Posts Tagged ‘DISC Index’

What Makes for a Great Sales Attitude?

Noted sales expert Zig Ziglar said an “attitude is a habit of thought.”  If we apply his definition to what makes a great sales attitude, the response will be various habits of thought.

sales-attitudeTop sales performers have more than one habit of thought, more than one attitude when it comes to selling.

These attitudes can be observed through sales behaviors that are supported through various talents. When these talents are combined, they turn into sales skills.

Since each salesperson is a unique individual, he or she will demonstrate a different sales attitude.  For example, being able to sell is many times based upon the talent of persuading others. Two behaviors for this talent might be:

  • A behavior is to have someone change his or her mind
  • A behavior is to demonstrate emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence begins with a habit of thought.  Emotionally intelligent people have the attitude of recognizing and understanding the emotions of others; recognizing and understanding their own emotions and then being able to manage both.  These individuals do not engage in reactionary, emotional behavior.

Another talent might be personal drive. Here the salesperson completes given tasks on time and is always challenging himself or herself to learn something new.  These are the salespeople who have a sales attitude to challenge the status quo.

A great sales attitude looks different for each salesperson. However what is not different are the results.  These results are reflected by increase sales, high percentage of sales conversions to a continually filled sales pipeline.

Just think about the possibilities specific to your sales results if you could learn your 78 key talents and improve how you make decisions?  Would you increase sales? Would you have less stress?

Now is the time early in the 2017 sales year to take advantage of this special opportunity until 3/31/2017 to not only learn those 78 key talents (Attribute Index), but your communication style (DISC Index) and what motivates (Values Index) you to increase sales.

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Why Do Entrepreneurs Expect Employees to Be Mind Readers?

Attention entrepreneurs, do you become frustrated with how your employees communicate with you?  Does this frustration often times turn into aggravation to even developing a negative attitude toward one or more employees? Then there is a proven solution for you provided you have clarity before you make the your buying decision.

entrepreneursPossibly most of your frustration comes from a misalignment between how you receive your communication and how your employees deliver their communication? This misalignment creates a communication gap and over time this gap can increase unless you take the right action.

Giving employees communication training is potentially a good right action provided they understand how you as the business leader communicates.  Unfortunately what happens is the lack of clarity around how you best receive communication is never addressed. Communication is a two-way street not a one-way street. Your employees are not mind readers. Let me repeat that in big, bold letters.

Entrepreneurs – Your employees are not mind readers!

Imagine for a moment if your employees knew what to do and what not to do when communicating with you? Then imagine if you could adjust your communication style to work better with your employees, how

  • Much time could you save?
  • Many negative feelings could be reduced to eliminated?
  • Could your overall team productivity and results improve?

Research suggests most entrepreneurs are high problem solvers and work at a very fast pace.  They want to receive communication in a specific way such as being very specific as to what needs to be done.  Entrepreneurs also do not like to hear wild speculations without factual support.  Also research suggests most employees especially not at the C-Level give and receive communication in a very different way.  So far this same research has not revealed employees to be mind readers.

The solution to close this gap, reduce your frustration is available provided you have clarity as to what limiting your ability to effectively travel this two way street of communication.

Entrepreneurs -Take advantage of this special offer until 2/28/2017 and receive not only the DISC Index (a proven solution for effective communication), but the Values Index (what motivates you) and the Attribute Index (your 78 key talents). CLICK HERE to learn more.

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Are We Confusing Value Creation with Value Connection?

Value creation is still a popular term even though concepts like sales enablement or account based selling seem to be front and center these days.  In working with a new client, I once again realized how value creation doesn’t really exist because what is really happening is value connection.

People buy to satisfy a want or need.  Since the want or need exists consciously or subconsciously (latent needs), then salespeople cannot bring something into existence (create) that was already present.

What I believe good salespeople do is discover what the buyer values and then connects his or her solution to those very value drivers.  Now if the buyer had taken the Values Index, the Attribute Index or even the DISC Index, then the salesperson could have a head start to understanding and then connecting to what the buyer values.

Value Creation Unleashes the Seller’s Ego

My biggest concern with this idea of value creation is the salesperson believes he or she can create value and that belief may have him or her walking down the no sales path.  The salesperson walks in with the knowledge of the industry, some knowledge of the customer, hears (not actively listens) what the buyer is saying and now knows what the buyer values.  His or her ego is in charge of the sales conversations and potentially ignores clues because the seller has been there done that and knows what this new customer values.

People buy on value unique to them.  This is why there is such diversity in the world. The decision is made to buy from one salesperson even though the other salesperson had the same or even better solution.

