Colleen Stanley Welcome to Scale Your Sales Podcast. An expert on emotional intelligence and sales leadership. She has been named by Salesforce as one of the top eight influential sales experts of the 21st century. Published in six languages, Colleen is the author of Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success and Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leadership.
I had just finished reading the book Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success and it resonated with my experience in sales. I found Colleen’s phrase fascinating ‘Change your emotion, changes your story.’
I was fascinated to know Colleen made the link between emotional intelligence and sales? Colleen recalled how fortunate that a colleague brought the idea of incorporating emotional intelligence, sales, and leadership training. When she did not know what emotional intelligence was, the more she studied it, like an epiphany she saw the missing link. Like many of her colleagues in consultative sales training and speaking, however, Colleen saw salespeople execute role plays in a workshop or a coaching session, and then they get in front of that more difficult and demanding prospect and all those good skills just took a right turn. The emotions started running the meeting rather than good selling and influencing skills. We do teach a lot of the hard skills, says Colleen, it is the soft skills that help you execute the hard selling behaviours consistently and effectively.
There was a study done by the University of Michigan in 2010 and this is not to bash the 20 something-year-olds and the young professionals, but it did show clearly that empathy the which is a major influence skill, has decreased as much as 40% in the younger generation. Part of that has been linked to the onset of technology.
Everybody is looking down all the time of their smartphones, and empathy is a paying attention skill, which you got to lookup around and be perfectly present. This study was around 20-year-olds. But Colleen said she is seeing the same with 40 or 50 age group. Nobody is paying attention. We are in these meetings and we cannot pay attention long enough because we have never paid attention for more than five minutes without checking some type of electronic. Colleen talks to a lot of sales leaders about modelling the behaviour of focus, paying attention and being present because that is how you read and relate to people.
Colleen explains more about using neuroscience to manage your emotions and build a mutually beneficial relationship? We found is that people do not really understand how they can leverage this immensely powerful thing sitting on our shoulders. The brain. The term is called neural plasticity and comes from heads law, the cells that fire together wire together. If you desire to change thoughts, negative thoughts, negative emotion, negative responses, you absolutely can do it. Part of that is true visualization, carving out quiet time so what you think, say, do and repeat can become a new, more positive neuro pathway. Often referred to its hard-wiring. For example, Janice “what makes your company different? I got 100 calls from people like you” If you don’t rehearse that statement coming from a prospect and rehearse your statement verbally and mentally, you don’t have the new neural pathway that when you hear that question that statement becomes your automatic response. Mastery is absolutely within your control, but it takes repetition says, Colleen. It takes carving out quiet time to figure out what situations trigger and cause you to respond in a manner you regret.
I meditate every morning and I find that the days I miss it, the day just does not flow quite so well. I am slowing down to speed up Colleen encourage her clients to start with carving out quiet time. You will find you develop a new addiction because if you start with gratitude and how you want to show up, your brain releases the hormone of dopamine that feel-good hormone. So, you get addicted to your quiet time setting good intentions. Meditation practice is a game-changer.
Colleen talks through the difference in her just-published 9th July Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leadership book? The first section of the book Janice was written on How do you hire emotionally intelligent salespeople. Because often we hire for the hard skills, industry experience, the number of years and sales, but if you say, What’s the worst higher you have ever had? You hear not a good team player, bad attitude, did not care about working with other departments, and those are all the soft skills. So, the first part of the book is dedicated to How do you interview for assertiveness, Impulse control, Emotion management etc.
The second section of the book, then is devoted to helping sales managers teach these soft skills, it sounds good, but then how do I do it? For example, empathy, we give them a framework for teaching their sale of people how to be truly empathetic on a call. The third section we turn the mirror back on the Sales leader and say, how are you showing up from an emotion management piece being assertive rather than aggressive? How is your empathy in coaching conversation? One of the chapter titles is ‘What they don’t teach you at traditional sales management school’ If your salesperson isn’t doing something, there might be a lack of a soft skill that you need to know how to teach and develop to improve the outcome.
