Sales Leadership Temperament of Impressionable Part 24

Are you seeking a salesperson who will be influenced by your organization or who may stick around for a while?  Salespeople with this sales leadership temperament of impressionable may fit that bill.

Years ago, people left college and went to work for one company. They became “company men or company women.” Possibly by being impressionable, the organization was better able to enfold them into the corporate culture.  Firms like IBM, GE and the auto industry come to mind.

Individuals with this internal temperament have these biases:

sales-leadershipJust as a quick refresher, the internal temperament is the level of optimism (positive bias) or pessimism (negative bias) people view themselves or their lives.  Even though having an internal neutral bias is preferred, this is not as common as having either a positive or negative bias.

From a sales leadership perspective, individuals with an impressionable temperament may become easily “involved in activities on an experimental or impulsive basis.” This tendency to become quickly involved is because this individual is unable to crystallize his or her own direction or objective. Being unable to have clarity may create some self doubt and uncertainty on the best way to achieve her or his objectives. For example, new hires such as college graduates just entering the job market may have this specific temperament. (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

The lack of clarity may result in placing more emphasis, “more importance in how others think of you and your accomplishments since your own guides are unclear.”  This emphasis allows the individual to be influenced or “impressed” by those around him or her. (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

Just as the words impressionable suggests, individuals with this sales leadership temperament “have  not yet formed clear, definite rules for self-organization.” Additionally given all the uncertainty and lack of clarity, those who are impressionable may have questions in how they want to proceed in life at this moment in time.  All of these factors make such individuals more prone to being influenced by their surroundings.  (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

Understanding the internal biases associated with the various decision making styles along with key talents as identified by the Innermetrix Attribute Index does provide greater insight into hiring the right candidate in sales or any other position. To not employ such proven and statistically sound tools when miss hires are so expensive truly does not make sense.

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Muddled Content Marketing Misses the Mark

The 21st Century has changed how people market their businesses. To attract attention today requires this new channel of content marketing.  Yet as in the previous century when paid advertising was King, many of those messages miss the mark and worse yet continue to miss the mark.

content-marketingToday’s customers or clients want not only relevant content, but engagement as well. This can be very time consuming for the single office/home office small business or the small business owner with under 20 employees.

Unfortunately, according to Demand Metric’s Lead Generation Benchmark Report for 2014 released in July of 2014 suggested the most frequent problem (cited by 58% of the participants) with content marketing is “content doesn’t create enough opportunities for interaction and engagement.”  Those firms that use interactive content such as apps, assessments or quizzes have the capacity to generate conversions around 70% compared to passive content at 36%.

Then there is the mark of relevance.

Is your audiences’ value drivers connecting to your message?

Are you writing the same stuff as everyone else especially within B2C or B2B?

The simple question to ask yourself is:

“Why would anyone read my content marketing day after day?

One of the metrics to see if your efforts are worthwhile is to track your number of visits and pages per visit. Back in March of 2010, one month after this blog debut, this site received 1.91 visits per visitor with 2.89 visits per page on 43,700 pages .  Over time, and yes time is a factor, these statistics increased to 6.36 visits per visitor with closer to 4.0 visits per page on 154,078 pages. Additionally during that same time frame, conversions increased as well.

Probably the best way to avoid the muddle of content marketing is to establish an education based marketing  philosophy where you will educate your potential audience.  Education creates attraction because others will want to read what you have written and you can go ahead of the flow by becoming a thought leader in your area of expertise. This approach does require you not to make a sales pitch in your content, but to give, to share your knowledge and perspective with others. If they want a  sales pitch, they can turn on TV, the radio, read the newspaper or get one of those darn pop-ads on the Internet.

Understanding how the channels to attract attention and begin to build relationships has changed can support business growth for your small business. Ignoring how the channels have changed may have you capsized, out of the sales flow and on the bank, high and dry without any new businesses.

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My Balanced Plate

Each day we start fresh with the opportunity to do something, do nothing or do less than something if it is the weekend or our day off. Subconsciously we are pulled in many directions with the “do this” or “don’t do that.” All of this pulling impacts the balanced plate we have mentally constructed in our heads.

balanced-plateJust like the jugglers of the past, we juggle to do items, people, and thoughts what seems like 24/7.  We attempt to keep our plates in balance. Unfortunately even in our sleep we are interrupted with dreams that  may awaken us because we forgot to do something.

