Nancy Bleeke is an author, professional trainer, speaker, facilitator, and president of Sales Pro Insider, Inc.
Nancy has interviewed, trained, and coached thousands of salespeople around the globe, from Fortune 100 companies to small family-owned businesses, imparting the ability to sell with the belief that selling is helping others do or decide something.
While much of the world is focused on lead generation, Nancy is focused on training people to have the relevant and productive conversations that those leads will need to move them through the sales process to a purchase decision.
Nancy’s passion is equipping the world of sales and customer service so that more people – on all sides of the transaction – get what they need from each conversation.
It wasn’t always this way. Nancy earned her BBA and started work in the HR field. She tackled the MBA program along the way, and continued working her way up to executive HR level. She found herself drawn to and working with salespeople and sales leaders. But she still didn’t want to be one of them – Nancy had hung on to negative perceptions of sales that she had since growing up in Wisconsin where she didn’t know many people in sales. Those that she did weren’t always held in high regard.
So, Nancy avoided career opportunities in sales . . . until 1997. That’s when she researched sales training options for her employer and realized she was actually in sales herself! She found that she was selling ALL the time, both at work (policies, job opportunities, ideas) and in her private life (fund-raising chair, mother, committee member). Nancy changed her perspective on sales and wanted “in.”
Nancy jumped feet first into 100% commission sales – selling training solutions and HR services. In the first year she was Rookie of the Year and as she says, “I was hooked. Yes, a reluctant salesperson learned how to succeed, and more importantly excelled at helping others do so as well.”
For over 15 years Nancy has devoted her career to helping people – and companies – embrace a sales culture, increase their sales abilities, and hire and train sales teams to excel.
Nancy believes that the actual conversations between buyers and sellers have evolved. She is adamant that too much time, energy, and effort is wasted on unproductive conversations. Being a ‘get it done’ person she decided to do something about it and to share her message – and the best practices she has collected along the way – with all of us in the book “Conversations that Sell”.
Nancy’s new book demonstrates that she knows what she is talking about and her expertise is focused on helping others’ succeed –by building their ability to move the buyer through the selling process one conversation at a time.
While writing this piece about Nancy, I searched for an example of her work that highlights her passion; her forthright views and her indefatigable resolve to defend the value of selling interactions. I found this, and I want to share it with you.
Salespeople Are Becoming Obsolete… Not!
I recently had a lively conversation with a sales professional/colleague. He, like many others have over the last decade, is predicting the death of salespeople, or at least a decrease in the need for them. I couldn’t disagree more.
As I wrote Conversations That Sell, I came to the opposite conclusion! The world of commerce—whether it’s business to business or business to consumer—needs professional sellers more than ever!
Yes, the internet makes it easy to buy many things, compare prices, collect data, and solicit opinions.
Yes, many items we need are commoditized and sold that way.
Yes, we have more information than ever to use in buying decisions.
BUT (that’s a purposeful big capital B-U-T) that doesn’t account for what real selling is.
Selling is helping someone do or decide something.
My observations and belief is that the need for salespeople isn’t going away anytime soon—well ever really.
- Too much information actually slows down decision making for many people.
- Consumers can make buying anything very complicated and often need help.
- There are many thousands of available sales jobs– showing that companies have identified the need for salespeople to build their business.
- Predictions in sales hiring are up – the Career Builders forecast identified that one of the most in demand jobs for 2013 is sales with 29% of predicted new jobs for 2013 being a sales role.
- Research cannot account for the differences in people – and how they like to (or what they need to) make a decision. It also doesn’t account for people’s socialization needs. How many people do you know make social outings out of shopping?
What the ease of access to purchases and information does mean is that sales people need to be more skilled in their conversations, more focused, more knowledgeable, creative, and must ensure that ALL they do is geared toward helping that person do or decide something.
It means that sellers need to be flexible in their conversations, seek information from the prospect about what they already know to not waste their time, and guide them to a decision effectively and efficiently.
I guess time will tell what happens to one of the oldest professions on the planet…until then I will continue to crusade and build the confidence and competence of sellers around the world.
Whilst respectful of what I would term “the old guard” she is demanding a place at “the high table of sales” and has neither fear, nor a lack of confidence. Nancy represents a new breed of sales training and coaching pioneers: She is refreshingly straightforward; devoid of sycophancy and passionate about making a difference.