Archive for March, 2016

What’s In Your Sales Equation?

We have all heard the commercial “What’s in your wallet?” This question started my brain thinking about “What’s in your sales equation?” What variables when put together add up to increase sales?

Sales-EquationHave you  recently assessed those variables?

Have you recently clarified those variables?

Have you recently executed those variables?

Sometimes the best way to change our results is to stop and reflect upon our current actions.  Reflection is a self-assessment.  Through reflection we gain greater clarity.  From that clarity we are better able to execute what needs to be done.

For many to increase sales begins with sales training.  Possibly we again have put the cart before the horse.

Very little sales training explores attitudes and more importantly those subconscious beliefs that drive human behavior.  Instead the focus is on new knowledge and skills.

If the purpose of sales training is all about learning how to hit specific desired results (think goals), then how much goal setting and goal achievement has been undertaken?  From my experience, the answer is not much.

Years ago I was exposed to an equation for improved performance.  Since that time I have revised it to a sales equation. If you wish to know what these variables mean, then give me at a call at 219.508.2859 Central Time or make an appointment by clicking HERE.

(b) • [ (a+s+k) + (mmG)] = PBC ∴ IP = IR = IS

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her.

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Expertise Not Incompetence in Sales Required

Funny thing about sales, many people think just learning about the rules and regulations of a particular industry is all that is required.  As the Danger Report revealed, incompetence is the greatest danger facing residential real estate agents.

sales

Credit www.gratisography.com

Many industries have low thresholds of entry such as real estate, MLM or business coaching. In some instances, formal sales training is limited to sometimes non-existent. In many instances, the sales training involves understanding the solution to ensuring all local, state and federal compliances are met.  As to specific interpersonal or intrapersonal skills, well those are like “dust in the wind.”

Yesterday I had a couple of conversations with individuals involved in real estate.  One realtor/broker shared that locally here in Northwest Indiana an entire “new batch” of real estate agents had just hit the streets.  Their incompetence was overwhelming including attempting to write into contracts points of agreement that were illegal according to state law.

In another instance I spoke with a person who is working on his real estate license. He also has witnessed the incompetence of real estate agents and their lack of understanding the sales process.  His analysis confirmed my own experience, the majority (over 50%) of real estate agents are door openers.  They do not know how to sell.

A colleague, Jim Keenan, just wrote a book entitled Not Taught.  One of the chapters is devoted to people and this includes salespeople needing expertise not experience.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Expertise is part of the sales equation of building trust.  Buyers may not like you, but if you demonstrate expertise they will begin to trust you and know you.

Want better SALES results with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her

 

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Consensus Buying, What Is That?

Consensus leadership has now made its way into consensus buying. What in the heck is that anyway?

consensus-buying

Credit www.gratiosgraphy.com

If sales is the transference of feelings, so is buying.  Consensus suggests someone must give up something.

Well in sales you give up something, dollars for the exchange of something else.  However, I don’t believe that is what the sales experts are describing.

Why should consensus buying happen if the seller is speaking to the right ideal customer?

If the ideal customer is the decision maker, has a specific want and need that can be solved by the seller’s solution, has an allocated budget, has urgency and a commitment to take action, why should the seller or the buyer give up anything?

Sales should be a win for the buyer and for the seller.  Actually if the salesperson has artfully executed his or her interpersonal and intrapersonal skills (sales leadership), then the buyer should feel he or she has received a greater win (more value) than originally expected.

Consensus buying always dilutes the sales process because both buyers and sellers enter the sales process already in defeat.  My father said in the majority of buying transactions, people have three options:

  • Quality
  • Delivery
  • Price

Dad also said in many instances, people can only get two of those three options.

Are buyers willing to give up quality?

Are buyers willing to up up delivery?

Are buyer willing to give up price?

By the way, I don’t believe experts are using this as an example of consensus buying.

What consensus buying suggests is the sales leadership (intrapersonal and interpersonal skills) of the salesperson is lacking. Possibly he or she did not engage in his or her due diligence (interpersonal sales skill).  When that sales mistake happens, then no wonder something is given up because the salesperson did not know what he or she needed to know. We have all heard about money being left on the table because of failed due diligence.

Sales leadership is about securing the desired results using clearly articulate positive core values.  Consensus implies not only giving up quality, delivery or price, but positive core values as well.

I hope this entire idea of consensus buying quickly disappears because to quote Margaret Thatcher:

“Consensus is the absence of leadership.”

