The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 7

Many believe to increase sales leadership begins with sales training, learning more stuff to improve existing known weaknesses, but in actuality the foundation for sales success lies within the strengths of each salesperson, not their weaknesses, This leads to question number 7:

If people succeed because of their strengths, then do you know with absolute crystal clarity what are your strengths?

During the last 10 years, what I have learned is the super majority of people do not know their strengths as well as they know their weaknesses.  Does this make sense? Think about it for a moment.

Would a legendary coach such as Vince Lombardi hire a quarterback with the weakest throwing arm?  Of course, not! He would seek the individual with the strongest and most accurate throwing arm.

Many psychometric assessments with the goal to increase sales leadership fail to identify the talents of the individual.  The variety of talents reaffirms the variety of salespeople and reveals how they are successful. Human beings are unique and salespeople being human beings are therefore also unique. One talent for one salesperson may not be equally shared by another.  However both can be very successful by leveraging their own strengths. This explains the diversity within any sales team.

Additionally, as Jay Niblick, President of Innermetrix said:

“People tend to turn non-talents into weaknesses.”

Again, the focus from years of negative conditioning is to look at weaknesses or talents ranked lower instead of focusing on those strengths or talents ranked higher.  To increase sales leadership must begin with knowing one’s talents not one’s weaknesses.

There are a plethora of assessments suggesting how to increase sales leadership. For years I did not include assessments within my executive leadership coaching and sales coaching practice because of the poor validity and reliability scores.  However, once I discovered the Attribute Index based upon the works of Dr. Hartman through Axiology, I quickly embraced this talent assessment.

To improve your sales results in 2018 and to achieve sales success, consider the earlier question and ask yourself do you know with absolute crystal clarity your strengths?

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 6

Now another simple increase sales leadership question:

What is keeping you from changing that one behavior which would improve your results?

Here is where as some say the rubber meets the road.  Identifying what is keeping us from realizing the change we want requires us to look down deep inside and face the truth. This truth may not be pretty. Sometimes the fear of facing the truth is what prevents us from identifying what is keeping us from those desired results.

Fear is often said to be False Evidence Appearing Real. We all have fears.  Lots of people make good money helping people work through those fears.

Again, this is where journaling can support facing those fears.  By writing down one’s thoughts as one works through answering this question helps to bring actual clarity to those fears.  One may learn what he or she feared may not be the real fear but a shadow lurking in front of the real fear or fears.

Another way to identify what is keeping someone from achieving his or her desired behavioral change and ultimately results is to think of this word limitations. Now some writers use the word obstacles and others employ the word challenges. Both of these words are acceptable.  I prefer the word limitations because it speaks more to internal barriers.

We all have limitations. Learning how to recognize those limitations and then leverage them is a combination of attitudes and skills.

Again, these 12 days of questions to increase sales leadership revolve around each individual. We all can make the choice to stay with the status quo, blame forces outside of our control and resign ourselves to nothing will make a difference.

Or we can as it is said, face our own internal music and change the tune. The choice is always up to each of us and our own personal desire to increase sales leadership.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 5

If the goal is to increase sales leadership results, then this suggests taking each question and asking another question.  Yesterday the question looked to identifying one aspect, one behavior that would be valuable to you.

Today’s question digs a little deeper with:

What would be the positive, negative, or neutral end result of that one changed behavior?

How often do we decide to make a quick change and the change is not sustainable?  In business, some people are just hired to analyze the results, outcomes, of changes in products, services as well as operational expenses.

Yet for our own personal and even professional lives, we sometimes fail to undertake a similar analysis.  We think we know what the increase sales leadership results should be, but in actuality we truly don’t have 100% crystal clarity as to those results.

By analyzing the potential desired results, we avoid the all to common quick fix mentality or solution.  Then it appears we begin changing decisions in rapid succession until something sticks.  I call this behavior “spraying and praying.”  We spray our actions, our decisions all over the place and then pray something will stick.  What a waste of time, energy, emotions and dollars.

Have you ever thought or heard the following?

“Well, I think it went well”

When this statement is made, a good presumption is the individual failed to analyze the actual results of the decision or initiative.  He or she then continues merrily down the road of life not realizing better increase sales leadership outcomes could have been achieved.

Thinking is a far cry from actually knowing.

This increase sales leadership question along with the other four and the ones to come work to counter the natural resistance to change.  Staying with the status quo is far easier, far safer and potentially far less expensive respective to time, energy, money and emotions.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 4

A small change can make a big difference especially  when looking to increase sales leadership. Today’s question is a simple, but not necessarily easy one:

If you could change just one (1) aspect of what you are currently doing,

what would that one aspect be?

This question requires both reflection and internal honesty.  Now is not the time to fudge the truth or ignore something you do not want to face.

Usually this aspect for many begins with one behavior, one action that is not delivering the desired increase sales leadership results. However, the behavior is usually a result of an attitude.  Upon further reflection, there is probably a hidden, subconscious, belief that gave birth to that attitude.

