Isn’t It Time to Stop the Must Have Leadership or Sales Skill?

Is it just me or are you as tired as I am about all the postings about having this must have leadership or sales skill?  Do this or learn that and “wala” you will be a top sales performer or authentic leader.

Please give me a break!

This desire to find the magic number one skill, trait, quality, call it what you will, regardless of role is complete and total hogwash. Fact – There is no number one top sales skill.  Those seeking the “must have” are really seeking the quick fix to cure what ails them.

Many sales coaches, marketing experts or leadership consultants who write about this or that being the must have or top sales skill recognize the never ending desire for the quick fix.  They are meeting a need, but their solutions are potentially unrealistic for their clients.

Human Beings Are Unique

When we look to find the must have sales skill or leadership skill, we are forgetting this basic premise about human beings.  We are all unique.  We have different experiences.

From those different experiences, our brains are wired differently.  We may be intrinsically motivated by Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose as it relates to people (Theory of Self-Determination).  However, how those motivators are connected to each other is unique based upon his or her own life experiences. This uniqueness can be further identified through the work of Dr. Spranger and Allport.

Take Advantage of this Labor Day Special Opportunity (until 9/5/2017) to

Learn What Motivates You as well as Know Your Talents and Behaviors

If there truly existed a must have sales skill or leadership skill, doesn’t it make sense that everyone who have this skill would be able to increase sales?  So why do so many sales professionals still fail to meet annual sales goals? Why do we keep reading about a new must have sales skill?

Human beings are unique and complex. Our brains co-exist with our minds where all our experiences reside. Add in our emotions and we realize there is not just one “must have” sales skill.

If you disagree, then take this free 170904-Short-Sales-Self-Assessment and identify the one must have top sales skill. Then have another salesperson take the same assessment. Do you both share the same top sales skill?

May you enjoy a most prosperous and enjoyable Labor Day.

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Honor Before Honesty Every Time

Words do matter.  Take for example the words honor and honesty.  Which word appeals to you more than the other?

For me, honor is a far stronger word both emotionally and intellectually.  Honesty, beyond being overused like many other words in society, has less emotional intelligence and less intellectual depth.

In a recent conversation with a colleague, he suggested the word honesty is a better word than honor.  My response was honesty is much like being efficient, doing things right.  Honor is more akin to being effective, doing the right thing.  To be honorable always suggests one is honest. However being honest does not mean one is always honorable.

The difference can also be explain through the actions of public officials.  Yes in many instances they are following the law, being efficient and therefore being honest in the application of the law. Unfortunately following the law is not always effective and hence does not always reflect honor.

Locally here the county officials wanted to make up budget shortfalls and one of the suggestions was to consider closing the rural libraries.  Possibly this action was honest yet with high illiteracy rates and a workforce lacking many necessary reading and writing skills, this proposed action was not filled with honor.

Yes there is a distinct line between honor and honesty. Many cross that line every day without even thinking.

I am reminded of Socrates Three Filters when it comes to the difference between these words.

  1. Is what you say kind?
  2. Is what you say truthful?
  3. Is what you say necessary?

For it is that third filter where honor and honesty may clash.  We can speak honest words, but are those words truly necessary?  Are they honorable?

When we invest the time to think about the words we think, speak and write, we can change our results for the better. Possibly you may have never considered the differences between honor and honesty. Now with a potential different perspective and even some additional clarity, you may begin to reflect not only upon these words, but others as well.

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Possibly Your Email Automation Messages Are Killing Sales?

Most of us have experienced those email automation messages.  We download something and then we get an automated message for some follow-up or worse yet a direct sales pitch. Yuck.

Email Automation Reality

These  automation messages probably kill more sales than people realize.  Today I download some sales enablement research for an article I was writing.  I received the following message:

Leanne, I noticed you have downloaded the CSO Insights Sales Management Enablement study. What triggered your interest in this paper? Would you like to arrange a call to see if there is a fit for me helping you with your objective?

Now this was not someone from CSO Insights, but another firm that had access to this particular study. Did you notice the not so subtle sales pitch?

I did respond with the following:

Thank you, I write a column for the Chicago Tribune as well as other publications. I am quite fine with my objectives, thank you.

The return personal response was “Okay.”  Do you think this salesperson gave up too easily?

