Archive for November, 2013

Strong Ego Works, Does It Really?

Ego is part of the human condition. A good ego is necessary to sustain the daily grind and to keep going when life becomes even tougher. Knowing you are good at what you do, being able to share that credibility and knowledge with others are all part of daily business and sales behaviors.

strong-egoWhere the rubber meets the road is turning that good ego into a strong ego.  And does a strong ego work better?

So what are some of the signs of a strong ego?

  • Self-centered translation “It is all about me”
  • Dislikes criticism of any kind translation “will continue to beat a dead horse”
  • Strong internal belief in self “I am always right or my way or the highway”

On Thanksgiving Day I entered into a conversation through a social network that demonstrated how a strong ego truly does not work.

Being a heurist, I continued to the conversation, very respectfully. Each exchange revealed this person’s strong ego. The sad part was he also engaged in providing sales coaching and sales training. I was reminded of the movie Glengarry Glen Ross which I believe is the anti-thesis of what makes top sales performers in today’s small business marketplace.

If people buy from people they know and trust, this suggests a strong ego does not build trust because the focus is on the seller and not on the buyer.  A salesperson with a good ego recognizes he or she is still on an unfinished journey. Additionally, top sales performers with good egos also demonstrate:

  • Inner strength translation “I do not need others to validate me”
  • Motivation to improve translation “There is always something to learn”
  • Undeveloped potential translation “I can always be better”

When we understand the difference between a good ego and a strong ego, we do not have to tell people we are the best because they will realize that on their own.


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Are Your Efforts to Know All Complicating Your Sales Success?

Sometimes in our quest for sales success, we complicate what is essentially simple – people buy from people they know and trust.

sales-successSure gaining new knowledge through improved sales skills is important.

Yet the question remains:

“Is that knowledge taking away from your natural sales style, your ability to build relationships?

When we pack into our brains all those best practices for sales success from asking open ended questions to turning stalls into objections are we potentially forgetting about the person across the table?

Are we so concerned in our own sales process we are missing the signs of the ideal customer’s buying process?

Is our own unauthenticity revealing itself because we are so focused on our own sales success?

Are we failing to be human?

These questions are probably not asked in most sales training programs because they work against the goals of those selling sales training.

Sustainable sales success is developing your own knowledge while simultaneously not allowing that knowledge to take over and complicate a still rather simple process because people have been buying from people since recorded history. And those folks of years gone by did not have all the knowledge (sales training) that today’s sales professionals have access to and infuse into their professional roles.


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How Your Sales Process Collides With Your Propsect’s Buying Process

sales processSo in your better sense, you return a phone call with the knowledge that once again the person on the other end of the phone probably has a sales process that will collide with your buying process. And if history repeats itself, the person selling will become quite upset with your buying process because his or her sales process comes first.

I am all in favor of having a sales process, but not at the expense of the potential customer or sales lead. When your process overrules the buying process of your intended customer, then you have potentially killed the sale and all hope for any sales referrals.

Let me count the times I have heard this statement or something similar:

“We have a intake process and your questions cannot be answered until we finish our process.”

Actually in many cases the sales process is in the second phase of selling and has skipped the first phase of marketing.

Additionally, these types of internal sales processes are in many cases ego driven, it is all about the seller and not about the buyer.

Should we be surprised when people go online to make purchases?

Is this only about expediency?

Could this behavior because the sales process potentially collided with the buying process?

If the sales process begins with marketing (attracting attention and beginning to build relationships) and you are not having success executing your own sales process, possibly part of the problem is you are jumping the gun and starting to sell.


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Words of Thanksgiving From the Past To Be Remembered

In observance of Thanksgiving here in the United States, here is the speech delivered by President George Washington on October 3, 1789 in New York City.

thanksgivingWhereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Happy Thanksgiving with Peace and Abundance to All.


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The One Big Word Missing From Sales Goals – Part 2

When the word Agreement is missing from sales goals, those in sales management are really creating an anti-performance culture. Agreement is not just the simple yes or no process, but requires in depth analysis as to the strategy behind the goal as well as other aspects of the organization.

sales-goalsIn speaking with the Vice President who was responsible for bringing in new business, one of the sales goals was giving business referrals to other departments within this financial institution. However those other departments are not required to give sales referrals back.

