Archive for June, 2017

The Magic Well Not So Magic Increase Sales Formula

Just read another eBook about how to increase sales for executive coaches in just three easy steps. Following these three steps, your executive coaching or sales coaching practice will magically transform itself and you will have riches beyond your wildest expectations.  Really?

business-stratgegy-increase-sales-strategic-planningThis author’s three steps are the three basic steps to increase sales for any business:

Result Focused Solution

Your solution should produce results.  People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

Generate Sales Leads

You must have a process that generates sales leads.  Maybe this is why Peter Drucker said a business has essentially two functions – Marketing and Innovation

Convert Sales Leads

The desired result of lead generation is lead conversion which will increase sales if done correctly. Again referring to Drucker who believed when marketing was done well (lead generation) selling (lead conversion) was  effortless.

Real World Versus Ideal World

So now you know the magic formula, you should have no problem in achieving your goal to increase sales. Of course, the author went into a little greater detail about how to generate leads along with a sales pitch at the end of each chapter to attend his most recent FREE webinar.

Even with those who follow this particular expert’s instructions to the letter, they will still potentially fall short because people buy from people they know and trust.  If you have failed to establish trust through your marketing efforts to your actual sales conversations, then this magic formula will fizzle like a dud firecracker.

Many salespeople especially solo entrepreneurs look for the quick fix to increase sales.  They begin their businesses by skipping the first several steps.  Those few steps involve strategic planning.  The failure to undergo strategic planning results in not knowing:

  • Exactly what to do
  • Exactly when to do it
  • The right things to track
  • How the right things produce the right results
  • How to avoid misdirected actions
  • How to avoid misguided decisions

If you truly want magical results to increase sales, find a magician.  Or you can schedule a free consultation to turn tomorrow’s goals into today’s results by CLICKING HERE.

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Why Social Media and Not Email for Small Businesses?

Some interesting research suggests small businesses prefer social media over email marketing.  In marketing and sales research conducted by Ripl (mobile application software provider), revealed the following:

  • 55% for Facebook
  • 43% for Instagram
  • 19% for Twitter
  • 41% for creative and graphic design
  • 7% cited email

Email marketing as a marketing channel came in third to social media posts and blogs (websites).

Why Social Media and Not Email?

Of course, the first answer to this question is resources. Small businesses have limited resources.  Not only money, but time, energy and emotions are also in short supply.

Possibly, many of these small businesses have had negative experiences with email marketing. Their email boxes are cluttered and overflowing with sales pitches of buy this or buy that.

Lack of education is another reason.  Unfortunately, many who engage in small business marketing focus on social media even though these providers have a very limited social media presence.

Probably the best and most overlooked reason is these small businesses lack a well researched strategic plan. Without a solid strategic plan, small business owners and salespeople engage in Captain Wing It behaviors where they spray their marketing all over the place and then pray something will stick.

Doesn’t it make sense to track the right things to product the right results to avoid misdirected actions and misguided decisions?

The real WHY behind the preference for social media over email marketing returns not knowing what to track and results in poor actions and bad decisions. Then what happens is social media becomes the fall back marketing action.

If you want to make better decisions, then CLICK HERE to schedule a call with Leanne Hoagland-Smith to learn what options you have that respect your limited resources.

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The Problem with Value Creation in 3 Letters

Every decade or so, another new term floats to the top of the business world.  In sales, value creation has been front and center.  Sales experts to sales training firms now educate salespeople on how they can create value.

The undisclosed problem with value creation resides in this 3 letter word – EGO.

When salespeople believe they create value, they are putting themselves and their egos before the buyer.  All of a sudden they know better than the buyer based upon their own experiences with other buyers.  In some cases this may be true.

Sales Coaching Tip: Even the most uneducated buyer can smell EGO a mile away.

When we look at the true meaning of the word create, it means to bring something into existence that did not exist before.  Value is unique to each buyer. Therefore value already resides within the buyer and cannot be created.

Possibly people confuse value creation with value connection and value rediscovery.

Value Connection

Through active listening, the salesperson learns what the buyer values.  Then the salesperson can craft his or her solution to ensure it connects to those value drivers.

