Archive for January, 2016

The Confusion For Realtors When It Comes to Marketing and Selling

Believe it or not most Realtors are marketers not salespeople.  They confuse marketing and selling.

marketing-and-sellingNow some real estate agents reading this may bristle at this statement regarding confusion between marketing and selling. Yet the reality is the market has changed and more of the control is in the hands of the sellers and buyers.

Websites devoted to residential and commercial real estate make it far easier for buyers to find homes. This is called marketing, attracting attention.  Sales leads now call the listed realtor or a friend who is a real estate agent to schedule an appointment to see the home.  FACT: There were no sales skills (selling) taking place.

Sellers are also more educated as they are learning what to do before even selling their homes.  With many homeowners being baby boomers without mortgages, they know what they want to walk away with at closing.  Sure in some instances, the expectations are unrealistic, but in many more those expectations are very realistic.

For years, realtors showed homes. They would walk potential buyers (sales leads) through and possibly highlight the features of the home.  Sometimes open houses would be scheduled.  Open houses were more for finding new listings (marketing) than actually selling the home.

Marketing is not selling be it homes, professional solutions or tangible products.  However selling is marketing.

When Realtors recognize there is a difference between marketing and selling, possibly they may change their sales behaviors including their real estate marketing messages. Who knows especially given people love insanity because it worked in the past.

P.S. Part of this confusion is because many Realtors lack a sales process. Here is one 7-Step-Sales-Process-ADVSYS that works for most salespeople. Yes it is free, no charge, my gift to you.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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What’s Fueling Your Leadership Engine?

Remember the story about the Little Engine?  Many of us are familiar with this childhood story. Would you believe this story can be directly applied to fueling your own leadership engine?

leadership-engineEach of us as leaders are our own little engine. We try and try and sometimes we succeed and other times we fail.  Leadership brings both success and failure to the table.

What fuels our leadership engine is our emotions, our experiences and our expectations.  This is all part of our own self determination.  Through the mastery of our environment, the autonomy of making choices and our purpose as it relates to others, we fuel ourselves each day as we chug up those molehills to mountains.

When we believe in ourselves because we have the necessary knowledge (expertise) we are more driven to move further down the path or up the mountain. Then, when we know we have the ability to make choices instead of being forced to behave one way or another, we only add more fuel to our leadership engine fire. Finally, when we know we are relating to others, we are not only improving our lives, but improving the lives of others, we continue to fan the flames of that fire.

Each of us has the innate capacity to be exceptional leaders, to go where others have not gone, to experience what others have not experienced. Possibly because we have had obstacles that prevent us from mastery, autonomy and purpose, we fail to see our own leadership potential.

The incredible aspect of being a forward thinking leader returns to our own autonomy.  We have the choice to fuel our leadership engine or not to.  So what is your choice?

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Time to Deep Six Your Leadership Development Model

Did you read the article and the study that revealed two third of millennials will be leaving their current employers because of the lack of leadership development by 2020?  Worse yet one quarter of those millennials are looking to leave by the end of 2016.

leadership-misalingmentIf you have millennials in your organization and are looking to them in your succession leadership plan, possibly is now the time to review your current leadership development model and potentially embrace a new one?

The majority, no the super majority of leadership development models are competency based.  And therein lies the problem. Competencies do not play to everyone’s natural or developed talents. This is a one size fits all cookie model and fails to leverage the incredible untapped potential within each of your employees.

In the book Fail-Safe Leadership, the authors bring forth this idea of results based leadership model instead of the tried and tired competency based leadership model.  In today’s knowledge economy, having a results driven model makes far more sense because it aligns to the strategic vision. Here are some of the differences as noted by the authors:

Competency Based Model

Results Based Model

Traditional approach Leading edge approach
Difficult to link to operating systems Links directly to operating systems
Difficult to identify emerging leaders Emerging leaders are easily identified based on ability to achieve results
Process of developing leaders is relatively slow and inefficient Process of developing leaders is relatively fast and efficient
Difficult to measure against results Easily measured against results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Drucker said “Leadership is about results.”  If your SMB is not achieving you desired results, then this suggests there is a problem within your leadership development process or training program. (Note:  I dislike using the phrase leadership training because we train dogs. I prefer leadership development because we develop leaders.)