This sales goal demonstrates a misalignment between strategy, structure, processes, rewards and people. (Galbraith’s 5 Star Model)

If the sales goals is to increase business growth, then why would any responsible salesperson give business away especially when it is a one-way street and that give away business might negatively impact his or her own ability to achieve mandated sales goals?

The salesperson does all the calling, handles all the appointments, builds the relationships and then is supposed to just to give it away.

I don’t think so!

As crazy as this sounds, I have heard similar situations on more than one occasion. One similar circumstance extended to selling new products where the rewards (sales commissions) were less at the expense of selling established products.  Again, a lack of agreement through misalignment reared its ugly head.

When there is agreement and that agreement is in alignment with strategy, structure, processes/systems, rewards and people (Galbraith’s 5 Star Model), sales goals will be far more easily achieved and usually exceeded. So if you are in sales management and before you establish those sales goals, consider speaking with, not at, your sales team and secure agreement about those new sales goals. Also make sure there is no misalignment between strategy, structure, processes/systems, rewards and people.

If you truly want to increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days

Consider giving her a call at 219.759.5601 especially if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.




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The One Big Word Missing from Sales Goals Part 1

Right now many in sales management are having those annual conversations about sales goals for the forthcoming year. Yesterday morning I had lunch with a Vice President within the financial industry who shared some frustration regarding this annual practice of setting sales goals.

sales-goalsWhen we analyze what makes a good goal, many refer to Ziglar’s SMART goal criteria:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistically set high
  • Target date, time driven

However, this criteria fails to recognize one word – Agreement.

Goals between sales management and the sales team require agreement. In other words, the sales goals need to be owned by each individual sales team member.  Dictating any goal without agreement torpedoes the goal before day one.This is why these other 3 criteria are also needed:

  • W – Written
  • A – Aligned to passion, purpose, plans (both personally and organizationally)
  • Y – Yours

If each sales team member does not own the goal (Yours), then What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) is ignored and this leaves What’s In It For Us (WIIFU) behind the starting gate.

Sales goals are part of the business culture and do establish a metric for performance not only for the salesperson but for those in sales management. When agreement is established, this suggests a personal contract and an internal desire provided there is alignment between strategy, structure, processes/systems, rewards and people (Galbraith’s 5 Star Model).

The second posting for today will look how that agreement specifically extends into alignment.


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What Do You Do With Feedback?

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a colleague who has changed careers and is now teaching at a university. He gave an assignment to the class to find two sales trainers and compare/contrast their processes and credibility. They were to compare the processes to the course textbook and my colleague’s book. As he did not provide any names,, I am presuming the student located me through Internet searching.

feedbackMuch to my surprise, he shared some of the observations from one of his students who compared me with another sales training individual.

What follows is the essence of that feedback gained from searching through this blog  and not my main website.

  • My style of selling and sales training is first about people – good
  • My ideal target market (small business) was identified – good
  • My focus on values comes through loud and clear – excellent
  • My key differentiators, strategic thinking, proven processes and tools and connectivity were  also identified – very good
  • My content was detailed – good
  • My focus on human capital was identified – good
  • My focus on the other visitor was identified instead of being focused on “selling” my solutions – good
  • Overall credibility was present – good
  • My services of speaking, webinars and seminars were not as apparent – not so good
  • My ideal customer (business to business sales people) for executive coaching was not identified – not so good

So often in life we receive feedback and then fail to take action. I will be updating this blog to provide additional clarity as to what this student discovered and what was not discovered.

Possibly, it may make sense for you to ask a colleague to take this assignment as a favor for you. Who knows what type of feedback you may receive?


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Sales Leadership Talent of Sensitivity to Others

During the last two months of the year, here in the US, there is an increased awareness of sensitivity to others. Believe it or not, sensitivity to others is also necessary for those sales leadership roles.

sales-leadershipInnermetrix defines this talent through the Attribute Index as “the ability to be sensitive and aware of the feelings of others, but not to allow this awareness to get in the way of making objective decisions.”