Colleen shares what her participants have said, about the gender differences. The men always raised their hand and say, I am not good at empathy just asked my partner or spouse. Everybody can learn it. Women might have to work on the assertive more because of their self-limiting belief, that if you are assertive, you are going to be labelled something. And the fact is, the old adage is on assertiveness is that a man is strong, and a woman is something else that negative. Colleen recalls been in meetings where men get called, ‘a jerk’ or worse, the guys just do not care. Women you must get comfortable speaking up, if someone says ‘you are coming on a little strong’ be comfortable with it, test yourself, get comfortable being assertive and get comfortable with the response.
Both genders in sales are big fixers, I talk about in the book, these great problem-solving skills.
The buyer brings you an issue and you immediately start solving the problem, and you didn’t show a lick of empathy like, ‘Wow, that must be discouraging, or you must be feeling like nothing you do matters.’ It is empathy first, and then apply your good problem-solving skills so that all requires self-awareness.
Know thy self, because that what you are not aware of, you are bound to repeat covered in the book on becoming aware of how you are showing up.
Asking do you think B2B Sellers have shifted enough to be more empathetic of the buyer’s world and more customer-centric?
Colleen said, No.
Well, done with that question.
Empathy again is paying attention skills. So, I think what gets in the way is you have got this quota over your head and you have a hard time slowing down to think about Okay. What is the day in the life of my customer?
What problems are they experiencing? But the thing and writing, I would say good copy. I call it sales copies. Whether It is a voicemail. You are leaving an email, your crafting or a LinkedIn outreach the copy is a skillset, and both sellers have not been taught that skillset, so they tend to, without knowing it defaults to, what they do. Messaging and generic messaging has changed is your buyer absolutely expects you to know my business. So, when we go in and work with company value propositions, you got to customize this by the industry, the buyer, the life cycle, the trigger events, perhaps their competitors. And so, you can just have one size fits all approach.
And I still see too many generic prospecting. So, these poor sellers are working hard. it was the funniest statement. She said I love all the technology tools we have. We are just speeding up the amount of crap we are sending out.
The one size fits all prospecting. You have one value proposition and sell into four different verticals. If you have not customized nuancing the language to the person. The buyer gets the voicemail or reads the email and immediately say, they do not get us. That is empathy when you write good sales, copy the buyer listens to the message and say this person gets me and that is the first thing in building rapport and trust. The IQ is learning how to write good sales copy, the EQ is slowing down and thinking, thinking is getting to be a lost art. You must work harder on focusing than we did 25 years ago because 25 years ago you did not have technology all over your home. The brain needs a natural reprieve. If you are not very intentional about manager your environment, your brain gets overloaded, it gets tired, and it is not that creative. Then the more stressed you get, the less empathetic you get, this is some of the physiology of sales and plays into being a successful seller.
Colleen advises asking the question. ‘Am I talking about a problem that my service can solve? Where am I talking about what I do? Then when you sit down with your good customers and ask, ‘What’s the number one reason you purchase from us? What problems did we solve? What goals did we help you achieve?
Not achieving goals is simply a pain in disguise. A lot of fast-growth companies, the pain is growing fast they cannot on-board people fast enough and know they are leaving money on the table. The fear of not being relevant is alive and well. Understand their personal pressure points? The pressure points that come from competitors. Another pressure point is how do we keep up with everything?
Colleen says diversity is the number one diversity and thought, which can come from obviously having a diverse team. And the research is clear, having a diverse team, whether its ethnic race gender is positive because everyone brings their background and perspectives. However, diversity needs to start before you get into the workplace. So, I believe we need to be reaching out to universities, and many of them have good sales programs, a lot of people do not even know sales is a great profession. University of Denver, Metro State University. They both have sales minors. I want the students to know, this is something you should seriously consider Sales as a profession. My parents and God bless them, they never did know what I did for a living. I grew up on a farm in Iowa, they did not even know that sales were a possibility. Not to complain about what we don’t have but to focus on how do we get more of what we want, which is more people in sales, more women, race, colour, gender, backgrounds because it’s a wonderful profession.
Colleen one item she will have on a desert island is an inflatable lifeboat. She said ‘I will do my meditation but I’m not Tom Hanks in Castaway, I want to get out as fastest as possible.
Go is the website https://www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com for the free resource good tips for sellers and sales managers and become part of our emotionally intelligent sales community.