With the staggering number of younger employees looking to leave because of little to no leadership development, now appears to be the best time to start changing how your SMB develops your future leaders before they go somewhere else for that leadership development.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

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Is Leadership Misalignment What Ails Your SMB?

For SMBs there is plenty written about marketing and sales alignment as well as to what happens when marketing and sales are misaligned.  However maybe it is time to recognize leadership misalignment is probably what is causing the marketing and sales misalignment problems.

leadership-misalignmentIn the book Fail-Safe Leadership: Straight Talk About Correcting the Leadership Challenges in Your Organization, the authors bring two ideas to the leadership table.  The first idea is a leadership audit that truly looks to identify the symptoms caused by leadership misalignment problems. Here is a brief sample of those issues.

  • Lack of personal accountability
  • Time management problems
  • Unacceptable results
  • Preponderance of consensus-driven decision making (i.e. cover your behind mentality)
  • Communication problems

These are all symptoms of leadership issues. Unfortunately many in executive coaching and consulting roles attempt to solve the symptoms while not recognizing the real problem because solving the real problem requires more expertise.

The second and even more important idea is a results driven leadership development model instead of the traditional competency based leadership model.  By identifying these two different leadership models and their impact on results, leaders can begin to change how they see things.  As it has been said by others, “when we change how we look at things, the things we look at will change.”

Both of these ideas help to better understand the impact of leadership misalignment within any SMB or even much larger organization.  The authors also describe the three types of alignment present in all businesses from the smallest to the largest.

Level One Alignment- Leadership writes strategic vision. Result: Research shows 60-70% of employees don’t know the vision and are clueless as how to align their behaviors to that vision.

Level Two Alignment – Leadership shares strategic vision. Result: Each department goes in separate directions to achieve that vision.

Level Three Alignment – Leadership creates a strategic vision based upon developing leaders in the organization and that development starts first with the executive leadership team. The graphic below reflects what Level Three Alignment looks like. Result: The results are achieved in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

leadership-misalingmentJust as when the wheels in a vehicle or the gears in machinery are misaligned, the performance (think results) suffer.l  If you want to correct the marketing and sales alignment, then make sure your forward thinking leadership team has created a workplace culture of alignment.  Otherwise, you will continue to have all departments rowing in different directions toward different results while thinking they are rowing in the correct direction.

Download this Leadership-Align-Audit-ADVSYS at no charge to you except maybe a sense of being uncomfortable.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Marketing Is as Endless as Learning

Marketing your SMB is endless. It never stops just like learning. Each day brings something new, usually another competitor, to the marketplace. Even if you have a full sales funnel, you know that you still must market your business.

marketing

Credit: www.picjumbo.com

How does your SMB stand apart from all those other gray suits is a never ending challenge.  With only 24 hours in a day, marketing sometimes seems like a one ton anchor that pulls you down into the depths of the ocean where you feel like you are drowning.

One of the questions I often receive is “Where do you find the content for this blog or your other writings such as LinkedIn Pulse, Worldwide Coaching, NBiz magazine, etc.?  My response is I read, I listen, I learn and I write.

Each day I read a variety of headlines in different topics including leadership, sales and marketing. Some of these articles I share with clients and colleagues.  Others I tuck away into folders to be used when I think I am out of content.

Right now I am reading several printed books including The Efficient Executive by Peter Drucker. I read this book years ago. However a new executive coaching client had me returning to it because it provided insight on how to establish a path to improve this leader’s abilities.

Some of my content has come from my Pastor’s Sunday homilies. Yesterday’s blog of “Your Call Is Important to Us” is the result of just reading and listening.

Often I hear SMB owners and sales professionals complain about not having enough time.  I too was one of those individuals. When I told one of my coaches I did not have enough time, he quickly replied “Get up earlier.”  So I did.

Since I started walking this path of education based marketing over 10 years ago, I can say I am so glad I did. During this time I have learned so much more and even better I have been able to connect with ideas I learned years ago such as The Theory of Self Determination.  I learned about this intrinsic motivational theory when earning my Masters of Science. Yet as with many of us, I filed it away.  About two years ago this nugget of learning returned to the forefront of my brain and I was able to infuse it into my executive coaching and workplace culture consulting practice.