The application of this sales leadership talent is through the decision making process. This capacity does not work in isolation, but rather works with other attributes such as empathetic outlookrole awareness and understanding attitude not to mention emotional intelligence.

Those who consistently demonstrate this sales leadership talent “will respond to the concerns of others, even if they don’t relate to the situation at hand.” (Source: Innermetrix)

When an individual fails to demonstrate this attribute suggests “an inability to identify and relate with others on a personal level.” Additionally those individual would have a “difficult time empathizing with the needs and concerns of those with whom they deal.” (Source: Innermetrix)

In these instances, the individual’s ego is fully engaged and watch me go takes over because my need to achieve my sales goal is far greater than your need.

Yes being sensitive to others is essential in sales, small business and life in general. And too bad so many fail to be sensitive to others throughout the year and not just during these final days of the current year.

If you would like to know your 78 key attributes as identified by the Attribute Index including sensitivity to others specific to your sales leadership role, then maybe it is time to reflect and invest in yourself for $47.

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Words Matter Especially in Email Marketing

The words you choose matter and no where is that more evident than in small business email marketing. Mail Chimp just released some research specific to words in email marketing headlines and the results are indeed interesting.



For example, how you address the your small business recipient really matters.

Those small businesses that use both first and last name of the recipient receive a much larger open rate than where just the first or last name is used.  One surprising fact was those within in the legal industry that used only first names had a negative impact. So those without any name words probably do not even show up.

The word FREE still entices people to open emails. However the word FREEBIE entices more people especially within the restaurant and entertainment industries.

There was quite of bit insightful information within this research on email marketing.

Possibly what I found most enlightening were these two words:

Thank You

When we remember to thank those who subscribed to our lists or who have purchased from us, this action reflects upon our own positive core values and business ethics.  By demonstrating an attitude of gratitude, we are showing we care about people and people respond to those who care about them.

Yes words matter in every day conversation and in your small business email marketing efforts. Invest the time to do your research so that your email marketing efforts will deliver the best results.

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Simplicity Reigns For Performance Reviews

Motorola’s recent announcement of ending the ratings game for performance reviews has been heralded by some and creating internal groans by others.

performance-reviewsPerformance reviews or performance appraisals are subjective for the most part because the metrics have not been put in placed to keep them objective.

The issue should not be removing performance reviews, but creating alignment between the performance appraisal process, the strategy, the structure, the rewards and the people. (Galbraith’s 5 Star Model).

The simplest way to create this alignment is with this one word – GOAL.

All employees should have at least one goal that is directly aligned to the organization’s current strategy. This goal does require agreement between management or leadership and the employee. If the goal attainment is too easy, then the employee will not give 8 for 8 (8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay) and if the goal is too hard, the employee may give up. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The use of WAY SMART goal criteria is better than just the SMART criteria.

Once that agreement has been secured, then on a scale of 1 to 5, a three (3) would be the goal was achieved. The employee achieved what was expected and agreed to. No fan fare! No look at me! Now if the individual partially achieved the goal, then his or her rating would be a two (2) and no achievement the rating would be one.

If the employee exceeded the goal by any number under 50%, the performance review would be rated a number 4. Achievement of the goal beyond 50% then the rating would be a 5. Note: These percentages for ratings of 4 and 5 might vary depending upon the industry and the role.

This type of numeric index would remove all those confusing and subjective terms such as “valued performer,” “excellent, or “outstanding” as noted by many who dislike performance reviews.

As the old expression goes, if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. I have personally witnessed sub-standard behavior (performance) and yet the employees because of the culture or a poor process received outstanding performance.  Big wrong!

Of course the other problem with this simplistic system is that it forces leadership and management to have written and aligned goals. For the majority of small businesses especially those under 20 employees (97.7% of all US businesses) that does not exist. Additionally, there does require to have updated job descriptions and again not as common as would one think.

Organizations from the small businesses to the large Fortune 100 require an objective process from which to reward top performers. For years those in sales who lived by commission only earned their performance reviews on a weekly if not monthly basis. Maybe now is the time for the rest of business world to become more like commissioned salespeople and less like salaried ones.


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