open to new ideas, I think that we have to really be open in our selling world right now to expanding our networks. In my most recent book I’ve talked about throwing out the notion of an ideal client and Fred, in Nonstop Sales Boom we talk about defining an ideal client. The reason for that is in this new selling environment, buyers and influencers inside our corporations are changing, sellers are reporting to me on a day-to-day basis that they’re getting access to more people and higher up people because the access to the meeting that has a low barrier in entry. Anyone can just pop in through the video conferencing without feeling threatened that they have to sit through an entire sales presentation. So I want sellers to change their mindset about two things here: expand who you’re talking to inside your customer base but also expand who you’re including in your company because the more people you’re including – managers, leaders, operation people – then the more the client is engaging with you as well. We have to be open to letting go of the reigns and really embrace team selling but also insider selling, which is the fact that every person in your organization has a role to play with the customer.
Fred Diamond: Colleen, we have a comment coming from Gene and Gene says, “I hate to be micromanaged!!!” Let’s talk about that for a second, let’s talk about your bullet point #2, micromeasure and manage. I understand why you would want to do that from the top down perspective but one of the things that we’re hearing from the members of the Institute for Excellence in Sales is they’re getting tired of having their camera on all day, they’re getting tired of having to report. One of the big challenges right now is that everybody knows where you are because no one’s in the office today now so they know you’re at home. Someone said to me, “Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m working.” Let’s talk about some of your advice, again you work with sales leaders around the globe, you’ve written one of the best books of all time in the history of sales, let’s talk about that balance. It’s great to do the micromanaging to understand the trends but what is your advice on how to stop your people from getting burnt out on that side or to keep them from being totally depressed that they’re stuck in this circle of not being creative anymore?
Colleen Francis: First of all, to answer Gene’s comment, my guess is that if you hate being micromanaged it’s because your manager is not micromanaging you correctly. They’re spying on you, they’re nagging you, they’re pestering you, they’re whipping you [laughs] to use an old analogy. Micromanaging from a seller’s perspective and a manager’s perspective means your eye is on the data all the time. Managers that say to me, “I’m a hands-off kind of guy, my guys will fill the pipeline when they need to, they’re smart enough, they’re experienced enough, I don’t need a dashboard”, those are the ones whose results have just gone [Inaudible 12:02]. The smartest managers go, “Colleen, look at this trend, it’s been three days and we haven’t had an order from that customer, they normally order twice a day from us, something’s up.” That’s what I mean by micromanaging so it’s really critical in this changing environment that we do that.
Now, the camera is on all the time, I have two thoughts here. We need them to be on as salespeople because this is the environment that our clients are demanding from us and we have to be experts at it. The only way to be an expert at this is to practice and the best way to practice is internal. If I’m to log into an internal client meeting because I do a lot of coaching observation and I see people who are really poor in front of the camera – they’re calling in from their trucks and all you can see is the roof of their car, they’re in a noisy environment, their sound quality is terrible, their video or their audio or their Wi-Fi is cutting out – my first thought is, “Is this the presence that they’re giving to a customer?” You need to be concerned about that because this might be your million dollar presentation and if you can’t execute that correctly you aren’t going to win the business. While I definitely believe that there has to be a balance today – I was supposed to be on camera all morning, I was running late, I got home from a workout, I’m in Florida, it’s 80 degrees, I was a mess – I just admit it to people, I say I can’t be on camera, I’m sorry, I’m still in my workout clothes. People accepted that because they see me all the time, you’ve got to have times like that but you also have to make sure that if you are going to turn it on, you know exactly what to do and you can give an exceptional presentation and an environment for the customer to have a meeting with you in.
I think that’s fine, I also think that managers owe it to their teams to make sure that they have a chance to rest. If your normal office hours are 9 to 5, they’re 9 to 5, you shouldn’t expect your people to be on camera before 9 or after 5, you shouldn’t expect them to respond to an internal company email after 5 or before 9 if they wouldn’t be doing that in a normal work environment. Just because they’re at home and don’t have an hour commute doesn’t mean that they have to be using that time for work, it’s exhausting. I also think, to Gene’s point, Fred, that the problem with digital is it is harder work for us. Managing all of this, my two lights and my camera and my mic, making sure the battery is working properly, the cellphone is off, it’s harder work than just being in front of somebody in their office and people have to recognize that that’s exhausting. People need some time to relax as well during the day.