Additionally how much do you really want to change that one aspect of what you are currently doing? We can see annually all the failed New Year Eve’s resolution as to the lack of desire for really changing our behaviors.

This increase sales leadership question is very much like a ball of yarn.  You begin pulling out the thread (the one behavior you wish to change) and the color of the yarn changes as you pull out more of the thread. Suddenly you realize this question is far more introspective than it was at first glance.

Changing behavior is not easy as it requires continued internal reinforcement.  Unknown or unexpected obstacles suddenly appear making it more difficult to stay the course of change. This is why it is critical to have key performance indicators as well as mechanisms to measure the results of change. Sometimes we go off course and not even realize we are off course until it is too late.

If you have not read the first three increase sales leadership questions, here they are for your review:

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 3

To increase sales leadership requires knowing not only the results of what you were doing differently as asked in Day 2 of these sales leadership questions, but if those results were positive, negative or neutral.  This analysis suggests you know your past results and can quickly make those determinations.

Again, this question further assists in you understanding if you are confusing motion with progress and activity with results. Thanks to Doug Brown of Paradigm Associates for this great increase sales leadership question.

Sometimes even if results are positive, these results may be all about motion such as increase sales leads or first time meeting appointments.  Yet the activity to increase sales results is just that activity without results.

Then if the sales leadership behaviors are negative, possibly it is time to rethink how you do what you do. For example you are working your LinkedIn account or email list and sending our email blasts.  Yet, this activity is not generating any results and you are learning you are potentially upsetting people by cluttering up their inbox.

Possibly some results are neither positive or negative. This may be because enough time has not passed to make any determination.  Here is where you must have understanding as to your sales cycle time.

The ability to increase sales leadership is both simple and complex, The simplicity is sales is all about the transference of feelings. The complexity is exactly how do you transfer those feelings in a positive manner to the right qualified sales leads that result in increase sales.

With so much emphasis on external behaviors from asking the right open ended sales questions to being able to turn stalls into actual sales objections, there appears to be far less emphasis on the internal behaviors which in many instances are the real obstacles to sales success.

If you missed day one of this series of 12 questions to increase sales leadership, you can click here.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 2

Desiring to increase sales leadership truly begins with asking internal questions regarding your own beliefs and behaviors. This next question follows the first increase sales leadership question asked on 12/4/2017:

How do you know you are doing something differently? 

Hint to answer this question is “What are the results?”

By recognizing the importance of the results keeps you from this all too common sales leadership behavior:

Confusing motion with progress and activity with results.

With change and life happening at record speeds, it is quite easy to get caught up with all the craziness busyness sales activities and lose sight of what behaviors have actually made a difference.

What behaviors have moved us forward instead of us just treading water, thinking we are making progress?

Since so many in sales miss their annual sales goals, the inability to know whether they are truly doing something differently to change the status quo is extremely important. They think they have made progress when they look at their calendar, can recite how many sales meeting they have had and yet they are almost creating their own delusional state of mind where complacency has created a false sense of achievement.

Knowing the results and more importantly what activities create those results is essential to increase sales leadership outcomes.  Today, there are many apps than can assist in keeping salespeople on track.

Years ago my father created his own paper application where he gave himself the following daily points:

  • 1 Point for each new sales lead
  • 2 Points for setting an appointment
  • 3 Points for having the actual meeting
  • 4 Points for earning the sale (closed sale)

He would not give himself duplicate points for the same sales lead respective to having an actual meeting unless it was truly an actual meeting where the sale was moving forward such as meeting with another decision maker. Dad understood how salespeople can get lost in a plethora of meetings and fool themselves thinking they were moving the sale forward.

Then at the end of the week, he would add up his points.  Over time he established a baseline to know how many points were required to earn a sale. This baseline did fluctuate depending upon the time of year as his product was either replacement or new application which might required new budgeting.

These two question and the next 10 increase sales leadership questions are about creating self awareness so that you will achieve your 2018 sales goals as well as not have all that stress associated with missing those sales goals.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 1

To increase sales leadership results begins not on the outside by attending some sales seminar or reading some sales or business book but on the inside.  During the next couple of weeks, I will be posting 12 questions you can ask yourself.  These are questions of self reflection where you probably won’t find the answer in a book or a motivational speech.

Let’s start with probably one of the easiest questions I ask my sales coaching clients and build up to the hardest question that being #12:

What are you doing differently yesterday, the past week or past month that you were not doing in the past week, month or six months?

Think about this question and then schedule some time to write down EVERYTHING you have been doing differently from actual actions to actual thoughts.

Possibly start a journal and begin to documents what you are doing differently.  Writing these thoughts down brings greater clarity and focus to your ability to increase sales leadership as well as overall personal results.

  • Could you being to improve your overall sales results and reduce your stress levels by engaging in this question on a regular basis? 
  • What do you believe would happen if you did this internal check in daily, weekly or monthly?

If you are fearful of the answer, then attending more sales seminars, sales training or reading more sales books probably won’t help you to increase sales.

