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
Many organizations offer leadership programs from the private, upper end universities to the learning centers within Fortune 100 firms. And the majority of them all share this one real problem.
Leadership is not a program!
Programs have a beginning, a middle, an end and once in a while an encore.
Finish the program and with the wave of a magic wand or the presentation of some certificate and you are a leader.
Now go out and lead!
Years ago I attended a unique training and development certification. I recognized this one company, Resource Associates Corporation, truly understood leadership because their solutions (training materials) recognized leadership is a process not a program. The curriculums from executive leadership to management to even sales all infused leadership as a process within the written training and development materials. This embedding of leadership in all its curriculum supported the alignment of strategies, structure, processes, rewards and people. (5 Star Model)
Leadership is a continual process of achieving predetermned results.
This is why having a goal driven action plan must be part of any leadership development. The action plan supported by SMART goals continues the internal process of self leadership that being assess, clarify and execute.
Executive coaching is by its very essence a self leadership process that is directed by an executive coach who understands self leadership and employs his or her knowledge through the art of questioning with the individual being coached.
If the leadership process is repeatable, provides continual improvement and delivers sustainable results, then let us call it a process and stop with subconsciously suggesting there is an end. Of course selling a program with the implication that it is sustainable is far easier than selling a process reinforced with aligned, developmental curriculum.
Now some may disagree, but how many times most your people go through leadership programs?
The very action of having numerous and duplicate leadership programs reflects the inherent lack of sustainability within these programs.
The word process subconsciously and consciously implies greater complexity and more difficulty. This is very true.
Yet life is about overcoming difficulty because when something is easy, it lacks the same internal value as when something is much harder to achieve.
If you or your organization want sustainable results, then stop with the continual, revolving door leadership programs and embrace a self leadership process of assess, clarify and execute.
P.S. Leadership development is not rocket science so do not pay rocket science prices.
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How many times is business leadership discussed from the perspective of the other guy or gal in the news or some historical figure?
In a LinkedIn discussion group, I suggested self leadership must come first because if you, as a leader, cannot lead yourself, you cannot lead anyone else. This comment generated several responses of “I don’t understand what you mean” or “I have never heard of self leadership.”
These responses had me shaking my head in disbelief because leadership begins and ends with you and not the other gal or guy.
From my practical perspective, I visualize the following simple equation:
Leader (person) + Lead (verb) = Leadership (result)
Possibly that is too simplistic for some; yet by breaking this down into these three variables allows for immediate clarity.
Since a leader is a person, then everyone is a leader. An individual’s ability to be a leader may be somewhat innate, but more often than not is developed from initial family examples and expands as the person’s experiences grow.
Lead as a verb is all about action. What is the individual doing to move himself or herself forward? Human beings are goal driven creatures. If this was not true, we would still be living in caves. Even though lead is a verb, it does not mean all action is good. Also, remember inaction is an action as well.
If we look at leadership as a result of the action or actions to lead as directed by the leader, this may give us a different perspective. Many of us have seen good leadership, poor leadership and everything in between. What we have actually witnessed are the results.
Yes leadership, the results, begins within each of us, our minds, our dreams, our desires.
What and who do we want to become?
Where do we want to go?
How will we get there?
Why are such actions important to us?
Until we change our paradigm that self leadership (leading ourselves to the desired results) is the first step of toward exceptional leadership, we are missing incredible opportunities to change our own lives and then the lives of others.
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One of my colleagues, Tibor Shanto, posted a blog a while ago about using a specific script for leaving cold calling voice mail messages. I was reminded of that today when another colleague, Kelley Roberston, reminded me of this cold calling voice mail strategy in his blog.
One cannot argue with the results that this prospecting tactic has delivered – a 50% call back.
However, part of my business ethics is not to share the names of any clients unless I have a signed released. Sharing for me includes:
- Social media comments
- Marketing materials
- General conversations
Since my results driven approach usually achieves greater results than originally discussed, my clients do not want their competitors to know they have secured my small business coaching, executive coaching, talent management or organizational development consulting solutions.