Connecting to the value driver’s of the customer sometimes is easy and sometimes not so much.  Good to top sales performers probably engage in value connection without realizing it. Consider looking to how you can connect your solutions to the value drivers of your buyer and discover if this makes a difference for your own sales success.

Until 3/31/2017 take advantage of this special offer and experience three (3) assessments (Attribute Index, DISC Index & Values Index) for a special investment.  Click here to learn more.

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Sales Prospecting in the 21st Century – Part 1

Sales prospecting is job one for most sales professionals unless they have sales leads being fed to them. Until salespeople find qualified potential ideal customers to buy their solutions, they will remain pocket poor.

sales-prospectingToday, there are more sales prospecting strategies to reach those essential sales leads.  In the book, High Profit Prospecting, by Mark Hunter, he provides some great insight on how to prospect in the 21st century.

Within the 23 chapters and under 210 pages, Hunter provides an almost chronological order for prospecting. Some of the information is probably already known by salespeople yet there is quite a bit unknown. What I found very helpful was actual samples of telephone scripts, email scripts and even voice mail scripts.

One of the key points in Hunter’s perspective is to keep communication succinct and emotionally compelling. For example in the voice mail scripts, he suggests to use the person’s first name and then share the caller’s name and company. The next sentence is to provide a strong reason for the intended sales lead to return the call. Finally,  the last sentences repeat the sales lead’s name, the caller’s name (twice) and phone number (twice).

If time is finite, then keeping the message short and on point is essential especially if the sales lead is a high D. (DISC Index Profile) Many decision makers especially in the B2B world are high Ds. These individuals want the facts, want them in order and have very little time for small talk. Hunter’s scripts really work well for this type of buying behavior.

In his conclusion, Hunter reaffirms that sales is a calling and not just a profession. He encourages the reader to take one or two concepts and apply them.  Then add a few more if necessary.

Sales prospecting is part of the marketing phase of the sales process. The goal is to make a friend and to be asked back for that coveted one on one meeting. Hunter’s book becomes your marketing guide to increase sales results.

I wholeheartedly recommend High Profit Prospecting to both novice and experienced sales professionals. My favorite chapters are 13, 14 and 15. If you decide to read this book, please let me know your favorite chapters.

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Sales Communication – Selling to the High D & High C

Many people in sales have either heard or have taken the DISC Index profile. This is one of the best tools to understand and apply sales communication behaviors. The assessments reveals how you communicate; how others perceive your communication and how you can leverage that knowledge to increase sales.

sales-communication

I am a high D (at the top) as well as a higher C (above the norm). Both of these scores reflect how I communicate.  The high D is very decisive while a higher C tends to follow the rules and is more analytical.

For me this translates as someone who is very literal.  I do not make presumptions about anything I read or hear during a sales conversation. Facts are important to me and small talk is not my thing. Yet I am still very much focused on the results of the solution being presented.

Many buying decision makers are high Ds.  They tend to be more assertive and challenging. One of the more common characteristics is those with high Ds do not like to waste time.

Now the high C presents some different characteristics including don’t rush the buying decision making process. A high C will want to evaluate the sales conversation.

The combination of a high D and a high C creates a more task focused individual and less people oriented.  This individual maybe more of an introvert than an extrovert.

Also remember the D buyer is looking for results while the C buyer is seeking information. Neither one of them like to be pushed.

Learning the characteristics of the behaviors associated with the DISC Index profile can dramatically improve sales communication. Of course, people are multi-dimensional and one assessment short changes the complexity of individuals. This is why I recommend two other psychometric assessments:

  • The Values Index – Understanding what people value in other words what motivates them
  • The Attribute Index – Understanding how people make decisions, their temperaments and 78 core talents.

If you are interested in learning how to improve your sales communication, give me a call at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time. I will be happy to answer your questions.

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Employee Engagement Requires a MRI not Just an X-Ray

Employee engagement is still dismal. Regardless if it is one-third or one-fourth of employees being actively engaged, those just engaged or actively disengaged are still way too many. The profit faucet continues to drip, drip, drip if not gush lost dollars.

employee-engagementMany SMBs are now beginning to recognize the importance of using proven diagnostic tools such psychometric assessments to improve employee engagement. Unfortunately there is still a mentality of scarcity because the belief is one X-Ray assessment or the same assessment is satisfactory for hiring to professional role development.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

For example, a X-Ray is good for taking an initial assessment of a person’s health concern. However, to further clarify what ails the individual may require a MRI.  This second assessment digs much deeper to reveal additional helpful information.

Psychometric assessments are much like the MRI.  Each assessment provides another aspect of the individual.  Now the SMB owner or the HR executive has much greater clarity as to where there are performance gaps within the individual.

Since people are multi-dimensional, how they are assessed should reflect these multi-dimensions.  To use only one assessment is like employing only an X-Ray.

