Archive for March, 2012

How to Increase Sales Tips & Snippets – Repetition

Do what you know works well or repetition should be at the top of the how to increase sales tips and snippets.  How many small businesses to sales professionals continually seek another new way to market, to sell and all along they already have a proven way to increase sales based upon what has worked well in the past?

Repetition be it for marketing, selling or even learning is a great strategy and tactic. Sales Coaching Tip:  Remember your math facts if you believe repetition does not work.

Yesterday in meeting with a potential client he shared with me several  marketing actions that worked well in the past. So I asked the dumb question:

“Why are you not doing them now given your business is slow and you want to increase sales?”

His response was “time.”  So we continued to talk and I learned time was not the problem, but scheduling the marketing action was the problem.

Amazing, he had the answer of how to increase sales in his back pocket all along and yet was looking for something new, possibly something that was not as difficult.

If your marketing is not working, meaning you are not able to increase sales, then it is time to embrace a new how to increase sales marketing strategy.  However if your marketing is working, continue to do it.  Do not abandon it because someone told you about needing this marketing activity or that sales process. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Your marketing is working when you know exactly how many new sales leads you gathered and how many of those sales leads turned into new customers or clients.

Sales Cartoon

Credit www.funnysalescartoons.com

Sales Quotation

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will on day become a reality.”

Earl Nightingale

 

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Find Your Own Joy – Friday’s Editorial

Find your own joy!

These powerful and wise words were shared just yesterday with me from a millennial (generation Y)  executive coaching client.  She is managing a team where there is huge resistance to change, where the culture has rewarded inefficiency for several decades.  Her frustration is very high with her team and others within her department as to their ongoing inability to find their own joy.

Credit www.sxc.hu

Yet how many people have great expectations of having someone else provide their joy for working or even just living?

Our society only reinforces others must be your joy. People are being conditioned to take the joy away from others to satisfy their own self gratification because they lack the resilience, the business leadership, the personal leadership, the internal motivation to go forth on their own. Additionally, those in business leadership and management positions also lack the skills as to how to motivate their team members.  Businesses to schools to even parents are relying on out dated, truly never worked motivational strategies. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Read Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, to better understand this capacity or talent of motivation.

With disengagement statistics from employees as per Gallup’s ongoing workplace productivity research costing US businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity annually, there is a lot of undiscovered joy in today’s workplace.

Joy comes from within.

The ability to see something positive in what life throws at you or what you just happen to stumble upon.

  • An early morning sunrise
  • A butterfly landing on a delicate petal
  • A smile from a fellow co-worker, team mate or even a small child

Find your own joy!

Joy is everywhere around each of us as individuals.  The challenge is we must get up mentally or even physically and discover it.

Sometimes finding joy is just opening our minds to receiving it. The joy is already inside of us. Unfortunately we are so busy whining, complaining, looking for all the bad, negative stuff, we literally cannot see the forest, the joy, for the trees.

Joy is an attitude, a belief. 

How you look at life expresses your overall joy with life.

Even during the darkest times, people have found joy in their lives. One person who comes to mind is Viktor E. Frankl who survived the horror of the Nazi concentration camps.

Frankl is quoted as saying:

“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Joy is not unrealistic optimism or expectations.  Life sometimes does not deliver what we want or expect. However as Frankl also said:

“A human being is a deciding being.”

We can decide, in other words, to exercise our free will,  to have an attitude of joy or one of despair.

All it takes is a decision to find your own joy and not confiscate, steal, cajole, the joy from others.

You have the ability to be the best you can be, to even inspiring joy in others.

For if joy is meant to be, it is up to you as a business leader, an employee, a parent, a citizen to:

Find Your Own Joy

 

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The Explosion of Robot Selling to Increase Sales

Maybe it is just me, but the explosion of robot selling arena appears to be contradictory to the goal to increase sales. Every day I receive messages from robots, oops I mean salespeople,  wanting me to buy this or try that.

Credit www.sxc.hu

Just yesterday I this one:

Hi Leanne,

I was checking on this.

