Archive for April, 2013

Sales Leadership – The Talent of Emotional Control

How many times have we witnessed those in sales leadership or sales management roles “lost their cool? What these individuals did was demonstrate their lack of emotional control.

Innermetrix defines emotional control as “the ability of a person to maintain rational and objective actions when experiencing strong internal emotions.  Unlike ‘Internal Self Control’ (which is an ability to prevent the feeling of others from negatively affecting your internal emotions), this capacity measures one’s ability to control their own internal emotions, and prevent them from affecting their actions, logic, objectivity, etc.”

Those who demonstrate a high capacity of emotional control are “aware of their internal emotions, but compartmentalize them as such and make rational, objective decisions based on the facts at hand, rather than allowing their internal stress, fear, excitement, etc. to influence their decisions.” (Source Innermetrix)

Conversely those who fail to demonstrate emotional control  “may have difficulty keeping their feelings under check.  Instead of recognizing their emotions and keeping them separate from their actions and maintaining composure, they may allow their own emotions to lead their actions, and in doing so will no longer be managing a stressful situation, but instead will become caught up in it.”

Simply speaking, emotional control is embedded within emotional intelligence.

Finally, remember the culture of your small business can increase emotional control or decrease it based upon the emotional control of yourself as the small business owner or your executives in your roles of business leadership.

Emotional control starts at the top.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Sales Leadership – The Talent of Evaluating Others

Human nature and evaluating others many times go hand in hand. Yet for those who wish to be more effective in their sales leadership roles, this talent of evaluating others requires removing all biases and being forthcoming in an emotionally intelligent manner or what some may with diplomacy.


Additionally, individuals who have this capacity are able to make “realistic and accurate judgments about others, to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and to understand their manner of thinking, acting and behaving.  Examples would include being able to identify why someone did good or bad in a task, identifying whether the performance factor was caused by the person himself, or the nature of the environment.” (Source Innermetrix)

What may surprise some is this talent of evaluating others goes beyond the quantitative and is forward thinking so those in sales leadership or sales management roles may “accurately predict levels of performance in future or different tasks.  This involves an ability to use a strong gut-intuition,  Success in this capacity is dependent on the absence of undue prejudice, or bias on the part of the evaluator.” (Source Innermetrix)

Those who are proficient at demonstrating this talent of evaluating others through their intuitive sense are able to make good judgements about another’s performance with less hard performance data.  When insufficient data or observation time is present, these individuals “tend to feel more confident in making such evaluations.” (Source Innermetrix)

Even if those in sales management have a low capacity for this talent of evaluating others, they can still make good judgments concerning the performance of their sales team. The issue will be one of more time and more data to make those evaluations. These sales managers may feel rush without the necessary time and supportive data.

If you wish to know not only this talent of evaluating others as well as 77 other talents, then consider this performance appraisal tool.


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Be Intentional If You Truly Want Your Results

Today I will be delivering a keynote to approximately 150 executive coaches, small business coaches and organizational development consultants. My very intentional desire is to have a standing ovation at the conclusion of this speech entitled Persuasion in Times of Chaos.


Sure  I want them to think differently, gain some new knowledge, to be inspired. However my desire for that standing ovation is very intentional.

Is this intentional desire, ego? Possibly a little because we all require a good ego to get through the day.

However this intention to receive a standing ovation is far more.

When we fail to be intentional in our desires and actions, we in a way give ourselves permission to fail.  We may think “I hope to do well” or “I would like a some recognition.”

If those hopes and likes are our true feelings, why not gain greater clarity and tell ourselves what we really want?’

What are we really scared of?

What fear keeps us from stating to ourselves what we truly want?

Too often I believe we stand behind our intentions instead of along side of them or ahead of them because this may soften the blow if we are not successful.

What happens if you don’t receive that standing ovation?

Nothing truly bad. The sky will not fall in nor the room.

By being very intentional, I am 100% focused on what I am seeking. Also I am working with my own emotional intelligence.

Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.”  Ford was talking about being intentional with our thoughts.

To receive a standing ovation from this group that rarely give standing ovations affirms that I delivered note only an inspirational keynote but I excelled in my execution as well as the topic of the message.

To be recognized by one’s peers is truly an honor. And later this afternoon, I will know if my intentional desire delivers that standing ovation.


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Sales Leadership – The Talent of Accountability for Others

For those sales management having this talent of accountability for others is not one that may come naturally.  Great sales people may have personal accountability as evidenced by making their performance goals or taking responsibility when something goes amiss. However personal accountability which many top sales performers have and are promoted for does not necessarily translate into accountability for others.


In the Innermetrix performance appraisal tool, this talent of accountability for others is defined as:

The ability for a person to be responsible for the consequences of the actions taken by those under their management.  Taking responsibility for the decisions and actions of subordinates, and not shifting focus on blame or poor performance back onto them, or somewhere else.  This derives from an internal responsibility to one’s self as a manager, and to be accountable and this internal willingness to accept this responsibility associated with being in a position of management.  It involves understanding that it is the task of the manager to accurately evaluate and understand the abilities of his/her employees and to set realistic goals and expectations based on the resources and capabilities available.

