Posts Tagged ‘action plan’

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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Maybe The Answer Is Not An Action Plan to Increase Sales

Funny how many people each month come to my website seeking an action plan to increase sales, an action plan to improve sales or action plans to increase sales.  Yet maybe the answer is not to be found in this search because these individuals are failing to understand the foundation for any action plan.

action-plan-to-increase-salesAction plans happen because there is a desired result to be achieved. This desired results is called a goal. Having any plan to achieve that goal would suggest having a thorough understanding of the goal setting process is a requirement before constructing said plan.

From my 20 years of experience in working with SMB owners and salespeople, most, probably close to 90% do not consistently achieve their personal goals less alone professional goals.  Also most sales training never looks to incorporating a proven goal setting process within the plan of action. Having any plan either professional or personal therefore is frankly illogical because it is doomed to fail from the very beginning.

Years ago I realized this disconnect when engaging in strategic planning with executive coaching and small business coaching clients. We would work through their Purpose, their Vision, the Values and even the Mission statements. Then when it came to critical success factors and actually constructing the goal, all forward progress would come to an immediate and screeching halt. We then would invest one to two sessions on how to actually set goals and then incorporate them into a plan of action.

I believe human beings are naturally goal setting creatures. They want to improve themselves however this one factor appears to exist:

There is a presumption that goal setting happens through osmosis (doesn’t require any training)

This presumption is why an action plan to increase sales falls short.  Unless the professional person has learned how to consistently set and achieve WAY SMART goals, any action plan to increase sales will not be sustainable.

My suggestion is if you are seeking any action plan to increase sales then before you invest any dollars embrace and consistently apply a proven goal setting process using a proven goal setting worksheet.  Once you have established this habit, you will be over half way to achieving your goal to increase sales.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip 03

The world is changing at rapid speed.  What this means for those who want sustainable sales success is embracing their own professional development. No longer can professional salespeople rely on corporate sales training. No they must forge their own professional development if they want to stay relevant and ahead of the flow.



By scheduling 30-60 minutes each day, any salesperson can begin to stay more knowledgeable.  Through Google alerts to RSS feeds to webinars to LinkedIn Pulse or Linked In Updates, there are a plethora of education channels to support forward thinking salespeople.

Additionally, attending outside (formal) sales training or sales seminars is equally important. Leaving the comfort of the chair and the keyboard provides opportunities to personally interact and learn from others.

Within my one page Professional Action Plan I have WAY SMART goals in these six (6) goal categories:

  • Time Management
  • Productivity
  • Self-Leadership
  • Continuing Professional Education (Formal & Informal)
  • Mentors or Coaches
  • Industry, Product Knowledge

To not stay abreast of what is happening within my industry or the industries of my clients or ideal customers is foolhardy. How can I be of value to my clients or demonstrate my value to new sales leads if I am not current with the marketplace? More importantly, how can I have sustainable sales success by staying with the status quo?

Of course, if you have thought “I don’t have time” then that thought is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.  As Henry Ford said

“If you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.”

CLICK HERE to schedule 30 minutes to speak with Leanne and receive your one page professional action plan for your own sustainable sales success.

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Why Sales Training Must Embrace Self-Leadership Development

Today I encourage you to review your most recent sales training and identify where self-leadership development was present? Possibly you may be somewhat confused by the term self-leadership.


What I know to be true is if anyone cannot lead him or herself first, they cannot lead anyone else.  Self leadership development includes some of the following learning objectives:

  • Interpersonal communication  – How are you speaking to others?
  • Intrapersonal communication  – How are you speaking to yourself?
  • Emotional Intelligence – How are you managing your emotions?
  • Decision making – How are you at making decisions?
  • Personal Goal Achievement – How consistently do you set and achieve your personal goals?
  • Attitudes – What are your attitudes about yourself?

Being excellent in selling is all about leveraging your own self-leadership skills with specific sales skills.  Additionally with so many small businesses having under 20 employees, salespeople must be even more self-directed, self-developed than ever before.

