Archive for January, 2017

Moving Beyond Inspiration to Perspiration

Many people are inspired.  They listen to a Ted Talk, read a good book to attend a sales training event.  Yet at the end of the day or a couple of days later, that inspirational message is like dust in the wind.

inspiration

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Some firms look to sales training to inspire and fail to move beyond inspiration to what really makes the difference – perspiration.  Did the sales team, the sales management and even the Chief Executive Officer turn those inspiring thoughts into actions?

Recently I did a one day sales training event for a rapidly growing local small business with multiple locations.  The morning session was for the call center team and in the afternoon I repeated the training with the sales team. Both sessions included over one hour on how to use DISC Index for better communication and sales results.

The reviews of the learning engagement from all contacted were all eight or higher on a scale of one to 10. All call center team members told me the sales training was informative and inspiring. Two of the sales team used the work inspiring to describe the sales training.

After one week, I conducted a follow-up as each session as each employee was asked to set a professional sales goal either as an individual or team. What I learned was the call center team had set a pretty BHAG. Yesterday in speaking with the very happy CEO in our follow-up meeting, he shared the call center was on target to achieve this goal in possibly half the established time frame.  Their united progress was exhilarating.

As to sales team, their efforts paled in comparison.  A couple of team members never returned my voice mail follow-up call.  None of those in the sales team had set a goal.

Until people take action, inspiration remains that just words that feel good.  Taking action is where the perspiration happens and what makes sales training, sales coaching or leadership development worth the investment.

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Time Management Is Our Greatest Oxymoron and Lie We Tell Ourselves

Have you ever attended a time management training event or read a book on time management?  You do realize of course this concept of managing time is an oxymoron and probably the greatest oxymoron we humans have.

time-management

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Just to be clear, an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Since time is a constant meaning there will always be 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute, no amount of human behavior can change those facts.

We cannot manage time.

What we can do is better manage ourselves.

Time Management Is Self Management!

Believe it or not, there are five specific and measureable talents that can support us in overcoming what is limiting ourselves from better self-management.

Concrete Organization: The ability to understand the immediate, concrete needs of a situation and to establish an effective plan of action for meeting those needs.

Consistency and Reliability: The internal need to be conscientious in one’s personal or professional efforts

Project Scheduling: To understand the proper allocation of resources for the purpose of getting things done within a defined time frame.

Attention to Detail: The ability to see and pay attention to details.

Realistic Personal Goal Setting: To set goals for one’s self that can be achieved using available resources and operating within a projected time frame.

When we take a 30,000 ft view and see these talents all working together, it is much easier to understand how to specifically improve the self management of ourselves.

After working with executive coaching, sales coaching and leadership development clients now close to 20 years, I can personally attest to the impact of realistic personal goal setting as the talent that has the greatest and most immediate impact on self-management.  When people are intentional about setting personal goals, this behavior has a direct correlation on other talents such as consistency, attention to detail, personal accountability and results orientation.

If you want to better manage time, then take a time management course. However if you truly want to improve your results, then look to improving your self management through these 5 talents because time management is the greatest oxymoron and lie we have as human beings.

Special offer until 2/28/2017, have these 5 talents assessed along with 73 other talents plus the DISC and Values Index and a 30 minute executive telephone coaching session.

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Sales Coaching Tip: 3 Words to Change Your Sales Results

What would happen to your ability to increase sales results if you just remembered three (3) words in all your interactions with sales prospects, sales leads, colleagues and clients?  Do you possibly think you could change your sales results?

sales-results

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Sales Coaching Tip:  Feel

When you meet with someone because people buy from people they know and trust, what do you what them to feel because trust begins with an emotion, a feeling.  Trust does not begin from a point of logic. Knowledge, facts or logic support the building of trust.

People are human beings who are emotional creatures first and foremost.  Our feelings are innate within us. People buy on emotion first, justified by logic.  So why wouldn’t you think about this word “feel.”  What do you want others to feel about you?

Sales Coaching Tip: Know

Once the feelings are in place, then what do you want the other person to know about you, your company and if you have enough time your solution. This “knowing” continues to build the relationship that came from the feelings. Remember your first to third meetings may just expand your buyer knowing about you and continuing those positive feelings of trust.

Sales Coaching Tip: Do

Finally before you conclude the sales conversation, what do you want the person to do? A call to action from a simple “Let’s get together for coffee” or “Let’s connect on LinkedIn” allows you to continue making contact with the individual.  Given most sales are earned after 4 contacts, then possibly the reason your sales results are languishing is because you aren’t making enough contacts?