Your ability to successful in sales or any endeavor lies deep within you.  You can always find the knowledge and develop the skills necessary for sales success. However if you lack the proper attitudes and habits all the knowledge and the skills won’t transfer to your desired sales results.

These questions will be similar to eating the elephant one bite at a time. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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Are You Ready to Face Your Daily Mirror Reflection?

Each day probably most of us look into the mirror.  We look to see if the hair is cut perfectly, the makeup is neat, the teeth are clean and white. Yet we don’t see what we really need to see during this daily mirror reflection exercise.

What we fail to see is how much we actually like or better yet love ourselves.  No, I am not talking about the narcissistic type of love, but rather a love for our own individuality. How can others like or even love us when we don’t like or love ourselves?

This question about do you really like or love yourself is one asked by one of my colleagues many years ago during a keynote presentation.  I continue to share this question with my clients especially after one assessment, the Attribute Index, reveals a lack of clarity regarding their internal self.

Accepting who we are is essential for personal and professional self improvement.  This is so true in sales where people buy you, the salesperson first, before they buy your company, your solution, your price or your delivery.

Many of us may remember Sally Field saying upon accepting the Oscar “You really like me.”  I wonder if she really liked herself when she made that statement?  When we like ourselves, we are less concerned if others like us.  We know and accept that not everyone will like us.  Their not liking us does not hold us back from taking future actions.

Being truly comfortable in our own skins is another way of saying we like ourselves.  We accept others may be better looking, more socially connected, even wealthier. However, what others have or don’t have is not our own litmus test for measuring our own success.  We recognize there is always more self improvement growth, but that growth should be in alignment with our own purpose, plans and passion not what others value.

We measure our success by loving what we see in that daily mirror reflection. If you don’t like or love what you see, then I can only suggest discovering what is keeping you from liking or loving yourself.

 

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Sales Is All About Facilitating the Angst of Change

Sales is all about change.  You want your sales prospect to change by buying your solution.

How will you facilitate that change will speak to your sales success or failure.

Facilitate is an incredibly powerful word and one that many salespeople tend to ignore. The roots of facilitate are Latin in origin (facere) and translates as “to do” or “to make.”  From facere, the word evolved to “facilis” or translated to “easy.”  In other words, facilitate is simply “to make easy.”

How can you as a salesperson make the change transition to buy your solution easy?  Does this question change how you think about sales obstacles?

Aren’t sales obstacles resistance to change? Possibly you viewed sales obstacles are objections to your solutions?  Yet if you dig a little deeper, they are objections to change and with that change is a lot of angst.

Sales stalls are the surface angst to change. These are usually easy to see and with a little practice can be turned into real sales objections which are deeper reactions usually negative to change.

When we understand we as salespeople facilitate the angst of change, we can then also increase our emotional intelligence because we are now even more aware of the emotional exchange happening or not happening between our prospects and ourselves.

There is enough research about how people react to change.  A good read is Change or Die by Alan Deutschman to understand the far reaches of change.  Our experiences many times reveal change is good, you go first.

The angst of change helps also to explain why some people are risk takers.  Their angst is far less than those who are reluctant to take risks.

And as we enter sales conversations with the goal to make this interaction as easy as possible for the sales prospect, we indeed differentiated ourselves from all those other grays suits.

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Challenging the Sales Leadership of “We’ve Always Done It that Way”

How many times have you heard those in sales leadership roles when given a new way of thinking state something like “We’ve always done it that way?”  This tunnel vision thinking fails to move the individual, the team, the organization and even the customers forward toward even greater success.

Those involved in continuous improvement hear this statement or something similar to this statement numerous times.  For example, a chair is in the corner of a room and has been there for years.  When asked why is the chair there, the answer is “because it has always been there.” The chair serves no purpose except requiring cleaning people to move it to dust and clean around it.

I remember a story about a young woman who questioned her mother why her mother cut the ends off a roast. The response was because that was what grandmother did.  The young woman asked her grandmother the same question.  Grandmother’s answer was to get the roast to fit into the pan.

“We’ve always done it that way” is being heard more in SMB sales leadership than ever before. This statement becomes a fallback position of complacency.

With greater emphasis on content marketing, social media marketing and changes in the buying decision making process, how the sales process is implemented may require minor as well as some major tweaks.  Yet, reluctance to let go of the status quo by many in sales leadership roles is still very much present.

Last night I heard a compelling presentation about how a local airport could be a dazzling economic gem. Beyond what appears to be considerable mismanagement, there also appeared to be an attitude of “we’ve always done it that way.”

For anyone in any sales leadership role including those on the sales team as well as all employees within the organization to be satisfied with the status quo of “We’ve always done it that way,” limits everyone within that organization. Human beings are designed to change.  Organizations are created by human beings.  Efficient and effective change is required to stay competitive in today’s dynamic business marketplace.

The questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you willing to be that change? – Your decision
  • What do you need to do to be that change? – Your critical thinking skills
  • How will you go about to ensure the change is positive and sustainable? – Your ability to execute
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