Posts Tagged ‘executive coaching’

Quick Fixes in Sales Often Ignore This Reality

In sales many seek the quick fixes that range from sales training, incentives, hiring new sales managers, new salespeople or some motivational speaker.  Yet in a few days to a few weeks, the sudden burst of sales productivity gradually returns to its pre-quick fix levels.

quick-fixesThe reality is 99.9% of all quick fixes ignore this reality. The reality is clarity or rather lack of clarity.

In the story Alice in Wonderland, Alice approaches the Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree.  At the foot of the tree are various paths. Alice asks the Cat “What path should I take?”  The Cat responds with “Where are you going?” Alice states “I don’t know” and the Cat then replies “Well any path will take you there.”

Clarity is essential in sales, in business and in life.  If you don’t know where you are going with crystal clear clarity, you will end up taking the wrong path.

Many SMB owners and C Suite executives in their efforts to increase sales confuse symptoms with problems.  They believe lack luster sales are the problem when in reality the poor sales are usually a symptom of one or more problems.  All of these problems return to a lack of clarity. Without clarity there is incredible miss direction and misguided decisions.

For the last almost 20 years I have been working with SMB owners and sales professionals.  Given that most have never invested the time to determine where they are going; how they are going to behave and what they are going to do in the immediate future to get to where they are going, I am not surprised by the inability to increase sales or sustainable business growth.

The lack of clarity is the reason for executive coaching.  These professional coaches look to support their clients in gaining crystal clear clarity.

Years ago I wrote an eBook entitled Triage Business Planning with this message on the front cover:

Know Exactly What to Do and When to Do It.

Track the Right Things to Produce the Right Results Avoid Misdirected Actions and Misguided Decisions.

If you have any hesitancy when reading the previous words, then you probably lack crystal clear clarity and may be subject to the temptation of quick fixes.

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Time Management Is Our Greatest Oxymoron and Lie We Tell Ourselves

Have you ever attended a time management training event or read a book on time management?  You do realize of course this concept of managing time is an oxymoron and probably the greatest oxymoron we humans have.

time-management

Credit www.pixabay.com

Just to be clear, an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Since time is a constant meaning there will always be 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute, no amount of human behavior can change those facts.

We cannot manage time.

What we can do is better manage ourselves.

Time Management Is Self Management!

Believe it or not, there are five specific and measureable talents that can support us in overcoming what is limiting ourselves from better self-management.

Concrete Organization: The ability to understand the immediate, concrete needs of a situation and to establish an effective plan of action for meeting those needs.

Consistency and Reliability: The internal need to be conscientious in one’s personal or professional efforts

Project Scheduling: To understand the proper allocation of resources for the purpose of getting things done within a defined time frame.

Attention to Detail: The ability to see and pay attention to details.

Realistic Personal Goal Setting: To set goals for one’s self that can be achieved using available resources and operating within a projected time frame.

When we take a 30,000 ft view and see these talents all working together, it is much easier to understand how to specifically improve the self management of ourselves.

After working with executive coaching, sales coaching and leadership development clients now close to 20 years, I can personally attest to the impact of realistic personal goal setting as the talent that has the greatest and most immediate impact on self-management.  When people are intentional about setting personal goals, this behavior has a direct correlation on other talents such as consistency, attention to detail, personal accountability and results orientation.

If you want to better manage time, then take a time management course. However if you truly want to improve your results, then look to improving your self management through these 5 talents because time management is the greatest oxymoron and lie we have as human beings.

Special offer until 2/28/2017, have these 5 talents assessed along with 73 other talents plus the DISC and Values Index and a 30 minute executive telephone coaching session.

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A New Sales Leadership Model

One of my favorite models is the 5 Star Model for Organizational Development.  Jay Galbraith and his colleague created a simple graphic to ensure both alignment between key functions of any business and the desired results. Essentially this model is for leadership as well as sales leadership as it looks determine where the gaps exist between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals.

sales-leadershipThe simple genius of this model was the interconnectedness of these 5 keys areas of:

  1. Strategy
  2. Structure
  3. Processes
  4. Rewards
  5. People

Results were always in the middle. By incorporating this model into executive leadership behaviors worked to avoid misalignment between these 5 areas.

Executive Coaching Tip: Misalignment is usually the real problem especially when execution fails.

Nearly two decades after working with executive and sales coaching clients,  I realized a similar model would be beneficial for those in individual sales leadership roles.  This model could work in tangent with the 5 Star Model for Organizational Development.

