Posts Tagged ‘Business Ethics’

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 You An Authentic or Just Charismatic Sales Leader?

Would you rather be an authentic or a charismatic sales leader?  This early Saturday morning question surfaced as I read a posting over on LinkedIn.  The posting linked to this HBR article.

sales-leaderMany people fall for the charismatic salesperson.  These are the folks with the warm smile and firm handshake. They seem to make that immediate emotional connection.  Their solutions appears to be want the sales prospect wants to needs.

Then after the checked has been received, the delivery made, these charismatic sales leaders can never be found. Excuses are made as to why something didn’t get done. Often times they will pass the buck, blame others.  Long term customers are really not their goal.

Authentic leaders appear not to be as charismatic.  They also have the warm smile and the firm handshake. Making an emotional connection may not be as immediate.  Unlike the charismatic sales leaders, they are around after the sale.  These individuals do not make excuses for them as the buck stops with them.

Another difference between the authentic and charismatic sales leader is their audience.  As I noted in the LinkedIn comment, the reason some people fall for the charismatic leaders is the internal desire for the quick fix.

Most of us internally want the quick fix even though we know the results probably will not be sustainable.  Time is precious and time is money.  When we can have those quick fixes, we then can go on to other important matters and happiness will follow.

We know this to be true if we look at all those quick fix products sold from the self improvement industry, the health industry to the sales industry.  Many of them are sold by charismatic people.  And yet the problems are still very much present.

Probably the most notable difference is authentic leaders are guided by non-negotiable positive core values (business ethics) while for some charismatic leaders they will do or say whatever they need to do or say to get their prospects to take action.  They may promise the moon (oversell the solution) or make negative comments about the competition. Again for them winning is everything and the heck with positive core values.

Each of us in sales has a choice to be an authentic sales leader or a charismatic one.  For me I prefer the former because I will never sacrifice my positive core values for a quick buck.

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What Happened to Permission Based Marketing?

Each day in my email inbox, I receive many unsolicited emails from SMBs and organizations that do not interest me. These entities obviously ignore permission based marketing and rely on buying lists from other unethical firms.

When I first started developing my email lists over 10 years ago, I signed up with AWeber.  At that time AWeber recommended the double opt in option so that people would know they had signed up for being on one of my email lists. This option avoided people identifying you as a spammer and reporting your questionable marketing activities.

Even SMB owners and salespeople also appear to engage in adding names without permission. Have you ever attended a B2B networking event and exchanged business cards with another individual?  Then within a few days, did you suddenly receive via email a newsletter or a sales pitch?  I know I have and personally resented such an action.

For me by sending validated permission to add someone to an email list reflects my business ethics, my positive core values.  I am respecting them by respecting their time.

They do not have to unsubscribe from a list they never subscribed. If by chance someone else used another’s email address, the double opt in option ensures that only the physical holder of the email address is actually signing up.

Failure to use permission based marketing suggests these firms are engaged in spraying and praying.  Spray enough emails over cyberspace and pray someone will buy what you are selling.  For me that is not a viable business strategy or marketing strategy.

Now some firms will ask why you unsubscribed?  I wonder what these firms do with the response “I never subscribed to this list?” My sense it is a feel good action for the person unsubscribing and possibly may meet some marketing association or government policies.

Possibly with the expansion of social media, permission based marketing is viewed as archaic.  For me, I will still employ the double opt in and maintain my business ethics because ethics are never archaic.

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Fog Lines and Guard Rails on the Sales Leadership Road

Possibly you may be wondering what do fog lines and guard rails have to do with traveling the sales leadership road?  Probably more than you realize.

sales-leadershipFog lines are the outside white lines that let you know you are close to running off the paved road onto the shoulder if there is a shoulder.  These lines were not always part of the American road system, but started appearing in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Recent court decisions affirm that fog lines are part of the roadway.

For those in sales leadership, fog lines are part of your sales’ behaviors specifically your positive core values (business ethics).  When you cross the fog line, you have crossed or compromised your values. This compromise might be something as simple as a little white lie about:

  • The delivery date of your solution
  • How many people actually have downloaded your app
  • Your total number of new customers or total annual sales

Another simple crossing of the fog line could be gossiping about other employees to your competitors.

Now the guard rails keeps the car on the road especially when there is no shoulder and immediate danger lurks on the other side of the guardrail such as a steep mountain cliff.  Guard rails are the positive core values (think business ethics) each professional business person holds true and will not cross.

How many times have you failed to honor your positive core values? Did this failure impact your ability to lead as well as to increase sales?

Personally I believe one’s positive core values have a direct correlation to one’s sales leadership effectiveness. There are some who agree with me including the author of From Values to Action.

Many in sales leadership roles have not invested the time to commit to writing their positive core values. Maybe the organization’s values statement is enough for them. Yet, when we know what our own guard rails are, then we have much greater clarity when we cross that fog line and begin to compromise our sales leadership.

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Your Social Marketing Reflects Your Leadership

Have you ever considered how your social marketing may be a reflection of your leadership?  For example,  do you add people to your email list without asking permission? By taking this action what does it truly say about your leadership as well as your  business ethics?