Here is the employee engagement MRI I recommend when looking to assess new hires to promoting loyal employees.

Attribute Index – This is the most reliable and accurate psychometric assessment in the market place. IMHO The Attribute Index is not a personality test. No, this tool assesses how people make decisions both external and internal; their temperament based upon their biases and 78 core attributes or talents.

DISC Index – Others view our behaviors.  When we understand how others perceive our behaviors, we can make the necessary adjustments provided we want to take those actions. This is a great tool to enhance communications.

Values  Index – Human beings have inherent motivators. Having clarity around those motivators helps us understand how to better motivate ourselves and well as others.

Emotional Intelligence – Research continues to suggest that effective leadership reflects higher capacity of emotional intelligence.  Many individuals fail to develop and leverage this leadership skill.

As medical diagnostic tools have improved so have employee engagement tools.  If you wish to have a highly engaged workforce culture, consider putting together a plan to assess and to develop your employees.

* * * * *

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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The Leadership Encounter of “I Want My Stuff”

Old childhood behaviors raise themselves as adult behaviors when those in leadership roles require deadlines.  With so many internal customers being dependent upon the productivity results of others invariably this encounter of “I want my stuff” happens.

Of course, leaders or managers do not actually say “I want my stuff.” Instead what happens is a lot of back and forth negotiation that wastes the already strained resources of time, energy, money and emotions.

This leads to the question of “How do I get my stuff back without leading to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius?”

leadership-DISC

For some, the answer to this question can be found in the DISC Index profile.  The DISC psychometric assessment has been around for many years and is one of the best tools to assess, clarify and then execute improved communication and overall team building.

When individuals have clarity regarding how they communicate as well as how their behaviors appear to others, this become a significant first step in “getting one’s stuff back.” The second step is recognizing the behaviors of others and then learning how to negotiate through these different behaviors.

The language of DISC is also somewhat unique and does require some additional exploration and learning. Possibly what is easier to remember and far less “type casting” is to think of yourself and others as:

  • Problem Solving People
  • People People
  • Pace or Speed People
  • Procedure People

When internal teams have had the opportunity to take the DISC training and then engage in some very activity focused learning, they can begin to see the power of this tool. Unfortunately a one time team building and leadership development training session does not present enough time to capitalize on this opportunity.  What is far better is to have an initial DISC training in a highly engaged learning environment and then do monthly follow-ups to allow further synthesis and application by all leadership team members.

Yes, some people are self-directed learners and can begin to incorporate the language of DISC into their daily behaviors. However for most, additional opportunities are required so those encounters of “I want my stuff” can now be handled with far less hostility and frustration.

Receive a FREE DISC Index with this talent assessment, The Attribute Index.

 

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The Shadows Behind Just the Facts, Ma’am Decision Making

The human decision making process has been studied by many different entities.  Some new research by The Economist Intelligence Unit suggests senior managers, in many instances the decision makers you need to convince, describe their decision making style as “data-driven.” For those in sales, understanding how your sales leads, prospects, ideal customers make decisions is a necessity if you wish to increase sales.

decision-makingSergeant Joe Friday best know for “Just the facts, ma’am” appears alive and well in corporate America.

What was interesting about this specific report was the complexity of how people make decisions especially when it concerns intuition or “gut thinking.” (Note: For more about the impact of gut brain thinking, the book Get Out Of Your Own Way provides some great insight into this aspect of human behavior.)

The survey categorized the various styles into 4 types of behaviors:

  • Data driven
  • Collaborative
  • Empirical
  • Intuitive

If 42% of those surveyed are data driven in their decision making, then sales people must invest more time to research the company and better yet tie their solutions to the current and potential future profitability.  What this research also implies is there are probably more decisive decision makers (High Ds) than compliance (High Cs) if one understands the DISC Index assessment as published by Innermetrix among others.

With approximately one third of those surveyed believe themselves to be more collaborative in nature, this would also suggest for salespeople to outreach beyond the decision maker.  Establishing relationships appears with those connected to the key decision maker and who may also be directly connected to your solution appears to be necessary as well. These collaborative types might be a high I or influencing style as noted by Innermetrix.

As  only 17% expressed an empirical style, this also makes sense because time is of the essence. Developing hypotheses and performing tests are time constrained and suggest high Ss (stability, slow pace) and high Cs (compliance, lots of facts).

Even though only 10% expressed they go with their gut, 73% of all surveyed said they trust their own intuition and this is true with 68% of even the data-driven decision makers. What was quite fascinating was 68% acknowledged making a decision based on gut and not supported by data.

