Posts Tagged ‘Business Ethics’

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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The Sales Challenge of Living by Socrates’ Three Filters

Socrates as many know was a Greek philosopher. He created the Socratic Dialog which many in sales find very effective during exploring sales meetings and fact finding sessions. Socrates also developed the Three Filters which is just as important. However living by these three filters does present an ongoing sales challenge.

sales-challengeIf you are not familiar with the Three Filters, they are all about how you communicate with others as well as reinforce your own business ethics and emotional intelligence.

Is What you Say Kind?

We know words can hurt people feelings and create an atmosphere ranging from hostility to resentment. In sales especially when we are out and about, remembering to be kind in our remarks is essential. Kindness reflects emotional intelligence.

Is What You Say Truthful?

When speaking with others or even making comments, is what you say truthful.  This filter returns to the human nature of gossiping or even not validating what has been said.  Additionally by applying emotional intelligence we can be truthful without being judgmental.  Some people view telling the truth as being judgmental as “You should not say that.”

Is What you Say Necessary?

Probably for many, myself included, this third filter is the most challenging.  How many times do we speak too much during a sales conversation instead of actively listening?

We all enjoy getting our two cents in whether it is a professional or personal conversation. Here is where our ego sometimes takes over.

Socrates Three Filters is one sales challenge we confront every day.  Living consistently by these three filters is not easy.

Yesterday I had remembered Socrates wise words when being confronted by a very rude commuter passenger. Instead of engaging in non-productive conversation, I removed myself to another seat. This particular individual was 100% clueless about professional etiquette. She believed a particular train seat had her name on it along with her two companions.

In this world of people meeting people because people buy from people, one never knows who is watching.  By understanding the depth of this particular sales challenge can only strengthen one’s professional and personal business ethics, emotional intelligence and ultimately sustainable business growth.

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The Good Samaritan Is Today’s Top Sales Performer

Yesterday in church, I listened to the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan. Most people religious or not religious have heard this story or similar stories.  Upon further reflection I recognized some similarities between the good Samaritan and a top sales performer.

top-sales-performerSales is all about people who have needs and wants. In some cases, they (sales leads) have been left by the side of the road much like the person in the New Testament story. They were left because their needs could not be addressed by other salespeople or the other salespeople felt the sales leads were not worthy of their attention.

A top sales performer is willing to help others who need assistance without thinking about his or her own rewards. These individuals do not have a quid pro quo mindset. Now depending upon his or her schedule, the salesperson will give some of his or her time to answering questions and generally helping the person in need. They may also offer additional resources.

If we believe some of the research regarding sales statistics, the super majority of successful sales are made after the third contact. Unfortunately the vast majority of salespeople stop at the third contact.

Top sales performers will continue to reach out to their sales leads and nurture the sale to its fruition.  Even if the sales leads are not 100% qualified, these salespeople know they have made a friend and eventually this friendship will be of benefit.

Beyond the needs of the sales leads, a top sales performer has positive core values, high business ethics as demonstrated by the Good Samaritan. He or she is not viewed as a “shyster.”

No, the ethical salesperson is viewed with positive and warm feelings.  As President Teddy Roosevelt said “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If people buy from people they know and trust, being a Good Samaritan only reaffirms those feelings of knowing and trusting. The questions for you are:

  • Are your behaviors similar to the Good Samaritan?
  • Who have you helped even at your own expense recently?
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Just Return Calls to Increase Sales

Again, the person on the other end expressed surprised when I returned his phone call. After several decades in selling, I learned one of the easiest ways to increase sales is to return all phone calls and answer the phone when possible.

increase-sales

Credit www.gratisography.com

One of the greatest frustrations expressed by my sales coaching clients and colleagues is the reluctance of people to return phone calls.  I am not talking about cold calls. No what I am talking or rather writing about are those phone calls where the caller knows you and you think you have a pretty good idea why he or she is calling.

Sales Coaching Tip:  Caller ID may reduce wasted time, but is potentially harmful to increase sales.

Possibly you may be thinking, I will call him or her when I have time after all I know why he or she is calling.  That may be true.

Yet in the meantime, your failure to call back just may have confirmed to the person calling you are not reliable. How do you know the person calling was wanting to share a sales referral with you or to give you a heads up so to speak

To increase sales means every opportunity must be leveraged.  There are many unknown opportunities within new relationships or even old relationships.

