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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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Brother Can You Spare a Posting?

A LinkedIn post by Tibor Shanto entitled Brother Can You Spare a Sale made a connection with me regarding all the unsolicited requests I receive to submit articles for this blog.  These complete strangers want me to spare a posting so they can get their  marketing message out.


People buy from people they know and trust. This is the first sales buying rule my father taught me years ago.

Why would I allow my prime marketing real estate to be given to a complete stranger? 

What is even more ironic is many of these requests are from so called marketing experts.  If you are an expert, then why are you reaching out to me?

The answer is because your website traffic sucks.  You do not have many Twitter followers.  Your LinkedIn connections and followers are also lacking. If I search your name in Google, again dismal results.

Building this blog has been an investment in time, years as a matter of fact.  The real reason for your request, brother can you spare a posting, is to use my blog to expand your marketing presence. Using my blog  is a cheap fix to your bad marketing.

Possibly a better narketing strategy is to build your own community of like minded people who will share your blog on their various social media sites. Of course this takes time as well and time is something it appears you are not willing to invest.

Since I started this blog over 10 years ago, I now receive at least one daily “Brother can you spare a posting?” request.  My response is the same:  “I do not accept unsolicited postings.”

Sometimes depending upon my mood I will add “However, if you wish to pay me $500 I will accept your posting provided it meets my quality standards.”

So please stop with the “Brother can you spare a posting.”  If you want to reach out and touch someone, then make a real connection.  Who know you actually may get an invite to contribute to that person’s well traffic blog.

Click Here to speak with Leanne to discuss how you can build your own community.

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The Rush to Sell Is a Rush to …

Nowadays, more so than ever before, there appears to be a rush to sell.  We experience this with unsolicited emails to outreaches within social media challenges especially LinkedIn.

This desire to increase sales is natural because for salespeople increase sales means job security.  The ability to increase sales may also increase the salesperson’s personal wealth.

However, this rush to sell is turning more people off than on. And when one is in sales, turning off potential sales leads, ideal customers to even centers of influence is not a doable marketing or selling strategy.

Why the Rush?

The question to be asked is why is everyone rushing to increase sales?  Is it because of:

  • Sales training?
  • Prospecting training?
  • Sales management?
  • Executive leadership?
  • Social media training?
  • Quick fix mentality?
  • Personal agenda?
  • Ego?

In other words, who is pushing this rush to sell?

The act of selling something to someone is an act of transferring feelings because people buy first on emotion, justified by logic.  Sometimes those feelings are one way, usually held by the seller who wants to make a sale.

Elevating the feelings of the buyer usually takes times because the buyer must know and trust you as the seller.  Developing trust is also time dependent.

Possibly this rush to sell can be directly traced back to some of the questionable sales training as well as prospecting training within the B2B and even B2C marketplace. Bombard people with social media postings, build up your LinkedIn connections to blanket all your contacts with emails and you will increase sales. No all you will do is annoy potential sales leads and centers of influence.

My sense this ongoing rush to sell returns to the quick fix mentality as well as the lack of:

  • Personal goal driven sales plan
  • Personal goal driven marketing plan
  • Personal goal driven self-leadership plan

As you start each day, each week, each month and each year, remember your desire to increase sales must work with your sales leads and not push them away or given them any reason to mistrust you because that rush to sell is a rush to no sales and potentially no job.

CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne about how to begin to increase sales.

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I Have 13,000 LinkedIn Connections Now Justifies Bad Marketing

Bad marketing is rampant on LinkedIn. Yesterday after accepting a second degree connection, I received a message to read his article and get on the pre-order list for his book.  My response was:

So you reached out to me to make a sales pitch? Not the best use of LinkedIn. I will be disconnecting from you. Possibly next time attempt to establish a more personal relationship before the sales pitch.

He then said “The article is free.”  I responded “But the pre-order is not.” His comeback response once again reflected he is clueless about marketing:

Correct. I have over 13,000 connections. I have been forced to compress the “establishment of personal relationships” somewhat. No offense was intended.

Hmm, “forced to compress the establishment of personal relationships, somewhat.”  Double speak and makes sense since he teaches at the college level.

Real world translation is:

“I don’t have time for you to get to know and trust me. Just pre-order my book because I have 13,000 contacts.”

Personally I don’t care if this individual or anyone else has over 13,000 or 50,000 LinkedIn connections.  Plain and simple this type of email marketing is bad marketing.

Unfortunately social media has only worsened the problem of bad marketing.  People fail first to have a sales process and second fail to walk through that sales process without skipping steps. They believe they can send a sales pitch without developing any personal relationship.

The first phase of any sales process is marketing.  Here is where you as the salesperson get to know the sales lead and hopefully the sales lead is qualified.

If you are fortunate you are invited for a face to face meeting or even a phone call.  Now you are entering the second phase of the sales process – selling.

By listening and asking the “right questions,” you further learn the sales lead’s situation and may discover not only wants and needs, but more importantly what this potential ideal customer values.  Then you can connect your solution to his value drivers.

If you wish to increase sales, stop with the bad marketing (sales pitches), stop with justifying bad marketing and look to build real, authentic, personal relationships.

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Regrets Reflect You Are Not Where You Want to Be

Did you ever think how you respond to a simple statement reflects your most inward and personal regrets? Yesterday when leaving a national drug store chain, I told the clerk to “Make it a great day.” Her response was “I will at 4:15.”

As this encounter was early in the day, I quickly surmised she had been at work for around an hour and she was already regretting she was not where she wanted to be.  How sad. What a waste of human potential.

I believe this woman saw only limitations and no opportunities in her current role.  Working was not something to enjoy, to embrace, but a daily drudgery.

Sure. we all have bad days where we question why are we doing what we are doing.  Yet when we allow regrets to creep into our personal attitudes they then become reflection of our personalities.

Staying positive is not easy.  Staying full of energy when the day to day activities appear to grind you down is not easy.  Yet, living with regrets takes a vast toil on your own soul and is like a lingering infection that never truly goes away.

My sense is this individual had never taken the time to explore her purpose, to think about where she truly wanted to be and then put together a plan of action to get there.  She like so many others has not recognized the incredible potential in taking charge of her life.

Even the most successful people may experience regrets. The difference is they don’t allow those regrets to become an attitude, a habit of thought as Zig Ziglar defined them.  No, they shake them off, like a dog shakes off water after swimming.

Successful people know where they are going. They have a goal driven action plan in how to get there. And when obstacles or limitations are placed in front of them, they work to remove or go around those impediments to where they want to be.

P.S. Another sign of personal regrets are these words:  Would of, Could of, Should of

If you are not where you want to be in your business or your own personal life, then schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith by clicking here.


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