Sales training needs to evolve beyond what worked for the Fortune 500 firms and now must work for the smaller businesses.  One of my new social media contacts (a small business owner)  shared he had invested several hundreds of thousands of dollars in hiring  and training new salespeople. The results were dismal. Part of the problem was the sales training did not look to the internal capacities of self-leadership and only focused on the traditional learning objectives.

Goal Driven Action Plan

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is having a goal driven action plan. This action plan goes beyond just have SMART goals, but includes personal analysis of the current job along with a Dream Journal and Time Management. Additionally the goals are segmented into 6 key areas with only one being career/financial.

When individuals be them salespeople to executives work their action plan, amazing results are possible. The reason is simple – we are more than our jobs.  Those other areas of our lives can help or hurt us in our professional carriers.

If you are considering any sales training, it may make sense to review the learning objectives and determine if your salespeople will have their own goal driven action plan.  Remember, your sales people must lead themselves first before they can lead others including your potential customers to your front door.

* * * * * * * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals in the key areas of strategic growth, people development and process improvement. She speaks and writes specifically to high performance sales people who require a tailored executive coaching solution and to small businesses executives with under 50 employees whose challenges are more unique and resources more limited. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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Time for Your Own Self-Improvement Check-In

So did you hit all of your self-improvement goals?  What, you did not have any written down?

self-improvementWith information increasing at what seems like the speed of light, how can you not have your own self-improvement plan?  In reviewing my own personal development plan, I achieved most of my goals.

Personal Development Plan

My own personal development plan includes the following:

Mental Development

  • Books to read = 2 a month/non-fiction and 2 a month fiction = achieved
  • Publications to read= 2 a week = achieved
  • Conferences (continuing education) = 2 per year = Only attended one; second one was cancelled due to receiving a local award and a family wedding
  • Workshops/seminars (continuing education) = 1 per month includes on-line – achieved

Physical Development

  • Eating healthier = achieved
  • 5 – 30 minute walks per week – 50% achieved
  • 10,000 steps per day – 75% achieved

Ethics & Beliefs

  • Attend church weekly – achieved
  • Attend mid-week service at least 50% of the weeks – achieved
  • Maintain financial commitment to church through tithing – achieved
  • Join another community civic organization – achieved by joining Rotary International, Valparaiso club


  • Continue to expand credibility and influence – achieved, recognized as small business journalist along with blog receiving international recognition
  • Continue to market Career & College Success Boot Camp -achieved
  • Continue with 2 mastermind/mentoring groups – achieved
  • Develop at least one new solution – achieved; actually developed 2 new solutions

self-improvementRight now I am completing one of my family goals in seeing our first grandchild.  This involved being away from my office for almost 3 weeks.  And seeing her one month old face has been worth the additional efforts to be near her.

Additionally I have personal financial goals and social goals. At the end of each year, I plan a new self-improvement action plan along with my business action plan. By taking these actions, I have greater clarity and my behaviors are for more intentional.

If you want the next year to be better than the current one, then sit down and commit your WAY SMART goals to writing.  You just made be surprised by your results this time next year.

If you need a goal driven self-improvement plan, then you may find this one page personal development action plan of interest.

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Who Is The Driver of Your Destiny?

Sometimes one has to speak up when others remain quiet. I was at a program planning meeting for a community organization and suggested to have the three newest local leaders all give 10 minute presentations instead of having each one give a 30 minute presentation.  Most of our members knew the purpose of these organizations and generally wanted to know the vision of these new leaders. Personally if a leader cannot share his or her vision in 10 minutes, then “Houston we have a problem.”

destinyThe current chairman balked at this idea because he believed the speakers would want to have more time and the shortened time frame could be potentially insulting.  My comment was “The question we must ask ourselves is are we here for the speaker or for our members?”  My comment was met with smiles and a few chuckles.

