Yesterday a colleague, Mark Hunter, came across one of his articles being plagiarized by a fairly well connected LinkedIn member. He notified a group of other sales coaches, sales consultants and colleagues about this plagiarism. The group responded and not even 24 hours later, this particular article as well as all other articles under this person’s name were removed.
I too have suffered from plagiarism. A sales training company in Texas took one of my website pages one for word and copied it to their own website. When I notified the CEO, he called and said he was unaware, apologized and the copy was removed. The CEO blamed the web designer. Over the years I have discovered other blog postings copied and have called out the authors.
Individuals who plagiarize the intellectual capitol of others demonstrate from more than dishonesty within their business ethics. They also reveal they are lazy, lack creativity and are stupid to think eventually they will not be caught.
A recent study by the University of Missouri revealed the financial impact of dishonesty by CEOs. Unethical behavior does translate to the bottom line to a measurable 4.1% loss in shareholders’ value.
In today’s social selling world where content marketing has become a viable sales leads generating channel, being a plagiarist just does not make good business sense. The reason is simple, in spite of how large the world is, it is still a small world. People are connected to other people. Software programs can find duplicate content with the stroke of a few keys.
One of the more simple ways to avoid even unintentional plagiarism is to Google the title for any content marketing in quotes. This way the you can quickly determine if another person has written a similar article. Also this same tactic can be used to learn if your titles are being plagiarized by someone else.
In sales, people buy from people they know and trust. Swiping the intellectual capital of others will not increase sales.Share on Facebook
One of my colleagues, George Richardson, shared this quote by a Dr. Nancy Synderman “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice” with me nearly 20 years ago. These words are so true especially for those in any professional role including salespeople, executive coaches, consultants, leadership and management.
How many times do those in any of these roles of sales, executive coaching, leadership training or even management prescribe a solution without a formal or even informal diagnosis? Maybe this is why so many are thrilled with the quick fix and yet are dissatisfied with the results?
Yes an effective diagnosis is an investment of time, money and energy. However the rewards far exceed the investment especially when one examines all the “redos” from bad prescriptions (solutions). Possibly the ongoing issue of failed execution is because of poor to non-existent diagnosis.
With the outsourcing marketplace continuing to expand, there is a whole influx of executive coaches and consultants. Many of these individuals hang out their hats without any formal training or the use of any formal and proven tools. They diagnosis and potentially are committing malpractice.
What ends up happening at least from my experience is other experienced executive coaches and consultants (results driven) must first undo all their poorly designed solutions. The client is now 20 yard behind where he or she started because of the previous coach’s bad solution.
Then there are those in executive leadership and management roles who make reactionary decisions based on their gut or what they think needs to be done. The authors of Fail-Safe Leadership share a great vignette about a CEO who wants to increase sales. What happens is each of his executive team take contrary actions that create further misalignment and potentially decreases sales.
When my executive coaching or consulting sales leads balk at taking a proven psychometric assessment or cultural assessment, I present this scenario.
Imagine you are going to your doctor because of a headache. You tell the doctor why you are there and he or she immediately prescribes brain surgery without any examination of you including an Xray, MRI, blood work tests, etc. What would you do? The answer usually is run out the door and seek another opinion.
So why would you engage in any solution without verifying what is really happening?
Misguided decisions create misdirected actions also known as failed execution. To avoid this all to common situation, make sure before embarking on any solution (prescription), you have taken the time to invest in a proven assessment (diagnosis). You will be glad you did.
Did you know you can measure 78 key attributes or talents? The Attribute Index is one of the most accurate and proven psychometric assessments for individuals who truly wish to know what they do well.Share on Facebook
In sales many seek the quick fixes that range from sales training, incentives, hiring new sales managers, new salespeople or some motivational speaker. Yet in a few days to a few weeks, the sudden burst of sales productivity gradually returns to its pre-quick fix levels.