What I developed is the 5 Star Sales Leadership Model™. Here the focus is still on results. This model looks to the individual salesperson and where there also may be misalignment impacting results.

sales-leadership

 

  1. Goal Achievement
  2. Sales Process
  3. Self-Leadership
  4. Talents
  5. Sales Skills

What I have observed is many times a singular focus when it comes to the goal to increase sales. For example, there is a flurry of activity on sales training for improved sales skills and yet very rarely is goal achievement included in sales training.

Maybe the SMB is forward thinking and has taken to developing talents. However, that talent development sometimes works against self leadership especially motivation.

Sales results are not just because of one aspect of the salesperson or the SMB.  No, the results are because of interconnected aspects. The 5 Star Sales Leadership Model™ brings clarity to those interconnection points and looks to simplify what might be limiting the salesperson and consequently the SMB from achieving the desired results.

This week, I will review each point of this model to further explain the rationale for each point. I look forward to your feedback.

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Maybe Sales Quotas Are Only Part of the 2017 Business Growth Equation?

For the last several weeks to maybe months, sales managers and salespeople are looking to 2017 business growth. Within this annual or quarterly activity is the setting of sales quotas or goals.  However if we believe sales research that  44% of salespeople have an 80% probability they won’t close the sale (Hubspot), then maybe there is something else missing?

business-growth

Credit www.gratisography.com

With so much dependent upon successfully achieving 2017 business growth (fill in the year or quarter), then doesn’t it make sense to deep dive as to what limited 2016 sales quotas?

Strategic Plan?

Without a well researched and yes time consuming strategic plan, SMB owners, sales managers and salespeople are engaged in the role of Captain Wing It.  You heard about Captain Wing It haven’t you.  He or she goes around spraying all his or her actions all over the place and then prays something will stick.

Goal Setting Process?

Given how many people fail to achieve their own personal resolutions or goals, this suggests there is not formal goal setting process in place.  Think about all those courses you took on Goal Setting 101,

Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Processes?

Larger firms have improved their recruiting, hiring and retaining processes. In a recent LinkedIn Pulse article, David Brock looks at the dramatic loss of dollars because of these poor retaining processes.

Talent Development?

Much has been written about talent development from the employment of psychometric assessments to executive coaching, leadership coaching or sales coaching.  And yes, return on investment can be measured when specific goals are set provided there is sales culture where organizational alignment exists.

Learn more about the impact of organizational alignment in this book, Fail-Sale Leadership.

Far too often individuals regardless of their roles confuse symptoms with problems.  They also look to obstacles or barriers instead of seeking what is limiting forward progress as in this instance business growth.  Note: A limitation may not be as obvious as an obstacle or barrier.

Reach out to Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time or schedule a time on her calendar (CLICK HERE) to have a quick conversation to further explore what is limiting your business growth.

 

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How Process Trumps Price in Business, Executive or Sales Coaching

Once again I heard, “Your price is too high.  I can get sales coaching for a much cheaper cost.” Possibly you have also heard a similar sales objection to your price?

sakes-coaching

Credit www.pixabay.com

My direct reply to this sales objection was:

“Then that other coach may be a better solution fit for you.  My fees that you believe are too high are the result of 19 years as an executive, business and sales coach with a proven track record.

There are only two problems in any SMB – people or process.

Many executive coaches, business coaches and sales coaches lack a process.  This is why I have personally coached numerous executive, business and sales coaches who did not have a process.  Effective coaching be it for executive, small business owners or sales professionals is 100% about continuous improvement. How can anyone engage in sustainable continuous improvement without an initial process?”

Sales Coaching Tip:  Not everyone is the best fit as a sales coaching client. I already had a sense this was not my ideal customer because forward thinking people do not bring price up at the beginning or sometimes never at all.

In speaking with my colleagues on the East and West Coast as well as with some of my clients, my coaching fees are way too reasonable for the proven results I deliver. However a SMB owner one must be cognizant of the market place.  Also having separate fees for different geographical areas just seems unethical to me.

If you are thinking about hiring a sales coach, then the first question should not be about price, but rather about process.  What process does the coach employ?

The second question should be directed to what are the results generated by the process?  Results must be quantitative (measurable) not just some feel good qualitative results. This may require you speaking with the clients of the coach you are considering hiring.

As to the third and final question, is how do your clients get those results? Here is where the rubber meets the road for those engaged in executive, business or sales coaching.