Value Rediscovery

When salespeople rediscover an un-articulated value (this used to be called latent needs in sales), they can bring this to the attention of the buyer.  Possibly in the past other salespeople had failed to discover this value and it resided quietly in the buyer’s subconscious until it was rediscovered.

Ego is a sales killer.  No one likes to be sold as the old expression goes.

When salespeople believe in value creation, their egos prevent them from active listening to asking different questions.  Ego becomes a fallback behavior and potentially turns off more buyers than turns them on.

People buy from people they know and trustEgo prevents that exchange of knowledge and trust from happening.

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True Sales Leaders Take a Moment to Be Personal

What with all the impersonal marketing and social media outreach by those who believe they are sales leaders?  If people buy from people they know and trust, doesn’t it make sense to be somewhat personal in your marketing, prospecting and general business behaviors?

Of course, this doesn’t mean invading someone else’s privacy, but a little personalization goes a long way to start building that trusting relationship.

A Tale of Three LinkedIn Invitations

What does it take to be personal through LinkedIn invitations?  Not much.

Here are two recent examples of sales leaders who made not only made their LinkedIn invitations personal, but gave me the reason for their wanting to connect with me.

Example #1 Hi Leanne! – We both contributed to the June edition of the Worldwide Coaching Magazine. I would be honored to be part of your network! Best regards from Quebec City!

Example #2Hi Leanne, We share several connections and groups. I would like to add you as a connection. Best

After reading these two LinkedIn Invitations, how do they compare with the pre-formatted, impersonal one offered by LinkedIn?

Hi Leanne, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network

If you are like me, there is no comparison. Now some will say LinkedIn mobile platforms do not allow for personalization.  My response is make a note of the person’s name and wait until you get to a desk top.

Your first contact with an almost complete stranger should be as positive as possible.  Again, you want to begin to build trust.  True sales leaders understand the importance of that first contact, the second contact all the way up to the 12th and beyond contact.

Being personal goes beyond LinkedIn invitations or other social media channels.  Picking up the phone just to reconnect with someone or sending a handwritten note card all reaffirm that you are in that group of sales leaders who truly care.  President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

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Gratitude Is a Two Way Street in Business and Life

Is it just me or has gratitude become a less traveled street than in years gone by?  What happened to personal thank you cards or even small gifts to acknowledge the work efforts of others?

Have we become so conditioned to he or she “is getting paid to do” whatever that we have forgotten this simple, human gesture of gratitude?

The reason for this question is because of some recent interactions with a local health care facility and its staff.  Words could not express my personal gratitude for the care a loved one received.  So I bought a couple of cards and some candy and presented these sincere gifts of appreciation to the healthcare staff.

When I presented the gifts, I could see the staff members were quite shocked and pleasantly surprised by this action. My sense was my action was not typical of other customers to this health care facility.

Then I spoke with a close friend whose husband is a neurologist.  She confirmed that such gifts of gratitude are indeed rare because people believe the people are being paid to do a job and a simple verbal thank you is enough.

Actions of Appreciation Abound

Social media provides both a marketing channel and incredible opportunities to express one’s gratitude.  These expressions can be sharing the posts of others to actually commenting and thanking anyone who shares your social media postings. By taking these actions of appreciation, you are demonstrating you are an authentic, caring human being who appreciates the efforts of others.

Writing thank you notes or even just a “thinking of you” note can bring a smile to someone else’s day.  Our email IN boxes are full with a lot of buy this or buy that sales pitches. Receiving the handwritten note or card delivered by the USPS makes it stand out away from all the other clutter we receive.

One of my colleagues, Dan Waldschmidt, attempts to write at least two thank you notes a day to stay grounded and connected to others.  He totally understands that gratitude is a two way street both in business and in life.

 

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Sales Success Goes Beyond Determination

Many sales experts including sales coaches share quotes about sales success or success in general. These words of wisdom sometimes include the word determination.  Yet determination is almost a smoke screen hiding the one of the essential characteristics for sales success.

What Is Hiding?

Years ago I learned this definition of success from Resource Associates Corporation and discovered what was hiding within many definitions of success:

“Success is the continual achievement of your predetermined goals stabilized by balance and purified by belief.”

Your actions must be predetermined.  Determined spraying and praying your actions will not yield the success you want.

