31: Honesty Sells – Interview with guest expert Colleen Francis

Sales Expert and Member of the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame

In this My Quest for the Best podcast episode, Colleen Francis talks to Bill Ringle about sales, leadership, and what sales reps need to do in order to get out of the purchasing office and into that higher level of relationship with their clients.

>>> Visit MyQuestforTheBest.com  for complete show notes and more expert advice and inspiring stories to propel your small business growth. My Quest for the Best is a top-rated small business podcast with over 300 episodes of thought-provoking and insightful interviews with today’s top thought leaders and business experts. Host Bill Ringle’s mission with this show is to provide the strategies, insights, and resources that will unlock the growth potential of your business through these powerful conversations.

Interview Insights

Listen to this interview to learn:

  • How she decided to leave a successful career to start her business
  • The shipping company case study, where small spot sales were converted to larger, more frequent sales
  • What hurdles companies need to clear in order to approach sales with greater effectiveness
  • A practical tip for helping salespeople move outside their comfort zone
  • The importance of dispelling the myth that selling is an innate skill, so your business can grow

Read the Show Notes from this Episode

  • 1:05 [How Francis was recruited into sales right out of university] – “I’ve always had a career in sales.”
  • 2:05 [On why companies hired her to help with growth] – “A lot of companies, especially smaller companies, had hired me as a sales VP way too soon. We didn’t have a product yet. we didn’t really have a market yet.”
  • 3:24 How Francis decided to leave a successful career to start her own consulting business.
  • 4:00 “The good news about setting up a consulting business is that it’s not an infrastructure-heavy business.”
  • 4:25 “I didn’t feel comfortable, or neither did I feel like it was ethical for me to be searching for clients while I always working for another job.”
  • 5:43 [On Francis’s ideal client] – “We love to work with organizations that have sales teams. Typically we work with organizations in the mid to large size…in a B2B environment.”
  • 7:38 “I’m not interested in working with companies that have a hit and run attitude.”
  • 8:47 “If you spend a lot of time at the front end of that sales cycle developing that relationship, then that customer’s going to stay with you a lot longer.”
  • 9:45 The shipping company case study, where small spot sales were converted to larger, more frequent sales.
  • 11:05 “The most important thing there was getting their sales reps out of the purchasing office and into that higher-level relationship.”
  • 12:34 [On the evolution of sales] –  “We had to start talking in terms of the benefits that these big programs had, and the results that they were going to give.”
  • 12:53 [On the importance of employee engagement] –  “Just because a client signs a contract doesn’t mean that they’re actually going to use that contract.”
  • 14:02 What hurdles do companies need to clear in order to approach sales with greater effectiveness.
  • 14:39 “It doesn’t make sense to train a team on a new methodology, a new process, and a new mindset and not have anybody in place to help reinforce that.”
  • 15:15 “It’s really hard to get salespeople out of their comfort zone and start selling to different people in the organization.”
  • 16:53 “Once they meet new people, they realize how transformational that can be to speeding up the sales cycle”
  • 17:15 [The benefits of team-selling] – “Some people won’t be able to get out of their own way until they see the proof.”
  • 18:10 “The biggest leadership mistake that I see – at the CEO, or the founder, or the President – is that they believe that selling is an innate skill that people have or they don’t have.”
  • 18:26 “Selling is a skill that needs to be refined and changed and honed.”
  • 19:28 Francis’s tips and tricks for staying productive and on task.

Expert Bio

Colleen Francis is driven by a passion for sales – and results. A successful sales professional for over 20 years, Colleen has studied the habits of the top 10% of sales performers from organizations of all sizes and shapes – from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. She has complemented conventional sales wisdom with proven sales strategies that get results in today’s tough economy.

Through her company, Engage Selling Solutions, Colleen has condensed this winning formula into an internationally acclaimed sales training system, helping sales professionals everywhere to make an immediate and lasting impact on their results. Her services are regularly sought by leading organizations throughout the world including RBC, Adecco, Bell, Dow Chemical, HelmsBriscoe, Wilhelmsen, and many others.

Colleen has been distinguished as a Certified Sales Professional, is a past President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, and is a member of the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame. Sales and Marketing Magazine has called Colleen and Engage Selling “one of the top 5 most effective sales training organizations in the market today.”

Contact Info for Colleen Francis

Published by Colleen Francis

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