Maybe it is just me, but I find myself continually unsubscribing from the same people over and over again.
Give me a “fricking” break!
What happened to having high business ethics?
Today I once again had to unsubscribe me from the following message, two different times even though it was from the same source (an alleged digital marketing expert):
“Don’t’ wait, get This NOW…because it’s GONE at MIDNIGHT!”
I would not buy anything from this turkey even if it was free.
His less than ethical digital marketing has me firmly convinced anything he says is a lie and a scam.
I continue to read about the outrageous cost of handling email and its impact of productivity.
Billions spent on reading email costing billions in lost productivity.
Business ethics is embedded within all business behaviors including marketing and sales.
- Stop adding people to your lists without their permission (permission based marketing)
- Stop buying lists from different companies and believing they want your usually bad marketing message
- Stop with the unethical marketing and sales practices
And please remember, we live in a very connected society and I have no problem warning others about your lack of business ethics when I must repeatedly “unsubscribe me.”
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Small business owners and sales management love to whine about poor sales.
If only these sales people would get out their and sell.
Kurlan & Associates revealed extensive sales research with the conclusion that 3 out of 4 sales representatives are clueless.
This report also lists 4 key characteristics of good salespeople for small businesses to large ones.
The only problem with this thorough research is Kurlan & Associates failed to address the number one reason why small business salespeople “suck!”
Poor Leadership by Small Business Owners and Sales Management
- Setting the bar and providing the support needed to fuel the desire to reach that bar?
- Communicating the goals as well as alignment to strategies, structure, processes, rewards and people (5 Star Model)?
- Modeling responsibility first before demanding responsibility from salespeople?
- Demonstrating positive outlook and sharing strategies to keep a positive mental mind set?
What this sales research really revealed and this is not new as other firms have come to similar conclusions is that there is:
- No strategic hiring process
- No strategic goal driven action plan
- No formal performance appraisal process
- No ongoing sales training and development of salespeople
The executive team for any small business is responsible for hiring right and then supporting the sales team. Performance gaps potentially begin when hiring right is not the first priority and then having no gaps in the 5 Star Model (strategy, structure, processes, rewards and people).
If you small business sales “suck,” then stop whining and looking for the quick fix by hiring that next sales superstar.
Start leading by having:
- Strategies (developed through your strategic action plan)
- Structure both physical buildings and organizational
Success for small business rarely happens without great leadership and leadership is often overlooked because it is easier to whine, blame others instead of taking the reins of leadership and leading.
Get started now by changing your “suckee sales” and schedule a 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:
#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process
#2 – One business growth strategies to increase results by 20% in 60 daysShare on Facebook
Think about the majority of organizational leadership development programs.
Additionally this competency commonality is supported by an internal belief that by training or developing key personal competencies those individual leaders will contribute positively to the bottom line.
If this was true, then why does execution that being the inability to achieve the goals (think operational excellence through desired results) still continues to rank in the top 10 challenges faced by executives to those in sales management? (Sources: Conference Board, Ernst & Young)
The competency based leadership development program or model is held together with these two words:
Hope & Prayer
There is an internal hope that if the organization grows the leaders through specific qualities, then praying takes over to ensure the results may be achieved.
Now does this really make sense?
If human beings are unique individuals with unique characteristics and talents, then the real question to ask yourself is:
Am I looking at leadership development from the wrong end of the horse so to speak?
What would happen if you or your business would define the desired results first and then grow both the people (leaders) and the processes to achieve those results?
- Would there be improvement in execution?
- Would leaders be using their own key talents in their efforts:?
- Would there be greater alignment between the strategy, structure, processes, rewards and the people? (5 Star Model)
A results based leadership model makes more sense for several reasons.
#1 – Alignment between actions and desired results is increased.
#2 - Leaders would be using their own key talents instead of being forced to improve their weaknesses.
#3 - A competitive advantage becomes natural because the business becomes one of the few to achieved the desired results instead of one of the many who is still living with hope.
The competency leadership development model never really was effective because this model:
- Drained the resources of time, energy money and emotions within the organization
- Failed to leverage the natural talents of the leaders
- Created failed communication that generated failed execution because of misalignment
If you or your organization truly want to be one of the few, then deep six the competency based leadership development program and start fresh with a results based leadership model.
Fail-Safe Leadership is a quick read (under150 pages) and provides some “straight talk,” “no fluff” in how to correct the leadership challenges in your organization.
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Years ago I heard a speaker said that sales was in actuality all about facilitation that being the easy exchange of information. Being a facilitator as one who guides the easy exchange of information makes sense as a viable sales leadership temperament.