This ends at 5pm today.

Let me know if you would be interested. Regards,

What he was checking on was a previous marketing message that I had personally answered, but his “robot” sales process did not even read my email because he was engaged in “robot selling.”

Over at LinkedIn, second connections who share similar groups believe they, too, can engage in “robot selling.” These folks send out broadcast emails with the hope to snag one or two likely sales leads, while ignoring the fact they potentially alienated a whole lot more folks with their intrusive marketing messages.

Now there are email marketing to social media firms who assure their clients that email and social media marketing works.  Maybe it does, but my sense is small business owners are becoming more and more savvy when it comes to their buying decisions.

People buy from people, not robots.

This is why the term is relationship selling not robot selling.

People also buy from people, not robots, they know and trust.  When businesses and more specifically professional sales people are engaged in robot selling (think automatic emails, robo calls, recorded voice mail messages,  etc.), they ignore the human factor.

Automation type marketing tools are great especially when you are posting content.  However, there still must be some personal interaction from you as the human being unless your target market is robots if you truly wish to increase sales.

This human or personal interaction may be a handwritten note or postcard, a phone call, something that differentiates you from all those other gray suited robots. Additionally, thanking or liking postings to actually leaving a message shows you have some real interest in others and it is not just about you wanting to sell.

So continue with the robot selling if that is working for you meaning you are securing your goal to increase sales. However, for this old Swede, I will continue with my focus on relationship selling and building those critical relationships necessary to increase sales. My sense is at the end of the day, I will have ticked off far less people, enhanced my personal credibility and built some new relationships based on trust.

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Raise More Questions than Answers by Andy Ferguson

Lately, I’ve been helping quite a few people set up businesses, raise funding and get ideas off the ground. One question that I continued to find myself asking was “what is this business for?”

That got me thinking “what IS business FOR?”

And of course, the answer to that will depend on your view point when you interact with a particular business. From an employee’s perspective, a business could be where they hang out with friends, earn the money to buy their house, a place they can express their potential or somewhere that causes them great stress but is seen as the lesser of two evils. The other being destitution.

For an employee a business can mean somewhere to show how smart they are, how ambitious, how much money they can make or status they can acquire. It could be somewhere they feel powerful, somewhere they feel they have control. It could be mindlessly tedious too, somewhere the employees feel under valued, under utilized and under paid.

In a program that I was watching  the other night, it showed an 8 year old girl breaking rocks with a hammer. This would be her life.

Breaking rocks.

Raise More Questions Than Answers Continue

Yet if you’re reading this in the “developed world”  it’s unlikely you or your children would share the same fate, right?

Well I’m not so sure. You see I also work with highly trained, highly rewarded people in what some might consider top leadership and management jobs. And some are, in their own way, just “breaking rocks” every day too. Some really bright and talented people, who are taught to work hard at school, aim for top grades, compete to get into the best universities and then rise through the corporate ladder reach a leadership and management role where because they haven’t spent much time in their lives in self reflection they suddenly realize they have no real sense of what their life could or should be about. To put it bluntly they have been following someone else’s script.

I have described this type of living, to more than one client, as akin to being a trained monkey. A highly trained and rewarded monkey to be sure, but a monkey none the less.

Over the last 40,000 years or so our civilization has grown immeasurably wealthier in many ways. The assets we have accrued, cultural, philosophical, economic and technological to name a few are often taken for granted. At one level we now understand our world so much better that we can build aircraft that take us from one side of the world to the other in hours, TVs and computers that connect us there in milliseconds, we’ve been to the Moon and cracked the Human Genome.

And our technological mastery allows us to collaborate with others where ever we are to create value together.

We really are slap bang in the middle of a new golden age of wealth creation, if only we could see it.

Raise More Questions Than Answers Continue

So where are we headed? Consider our world is full of transactions and our successes are built more and more on collaboration and less and less on direct competition.  We now are witnessing huge trading packs between countries becoming the norm and likewise international partnerships between auto-manufacturers sharing the costs of R&D and production are more commonplace.

