Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sign of a True Sales Pro - Admitting We're Never Too Good for Coaching

Sales trainer Nancy Bleeke has gotten a lot of phone calls in her time - but someone calling her back after a sales call to ask advice on how to do better? Now that's a new one! Read on for her story, a great reminder that we all need a little help to keep improving our sales.

Ringggg. Ringggg. Not my favorite sound in the evening when I am in the midst of all kinds of fun mothering activities - homework, cleaning, and moderating disagreements between teenagers. And yet I picked up the phone...

"Hi Nancy, it's Virginia."

Oh, okay, I know who this is...and after some pleasantries...

"I'm calling to tell you about my work because you asked me about my new job the other night."

Hmmm. Okay.

She continued..."I'm so excited and want you to meet the guys I work with."

And so the discussion went. Me justifying I didn't need to meet these "guys" as I don't need their services and Virginia giving me more and more options on time and location because I should meet them. She was determined that I needed to do this because they are so great! And I was determined that I wasn't taking a half day of my life to meet with anyone that I didn't need to meet with.

I hung up feeling like I had dodged the bullet for now...and went on with my evening.

Forty-five minutes later ... Ringggg. Ringggg. Now who?

"Hi, it's Virginia again. I'm calling to get some advice. Do you have a few minutes?"

Of course...

"I don't think the conversation went the best before and I want your advice on what I can do to have different outcomes in making my calls."

What??? Calling a sales expert who trains people to be more successful in sales to ask for advice? Now THAT got me involved! We then had over an hour discussion on the objective of making calls, how to put the focus on the caller instead of our own excitement about what we do, asking good questions and being a great listener. Fortunately, all of these actions are critical skills she had already developed in her years in the medical profession! Now she needed to apply them to her new career in sales.

Virginia showed great professionalism. She did what so many sales professionals will not do. She:

•Evaluated her call objectively - putting aside her emotions and focusing on process and outcome
•Acknowledged that it could have gone much better - admitting that first to herself and then she
•Asked for coaching to do better next time - can you imagine how hard it was to pick up the phone and call me back?

She realized that these first calls in her new role - to the people she had existing relationships with - could make or break her future. She didn't get defensive. She listened to the advice, asked for clarification and drilled down to specific actions she could take. And finally Virginia then committed to those actions.

What a great demonstration of strong emotional intelligence!

Rookie or not, her willingness to call me back sets her apart from a lot of seasoned sales professionals. I think she has a great career ahead of her with that type of mindset.

What about you? What are you currently doing that isn't producing the results you want or need? Who can you call for advice or coaching so you can do better?

And the challenge...pick up the phone and call'll be glad you did.

Sales expert Nancy Bleeke, The SalesProInsider, helps organizations set aggressive sales goals and achieve them while boosting profitability by hiring, training and retaining the best employees. She shares her expertise with the Timely Tips ezine and her blog. Learn more and download a free ebook at


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