The Unsuspecting Self Improvement Barrier of Ambivalence

In listening to a presentation on Motivational Interviewing the discussion centered around ambivalence that being the simultaneous and contradictory feelings toward something. I suddenly realized when it comes to self improvement, ambivalence is probably always one of the many barriers that potentially keep people from moving forward.

self-improvement

Credit: Gratisography

How many times do we want to do something to change the status quo and yet our behaviors are contradictory to that desire?

When we invest the time to recognize and identify the specific ambivalence that is holding us back we can then moved forward.  Of course, the shadow behind ambivalence is change and more so the fear of change.

Due to past negative conditioning, we are reluctant to change and much of that reluctance is subconscious. This is why so many self improvement initiatives fail is because all those subconscious thoughts are increasing our fear of change, our ambivalence.

What I also learned during this presentation, that making reflective statements is far more powerful (2 to 1) than asking open ended questions.  Upon my own reflection this made sense because a statement creates a stronger emotional internal, subconscious response.

As you progress through your own self improvement plan and goal setting process, consider if ambivalence is one of the barriers to your own success?

 

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The Dangerous Assumptions For Small Businesses

How many dangerous assumptions do small businesses live with every day?  These assumptions almost seem to pull the business owners into a hole or a void. Here are three areas where I have found these dangerous assumptions alive and well for many small businesses.

small-businesses

  • Strategic planning
  • Sales process
  • Talent management

Here are some quick assumptions for each of these areas:

Strategic Planning

  • I don’t need one
  • Others do not have them
  • Of course I know who my ideal customers
  • Yes I know what value my solutions deliver

Sales Process

  • Sure my marketing is working
  • Of course I know how to sell
  • Marketing is advertising
  • My salespeople have the right sales skills
  • Our inability to increase sales is the problem

Talent Management

  • My people know what to do
  • Existing skills are fine
  • Our people know our expectations
  • Sure, everyone is in alignment

These are just a few of the dangerous assumptions for small businesses I have heard in the last 30 days.  What I would like you to do is to start identifying your assumptions because each of these are barriers to sustainable results.  Then after you identify the assumptions determine the potential negative financial impact to your organization.

Please feel free to add your dangerous assumptions below.

 

 

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Are You Leading with a Command or Wish Verb?

Words do matter for leaders.  Depending upon the verbs you choose as a leader, you may be leading with a command when you want a wish or with a wish when you desire a command.

leading-with-commandThe words you choose reflects your emotional intelligence.  Leadership research continues to reveal that those leaders with high emotional intelligence secure greater and more sustainable results.

The “C” Verbs

Two popular verbs spoken in many leadership conversations are:

  • Can
  • Could

Both of these words have the hard “c” sound.  This harshness only reinforces the suggestion of leading with a command.  Even with a leader softens by his or her speech this hard “c” sound, the end result still is received as a command.

Now sometimes the leader will desire a command and in a rush use one of these two verbs.  If she or he is leading with a command end result in mind, then possibly the use of either word is acceptable. Yet from my experience, by softening the request with more emotional intelligence greater results are possible.

The “W” Verbs

These two “W” verbs are often used or rather misused with the “C” verbs.

  • Will
  • Would

When leaders use “will” instead of “can” beyond the standard grammar knowledge of “of course I can, but will I?”, they are asking for the person to consider the request. The actual sound of the “w” is softer sounding especially in the word “will.”

leading-with-commad

Some leaders may view this “asking” as a sign of weakness.  Others who are leading with a command know it is a better way to lead.  These forward thinking leaders have not abdicated their leadership responsibilities. Rather than have empathized with those with whom they are leading or attempting to lead. Empathy is a sign of emotional intelligence.

Yes for those in leadership roles (meaning everyone) the words we speak and think do matter.  Leading with a command (think authority) is the end result. However I heard numerous times from my Swedish grandmother:

Det finns mer än ett sätt att huden en katt.

Translation: There is more than one way to skin a cat

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with “the heuristic touch” for executive leaders and sales professionals in mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Are You Facing This Sales Barrier of ‘Everyone Is a Coach’?