Century’s old companies are forming partnerships with new local players in the thriving BRIC countries. Yes, a major trend is for things to become more together, homogenized, formulaic and the same, for variety to be reduce and for us to unthinking consume (and produce) products that are “what everyone wants”. You might even believe we are increasingly living in a world created, run by and for “trained monkeys.”

Yet, there is an alternative. Individuals can seek diversity, self expression and creativity. We can embrace the challenges caused by “globalization” as opportunities to reinvent what is valuable to us as individuals and to our communities. We can choose to look at the world with eyes wide open, understand the richness and wealth all around us and to lead rather than to follow. This is critical optimism.

It’s up to us to create the future we want to see.

Never have so many been so rich. Yet too few in leadership and management are looking up to see the possibilities that this wealth brings. So where ever you are in an organization, stop for a moment and think “what IS this business FOR?”

We are all in business, in business for ourselves, our families and those we care about. it’s only when we realize this that we begin to see how we could be so much more valuable for our fellow workers, our share holders, our customers, our community, our country, our planet and most of all for ourselves.

About the Guest Blogger

Andy Ferguson is an innovative and adventurous teacher, guide, advisor and author who works with socially minded entrepreneurs, professionals and mature individuals looking to transform their lives and their world. He looks to find “perfection in the flow.”

Based in Scotland, Andy works internationally, both as a speaker and to delivering exciting programs of self-discovery. He can be reached via:

Andy’s Blog: http://reallyexcellent.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=554326570

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=473519&trk=tab_pro

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/andyt9r

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/101320158601381549721/posts?hl=en

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Sales Leadership The Talent of Self Starting Ability

Imagine for a moment a sales leadership team of  individuals all demonstrating the self starting ability to do what they need to do without being told or extrinsically motivated.  These self starters only come to you in sales management or as the small business owner when they have questions beyond their job descriptions or need clarification specific to current operating policies and procedures provided your firm has them. They remind you of tops that once set spinning continue to spin (work) without very much assistance from you in sales management or as the small business owner.

Credit www.sxc.hu

Daniel Pink in his book Drive discusses the different types of motivation that have evolved within the workforce.  He chides business for not incorporating proven motivational research into job descriptions, rewards and the overall organizational culture. Pink writes about:

  • Self determination theory (SDT)
  • Results only work environment (ROWE)
  • How sales goals are counter productive
  • McGregor’s  Theory X and Y
  • Pinks Theory X and Type I

His book attempts to bridge the gap between what science understands about motivation, how to improve employee engagement given that up to 75% of all employees are not fully engaged (Gallup) and what business actually does. The focus is truly about individuals who have this sales leadership talent of self starting ability and allowing them to flourish within the organization’s culture.

So what is self starting ability?

“The ability to find one’s own motivation for accomplishing a task, and the degree to which a person will maintain that course in the face of adversity.  This capacity is somewhat dependent on a person’s level of persistence, focus and initiative.” (Source Innermetrix)

Self starting ability is not about rewards or compensation as this is 100% internally motivated. This is why extrinsic rewards such as money, prizes, etc. are short term fixes that require “continued ante up” actions.

Self starting ability is begins from one’s belief that he or she can face adversity. These sales people adopt their own positive affirmations or positive belief statements that keep them going and going when others may fall to the wayside. These individuals also display excellent critical thinking skills because they are focused on the desired end results.

People who display self starting ability are adept at “synchronizing their internal drivers (e.g., level of initiative, persistence, goal focus, etc.), and directing these combined abilities toward a common goal or task.  They are also capable of marshaling these strengths on their own without much external supervision or motivation.” (Source Innermetrix)

Conversely, those who may not have self starting ability as a strong talent may “require greater external influence to accomplish their goals, or become distracted from the target more easily then someone with a higher score.” (Source Innermetrix)

From my experience, those in sales leadership with this key talent are in many cases asking themselves “What if” type questions as they proceed toward their own WAY SMART goals. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  When goals are owned by the salesperson (the Y for YOURS in WAY), the ability to consistently achieve those goals is dramatically increased.