Each day I must unsubscribe or mark as spam dozens of emails.  Many of these come from so called “experts” on sales, marketing, leadership and even business ethics. I guess they believe it is okay to add my name to their email lists.

Permission based marketing still exists and should be the best practice for professionals engaged in social selling or social marketing.  However given the increase in social selling, it appears permission based marketing has taken a bad seat to sales pitches.

When professionals regardless of their role ignore common courtesy and respect, this is a reflection of their leadership skills. Their actions only reaffirm my belief not to purchase from them or make any recommendations.

Additionally when SMB owners and sales professionals fail to identify identify their target audience, they may unintentionally send emails to recipients who would never, ever buy from them. I belong to several communities where we share similar solutions. Members on one community never ever add me to their email lists without permission and yet members in another community do so all the time.

When I email those members who add me without permission, I usually receive a contrite reply of “sorry for the inconvenience.”  No, they really aren’t all that sorry.

Leadership is the ability to secure the desired results using clearly articulated positive core values. This means no social marketing or social selling spamming and no sales pitches.

Yes any SMB owner or sales professional wants to increase sales and therefore hopefully profits. However, it is imperative that all behaviors reflect consistent and outstanding leadership otherwise the goal to increase sales will be much harder to achieve.

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Plagiarism Goes Beyond Intellectual Dishonesty

Yesterday a colleague, Mark Hunter, came across one of his articles being plagiarized by a fairly well connected LinkedIn member.  He notified a group of other sales coaches, sales consultants and colleagues about this plagiarism.  The group responded and not even 24 hours later, this particular article as well as all other articles under this person’s name were removed.

plagiarismI too have suffered from plagiarism.  A sales training company in Texas took one of my website pages one for word and copied it to their own website.  When I notified the CEO, he called and said he was unaware, apologized and the copy was removed. The CEO blamed the web designer. Over the years I have discovered other blog postings copied and have called out the authors.

Individuals who plagiarize the intellectual capitol of others demonstrate from more than dishonesty within their business ethics.  They also reveal they are lazy, lack creativity and are stupid to think eventually they will not be caught.

A recent study by the University of Missouri revealed the financial impact of dishonesty by CEOs. Unethical behavior does translate to the bottom line to a measurable 4.1% loss in shareholders’ value.

In today’s social selling world where content marketing has become a viable sales leads generating channel, being a plagiarist just does not make good business sense.  The reason is simple, in spite of how large the world is, it is still a small world.  People are connected to other people.  Software programs can find duplicate content with the stroke of a few keys.

One of the more simple ways to avoid even unintentional plagiarism is to Google the title for any content marketing in quotes.  This way the you can quickly determine if another person has written a similar article. Also this same tactic can be used to learn if your titles are being plagiarized by someone else.

In sales, people buy from people they know and trust.  Swiping the intellectual capital of others will not increase sales.

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CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations

Building upon selling or sales being the transference of feelings, the question then becomes how to ensure those feelings are transferred? In working on some sales training for a new client, I discovered this acronym to do just that – CREATE powerful sales conversations.

sales-conversationsFirst, create means to come into existence where nothing else existed before.  This is especially true for those in sales who may cold call or for inside salespeople who receive inbound sales leads.

People have one chance to make a good first impression and for salespeople this first impression will either open the sales door of opportunity or close the door for good. In realizing the importance of those first sales conversations, this acronym may just help to support crazy busy salespeople in their goal to begin to transfer those feelings between themselves and their buyers (think sales leads or ideal potential customers).

CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations

C – Communicate with clarity and intention.  Be deliberate and cohesive in your communication. Make sure to actively listen because good communication is far more about active listening than active talking.

R – Respect your buyer.  Respect goes beyond normal common manners. Here you showcase your business ethics such as by active listening, not interrupting and honoring any promises you made during your interactions with your sales lead. Also this is where you don’t presume you know more than the buyer.  Leave your ego at the door.

E – Empathy.  For those who understand emotional intelligence, empathy is an intrinsic human characteristic.  Can you identify and understand the other person’s feelings?  Remember, do not confuse empathy with sympathy.

A – Authentic.  Be who you are authentically.  People can spot phonies a mile off.  Anymore it appears buyers’ phony radar system is on HIGH ALERT.

T – Timing. Understanding the timing of your words, your non-verbal body language is also essential.  Great comedians had exceptional timing. They watched their audience.  Rushing through the sales process because of some sales script is foolhardy.

E – Energy.  Being confident, not overly, displaying positive energy all support those transference of feelings. Just think about how many times you purchased from a dull, low energy person?

Powerful sales conversations go beyond the words.  Possibly this acronym of CREATE may assist you in your selling endeavors. Let me know if it works for you.

CLICK HERE if you wish to schedule an appointment on Leanne’s calendar.

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Time to Drink from the Glass of Sales Optimism

2017 appears to be one of optimism if we believe a recent poll by Morning Consult. Consumers have expressed the strongest confidence at 113.7 since August of 2001. All these positive indicators should also spur drinking from the glass of sales optimism.

sales-optimism

Credit www.pixabay.com

Of course, if you as a salesperson are not feeling confident all the good news, positive indicators will not change your sales optimism. Maybe you are a half empty drinker?