Remember these three words are not just about your sales leads, your prospects, but are equally about you.

What do  you feel when meeting a new person?

What do you know about yourself and know about that person?

What do you want to do regarding this sales conversation or sales appointment?

Yes Feel, Know and Do are three action verbs that can truly improve your sales results.

If I asked what what do you do well, what would you tell me.  Here are 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl.  Identify your first one and then take this special opportunity to confirm your own beliefs. What I have learned is over 98% of the salespeople and executives I have assessed, do not know what they do well. Then two questions are:

“How many sales opportunities have you lost?”

Can you continue to lose sales opportunities?

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Why Do Entrepreneurs Expect Employees to Be Mind Readers?

Attention entrepreneurs, do you become frustrated with how your employees communicate with you?  Does this frustration often times turn into aggravation to even developing a negative attitude toward one or more employees? Then there is a proven solution for you provided you have clarity before you make the your buying decision.

entrepreneursPossibly most of your frustration comes from a misalignment between how you receive your communication and how your employees deliver their communication? This misalignment creates a communication gap and over time this gap can increase unless you take the right action.

Giving employees communication training is potentially a good right action provided they understand how you as the business leader communicates.  Unfortunately what happens is the lack of clarity around how you best receive communication is never addressed. Communication is a two-way street not a one-way street. Your employees are not mind readers. Let me repeat that in big, bold letters.

Entrepreneurs – Your employees are not mind readers!

Imagine for a moment if your employees knew what to do and what not to do when communicating with you? Then imagine if you could adjust your communication style to work better with your employees, how

  • Much time could you save?
  • Many negative feelings could be reduced to eliminated?
  • Could your overall team productivity and results improve?

Research suggests most entrepreneurs are high problem solvers and work at a very fast pace.  They want to receive communication in a specific way such as being very specific as to what needs to be done.  Entrepreneurs also do not like to hear wild speculations without factual support.  Also research suggests most employees especially not at the C-Level give and receive communication in a very different way.  So far this same research has not revealed employees to be mind readers.

The solution to close this gap, reduce your frustration is available provided you have clarity as to what limiting your ability to effectively travel this two way street of communication.

Entrepreneurs -Take advantage of this special offer until 2/28/2017 and receive not only the DISC Index (a proven solution for effective communication), but the Values Index (what motivates you) and the Attribute Index (your 78 key talents). CLICK HERE to learn more.

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The Lack of Clarity Is the Unseen Shadow Behind Many Sales Objections

One of the most important sales skills top sales performers can have is to bring clarity to sales objections.  This lack of clarity by the buyer is usually evident when stalls surface during the sales conversation.  For example a sales stall could be “your price is too high” without any supporting rationale or facts.

Trees-Shadows

Sales Objections Surface Because Many Buyers Lack Clarity As What Is Truly Important to Them

Sometimes buyers do not have crystal clear clarity as to what is important to them.  A recent commercial for financial investing demonstrated how to bring clarity this sales objection of “I don’t have time.”  The salesperson asked if the buyer was available at 10 am the next day and she responded no and offered what was happening.  Then the salesperson continued to ask about different times of the day and each time the buyer said no and shared what she was doing.  Finally, the salesperson said (I am paraphrasing) “Wouldn’t you like your investments to work for you as hard as you work each day?”

The buyer physically stopped to indicate she was processing the question and then said “yes.”

Of course this is a commercial, but probably one of the best examples to show how to bring clarity to those sales objections we all experience.

In many sales training programs to sales training books, sales objections are covered. Yet I have not heard or read where this term “clarity” or the “lack of clarity” is included in these resources.

Much of our sales lives and even personal lives revolve around clarity or the lack of clarity. When people have crystal clear clarity about what they believe, they know and they expect sustainable forward progress is possible.  Unfortunately, the lack of clarity is truly one of those shadows in our lives, in the background, obstructing our view and hence our thinking and doing.

Speaking of clarity, do  you know what you do well? Do you know how you communicate or how your behaviors are viewed by others? Do you know what motivates you to move forward? If not, take advantage of this special opportunity until 2/28/2017 by experiencing these three (3) dynamic psychometric assessments (Attribute Index, DISC Index and Values Index)  that will begin to bring clarity to you.

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Learn to Focus On What You Can Control in Sales Communication

Funny thing about human behavior is we humans have a tendency to focus on what we cannot control.  This is quite evident in sales communication.