Sales leadership is truly about self leadership because if you cannot lead yourself first, you cannot lead anyone else.  Having this talent of self starting ability is probably one of the first strengths required in today’s highly competitive, global market place.  The challenge is first finding those sales people with this talent and even more importantly ensuring the alignment between the organization’s culture and this talent.  Even the best sales people look bad in a bad system.

P.S. Each Tuesday in 2012, this blog will explore sales leadership and the specific talents necessary to not only increase sales, but to become a more results driven and ethically caring individual. These talents are based upon Dr. Hartman’s work as published the the Innermetrix Performance Appraisal tool.

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Time to Change The Carrot and the Stick Motivation to Increase Sales

The carrot and the stick motivation is one of the oldest behavior modification strategies and still used by many small businesses and sales management to increase sales. Yet this sales management tactic has been proven ineffective each year when sales goals or sales quotas are not achieved or just barely achieved.

Paul McCord in his recent blog stated about how human beings are strange in that they keep doing what they have always done.  Dan Waldschmidtsaid it a different way “Sales quotas are for stupid people. “

In the book Drive by Daniel Pink provides solid research about why it is time to change the carrot and the stick motivation be it to increase sales or to reach any other desired result. Rewards as evidence through the carrot and the stick approach are addictive and create a negative self fulfilling prophecy where the ante for the reward will require more and more carrots. In a time of economic uncertainty where businesses are attempting to manage their limited resources, this sales motivation strategy truly does not make sense.

The best motivation is “intrinsic” meaning it comes from within. When sales people want to achieve, this belief will generate far more increase sales than being forced to achieve.  Possibly this is why SMART goals are no longer as effective and why the WAY criteria of Written, Aligned to passion, purpose and plans and Yours may be needed in the future.

One very interesting concept for those in sales management, small business owners to even C suite leadership may wish to consider is the Self Determination Theory (SDT) as advocated by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. This theory is different from many others is that it begins with the idea of universal human (psychological) needs that are separated into three categories:

  1. Competence
  2. Autonomy
  3. Relatedness

Human beings have an innate drive, that inner desire to achieve while still being autonomous, self determined and connected to one another.  When this drive is realized by being free from constraints, individuals achieve more and are happier in living their lives.

To raise the BAR of sales performance, organizational performance or even individual performance begins not with new sales skills or sales knowledge, but with the Beliefs (attitudes) that drive the Actions generating the Results. Those beliefs are internal to each individual and so logically to change those beliefs requires understanding how to motivate from within or in a more common term, WIIFM (What’s in it for me).

This century is so incredibly exciting in that we are learning more and more about how our brains work and how those workings can produced incredibly results driven, emotionally satisfied working individuals as well as just the opposite. Now is the time to change the carrot and the stick motivation to increase sales and recognize the innate need within individuals to be the best they can be.

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How to Increase Sales Tips & Snippets – Separation

Sometimes the easiest how to increase sales tips are truly not about sales skills, but more about beliefs and internal thoughts. One of my colleagues Paul McCord just recently discussed the strangeness within human beings of doing the same thing over and over again in his blog.

Paul’s blog resonated with me as I worked with a new client yesterday and realized once again how often people have confusion about this one word “separation.”  They cannot separate decisions from results and this contributes to self depreciation.

  • For example, people make decisions.
  • The decisions go south.
  • They then believe the decisions were bad.
  • Yet were they  really bad?

In listening to many people share their decision making process with me, I recognized their critical thinking skills were fully engaged. They looked at all the issues through rational filters.  They were not wearing those rose colored glasses.  And the problem was not the decision, but the results. Even the best thought out decisions may not generate the desired results.

Now imagine several well thought out decisions yielding poor results.

What do you believe happens next?

The self fulfilling prophecy kicks in.

Individuals start second guessing their own decision making process.  Self esteem begins to decline. Role confusion may happen. Sense of direction falters.  All because of this one word – separation. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Many people lack clarity specific to their own decision making process. The Attribute Index is one tool that provides clarity.

