Posts Tagged ‘DISC’

Are You Forgetting Sales Leadership Is Situational?

How many times have we read or heard about leadership being situational?  If any type of leadership is truly situational, it is sales leadership.

Leadership is first about leading yourself or self-leadership.  From your own leadership efforts you secure your desired results.

Peter Drucker said “Leadership is all about results.”

In sales, results do matter.  For without the ability to increase sales, those in sales would be quickly unemployed.

When top sales performers meet with new sales leads, the nuances of their sales conversation will adapt to the situation.  They understand people communicate differently.  In many instances, top salespeople know and leverage their knowledge of DISC to further the sales conversation and ultimately the relationship.

CLICK HERE to Schedule a call with Leanne to learn more about DISC and how it impacts your sales leadership and sales results.

Those new to sales or who have just returned from the “latest and greatest sales training” event in many instances wear blinders.  Their inexperience or recent learning conditioning has them so focused to follow a per-determined path they lose:

  • The relationship
  • Sales opportunity

Understanding how sales leadership is situational is incredibly important.  Knowing what to say and when to say what to say always returns to the situation.  Being present in the moment supports those strong leadership qualities from active listening to caring to respect.

Situational leadership happens from experience.  For those new to sales, securing a mentor or even a sales coach may support further sales leadership growth.

Additionally, those who understand situational leadership in sales as well as in business know the importance of leaving one’s ego at the door.  These leaders recognize each meeting (think situation) is potentially different because the other person is different from the last person they met.

Each person is unique and what he or she values is unique. 

If you want to increase sales, then start reflecting upon your own sales leadership. Find an accountability partner to review with you your recent sales meetings. And remember, your success is determined by your own willingness to recognize what you don’t know.

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The Lack of Clarity Is the Unseen Shadow Behind Many Sales Objections

One of the most important sales skills top sales performers can have is to bring clarity to sales objections.  This lack of clarity by the buyer is usually evident when stalls surface during the sales conversation.  For example a sales stall could be “your price is too high” without any supporting rationale or facts.


Sales Objections Surface Because Many Buyers Lack Clarity As What Is Truly Important to Them

Sometimes buyers do not have crystal clear clarity as to what is important to them.  A recent commercial for financial investing demonstrated how to bring clarity this sales objection of “I don’t have time.”  The salesperson asked if the buyer was available at 10 am the next day and she responded no and offered what was happening.  Then the salesperson continued to ask about different times of the day and each time the buyer said no and shared what she was doing.  Finally, the salesperson said (I am paraphrasing) “Wouldn’t you like your investments to work for you as hard as you work each day?”

The buyer physically stopped to indicate she was processing the question and then said “yes.”

Of course this is a commercial, but probably one of the best examples to show how to bring clarity to those sales objections we all experience.

In many sales training programs to sales training books, sales objections are covered. Yet I have not heard or read where this term “clarity” or the “lack of clarity” is included in these resources.

Much of our sales lives and even personal lives revolve around clarity or the lack of clarity. When people have crystal clear clarity about what they believe, they know and they expect sustainable forward progress is possible.  Unfortunately, the lack of clarity is truly one of those shadows in our lives, in the background, obstructing our view and hence our thinking and doing.

Speaking of clarity, do  you know what you do well? Do you know how you communicate or how your behaviors are viewed by others? Do you know what motivates you to move forward? If not, take advantage of this special opportunity until 2/28/2017 by experiencing these three (3) dynamic psychometric assessments (Attribute Index, DISC Index and Values Index)  that will begin to bring clarity to you.

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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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The Reality of Selling Has Always Been This

So what is the reality of selling?  If you listen to many of the sales trainers, sales consultants to sales authors, the reality is 100% focused on the salesperson.  Ask this question, make this comment, etc.

sellingHowever, the reality of selling hasn’t changed since man began exchanging something for something else. Zig Ziglar said “Sales is the transference of feelings.”  Each of those exchanges between seller and buyer resulted in the transference of some feelings.

Doesn’t it make sense to redirect sales training to the buyer instead of the seller? Some sales training programs and sales consultants do focus on the buyer as through the application of the DISC psychometric assessment (talent assessment).  Those who understand the behavior principles behind DISC can apply those principles through their sales communications with their buyers.

The Selling Myth That Distorts Reality

Possibly one of the the greatest selling myths that distorts reality is sales people create value.  The reason this is a myth is because value is unique to each buyer because each buyer is a unique individuals with unique experiences and expectations.

Of course people can be easily fooled since the human ego likes to be front and center with internal thoughts of “Look what me!” Then what happens “Watch me go! I just created value!”

The ego takes over the sales conversation. Now the focus is on the salesperson and not on the buyer because the salespeople believes he or she knows best based upon his or her experiences.

Selling is rather simple thought not necessarily easy for probably 97.7% of the small businesses in the US as they have under 20 employees and for the most part do not engage in buying decisions with multiple decision makers. Complex sales usually require a larger workforce probably with the exception of technology and software programs.