For example, in today’s 24/7 “I want an instantaneous response to my email, my text or my phone call world,”many SMB owners and salespeople fail to communicate what they can control such as:

  • Hours of operation
  • Response time
  • Contact name
  • Location

sales-communication

Just imagine what would happen in the automated email message to an inbound email sales lead might include the following:

Thank you for your inquiry.  We will respond within 24 hours during normal business hours Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm, Saturday, 9-12 Noon, Central Time, USA. Our offices are closed on Sunday and will respond the next business day.

A similar message could be placed in the voice mail as well as when salespeople return calls to sales leads. Also this message could be placed on each page of the website where sales leads can send an web response request. Over sales communication in today’s world is a good thing.

Sales research suggests sales leads via email get cold very quickly, in 15 minutes.  Additional research from Inside Sales.com shows:

  • 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first
  • Follow up on a web sales lead within five (5) minutes increases conversion rate by nine (9) times

Human beings have short (8 seconds) as revealed through research by Microsoft. Currently a goldfish has a longer (9 seconds) attention span than a sales lead. By focusing on what you can control through all sales communication benefits you to overcome the limiting attention span of your sales lead.

Of course there is no guarantee your sales lead will read or hear your message.  However, by focusing on what you can control you have directed your actions in the most efficient and effective manner possible.  Additionally, if the sales lead does become defensive when responses are not returned promptly, this provides an opportunity for the salesperson to build the relationship through knowledge and trust by stating:

“I can appreciate you being concerned that your inquiry did not receive a quick response. As we have recently included hours of operation in all outbound messages, I want to make sure this new response system is working correctly. By chance did you save the automated message?” 

In many instances your sales communication is the first contact your sales lead has with your SMB.  Just make sure that message is clear and focuses on what you can control.  You have no control of what your sales lead thinks, reads or says. voice

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Look Beyond the Keystrokes to Build Key Relationships

Having those key relationships is essential in our personal to professional lives. Yet with technology, it appears we are being limited by how we communicate and interact with others.  Suddenly we become conditioned to stroking the keys instead of actually speaking with another human being.

key-relationships

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How often do we hear about people eating either in public or at home busily typing on their keyboards and ignoring everyone else at the table?  Some businesses and families now require the smart phones to be placed in a basket or in the center of the table with severe penalties for anyone who touches his or her smart device.

The Irony of Human Behavior and Key Relationships

Isn’t it ironic that human beings who are social creatures in their efforts to be even more social have isolated themselves through the stroking of the keys? They desire key relationships yet keep those very same people at arms length through today’s technology.

This goes to this essential question: What are we afraid of?

Now some may say they aren’t afraid, but this is a matter of convenience, of saving time.  Really?  How many times are texts not read or emails not returned?

Social media has probably exacerbated this problem of not physically talking with others.  We can say we have a thousand Facebook Friends or LinkedIn connections and yet how many have we personally communicated with? How many real, key relationships do we truly have?

Are we using these numbers to reinforce our own self-esteem, self-worth while insulating ourselves from potential emotional harm?

Staying personally in touch with others is very difficult especially as our communities expand regionally, nationally and globally.  Yet it can be done through the very same technology that is limiting real human interactions.

Years ago we heard these words from a telecommunications provider “Reach out and touch someone.” Possibly it is time to heed those words, make a phone call, meet with a friend, colleague and truly connect with another human being one on one.  Who knows, you may actually enjoy the experience?

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Are We Confusing Value Creation with Value Connection?

Value creation is still a popular term even though concepts like sales enablement or account based selling seem to be front and center these days.  In working with a new client, I once again realized how value creation doesn’t really exist because what is really happening is value connection.

People buy to satisfy a want or need.  Since the want or need exists consciously or subconsciously (latent needs), then salespeople cannot bring something into existence (create) that was already present.

What I believe good salespeople do is discover what the buyer values and then connects his or her solution to those very value drivers.  Now if the buyer had taken the Values Index, the Attribute Index or even the DISC Index, then the salesperson could have a head start to understanding and then connecting to what the buyer values.

Value Creation Unleashes the Seller’s Ego

My biggest concern with this idea of value creation is the salesperson believes he or she can create value and that belief may have him or her walking down the no sales path.  The salesperson walks in with the knowledge of the industry, some knowledge of the customer, hears (not actively listens) what the buyer is saying and now knows what the buyer values.  His or her ego is in charge of the sales conversations and potentially ignores clues because the seller has been there done that and knows what this new customer values.

