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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Too Many Impersonal Sales Questions May Limit Your Sales Results

Funny thing about humans beings, we back off from personal questions and yet we want people to know us.  Many sales questions are logical, impersonal and just may unintentionally limit or restrict sales results.

If sales is the transference of feelings (Zig Ziglar) and I believe this is true, then results driven salespeople have the capacity to frame impersonal questions into personal ones without violating the sales prospect’s personal space. Training and then developing this capacity is missing in many sales training programs and even with some sales coaching solutions.

For example, there are still sales training programs asking this couched prospecting sales question:

What keeps you up at night?

The desired end result of this question is to find the “pain” of the sales lead.  Yet, there are a plethora of different sales questions that can deliver far better results and better yet differentiate you from all those other numskulls.

Imagine asking this question:

If you could wave a magic wand, what would the three things you would like to see different in your business (substitute with your people, your process, your sales, your results)?

Asking proactive questions that fringe on being impersonal without being too personal can deliver the facts you are seeking to present your case.

There are other questions, but if I gave them all to you, why would you continue to read this blog or even reach out to speak with me?

Sales is still very simple, though not necessarily easy.  The level of difficulty increases with more complex sales that require more decision makers.  For most SMB owners and sales professionals, they probably do not engage in complex sales with the frequency of much larger firms with 100 or more employees.

People buy from people they know and trust.  Your sales questions must showcase you are knowledgeable and trustworthy.  Sounding like all the other salespeople with their antiquated and too personal questions will not increase sales.

Schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith by CLICKING HERE.

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Sales Leadership, Bag Phone or Smart Phone?

Funny thing about sales leadership is some past sales leaders sometimes fail to continue to be forward thinking as new ideas or technologies evolve.

sales-leadershipNow younger sales professionals may not remember the first mobile phones that were literally in a bag.  These bag phones started the trend of being connected 24/7.

Over time technology reduced the size of the mobile phone and increased its power.  Today we have all those smart phones and other smart devices that allow those in sales leadership to reach out and touch someone instantaneously.

Many of the early adopters of bag phones saw the value in them.  They found them to be beneficial to achieving the goal to increase sales. Yet some of these same forward thinking leaders decided to hold onto their bag phones because they were familiar with them, they did not have to learn a new device and it worked for them.

They believed in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Yesterday’s old bag phones is an analogy respective to  those in sales leadership who do not want change.  They want to hold onto their authority, their knowledge and their comfortableness.

Those who adopt new technology, new marketing channels, new ways of thinking are more willing to accept change and challenge the status quo. They accept the possibility their authority may be challenged, their knowledge will change and they will be uncomfortable during this process.

Of course to change for the sake of change is not good.  Yet to hold onto the past without looking to the future is equally not good.

Sales leadership in the 21st century must face its greatest challenge – change.  This is quite difficult given how fast change is happening and why additional resources must be hired or contracted to effectively deal with all of these changes in sales, in business and in people. Now is not the time to hold onto that old bag phone.

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The Cheap and Easy Quick Fix Is Not Cheap, Easy or Quick

How often do sales managers to SMB owners to even sales professionals seek the cheap and easy quick fix to increase sales?  Then how often do companies create viable tools, but those tools are abused and misused because of this ongoing desire for the quick fix?

What usually happens is disappointment sets in and those in charge seek another cheap and easy solution to what ails their businesses and specifically their sales.  Einstein’s definition of insanity is alive and well not only in these SMBs, but all other organizations.

As an elected school board trustee and public educator, I saw this behavior through the application of grants.  Most grants have a three year funding cycle and then the school must fund the solution of their own.  Instead, they seek another grant because this was a viable way to get money and money drove the decision making process, not results. There was a constant turnover of programs that only diminished student engagement and effective instruction.

For profit businesses and other not for profit organizations also seek the easiest solution in the quickest time frame.  Investing in long term solutions is rarely considered.