Our balanced plate is really more like a piece of pie with special pieces or sections pre-labeled. When we become off balance, we may focus more on one section (intentionally or unintentionally) than another.  (Note: The first person I have discovered who talked about having a balanced plate  or life wheel was  Buddha.)

For example, yesterday I was not feeling well. My headache (physical health) prevented me from reading (mental), answering emails (career) and even took time away from chatting with my husband (family). My plate was indeed off balance.

This past week during a workshop on sales skills, I shared how almost 15 years ago I wrote a goal about going to church.  At that time I was traveling much more than today and weekends were my down time.  Getting up early on Sunday was not something I wanted to do,. Yet, I knew from my past experiences church was important to me. So I wrote a WAY SMART goal, emotionalized it and then applied the necessary critical thinking skills to uncover what was keeping me from going to church.  By taking this action, I have regularly attended church for the last 15 years and miss very few Sundays.  (Using a proven goal setting worksheet helps to keep my life in balance.

Yes we are our own worst enemies or as Pogo said “I meant the enemy and he was me.” By being more intentional about our thoughts and our behaviors along with the actions we do or do not take, we can have a more balanced plate. This does not mean that life  will be smooth. What it does mean we are better equipped to handle many of those off balanced moments.

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Are You Favoring the Path of Least Resistance?

Water it is said favors the path of least resistance.  Maybe this also true for us as human beings?

Path-of-Least-Resistance-BI-F-01Isn’t it much easier to go with the flow than to stop; actually think and take a different path?

Even though human beings are as I believe and from what I have read almost “hot wired” to embrace change, old habits due to internal, mental conditioning (usually negative) kick in and sometimes we end up on the path of least resistance without ever realizing it.

Of course to change our path does require to determine where we are.

One great tool is the Life Wheel, first advocated by Buddha over 2,500 years ago.

Another tool that promotes proactive change instead of reactive change or the path of least resistance is reflection.

A third tool would be to have a written personal growth action plan supported by WAY SMART Goals.

In the book, The E-Myth, Gerber writes about working ON the business instead of IN the business.

Isn’t this also true about our own lives?

We invest so much time working IN our lives we fail to work ON them.

We place far more value on planning a vacation, a trip to the grocery store than we do planning for the rest of our lives.

Change can be good and does have it down side. Yet without change, without taking a proactive stance, we probably all would be still living in caves or at best still riding horses to get around.

As you look to this weekend, next week and the rest of your life, ask yourself these two simple questions:

Am I like water favoring the path of least resistance?

If so, what am I fearing to change?

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The Greatest Excuse for Small Businesses

How many times do we hear from small businesses “I don’t have the money?”  Some believe this is the greatest excuse, but they are wrong.

small businessesThe greatest excuse, the most damaging one to small business growth is this one:

“I don’t have time.”

Small businesses can always get more money, but they can never get more time.  Once time is gone, it is gone forever.

What is quite ironic is many business coaches or change management consultants who profess to help small business owners and other professionals including salespeople consistently use this excuse.  I continue to shake my head about this disconnect.

Most people admit to wasting 12 minutes a day. This adds up to one hour per week or 52 hours per year.  Time management studies suggest the wasted time that being unproductive time is closer to one hour per work day.

In 2011, America Online and conducted a survey that revealed the average worker wasted 2.09hour per 8 hour workday. This wasted time does not include lunch or break.

The impact to the American economy is a  literally mind numbing $759 billion per year.  (Paying for salaries where work was expected, not performed.) Add this wasted time to the continued research on workforce engagement and those billions probably double.

The additional irony is that time management is an oxymoron as no one can manage a constant.  What really must take place is better self management.

For small businesses, this may mean using automatic online software such as Hootsuite or delegating some of those daily to do tasks. At the end of the day, when someone states “I don’t have time” what they are really saying is they cannot manage themselves, their professional roles or their small businesses.

I leave you with this thought leadership question.

Do you really want someone who cannot manage himself or herself helping you manage your business challenges?