A salesperson with this sales leadership temperament truly “enjoys showing others how to do things for that person’s own sake” because of the positive empathy (people and feelings) and the positive practical thinking (doing). (Source Innermetrix Attribute Index)
Having a negative systems judgment (thinking) suggests this person “does not work do not work well under strong direct supervision.” Sales management continue to look for self-starters who do not need to be micro-managed. However, the sales training especially the sales onboarding process must provide the boundaries for the salesperson. (Source Innermetrix Attribute Index)
From a little broader perspedtive, salespeople with this sales leadership temperature of facilitator “prefer casual leadership that gives them room to move and make decisions on their own.” Additionally, given their druthers, they prefer being the ones supervising instead of being supervised. (Source Innermetrix Attribute Index)
Another positive is these individuals place greater “importance on people’s needs and the needs of the objective than you do the rules that govern them both.” On the negative side, by placing greater emphasis on people, the salesperson may be “a little over-trusting of others.” (Source Innermetrix Attribute Index)
What I have discovered within my small business coaching, executive coaching and talent management consulting after delivering the Innermetrix Attribute Index to hundreds of salespeople is the external emotional biases are even more accurate than the external decision making styles. The external emotional temperament provides a snap shot of the person’s behaviors in a very simple way to understand.
When individuals know their sales leadership temperaments coupled with their decision making styles along with the 78 key talents, they can begin to enfold this talent assessment knowledge into their everyday sales leadership performance giving them much better results.Share on Facebook
Working through problems within the sales process is all about proactive thinking through a variety of different sales leadership talents. Last week the focus was on problem management and today the discussion looks at problem or situation analysis.
Within the Attribute Index as published by Innermetrix, problem or situation analysis is a sales leadership talent that demonstrates the “The ability to identify the elements of a problem situation and to understand which components are critical. The ability to identify critical activities in a process, to be able to break down the process into its component activities. Based partially on a person’s ‘Integrative Ability.’ “
The key difference between problem or situation analysis and problem management is the order of doing. Analysis comes before management.
Those who have a good capacity with the sales leadership talent “will be able to clearly see the various dimensions of a cognitive structure. This allows the person to see different types of situation structures and thereby see different types of solutions.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)
Salespeople who lack this sales leadership talent may have “an inability to see all sides of situation, and may miss the most obvious solution. They may be bound by an over-all focus on structure, excessive focus on people, or other excessive focuses.”
This talent is critical for all top sales performers and especially those who consistently engage in complex sales or sales with long lead times. Failure to see the big picture and not being able to see potential problems will doom the relationship before it even begins.
This talent along with the 77 other talents within the Innermetrix Attribute Index talent assessment brings clarity to a salesperson’s actual strengths. Most people know what they do not do well with far greater clarity as to what they actually do well. Today being ignorant of one’s sales leadership talents may adversely impact sales results.
Next week, the sales leadership talent of problem solving ability will be discussed.
P.S. The Fishbone Diagram tool is great for simplifying problem and situation analysis.
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Attracting attention is getting harder and harder especially if you are one of the 97.7% of US small businesses with under 20 employees.
Your target market or ideal customer profile is being bombarded with an overload of information via content marketing. This graphic from Domo.com shows how much information is happening every minute of every day.
Much is written about having quality content, relevant content from blogs to You Tube videos.
Your content marketing goal has evolved beyond just attracting attention to gently or not so gently pushing the envelope where your target has that Ah-Ha moment and begins to think about your small business differently.
One competitive advantage is to use compelling graphics because the eyes are the gateway to attracting attention and making decisions about you, your firm and your solutions.
Another advantage is consistency of your message across all inbound and outbound marketing channels.
A third competitive advantage is enlarging your community by aligning with others and agreeing to share your content marketing efforts. This may included writing for industry online publications or writing a guest blog for another small business.
Of course those who entered the flow of content marketing years ago may still have somewhat of a competitive advantage. However, unless they have been diligent in staying ahead of the flow, their marketing messages may also be drowning in the sea of information overload.
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Do you want your marketing messages to have impact?
Researchers at MIT discovered these critical facts about how people process visual images:
- The brain through the eyes takes 13 milliseconds to process a visual (picture)
- Evolution has the older part of the brain making decisions (fight or flight)
- People have an almost instantaneous capacity to make decisions through visual images including understanding the meaning within those images
In the simplistic of terms, your eyes through evolution love visuals.
Thees are able to quickly process and determine the message within the picturel.
Our brains are hot wired for visuals.
If you disagree, Jump over to Google + or Facebook and see all the likes on photographs or pictures without any text.
Ask yourself why do you get bored watching PowerPoint presentations?