Some Reflection Questions

Possibly it may make sense to ask yourself, what sales behaviors are you expressing as you meet with people?

Are sales leads feeling your optimism?

Are prospects seeing your energy?

Are colleagues sensing your excitement?

If your business growth or sales results in 2016 were not where you wanted them to be, what changes can you make to ensure different results in 2017?

Vision – Values – Mission

Here are some additional questions to ask yourself to change your sales results.

Where do I want to be by the end of 2017?  This is your vision for just the current year.

How will I behave to achieve those desired outcomes. This is your values, your business ethics.

What will I do each month or quarter to execute the necessary behaviors (actions). These are the action steps within your mission for 2017.

Words of Wisdom

Sales optimism always return to your own mind.  In the words of Henry Ford “Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.”

You have the choice to move forward, to preserve or to stay where you are potentially hunkered down in some corner with the mental hope things will get better.

Thomas Jefferson recognized that inaction is an action when he said “Action will delineate and define you.”

“Action is the foundational key to all success” and Pablo Picasso is right.

Possibly the beginning to sales optimism is within these words of Zig Ziglar

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

So get going, invest some time to plan each day, track your activity and your sales results.

If you require some assistance, please use what I call the 4 Points to Sales Success (see below) along with the guidelines.  This is a tool I created from my father’s old paper tracking of his daily sales activity results.

Download four-points-to-sales-success (Active Excel File)

Download Guidelines 4-pts-success-sales-tool-guidelines (PDF File)

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #17 Humility

Sales success today definitely requires leaving your ego at the door.  Being humble, demonstrating humility is essential. This does not mean you as the salesperson is a doormat. No what it means is you are authentic because you are more focus on the potential ideal customer or sales lead than yourself.

sales-successThe word humility comes from the Latin word humilitas, This word can be translated as humble. Another translation is “grounded” or “coming from the earth.”

Many of the top sales performers I personally know are grounded. This sense of being grounded is consistently displayed in how they collaborate with other colleagues. They are always focused on the wants and needs of their ideal customers or current customers. This focus generates sustainable sales success.

Being grounded requires strong internal positive core values or business ethics.  Grounded individuals are not the “snake oil” salespeople.

Grounded also extends to having a sense of intentional balance between one’s personal and one’s professional worlds. Individuals who are unintentionally off balance appear not to be as grounded as those who have more balance.

Also I believe top sales performers do come from the earth. For me what this means they are people first and understand people buy from people.

Yes humility is not something that can be easily faked.  Eventually, a strong ego will surface and crack the facade of humility.

Believe it or not, one’s internal temperamental bias can reveal one’s ego and therefore suggest one’s humility.  A negative bias toward one’s self esteem reflects a good ego and suggests this person is open to criticism, another sign of being humble.  Conversely, a positive internal bias suggests the individual is self-centered and dislikes any criticism.

Sales success has many factors and varies between individuals.  The goal is to apply some or all of these tips to your own sales behavior and then monitor the results.

If you want to learn more about how to determine your own ego, CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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You Would Think a Leadership Consultant Could Follow Directions

Yesterday I attended an early morning local B2B networking event. The host asked everyone in the room to just state his or her name and his or her business. He emphasized not to give a 30 second introduction because there were over 30 people at this event. The first 15 people followed his directions. Then a leadership consultant not only gave his name and his company, he went out for another 10 second to provide additional information.

leadership-consultantA colleague sitting next to me said:

“Just your name and your company, I guess he doesn’t follow directions very well.”

Internally my thought echoed my colleague’s as well as this leadership consultant is:

  • Ego (strong) driven
  • Disrespectful of others (weak values, business ethics)
  • Very desperate for business (increase sales)
  • Clueless about B2B networking protocol

When someone who engages in leadership consulting demonstrates such poor leadership behaviors, he gives many other leadership consultants or leadership coaches a bad rap.

Leadership is about leading yourself first before you can lead others. This also means. at least for me. you must also demonstrate consistently positive core values or what some call business ethics.

Effective leaders know how to follow directions. Within the Attribute Index as published by Innermetrix, there are 78 key talents and following directions is one of them.  This talent is described as:

“The ability to effectively hear, understand and follow directions or instructions.  It is the willingness of an individual to postpone making personal decisions, or taking action, until they have openly listened to do what they are being asked to do.”

The  three (3) key words for this sales leadership talent are:

  • Hear (effectively)
  • Understand (postpone making personal decisions)
  • Follow (do)

Additionally at this talent is applied to this leadership consultant, he

“…may have difficulty completing tasks according to the directions.  Again, it is less an indication that they do not intellectually understand the instructions being given, but rather that they simply feel they can make adequate decisions and successfully accomplish the task on there own, without the need for additional input…indicates a person’s tendency to discount outside instructions and rely on their own innate abilities…regardless of competency. (Source: Innermetrix)

Yesterday’s leadership consultant failed miserably at leveraging this talent. His ego was so consumed in his own world and needs, he insulted everyone else.

What is even more ironic is his website refers to changing behaviors. My sense is he better start looking inside to his own behaviors.

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