Now here was the perfect opportunity to do some further research before responding.  This individual could have checked out my LinkedIn profile or undertake a Google search.  He might have realized I am a possible sales influencer.  Instead he let this sales opportunity pass because he saw my response as a sales obstacle.

Email automation messages serve a purpose. They are the first step to discovering unqualified sales leads, qualified sales leads or centers of influence.  The next step is to make a second outreach to confirm the initial discovery.  This second step is the one many people fail to undertake.

What happens is salespeople are busy and in some instances truly crazy busy. All this being busy becomes an excuse not to do any additional research.  Possibly this is why most salespeople only make two contacts and then go onto the next sales lead?

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In Sales Conversations The Fine Line Between Inspiration and Intimidation

Most salespeople truly believe in their sales solutions especially entrepreneurs and single office/home office small business owners. They want their sales conversations to be full of inspiration and yet sometimes just the opposite happens.

We have all heard about pushy salespeople.  These are the folks who make their sales pitches within a few moments after shaking your hand.  I am not talking about those salespeople.

What I am talking about is the salespeople who so firmly believe in their solutions, their sales conversations are full of passion that comes from the heart. Sure they want to close the sale, to earn the business, but first and foremost they want their prospects to share their passion to have that “V8 moment” so to speak.

Salespeople full of inspiration realize it takes more than one contact.  They will make numerous efforts to reach out to their sales leads or prospects and to share their “inspirational” sales solutions.

For some sales prospects, eventually they lose the feeling of inspiration and it is replaced with intimidation.  They don’t want to hurt the feelings of the salesperson, but the constant focus on the sales solution turns them off.  The mistake made by the inspiring salesperson is one also shared by those other pushy salespeople – failure to listen and observe.

Recently I observed an inspired SOHO entrepreneur who was attempting to sell his solution to another individual.  The “sales lead” was polite. His body language told me he was being polite.  However, he had been turned off by the sales conversation quite earlier. Yet the salesperson failed to pick up these non-verbal clues and continued with what he thought to be an inspirational sales solution.

The passion that inspires salespeople to have those sales conversations can easily intimidate especially if the salesperson is not actively listening and observing the non-verbal behavior of the sales prospect.  Top sales performers understand how easily it is to cross the fine line between inspiration and intimidation.

The DISC tool helps to better understand sales conversations behaviors.  To learn more click here to take advantage of this special Labor Day offer by

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Why Do We Fail to Understand Salespeople Are Multi-Dimensional?

Salespeople are human beings.  Yet so often those in business fail to accept that human beings are not just one dimension but rather multi-dimensional.

In working with organizations as well as with top performing sales performers, I hear about how one assessment was used to determine the salesperson’s potential. Using just one assessment especially one that is neither statistically reliable or valid is a disservice to the organization and especially to the salesperson.

As in life, one size does not fit all when it comes to clothing, assessments or salespeople.

For example, the DISC Index is a great tool to understand how the individual communicates and reflects his or her behaviors.  For salespeople who understand DISC, they can leverage that knowledge to improve their relationship building as well as sales conversations with sales leads to centers of influence.

The Values Index is another tool that looks to what a person values or what intrinsically motivates that individual. This psychometric assessment tool helps both the salesperson and those in sales management to align the sales job description to the salesperson’s motivation.

Today there is much discussion about emotional intelligence.  Again, this is another dimensional of each salesperson.  Salespeople who are top performers leverage their emotional intelligence to increase sales.

Read Jeb Blount’s book, Sales EQ, to understand emotional intelligence within the sales process.

Finally, knowing the talents of the individual is also necessary.  What I know is most people know with far greater clarity what they don’t do well instead of what they do well. My favorite psychometric tool is the Attribute Index which utilizes the work of Dr. Hartman and the science of Axiology.

Possibly now is the time to expand one’s beliefs about people and recognize each human being is multi-dimensional.  Remember one size does not fit all in clothing or when it comes to measuring salespeople.

Take Advantage of this SPECIAL 2017 LABOR DAY Offer – CLICK HERE to learn more.

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Improve Your Sales Soft Skills

Soft skills are absolutely necessary and critical to be successful in sales. You can ask all the open ended questions, work through the sales process flawlessly and if you lack the ability to connect with your sales leads, all your efforts will be for naught.

salesMuch of the sales training and sales development including some sales coaching focuses on the technical skills.  However years ago one of my coaches, David Herdlinger, crafted a simple quadrant.