Fred Diamond: We have another question here that comes in from Nelly and Nelly is in central New Jersey. Nelly says, “Are there different things we should be measuring today versus back in January?” That’s an interesting question, thank you, Nelly. Talking about micromeasuring, this is probably a very wide question to ask. I know that Nelly is in a relatively high transactional space, they’re in the service transaction space assigning people to go do certain types of services. Again, it’s a really broad question but are there new metrics that have arisen because of the pandemic situation that we might not all be aware of that we should be taking into account?
Colleen Francis: There’s a couple that have always been on the back burner, they haven’t been primary metrics that I think are now more important metrics. One of them is the number of contacts that you have engagement with inside each of your accounts. For example, in the pre-pandemic when we had relationships and everyone was working you could get away with poor selling behavior which was, “I got one guy that I talk to all the time and he’s my core business relationship.” When business and people are healthy, it’s not good selling behavior but you get away with it. When all of a sudden companies are locked down, people are sick, god forbid people are being laid off or dying and you don’t have a backup, now you’re in trouble. One of the things we’ve been pushing hard with our clients is a minimum of four, you need a backup and a backup wide and deep. When you call a customer today and they don’t answer, you don’t know why they’re not there. Are they sick? Are they at home isolating? Are they caring for someone? Have they been laid off? Have they been furloughed or are they doing someone else’s job because the business is booming? If you don’t have anyone else to call who is willing to answer those questions, then you’re in a real disadvantage.
That’s one, the other one I think are market trends. A lot of companies got caught unaware because they had a really narrow focus, “We only service this one market” and if that market was down, they didn’t have a lot of other places to go. Some of the companies that I’ve been working with have course-corrected really quickly. I called a client of mine in the automotive industry, for example, we realized that automotive is down but RVs are up, our products could be used in that market so we’re going to the RV market or we’re going to the washer and dryer market, hand tools, whatever it happens to be. It’s really critical that you pay attention to market changes in markets that maybe haven’t always been your primary so you can take advantage of markets that are going up if your primary market is going down. Otherwise, the basic sales velocity metrics are critical: number of opportunities in the pipeline, the average value of those opportunities (what size they are), the conversion ratio (your close rate or win rate) and the number of days on average that it takes you to go from open an opportunity to close, those are the key critical metrics that you should be measuring daily.
Fred Diamond: Nelly says, “Thank you so much for the answer.” Let’s move on.
Colleen Francis: Let’s talk about the second bucket of mindset that we need to be working on, this is acceptance. Empathy has always been important in sales, we have to have the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and want to help and understand what they’re going through. During the lockdown and coming out of this next year we have to really expand this, business empathy stays the same. We also have to understand the rules of engagement and follow them without argument or judgment. I had a client the other day try to engage with a customer in an old-school way – physical cold calling – he’s a guy who doesn’t believe in masks outdoors, no judgment here on my part, that’s just his belief. He engaged with this customer outside without a mask on, the owner of the business physically chased him off the lot. What do you think his chances of doing business with that company are? I don’t really care what your politics are or your beliefs on the lockdown, you have to have empathy for the fact that your customers are going to have rules that they believe in, that they want followed. If you don’t want to follow those, then you have to call in someone else because it’s the way it is right now.
Ultimately this is about humanity and I am noting that the most successful sellers are those who have a strong degree of personal empathy, they’re calling up the elephant in the room, “How are you doing? How is your family? What kind of stress are you under? How can we help you? What are the rules of engagement? How are you most comfortable engaging with me?” People need an outlet and we can be that outlet for them because they’re stressed. They’re managing the emotions of their company, of their boss, of their family and we have to do that without judgment. This is really hard because everyone has their own feelings about what’s going on, but in order for us to be successful in selling we have to toss all of our own personal feelings about the entire situation out the door and just listen without judgment. That’s the only way that you’re going to be able to continue to do business and what we’re finding is that when we do that and we are kind to people and we help them, we win the business. My clients are hearing from their clients, “Thank you so much, I know these rules are a pain in the ass and I know that I’ve got to meet you outside at a picnic bench, but I appreciate you not fighting with us on this. I appreciate the work you’re doing to keep me in my boss’s good stead.” That goes a long way, I don’t want to see anyone get chased off the lot – literally – anymore.
The other acceptance piece, this willingness to help, I think we have to go into our customer’s lives remembering that everybody’s job is tougher these days. More people are doing more work and different work than ever before and trying to do it in a very different environment and you should be thinking, “How can we make our customer’s lives easier? How can we take some of that burden off of them and how can we help our customers keep their employees safe? Do we have a way of doing business that says we can reduce the number of vendors that are on site, we can reduce the number of people that we expose you to, we can reduce your contact completely and keep your employees safe? Because if we keep your employees safe, we keep you in business.”
