Our Behaviors Mirror Our Beliefs

Even after all of our evolution, human beings are still creatures of behaviors.  We cannot read the minds of others or look into their thoughts to see their beliefs.

behaviorsOur thought processes determine what we do, how we behave. In the behavior model, this concept is captured in the term “Knowledge.” Knowledge is the sum total what we know to be true, as we perceive it (perceptions).

When we observe the behaviors of another person in any given situation, our perceptions of what happened is added to our knowledge base of that person. From this knowledge base we make assumptions or presumptions regarding how we expect that person will behave in similar situations in the future. These assumptions or presumptions lead us to develop certain beliefs (attitudes) toward that person. These attitudes translate into our own behaviors when we interact with that person.

Now, our behaviors as the other person perceives it, then become part of the other person’s knowledge base of us.  That person them makes assumptions or presumptions; develops beliefs (attitudes) and behaves n certain manners when interacting with us. Thus the behavior cycle continues.

At what point can we change this cycle of behaviors if I want to do so? My behavior. Why? Because only behavior is observable. Other people cannot see what I think. They cannot see my beliefs (attitudes). They can only see what I do – what I say – my behavior.

If I would like another person to change their behavior can I make them change? No, not directly, But I can change my own behavior, which as the behavior model shows, may influence the behavior of another person.

No one makes me do anything, behave in any certain way. I always have choices. I behave the way I choose to behave. I can change my behavior if I so choose. Therefore, from a behavioral perspective, I really am the person I choose to be.


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I Receive What I Believe

In the never ending quest for self improvement, many individuals look first to behaviors.  Yet if we understand that 80-90% of all behaviors are unconscious or at the subconscious level, then maybe there is a better place to start. And that is with what we believe or our beliefs.

I-believeBeliefs are those foundational, internal thought processes that determine what I do. In the belief model, this concept is caught in the term “attitudes.” Attitudes are habits of thoughts m(Zig Ziglar) that have evolved from the sum total of what I know to be true and what I believe to be true.  Attitudes are observable behaviors.

Before I interact with another person, my beliefs begin to act as “filters” as to what I will be potentially experiencing. If what I experience is in alignment with my beliefs, I will consider my interaction with that person as positive or potentially positive.  However, if my experience is not in alignment with my beliefs, I will consider the experience as one of disbelief (skepticism) or even negative. Simultaneously, the other person is observing my behavior and may reinforce his or her beliefs about me.

To change behaviors begins by changing those internal beliefs or belief systems that I am quietly or in some cases not so quietly broadcasting during every waking moment. I must accept that I cannot change any individual. All I can do is change those foundational beliefs that may be affecting my interpersonal interactions.  Hence, these changes influence the other person’s belief and ultimately her or his behaviors toward me.

Beliefs extend far beyond my behaviors and the behaviors of others.  These foundational thoughts or attitudes set path for the rest of my life.  If I believe that today is a great day, full of abundance, achievement and joy it will be such a day.  Conversely, if I believe that today is a poor day, full of scarcity, failure and misery, it will also be such a day.  Each day I have a choice of what beliefs to embrace. The choice of my beliefs will determine what I receive that day and how others receive me.

For I receive what I believe.

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When Did Welcome Become A Small Business SEO Strategy?

Funny about Internet searching, one can learn a lot. Earlier this morning I was searching the Internet specific to local marketing firms here in Northwest Indiana who provide solutions from SEO strategy (Search Engine Optimization)  to online marketing for small businesses.  A couple of my small business coaching clients had been approached by some of these firms and wanted my advice.  Much to my surprise several sites began with this word:


Now maybe the small business world or marketplace has changed and people are  really searching for the word “welcome?”

Yet we know this is not the case.

Why any marketing firm starts its home page or any page with this word “welcome” only demonstrates this small business is totally clueless about any SEO strategy as well as online marketing solutions.

Having invested thousands of hours in learning about marketing both traditional (outbound marketing) and Internet or social media (inbound marketing), I know with a simple few actions most websites can be far more search engine friendly.

  1. The title page that is seen on the top of the Internet browser should be under 80 characters and include at least one keyword for that page, your company name and geographic location
  2. Description of each page should be unique to the content of that page
  3. Keywords or meta tags for each page should be unique for that page
  4. The first several words of each page should contain at least one keyword
  5. Pictures with a tag of the keyword are also important
  6. Keyword concentrations should not exceed 3% and recent updates to Google suggest a maximum 1% saturation rate. (Every 100 words, the key word only appears one time.)
  7. Long tail keywords are essential for each page
  8. Weekly if not daily updates are also essential as the robots are seeking new content
  9. Internal links to other pages within your website as well as external links must be relevant to the content

If you as a small business owner or sales professional want to improve your Internet marketing and are seeking a specific SEO strategy, then interview any local marketing firm that professes to deliver improved Internet traffic or online marketing. Request at least 3 references and then call those references.  Ask about the results such as increased web traffic, more sales leads, etc.