When we remember to keep the selling authentically focused on the buyer and look to create those transference of feelings (relationships), then possibly sales success has a greater chance of actually happening. Just remember sales is a process and one or two calls don’t make for a relationship.

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What Is Sales Truly About?

The marketplace is filled to the brim with sales training, sales books to sales coaches.  Yet at the end of the day, what is sales truly about?


Credit www.

My father taught me sales was about buying.  You as the salesperson had to build a relationships between you and the prospective buyer or even center of influence to be successful. He believed focusing on selling was a big error and allowed the ego to interfere in the buying/selling bridge.  Maybe that is why he shared these two buying rules with me.

#1 – People buy from people they know and trust. 

#2 – People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.

In the ensuing years I added a third buying rule based somewhat on the Theory of Self Determination (Deci and Ran) along with the works of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Dr. Gordon Allport that being:

#3 People buy on value unique to them.

The reason I asked the question of “What is sales truly about”  is because there is so much focus on the behaviors of the salespeople, the behaviors including motivation of the buyers are often ignored.  What happens is the seller gets fairly wrapped up in his or her own ego, the mind is filled with a lot of next step triggers and the actual buying process takes a backseat to the selling process. When this happens, earning the sale becomes far more difficult.

Here is where some sales objections happen as well as where stalls pop up. Now the seller must work far harder to convert the reluctant buyer.

This is why I believe top sales performers naturally know to stay quiet and to focus on the prospect.  These individuals also appreciate the autonomy within the Theory of Self Determination and then leverage their knowledge of DISC theory as developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston.

Zig Ziglar recognized what sales is truly about when he said “Sales is the transference of feelings.” That transference always begins with the buyer.

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Help with Facilitate

How many times have you heard salespeople say “I help” when engaged in sales prospecting at B2B events? Then they go on and on and on about how they help.  When words are overused, they are like water off a duck’s back. To increase sales means you must differentiate yourself from your competition and all the other salespeople. This differentiation starts with finding new sales behaviors.

sales-behaviorsWhen we examine the word help, there is an implication that the other person is helpless otherwise why would you be offering to help.? This implication may be subtly unconscious, but it is present nonetheless.

Now the word facilitate creates no implication of helplessness.  Instead from its Latin origin and French revision the word means to render easy.  Now in sales aren’t we supposed to make the sales conversations easy, to render them down for better understanding?

Even though help is a word that carries positive emotions so does the word facilitate.  The advantage again to thinking, speaking and writing the word facilitate is two-fold:

  • Not heard so differentiates you from everyone else
  • Does not imply subconsciously the other person is helpless

Also I believe there are two others advantages, though somewhat more subtle.  Since facilitate is to make easy, then it creates a top of mind awareness on the part of the seller to be more conscious of non-verbal communications as well as to his or her own communication style. Tools such as DISC can provide additional insight as how to better communicate.

The fourth advantage is emotional intelligence.  The word facilitate I believe has greater emotional intelligence because it does not make a subconscious judgment of helplessness.

The words we speak, think and write are a window to how others observes our sales behaviors.  To increase sales in the next year or quarter may require for us to look at our own sales behaviors and what actions we may wish to  take to secure those desired sales results.

CLICK HERE to schedule a time with Leanne and learn of a special opportunity if you wish to take the DISC.

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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.


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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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?”


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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3 Tips to Avoid the Collision of Marketing and Sales Expectations

Business when you render it all down is all about  marketing and sales expectations held by the customers.

marketing-and-salesThose in marketing and sales have intentionally or unintentionally established those expectations.

Marketing and salespeople want those funny jingles to having certain graphics and colors remembered as part of that top of mind awareness. Even though they intentionally are seeking to create conditioned responses, they are not always prepared for when those marketing and sales expectations deliver unintended results.

Think about the simple act of home paper delivery?

What happens when the paper is not delivered at the expected normal time as promised by marketing and reaffirmed by sales?

Possibly, the customers allow a few minutes to go by, but inside they are quite upset that their morning coffee routine will be missing the morning newspaper. They remember marketing promised them delivery no later than 6:30am and sales confirmed this promise. As time proceeds without the newspaper, the internal unmet expectations only increase in emotional intensity. So the phones soon are ringing off the wall with angry customers screaming for their newspapers.

Tip #1 is “Proactively Communicate When You Know You Will Not Meet Marketing and Sales Expectations.”

Failure to proactively communicate when you know your solutions will not meet expectations only makes your day more miserable.  If you know, for example, weather conditions may cause a delay in getting those newspapers out, then inform your subscribers through your website or even your prerecorded voice mail message.

There are numerous examples such as Comcast that promises service calls within a certain time frame.  All of these actions are really to avoid the collision of marketing and sales expectations.

Tip #2 is “Provide Something (perceived to have value by the customer) to Lessen those Disappointed Marketing and Sales Expectations.”