When we as SMB owners understand marketing is endless and embrace it as we have with learning, we are working with our natural, innate motivational drivers of Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose. (The Theory of Self Determination) If you want to improve your marketing, then consider expanding your learning and accepting marketing is endless just like learning. By taking this action, you are definitely demonstrating forward thinking leadership.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

 

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The Obvious Leadership Lie of Your Call Is Important To Us

How many of us have been on hold and heard this statement “Your call is important to us?” This statement is probably the number one leadership lie in this country. If our call was really important, we would not have to be bounced from one automated message to another, wait 15 minutes or more and then told to call back because the call center is experiencing a heavy call volume.

leadership-lie

Credit www.picjumbo.com

I am not entirely sure why we have removed the human experience from the business world.  The obvious why is automated messages are a way for the organization to save money.  Possibly some have been led to believe this type of automated message is what their customers want?  Yet listen to most customers and the super majority complain about those automated messages.

What I do know is “your call is important to us” is probably the greatest and most obvious leadership lie being faced by businesses today.  If executive leadership really cared about its customers, it would not have made customer service interactions so much more difficult.

Let’s set the record straight, here and now.  Leadership does not care about its customers. No what leadership really cares about is the bottom line, its shareholders and probably their own paychecks.

Isn’t it refreshing when we call any business and immediately get a real human being on the phone who we can understand? Of course sometimes we receive the voice mail message about the person being unavailable and most in business understand those situations.  Then when we receive the returned call from the other person, we are inwardly happy we do not have to go through the cumbersome, customer service automated message routine.

The human connection is the foundation of any business because people buy from people not robots with automated messages.  Maybe it is time to bring back the human connection in business and end this obvious leadership lie of “your call is important to us?”

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

 

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Your Leadership Actions Always Trump Your Words

Actions always trump words.  No matter what leadership says, it is what the leaders do, their leadership actions that matter.

leadership-actions

Credit www.gratisography.com

Sure there may be words on the wall sharing the organization’s vision, values and mission statements. There may be words in the employee handbook or on the corporate website.  Yet these words remain silent to the leadership actions seen by everyone.

The old and familiar quote “Actions speak louder than words.” is so true.

In the book, Fail-Safe Leadership, the authors provide a checklist to help to determine if any organization has some leadership actions issues.  This checklist is based upon the observations of those within the organization.  For example, are “can’t do attitudes” or “excessive or unproductive meetings” observable?

Some in leadership roles want to be a friend to everyone.  They believe agreement, everyone getting along is the way to lead.  Their behaviors are very malleable and may create confusion to even disrespect.

Then there are the opposite types of leader who live by “do what I say and not what I do.” Their leadership actions generate confusion, inconsistency and disengaged employees. In some cases, fear drives the culture.

Until we learn how to read minds, our actions will always trump our words, our spoken thoughts. As leaders, each of us must take time to reflect as to how our behaviors are being viewed by others. Noted business expert Peter Drucker shared this words:

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” 

The results of your leadership are your actions.  If you want to be a better leader, look to the results your behaviors are generating.

Download this free Leadership-Align-Audit-ADVSYS to learn if your organization has leadership challenges.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

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Consensus Driven Leadership Is for Wimps

Possibly it is a sign of our times or an indicator of a cultural shift, but it appears many SMB leaders are now engaged in consensus driven leadership. What this usually looks like is the majority of decisions from marketing to employee engagement evolve from consensus.  The central leader (and I use that term very loosely) to maintain harmony involves EVERYONE.

consensus-driven-leadership

Credit www.gratisography.com

The foundation for consensus driven leadership is one of weakness not one of strength.  By walking this path the leader of the SMB reveals his or her lack of effective balanced decision making skills, resiliency and self confidence along with the fear of personal accountability and cover your behind mentality.

This type of leadership suggests other significant problems within the organization. Misalignment comes to mind.  When leadership by committee takes over, each person in the committee interprets based upon his or her role the desired results differently.  The end result is usually chaos.

Read Fail-Safe Leadership to Understand the Impact of  Organizational Misalignment

Missed opportunities also happen because a decision that could be made quickly or fairly quickly is lost in the myriad of meetings.  With change happening in many market places and industries very fast, almost akin to the speed of light, opportunities never see realization because too much time has passed.