Fred, I had two customers last month in November have their entire sales teams – they were small sales teams, 4 to 6 salespeople – go out with COVID at the same time. What do you do as a business if your entire sales team is down?
Fred Diamond: I hope they recovered. One thing we’ve spoken about a lot on the Sales Game Changers webinars, this goes to your last point there about safety as a differentiator, is that every customer on the planet is dealing with three things. The first is getting through COVID, dealing with COVID from a, “How do we adapt and change our business?” perspective. Second thing is the economics related to COVID, if their markets have gone away and you gave some ideas on how to recover. The third thing is whatever applies to that particular company.
We have a couple questions here that are coming in. A question comes in here from Nicholas, Nicholas is also in New Jersey, we’ve got a bunch of people in Jersey calling in today. Nicholas says, “I still feel uncomfortable asking a prospect how they really are.” That’s interesting, you talked about empathy, you talked about acceptance being empathy on steroids and Colleen, there’ve been a bunch of words that have come up over the last 8 months on the Sales Game Changers webinar. Empathy, of course, is one of the top 5 but how do you feel about that? Obviously if we have customers and we’ve gotten to know them over time and we know them personally, you know they have kids who are in elementary school or whatever, you could go a little bit deeper. Do you feel that people watching or listening today should go deeper asking, “Prospect, how are you today?” Is that comfortable?
Colleen Francis: No, I wouldn’t do that with a prospect, someone that you didn’t know. The way that I would start to develop that is maybe if it’s an initial call, you might start asking them about the rules of engagement. “Every company is different, what are the rules of engagement at your company? Because I want to make sure I’m respectful of whether or not we do video or on-site or off-site or 15 minute meetings, what does that look like?” If you can lead with the business situation, you could also ask questions like, “I’m curious, how are you guys handling employee safety?” or, “What are some of the protocols you guys have put into place?” Over time, maybe it’s the second, third or fourth meeting after you developed a little bit more relationship, then you might just be able to ask but it’s not the right question for someone you don’t know.
Fred Diamond: We have some more questions coming in but I know you have more content you want to get to so let’s get to that and then we’ll tee up some of these questions.
Colleen Francis: Let’s talk about resilience and persistence. It’s funny, I read a meme the other day that I thought was interesting, it said, “Remember, you’re having a bad day, not a bad life.” I thought that’s interesting context and I was thinking in sales this morning as I was walking to the gym – the gym, my outdoor tree [laughs] – I was like, “You’re having a bad hour, not a bad day.” In sales sometimes you have a bad day but it’s not always a bad week, it’s really about just picking yourself up and continuing to move forward. A few things here that I think are really important is you need to have a mentor, during these times you’ve got to have a mentor that is a sounding board and I would argue. Especially for younger people in the market, you should have a mentor that’s a different generation than you because those of us who are in their 50s or above have gone through multiple upswings and downswings and have gotten through them. I’m not saying that people older than you are smarter than you, I just think the context of having someone who had sold through the 2008 downturn or the oil crisis or whatever it was could actually be helpful to you.
I think you also have to let things pass, I put on here, “Water under the bridge.” You can’t hold a grudge, you can’t say, “That person doesn’t have the same beliefs as me so I’m not going to deal with them.” You’ve just got to let things flow and move on, every call is a new call, every customer is a new customer, every interaction is a new interaction.” Remember that even the best practices you had last week might not be the best practices this week given the market could change or your client situation could change. Having a willingness to change and find fun and creativity in that is really important. Failure is temporary, we deal with failure as salespeople all the time but we have to remember that it’s temporary and that there’s always somebody somewhere having success. There’s always a company that’s pivoted and tried something new, there’s always a market that you could be selling to that is booming, there’s always a way to retool your business to figure out how to make it work in a temporary or a long term fashion. The very best salespeople who do this well, who are persistent and resilient, they generalize from a specific positive.
Salespeople, we notoriously generalize from a specific negative meaning, “I lose one deal and the whole world is falling apart. The sky is falling, I will never be a successful salesperson again, all my customers are terrible and I’m going to fail.” What we need to do is take the win and say, “I won this one, I can win a million more” and that really helps with the resilience and the persistence because it will give you the energy to keep moving. Lastly, I know this sounds funny but you’ve got to have someone to vent to. I think women are better venters than men [laughs] and venting doesn’t mean whining, complaining, moaning and going on, it means just getting it out of your system and then move on. It is incredibly cathartic to have somebody in your life that you can just vent to and know that they’re like, “Understood, not going to try to help, just let it out” and then move on.
