Yesterday I spoke to a professional colleague who admitted she was “living by default.” I had never heard life expressed that way. She went on to explain how she took events as they came and handled them. I had several questions for her:
- How does this behavior leverages and maximizes your limited resources of time, energy money and emotions? Response was “I don’t know.”
- How does this behavior give you the results in you want in the time frame you want? Response was I don’t know and probably not.
- What results do you think you could achieve if you stopped “living by default” and began “living by intentional and purposeful actions?” Response was probably a lot more with a lot less stress.
This individual is not alone. So many people live with the default behaviors of life.
How many times do we rely on default behaviors?
For example, someone upsets us and we may immediately react through default behavior by yelling, being sarcastic to verbally demeaning. And this type of behavior moves us closer to our desired results?
Or we continue to make paper piles on our desks and never really get to them because our default behavior is “I’m too busy.”
Default behavior is very much connected to conditioned behavior. Think Pavlov’s dog.
We allow a stimulus automatic response without any intentional, conscious thought.
We become tangled in our own muddled emotions and allow the fear or flight responses to take over.
Yes there is a lot of living by default.
How sad because how much more could be accomplished by refusing to hit the default key?
If you truly want to stop living by default for yourself personally or for your small business, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:
#1 – Quick assessment of where you are
#2 – One growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days
Consider giving her a call at 219.759.5601 especially if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.
Share on Facebook
Most outside salespeople would tell you their most important priorities are finding qualified sales leads, getting in front of those prospects, closing the sale, and maintaining customer relationships. Yet every day they go to battle with the enemy, the clock!
Although they would like to spend their time selling, their responsibilities require them to split their time among planning, customer service, order processing, and administration. Two of the biggest time gobblers are schedule planning and administration, such as making sure the CRM system is up to date.
Managing hundreds of customers across hundreds of miles is mentally taxing and physically exhausting. Staying efficient during a long day of driving while planning ahead for tomorrow is a tall order, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. The result is a lot of backtracking or simply running out of time. Sales reps fall into the familiar when they start running out of time. They start visiting customers that are close or customers that tend to be available when they drop in. These aren’t necessarily the most important customers to visit, and the rep may give them more attention than they deserve. Lack of an organized schedule leads to fewer customer visits and lost opportunities.
Feeding data into the CRM system
Entering all of the information from the day’s meetings into a CRM system is the last thing a rep wants to do when they get home at night. The system is cumbersome and the rep already has the information they need; why should they go through the busy work of putting it into the CRM system? The reality is that CRM data is important to companies and they push sales reps hard to update it. So reps are under constant pressure to spend time doing this when, as the rep sees it, it is taking away from valuable time that could be spent selling.
Fortunately, today with mobile technology, sales reps have some weapons they can use to win back their time:
What to look for when choosing the right tool?
- Mobile CRM apps that integrate customer data and a calendar on a map: Look for mapping apps that display the user’s calendar and customers on a map while sorting those customers by importance. Giving reps a better visual understanding of their territories and a way to plan clusters of meetings ahead of time allows the rep to be more organized and sell more.
- Tools that capture customer data in the field: Look for a mobile app that extends the CRM to the field so reps can enter appointment, opportunities, and key customer details on-the-fly so they don’t have to spend time doing it when they get home.
About the Guest Blogger Aaron Tolson
Aaron Tolson is the co-founder of Badger Maps, a sales mapping software company that helps sales reps and enterprises to boost sales and increase CRM adoption by combining CRM systems, maps, schedule, route optimization, and leads search.
Prior to Badger, Aaron was a venture capital and private equity investor at Summit Partners and American Securities where he invested in technology, manufacturing, and financial services companies. Aaron was instrumental in a roll-up within Cisco’s channel to create Presidio, Inc, the largest channel partner for Cisco. Aaron also participated in investments in Unison Site Management, Robertson Aviation, and Sun Trading. Prior to investing, Aaron was a tank officer in the United States Army, serving tours in Iraq, Bosnia, and Korea.
Aaron can be reached at 415-539-0344 (Pacific Time)
Follow Aaron on Twitter
Follow Badger Maps on TwitterShare on Facebook
At a monthly mastermind meeting of some local small business owners here in Northwest Indiana, one of the members, Rick Gosser, shared a photo with a person exercising and this caption:
I don’t have time is the adult equivalent of the dog ate my homework.
Then I did some Internet research and discovered this quote of the “dog ate my homework” relative to adult behavior is in many different places.
What I recognized is the validity of this statement.
Excuses are so prevalent with small business owners and sales professionals.
I don’t have time to:
- Put my SMART goals to writing
- Think strategically
- Follow-up on all those sales leads
- Keep leaving all those voice mail message
- Write a blog
- Learn about new technology
- Read a book
- _ _ _ _ (Fill in the blank)
Success is said to be 90% showing up. I am not sure about that given many people show up and still fail to do what they need to do.
Possibly the dog ate my homework may also help to explain why only 1/3 of the employees surveyed by Gallup set weekly goals based on their strengths. From my experience, that percentage is far less in working with, small business owners. What I have discovered is many small business owners place more value on the common, everyday written grocery lists than they do in having written action plans for their businesses.
So the next time you think or say you don’t have time, then remember you are making an excuse as in the “dog ate my homework” much like students have done with their teachers or parents. And aren’t you a little old to be making such an excuse?
Share on Facebook
So what does this talent look like in sales and business through a behavioral perspective?
According to Innermetrix, this is “The ability to confront controversial or difficult issues in an objective manner. The ability to have non-emotion discussions about disciplinary matters. This capacity is directly related to the person’s balance in their ability to evaluate others, and be empathetic.”
Did you notice several key words within this sales leadership talent?
- Non-emotion discussions (the demonstration of diplomacy through emotional intelligence)?
As top sales performers, are not these other behaviors present? This talent is not just about disciplinary matters such as employee to employee, but in a much broader context about people who fail to do what they promise or who act in a manner that is not professional and even extends to conversations between salespeople and their sales prospects.
Those who consistently positively demonstrate this sales leadership talent “can usually provide constructive criticism to another in such a way that it is not received as insulting or degrading. The balance they exhibit in weighing the needs of the situation versus the needs of the people involved allows them to address both adequately.”
Salesperson who fail to demonstrate this capacity of correcting others may tend to be “too insensitive or harsh in such correction, or be too sensitive and not willing to provide the necessary criticism or positive discipline, required to develop an employee.” Again, the demonstration of this talent goes beyond management to employee or employee to employee.
Additionally, there appears to be a correlation between poor demonstration of this talent and empathetic ability either too much (overly sensitive) or too little (“people viewed as functional work units rather than individuals”). The end result when people are viewed as work units is the other person’s emotions are discounted in “comparison to the importance of correcting a problem.”
Yes this talent of correcting others is indeed a sales leadership one. If you want to learn if this is one of your good talents, then this talent assessment may provide the answer.Share on Facebook
Do you know what you truly do well? If so, how do you know those talents are your best ones?
And if you believe you know what you do well, are you focusing on improving those talents or are you more concerned about your weaknesses or what you do not do as well?
A poll by Gallup suggested that about one in three employees of over 11,000 employees that were asked strongly agreed with this statement:
Every week I set goals and expectations based on my strengths.
My heuristic question immediately was:
How do these employees truly know their strengths or talents?
After working with hundreds of individuals, I have discovered less than 5% know their top talent and conversely 95% know their weakest talent. To “know” is defined as having some measurement from a proven assessment not just the observation of some other individual or some internal belief.
For example, I know I read well. How do I know? My reading rate in high school and college was tested as 1,000 wpm with 95% accuracy. I am sure that has declined somewhat given I have aged.
Imagine if you truly know what you do well, then how much more could you accomplish?
When we know our talents and apply them as we work to achieve our goals, then amazing results are truly possible. Coaching Tip: Your goal setting worksheet tool should include your talents so that you can leverage what you do well.
Maybe now is the time to assess what you truly do well and then begin to incorporate those now known talents into your daily goals and more importantly behaviors. If you wish to discover 78 key talents along with your external and internal decision making styles, then this talent assessment may be your springboard to consistent professional and personal success.Share on Facebook
When nearly 50% of the workforce does not know what is expected of them when they enter work everyday is a clear demonstration of the misalignment as identified within the Galbraith 5 Star Model. (Source Gallup 2012 poll)
Executive leadership does not communicate the “what” or better yet the results of what needs to be accomplished.
For the last two years I have asked executives the following question:
“Does everyone in your organizations know with crystal clarity how this organization makes and keeps money?”
The responses for 99% of the time are No. This question is not only about results, but also about organizational strategy not too mention positive core values. Executive Leadership Coaching Tip: If you fear sharing how your organizations makes and keeps money, then you as the executive have the problem not your workers.
Sure many of the employees may have some hazy clarity about how the organization makes and keeps money. That haziness is a potential profit drainer and expands the unknowing workforce.
Another frequently asked question is about job descriptions.
Within your job descriptions do you provide actual desired behaviors to explain the expectations with words such as being timely to being personal accountable? Again, 99.9% of the time the answer is NO.
Employees are evaluated on the expectations held by their managers or supervisors through the demonstrations of their daily workforce behaviors. For example, one manager may view timely as being to work and at the workstation at 8:00am while another may have an expectation of 7:55am or a third at 8:05am. If the employee has more than one supervisor, the expectation has the potential of being different. Then the employee may enter the realms of the unknowing workforce.
Possibly the unknowing workforce as an ignored phenomenon may help to explain why so many employees are disengaged at work as indicated by Gallup’s annual employee engagement poll.
- One (1) in four (4) employees are actively engaged, providing 8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay
- Two (2) in four (2) employees are engaged providing around or less than 8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay
- One (1) in four (4) employees are actively disengaged, providing less than 8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay
If employees do not know what is expected of them or if the expectations send a mixed message, then it makes perfect sense that so many organizations have an unknowing workforce supported by poor executive leadership.