Department turf wars are another result of consensus driven leadership.  Each department head believes his or her turf is the most important and will do anything to protect it.

Finally, when consensus driven leadership is in place, the executive leader is actually in charge in name only. Those within the organization know others within the executive team are making the decisions if any are ever made.

Being in a significant leadership role and achieving the desired results is not for wimps.  No it takes both efficient and effective executive leadership skills to steer the organization while keeping all actively engaged. Primer Minister Margaret Thatcher aptly described this type of failed organization leadership when she said:

“Consensus is the absence of leadership.”

I believe she should added “and reveals the presence of wimps.”

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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So You Believe You Are a Forward Thinking Leader, Really?

Many in leadership roles believe or would like to believe they are forward thinking.  However reality paints a far different picture.

forward-thinking

Credit www.gratisography.com

Yesterday’s blog I shared a story about a sales lead who probably believes he is forward thinking and yet his actions were just the opposite.

What do forward thinking behaviors truly look like because we have yet to become mind readers?

Open Minded to New Ideas

Those who think toward the future keep their minds open to new ideas, new ways of thinking.  Here is where the creativity to spur innovation happens. They may say “tell me more” instead of a first response of “no.”

Willing to Leave Their Comfort Zones

Change is happening at warp speed. Leaving what has always been comfortable is even more difficult with the speed of change. Being uncomfortable has become for them the “new normal.”

Invest Time in Reflection and Discernment

Sometimes life demands a quick response.  Other times life demands time for reflection and discernment. Quick decisions without reflection and discernment are not as necessary as some may believe.

Self Directed Learners

No longer is life long learning the necessary path. Today those who are self directed learners truly are ahead of the flow.  These individuals learn what they need to know to get to that next level.  They optimize the many learning opportunities from webinars to paid online classes to seminars to reading books and other publications.

Questioning Mentality instead of Acceptance One

Another characteristic of forward thinking leaders is they continually engage in a questioning mode.  They do not readily accept the status quo.  Many of there questions begin with “What if….?”

Not Afraid of Being Unliked

Human beings are social creatures.  They innately want to be liked by other humans.  Those who are truly forward thinking recognize they may not be liked and they can accept this. This behavior is absolutely essential for those in leadership roles be they parents, managers or high level executives.

Believing There Are Better Results

The driving force behind this type of forward thinking leadership is better results. Leaders believe results can always be better.

If after reading these seven characteristics of forward thinking leadership and you believe you have one if not all of these traits, then write down how your behaviors have demonstrated these traits. This requires reflecting on recent exchanges and asking yourself questions such as “Was I really open to that new idea?” or “Was I willing to be unliked because of my decision?”  By taking this action, you may be surprised that you are not as forward thinking as you think you are.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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The Value Disconnect by SMB Leadership

Isn’t it ironic that those in SMB leadership roles want their customers to see the value in their products or services and yet when it comes to those same SMB professionals buying the solutions of others, the first words out of their mouths “Is how much will this cost?”

leadership

Credit www.gratisography.com

This week I receive a solid sales referral from a colleague.  I called the sales referral and within a few moments after introductions he asked “What is your hourly rate?”  My response was “I don’t know because I don’t know what your goals are or what you want to achieve. What I would like for us to do is to have a meeting at your convenience so I can better understand your specific situation.”  He was open to that and a meeting has been scheduled.

I am sure when I meet with this sales lead his story will be similar to other SMB owners.  He provides more value than the “big box stores.” His customer service is much better and his products are the same or if not better.  I may even hear people buy from him because he brings more value to the customer relationship.

Yet, in his own leadership behaviors he is worried first about cost.  His attitude reflects those customers he wants to come to his SMB.  This is the value disconnect or easily translated “Do as I say; not as I do.”

Those in forward thinking leadership roles realize to grow their businesses requires an investment of time, energy, emotions and yes even money. However they also understand forward movement must be measured first by the results and secondly by the investment.  These individuals do not ask about price right out of the gate. No, in many instances price is never really discussed especially if the salesperson has connected to the correct value drivers and can provide a results driven solution.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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