Fred Diamond: We have a comment here from Richard, I think he’s from Baltimore and Richard said, “Okay, I’ll vent: people aren’t answering my calls.” Colleen Francis, you’re an expert on sales prospecting, you’ve written the great book that I always recommend, Nonstop Sales Boom and of course you have another one coming out as well which we’re all excited for in 2021. To Richard’s comment here, even though most people that we’re selling to are probably still at home, during the beginning of the pandemic we would talk all the time. We know where everybody is so how hard could it be to get through? But people are less and less answering the phones so to Richard’s comment, what are your thoughts on that? Again, you’re a world-class prospecting expert, trainer and coach. What would be some of your advice to Richard and some of the other people who are struggling with getting through to people right now?
Colleen Francis: I’m going to take, Richard, your comment literally, they’re not returning your calls meaning you’re calling them on the telephone. I would argue that yes, there’s been a massive drop in the amount of telephone calls that are being returned for a number of reasons. I know a large insurance company that sent everyone home and no one had access to their phone systems, I know that sounds basic but they’re doing multiple jobs, they’re not set up at home in an environment where they can talk on the phone comfortably, easily, they don’t have the technology set up. All that’s being replaced with other ways of communication so most of my clients are getting much better responses on their prospecting emails, LinkedIn is huge, a lot of conversations happening through LinkedIn, a lot of connections through LinkedIn. Industry association, meetups like this where you’re prospecting within an industry association or industry forum or delivering content, webinars, email newsletters. What we’re finding is that the phone call is the last piece of communication that’s being returned, they’re building a relationship with you online digitally largely through LinkedIn but it could be Facebook or Twitter, if that’s the right social media platform for your business. It then leads to an email conversation which then leads to a telephone conversation which then leads to a video conversation.
The other thing that’s really important is to get out of the comfort zone of calling the same person. My response always when a salesperson says to me, “They won’t return my call”, how many other people are you trying in the company? If it’s not 4, 5 other people then how do you even know that that person is around? Maybe you need to call someone different, maybe you need to call a salesperson or a customer service person or someone in operations, someone in finance, someone in accounting and just keep calling different people to try to either see if they’re the right person to talk to or if they can give you some intel as to whether your contact is even present.
Fred Diamond: You mentioned that before, expanding your network within a company. We have another question here that comes in from Darren, I believe Darren is in the DC area and Darren says, “What does Colleen think about texting new prospects?” Darren is actually in enterprise software. What are some of your thoughts? We talk about it all the time, using the phone, we actually had one of your buddies, Alex Goldfayn on recently with his new book, 5-Minute Selling and we talked about using the phone, it’s a great book that he just came out with. Texting as a specific sales prospecting technique, what are your thoughts on that?
Colleen Francis: I would never text anybody cold, that’s invasive and the response you’re going to get is the response I give, “Who the hell is this?” [Laughs] you can’t have your name there. Texting is okay once you’ve made contact. Fred, if you were my prospect and we were maybe in an email dialogue or on a phone call, I’d say, “What’s your preferred way for us to confirm meetings? Would you like a text?” No different than when we used to fly, your airlines, “How do you want to receive your boarding pass? Text, print or email?” B to B tends to follow B to C by about two to three years and if you notice right now in all your B to C purchases that you’re all making online, the last question is always, “How do you want to receive delivery notifications? Text, email or none?” We need to do the same thing in our world. “What’s the best way? If I have a quick question, would you rather email or text? If I have to confirm a meeting or cancel a meeting, what would you prefer? Email or text?” Just ask, but only do it after you’ve got a relationship.
Fred Diamond: Colleen, we have time for one or two more questions before we ask you for your final action step. You deal with a lot of sales leaders, sales managers helping them manage teams. We’re going through a really challenging time right now, we’re approaching winter, you spent a good portion of your time up north, of course you’re in Florida right now. A lot of the young sales professionals or junior sales professionals who listen to the Sales Game Changers podcast and watch our webinars, they’re either living alone in a small apartment or they’re living with the same two people they’ve seen for the last nine months, or they’re in their parent’s basement and they’re not able to socialize, they’re not going to the office. It’s becoming a challenging time right now and mental health is something that we’re talking about almost every day on the Sales Game Changers podcast and webinars as well. What is your advice for sales managers to best manage that moving forward knowing that we’re going to be in the same situation for the next 60-90 days as the days continue to be smaller and it gets harder to engage?