How well a sales manager applies this sales leadership talent is directly connected to his or her decision making. Those who aptly demonstrate this talent “will not try to make excuses for a bad decision, which resulted in poor performance by an employee.” Additionally good sales managers will  “make every effort to try and identify the cause of both the poor performance and any mistakes they made in assigning the task.  Their focus will be more on correcting the problem to ensure future success, than on protecting themselves.” (Source Innermetrix)

For those lacking this sales leadership talent of accountability for others, these individuals may be  “more concerned with appearance and image, than with results and success.They will seek to place blame for a bad decision on any factor, which does not lie solely with them, for doing so would detract from their abilities in the public image.”  Another insight into those who lack accountability for others is due to an internal fragile to poor self image  and protecting that self image becomes more important. (Source: Innermetrix)

Yes this sales leadership talent can be developed and improved through effective sales management training and more importantly executive coaching. The question is are you willing to make that investment or would you prefer the high cost of having bad sales managers?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Poor Sales Managers Are Trained; Great Managers Are Developed

How many times do sales professionals leave or fail to meet performance goals because of poor sales managers? I just came across some research highlighted by Top Sales World (source: Chally) that suggested “80% of sales managers fail within eighteen months of being promoted.”


So why the high failure rate of sales managers? Could it be because super salespeople (super worker) are promoted to supervisors or sales managers? These great and high performing individuals received their promotions not because of their management skills, but because of their technical sales skills.

And to be a great manager requires people skills that may already be within the sales manager, but require more development. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Training is learning a new skill; development is deepening that skill.

I have noticed a lack of effective management skills not only in the super salesperson, but doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants.  After having numerous of these professional service providers as executive coaching clients, they all shared with me that learning how to manage people was not part of their professional education.

If you want great sales managers instead of poor sales managers, then invest the time to train them to learn the necessary new skills such as delegation, realistic goal setting for others, etc.  and develop those existing skills they already have especially in the area of people or soft skills.

Remember, the cost of failure is very high and a cost that your small business cannot truly afford.

Do you know the 5 sales objections and how to kiss them goodbye? If not, this free webinar on Thursday, May 2 from 12-12:30pm CST may be of interest to you.

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Want to Reduce Stress? Commit Your Goals to Writing

Pick up any newspaper, magazine, self improvement book or read a blog and sooner or later you will read how to reduce stress. Yet many of these same articles suggest stress is a choice outside of unforeseen events such as illness or unexpected tragedy as the recent Boston bombing.


So what would happen if you recognize that you can choose another way to reduce stress?  Of course, the answer to commit your goals to writing may sound too simplistic, way too easy because if it was that easy most people would do it. Right? No, unfortunately wrong.

What I have learned is most people will invest far more time writing their simple, everyday grocery list, than making a written plan for the rest of their personal or professional lives. And small business owners are the worst because the word goal along with plan are two four letter words to be avoided at all costs.

This morning I had a consultative call with a colleague regarding a performance appraisal assessment that revealed this individual had what I call an internal feeding frenzy going on inside of him.  His self esteem, role awareness and self direction were very, very low. I was not surprised his inability to reduce stress was equally low because this individual did not commit his personal goals to writing as evidenced by the talent of realistic personal goal setting.

When we commit goals to writing, we begin to take control of what we can control. This focus becomes very intentional and through those intentional actions we begin to achieve our results.  From those achievements, we feel better about ourselves and consequently we stop feeding all those stress activators.

Yes there are other ways to reduce stress such as exercising, reflection, yoga, meditation and praying. When we remember stress is a choice, then we as intelligent human beings can make the choice to take action and ultimately reduce stress.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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I Am the Customer from Hell

Okay, I freely admit that I am the customer from hell. No ifs, no ands, and no butts.


Maybe it is because I deal with improving customer service, customer experiences.

Maybe it is because I believe everyone should do his or her job to the best of his or her ability. If not, find a new job.

Maybe I believe people should just actively listen and listen for retention.

Maybe I believe people should follow the procedures, rules, etc.

Today I made a lodging reservation for next week.  This is a inn where I have stayed numerous times over the last 10 years.  And here is how part of the customer service conversation went and what prompted me once again to be the customer from hell:

Person at Inn answers:  How may I help you?

My response: May I please have reservations?

Person at Inn: I can help you with that.

My response: I would like to reserve a room coming in Tuesday, April 23, staying Wednesday April 24 and Thursday April 25 and checking out the morning of Friday April 26.

Person at Inn:  So you are coming in April 23 and staying until when?

My response: Did you listen to what I just said? (Note: I did raise my voice a little as I wanted to emphasize I had just shared all that information. I did not yell or scream or call her any disrespectful names.)