In the story Alice in Wonderland, Alice approaches the Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree. At the foot of the tree are various paths. Alice asks the Cat “What path should I take?” The Cat responds with “Where are you going?” Alice states “I don’t know” and the Cat then replies “Well any path will take you there.”
Clarity is essential in sales, in business and in life. If you don’t know where you are going with crystal clear clarity, you will end up taking the wrong path.
Many SMB owners and C Suite executives in their efforts to increase sales confuse symptoms with problems. They believe lack luster sales are the problem when in reality the poor sales are usually a symptom of one or more problems. All of these problems return to a lack of clarity. Without clarity there is incredible miss direction and misguided decisions.
For the last almost 20 years I have been working with SMB owners and sales professionals. Given that most have never invested the time to determine where they are going; how they are going to behave and what they are going to do in the immediate future to get to where they are going, I am not surprised by the inability to increase sales or sustainable business growth.
The lack of clarity is the reason for executive coaching. These professional coaches look to support their clients in gaining crystal clear clarity.
Years ago I wrote an eBook entitled Triage Business Planning with this message on the front cover:
Know Exactly What to Do and When to Do It.
Track the Right Things to Produce the Right Results Avoid Misdirected Actions and Misguided Decisions.
If you have any hesitancy when reading the previous words, then you probably lack crystal clear clarity and may be subject to the temptation of quick fixes.Share on Facebook
Salespeople invest a lot of time lighting up sales prospects and yet it appears many are hiding those sales leads. We know this to be true given how few times on average salespeople follow-up with new sales leads.
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up (Source: Scripted)
Does it make sense to do all that work especially if you are a SMB owner in a firm of fewer than 20 employees or a salesperson employed in a similar SMB? How much time and time is money is wasted?
Sales prospecting is truly about providing light to people who are in the dark about:
- Your firm
- Your solution
Additionally, these sales prospects may also be in the dark about their own problems. Many in business cannot separate the symptoms from the real problems. This becomes a competitive advantage for top sales performers.
Sometimes all those sales leads become stuck in the middle of the sales funnel or what I prefer the sales tunnel. This is also akin to putting them under a bushel basket because in the middle of the tunnel it is very dark. What helps to keep flowing through the sales tunnel is a proactive contact process. A good CRM like Pipeliner CRM works with SMB firms as it does not require a CRM administrator saving the SMB thousands of dollars in salary and benefits.
When salespeople understand their marketing is about shining a light, their light, they are able to attract sales prospects to them. Then they understand the must keep this light shining until the sales prospects buy.
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Most sales training programs look to the sales fact finding process. This process usually involves asking open ended questions as well as doing some research before actually meeting with the sales lead or prospect.
Today through the Internet, there is a wealth of information available to assist salespeople in this fact finding research. Yet one area that is often overlook is the “social history” of the prospect’s organization.
For current sellers looking to sell deeper into the organization, the social history is how did the seller’s firm originally connect with the buyer’s organization. A new seller would look to not only how did other firms connect with the prospect, but who else does he or she know at the existing firm.
LinkedIn can assist with some of this fact finding data. With its recent sale to Microsoft what was available for free such as advanced search now is only available through the paid subscription service. However, with some due diligence this information can be gathered by connecting with other people at the prospect’s organization.
My sense is through your fact finding quest you will probably discover the two or three people who had the first established relationship. This relationship then transcended through other people in the organization. In some instances, the relationship can be several decades old if not older.
The social history of any business is essential because it provides clarity as to what was valued by the original buyer and seller. This clarity can support further sales efforts including prospecting to keeping loyal customers loyal.
Possibly any SMB may wish to begin to construct their own social history through their CRM. This could be a simple sheet showing the various people involved in the sales buying decision directly or indirectly.
Yes sales fact finding is important. By adding social history to your fact finding process may just give you the competitive edge you need to earn that next sale.Share on Facebook
Yesterday I heard Nikolaus Kimla, CEO of Pipeliner CRM, make this very insightful statement:
“Recommendations are the sales currency of the future.”