And remember to visit that small business marketing firm seeking your hard earned profits because they can deliver just the SEO strategy you need provided you are willing to fork over some of your hard earned profits.  If you see the word “Welcome,” be careful unless your clients are searching for “Welcome.”

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Got Leadership or Still Looking?

The advertising campaign of “Got Milk” has recently been retired.  This is not the case with small businesses to professional practices who continue to realize “got leadership” is necessary for them to stay at least with the flow of the marketplace and their competitors.

leadershipNow some of these forward thinking individuals believe they have leadership. In fact they have invested thousands to millions of dollars in developing the leadership within their organizations.

So if this is true, why is this one word still surfacing as the number one challenge being faced by these very same organizations?


Possibly, the leadership training  is just on the surface because it was delivered from an outside in.  Sustainable leadership is developed from the inside out and includes this one essential talent – realistic personal goal setting.

Possibly if you think you “got leadership” and still have execution has a daily if not weekly challenge, they you may to consider “still looking.”  Also, if you are experiencing some of these conditions in your small business or professional practice, you may wish to rethink how you are currently training and developing your leaders.

  • Excessive meetings including conference calls
  • Way too much consensus driven decision making  (a.k.a. cover your behind)
  • Inconsistent or lack of personal accountability
  • Questionable performance evaluations (Everyone wins a trophy!)
  • Communication gaps
  • Short tempers
  • Stressed out compliants
  • Power struggles between departments or within teams
  • Poor to unacceptable results
  • Time management problems
  • Mico-management
  • Can’t do attitudes
  • Duplication of workflow
  • High staff turnover
  • Unacceptable results

As the authors in Fail-Safe Leadership state:

” If any of these conditions exist in your company, this does not mean you, the reader, are in ineffective leader. It simply means that your company has leadership problems.

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An Often Ignored Open Ended Sales Question

Open ended questions are excellent ways to find out the wants and needs of the sales lead or prospect. Yet if people buy first on emotion then justify that buying decision with logic justified, where is the emotional open ended sales question?

open-ended-sales-questionBeing  “just the facts, ma’am, just the facts” Joe Friday salesperson may be leaving incredible opportunities on the table. Additionally you as the salesperson could be viewed as impersonal and uncaring.

During a recent executive coaching session with a sales manager in the healthcare industry, she was sharing some of her open ended fact finding questions.  The questions were extremely well crafted.

As I listened to her give me a preview of her sales questioning approach, I stopped her after one particular question and asked “So what do you ask next after your sales lead has shared some significant and potentially harmful fact finding information?” My client then shared her next question.  The question was another open ended sales question.  She had been trained to focus on these type of fact finding questions.

My response was “Good question, but not the one I wanted to hear.”

We then went through a discussion about what could have been a better open ended sales question.

Finally, I had to return to the 3 Sales Buying Rules those being:

  1. People buy from people they know and trust.
  2. People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.
  3. People buy on value unique to them.

We had agreement the sales lead knew and had established a level of trust with my client as this was not the first meeting.  As to the second sales buying rule, the executive coaching client realized she was not emotionalizing the fact finding step within the selling phase of the sales process.  I asked her what would happen if she asked the following open ended sales question at the appropriate time because timing in sales as in life is everything:

How does that make you feel?

Suddenly there was silence on the other end for several minutes. My client said very quietly to me “I have been missing out on incredible opportunities.  This question would have the sales leads  potentially sharing far more. It is a flood gate question!”

Care should be taken when using an emotional open ended sales question.  Too many can turn off a sales lead because the questions can be viewed as too personal especially any questions that start with the word “Why.”

Also after asking “How does that make you feel?” and receiving a response, sometimes the next best question is the “And….?” or the “So….?” You, as the salesperson, say the word “And” in a trailing voice and the sales lead usually continues with more critical information. The question is still a very much open ended sales question, but far less threatening and leading.

So if you are not receiving the facts you need to present your solution, then review your fact finding questions and determine if  judiciously by adding a little emotion into your sales conversations would yield even better results.

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Sales Leadership Talent of Surrendering Control

We have all heard of control freaks and probably experienced them as sales managers, fellow sales team members, vendors or even customers or clients. These types of individuals lack this sales leadership talent of surrendering control.

sales-leadershipWorking with individuals who want to maintain control at all times except when they must be responsible for their results challenges the best sales professionals.

The Innermetrix Attribute Index defines this sales leadership talent of surrendering control as the:

Ability of a person to surrender control of a given situation, or outcome, over to another person or group of people.  The ability to be comfortable in a situation where a significant portion of the responsibility for achieving a goal lies in the hands of others. 