The Shadow of Intuition

This shadow surfaces in these 3 other key findings:

  • 88% said they can effectively predict the outcome of their decisions
  • 50% said it is easy to find necessary information to make a decision
  • 94% said they make an extra effort to validate the trustworthiness of the information used in making a decision

Additionally when directly asked the following question of “If the available data contradicted your gut feeling, what would you do?” only 10% said they would move forward with the decision suggested by the data. The majority 57% said they would re-analyze the data.

The Shadow of Collaboration

Collaborative decision making on the positive side appears to reduce risk and on the negative side can lead to group think and polarize those involved.  The survey directly asked about the role of collaboration within the decision making process at the respondents’ organizations with the following results:

  • 4% will not seek input from others
  • 9% will seek input from maximum number of stakeholders
  • 31% will seek input from a larger number of stakeholders
  • 56% will seek input from a few stakeholders

Again for those in sales identifying the centers of influence for each decision maker appears to be even more critical.

This research is valuable for those selling to small businesses as well as those involved in complex sales.

Today’s buyers are more educated than ever before and this behavior change demands that today’s sales professionals be more educated not just about their prospects’ firms and the impact of their solutions specific to profitability, but about the sales leads as well.

 

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What Is the First Rule in Sales?

Read any book on selling or listen to a noted sales expert and you may hear directly the answer to this question:

first-rule-in-sales

What is the first rule in sales?

The answers will very from author to expert because each person is unique because of different experiences.

Recently I saw this question as a keyword search term in my website analytics and it gave me pause for a moment.

How would I answer this question?

Immediately I discounted all the known sales skills from prospecting, asking open ended questions, negotiating to even active listening.

What I realized was if we are not true to ourselves, if we do not truly know ourselves, that lack of knowledge will impede the sales process.

We as sales professionals are the greatest obstacle to our own sales success.

If the answer to the question “What is the first rule in sales?” requires us to look inside of who we are, then how do we do that?

After delivering hundreds of performance assessments, I now see the incredible potential of these assessments such as Innermetrix Attribute Index. the DISC Index, the Values Index and Relationship Management (emotional intelligence) as the means to answer the how question that leads to the what question.

As sales professionals we must know ourselves and be true to ourselves.  Shakespeare understood people when he penned these words:

“To thine own self be true.”

Even though he wasn’t directly writing about sales professionals, his words are probably more true for us than any other profession.

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Simply Speaking Bad Hires Cost Small Business Sales – Part 2

Today if I was employed as someone in sales management, I would create and modify a hiring process that would include this one sales talent assessment tool – The Attribute Index to ensure the hiring would not cost small business sales.  For my clients both executive coaching, small business coaching clients and corporate talent management clients as well as for myself, this assessment tool has been beyond accurate.  The wealth of information it provides is truly mind boggling given it takes usually 10-12 minutes to complete.

small-business-salesAs an individual who is trained to identify or write the best assessments (Master of Science in Instructional Design & Technology), I recognize the reason this particular tool is so accurate  is because of its construction. Most sales assessments including personality ones are inductive and subjective in construction much like the social sciences of psychology, sociology, etc.  What this means is the statistical reliability runs around .85 or potentially out of 100 people, 15 people will be misidentified.

The Attribute Index is one of the very few deductive and objective in its construction like mathematics, biology or physics.  By its listing of 78 key attributes or talents I can see how this person fits within my sales team. Additionally the reliability is .92 or it has reduced by 50% the potential miss reads.

Then within that hiring process, I would give the applying salesperson, The Values Index. Even though this tool is subjective in nature, it does provide some insight as to what motivates the individual.

Next I would assess the person’s emotional intelligence through a Relationship Management assessment.  People buy from people and if the salesperson is not emotionally intelligent this becomes a big red flag. Emotional intelligence is also a proven leadership skill.

Finishing up the hiring process, I would provide the DISC Index to assess the person’s communication style.  This tool helps salespeople look at their potential sales leads from a different perspective by using their eyes and their ears.

One final and critical point here about hiring smart to increase small business sales.

Please  and I repeat please do not just give any proven, such as the ones noted above assessment, without any feedback be it verbal or written from a professional who is certified to administer the assessment.   This only sets the potential applicant up for failure as well as the small business owner or sales manager. Now you may better understand why I do not give away any proven and published assessments.

Sure I know some folks do provide free opportunities to take this or that complimentary proven sales assessment or even charge $20 or less.  However, my business ethics and knowledge about how assessments can negatively impact individual’s self esteem and begin a cascade event of self doubt that begins to erode self confidence to role awareness prevent me from engaging in those marketing behaviors.

Sales Coaching Tip:  Remember whatever  proven assessments sales management gives, they must be consistent with all applicants in all stages of the hiring process.

If you have $47 and want a to know about the talents of your sales applicant, this talent assessment may help you increase your small business sales by hiring better.

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