Colleen Francis: I think managers have to be hyper aware and empathetic to the situation and they need to be on one-on-one, they need to have the, “How are you? How are you holding up? What do you need from us? How are you feeling?” conversations. I think companies that are smart about that and not shying away from the mental health aspect of their employees and especially their salespeople are those that are going to retain their employees longer and be the most successful. Probably everyone is sick of this kind of stuff but frankly, it does work. Having social hours, finishing the day tomorrow, Friday before Christmas at 3 o’clock and all getting together for a drink, having cocktails. A friend of mine who’s an executive at one of the largest banks in the country, they had an executive dinner the other night where they all cooked with the help of a chef from New Orleans. The company sent them all the ingredients from Whole Foods and the chef from New Orleans had 35 50-year-old men around their kitchens having to cook the shrimp and pasta [laughs]. I’ve got to tell you, my friend was like, “This is going to be stupid, I can’t believe we have to do this” and they had a great time and cooked a delicious meal. I think the companies have to be really open to try those things and I think they also have to be open to giving people time off. “Why do you need time off? You’re at home all the time, no one’s traveling, how exhausting can it be?”
A privately held client of mine, I was a little taken aback, too much time in technology. Their sales are down, they’re struggling and the sales VP says to me, “I’m going on my annual guy’s weekend golf trip with my dad” and I said to the President, “Really? Come on.” Because the President and the VP of Sales were going and I’m like, “Should you guys really be doing this while sales are down?” and he’s like, “I recognize that and I’m glad you brought it up to me. I feel like I have to but it’s really important to us as a company that we maintain a culture of success, that we give people mental health breaks and that we still come together as a team, so yes.” I’m like, “Okay, good, that’s fine, I just wanted to make sure that you’re doing the right thing for the organization.” They felt very strongly and it’s smart, they’ve lost no employees to stress or frustration.
Fred Diamond: Before I ask you for your final action step of the day, we’ve got some notes here. Ricky says, “Thank you so much.” Eric says, “This is great, thank you so much, Colleen.” You have a new book coming out, you were telling me before today’s show. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the new book that’s coming out in 2021 and then give us your final action step? You’ve given us a lot of great ideas, we like to end the webinars and the podcasts with a specific action step that people can do today to be more successful as sales professionals.
Colleen Francis: My new book is called Right on the Money, it’s in its final editing. To be honest, Fred, it was written pretty much in January and February and then we realized, “This needs to change” so I spent the last 9 months looking at the world very differently with my clients. It’s a book about balancing customer-centricity and doing what’s right for the customer and what the customer wants and how the customer is buying with the sales velocity and internal measures of success so that you build a company that is perfectly balanced and not over weighted to that internal driver of success but also not overly rotated to just doing whatever the customer wants at a whim. I’m excited about it, it’s got a lot of great examples and a lot of success stories that are present as of 2 o’clock today [laughs].
Fred Diamond: Before I ask you for your final action step, I just want to communicate one quick thing. We’ve got a nice little note here, “Colleen’s presentation was exceptional for the content. For each question she fielded, Colleen did not hesitate with her response, her responses were complete answers to the question, that will help my team significantly.” I’m not sure if you realize this or not but you’ve helped tens of thousands of sales professionals take their career to the next level all around the world in tech, in financial services, in manufacturing. You’ve heard me talk about the book, I read every sales book that’s come out, I go back and I read books that were written 30, 40 years ago. It’s still fresh, it was well-written, it was informative so I want to applaud you for all the great work which you may not realize that you’ve contributed to the success of so many sales professionals. I want you to bring us home, give us an action step that people should do today to take their sales career to the next level.
Colleen Francis: It’s always such a hard thing for me to have one action step, but here’s what I would recommend. I would recommend that you carve out some time, we are going into the end of the year so for a lot of sellers, it’s a bit of a slower time of year but it’s also a good time for reflection even if you’re busy. Carve out some time between now and December 31st to really take a good, hard look at what happened this year, analyze the numbers and plan to make some changes. One of the first things I would do is look at what’s working even if I don’t necessarily like it and then commit to doing more of that in January, including maybe getting a mentor or finding someone in the organization who’s been more successful than you and reaching out to figure out what they’re doing that was such a success this year. I think that will help you to create some activity, remember that action creates motivation, not the other way around. If you can find someone who has great ideas on what’s creating success in your marketplace today right now and you implement them, you’re going to be more motivated which is going to help your mindset.
Fred Diamond: Colleen, thank you so much. Stay safe and enjoy the holiday season.
Colleen Francis: Yes, you too.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo