Archive for December, 2017

The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 7

Many believe to increase sales leadership begins with sales training, learning more stuff to improve existing known weaknesses, but in actuality the foundation for sales success lies within the strengths of each salesperson, not their weaknesses, This leads to question number 7:

If people succeed because of their strengths, then do you know with absolute crystal clarity what are your strengths?

During the last 10 years, what I have learned is the super majority of people do not know their strengths as well as they know their weaknesses.  Does this make sense? Think about it for a moment.

Would a legendary coach such as Vince Lombardi hire a quarterback with the weakest throwing arm?  Of course, not! He would seek the individual with the strongest and most accurate throwing arm.

Many psychometric assessments with the goal to increase sales leadership fail to identify the talents of the individual.  The variety of talents reaffirms the variety of salespeople and reveals how they are successful. Human beings are unique and salespeople being human beings are therefore also unique. One talent for one salesperson may not be equally shared by another.  However both can be very successful by leveraging their own strengths. This explains the diversity within any sales team.

Additionally, as Jay Niblick, President of Innermetrix said:

“People tend to turn non-talents into weaknesses.”

Again, the focus from years of negative conditioning is to look at weaknesses or talents ranked lower instead of focusing on those strengths or talents ranked higher.  To increase sales leadership must begin with knowing one’s talents not one’s weaknesses.

There are a plethora of assessments suggesting how to increase sales leadership. For years I did not include assessments within my executive leadership coaching and sales coaching practice because of the poor validity and reliability scores.  However, once I discovered the Attribute Index based upon the works of Dr. Hartman through Axiology, I quickly embraced this talent assessment.

To improve your sales results in 2018 and to achieve sales success, consider the earlier question and ask yourself do you know with absolute crystal clarity your strengths?

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 6

Now another simple increase sales leadership question:

What is keeping you from changing that one behavior which would improve your results?

Here is where as some say the rubber meets the road.  Identifying what is keeping us from realizing the change we want requires us to look down deep inside and face the truth. This truth may not be pretty. Sometimes the fear of facing the truth is what prevents us from identifying what is keeping us from those desired results.

Fear is often said to be False Evidence Appearing Real. We all have fears.  Lots of people make good money helping people work through those fears.

Again, this is where journaling can support facing those fears.  By writing down one’s thoughts as one works through answering this question helps to bring actual clarity to those fears.  One may learn what he or she feared may not be the real fear but a shadow lurking in front of the real fear or fears.

Another way to identify what is keeping someone from achieving his or her desired behavioral change and ultimately results is to think of this word limitations. Now some writers use the word obstacles and others employ the word challenges. Both of these words are acceptable.  I prefer the word limitations because it speaks more to internal barriers.

We all have limitations. Learning how to recognize those limitations and then leverage them is a combination of attitudes and skills.

Again, these 12 days of questions to increase sales leadership revolve around each individual. We all can make the choice to stay with the status quo, blame forces outside of our control and resign ourselves to nothing will make a difference.

Or we can as it is said, face our own internal music and change the tune. The choice is always up to each of us and our own personal desire to increase sales leadership.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 5

If the goal is to increase sales leadership results, then this suggests taking each question and asking another question.  Yesterday the question looked to identifying one aspect, one behavior that would be valuable to you.

Today’s question digs a little deeper with:

What would be the positive, negative, or neutral end result of that one changed behavior?

How often do we decide to make a quick change and the change is not sustainable?  In business, some people are just hired to analyze the results, outcomes, of changes in products, services as well as operational expenses.

Yet for our own personal and even professional lives, we sometimes fail to undertake a similar analysis.  We think we know what the increase sales leadership results should be, but in actuality we truly don’t have 100% crystal clarity as to those results.

By analyzing the potential desired results, we avoid the all to common quick fix mentality or solution.  Then it appears we begin changing decisions in rapid succession until something sticks.  I call this behavior “spraying and praying.”  We spray our actions, our decisions all over the place and then pray something will stick.  What a waste of time, energy, emotions and dollars.

Have you ever thought or heard the following?

“Well, I think it went well”

When this statement is made, a good presumption is the individual failed to analyze the actual results of the decision or initiative.  He or she then continues merrily down the road of life not realizing better increase sales leadership outcomes could have been achieved.

Thinking is a far cry from actually knowing.

This increase sales leadership question along with the other four and the ones to come work to counter the natural resistance to change.  Staying with the status quo is far easier, far safer and potentially far less expensive respective to time, energy, money and emotions.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 4

A small change can make a big difference especially  when looking to increase sales leadership. Today’s question is a simple, but not necessarily easy one:

If you could change just one (1) aspect of what you are currently doing,

what would that one aspect be?

This question requires both reflection and internal honesty.  Now is not the time to fudge the truth or ignore something you do not want to face.

Usually this aspect for many begins with one behavior, one action that is not delivering the desired increase sales leadership results. However, the behavior is usually a result of an attitude.  Upon further reflection, there is probably a hidden, subconscious, belief that gave birth to that attitude.

Additionally how much do you really want to change that one aspect of what you are currently doing? We can see annually all the failed New Year Eve’s resolution as to the lack of desire for really changing our behaviors.

This increase sales leadership question is very much like a ball of yarn.  You begin pulling out the thread (the one behavior you wish to change) and the color of the yarn changes as you pull out more of the thread. Suddenly you realize this question is far more introspective than it was at first glance.

Changing behavior is not easy as it requires continued internal reinforcement.  Unknown or unexpected obstacles suddenly appear making it more difficult to stay the course of change. This is why it is critical to have key performance indicators as well as mechanisms to measure the results of change. Sometimes we go off course and not even realize we are off course until it is too late.

If you have not read the first three increase sales leadership questions, here they are for your review:

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 3

To increase sales leadership requires knowing not only the results of what you were doing differently as asked in Day 2 of these sales leadership questions, but if those results were positive, negative or neutral.  This analysis suggests you know your past results and can quickly make those determinations.

Again, this question further assists in you understanding if you are confusing motion with progress and activity with results. Thanks to Doug Brown of Paradigm Associates for this great increase sales leadership question.

Sometimes even if results are positive, these results may be all about motion such as increase sales leads or first time meeting appointments.  Yet the activity to increase sales results is just that activity without results.

Then if the sales leadership behaviors are negative, possibly it is time to rethink how you do what you do. For example you are working your LinkedIn account or email list and sending our email blasts.  Yet, this activity is not generating any results and you are learning you are potentially upsetting people by cluttering up their inbox.

Possibly some results are neither positive or negative. This may be because enough time has not passed to make any determination.  Here is where you must have understanding as to your sales cycle time.

The ability to increase sales leadership is both simple and complex, The simplicity is sales is all about the transference of feelings. The complexity is exactly how do you transfer those feelings in a positive manner to the right qualified sales leads that result in increase sales.

With so much emphasis on external behaviors from asking the right open ended sales questions to being able to turn stalls into actual sales objections, there appears to be far less emphasis on the internal behaviors which in many instances are the real obstacles to sales success.

If you missed day one of this series of 12 questions to increase sales leadership, you can click here.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 2

Desiring to increase sales leadership truly begins with asking internal questions regarding your own beliefs and behaviors. This next question follows the first increase sales leadership question asked on 12/4/2017:

How do you know you are doing something differently? 

Hint to answer this question is “What are the results?”

By recognizing the importance of the results keeps you from this all too common sales leadership behavior:

Confusing motion with progress and activity with results.

With change and life happening at record speeds, it is quite easy to get caught up with all the craziness busyness sales activities and lose sight of what behaviors have actually made a difference.

What behaviors have moved us forward instead of us just treading water, thinking we are making progress?

Since so many in sales miss their annual sales goals, the inability to know whether they are truly doing something differently to change the status quo is extremely important. They think they have made progress when they look at their calendar, can recite how many sales meeting they have had and yet they are almost creating their own delusional state of mind where complacency has created a false sense of achievement.

Knowing the results and more importantly what activities create those results is essential to increase sales leadership outcomes.  Today, there are many apps than can assist in keeping salespeople on track.

Years ago my father created his own paper application where he gave himself the following daily points:

  • 1 Point for each new sales lead
  • 2 Points for setting an appointment
  • 3 Points for having the actual meeting
  • 4 Points for earning the sale (closed sale)

He would not give himself duplicate points for the same sales lead respective to having an actual meeting unless it was truly an actual meeting where the sale was moving forward such as meeting with another decision maker. Dad understood how salespeople can get lost in a plethora of meetings and fool themselves thinking they were moving the sale forward.

Then at the end of the week, he would add up his points.  Over time he established a baseline to know how many points were required to earn a sale. This baseline did fluctuate depending upon the time of year as his product was either replacement or new application which might required new budgeting.

These two question and the next 10 increase sales leadership questions are about creating self awareness so that you will achieve your 2018 sales goals as well as not have all that stress associated with missing those sales goals.

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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 1

To increase sales leadership results begins not on the outside by attending some sales seminar or reading some sales or business book but on the inside.  During the next couple of weeks, I will be posting 12 questions you can ask yourself.  These are questions of self reflection where you probably won’t find the answer in a book or a motivational speech.

Let’s start with probably one of the easiest questions I ask my sales coaching clients and build up to the hardest question that being #12:

What are you doing differently yesterday, the past week or past month that you were not doing in the past week, month or six months?

Think about this question and then schedule some time to write down EVERYTHING you have been doing differently from actual actions to actual thoughts.

Possibly start a journal and begin to documents what you are doing differently.  Writing these thoughts down brings greater clarity and focus to your ability to increase sales leadership as well as overall personal results.

  • Could you being to improve your overall sales results and reduce your stress levels by engaging in this question on a regular basis? 
  • What do you believe would happen if you did this internal check in daily, weekly or monthly?

If you are fearful of the answer, then attending more sales seminars, sales training or reading more sales books probably won’t help you to increase sales.

Your ability to successful in sales or any endeavor lies deep within you.  You can always find the knowledge and develop the skills necessary for sales success. However if you lack the proper attitudes and habits all the knowledge and the skills won’t transfer to your desired sales results.

These questions will be similar to eating the elephant one bite at a time. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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