A colleague emailed a business card of another coach who joined a local Chamber of Commerce. His email RE line read: Everyone is a coach.  This statement has become a sales barrier for many good executive coaches who go beyond the platitudes offered by some coaches.

With executive coaching continuing to grow and be marketed as the “quick fix” to gain instant wealth, this sales barrier will continue to expand because not everyone is a coach, or at least an effective, results driven coach.

For executive coaches and business coaches who have a proven track record of delivering results, many must overcome this implied sales barrier or sales objection. In the past month I have encountered several new coaches from a multi-level marketing leadership coaching program to a well-known author who has developed his leadership coaching program.  Then there is a national survey firm that is now offering leadership coaching program based on its assessment. By the way this assessment’s validity is less than reliable and yet because of the firm’s market presence people are buying into it.

The Attribute Index Is One of the Most Accurate Assessments for Leadership Development

Additionally from a personal level, approximately 25% of my executive coaching, business coaching or sales coaching clients have had a negative experienced with a coach. They reached out to me because of these three tips I am sharing with you.

So the question becomes how do you as an executive coach, business coach or consultant overcome this flood of “everyone is a coach?”

sales-barrier

Tip #1 – Credibility through Crystal Clarity

Establish, build and reinforce your credibility.  Through effective marketing you can establish, build and continually reinforce your credibility. This focus helps to overcome this sales barrier or sales objection.

If you are a coach, then focus on coaching.  Many coaches lack crystal clarity and attempt to be everything to everybody. In reviewing several LinkedIn profiles of executive coaches and business coaches, I read in the headline variations of “coach, mentor, speaker, author or trainer.”  What these individuals were doing was focusing on keywords and thereby they unintentionally placed themselves in the Red Ocean” as described in the book, Blue Ocean Strategy.

Tip #2 – Stop with the Sales Pitch in Your Marketing Messages

sales-barrier

Peter Drucker said and I am paraphrasing “When marketing is done well, selling if effortless.” Others have said “Marketing is not selling; but selling is marketing.”  When small business owners understand the sales process and then integrate those specific steps into their overall business operations, amazing results are possible including business growth and increase sales.

Additionally, ideal customers to centers of influence can easily smell the “desperation of sales stench.” The sales pitch body language is partly responsible for this foul odor.

And let us not forget those having the “hooves and mouth” disease only further contribute to this sales barrier or sales objection. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Hooves and mouth disease is you are so busy talking with your hands, shoving business cards to brochures and talking with your mouth, you have forgotten you have 2 ears.

Tip #3 – Let Go of Fearing Your Competition

sales-barrier

Credit: Gratisography

Rick Gosser of Gosser Corporate Sales said it best “I have no competitors.”  Sure he understood there are others within the embroidery apparel industry. However, he believes no one does exactly what he does and delivers the quality that he provides.

When we fear the competition, we probably have failed to embrace tips #1 and #2.  Over the years I have established significant professional and personal relationships with executive coaches, businesses coaches and sales coaches.  In some instances, I have made referral to these professionals because my practice does not center of mergers and acquisitions (M&A)  or selling  small businesses  My crystal clarity is to ensure sustainable business growth after the merge and acquisition for forward thinking leaders.

President Roosevelt said “The greatest fear is fear itself.”  Fear is indeed “False evidence appearing real.”  When we no longer fear the competition, we are less likely to criticize them.

If you are facing sales barriers or sales objections because everyone is a coach, then consider these 3 tips.  By differentiating yourself you can be the Red Jacket in that sea of gray suit coaches.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with “the heuristic touch” for executive leaders and sales professionals in mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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A Quick Checklist Before You Sign That Sales Training Contract

You think you have covered all your bases.  The sales training contract you are about ready to sign has met all of your requirements.  Just make sure these items are covered before you sign on the dotted line.

sales-training-contract

 

Deliverables

What specific deliverables will the sales training coach, consultant or firm commit to delivering to you? Sometimes, this item is what differentiates sales training solutions.  What happens is assumptions are made on both parties and these assumptions could lead to an unsuccessful outcome.