He is so right in that people buy from people they know and trust. Recommendations or testimonials reaffirm that trust bridge between the buyer and the seller.
Just recently in working with a sales coaching client, one of the salespeople said the reason a new patient came to their office was because of the written along with the video testimonials on their website.
SMB owners, salespeople and those in the C Suite have the opportunity right now to get ahead of the flow and start gathering all those recommendations and testimonials. Yet how many in sales actively leverage this sales currency by just asking for recommendations?
Sales Coaching Tip: The third phase and final phase of the 7-step-sales-process-advsys is “Keeping” where people ask for recommendations as well as sales referrals.
The value of recommendations go beyond some positive words. In many instances recommendations generate sales referrals. This is what some in the past would call the “mother lode.”
Right now jump over to LinkedIn and look at your recommendations received and more importantly given. Do you make it a priority to give authentic recommendations?
If you think recommendations lack sales currency, how many times do you read the online product or business reviews? Those are rated recommendations. Have you ever bought or not bought because of these reviews?
To increase sales requires being ahead of the flow as well as of knowing where the flow is going. Leveraging recommendations can propel your business ahead of the flow while increasing your sales currency.
Doesn’t it make good business sense to undertake those actions now in the present?
Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Clarity Strategist for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.Share on Facebook
Sometimes when the going gets tough instead of the tough get going what happens is the retreat sales mentality sets in. This way of thinking attacks the self-confidence, self starting ability and overall personal accountability on two fronts:
A pending sales lead suddenly changes course and leaves you wondering why should I continue? Retreating and seeking another sales lead appears to be a better route.
If you disagree, then how do you explain sales research that 44% of salespeople give up (retreat) after one followup? (Source: Scripted)
Possibly another reason for the retreat mentality is the salesperson has different expectations than the sales lead. These expectations may be a quick sale to an easy sale (less decision makers). However reality in the B2B marketplace runs contradictory to those self-imposed expectations.
Another example of retreat sales mentality surfaces during the selling phase of the sales process. Far too many salespeople are quick to reduce price to get a sale instead of being able to demonstrate the value of their solution respective to the desired end results for the potential ideal customer.
In sales having a strong and positive mental attitude is a prerequisite for success. Giving up when the first limitation arises only reinforces this sales mentality to retreat instead of to persevere.
I believe the words we use and think are critical to overall sales success as well as success in life. Maybe the next time you become discouraged, ask yourself are you retreating? What does it mean to retreat? Is there another way to win this sale for you as well as for your customer?
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Once again, we witnessed how the underdog, the team, the individual never gave up. This “never give up” attitude is also embedded within great salespeople.
2016 was and 2017 appears to be years where the can do attitude, never give up attitude will triumph over the can’t do one. Henry Ford is quoted as saying:
“Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you will be right.”
How many times do we allow our own inner voices and sometimes the outside voices of others defeat us when we are so close to winning, to success? Thomas Edison realized this when he said:
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Great salespeople persevere especially when the going gets tough. They keep moving forward even when defeats happen. F. Scott Fitzgerald also recognized the essence of perseverance when he wrote:
“Never ever confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”
American Author, William Feather echoed Fitzgerald’s words through a different bullhorn.
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
There will always be naysayers who will be quick to shout your defeat. Great salespeople shake these words off like dogs who shake their coats after after running through the rain or snow.
Years ago I read something about “if you give you, you never truly wanted it.” For sales success, you must want success beyond the dollars and cents. Money as a motivator is necessary, but not truly sustainable.
As my husband, a now retired entrepreneur said:
“It is not a question of do I know it, but rather one of do I want to do it?”
His words reflect an internal desire to want to win that goes beyond the external rewards of money, status and recognition. The want to is how his and our own self-confidence, self esteem and self worth are reaffirmed.