He asked what causes failure?  Is it knowledge (K) and skills (S) or attitudes (A) and habits (H)?

Most agree it is attitudes and habits.  Some call this mindset.

Mindset is supported by soft skills or people skills.

So what skills would you rate and how would you rate them?

During the last 20 years, I have recognized these five skills as critical to sales success. Below is a quick chart for you to assess yourself.  Then determine based upon the results of rating each of these skills, prioritize them to chart your own personal development.

Skill Rate 1 for low; 10 for high Priority
Communication especially active listening
Delegation (follow-up)
Decision Making respective to type of sales leads; sales conversations, etc.
Leadership (including personal accountability, self starting ability, persistence, goal setting/goal achievement)
Time Management

If people buy from people they know and trust, doesn’t it make sense that people skills should be equal in importance to technical sales skills?

For SMB owners and salespeople, marketing is the first step in demonstrating those soft skills.  Peter Drucker believed a business had two basic functions, marketing and innovation. He also contended if marketing is done well, then selling is effortless.

People must buy you first before they can buy your solutions.  My father shared this hierarchy respective to sales obstacles:

  1. You
  2. Your business
  3. Your solution
  4. Your price
  5. Your delivery

If you want less sales objections, make sure your sales leads buy you first. By taking the time to rate your soft skills, might be the next step to moving you closer to sales success.

Consider reaching out to Leanne and schedule a quick phone call by CLICKING HERE.

 

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Saying Yes May Come with a Hefty Price Tag

Working in any organizations does require saying yes.  However all those yes responses may come with a potential hefty price tag.

I just read of a noted TV commentary who is now saying yes to whatever the new boss wants. Part of this ongoing agreement is to “humanize” this particular individual.  Yet at the previous organization, she was quite successful without any additional “humanizing” activities.

Her acquiescing to her new employer reminded me that when we say yes all the time to the boss, we are consciously and even subconsciously agreeing to all the core values (business ethics) within that organization. This does not present a problem provided our own positive core values are in alignment with the organization that currently employs us.

We hear about entrepreneurs to even salespeople about saying No and the benefits of saying No. Yet rarely do we hear about employees saying No.  This is probably because the employees want to keep their jobs and may not have the opportunity to go elsewhere for a variety of reasons.

Over at LinkedIn, I made this update to see how others felt about always saying yes and the ramifications of saying yes all the time. Here is that update and you can click here to make your own comments.

“When you say “YES” to everything from the boss, remember you are also saying “YES” to that organization’s core values. This begs the following questions: #1 – Do you know the organization’s core values?; #2 – Are you in agreement with 100% of them?; #3 – If the answer is No, Are you seeking another position?”

These questions are truly important to consider.  Additionally if executive leadership has not reinforced their positive core values (business ethics), the overall sales culture  can literally run amok.

The bottom line two questions are:

“By always saying yes, are you saying NO to your own personal ethics, positive core values.” If so, what long term damage is such behavior costing you? 

And that second answer is the price tag you are paying for always saying yes.

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Are Your Sales Results Suffering Because of this Confusion?

“I have plenty of lists, daily, weekly and monthly” said an acquaintance.  My next question was “How are your sales results?”  The not so surprising response was “they could be better.”

This acquaintance and many of my sales coaching clients share this confusion about list making and goal setting.

List making is very much like a simple mini action plan.  Each item on the list is an action based upon an objective to be achieved.  In some instances, having lists works on the smaller actions and usually fails on the bigger ones.

A goal is a predetermined objective to be undertaken with the desired end to be a positive result.  Sometimes especially if the goal is to increase sales, the goal must be thoroughly “thought out” or what I call “flushed out.”  This thinking or flushing requires some additional time.  Critical thinking skills such as integrative ability must be applied along with:

Lists work with goals, but lists alone will not achieve the desired sales results.

Consistent goal achievers are excellent critical thinkers.  They identify what they want to achieve and then look to the what is limiting them from achieving their goal.  These limitations may be also considered as challenges or obstacles.

The confusion between list making and goal setting may also explain why there are misguided decisions that create misdirection.  If the item on the list is more complex or must work with another action that has not been clearly articulated, then the ability to achieve the goal especially if the goal is to increase sales is severely limited.