Many of those in executive leadership positions are fearful of the “Silver Tsunami” (the retirement of the baby boomers). And there may be reasons to be fearful. However, the unknowing workforce as an ignored phenomenon is much more serious and has the potential of undermining even the best of the best organizations.
If you truly want to increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Strategy Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:
#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process
#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days
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.Share on Facebook
Life is knowing how to work smarter and harder because individuals apply he talents gained from past knowledge and experiences. This is true whether you work for someone else, you work for yourself or even if you are not “officially” employed but your roles require to use your talents.
In 2012, Gallup released a poll about goals and strengths (think talents). One of the interesting facts was the answer to this statement:
“Every week I set goals and expectations based on my strengths.”
Only 36% strongly agreed with this statement or in other words 2 out of 3 surveyed”
- Did not consistently set goals
- Did not know their strengths or talents
- Did not know the expectations set by others
- A combination of all of the above
This finding is similar to what I have discovered in working with my executive coaching clients. From my experiences, those who truly know one to three of their top talents is at 2.6% while those who know their top weaknesses is at 95.1%.
What this means is people are not working smarter nor are they working harder on the right things. This becomes an obstacle to being able to work smarter and harder.
When the known talents are applied to personal realistic goal setting, amazing results can happen.
What this also means is people no longer turn non-talents into weaknesses or solely focus on their weaknesses.
Sometimes the common sense of winning teams win because of their strengths and talents takes a back seat to negative childhood conditioning with the focus on all those ‘No’s,” “Don’ts” and “Cant’s”
If you truly want to work smarter and harder begin my understanding your talents, what you do well and then apply them to your action plans be it business, sales or even personal growth.
The Attribute Index is a dynamic tool that can provided you with knowing your true talents along with decision making styles, temperament and even capacity for stress.Share on Facebook
Ego is part of the human condition. A good ego is necessary to sustain the daily grind and to keep going when life becomes even tougher. Knowing you are good at what you do, being able to share that credibility and knowledge with others are all part of daily business and sales behaviors.
So what are some of the signs of a strong ego?
- Self-centered translation “It is all about me”
- Dislikes criticism of any kind translation “will continue to beat a dead horse”
- Strong internal belief in self “I am always right or my way or the highway”
On Thanksgiving Day I entered into a conversation through a social network that demonstrated how a strong ego truly does not work.
Being a heurist, I continued to the conversation, very respectfully. Each exchange revealed this person’s strong ego. The sad part was he also engaged in providing sales coaching and sales training. I was reminded of the movie Glengarry Glen Ross which I believe is the anti-thesis of what makes top sales performers in today’s small business marketplace.
If people buy from people they know and trust, this suggests a strong ego does not build trust because the focus is on the seller and not on the buyer. A salesperson with a good ego recognizes he or she is still on an unfinished journey. Additionally, top sales performers with good egos also demonstrate:
- Inner strength translation “I do not need others to validate me”
- Motivation to improve translation “There is always something to learn”
- Undeveloped potential translation “I can always be better”
When we understand the difference between a good ego and a strong ego, we do not have to tell people we are the best because they will realize that on their own.
Share on Facebook
Sometimes in our quest for sales success, we complicate what is essentially simple – people buy from people they know and trust.
Yet the question remains:
“Is that knowledge taking away from your natural sales style, your ability to build relationships?
When we pack into our brains all those best practices for sales success from asking open ended questions to turning stalls into objections are we potentially forgetting about the person across the table?
Are we so concerned in our own sales process we are missing the signs of the ideal customer’s buying process?
Is our own unauthenticity revealing itself because we are so focused on our own sales success?
Are we failing to be human?
These questions are probably not asked in most sales training programs because they work against the goals of those selling sales training.
Sustainable sales success is developing your own knowledge while simultaneously not allowing that knowledge to take over and complicate a still rather simple process because people have been buying from people since recorded history. And those folks of years gone by did not have all the knowledge (sales training) that today’s sales professionals have access to and infuse into their professional roles.
Share on Facebook
So in your better sense, you return a phone call with the knowledge that once again the person on the other end of the phone probably has a sales process that will collide with your buying process. And if history repeats itself, the person selling will become quite upset with your buying process because his or her sales process comes first.
I am all in favor of having a sales process, but not at the expense of the potential customer or sales lead. When your process overrules the buying process of your intended customer, then you have potentially killed the sale and all hope for any sales referrals.
Let me count the times I have heard this statement or something similar:
“We have a intake process and your questions cannot be answered until we finish our process.”
Actually in many cases the sales process is in the second phase of selling and has skipped the first phase of marketing.
Additionally, these types of internal sales processes are in many cases ego driven, it is all about the seller and not about the buyer.
Should we be surprised when people go online to make purchases?
Is this only about expediency?
Could this behavior because the sales process potentially collided with the buying process?
If the sales process begins with marketing (attracting attention and beginning to build relationships) and you are not having success executing your own sales process, possibly part of the problem is you are jumping the gun and starting to sell.
Share on Facebook