The reason for sharing this brief experience is at that moment I was the driver of my destiny.  I did not roll over and agree with the majority of those present.  At this point in my life, I do not really care if I upset people because to be quiet is to allow others to control my professional and personal destiny. Of course, being respectful is always the preferred course of action.

So many people go with the flow no wonder we have even more problems today than yesterday. Original thought appears to be almost evil. If you do not agree with the majority, you are, pick a label as there are many floating around, whatever.

Years ago I realized when we fail to clearly articulate our purpose, lack a written action plan and concede our positive core values, we are easily controlled by others and that control extends into our own personal destiny.

From a young child I was told “God give us free will.”  Even if you do not believe in a higher authority, common sense tells me,  I have the ability to choose, to decide, to be the driver of my destiny.

The challenge is in taking that action we may separate ourselves from those around us. Given human beings are social creature, being separate, being alone is uncomfortable and not a place many wish to be.

When one is the driver of one’s destiny, one must make hard choices and have the intestinal fortitude to stand by those choices. Of course, if we want to please others first instead of looking inside to please ourselves, to remain true to our positive core values, then we have much bigger problems as individuals of free will.



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Self Improvement Is a Forward Thinking Leadership Trait

Ah, Saturday morning, a time to sleep in, lay back and just take it easy.  Of course for those who display the forward thinking leadership trait of self improvement, they may have slept in, but take it easy, not so much.

forward-thinking-leadership-traitThese leaders look at a day off as an opportunity to expand their own self improvement.  Possibly if it is a nice warm day, they have already played a round of golf, ran a couple of miles or read a chapter in their own Leaning Tower of Pisa (a.k.a. a book stack). Maybe they decided to volunteer for some civic cleanup activity or helped in some food pantry.

Human beings are designed for self improvement if not we would still be living in caves, hunting food with spear, you get the picture.

Now some individuals have wholeheartedly embraced this forward thinking leadership trait while others have yet to realize its incredible potential.

Of course the key word here is “self.” No one can force you to improve your lot in life. Abraham Lincoln acknowledged this limitation when he said:

“You can’t build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.”

From my own personal experience, observing and working with others, those who consistently demonstrate this forward thinking leadership trait have self initiative (self starting ability ) and are very independent.  These folks are the ones who understand it is okay to fail. Of course, they do not like to fail, but failure is part of the self improvement process.

And what is best about this leadership trait is it can be developed at any time in one’s life.  What supports its development is knowing one’s talents through a proven talent assessment and then putting together a goal driven action plan.

If you are not totally happy with your life right now, then you have a choice like all of us.  Stay where you are, unhappy and unfulfilled or get up and start moving forward to where you want to be.  For me, it is time to go for my 2 mile morning walk.

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What Are Your Rungs in Your Success Ladder?

Wouldn’t it be nice if climbing the success ladder was as easy as climbing an actual ladder?  With the placing of one foot on one rung and then another foot on the next rung, you could easily if not slowly depending upon your fear of heights just walk up the ladder.

success-ladderHowever we know life is not like that.

The rungs in many cases are broken, are weak or aren’t even there.

Sometimes the rungs are wet with rain; frozen with snow or covered up in fog.

And then there are all those other folks climbing their success ladders and sometimes our attention is diverted as we look around be it side to side or up to down.  When this happens, we may actually slip and lose our grip or our step.

Possibly if we examined the ladder and each rung before we made that next upward step we may find the following:

The left stringer that holds one end of each run  is marked “Professional Life” while the right stringer is marked “Personal Life.”  The rung or wood between both stringers is marked “Value Joint.”

Our lives are joined together by our positive core values some may call these “ethics” or business ethics.”

We do not behave in isolation.

When we behave like two different people, we only add stress to our own lives and create distrust in others.

However when we have united our professional life and personal life through our clearly articulated and demonstrated positive core values climbing the success ladder is not as difficult.  Please notice I said “not as difficult.” I did not say it would make the climb any easier.

