This interview is with the multi-talented Maura Schreier-Fleming, who is currently president of Best@Selling, where she works with business and sales professionals to increase productivity and sales. She also founded National Salesperson’s Day in march of 2000, which falls on the 6th of December this year. So we thought: what better way to start the holiday than to do an interview with the woman who made it all possible?
#1 According to your LinkedIn you have an impressive background in the sales business and publications as well. You’re an author, a sales coach, had several columns in some major Business Journals… Tell me what are you proud of the most! What are you working on nowadays?
I’m most proud of the business relationships I’ve created over the years. I have worked with some very smart and successful business professionals. I learn from them all. I was in the oil business for over 20 years and when I left it in 1997 to start Best@Selling (BestatSelling.com), I am proud to say that I still keep in touch with my friends from those days. They have hired me in my new role. They were both customers and friends. Now I continue to write, speak and consult. I’m working with a few organizations to build and deliver world wide sales webinars. I’ve developed the Persuasion module where I show sales professionals how to “read” customers and customize selling so customers buy. I have delivered the questioning module which is asking the questions that guide your customer to buy. I have delivered the strategy program which is finding and calling on prospects who are most likely to buy from you. I have a program which I’ll be delivering Dec. 17 on Would Have Liked To KNow That for sales professionals and managers new to selling. They get to learn those problems to avoid so they can be more successful in sales! I’m also in the process of revamping my website and finishing a 90 Day Performance plan for a client so his new sales hires can quickly close business.
#2 On a day in March, 2000 you just said “Ok, today is National Salesperson’s Day”. Am i right?
Well, not exactly. I had been thinking about a day to celebrate sales professionals. After all, we do work hard and you don’t hear about people celebrating salespeople. You do hear about people loving their purchases. I wanted to make that connection to the people who helped make that joy happen.
#3 So how this idea came to you? What does it take to create a worldwide holiday out of the blue?
I had heard about a publication Chase’s Calendar of Events. This is kind of the clearinghouse for celebrating national holidays. I thought, why not salespeople? I proposed the day.
#4 At the beginning National Salesperson’s Day was on the first friday of March. When and why have you decided to move it to the first friday of December?
I’ve moved it around for a few reasons. March is kind of a quiet month for holidays. So it was in some years in March. I thought it would stand out. I’ve decided to move it to December because that’s when so many consumers are buying. Those products were sold by someone and that should be recognized. Also, at year end, salespeople are taking a breath to (hopefully) celebrate another successful year.
#5 What was the original philosophy behind the event? Has it changed during the years?
It’s really all about the public recognizing that selling is a profession. Sales professionals work hard whether a salesperson is a business-business sales professional or a business to consumer sales professional. Most people misunderstand the skills that salespeople must have. It’s not so much about talking, but successful salespeople have listening skills, questioning skills and strategic skills. The sales greats make selling look easy. It’s not. That’s why National Salesperson’s day exists. It’s to celebrate the great sales professionals and those who aspire to be great. The philosophy hasn’t changed over the years. It’s to recognize sales professionals and gain more respect for the profession.
#6 How many people take part in NSD? What’s a typical NSD festivity (if any)?
I know the holiday is listed on many calendars so I’m not sure how many people celebrate. I know of some companies whose management takes salespeople to lunch that day. Other salespeople take customers to lunch. I think it’s an individual thing as to how it’s celebrated. Wouldn’t it be nice if some sales managers tell their top performers, “Take the afternoon off!”
#7 What do you suggest for your colleagues about celebrating their day? What’s your plan, how are you going to celebrate?
I know I’m going to celebrate with other sales professionals and go to lunch! I’m also going to be calling a few clients to thank them for allowing me to be in the best job in the world. After all, no salesperson could thrive without customers.
You can follow Maura on Twitter, or her blog where she shares her golden thoughts. Finally thanks Maura for the interview and for the National Salesperson’s Day as well. I hope everyone working in sales gets a small break today and just enjoy their moment and share it on twitter (remember to use the #SalespersonDay hashtag). To their colleagues i suggest to invite them to a lunch, a coffee or just have a party as usual..