Here in Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area, we have been experiencing some very wintery conditions from below zero temperatures to whiteout driving conditions. One of the local newspapers provided free of charge an on-line edition for a delivery that was missed.

By embracing this tip, the customers still may be disappointed, but you softened their disappointment with a peace offering so to speak.

Before I share the third tip with you, I want to share two stories to illustrate the importance of this third tip.

Bright and early this morning ( I received an urgent email from a client-CEO) wanting me to issue two  assessments (DISC and Attribute Index) for a new hire.  The client actually apologized for rushing me. I responded within minutes of the email and the first assessment was issued within 60 minutes of my receiving the urgent email from the client.

The HR VP (who was cc’d on the email) responded “thanks, Leanne you are super quick.”

What I have learned is many people do not respond less alone respond quickly. Part of my values (core ethics and beliefs) is to be timely in all interactions.

Another colleague, Rick Gosser of Gosser Corp. Sales, regularly shares stores about how just by answering the phone and quickly responding to emails, he receives new orders. Many of those new clients react to his quickness as well as with genuine surprise that he actually answered the phone. These customers have been conditioned to expect voice mail and emails that go unanswered.

If marketing is about attracting attention and building a relationship and sales is about having your solution embraced (paid for by the customer), then not answering the phone or your emails only widens the disconnect between those marketing and sales expectations.

Tip #3 is Respond Quickly to All Communication Generated by Your Marketing and Sales Activities.

Yes sometimes emails go down or phone calls are routed to voice mail even though the phone never rang. Then you may be in a meeting or working with a client and cannot answer the phone.   When these events happen, refer to Tip #1.

With the majority of businesses (97.7%) here in the US having under 20 employees, there will be more collisions of marketing and sales expectations. For those in small business leadership roles, now is the time to identify those potential collisions and put in place processes to ensure those events when they do happen are quickly rectified.

P.S. If you truly want to sustainable business growth including increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days

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Why I Love the Attribute Index

Six years ago in July of 2007, I finally broke down and included a performance appraisal assessment, the Attribute Index, within my practice. For many years, I had employed an organizational assessment, D.I.AL.O.G. that was aligned to Baldrige, but I just could not find the right assessment for individuals.

Attribute-IndexWhat kept me from bringing such a tool into my practice?

Possibly,  it was my background, training and experience as an instructional designer and knowing how good assessments are constructed or aren’t constructed (usually the later). Or maybe it was my penchant for mathematics when it came to reliability and validity scores.  Then it could also have been my own experience in how I could manipulate the results of the numerous performance appraisal assessments I had taken over the years.

Yet I continued to keep my eyes out for such a performance appraisal tool.

  • One that would be short to take, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • One that would be relatively easy to understand.
  • One that would yield robust results.
  • And finally one that I could build upon and unite with other more popular known assessments such as DISC, Values, and even 360s.

Then as the fates would have it, I attended an informational meeting and listened to a presentation about this performance appraisal assessment called the Attribute Index. When I had the opportunity to take it and did not immediately have to ask myself “what role am I in” when taking it, I began to change my attitude and belief about individual assessments. I became a certified consultant for this tool and then later brought other performance appraisal tools into my practice such as DISC Index, Values Index, Emotional Intelligence just to name a few.

The Attribute Index for my clients has been incredibly powerful because of its statistical co-efficients (.92 where others such as DISC or 360s are a .85) and the wealth of information it reveals in just 10-12 minutes.This essence of this tool is it provides clarity from an objective and deductive mathematical perspective compared to the other tools that are constructed subjectively and  inductively.

Having issued hundreds of the Attribute Index assessments during the last six years, I can share these statistics with you:

  • Less than 1% of the recipients know their top talent (there are 78 key talents)
  • 98.4% do not know their top 3 talents
  • 97.9% know one of their lower 3 talents
  • 99.1% rate the overall accuracy of the assessment at least an 8 on a scale of 1-10 with one being low and 10 being high
  • Only two recipients believed the Attribute Index to be “hogwash” [ I cleaned this comment up. 🙂 ]

What is even better is that I can coach from this tool from one to four months.  However what I do is to bring in a new assessment each of the next 3 months if the client is still engaged. This provides a balanced perspective as human beings are not just one dimensional.

Within the debriefing process (60-90 minutes), the Attribute Index creates powerful emotional responses. I have witnessed everything from tears, smiles to sighs of relief. And I consistently hear something like this in almost all engagements:

“I cannot believe that those 2 pages of lists provided such depth and breath of  information about me.”

When my clients begin to have clarity about what they truly do well and recognize in most cases they had been undervaluing their own talents, this provides the needed support as they move forward.  This recognition is probably the single most important reason why I love the Attribute Index because until we know, truly know where we are, we cannot begin to forge a path to where we want to be.

If you would like to read more about this performance appraisal tool, you can find read more on this page on my website.

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