We know this to be true because of the lack of return on investment for the majority of sales training and development programs. There is and remains a quick fix mentality by executive leadership because they have not engaged in any strategic planning nor understand how people learn and what keeps the application of newly learned sales skills on the back burner.

Today I submitted my 40th article to Worldwide Coaching Magazine.   The subject of this article looked to artificial intelligence (AI) and executive coaching.  Possibly the future will be “Coach Data.”  Unfortunately, even two entrepreneurs who have built AI into at their AI executive coaching program recognize this solution should never replace face to face interactions.

Executive coaching is a skill set that is often confused with consulting or worse yet traditional training and development programs. The first significant difference between executive coaching and traditional training and development quick fix is return on investment.  ROI is a demonstrated and measurable result.

Time is the next significant difference. Changing behaviors does not happen overnight.

Reflection of application of newly learned skills is the third significant difference. Executive coaches continually ask for their clients to share what has happened since the last coaching interaction. They also request application of new behaviors between sessions.

Beliefs probably are the fourth and probably the greatest difference.  Our beliefs, our attitudes drive our behaviors. Traditional sales training and development to leadership development to customer service training looks to the behaviors first instead of looking to the beliefs.

All of these differences demonstrate that executive coaching, sales coaching, leadership coaching or business coaching is not cheap, easy or quick.  If you are seeking the quick fix to your people problems, save your money until you can afford to do it right.

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Looking to Be Insulted in All the Wrong Places

Years ago there was a song with these lyrics “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.” Today, it appears many are looking to be insulted in all the wrong places.

My husband and I at breakfast talked about how everyone is looking to be insulted especially those in business.  This conversation was prompted by a friend and colleague who was accused of micro-aggression by a millennial female wait staff person.

I wonder how this particular individual would have handle this comment from a loyal customer “I want to to be served by a man.” My sense is she would have been insulted and probably labeled this also micro-aggression.

“Many of today’s younger people are looking to be insulted.”

When I first started my professional adult career in sales, I was one of the firs female inside salespeople in the pipe, valves and fitting industry within Chicagoland area.  I can’t count the number of times I heard a male customer, sometimes with a heavy Irish brogue, tell me “I want to talk to a man.”

Instead of looking to be insulted, I simply transferred the customer to another male salesperson.  No big deal. Usually what happened is the customer would come back to me because I knew more about the subject than the male salesperson.

At this time, the customer was usually embarrassed.  Instead of making him feel worse, I just smiled and asked him “How can I help you?” After all, the goal was to increase sales, not to turn a loyal customer into a disloyal one.

When I started this position, I made an effort to educate myself in areas that many had ignored such as specifications, time of delivery, quality of products and substitutes. This knowledge proved exceptionally beneficial.

Micro-Aggression Really?

How often do we ask to speak to someone who can speak English well and understand English?  By the definition of micro-aggression, we are marginalizing or demonstrating indirect discrimination against non-native English people.

Well, my thought is it’s my money, my time and my customer experience. I want someone who can understand what I am saying and I can likewise understand the other person on the phone.” This is called effective communication, not micro-aggression.

Tight Shorts Anyone?

My husband coined this phrase “tight shorts.”  It means people whose feathers are easily ruffled.  These are the folks looking to be insulted.  They are the first to complain.  They are seeking justification for their beliefs which in many instances are false.

The last place to wear tight shorts is the workplace. My Dad warned me about people and sales. He said to “let it go like water off a duck’s back.”  Those words I still carry with me today.

When Did It Happen?

When did it happen we can’t say anything without someone looking to be insulted or offended?  Are we so fearful, so lacking self confidence, so emotionally unintelligent we must actively seek to be offended, to be insulted?

Maybe it is time to reassess what and how we teach young people to be.  Yes we must look not to offend that is true. However maybe it is also true we must stop looking to be insulted in all the wrong places.

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Customers Leave People Not Businesses

You work hard to build your SMB.  You make the extra effort to show appreciation to your loyal customers.  And then poof, one of your people, with some poor emotional intelligence destroys what you worked so hard to achieve.