Want better results, more sales with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her

 

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Sales Leadership and Sales Culture Partners in SMB Sustainable Growth

Probably for SMB, sales leadership and sales culture are more critical for sustainable growth than for larger firms.  With fewer people and in many instances the same operations being performed as in larger firms, everyone must embrace a sales leadership role and foster a sales culture of high performance.

sales-cultureUnfortunately, for a variety of reasons, SMB fail to recognize the partnership between sales leadership and sales culture.  People being people are allowed their own “turfdoms” where no one can venture without permission.

What would happen if all employees would ask the following questions?

  • Who pays my salary?
  • Who pays the bills to keep the doors open?
  • Who pays my retirement and other benefits?
  • How does this company grow financially?
  • What can I do to make this company profitable?
  • What can I do to contribute to the sustainable growth of this SMB?
  • How can I help others make this company profitable?
  • What can I do to help others contribute to the sustainable growth of this SMB?

A forward thinking sales culture begins from the inside out. Systems, strategy and people are united together to create and strengthen internal customer satisfaction or better yet active engagement.

From this internal perspective, points of connection are made with external customers leading the way for improved customer loyalty.  This way everyone is rowing toward the same direction and with the same energy.

As in any organization, executive leadership must take the helm.  However in some instances, executive leaders may require assistance to further develop their talents.

By the way, would you agree that most leaders do not know what they do well?  Think about your recent efforts toward self improvement.  Did you focus on further developing your strengths or were you focus on your weaknesses.  If the later was your focus, does this make sense?

Sustainable SMB growth happens through assessing, clarifying and executing and then continually repeating this three step process.  If you want to increase sales, then consider the existing partnership between sales leadership and your sales culture.  Remember, each and every employee is in sales, not just the paid salespeople.

Want better results, more sales with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her

 

 

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Content Marketing May Be Your Sales Achilles Heel

Last month I had an epiphany when listening to Ari Galper ask this question about content marketing:  If you are providing the answer for free in your postings, why would anyone buy from you?

content-marketingHis comment had me thinking and I realized that I was not helping my sales by being the all knowing seer for those seeking to overcome SMB challenges from poor sales to employee engagement.

People want to help people.

This is a natural human condition.

Those within executive coaching and SMB sales consulting probably have this desire even more.

Then I started thinking about some of the better keynote speakers I had heard.  Now another epiphany happened.  Many of these speakers do not provide solutions or answers.  No they inspire people to take action and that inspired action is directed to the speaker.

Each speech is verbal content marketing. The speaker shares his or her experiences relative to the demographics of the group.  He or she makes an emotional connection in that “I feel your pain; I have been there, done that.” 

How many times have you watched others in the audience shaking their head in agreement?

Then the speaker continues exploring all that pain while providing some hope, but not necessarily a solution.

Learning how to stop giving away free solutions in content marketing is not easy. Yet it can be done while still demonstrating your expertise.  Writing solutions is easy.  Making that deeper emotional connection is probably just a tad more difficult.

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The Should Be Most Feared “C” Word in Sales

Ask any salesperson about his or her most feared “C” word in sales and you may hear competitor or even cost. Salespeople are so focused their competition they ignore this “C” word and consequently fail to understand the ramifications within this word.

sales

Commodity

Let me explain. Think back to a recent business to business networking event you recently attended. Did you meet a lot of:

  • Realtors?
  • Financial planners?
  • Business coaches?
  • Marketing consultants?
  • Insurance agents

Then add in those who actually sell products, the room is awash in commodities.  Differentiation is beyond difficult.  Listen to a business coach, a realtor, a marketing consultant or a financial planner, most of their introduction begin with “I help” or “We help.”  See what I mean. How are they different?

Each of these services have been turned into a commodity along with those who have always sold commodities such as retail stores.  No wonder being able to increase sales becomes increasingly difficult.

A commodity is an economic good.  Possibly in today’s economy, a better definition is a commodity is an economic solution. All of these SMBs are providing solutions that has been “commoditized” because of the low threshold to enter the SMB marketplace as well as technology.

Then the question becomes how do I step away from being a commodity to being truly a different and obviously valuable solution?  The first step is to recognize your SMB is a commodity. Yes that is hard to admit, but it is the truth.  By facing this barrier or obstacles to sales, now sets you forth on a different path.

Step number two is to stop worrying about the competition.  New competitors will always be popping up.

Step number three is to stop using cost to sell your solutions.  Focusing on price is always a losing proposition.

Remember people buy from people. You are unique as is your expertise.  Find your niche, what you do better than anyone else. Do not let your SMB continue to be viewed as a commodity.

Want better results?

CLICK HERE to reserve your time to speak with me.

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Where Many in Sales Are Missing Sales – Part 2

This is the second part of a two part series.