Great salespeople know how to overcome the limitations preventing them from sales success. Many live by these words of General Hannibal:
“We will either find a way or make one.”
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With all the focus on social selling, there appears to be a different sales mindset emerging and not a necessarily good one. I was reminded of this when reading a LinkedIn article by Jeb Blount entitled “Social Selling Is Not a Panacea.”
One of the problems with this concept of social selling is it creates a lack of clarity and focus. The salesperson is aiming at a much bigger target, the various social media sites, and thus misses big.
As Jeb shared in his $10 bet with a new hire, he was far more successful just by dialing and actually converted two of the sales calls. In comparison the new hire converted no one.
When a salesperson has an aim small miss small sales mindset, he or she has enhanced his or her clarity to the point of it being crystal clear. Missing the target is no longer supported with a hope and a pray. “I hope I make a sale.”
BAR – Beliefs Drive Actions Generating Results
To have such a sales attitude because attitudes are indeed habits of thought (Zig Ziglar) requires a strategic plan from which the market to the ideal customer have been clearly identified. These beliefs drive the actions (behaviors) generating the results (increase sales).
ACE – Assess – Clarify – Execute
Such a sales mindset begins with assessing not only the business, the industry, but the salesperson as well. From that collected data, there is the opportunity to clarify the necessary objectives and strategies. Next step is executing those strategies.
Feel -Know – Do
To complete this aim small miss small mindset, the salesperson must connect to the buyer. What does he or she want the buyer to feel? Obviously to create this environment, the seller must know what the buyer is feeling. Here the focus is on the buyer and not on the seller.
Then what does he or she want the buyer to know? Possibly because the buyer has conducted some research, the buyer may already know something about the seller. Yet here is the real opportunity to explore the wants and needs of the buyer.
Finally what does the seller want the buyer to do? In simple sales talk, this is a call to action. This action could be a simple of having a coffee visit to scheduling a more formal meeting. Adding the person with permission to an email list such as a newsletter is another call to action.
I believe in what Zig Ziglar said years ago “Sales is the transference of feelings.” When that transfer is successful and when the seller has demonstrated his or her ability to connect to the value drivers of the buyer, then there is far greater likelihood to increase sales. Of course if you are looking for the quick fix or what Jeb calls “panacea,” you may be sorely disappointed.
Want to talk with Leanne Hoagland-Smith about how to improve your sales mindset? CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation.Share on Facebook
Delegation is a way of thinking and doing. For many in business leadership roles, the ability to delegate is not a talent widely embraced. The reasons for this lack of delegation are many including:
- No time
- No money
- No knowledge about available resources
- No confidence in employees – fear in hiring wrong people
- No confidence in themselves – fear of making a mistake
A recent report released by Salesforce Research of 300 small business owners revealed most small business owners rely on outdated and manual processes such as email and spreadsheets to store customer information. This reliance on outdated processes is further wasting their limited time.
When reading this research, it appears the talent to delegate is a significant limiting factor to embracing newer processes especially when those processes are technology driven. Most of these business leaders are the decision makers and appear to have time constraints as their number one limiting factor.
Truly forward thinking business owners bite the bullet so to speak and invest the time to find those resources to propel their enterprise forward. These individuals accept there is an immediate, short term hit to cash flow and profitability yet in the long term they recognize not to take action will leave them even further behind the flow.
What I know from SMB owners to sales professionals to even frontline customer service people, all waste at least 12 minutes a day. This wasted time translates to one hour per week. If a business owner would schedule 15 uninterrupted minutes each day with intentional actions to research and then delegate some of his or her activities to others, he or she would have more time and probably even more dollars.
Additionally by embracing a proven goal setting process along with a functional tool (goal worksheet), business leaders can track their delegation and stay even more organized in less time. What must take place is to step over the fear and the other limiting factors because the failure to embrace delegation will only further constrict sustainable business growth.Share on Facebook