Personally, unless I have a signed release from my clients, I in all good conscience cannot use the following cold calling voice mail script no matter what results it generates:
“(Prospect’s name), Leanne Hoagland-Smith calling from ADVANCED SYSTEMS. I can be reached at 219.759.5601219.759.5601 Central Time. I’m calling in reference to (prospect’s competitor).”
I believe Shanto when he stated that very few people become upset when hearing this cold calling message. After all, curiosity is a natural human condition and curiosity about the competition in a very crowded marketplace is even more natural.
As in any sales training coaching tip, make sure your business ethics are clearly articulated within yourself and your organization before embracing any sales strategy including leaving this cold calling message.
If you truly want to sustainable business growth including increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 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 at least 20% in 60 daysShare on Facebook
Most salespeople want more sales. Their motivation varies between personal goal achievement to keeping their jobs.
Yes, earning the sale is important.
What is more important are one’s personal core values and business ethics.
As I listen to the honor stories from top sales performers from global Fortune 500 firms who have less than ethical sales managers; observe the questionable behaviors of some local small business owners or hear my professional colleagues share some of their personal stories, I shiver with dread as so many fail to do what’s right.
Yes the pressure is on to make sales quota or to keep the lights on.
Yet the means (say or do whatever is necessary) do not justify the ends (close the deal).
Now some may believe this is an unrealistic viewpoint, a Pollyanna in a dog eat dog business world where you are only as good as your last sale.
Yes there will always be liars in business and in life. However their lying behaviors do not give you or anyone else the excuse to not do what’s right.
Beyond the local to global business news stories, social media and business to business networking provide a vast plain of observing doing what’s right or doing what’s wrong.
In LinkedIn members know a group discussion is not for announcing this or that workshop, seminar or event. Group owners will quickly remove those posting unless it is one of their own announcements. That’s different. Really?
At local business to business networking events, sales starved professionals will quickly pass out a plethora of business cards and then condemn others who engage in the exact same activity.
As the local economy continues to contract, knocking the competition is another on the rise behavior to gossiping about this small business person or that one.
A personal favorite of doing what is not right is charging to help a professional colleague out even though the colleague had always been more than willing to help without any compensation the person now wanting big bucks.
Of course, the always present taking orders, promising the moon and failing to deliver still happens, unfortunately.
Doing what’s right is not always easy and more often than not hurts the pocketbook. It may mean turning down a sales because you know you cannot meet the expectations (desired results) of your customer.
Years ago I turned down a high five figure contract because the client wanted leadership development in two – one day workshops with no follow-up in between. As a trained instructional designer and practitioner of knowing of humans learn and change their behaviors, I knew I could not change leadership behaviors within such a delivery format. The client said “Well, so and so did this for us in the past.” My response was “I believe then it would be best to call so and so because I cannot deliver sustainable leadership change under this format.”
For me at the end of the day, I have to look in the mirror and know that I did the best for the client because the results were achieved. Doing what’s right is always first and foremost. There are no shortcuts, no excuses, no rationalizing to doing what’s right.
You know in the bottom of your heart what’s right unless you are so self-absorbed, so ego driven that you ignore all the warning signs and have an attitude “not my responsibility.”
Well then whose responsibility is it?
As professional sales people, we have an innate responsibility to always do what’s right and not hide behind the rationalization of “buyer beware.”
Yes doing what’s right is hard and that is part of earning a living and a part of life.Share on Facebook
Compassionate people care about others. In sales leadership roles this could be a good external emotional bias or temperament or a not so good one.
With a positive empathy (feelings), there is a high level of “preference for people and the lower focus placed on objectives or social convention.” Some might identify these individuals as “gentle or softhearted.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)
With the negative practical thinking (doing) and the positive empathy may suggest some inability to get things done because people come first before the objective. Compassion overrules consistent execution.