How come children love picture books?
Why do people still enjoy comics?
The research from MIT is aligned to research through the Aberdeen Group that reveals visual story telling leads to:
- 15% shorter average sales cycle
- 50% higher lead sales conversion rates
Yes a picture is a worth a thousands words.
Choose your marketing pictures carefully and use your words to enhance your compelling story so you can Be the Red jacket in the sea of gray suits.
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Of course our brains like us living by default as it such actions take less energy.
How many times do we get stuck in the same well worn, comfortable, complacent rut?
We find that our doing the same things over and over again not only may lead to insanity, but to a deeper rut with higher walls.
Breaking free becomes increasingly difficult.
Acquiescing to living by default becomes the easier and actually comfortable choice
My daughter told me she was giving up being lazy for Lent.
Now that action is not only challenging the status quo, but will lead to new paths for her.
Yes living by default is much easier than pushing the envelop and changing one’s life.
So the question for you this Saturday morning is:
“If you are not where you want to be, is it because you have agreed to being comfortable, to living by default instead of living by intentional, risk taking actions?”
If you are tired of living by default, then take the first step to assess where you are so you may gain clarity for better execution. Call Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601219.759.5601 for a 20 minute “Why are you not where you want to be?” conversation. At the end of that conversation, you will receive at least one “Ah-Ha” moment and idea to stop living by default.
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In the quest to grow profits, some small business owners and sales professionals sometimes engage in pandering at the expense of principles (business ethics). I observed this self serving leadership behavior years ago in corporate sales when I was the inside sales manager. This behavior reminded me of Wimpy from Popeye who was always pandering with his “I’d gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today.”
During the ever tiresome bill of material submission process, in many instances the price was not as important as meeting specifications and delivery. Every proposal (usually thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars) involved quick turnaround times and piles of compliance (specifications). And almost every time another vendor would stretch the truth about delivery or specifications to grow profits.
When sales negotiations began, the outside salesperson would insist for me to match the other vendor’s price or delivery. This usually resulted in one upset salesperson because I would not surrender my business ethics just to get the order to grow profits and sales because once one’s principles are comprised, rarely can they ever be resurrected.
Knowing the industry and the manufacturers of the material, I was quite confident that all items met the specification and the deliveries were the most accurate as possible. Then after we lost the bill of material because the client went with what he thought was the best delivery, more often than not he would come back because the item or items in questions did not meet specification or failed in delivery requirements.
Promise the moon is the equivalent of pandering to “close the deal.”
Now an entirely new negotiation process would begin. By standing on the solid ground of business ethics, the client would end up purchasing those items in question at a higher price because of an even more critical rush delivery. Also what happened was the client recognized:
- Our firm was one of high business ethics and principles
- We did not pander just to get the order
- Customer loyalty was important to our small business
Each of us as small business owners to sales professionals probably have our own experiences about how principles grow profits. We also may have some limited experiences about pandering just to get the order especially when bills must be paid.
Yes it is hard to compete against those who engage in pandering at the expense of principles. However, standing firm on one’s business ethics is always the better leadership behavior than being tempted to “be like everyone else, because everyone else does it.”
Would you like to increase your business results by 20% in 60 days?
Would you like to discover the problems within your sales process?
Then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601219.759.5601 CST to discover how you can challenge and change your status quo.
Consider giving her a call especially if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.
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Depending upon your marketing and your follow up process, sometimes you make a follow up call to a complete stranger. After you remind the individual that you connected, for example on LinkedIn and this was a follow up call per his or her email, you receive a barrage of information that you really did not want to hear.
Oh, yes, it was my follow up process you answer yourself.
We all have those follow up calls or conversations where the other small business owners or sales leads share far too much information and never give you a chance to respond or better yet to close the conversation. Their egos are in overdrive.
Yesterday I learned far too much about a complete stranger ranging from his ill mother to him bringing in special guests on special occasions to entertain her and the other nursing home residents to him holding all these former board positions. And all I could do was say “yes” and “that’s nice.”
Beyond his inability to let someone else speak and his sharing of information much of which I would have preferred not to have known, his booming voice had me holding the phone one foot away. Thank you for letting me know you are ill. I would have preferred not to have known about all your sinus drainage problems. And all I could think is how could this person be successful given his less than desirable small business behaviors?
Possibly the one on one meeting will be better?
One can only hope.
If you are a small business owner, it may make sense to be a little more judicious in the information you are sharing. Also, allowing the other person to speak may also be beneficial. Remember, that first impression counts even if the other person may not be a viable sales lead because she or he could be an outstanding center of influence or strategic partner.Share on Facebook