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The Leadership Giving Receiving Ratio

In leadership there exists a ratio of how much one gives in comparison to how much one receives. Yet there are many leaders who benefit from the receiving and fail to give. In some cases, this ratio turns into a whole number of receiving with no giving.

leadershipThis past week I physically met a LinkedIn and Facebook connection.  He was an aspiring entrepreneur who also had a full time job.  After our pleasant meeting in which I shared some general observations and referred him to a couple of my connections, he asked me what could he do for me?

I knew when I met him he was not a ideal customer however I believe one never knows who someone else knows.  My response was “Just leave the tip” (I bought breakfast) and when you hear of someone who might benefit from my services, please consider sharing my name. He was genuinely appreciative of my time and that was enough for me.

Another example of this giving receiving ratio is LinkedIn recommendations (written) not the endorsements.  For myself,  I intentionally decided long ago to have at least a 2 for 1 ratio respective to LinkedIn recommendations. Currently I have given 81 LinkedIn recommendations and received 36.  This ratio is being maintained.

Another example of the leadership giving receiving ratio is the sharing of the blogs, LinkedIn articles and special online writings. Since I belong to several forward thinking leadership groups where material is cross-promoted, I am indeed fascinated by the absence of this ratio by some of the group members.

Of course, the lack of reciprocity is justified because they do not feel the content up to their quality standards; they disagree with the content; the posting is too long for their readers; or  they don’t have time. This justification may make sense to them. Yet, this appears to me to be an ego self-serving leadership smoke screen that is not fooling the other contributors to the group. Occasionally a member is “nicely called out” and the called out member uses of the aforementioned smoke screen excuses.

For me, I regularly disagree with many of the positions of my professional colleagues from “cold calling is dead” to “value creation” to “social selling.” Overall, the content is fairly well written and my sense is there would be one or more people within my community who would find this information of interest. I know this to be true because people make positive comments on these articles that I have not written.

The real thought leadership question is two-fold:

1. If we all agreed on everything, where would there be growth and change?

2. What are you or rather your ego really fearing?

What the leadership giving receiving ratio reveals is one’s positive core values, one’s business ethics and sometimes one’s excessive ego. When we think of ourselves before thinking of others, this creates a disconnect, disharmony with our own positive core values. For some, they can live with that disharmony, for others including myself, they cannot.

Years ago my Swedish grandmother lead by example of how it is better to give than to receive. I remember her lessons because she held my hand as we walked across the dirt road to give a cake, a loaf of bread to a far wealthier neighbor. She lived her values, her faith and I look to her as a guide for my own daily actions.

Today I do my best to give without the expectation of receiving and I attempt not to hide behind the self serving smoke screens of justification. Yes, sometimes I do fail because my own ego gets in the way. This is why I have combined my values statement with my personal motto – Just Be Values -  to keep me from falling into the abyss of ego self-justification.

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Is Living One’s Faith an Essence of Sales Leadership?

Have you ever considered the essence of sales leadership revolves around living one’s faith.  With all the emphasis on social media, the current “best” selling style such as agile selling, the best sales skills especially closing techniques and let us not forget business growth, we sometimes fail to recognize the importance of faith within this dynamic field.

sales-leadershipFaith is defined as allegiance to duty or person. My old dictionary describes this allegiance as loyalty. The origins of allegiance have roots in the Latin word “fidere” to trust. For many the word faith means allegiance to a religion. Maybe through our reliance on this more contemporary meaning we have lost the essence of sales leadership.

Zig Ziglar said “Sales is the transference of feelings.”  To transfer those feelings does require another person. In business we  usually don’t transfer feelings to people we do not want to know, but rather to people we want to know and begin to trust.

With 97.7% of all businesses here in the US under 20 employees, trust becomes critical both with external customers and internal ones. From this trust is loyalty and loyalty generates repeat sales referrals and repeat revenue.

When salespeople live their faith, they allow the entire world to see their actions and hear their words. These individuals in sales leadership roles are viewed as authentic, the real thing and are willing to help and serve others. Of course, when the allegiance is to ME (think massive ego) or to the almighty dollar at the cost of everything else, then that behavior is not a good thing.

Yesterday at a local business to business networking meeting, South Shore Business Networking, the facilitator asked these two questions:

  • On a scale of one to eight with one serving only myself and eight serving others, how would you rank yourself right now?
  • In three months, where would you like to to be?