Click HERE to schedule your time to learn of my answer to that third question.

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Facing a Fear Greater than Cold Calling

Mention cold calling to some salespeople and watch the fear in their eyes.  Yet there is a greater fear within not only the sales world, but the overall professional and personal worlds.  That fear is discovering and facing the truth about yourself.

cold-callingPeople think they fear the truth, but what they really fear is having their accepted truth challenged.  They are comfortable with the status quo, the known.  They believe they know themselves quite well and facing something that is contrary to those beliefs is what they really fear.

So how does one face this fear that is greater than cold calling?

Possibly the first step is to discover what you really do well.  This self=discovery may surprise you as it has surprised over 98,2% of the sales coaching and executive coaching clients I have had the opportunity to assess.

Would you be surprised to know that how you may decisions about the outside world as well as yourself can be assessed?

Did you know you have 78 key attributes or talents that can be measured and ranked?

Download this worksheet, 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl, and rank what you believe you do well. Then take advantage of the special offer.

How about confirming your temperament, your levels of optimism, pessimism or neutrality?

All of this information can bring clarity to what you do well. From this data, you can begin to leverage that information and better understand yourself beyond what you thought you knew.

No longer will the beliefs from the past, the negative conditioning, hold you back. Now you can move forward and embrace what you do well.

Yes cold calling is somewhat scary.  After all, we have been negatively conditioned not to talk to strangers and to not go where we have not been invited.  Doesn’t it make sense to turn all that negative conditioning around, leave it in the past and go forward by actually confirming your talents, what you truly do well?

Schedule a quick phone call by clicking HERE and take advantage of the special offer.  Start the New Year with EXCEPTIONAL  clarity.  Then possibly cold calling won’t be as scary as you have believed all these years.

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How Sales Coaching May Lead to this Unintentional Result

Sales coaching continues to grow from internal coaches, sales managers to the hiring of external coaches.  Yet quite often this unintentional result happens as I was reminded by this statement made by a respected colleague:

Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.

How can any professional coach worth his or her weight prescribe a solution without using a proven diagnostic tool is counter intuitive. To take this Captain Wing It action lessens the overall proven effectiveness of sales coaching, executive coaching, leadership coaching or business coaching. This statement is also true for workplace culture consulting to talent management.

sales-coaching

Credit www.gratisography.com

Imagine for a moment going to the doctor with a headache.  The doctor listens to your complaint and says “you need immediate brain surgery.”  No tests had been ordered. Not even a thorough examination was undertaken.  He listened and then prescribed.  Probably you would have walked or even ran out of his office seeking a second opinion.

When speaking with sales leads who are seeking sales coaching, I explain my coaching process and how it always begins with an assessment to better diagnosis the real problems and not the symptoms many others solve. Sometimes the sales lead does not want the assessment and that is okay because his or her refusal tells me he or she is not a right fit for my coaching approach.

Without the use of a proven diagnostic tool such as a psychometric assessment, the coach is assuming what he or she is hearing is accurate. Additionally the lack of a diagnostic tool weakens or totally eliminates the coaching plan and supporting process.  This lack of clarity dooms the desired results for both the coachee and the coach.

Read about how many diagnostic tools (psychometric assessments) are not proven in this LinkedIn Pulse Posting.

For example, one of the questions I ask any coaching sales lead is “If you were being interviewed for a job and asked to share your strongest talent, what would you say?”  I wait for the response and then ask this second question “How do you truly know you do that well because my experience is 98.7% of the people I have coached do not know what they do well?”

The second question is the one that justifies why my sales coaching process is different from many others.  So if you are considering hiring a coach internally or externally, it just may make sense to begin with a proven diagnostic (psychometric assessment) to ensure your coach is not committing malpractice.

Download 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl to self rank your own 78 talents and take advantage of a special offer.

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Setting the Sail of Your Life to Face the Winds of Change

Each of our lives is very much like a boat with a sail.  The winds of change among other winds drive our boats over the seas of chaos and calm. Sometimes we may through out the anchor in a protected harbor during terrible storms. Other times we just allow ourselves to drift aimlessly. Sometimes we even set the sail purposely because we have a predetermined destination.

winds of changeThis past week I listened to Donald J. Hying Bishop of the Archdiocese of Gary, IN speak at a local B2B networking event.  His topic centered around the spirituality of work from a “cosmic perspective” and “gifts from the creator.”  One of his quotes was:

“When you set the sail of your life to the Holy Spirit, then life is great.”