Did you notice how surrendering control is directly connected to “outcome” (think result) or “a goal?” This makes logical sense because why would anyone want to control something if there was not something to control?

Top sales performers or any other individuals who have a good score in this talent “will be comfortable with trusting other team members with the success of a mutual objective.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

Then again those salespersons who have a low score surrendering control “will have difficulty turning responsibility over.  When the results of a task will impact them…they want the control.”

Surrendering control especially during negotiations within the sales process either with internal customers or external customers can be very difficult.  With so many internal customers wanting to either assert their roles or departments while also claiming some of the success for winning a major deal is unfortunately a daily battle for some salespeople.

Of the 78 sales leadership talents, surrendering control is probably one that is not viewed with the same importance as handling rejection or self starting ability, yet this talent probably causes more stress to the sales organization than any other one.

If you wish to know your own ability for surrendering control. the Innermetrix Attribute Index is a quick talent assessment that will provide more information that you think is possible in under 12 minutes.

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Marketing Goal Worksheet Works with Your Marketing Action Plans Part 2

Now that you understand what a marketing goal worksheet looks like and how it works. The next questions is:

marketing-goal-worksheetWhat do your marketing action plans look like? 

Of course before you have constructed these action plans you have invested the time to do your marketing research along with a competitive analysis of your business, haven’t you?  This is not the time to short change that critical thinking process.

Years ago, small businesses essentially had only one marketing action plan. This traditional plan looked to outbound activities including:

  • Networking and/or trade shows
  • Direct mail
  • Paid advertising including: print, radio, TV or special events such as sponsors for charity events
  • Promotional items including business cards, brochures, give-a-ways

A few more forward thinking small business owners and sales professionals may have also included:

  • Internet (web site)
  • Professional development specific to improving marketing knowledge

Today a second marketing action plan is required that also works with the marketing goal worksheet. This action plan looks to inbound marketing actions, usually arising from social media.

  • Blog
  • Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • You Tube
  • Micro Blogs

With either of these  simple one page marketing action plans, the marketing goal worksheet works to ensure the successful execution of the marketing goals.  And as noted in part 1, the marketing goal worksheet is no different than any other goal worksheet.

If you are having some challenges with the successful execution of your marketing plans and goals, then remember the very wise words of President Eisenhower:  Plan are useless; planning is everything.

Your marketing action plans and consequently marketing goals will change and should change because the marketing changes. However the thinking that started the entire planning process and ongoing thinking will never change.

If you do not have a social media marketing action plan, the one page social media action plan may help you get started.

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Marketing Goal Worksheet Works with Your Marketing Action Plans Part 1

A few forward thinking small business owners actually have a marketing action plan embedded within their overall strategic plan. Yet even for these results driven individuals consistent execution alludes them.

marketing-goal-worksheetFor it is one thing to have a marketing goal, yet it is still another in how to ensure that goal is achieved.

The solution is a marketing goal worksheet that works with all the hard thinking and planning that has already taken place.

A marketing goal worksheet is just like any other goal worksheet.

This may surprise many who think there is a difference.

Unfortunately that is the first of two challenges given very few small business owners, sales professionals even individuals use a goal worksheet to flush out their goals within their strategic plans.

Then the second challenge is the lack of a goal setting and goal achievement process that works with the goal worksheet. The execution of a goal is very similar to the directions found within many toys, model kits to even technology tools.

Without the directions, think process, the likelihood of successfully assembling whatever is laying in front of you has been greatly diminished.

The following simple chart may help you determine where there are gaps in your marketing goal worksheet.


Goal Setting Process

Marketing Goal Worksheet

1. Think about what you wish to achieved
2. Establish WAY SMART goal Write WAY SMART goal
3. Determine target date (this may need to be revised) Write target date
4. Emotionalize the goal by contemplating the positive emotions of joy, gains, rewards for achieving the goal Write down these positive emotions
5. Emotionalize the goal by contemplating the negative emotions of regret, pains, consequences for not achieving the goal Write down these negative emotions
Step #5 is extremely critical because people are emotional creatures. Ignoring the emotions is tantamount to ignoring oneself!
6. Give thought to critical success factors necessary for this goal to be achieved Write down those critical success factors
7. Review resources required for the goal to be achieved Write down those resources
8. Reflect upon your talents and skills that you will leverage to accomplish this goal Write down those talents you wish to leverage
9. Think about what talents you wish to develop or improve as you work to achieve this goal Write down those talents you wish to improve or develop
10. Identify ALL known obstacles and any unknown or possible obstacles Write down each obstacle separately
11. Identify all possible solutions Select the best solution and write it down.
12. Think about the workflow within each solution Write down each step of the solution. Be careful not to miss any steps.
13. Establish a target date for each step Write down the target date
14. Determine if any steps must be delegated to another and identify those individuals Write down the names of those delegated individuals
15. Work through each of the action steps Check them off when completed
16. When all actions steps for each solution are checked off, your goal should be completed. If not, you may have missed an action step for a solution or even ignored a real or potential obstacle.