Assumptions

Speaking of assumptions, what assumptions exist for this sales training contract to be successfully executed.  These items could range from responsibility of locating the training location to having technology present to payment of travel expenses.

Benchmarks

How will the sales training’s effectiveness be measured?  Who will be responsible for ensuring the benchmarks will be monitored?

Results

What are the specific results to be achieved through this sales training contract? Whose responsibility will it be to ensure those results are achieved?

Return on Investment (ROI)

Is there some way for return on investment (ROI) to be measured?  Some within the sales training communities argue this is very hard to calculate.  From my experience, just the opposite is true. ROI can be calculated and that calculation can be rather simple and easy.

Timeline or Schedule

sales-training-contractDid the sales training contract provided an possible timeline for the delivery of the actions/deliverables within the solution.  This action timeline or schedule would include pre and post appointments if any, actual flow of the workshop including learning objectives which are directly connected to the results and ROI.

After submitting numerous statements of work, I have realized these items helped to differentiate me and my consulting practice from all those other gray suits. This checklist allowed me to Be the Red Jacket. Additionally by including these items in my statement of work, I have also protected myself from scope creep which can quickly drain the profits of any sales coach, sales trainer or sales training firm.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with “the heuristic touch” for executive leaders and sales professionals in mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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How to Unlock Your Real Estate Marketing Message

Real estate marketing is changing. Yet many realtors have the same old tired, gray suit messages. Jump over to Zillow or Truila and read real estate listing after real estate listing that sounds more like dry, boring resumes than invitations to visit this home or that one.

real-estate-marketing

First Real Estate Marketing Message

For example, here is one example I just found.

Lovely, Spacious Ranch, over 1400 Square Feet, located close to School. This 3 Bedroom/1.5 Bath Ranch features; Master Suite, with 2 Large closets, and Bathroom, Huge Bonus room, with new laminate flooring and sliding double doors to back yard. The Kitchen has New Cabinets, flooring & counters. The Living room is spacious and hallway leads to 3 bedrooms and a full bath.

Outside of the “lovely,” this message looks to the logic of the buyer and fails to appeal to the emotions.  By taking this action, the realtor and the home’s seller have broken Sales Buying Rule #2 – People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.

The Contender Message

What would happen if the real estate marketing was written like a story where the potential owner begins the story when opening the front door? Not having seen the inside of the above home, I will use my own home as an example:

As you walk into this 1,500 sq. ft. home, the living room with its cathedral ceiling and wood burning stove immediately greets you. The open staircase leads to a spacious loft and large master bedroom (12×19) with its own half bath. Two main floor large bedrooms with ample closet space and a full bath add to that big house feeling.  The kitchen with its custom solid wood cabinets (glass doors, lighted cabinets and wine rack) and a view of your own private woods (additional parcel) from the large kitchen windows or from the large concrete patio give you the sense of your own private retreat.  Solid 6 panel oak doors, ceiling fans in all rooms, hall guest closet, separate laundry room with laundry tub and stackable washer/dryer (stays), osmosis water softener, storage shed, all appliances (double doors refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, & freezer), new energy efficient windows, new siding, newer roof, large one car garage and two car driveway complete this cozy, one owner, 1.5 story Cape Code in a quiet neighborhood with excellent schools and very low taxes.

The purpose of any marketing is to attract attention and to begin to build a relationship with the goal being for the ideal customer to take action to connect with the business or in this case realtor or homeowner. Additionally when the marketing message can overcome many of the sales objections, selling truly becomes effortless.

Time to Compare

“Lovely” leaves a lot to interpretation and can mean anything from clean to neutral decor.  In the second message, the opening is emotionally centered through “cathedral ceiling.” Potential buyers understand that cathedral ceiling means open and inviting. There resides a positive emotional experience within this word along with far greater clarity.

real-estate-marketingUpon further comparison both homes highlighted the master suite.  However, the second one incorporated the word spacious and included actual size of 12×19.

Kitchens are said to sell homes. In first example, the home has new kitchen cabinets. Yet the second one provided detailed explanation of “custom solid cabinets” and further stated (glass doors, lighted cabinets and wine rack). If you had a choice, what kitchen would you want to visit first?