Later I amended this great definition of success by adding these two clauses:

“Success is the continual achievement of your predetermined goals stabilized by balance, purified by belief, aligned to your purpose and fueled by your passion.”

I believe misalignment of purpose happens with determined actions.  As a colleague said “People confuse motion with progress and activity with results.” Our passion is what keeps us going after those too frequent not interested to all those voice mails that are never returned.

Sales success begins and ends with predetermined actions. President and General Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.” Determined actions are the plans while predetermined actions are the planning.

Predetermination beginning actions include making lists such as what I suggested in yesterday’s blog. Reflection is a companion to predetermination actions because you are thinking about what specifically needs to be done before you take determined action.

Reflection upon what has happened during the day is the end of daily predetermination actions.

  • How did the day go?
  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go as well as planned?
  • Whom did you fail?
  • Who helped you?
  • What actions will you take tomorrow?

Sales Coaching Tip:  This is an exceptional book, From Values to Actions,  about predetermined action and success in sales, in leadership and in life.

As you embrace each day, write down what actions are necessary to move you forward to achieve your desired sales results. Then predetermined actions will become an attitude, a habit of thought, and propel you toward the sale success finish line.

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Another Monday Morning and Your Sales Game Plan Is?

Mondays come and go along with all the sales opportunities they hold.  When you have a sales sale game plan, there is a far greater likelihood of capitalizing on those sales opportunities.

Possibly, you may wish to consider having a checklist as you begin your sales week.

  1. Check your calendar for today’s activities – 30 seconds
  2. Check your calendar for the forthcoming week’s activities – 15 seconds
  3. Check your calendar for the rest of the month – 15 seconds
  4. Read and clean out your email – 10 minutes
  5. Organize your desk, file any loose papers – 5 minutes
  6. Review and update your sales goals – 1 minute
  7. Review and update your marketing goals – 1 minute
  8. Review and update your personal goals – 1 minute
  9. Devote 20 minutes for reading – 20 minutes
  10. Invest 15 minutes and write down any thoughts, an article, etc. – 15 minutes
  11. Read your affirmations or what I call positive belief statements – 2 minutes
  12. Check to make sure all smart devices are charged, pens work and you have business cards – 4 minutes

This checklist can work with your sales game plan.  By investing 60 minutes each morning, you can get ahead of what needs to be done and start your Monday with all cylinders firing.

One of my favorite quotes is my U.S. President and General Dwight Eisenhower who said:  “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.”  Your Monday morning checklist is truly about planning your sales game so you can take advantage of all those expected and even more important unexpected sales opportunities.

Most of us know how good it feels to be on top of things.  What happens far too often we get behind because we failed to invest some proactive time planning our day, our week, our month and our year. This planning failure contributes to those potentially negative subconscious feelings and leaves us with those all too often “would of, could of, should of” Weasel Words.

Monday mornings are a time to seize the day and make each week one of incredible peace and abundance.

Not really sure how to construct your sales game plan? Then schedule a time to speak with Leanne by CLICKING HERE or call 219.508.2859 MST.

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You’ll Talk to Anyone Is a Sales Prospecting Necessity

One of my most favorite people, Michael Sleppin (who is now retired) saw strangers as a sales prospecting opportunity.  Michael would talk to anyone and by being so open he made incredible contacts.

Yet we as children are conditioned not to talk to strangers.  To overcome this negative yet protective childhood conditioning requires us to leave our comfort zones and to accept that our FEAR of talking to strangers is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Another colleague said she looks at strangers “as friends I do not know.”  This is her mental strategy to overcome that negative childhood conditioning.

Of course, we still must practice common sense when speaking with strangers and always be aware of our surroundings.

Last night when dining out, an older woman thought I had said something.  All I did was smile.  She then started talking with me.  We had a great conversations about artists, horses and living in the high desert.  Our conversation went beyond small talk and we connected on several different levels.  Her comment as we were leaving was “We have a lot in common, don’t we?”

Sales prospecting requires salespeople to continually meet new people.  This is why there continues to be an argument about cold calling whether it is viable or not.

Cold calling supports the traditional conversational sales skills and even more so emotional intelligence. By having conversations with complete strangers allows the salesperson to hone his or her emotional intelligence skills. Then when more solid sales opportunities present themselves, the salesperson has plenty of real world practice behind him or her.