In my book, Be the Red Jacket, the first chapter, Unlock You,  discusses the decision making process because people fail to separate specific steps or stages within that process.  Maybe it is time to restate those stages:

  1. Decide if you want to solve a  problem or an issue
  2. Identify the problem, issue or even goal
  3. Identify any assumptions that may interfere with the solving the problem or that  may affect the solution and consequently the results
  4. Gather all information
  5. Separate the facts
  6. Analyze the facts
  7. Offer a solution or solution

Returning to the word separation, each stage in the decision making process  is is fact an action of separation.

In today’s world, how to increase sales very much depends on separation.  Those salespeople who understand within the decision making process (think sales process) how to separate and isolate the facts, the wants, the needs and most importantly the customer’s value perception will increase sales.

Sales Cartoon

Credit www.funnysalescartoons.com

 

Sales Quotation

“Salespeople are not employees—despite getting a W2.  Every salesperson is self-employed.  They run their own sales company.”

Paul McCord

 

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The One Way Street of Relationship Selling – Friday’s Editorial

Relationship selling is a great sales strategy when combined with this element – gratitude or  what my colleague Dan Waldschmidt calls a giving mindset. However many small business owners and sales professionals truly miss the boat when it comes to being giving, being grateful for their relationships be them clients, customers or business to business ones.

Yesterday, I received a text (and I do not text) from a business colleague who wanted me to go to one of the local paper’s websites and vote for his/her business as one of the best in the region. Now, I am not a fan of interruption marketing. However, if someone does text me, my attitude is this should be important because if not he or she could have sent me an email or even made post on one of his or her social media sites.

However, the main problem I had with this request was this individual had already received a personal (unsolicited)  recommendation from me on LinkedIn. He or she did accept the recommendation within 48 hours.  Then, drum roll,  responded  with silence.

  • No thank you.
  • No by your leave.
  • No behavior acknowledging the recommendation.

The failure to demonstrate some gratitude to show high business ethics reaffirmed in my mind’s eye this person was truly, down deep inside all about herself or himself. Relationship selling was indeed a one way street for him or her.

And as a side note, this individual had in the past stated the importance of high business ethics and personal ethics. I guess being grateful was not part of his or her business ethics.

For me in my reality,  the recommendation was  taken for granted and not appreciated. A simple thank you would have sufficed. I was not looking for a quid pro quo action on his or her part.

So why would this next action my voting for her or her business  generate any different behavior?

Relationship selling is a two way street not a one way street.  Always asking without having a giving mindset, an attitude of gratitude to those who may not be your customers, but who may make referrals, turns one’s professional associations be them from chamber’s, business to business networking or other associations OFF!  This turn off may leave these individuals even negatively jaded.

People buy from people they know and trust. At this point in time, my trust factor has been greatly diminished and I am indeed negatively jaded.

Relationship selling is a two way street with many intersections. Those who drive their businesses on the way one street may find fewer intersections and eventually less and less traffic or in real world terms will not increase sales.

So the next time you ask other small business owners to take some action, such as Vote for Me, make sure you are truly authentic in your business ethics as reflected through your behaviors.

P.S. Your business connections at this point in time are not mind readers.  You may have the best intentions, but all they can see are your behaviors.

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Bring Out The Diamond Brilliance Within High Performing Sales Teams

Picture for a moment high performing sales teams with diamond brilliance.

Credit www.sxc.hu

What does that team look like?

What does each team member look like?

What does each salesperson of the team do each day to cast that dazzling brilliance found within a high quality diamond?

Sales Training Coaching Tip:  A sales team can consistent of just one person.

Additionally think of the obstacles preventing you from having that high performance sales team. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Usually those obstacles are not new knowledge, new sales skills, lack of sales training coaching, but rather something else.

In speaking with a client who is transitioning from one sales position to another (new job, new company, different client base, similar product knowledge, different products) he made this insightful and quite introspective, reflective comment:

“,,, not the job (new sales position).

Change is about where I am inside, about me.” 

Gotta love that “Ah, Ha” moments within the executive coaching process.