Again both homes mention a school. Yet does the buyer want just a school or an excellent school?

Finally, the second one closes with an attraction hook – very low taxes. Today’s home buyers are better educated and desire (emotion) low taxes. This hook is far better than the first home where the end of the real estate marketing message is “full bath.”

Yes words do matter in any marketing message.  My suggestion to realtors is to stop with the boring, gray jacket real estate marketing message and begin to Be the Red Jacket where your marketing copy makes selling the home almost effortless.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with “the heuristic touch” for executive leaders and sales professionals in mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

 

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The Greatest Gift of All to Give

Have you ever thought about the greatest gift one of all the gifts you can give?  Now with the rush of the holidays over and the New Year again beginning, my sense is many of us fail to recognize what is truly the greatest gift we can give to others as well as ourselves.

greatest-gift-of-allThis week when speaking with a professional colleague and receiving her thank you note, I realized what this great gift of all is because without it we would not be open to the other great gifts we receive.

That gift is freely given time. 

Freely giving time to others, to ourselves is the greatest gift of all because all other gifts come back to time.

Now some reading this posting may be silently or even verbally experiencing some incredulous thoughts because from their perspectives there are greater gifts than time. For example,

  • Love, the ability to love ourselves or love others is considered to be a great gift
  • Faith in a higher deity or in one’s self is another great gift
  • Trust for some is a great gift

The list could go on and on.  Yet when we look at love, faith or trust, each requires freely given time because time must be given to:

  • Love
  • Live one’s faith
  • Trust in someone or something

Without freely giving of our time, we would lose the opportunity for those other gifts as well as not know if progress is being made. Our gifts have multiplied through time, we love more, we are more faithful and trusting.

Yes, time freely given is the greatest gift of all.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with “the heuristic touch” for executive leaders and sales professionals in mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Why Aren’t You Where You Want To Be?

One of my most favorite questions is this very simple one:  Are you where you want to be? 

where-you-want-to-be

Credit: Gratisography

The shaking of heads to the subtle frowns suggest for most people the answer to that self improvement question is No.

So why aren’t you where you want to be then becomes the next question.

Now those responses are varied from “got no” (fill in the blank) to “I’m too” (fill in the blank) to “I’ve tried without any success.”

There are, from my experience, 3 self-improvement barriers as to why you are not where you want to be.

#1 – No Clarity

When we lack clarity as to what the real issue is or the real barriers are (usually we are the greatest barrier), then we are unable to move forward to change the status quo.  This is very much like treading water, keeping moving, but without making any discernible self-improvement progress.

where-you-want-to-be

#2 – No Reflection

From reflection we can enhance the clarity and begin to see visualize where we want to go.  Through reflection, we take inventory of our talents as well as clearly articulate our purpose, our passion and our performance.  At this time we may recognize our commitment to taking action is lacking.  Possibly we may seek a mentor or some outside resource to ensure future self improvement efforts will lead us to where we want to be.

#3 – No Written Goals

When we consistently commit our goals to writing after engaging in clarity and reflection, we can begin to build the foundation for our plans to move forward to where we want to be. By investing the time to write our goals using the WAY SMART goal criteria we are actually engaged in critical thinking and this connects back to reflection and clarity.

Yes the answer is pretty simple as to why you aren’t where you want to be. Again, you and only you have the power to move you to where you want to be?  There are no excuses, but unidentified barriers that are keeping you in the current status quo.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with “the heuristic touch.” Her task is to support forward thinking leaders be them in executive roles or sales professionals in mid-size to small businesses who recognize the need in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

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The Endless Small Business Stream of Got No Excuses

Boy if I had a dime for every time I hear one of these “got no” excuses from small business owners, I would indeed be a millionaire.

small-busninessThis past week I heard the following seven got no excuses multiple times:

  • Got no time
  • Got no money
  • Got no sales
  • Got no people
  • Got no clients
  • Got no sales leads
  • Got no patience or some other attitude

I wish I could say I got no clue as to the why behind all these got no excuses, but that would be a lie.