To learn more about emotional intelligence in sales read this book by

Jeb Blount – Sales EQ.

Today sales prospecting has many channels. Yet if we believe people buy from people they know and trust, having those face to face conversations or voice to voice will allow people, your sales prospects, to know and trust you.

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Time to Move Beyond Increase Sales to a Highly Engaged Sales Culture

So much emphasis is placed on the goal to increase sales.  Then what happens is other aspects of the business are ignored such as excellent customer service to just every day good business ethics (positive core values). What leadership must do is create and sustain a highly engaged sales culture.

Why a Highly Engaged Sales Culture?

A survey from Clutch (a B2B research company) targeted 1,000 US consumers and asked them to respond to one of these three questions regarding United Airlines recent negative PR incident:

  • More likely to purchase a United Airlines ticket
  • Less likely to purchase a United Airlines ticket
  • Unaffected, it doesn’t matter to me either way

The result was 53% of the respondents will not buy from United Airlines. Yes, customers can be dramatically affected by negative PR especially in today’s world of instantaneous video where anyone can record a company’s business practices (think culture) at a drop of a hat.

Where Does a Highly Engaged Sales Culture Start?

As in any forward progress for any organization from the smallest to the largest, it starts with executive leadership. President Harry S. Truman is known for “the buck stops here.” This is where executive leadership must start.

Yes the goal to increase sales is necessary as is profitable business growth. However when the culture of the organization fails to understand everyone is in sales from the CEO to the employee driving the truck to the employee processing invoices, then disasters like the one United Airlines experienced will continue to happen.

Zig Ziglar defined sales as the transference of feelings. Today’s sales culture should be transferring positive feelings to both internal customers (other employees) and external customers (paying customers).

Who Is Responsible for a Highly Engaged Sales Culture?

After executive leadership sets forth the strategic plan and communicates the vision, current mission and positive core values of the organization, then each individual employee is responsible to ensure the culture becomes one of “everyone is in sales.”  Executive leadership must enforce the positive core value.

Yet each employee must consistently act in a manner that reflects those core values. What this means is no gossiping as well as no disrespecting other internal customers or external customers.  The terrible incident at United Airlines reflected a disengaged sales culture as well as a poor executive leadership.

The next question is can your SMB afford 53% of your potential customers not buying from you.

How many lost customers will it take before you begin to embrace an engaged sales culture?

Reach out by clicking here to schedule a time to speak Leanne about your culture and how to develop an engaged sales culture or give her a call at 219.508.2859 MST.

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Looking for Shorter Working Hour? Then Forget Sales as a Career

Being in sales as a career requires not only a variety of skill sets, but the willingness to work long hours. Recent research released by Workforce360 for RandstatUSA discovered Millennials and the forthcoming Generation Z generations were unprepared for the long hours in their current jobs.

With 97.7% of the U.S. businesses have fewer than 20 employees, working long hours has become the norm.  Not only is there the standard 8 hour day, but other before and after work commitments.  If the business has a social media marketing plan, there may be some additional time required in writing postings.

Sales as a career is, in my opinion. of the the best professional careers.  You have the opportunity to meet incredible people, provide solutions to what is limiting business growth and on top of it all get paid to do this.

Of course, if you are expecting the money to roll in by working shorter hours, then you are living a dream that may turn into a financial nightmare.

There are some industries where sales professionals believe they can make a quick buck with a short investment of time.  From my experience, I have not found that to be true.

People buy from people they know and trust.  Sales research suggests it takes four to 12 contacts before a sale is earned.  Yes, selling does require a lot of time:

  • Phone time
  • Email time
  • Meeting time
  • Writing time
  • Learning time

Sales as a career will demand you to work long hours. Even though sales is simple, that being the transference of feelings, earning the sale or closing the deal may take longer than you realize. Sometimes you will be disappointed because what you thought was going to happen didn’t happen.  Losing sales after investing a lot of time and working hard happens to even the best sales professionals.

To grow professionally, to move up the career ladder, will demand long hours, not short hours.  Maybe these words by Charles Evans Hughes may inspire you:

“I believe in work, hard work, long hours of work. Men do not break down from overwork, but from worry and dissipation.”

 

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Coaching Tip

People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

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