Posts Tagged ‘Business Ethics’
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.Share on Facebook
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.
Fog 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.Share on Facebook
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.Share on Facebook
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.
I 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.Share on Facebook
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.
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.Share on Facebook
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.
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)Share on Facebook
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.
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.Share on Facebook
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.
“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.Share on Facebook
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.
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.Share on Facebook
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.
Sales 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?