Why the “Got No” Exists

Human nature is pretty easy to understand.  It is very much like water and will take the path of least resistance.

Taking no action and allowing others or circumstances to direct one’s life shifts the lack of results off the shoulders from the “Got No” small business owner, sales professional or business executive.

Facing the Truth

small-businessThis past week I listened to Miles Austin talk about some of the realities in sales. He quoted a study by Omniture that 45.2% of salespeople never responded to phone calls.  From my own informal research, I can attest more than 85% of all salespeople do not follow up on every single sales lead.

One of my colleagues years ago said “We drive by more business than we will ever have.”  There is a lot of driving by going on and little follow-up because the hard cold truth is there is business out there. Small Business Coaching Tip:  The book, Leadership and Self-Deception is a great read and supports facing the truth.

Emotionalize What You Want

When people really want something, they will make the time and find the money. The challenge is the emotionalization of all the “Got Nos” is lacking. By emotionalizing the desired end result be it money,new sales, sales leads or some other necessary small business interpersonal attitude, this directs human nature away from the path of least resistance. Remember human beings are emotional creatures, first and foremost. This is by organic design.

Discover the Barriers

small-businessThe “Got No” happens because barriers preventing the desired results have not been discovered. When a small business person applies some critical thinking skills to what is keeping him or her from achieving the desired results, those Got No barriers can be identified and then solutions with actions steps can be delineated.

Leverage Your Talents

Do you know with 100% clarity what you do really well? Chances are you don’t and this becomes part of the path of least resistance. Additionally by allowing behavior conditioning to take over, the tendency is to waste a whole lot of time attempting to improve what we don’t do well or worse yet turn non-talents into weaknesses. Small Business Coaching Tip: The Attribute Index is a talent assessment that identifies 78 key talents in under 12 minutes,.

Make Course Corrections through Reflection

small-business

Invest the time to reflect each day as to what went well; what did not go as well as planned and where tomorrow brings new opportunities.  Return to your written WAY SMART goals, make those course corrections. This is not the time to take the path of least resistance, throw up your hands and spew those ridiculous “got no” excuses.

You and only you have the power to make the change you want.  Now is the time to take action so you can be where you want to be.  If you need some support, call a friend, a mentor or even hire an executive coach.  I know a good one.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with a heuristic touch for mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

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The You Go First Leadership Challenge

You go first. Have you experienced what really is a leadership challenge?

leadership-challengeI remember this from my childhood.  My young cousin would push me and say “You go first.”  And I usually did so, in spite of my fears.

One of these times was scaling down a very steep hill to explore some caves during a summer vacation. Another time was diving off a pier and swimming across a very wide and deep channel into a small harbor.

Then of course there was always the “you go first” in school. What student would raise his or her hand first to answer the teacher’s question?

As time went on, I sometimes would hear the “You go first.”  Now some 50 plus year later, I rarely hear this leadership challenge.

Today I observe others with the you go first dilemma. Should I or shouldn’t I is racing across their foreheads at business to business networking events to luncheon meetings.

Who wants to go first?

Those who are comfortable as young children going first probably now as adults are more comfortable going first be it first in business, first in innovation or first in leadership. These in many instances are today’s risk takers.

Leap-of-faith-BI-F-00

They do not hold their fingers up to the wind to see which way the wind is blowing. They do not take polls before taking action. No they jump, dive, leap, or step forward without knowing the consequences, but having faith in their purpose.

Yes these forward thinking leaders have fears  just I had fear as I climbed down a 100 foot steep and slippery hill seeking some hidden caves. The “What if I fail fear” was my partner then and still lurks in the shadows even today. No one likes to fail.

What I have learned that failure is part each leadership challenge that I have faced.

My most recent “you go first” was a question I posed to my husband about considering a specific decision. Had I not posed the question, right now things would be different.  We are now both excited about this new leadership challenge we are facing together without any fear of failure.

If you want a different tomorrow, then ask yourself are you willing to go first?  Are you able to face this leadership challenge with the knowledge of you might fail? The gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s’ goals may just start with this simple thought:

You go first!

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with a heuristic touch for mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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