Another tell tale sign of this confusion is the answer to this question:

Have you invested the time to create a strategic thinking plan with specific written daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals?

Again, the answer over 95% of the time is NO! What this answer tells any sales coach or business coach is there is considerable misalignment happening which helps to explain miss guided decisions creating miss directed actions.

Yes, lists are great, but written goals aligned to an overall strategic thinking plan will consistently increase sales and far better sales results than lists alone.

Schedule some time to talk with Leanne by CLICKING HERE to improve your sales results.  Yes it could be as simple as just embracing a proven goal setting and goal achievement process.

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Leverage Your Mindset to Increase Sales

If you want to increase sales, right now momentarily forget about your sales training, all the books you read on sales, your CRM, your To Do List, your sales funnel, your outstanding proposals, your appointments today, your sales leads, the calls you must make to whatever else is cluttering your brain.  Now think about your mindset, how are you going to approach all those tasks?

Far too often we allow all the clutter to keep us from seeing what is actually keeping us from our desires, our goals.  This clutter is in many instances negative as in “I gotta call so and so.”

Sales Coaching Tip:  I “gotta” is negative.  I “want” to is positive.

The Reality of Mindset

William James who is considered by many to be the father of American psychology said:

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”

More Than Attitudes to Increase Sales

Our attitudes evolve from our belief system.  Many of our beliefs are subconscious, hidden in the far recesses of our mind. Depending upon the research and if we count our sleeping hours, the total number of daily subconscious thoughts range from 10,000 to 600,000. Here is were our deepest beliefs lie.

Attitudes reflect our beliefs both conscious and subconscious.

Negativity First

We are conditioned as children to negativity.  Parents tell us:

  • “Don’t touch the stove”
  • “Don’t talk to strangers”
  • “Don’t go to where you are not invited”

Sales Coaching Tip:  The last two bullets explain much of the fear of cold calling.

Our parents in their efforts to keep us safe from harm have started our brains on a negative path.  Unfortunately, they failed later to counter balance all that negative conditioning.

Then as we grow, we internalize these don’ts and place negative consequences on them.  Our DO NOTS have now turned into CANNOTS!

A New Mindset

If you wish to increase sales, there is a way to discover where you have gaps (clarity) and how to close those gaps (execution).

Here is the formula for a positive mindset regardless of your role:

(b) • {A+S+K} + mmG = PBC = IP ∴ IR

If you wish to learn this formula, have under 30 minutes and truly want to increase sales or improve your results, schedule a time to talk by CLICKING HERE.

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The Spray and Pray Tsunami of Social Selling

Social selling appears to have taken the spray and pray sales approach to tsunami proportions. Clueless or lazy salespeople now drown people with emails to postings with sales pitches.

These salespeople and probably some are marketing people spray these sales pitches all over the place through social selling and then pray something will eventually stick. The idea of actually knowing your ideal customer, your target market to the sales leads never enters the minds of these individuals.

For example, this morning I received an email from a complete stranger wanting me to sign up for a one day seminar on time management for the unbelievable price of $700.  My early bird price was $445.

Training and Development Coaching Tip:  A one day workshop delivers less than 10% cognitive retention after 14 days.

This person did not know the following:

  • I deliver time management training and development
  • I live in NW AZ no where near Nebraska, Indiana or Texas (these were the locations for the workshops)

The Power of Social Selling

Social selling is a tremendous and powerful platform especially for SMBs.  The investment is nominal and the reach can be exponential. However if done in error, the results can be harmful to the organization’s credibility as well as the person engaged in social selling.

Spraying and praying when it comes to sales is not new.  Salespeople have been doing this for years.  Buy a list, send out direct mail pieces and reap the rewards.  Of course the research suggests if the business receives a 2-3% response that is good.

Then there are those salespeople who at B2B networking events tell everyone their ideal customer is anyone with a pulse.  Messages like this are smaller examples of spray and pray marketing.

If you want to increase sales, gain clarity as to who your ideal customer is.  Knowing about the industry trends as well as the marketplace would also be beneficial.  Taking these small and predetermined steps will move you far close to your goal of increase sales than the continued spray and pray behaviors of others.

P.S. Time management is an oxymoron.  Schedule a time to speak with me by clicking here to learn why.

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