Beyond missing sales because of a lack of due diligence as well as seeking the quick sale, there are other sales gaps.

missing-sales

#3 Missing Sales Gap

#4 Missing Sales Gap

The role of Captain Wing It resurfaces again in marketing.  By not having a clear and emotionally compelling message directed to ideal clients, marketing activities such as business to business networking, social media, website and even business cards become far less effective. Sharing at a business to business networking luncheon, that anyone with a pulse is your best sales referral only reflects your lack of knowledge.

#5 Missing Sales Gap

Self improvement also is required to increase sales.  People buy from people they know and trust.  Your own knowledge of the industry, the local economy, etc. reaffirms that you are “on top of things.”

As noted in Part 1, from my experience many realtors had not read or were not aware of The Danger Report. This very intensive research on residential and commercial real estate here should have been read by all forward thinking real estate salespeople as part of their own self improvement.

Those who earn their living by selling products or services must be on a continued path of self improvement. Reading industry books to business books to other publications deepens the knowledge of the salesperson.

Years ago one of my colleagues, Doug Brown, made this statement:  We as salespeople drive by more business than we will ever have.

Doug is correct.  Each day salespeople are missing sales because they fail to do what they need to do. The good news is all salespeople have the opportunity to increase sales provided they close at least these five sales gap.

Want better results?

CLICK HERE to reserve your time to speak with me.

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Where Many In Sales Are Missing Sales – Part 1

Salespeople, especially those in SMB, are always on the hunt to increase sales.  I am not sure what is going on in some of their minds, but my sense is quite a few are missing sales and probably more than they ever realized.

missing-salesTake for example real estate sales.  Having been in the process of selling our home, I never knew how many real estate people are truly clueless about selling and the overall sales process.

I am not alone in this observation as the National Realtor Association commissioned a report, The Danger Report, and verified the U.S. residential real industry is suffering from extreme danger with these words:

Masses of Marginal Agents Destroy Reputation

Come back tomorrow to read this second part of this two part installment.

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The Implication Permission Based Email Marketing Reveals

Years ago I learned to grow an email list was essential SMB marketing strategy to expand one’s marketing presence and increase sales leads through nurturing marketing. To do so required a permission based email marketing service such as A.Weber.

permission-based-email-marketingBy having a double opt in email service, only those who actually signed up for your email such as a newsletter would receive it. Of course you could add them and then the recipient again would have to approve being added to your list.  Today, people buy lists left and right and permission based email marketing seems to have left the building, much like Elvis.

Today my inbox again was cluttered with numerous unsolicited emails. One was from another another national training firm promising me to make my business “soooo” much better. I had never signed up for this offering probably because I had never heard of them even though they had been around for 25 years (I guess that was to impress me). I immediately opted out and left the following message:

“Firms like yours who fail to engage in permission based email marketing have questionable business values.”

Will this make a difference for this particular business?  Of course, not!

However what would happen if more SMB businesses started responding and opting out instead of ignoring these unsolicited emails? My sense is there just might a a small ripple in the SMB marketing world.

There is an inherent implication within any marketing message as well as how that message is delivered. That implication As noted that implication returns to the positive core values of the business.

It is one thing to stuff the U.S. mail box full of Sunday circular ads or weekly specials.  However to stuff other people’s email in box that collectively costs millions of dollars in lost productivity is beyond rude.

If you want to be the change in the world, then start changing your own marketing behaviors.  Make sure you respect the time of others by not emailing them without permission.  Showcase your values (business ethics) from the very beginning.  Who knows you actually may earn more business through permission based email marketing than your current efforts.

Want better results, more sales with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

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No Cluelessness in Real Estate Sales Is Not a Youth Thing – Part 3

This is the final posting of a 3 part series on real estate sales.

real-estate-sales

As demonstrated by the following comment, this younger real estate agent is relying on electronics to do his work.  People buy from people.  Making a personal outreach is always far better than stroking the keyboards.

The listing agent should have electronic documentation on who has set a showing for the day. Follow up is a mouse click away. 

Additionally as this comment was prompted by the question of “Why don’t real estate agents leave business cards?” the seller of the home was being 100% ignored.

In real estate sales and in most other sales, the seller never knows who knows whom.  As it has been said for many years, there is only one chance for a good, first impression.  In the case of this real estate agent, he is relatively clueless about the overall sales process not too mention being a courteous professional salesperson.

Also building relationships with other real estate agents is also not a bad marketing or selling behavior.  Yes they are competitors, but with the commission usually being split 50/50, why not improve your odds of making a sale?  Fifty percent of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Here are the links to the first two postings:

No Cluelessness in Real Estate Sales Is Not a Youth Thing – Part 1

No Cluelessness in Real Estate Sales is Not a Youth Thing – Part 2

Want more sales, more time and less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

 

Want more sales, more time and less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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