A True Customer Loyalty Story

An entrepreneur recently shared his customer experience about how one restaurant manager destroyed his customer loyalty. He then put that destruction into hard cold cash. This friend had a 40 year plus relationship with this particular upper end restaurant.  He was by all accounts a valued, loyal customer.

In the last eight months, he had given this SMB over $10,500 and he determined yearly expenditures were around $18,000.  Additionally he had booked his annual Christmas party for the another $7,000.  His annual sales at this particular establishment amounted to $25,000.  Even for established restaurants, losing $25,000 in annual sales is a significant hit to the bottom line.

The manager lacked the emotional intelligence to effectively manage his wait staff.  He also failed to recognize the importance of maintaining loyal customers.

Now this entrepreneur will take his business luncheons, business dinners and casual dinning experiences elsewhere.  He will no longer recommend this particular restaurant as he had done hundreds of time in the past. So the $25,000 annual sales from this one loyal customer could easily be doubled or tripled.

SMB owners so often fail to recognize the importance of their managers to effectively manage their people while ensuring loyal patrons stay loyal and employees are treated with respect.  In today’s world, we identify this ability as emotional intelligence.  To mistreat a loyal customer with decades of patronage is unforgivable especially if during all those years there was never an issue with the customer.

There is an old adage about employees leaving managers not businesses. This wisdom should also be applied to customers as well.  People make or break any business from the smallest to the largest.  As a SMB owner the question should be:

Can you afford to lose customers and their referrals because your people are unprepared to handle customer situations?

Schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith (CLICK HERE) and learn how to build emotional intelligence into your employees.

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You Are Not Alone in Sales

How many times do we feel we are alone in sales?  What I mean is we listen to all the sales experts and down deep inside we know that (whatever that is) won’t work for us.  However, we go with the flow because our sales manager told us or someone else said “yes that works.”



When we ignore our “gut” and go with the flow, we isolate ourselves from what we know to be true. This isolation is mostly subconscious. What happens is we go through all those motions we learned from all those sales experts, sales books and sales training.

Yet something isn’t right. We feel it down deep inside. Our heart is not in selling. We are out of step. Our cadence is off.

If we are lucky, we meet someone or talk to someone who is experiencing the similar thoughts about selling.  We think or even may hear these words:

I am not alone.

Suddenly we feel vindicated.  There is someone else like me who believes what I believe.

I am not alone!

With so many experts in selling and marketing, it is easy to become distracted with all their information.  Also with SMB owners and managers wanting more revenue, the push to be like everyone else is always present.

What we fail to realize is we must be true to ourselves.  We must learn to accept what works for us.  Then we can work on how to improve what works for us.

Now we are in control of what we wish to retain for our own professional and personal development. We can hone in on exactly what works for us and then intentionally develop those talents or skills to increase sales.

Sales is pretty simple and it starts with your own ability to lead yourself first before you can lead others to buy your solutions. By being an authentic leader, you can accept the fact that you may be one of the few and will better appreciate hearing these words:

I am not alone.

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So Many Sales Conversations Singing the Same Old Song

Be honest with yourself right now.  Are your sales conversations like all those other salespeople?

Maybe the reason for your inability to increase sales is because your words are dust in the wind.  What you are saying has been said before.

Your words are singing the same old song. 

And you have refused to see how ineffective your words truly are. Then as the lyrics go to Dust in the Wind, “we crumble to the ground.”

People buy from people they know and trust.  Great salespeople understand how to build knowing and trusting relationships through the power of the spoken and written word. This is why content marketing continues to grow as a marketing channel.

Sales prospects have become inoculated to all the typical sales conversations.  They want to hear something different, something that connects to them emotionally first and foremost. This connection goes beyond that dribble of building rapport because you can build rapport with a dog and how does that increase sales?