Having a neutral balance in the Systems Judgement bias (thinking) reveals “equilibrium between the positive and negative aspects of authority. This indicates that you will evaluate rules objectively, seeing irrelevant rules as irrelevant and effective rules as effective. Rules and systems are viewed in terms of how they impact people, not doggedly adhered to with blind faith.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)
Since a compassionate leadership temperament suggests people come first, there may exist some conflicts with the “need for order but not so enamored with a need for doing things ‘your way’ or ‘the company way’ that it interferes with the ability to be adaptable and change as need be to achieve results.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)
Finally, from a sales leadership perspective, a salesperson with this emotional bias may be “too trusting of others from time to time.” Another observable behavior is the dislike for confrontation. (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)
By knowing the sales leadership temperament allows the small business owner to sales manager some insight as to how this salesperson will fit within the organization’s culture and even more importantly the capacity for sales success.
To learn if your sales team members have this sales leadership emotional bias, the Innermetrix Attribute Index talent assessment provides this information quickly and accurately.Share on Facebook
Wouldn’t business be far easier and simpler for those in sales leadership roles if there were no problems? Some days it seems like the only calls or emails are problems. As soon as one problem is solved, another one comes rushing forward to take its place and suddenly you are buried under a mountain of problems.
Yes, problem management is an incredibly important sales leadership talent and sometimes this capacity is only known weeks to months after the salesperson is hired.
So how does one define this critical talent?
Innermetrix through its Attribute Index has a rather succinct definition for problem management that being “The ability to keep critical issues in context so that one can understand what is happening, and effectively use one’s knowledge to solve the problem. This would include the ability to assign resources to people in order to allow them to solve problems, to be able to change plans in order to minimize the effects of operational problems.”
When we analyze this definition several important aspects come to mind. First, the salesperson, as well as those in sales management, must have enough knowledge. Second, the knowledge is not just about the solution (product or service), but organizational knowledge including strategy, structure, processes, rewards and people. (5 Star Model) Possibly the most important aspect is the last one of being able to change plans. This last criterion suggests some authority has been given to those in sales leadership roles.
Individuals who score high in this sales leadership talent “will be able to efficiently balance all the variables of a problem, and keep them clear and separate. This will aid in their identifying and implementing appropriate solutions.” (Source: Attribute Index, Innermetrix)
From my experience, there is a direct correlation between the salesperson’s ability to execute this talent and the role of sales management. Unsupportive sales managers or even organizations lacking clarity specific to communication of operations can drastically limit or reduce this sales leadership talent.
When salespeople or others have a diminished capacity specific to problem management may suggest “difficulty maintaining perspective on all of the variables in a given problem situation. They might focus too narrowly on any one aspect of a problem and ‘loose sight of the forest’ so to speak.” (Source: Attribute Index, Innermetrix)
Problem management is very much connected to the onboarding process for the business and sales management. Without a clear and consistent onboarding process along with supportive sales management, the salesperson may have this sales leadership talent, but will not be able to exercise it due to a lack of clarity regarding knowledge.
If you wish to know this specific sales leadership talent along with 77 other talents, then theInnermetrix Attribute Index, talent assessment is well worth the investment.
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- Me as an individual
- Me as a company
- Me as a solution
Then when you attempt to share something about yourself, this blowhard continues with more Me, Me and Me.
Or how about when you have that first time meeting with a new vendor or someone you just met at some B2B event? Does the person start talking about himself, his company and finally his solution? Usually when the PowerPoint presentation is turned on, this is a very good indicator about Me, Me and Me.
What I have found when I am asked about what I do, I make a very brief explanation, less than 20 words, as my goal is to have the other person talk about herself or himself. By focusing on the conversation on the other person, I can learn rather quickly is this individual a:
- Solid sales lead?
- Potential sales lead?
- Strategic partner?
- Center of influence?
- Professional colleague?
- Potential friend?
Additionally by having the conversation centered around the other person I discover quite a bit and use this opportunity for informal fact finding. In many cases, I am able to demonstrate what I do by sharing some tidbit of knowledge or even sending an article after the meeting. Since my goal is to “just be valuable,” I have learned letting others share is a far more conducive marketing strategy for my own business growth.
Yes, in marketing we must share some information about ourselves, our businesses and our solutions. How we share that information is what separates the successful in marketing from the not so successful.
- Would you like to increase your business results by at least 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.Share on Facebook