Discussion continued and I shared this observation:

“Most people are ‘diamonds in the rough’

and with the fire of reflection

can be transformed into the brilliant, shining diamonds.”

The challenge is turning that hunk of carbon or untapped potential to use a more common phrase and unleash it through transformation. Reflection is probably the most important transformation element  and why executive coaching, small business coaching or sales coaching when done well continues to deliver a significant return on investment.  Sales Training Coaching Tip: The executive coaching process  is the oxygen that increases the intensity of the  heat within the fire of reflection.

Reflection is also one of the key reasons why most sales training coaching fails to:

  • Stick
  • Deliver sustainable solutions
  • Generate a positive return on investment

The sales trainers, small business coaches or executive consultants place so much emphasis on specific sales knowledge and sales skills that there is very little time for reflection. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Reflection can in many cases be turned into a role playing event allowing for immediate application.

Reflection is a time consuming process because it involves high order thinking skills.  Rushing through we must address these five learning objectives covering specific sales skills such as overcoming objections, negotiating price, identifying stalls, etc. and then take a test to ensure immediate recollection (does nothing for long term memory but does validate the necessity of the sales trainer only demonstrates how most people learn:

  • Read it
  • Learn It
  • Test It
  • Forget It

Each salesperson, each individual has diamond brilliance locked away.  When that brilliance (high performing) begins to be unlocked, when those hard carbon molecules begin to unite under pressure of reflection, sales teams to organizations can achieved incredible results.

To change from under performing sales teams to high performing sales teams begins from the inside out.  When sales management, small business owners to C Suite executives understand change must first come from within they will understand my client’s epiphany:

Change is about where I am inside, about me.”

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Join the Global Business Cocktail by Fabrizio Faraco

Recently in the news two assertions in the global business community attracted my attention:

  • The traditional marketing funnel is dead
  • The marketing is the product

The first one populated a lot of blogs following the dissemination of outcomes of a Forrester Consulting survey compiled for Facebook in December 2011  to evaluate how marketing leaders are building brands in the connected world.

Forrester conducted online surveys of 101 VP- and C-level marketing professional and interviewed 12 CEOs, CMOs, and VPs of marketing. Among the results the main outcome seems to be that:

in the connected world, consumers use powerful personal technology and social media to interact with brands when they want, where they want, and how they want. This is disrupting traditional approaches to brand-building.

Based on this the results seems to be the modification from the traditional marketing funnel to the circle of trust and interactions. (Refer to report on page three).  In particular to play a crucial role in the new “customer journey” is the social component of the powerful personal technologies through:

  • Learning delivered via social media
  • Investigating via the ratings and reviews from others about online purchases
  • Purchasing after liking them (product or brand) on Facebook
  • Interacting via games, contests and promotions

The second assertion came from Seth Godin in his blog where he said that:

In the Mad Men era, we added marketing last. Marketing and advertising were the same thing, and the job was to promote what was made. In the connection era, the marketing is the product, the service and most of all the conversations it causes and the connections it makes.

Marketing is the first thing we do, not the last.

I agree on both assertions.

The connected world is really changing the economy and the world.

Is this change being affecting the sales process?

Are sales professionals modifying their habits to encompass such revolution?

I’d really like to know your point of view (so please comment below).

What I feel is that this revolution actually helps the sales process. Most of the sales are based on content and relationship. In the connected world, content is a key component. The social dimension enhances the relationship and propels it into an even greater role.

So the point is not changing the process but learn on how to take advantage of providing content to prospects (in different format and in a measure much higher than before) and learn to engage them using the different social channels available. At the end, isn’t the connected world a big, global and endless business cocktail? I think so.

About Today’s Guest Blogger

Fabrizio Faraco is passionate about marketing!  He has been dealing with marketing all his life in Italy and abroad. After 15 years in corporations and 15 helping entrepreneurs of small businesses, today Fabrizio is focusing on the effective marketing strategies for small and medium enterprises, in particular in the development opportunities of digital and social media marketing. Connect with Fabrizio via his blog or these other social media sites:

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