Your sales leads want a for real, honest to goodness, ever present person first.  They want someone who will listen and provide them with insight they have not heard from others or through of by themselves.  In today’s world, we call this being an authentic thought sales leader.

Ask yourself what makes you buy from others?

  • Is it their great open ended sales questions?
  • Is it their ability to overcome sales objections?
  • Is it their price or their delivery?

No probably what matters first is their ability to relate to you as a person.  More than likely this relating to you is mostly subconscious as 80-90% of all our thoughts are subconscious.

Maybe the person smiled or just quietly listened to you.  Possibly he or she directly answered your questions without any additional hyperbole.

How many sales conversations are not really conversations but more like one way communication with the salesperson continually flapping his or her jaws?

If you truly want to increase sales, then invest some time to listen to your sales conversations so they are not the same old song and do not turn to dust in the wind.

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Want to Achieve More Success? Unite Inspiration, Perspiration and Clarity

How many people want to achieve more success and yet fall short? They seek inspiration from Ted Talks to attending seminars to reading books.  Then some actually go out and start applying through perspiration what has inspired them. Yet with all their efforts they still are not where they want to be.  Something is missing and that something is probably, most likely clarity.

Blaise Pascal wrote:

“Clarity of the mind means clarity of passion”

When we have clarity around our passion which is directly connected to our purpose, our vision and our values, we can unite what we find inspiring and then start perspiring to achieve what we want or need to achieve.

Father Theodore Hesburgh believed “No one can follow can uncertain trumpet.”  Even though those words are about being a leader of others, I believe it is also a quote about being a leader of ones self.

If you have uncertainty, which is a lack of clarity, then how can you follow your passion?  What is your passion? More so, what is your purpose?  Why are you here right at this moment?  Our purposes change as we age.

Successful people are self-leaders with clarity of purpose.  The greater the clarity, the greater their success is.

Sometime to make that jump from being somewhat successful to really successful also suggests defining what success means to you.  Again clarity should be present in that internal dialogue you have with yourself.

Working with executive coaching clients who have worked with other executive coaches and without the success they wanted, I have learned this missing word of clarity is so vital.  Finding clarity, crystal clear clarity is not easy as it takes time and sometimes even trial and error.

What I do know is when people know their talents, their strengths, they have an advantage in finding that clarity much sooner  because they have been hampered by looking to improve their weaknesses. Maybe now is the time for you to begin to find your own clarity if you are not satisfied with your perspiration from all the inspiration you have received.

Reach out to Leanne to schedule a time to speak with her about finding your clarity. Click HERE

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Sales Commitment Attitude Starts with You

Funny many salespeople believe they have a sales commitment attitude and consequently behavior.  However if this was true why do so many in sales fail to achieve their sales numbers as well as dislike marketing or prospecting such as cold calling.

Years ago I read something written by Zig Ziglar who stated “attitudes are habits of thought.”  I agree with Zig and would add the following “enmeshed in a plethora of feelings.”

Zig also defined sales as the transference of feelings.  To transfer feelings one must have feelings and be aware with crystal clarity of those feelings.

Additionally a sales commitment attitude can be traced directly back to someone’s personal core values (ethics and beliefs).

  • Do you say you will do what you said you would do?
  • How committed are you to honoring your word?
  • Are you willing and ready to do what you need to do no matter the difficulty?
  • Is what you do the right thing or the quick fix because you don’t have time to do it right?
  • Do you find yourself making excuses for not doing something you promised or you know you should do?

When I wrote Be the Red Jacket, the second chapter was devoted to creating a personal values statement.  By investing the time to write this statement, ensures the salesperson is truly committed to her or his own values.

People buy from people they know and trust. Those salespeople with an authentic sales commitment attitude are easily distinguished from others who lack such authenticity.

In the book From Values to Action, the author shared each night he invested  5-10 minutes to reflect on what happened during the previous 16 hours.  This was his way of ensuring his leadership commitment attitude.  I believe it would work equally well for those in sales.

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