Bernadette McClelland shares her big idea. It is to shift the global perception of the B2B sales profession by firstly shifting the way salespeople think about themselves.
In an earlier chapter I was a sales executive with Xerox Australia, Kodak and Computer Associates and responsible for leading high net worth sales, new product launches and managing projects driving specific outcomes.
I was also one of the only women in a corporate alpha male sales environment before gender diversity was a hot topic.
Another chapter saw me run my own SME where I was responsible for new product development, importing and operations.
Yet another chapter saw me as the Asia Pacific coach working across 12 countries with the world’s peak performance coach, Anthony Robbins where I helped hundreds of people redefine their levels of respect, relevance and results.
I made money. I lost money. I helped others make money
All these experiences led me to be able to tell a new and refreshingly different story where being totally aligned to your values, your identity and the impact you have on yourself and others, as a salesperson, will guarantee your success in selling. It’s what I have coined, ‘Conscious Selling’.
Freckle-faced, fair skinned and filled with a sense of adventure, I landed in Australia at 18 years of age, and after answering an ad in a local paper it led me to selling stationery sets door to door on behalf of Multiple Sclerosis. I realized my financial success back then, earning $7 per hour mind you, was based on wanting my new ‘customers’ to help the kids who were health poor. We made the kids the hero.
Time moved on and a few years later, I then hit what I thought was ‘the big time’. I was inducted as a rookie sales trainee in Xerox in the early 80s but not without a fair amount of emotional grief. Working hard for the money, I was told I didn’t have what it took to be in sales and was turned down three times. Out of 60 salespeople, there was one other woman. My business card even said ‘salesman’. Twenty years later – a pacesetter, an expert in my sector, a multiple award winning, senior sales executive for that company, I realised I had achieved my goal, decided to leave and boldly take the road less travelled.
There was a bigger difference I wanted to make and in the early 2000’s I formed my first consultancy – Sales-Meetings.com. Being awarded ‘Best New Speaker for Victoria’ with the National Speakers Association as well as being a regular contributor to business magazines (even making the cover of one), I was determined to conquer my own uncertainty and it didn’t take long to realize I was not alone in my beliefs and thinking. A huge gap existed in the sales environment as my clients were exhibiting. The first was a need to marry authentic personal leadership skills with sales strategies and secondly; an undiscussed need for female role models and mentors in alpha male dominated sales environments. I was off and running…
However, challenges forced me to shift direction a couple of years later and my husband and I purchased a retail business in country Victoria. After turning it around 180 degrees and taking it to a Telstra and Powercorp award winning status, even hosting our own regular radio show, we then acquired one of our national suppliers and upped the ante.
But curve balls come your way, especially when things are going well. Being bedridden for a year and on the brink of the unthinkable, I was no longer able to drive the business. Sales reduced, staff disappointed, our business venture failed and bankruptcy prevailed. We had just lost every single asset we owned, acreage, houses and access to money. It was only a matter of time and for six long months we found ourselves deep in Australia’s welfare system, Centrelink.
A few months later, we asked ourselves some hard questions. What value do we have to give? What value will people buy?
It was at this time I realized the full impact sales has on a business and ultimately on people’s lives. Salespeople have a responsibility to think differently. To think past themselves. To think past the money. They have a responsibility to reassess their real intention before, during and after a sale, because the ripple effect for a business and the families attached to any business is huge. And businesses are people.
Having a strong skill set in the strategic B2B and consultative sales environment as well as a passion for psychology and human behavior resulted in an extremely fortunate invitation to be the sales and business coach across the Asia Pacific region for human behavior expert, Anthony Robbins. I even increased coaching sales from 5% to 30% after speaking at one of his flagship events because I believed in my story. Salespeople need to tell more stories.
After grabbing hold of a fresh opportunity, a new chapter was created and clarity around my purpose and desire to use my talents, strengths and experiences to make a difference to others across the the world of sales leadership had been borne.
As a result, from the UK and Thailand to NZ and the USA, along with taking my 3 Day Sales Mastery event to Delhi, India, the conversations I was beginning to have with my clients shifted their results by over 100% in some cases by having them embrace the 9 conversations behind my much needed book, The Art of Commercial Conversations.
I am committed to raising the bar for B2B selling to be more ‘real’ and transparent, and also have a strong focus on supporting and nurturing emerging female sales leaders and female sales executives within male oriented B2B environments to reach their true leadership potential. This has culminated in me being asked to be a keynote speaker at Europe’s Leading Sales Event, ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ in London May 2016 – achieving yet another goal of being Australia’s leading female speaker on a global platform.
We all have a privileged responsibility to make a difference whenever we can.
Here’s to the ChangeMaker in you and the difference you make!
As a mum of two adult children, I couldn’t be more proud. My daughter Danielle is a 10 year veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force achieving the rank of Sergeant in a very short period of time, serving in the Middle East and now in a sales and customer service role. My son Matthew, a past leader in the Air Force cadets, sports fanatic and coach is also in a successful B2B sales role.
I have been married to my supportive and crazy husband Tim for nearly a quarter of a century and who happens to be a National Sales Manager for an agribusiness company.
Not only is sales and leadership clearly in the blood… you can only imagine our conversations over breakfast!
I love to read and write, I pretend to be a great golfer and I openly laugh at my own attempts at humour.
So whether you are looking to inspire your team, define key steps to achieve your goals, or jumpstart a new level of revenue generation, I clearly have the experience and results to help you bridge those gaps effortlessly and easily.