If you think sales is all about being a fast talker, you’d be wrong. Today’s sales techniques are about being an active listener, building relationships and listening to your intuition.
“Sales is often misunderstood,” Colleen explains. “There still exists today a legacy that sales is a boiler room; high pressure, under handed, and so on. If more women understood the flexibility sales allowed they would go into sales.”
Younger women are looking to me
“Women tend to be worried about the pressure associated with a career in sales,” Colleen reveals. “It’s important to note there is flexibility with a career in sales. You can create flexibility and freedom in your career: where you work, who you work for and so on. You can essentially create your own ticket."
“Additionally, most companies will hire cross-industry in Sales (i.e. tech to manufacturing), so it’s easier to move into other markets with this one skill set,” she advises.
There is always a solution in sales, even if that solution is to walk away
Flexibility is something that Colleen, and her husband Chris who is a partner at at Engage (along with their dog), have taken full advantage of. “We work remotely from Miami every winter,” she reveals. “It makes sense for us in many ways: 80% of clients are U.S. based, my visa allows me to stay for extended periods, the weather in South Beach is beautiful and we enjoy an active and cultural lifestyle,“ she adds.
Sales has typically been regarded as male dominated. Colleen is one of a few highly accomplished, notable, reputable, successful women making a career as a Sales trainer and consultant. “I got into sales quite naturally; I grew up in a sales household. My Dad was a salesman, then a Sales Manager. Once a year I would go to work with him and make sales calls; actual calls to his customers,” Colleen reveals. “He never took my brother, he always took me. I literally saw him at work.”
It’s not about how much you make, but how much you keep
Colleen participated in sport and the band at school. And with those activities came fundraising. “My parents would never buy the chocolate bars, or sell them for me,” she laughs. “I had to go door-to- door to sell them.”
In 2001 Colleen started consulting. She realized companies in Ottawa needed sales help but they couldn’t afford it, so she became a Virtual VP of Sales for many companies. They then began asking her to train their VP of Sales /sales team. This morphed into training & consulting which then morphed into industries outside out of the tech sector.
“It makes no difference to my clients where I am located,” she reveals. The American companies I work for don’t care if I am in Ottawa or Miami. I can do my job, literally, from anywhere.”
A common sales mistake Colleen sees everyday: “many people spend too much time trying to sell to someone who is never going to buy,” Colleen advises. “Trust your intuition.” Additionally she adds, “prospecting solves all sales problems. Lead qualification will eventually equal a natural number of customers that will buy from you. If you have a large pipeline you are able to make good business decisions.” Without it, you don’t have the freedom to make strategic business decisions.
Colleen considers Alan Wiess a mentor who had great influence on her career. “Alan owns a wildly successful company Summit Consulting; he has written 57 books on consulting, and he focuses on helping small consulting companies like ours. His work is instrumental in my career,” she reveals.
Alan’s company is comprised of just him and his wife. “Alan has defined wealth as ‘discretionary time’. It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much money you keep and how much time you have to pursue your passions.” It is this philosophy that Colleen and her husband share.
You can create flexibility and freedom with a career in sales
Along with being avid runners, Colleen and Chris love to travel. “Go everywhere/eat anything is our life philosophy ,” laughs Colleen. Her business allows her to be spontaneous and take off at a moment’s notice. And this suits her just fine.
Giveaway: Colleen is giving away one signed copy of her book “Non-Stop Sales Boom” to one lucky oWOW reader. Click here to enter the contest.