Person at Inn: No I did not, I am sorry.

My response: Then please connect me with someone who does listen. (My voice returned to a more normal pitch.)

Person at Inn: I cannot because I am the only one here.

So I stayed on the line and after she misheard the spelling of my last name (which I spelled slowly and carefully because it is somewhat unusual), the reservation concluded. Additionally I was asked if I wanted a king size bed or a double. She confirmed my request for a king size and then when she repeated the reservation she told he I had double.  I questioned the change and she said all the king size had been reserved.

So why waste my time asking me to make a choice?

Are you really attempting to turn me into a customer from hell?

Yes I will be talking with the manager when I arrive because what should have taken just two to three minutes ended up taking closer to seven to 10 minutes.

Good customer service is not rocket science. It is listening to the customer or potential customer.

Poor customer service usually starts with poor or non-existent  listening as once again evidence by this experience. If you are the customer from hell, like I am, maybe it is not you, but the service provider prompting such terrible behaviors?

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What Is Missing In Most “I Can Maximize Profits” Unique Selling Proposition Statements

Listen to many sales consultants, small business coaches or even quality specialists and their unique selling proposition statements may sound like “I can maximize profits” or something very similar.  Yet yesterday I once again asked this question of a new client:


How many of your employees know how you make and keep money with 100% clarity?

He said very few and that was part of the problem. This client also shared that I was the only outside consultant to ever ask that question. Additionally, he shared that he only has these types of in depth conversations with me because I do not sound like all those other HR consultants, OD practitioners or small business coaches.

Those with the unique selling proposition statements of “I can maximize profits” may be able to do just that. However they are probably failing to truly maximize profits because there is no profit model. These individuals are conditioned to employ traditional profit loss statements by increasing revenue and decreasing costs. Yet profitability is so much more.

Currently I am working on creating a simple profit model for small businesses under 46 employees.  This profit model works with the 3 basic growth stages that I have also identified.

Now if the firm was larger and looking to grow beyond 46 employees I would employe a 7 stage business growth model as suggested in the book Navigating the Growth Curve. The profit model would be a little more intense and have 12 different elements.

If the employees of any firm, especially small businesses, do not know how the firm makes and keeps money, those unique selling proposition statements that reflect “profit maximization” are truly not maximizing profits and worse yet may be setting employees up to fail.

Does that really make sense?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Simplify Strategic Planning With These 3 Critical Business Growth Goals

Strategic planning can be a very daunting task for the small business owners to the C Suite executives. This planning process is time consuming and yes necessary especially when looking to achieve business growth.  For without planning, business professionals are engaged in the role of Captain Wing It and consistent business growth goals are not achieved.


Within the strategic planning process, there are critical business growth goal categories or what some may call critical success factors.  Regardless of what you call these critical elements, their purpose is to be both necessary and sufficient to achieve business growth.

In the past these critical business growth categories ranged from three to five and varied for the clients. However recently when reviewing some past strategic plans I realized all could be placed into three (3) categories:

  • People
  • Process
  • Profit

By simplifying this part of the strategic planning process would save time while providing greater clarity to the client.  Then the more I revisited these strategic plans I recognized there were trends within the business growth goals that appeared to ignore or take for granted the necessary and sufficient criteria.

For example, culture was often ignored as was the intellectual capital residing within the enterprise. For many small businesses, the idea of research and development was for those big companies and yet they failed to recognize research and development was profit exploration.

Finally, I have found the rule of three works with our ability to remember and with speeding up execution. When we can organize items in our memories in groups of three (3), more energy can be devoted to execution instead of remembering.

President Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless, planning is everything.” Possibly if simplified the strategic planning process more people would hear, see and understand the value of Eisenhower’s words as they endeavor to achieve their business growth goals.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.


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Amateurs Try, Sales Professionals Do?

In one of my favorite movie series, Star Wars, Yoda tell Luke “Do or do not there is no try.”  I am wondering does this simple act of trying separate selling amateurs from sales professionals?

If I would receive a penny for each time I hear the word try from small business owners to sales professionals, I would indeed be a millionaire.  What I share with my executive coaching and enterprise consulting clients is the word try gives people subconscious permission to fail. By removing the word try from one’s vocabulary, you are not giving yourself permission to fail.

When Yoda said “do or do not there is no try,” he was not saying that all doing is successful. My sense is what he was saying was when we are intentional, very intentional as in the case of do, there is greater opportunity for success.

What separates some amateurs from professionals outside of money is their results.  Professionals do  more often and that all that doing adds up to greater success.

We see this when small business owners bet on the past efforts of successful sales professionals.

Remember doing does not guarantee success. What does make success more real is doing, then doing again and again. Sometimes you will be successful and then sometimes not.  There are no guarantees for sales professionals or for their employers.

If you are not aware of the 5 sales objections, then this free webinar, Kiss the 5 Sales Objections Goodbye, on May 2, 2013 may be of interest to you.

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