Then all 11 members shared their past and current efforts in serving others. Beyond the Chambers of Commerce boards, not for profit organizations and religious organizations (Jewish and Christian), several members had taken their personal experiences and are now serving others such as teaching women to fight (self defense) to helping veterans fly to Washington, D.C. through the Honor Flight.  All of these members had allegiance to a duty or to a person or persons.

For me sales leadership has always been about living one’s faith only in the past I did not have the clarity I have today. Being in sales is probably the best role to have because where else can you be you and not only meet incredibly people, help and support others,  but also earn money at the same time?


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Sales Leadership Temperament of Passive Part 23

Hiring a salesperson with an internal passive sales leadership temperament is probably not the best hiring decision. Yet sometimes these folks are hired because those doing the hiring are unaware of this internal temperament. Those individuals with this temperament do not make the best salespeople. Their external temperaments may be quite good to strong, but their internal temperaments, ah, that is the real story.

sales-leadershipIndividuals who possess a passive temperament have the following biases:

With these biases, there is some underlying uncertainty creating some insecurity regarding this individual’s own identity.  The uncertainty and insecurity has resulted in this particular person having “trouble taking action.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

Another result of this sales leadership temperament of passive is “self doubt” and a “lack of confidence” in his or her work.  What happens instead these individuals rely primarily on making sure they “follow the rules” as they decide who they are supposed to be. (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

The good new is those with this internal temperament are “more confident in what they value.” Their challenge is commitment regarding the “direction of the best way to do” something. (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

How can you avoid hiring a passive salesperson? I recommend reading more about the Innermetrix Attribute Index and consider taking this sales leadership talent assessment that provides a wealth of information to you in under 12 minutes.

Note: Our temperaments (external and internal) are the degree of optimism or pessimism with which we tend to view ourselves and our lives.  Each of us can choose to see things in an overly positive or negative light but having a neutral view is preferential. (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

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The ME of Content Marketing

Content marketing thanks to social media is the  rage especially for 93% of the business to business world. Yet according to the Content Marketing Institute and Erin Povey of Sirius Decisions, much of the audience dislikes, no hates, the majority of the content.

content-marketingThe challenge in using this marketing channel is to put the audience first and not the person writing, nor his or her products nor his or her company.  By ignoring the potential ideal customer two undesirable results happen:

  • The Massive Ego (ME) of the writer, salesperson or firm surfaces (it’s all about me, my solutions or my company)
  • The audience hates the content and never returns

Content marketing is not the bloody pulpit to shout to the world how good you, your solutions and your business  are. Instead, this is where you can educate and share relevant content (information) that subtly showcases your expertise which connects to the value drivers of your target audience.  You become a thought leader in your respected field where your expertise is desired and creates loyal followers.

To be engaged in thought leadership via this marketing channel also suggests the following about the quality of your writings:

  • Emotionally compelling stories that may also entertain
  • Practical suggestions about personal job performance to organizational effectiveness
  • Ideas of how to stay ahead of flow and therefore the perceived competition

Your thought leadership goal is to have your audience pulling your content to them and not you “pushing” your content on to them.  As in selling phase of the sales process, this is not the time to bring out the ME (massive ego).

With the ideal customers (buyers)  now firmly in charge, B2B firms be them micro small to the Fortune 100s who ignore this change in dynamics is as John Miller of Scribewise states is engaged in “malpractice marketing.” The two direct questions to ask yourself if you want to engage in thought leadership are:

  1. Is my or our ME (Massive Ego) showing through my or our writing content?
  2. If so, how can I change my or our content marketing to be more educating, more compelling, more customer focused and less ME focused?
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She Lived Her Faith

Sometimes the simplest statements have the most profound impact. This week I heard one that will stay with me for years to come.

faithThe statement was:

“She lived her faith.”

Imagine your life is one of consistently living your faith and not just your religious convictions.  Faith is defined as one’s allegiance to a duty or person.

What would that life look like?

Would it be one of giving to others?

Would it be one of leading others?

Would it be one of sharing with others?

Probably it would be all of the above. When we live our faith, we give, we lead and we share.

For many of us, myself included, we do not consistently live our faith.  We have challenges that weaken our allegiance to our religious convictions, to our duties or to other people. After all, this is part of being human.

Yes, life is indeed challenging.  In the future, when I have those moments of self doubt, I can return to this simple statement and ask myself:

By not taking action, am I living my faith?

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith
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