Regardless of what you believe the source to be, the winds of change are incredible.

I recognize not everyone who reads this blog is a Christian. Yet if you believe in a “creator,” then his quote has relevance.

In speaking of gifts, the Bishop said:

“When talent’s aren’t fully utilized, frustration happens.”

How many times are people in roles where they aren’t happy because their talents or gifts aren’t being fully utilized? Yesterday I met with a potential client who was very unhappy about his current role and was seeking a career change. His frustration was directly connected to not being able to fully utilize his talents.

In working with executive coaching clients who are in career transition, many of them feel frustrated to even despondent.  My sense is their talents, their gifts had been thrown overboard and drowned in the seas of chaos.

The result of this frustration is confusion and a lack of clarity. These executive coaching clients in career transition believe they have limited to no choices to changing their life. In some cases, the end result is giving up and allowing the winds of change to set their sails and blow them further off course, away from their final destination.

Isn’t it great that sometimes what we hear and what resonates with us does come from an unexpected messenger?

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Leadership or Sales Temperament the Confusion Continues

For the last several months we have been hearing about leadership temperament. In working with executive coaching and sales coaching clients, I hear considerable questions regarding sales temperament. Sometimes people believe leadership and sales temperaments are mutually exclusive. No the reality is they are mutually inclusive.

sales-temperament

Credit www.gratisography.com

First what is temperament?  I continually return to the Attribute Index’s Technical manual that defines temperament as:

The degree of optimism or pessimism with which you tend to view the world around you.  Each of us can choose to see things in an overly positive or negative light but having a neutral view is preferential.

Additionally, according to the Attribute Index, we all have two temperaments:

  • External – How we view the outside world, others
  • Internal – How we view our own internal world, ourselves

Within the Attribute Index, there are 20 external temperament patterns and 20 internal temperament patterns.

Note: The Attribute Index is a psychometric assessment based upon the works of Dr. Hartman and the field Axiology. You may find this article,  “Would you ride an unproven rollercoaster? Maybe you just did when you bought that psychometric assessment,” of interest if you are considering any psychometric assessment.

Whether we are in a leadership role or a sales role, our temperament remains the same, We can be extremely positive, extremely negative, or neutral.

What I have learned after reviewing and debriefing over 500 of these psychometric assessments is many people recognize their own temperaments both external and internal with greater clarity than their decision making styles or key talents.  People for the most part know of their own degrees of optimism or pessimism.

If my corporate and sales coaching clients have any surprises, it comes from the actual description based upon the three dimensions of thought that act as the foundation for this information.

  • Systems (analytical) or Thinking – Head
  • Intrinsic (emotional) or Feeling – Heart
  • Extrinsic (practical) or Doing – Hands

At the end of the day, there is no difference in our leadership temperament or sale temperament. What is different is the role and how we make decisions based upon that role.

If you wish to learn more about a incredibly accurate assessment that can be tailored to your leadership role or sales role, click here to schedule time in this calendar or text me at 219.508.2859.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #14 Clarity

One of my favorite quotes is by Marcel Proust who wrote “The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.”  Proust recognized the power of clarity and how humans have a tendency to seek something new because their vision is clouded. For salespeople seeking sustainable sales success, clarity is very important specific to:

sales-success

  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What is your message to your ideal client?
  • Where do you find your ideal client?
  • How does your solution meet the wants and needs of your ideal client?

In working with business coaching, executive coaching and sales coaching clients, I share the essence of coaching is clarity.  Many within the SMB marketplace lack clarity.  This lack of clarity has them focusing on:

Instead they should be focusing on gaining clarity specific to:

  • What sales skills require development?
  • What skills require sales training versus intrapersonal training versus marketing training?
  • What is reach and depth of my current target market?
  • How will this technology tool help me increase sales and work with my other strategic initiatives?

Possibly the reason for the lack of clarity is the tendency to seek the quick fix.  The quick fix reaffirms the lack of clarity to current beliefs (attitudes), actions and results.

In the movie, The Patriot, there is one line that emphasizes the importance of clarity:

Aim small; miss small

When we have clarity we can aim small and therefore we shall also miss small.

How much of the failure to achieve sales success is because salespeople are aiming big and missing big?

If you want clarity, then invest the time to reflect.  Having a goal driven written strategic plan might help along with WAY SMART goals. Finally, maybe you do need some new eyes by finding a mentor to hiring a results driven sales coach.

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Aim small, miss small.
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith
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Office located near Chicago, IL

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