People buy on value unique to them.  This is why there is such diversity in the world. The decision is made to buy from one salesperson even though the other salesperson had the same or even better solution.

Connecting to the value driver’s of the customer sometimes is easy and sometimes not so much.  Good to top sales performers probably engage in value connection without realizing it. Consider looking to how you can connect your solutions to the value drivers of your buyer and discover if this makes a difference for your own sales success.

Until 3/31/2017 take advantage of this special offer and experience three (3) assessments (Attribute Index, DISC Index & Values Index) for a special investment.  Click here to learn more.

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Buying Mistrust Is the Intersection of Expectations and Inconsistencies

Yesterday, I personally experienced how just one word creates buying distrust.  I also experienced how a seller recognized and overcame that buying distrust. Let me quickly explain.

buying distrust

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Buying Mistrust a Short Story

Two weeks ago I made an appointment at my health care clinic. The intake person said I would be seeing Mindy. I asked who was Mindy and the person responded “She’s the doctor.” My doctor had relocated out of state and was no longer at this clinic.

Yesterday was the appointment. In completing the paperwork, a question was raised about my preferred pharmacy. I told the intake person that I preferred a written prescription so that I can check prices online. She said “you can talk to the doctor about that.”

When Mindy came into the room, she introduced herself as a nurse practitioner.  This caused immediate distrust because my expectation was to see a doctor. I had been told twice I would be seen by a doctor.

I voiced this concern. Mindy recognized I experiencing distrust and gave me the choice to see a
medical doctor or to just continue.  She demonstrated excellent emotional intelligence and I decided to continue with her.

Even after 40 plus years of dealing with customers and being in sales, I once again realized how quickly buying trust can be placed by buying distrust even with loyal customers.  Trust be it in business or one’s personal life can never be taken for granted.

In working with clients, I continually stress the importance of consistency in all aspects especially in behaviors.  Here just one word, doctor, spoken twice to a loyal customer planted the seeds of distrust.

As a side note,  my husband had visited the same clinic. On his visits he has been told he would be seen by the nurse practitioner.  My experience confirmed this organization has an inconsistency in communication behaviors.

Just imagine each day how many customers or patients experience this collision of expectations and inconsistencies?  Who would really appreciate how this collision has the potential to be caused by just one word?

Trust even with loyal customers can never be taken for granted.  Every interaction must continue to build trust.  To fail to ingrain this principle into the organization’s culture or what I believe is truly the sales culture can be the organization’s Achilles’ heel.

 

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CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations

Building upon selling or sales being the transference of feelings, the question then becomes how to ensure those feelings are transferred? In working on some sales training for a new client, I discovered this acronym to do just that – CREATE powerful sales conversations.

sales-conversationsFirst, create means to come into existence where nothing else existed before.  This is especially true for those in sales who may cold call or for inside salespeople who receive inbound sales leads.

People have one chance to make a good first impression and for salespeople this first impression will either open the sales door of opportunity or close the door for good. In realizing the importance of those first sales conversations, this acronym may just help to support crazy busy salespeople in their goal to begin to transfer those feelings between themselves and their buyers (think sales leads or ideal potential customers).

CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations

C – Communicate with clarity and intention.  Be deliberate and cohesive in your communication. Make sure to actively listen because good communication is far more about active listening than active talking.

R – Respect your buyer.  Respect goes beyond normal common manners. Here you showcase your business ethics such as by active listening, not interrupting and honoring any promises you made during your interactions with your sales lead. Also this is where you don’t presume you know more than the buyer.  Leave your ego at the door.

E – Empathy.  For those who understand emotional intelligence, empathy is an intrinsic human characteristic.  Can you identify and understand the other person’s feelings?  Remember, do not confuse empathy with sympathy.

A – Authentic.  Be who you are authentically.  People can spot phonies a mile off.  Anymore it appears buyers’ phony radar system is on HIGH ALERT.

T – Timing. Understanding the timing of your words, your non-verbal body language is also essential.  Great comedians had exceptional timing. They watched their audience.  Rushing through the sales process because of some sales script is foolhardy.

E – Energy.  Being confident, not overly, displaying positive energy all support those transference of feelings. Just think about how many times you purchased from a dull, low energy person?

Powerful sales conversations go beyond the words.  Possibly this acronym of CREATE may assist you in your selling endeavors. Let me know if it works for you.

CLICK HERE if you wish to schedule an appointment on Leanne’s calendar.

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