Sure sometimes the rungs will still be wet, covered with snow or difficult to see, but they will not be broken or missing.For if they are broken or missing, that suggests we have broken our positive core values or unsure of what they actually are.

Our footing will remain strong as long as our positive core values are consistently demonstrated with each step we take.

If you haven’t invested the time to write an action plan for your personal life, then maybe now is the time to take that next step.

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Monday’s Marketing Mayhem or Magic?

Monday morning and once again your small business marketing resumes.  You glance at your calendar and see all the networking events, meetings and all the other activities required to keep your small business name in front of your target audience. Mayhem or organized chaos call it what you will seems to be your middle name.

marketingYou are tired before you even begin the week. Then you discover someone bought something off your website.

Now your tiredness is quickly reversed because you think to yourself, the marketing is working. It’s like magic. You pulled a rabbit (think sale) out of the hat.

Of course you know it isn’t magical because of all the hard work you have invested between your inbound and outbound activities. Yet seeing that purchase gives you the boost you need to keep moving forward, through the daily, weekly and monthly mayhem.

Marketing is for small business owners and even sales professionals the single biggest daily to weekly challenge because unless people know about you and your firm, you will never have the opportunity to share your solution.

The second biggest challenge is what works for one small business may not work for another.  You have discovered this have spending countless hours and hundred to thousands of dollars on past marketing actions.

However what does work to overcome both challenges is consistency.  By taking daily actions you can determine what works and what does not work.  Of course this does mean to give it a try for more than a couple of days or weeks.

To further reduce the daily mayhem is to have a calendar not only of your outbound activities such as business to business networking, chamber luncheons or just get to know you meetings, but your inbound actions as well such as:

  • Social media posts such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
  • LinkedIn discussion groups and updates
  • Blog – yours
  • Micro blogging – commenting on other blogs
  • Emails such as newsletter

Also monitoring the results of your marketing on a daily basis also reduces the mayhem.  Some of these metrics may originate from the key performance indicators that you determined within your strategic action plan.  Additionally there are FREE websites that may also help measure your social media influence such as Klout or a new one called SumAll.

By investing the time to schedule and monitor the results of your outbound and inbound marketing, you will have less mayhem and more magic.  And possibly no longer dread Monday mornings?

This social media one page action plan may help you organize your inbound marketing goals.

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Marketing Goal Worksheet Works with Your Marketing Action Plans Part 2

Now that you understand what a marketing goal worksheet looks like and how it works. The next questions is:

marketing-goal-worksheetWhat do your marketing action plans look like? 

Of course before you have constructed these action plans you have invested the time to do your marketing research along with a competitive analysis of your business, haven’t you?  This is not the time to short change that critical thinking process.

Years ago, small businesses essentially had only one marketing action plan. This traditional plan looked to outbound activities including:

  • Networking and/or trade shows
  • Direct mail
  • Paid advertising including: print, radio, TV or special events such as sponsors for charity events
  • Promotional items including business cards, brochures, give-a-ways

A few more forward thinking small business owners and sales professionals may have also included:

  • Internet (web site)
  • Professional development specific to improving marketing knowledge

Today a second marketing action plan is required that also works with the marketing goal worksheet. This action plan looks to inbound marketing actions, usually arising from social media.

  • Blog
  • Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • You Tube
  • Micro Blogs

With either of these  simple one page marketing action plans, the marketing goal worksheet works to ensure the successful execution of the marketing goals.  And as noted in part 1, the marketing goal worksheet is no different than any other goal worksheet.

If you are having some challenges with the successful execution of your marketing plans and goals, then remember the very wise words of President Eisenhower:  Plan are useless; planning is everything.

Your marketing action plans and consequently marketing goals will change and should change because the marketing changes. However the thinking that started the entire planning process and ongoing thinking will never change.

If you do not have a social media marketing action plan, the one page social media action plan may help you get started.

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