As to your marketing action plan, there probably are actually two marketing action plans.  One is for your traditional marketing goals or what is now considered outbound marketing actions. The other is for your non-traditional marketing goals or inbound marketing actions (social media). Both outbound and inbound marketing are required in today’s highly mobile and technology driven business world.

Part 2 will look at your marketing action pln

If you do not have a one page goal worksheet along with the instructions in how to work through the goal worksheet, then you may just find the Results Tool™ to be very beneficial.

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What’s Your Purpose?

purposePurpose, we hear that word and in so many instances never think of our own reason for being.

Why are we here right now?

What makes us unique as individuals?

Our purpose changes because our lives change.

The purpose of a baby is to:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • And dirty diapers

As the child grows, her or his purpose changes with age.

Young people have the purpose to explore their individuality while later on its to find a career.

Then objective changes again with having a family to sending children off on their own success path.

Finally, for many in their later years, their reason to exist revolves around their grandchildren to great grandchildren.

What I have discovered is until individuals have invested the time to answer “Why am I here?” answering other equally important questions becomes even more difficult.  Questions such as:

  • Where am I going? – Vision statement
  • How will I get there? – Mission statement (current)
  • What behaviors will I demonstrate 24/7? – Values statement

To understand who we are requires knowing our:

  • Decision making styles
  • Levels of temperament
  • Attributes or talents

By having clarity, we then can begin to craft our purpose hiding behind all the experiences of our lifetime.

Our purpose has always been there.

It is like a fine thread weaving its self through the tapestries of our lives.

The challenge is the lack of clarity has obscured why we are where are right here and now.

We get so caught up in the day to day activities of life we fail to reflect, to invest the time to think about ourselves and what we truly bring to the table of life.

We unfortunately sometimes embrace what others have told us and not what is necessarily true.

When we can identify those unique gifts, we just may be surprised that many of those gifts really are our core values such as:

  • Authenticity
  • Gratitude
  • Humor
  • Respect
  • Thoughtfulness

Crafting our own purpose statement is not an easy or quick activity. I reflected many hours as to a common link or theme that was present in the past years of my life. Taking up this challenge and completing it was probably one of the most fulfilling experiences I had ever experienced.

“My purpose on this earth is to be a trailblazer (a.k.a. heurist). One who unites the gifts of  caring, creativity, curiosity, determination, faith, intelligence, intuition, patience, reflection, risk taker and thoughtfulness.”

April 28, 2002



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Good Help Continues to Be Hard to Find

The economy is still sluggish and many people have quit looking for jobs. We hear these sad statistics every day.

good-helpYet, are we ignoring the reality that good help is just hard to find?

This past week I was reminded that part of the problem for the slow economic recovery is our workforce is suffering from unqualified applicants from recent college graduates to experienced workers.

On Monday a small business owner shared with me his firm had hired a new manager to run one division. The applicant had 10 plus years of industry experience and graduated with a post secondary degree from a prestigious university. However, the newly hired manager could not effectively communicate.  This same individual lacked the critical thinking skills among his interpersonal skills to render moderately long written communications into much shorter ones for easier dissemination to others within the division.

Then on Tuesday, another small business colleague shared one of his clients was seeking good help for these two positions:

  1. Accountant
  2. Administrative assistant

Beyond the usual work experience, the client had three requirements.

  1. Honesty
  2. Come to work everyday
  3. Be drug free

Of the over 100 applications received, 60 were sent for drug testing and only five (5) passed.  An administrative assistant was hired and then failed to show up for the first day of work. This firm is still seeking a drug free accountant.

Several years ago one of my small business coaching clients experienced the similar challenge in finding good help. Her position was for a quality assurance person and paid  a beginning $35,000 entry salary.

As her manufacturing small business was in the food industry, she was compelled to have random drug trusting.  For her this hiring and retention process took over 18 months before she found an employee who could maintain a drug free status.

Between many in the labor force lacking the necessary interpersonal skills and others not passing drug tests may help to explain why so many jobs are left unfilled. Until these issues are resolved, good help will continue to be hard to find.

If you wish to discover if your potential new hires have the talents to fulfill your current open position, then consider the Innermetrix Attribute Index talent assessment.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith
cited by Get Base CRM as one of the top 50 Sales Pros to follow on Twitter.

Sherpa in its 2014 Executive Coaching Survey cited Worldwide Coaching Magazine as one of the Top 3 publications for executive coaches. Leanne Hoagland-Smith has been a contributing author since its inception in Jan. 2013.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith included among the Top 25 Sales Influencers by Open View Sales Lab.

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