Possibly that call was to invite you to a business to business networking event?  How do you know with 100% clarity why the person called? Yes the voice mail said one thing, but possibly some other unknown was also present.

Not returning phone calls also showcases your lack of business professionalism and may give some insight as to your business ethics or character. With approximately 70% of all U.S. businesses being non-employed (meaning single office/home office no employees), answering the phone call at all times is not within your control. However, returning phone calls is 100% within your control.

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Sometimes It Makes Sense to Cut Off One’s Nose to Spite One’s Face

Most of us have heard the old adage about “cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face.”  This is statement is used to describe needlessly selfish behavior.

cut-off-one's-nose-to-spite-one's-faceA conversation yesterday had me realize that sometimes this behavior is not necessarily needlessly selfish and makes sense.

For example, I have very strong beliefs about the word leadership.  When local communities create “leadership institutes” or “leadership universities” they are for the most part business to business networking opportunities for local leaders (B2B owners, salespeople) to meet other local leaders.  From my perspective this is not leadership.

In the book Fail-Safe Leadership, I was exposed to Drucker’s definition of leadership “is all about results.”   Since that time, I have amended leadership to be the “ability to secure sustainable results through the demonstration of positive core values.”  

Since I have this very strong belief about leadership, I have avoided joining several local leadership groups because for me it is glorified business to business networking.  By becoming a graduate of these groups, I believe I am violating my own personal and positive core values.  Of course I probably could have earned some business and I accept that loss of business.

Personal Note:  My Values Index has being independent at the top of the scale and this might also help to explain my aversion to these groups.  I truly do not like following the crowd.

However is sacrificing one’s positive core values just to increase sales a valid reason to join these types of leadership groups?  I think not.

Maybe that is part of the problem with business today, the wink and the nod behavior respective to our ethics.  People join groups knowingly not liking the organizer or the purpose, but justify it because they will increase sales.

I do believe in creating authentic relationships and not just schmoozing or becoming another business lemming.  Some have asked me why I haven’t joined these groups? My response is “they do not fit into my strategic plan.”

Yes sometimes it makes sense “to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face” when non-negotiable business ethics or positive core values are in place.

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The Buggy Whip Phenomenon of Leadership

Calling all those in leadership roles. Go grab your buggy whips.  Beyond thinking none or what is this crazy lady talking about buggy whips and leadership, let me explain.

leadershipIn today’s marketplace change is happening at what appears to be warp speed.  Yet in speaking with leaders in many different organizations within a plethora of industries, there are still many in leadership roles who lead using a buggy whip.  Of course, we have not seen horse drawn buggies for over 100 years, but that does not matter to these leaders.

“Buggy Whip” leadership is very top down and very “I am in charge directed.”  You will follow this directive. I am reminded of Star Trek The Next Generation with the “Borg” story line of “Resistance is futile. You must comply.”

Another result of this “Buggy Whip” leadership is a lack of intrinsic motivation because employees are “conditioned” to specific behaviors similar to horses. Snap the whip and the horses go without thinking.  This conditioning is the result of extrinsic motivation, the whip.  Of course without the whip, the horses, oops I mean employees, have little or no desire to move.

Where this type of leadership appears to be more prevalent is within the banking, healthcare, government and family owned businesses. The mantra of “we have always done it this way” is often heard and usually implied even with all the changes happening within these industries. Worse yet even when change is implemented such as new leadership development the old behaviors quickly return.

A last result of buggy whip leadership is the negative impact on workplace culture (aka employee engagement) especially the positive core values. When employees fear being hit by the buggy whip, this creates a culture of scarcity thinking (no innovation), cover your behind mentality, lack of personal accountability and very weak leadership behaviors by designated leaders.  “Buggy Whip” leaders may help to explain why there are still so many disengaged employees. (Source Gallup Annual Poll on Employee Engagement)

Finally within workplace culture, business ethics or positive core values become trampled down for fear of repercussions. No one wants to tell the supreme leader he or she is naked (The Emperor’s New Clothes) for fear of losing his or her job.

Possibly your organization may be suffering from “Buggy Whip” leaders or within some departments where those in leadership roles have been there forever may be demonstrating some of these non-productive leadership behaviors.  This free Leadership-Align-Audit-ADVSYS may help you determine if your organization is facing the symptoms “Buggy Whip” Leaders.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. 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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