Posts Tagged ‘Fail-Safe Leadership’

Are You Making These Top 5 Missteps in Hiring a New Salesperson?

Hiring a new salesperson can be a never ending story. With the turnover (churn) of salespeople as well as those in sales management, there appears to be some miss steps happening.

Top Misstep #1 – Ignoring the Wisdom of Existing Sales Team

Sales managers fail to ask the rest of the sales team as to what type of salesperson is needed.  Even though the essence of sales has not changed, how to reach new sales leads has changed.  In many instances, the existing salespeople will have a better pulse on what is required than the sales manager unless the sales manager is also in the field prospecting and selling.

Top Misstep #2 – Outdated Job Description

From my experience, the majority (over 50%) of all job description are outdated and irrelevant. Today’s salesperson must know the expectations and be assessed to ensure his or her talents work with not against the current job description.  For example, writing (communication through the written word) has become a critical sales skill due to content marketing.

Check out this talent assessment that is quick and very affordable.

Top Misstep #3 – No Onboarding Including Sales Coaching

No longer can sales managers hire a new salesperson and then throw her or him to the wolves with the “Go Sell” directive without further onboarding.  Sales coaching by an outside sales coach has proven to be quite effective.  Even though some sales managers believe they are sales coaches, this in many instances is a false belief.

Top Misstep #4 – Misalignment with Strategic Goals

Misalignment is a killer when it comes to achieving strategic goals including the always present one of increase sales. Sales does not operate in a vacuum.  With multiple departments strategic initiatives can be easily derailed.

Learn more about leadership and the impact of misalignment through this well written, quick (under 2 hours) and easy read book – Fail-Safe Leadership

Top Misstep#5 – Reactionary Hiring

Given the constant churn of salespeople, many sales managers and SMB owners engage in reactionary hiring. What makes far more sense is to continually scout for potential salespeople.  Met with these potential new hires.  Get to know them.  Then when necessity demands hiring a new salesperson you have a much stronger bench from which to select.

P.S. Did you know the average cost of a new hire exceeds $4,000 without any additional sales training and takes over 40 days to fill that open position?  Schedule a time to talk with me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, to stop this drain on your profits.

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Misalignment Continues to Be the True Foil Impeding Organizational Success

By now many in the US and all over the world have heard about or viewed the video of the United Airlines passenger being forcibly taken off from the airplane.  Here is a real time example of how misalignment continues to be the true foil impeding organizational success.

As someone who avoids airline travel like the plague because of the hassle, it has been a long time since I actually read the policies stated when purchasing an airline ticket. Yet it is my current understanding, the policies do state that all seats are subject to certain conditions and passengers must follow the requests of airline employees.  Airlines reserve the right to remove passengers if for example the airplane is overbooked.

Where the misalignment reared its ugly head is in the communication specific to the lottery. The lottery was not for ALL passengers as it excluded first class and rewards passengers.(Source: Radio news)

When one reads United’s commitment to its customers (via website), United Airlines the following:

“Our goal is to make every flight a positive experience for our customers.”

This statement which I am presuming is to showcase United Airlines’ commitment to organizational success does not separate customers by first class, business, rewards or coach.  All customers are supposedly treated equal. Yet we now know this is not the case.

Additionally, the CEO “doubled down” on the incident and blamed the passenger.  Yes, the passenger was at fault for not following the policies of the purchased airline ticket.

However. United is not blameless and is in violation of its own commitment to customers. This misalignment will hurt its ongoing organizational success as its recent stock drop of 3.7% resulting in a loss of $830 million.

Misalignment is continues to be one of the true foils (usually undiagnosed) that impedes organizational success regardless of the organization’s size.  For both small to large organizations, often what happens is executive leadership takes a retreating position.  In this case, the CEO blamed the customer instead of addressing the real foil – misalignment.

To learn more about misalignment and its impact on organizational success, I recommended this book Fail-Safe Leadership. It is an easy read and provides questions at the end to prompt further discussion and reflection.

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Prescription Without Diagnosis Is Malpractice

One of my colleagues, George Richardson, shared this quote by a Dr. Nancy Synderman “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice”  with me nearly 20 years ago. These words are so true especially for those in any professional role including salespeople, executive coaches, consultants, leadership and management.

How many times do those in any of these roles of sales, executive coaching, leadership training or even management prescribe a solution without a formal or even informal diagnosis? Maybe this is why so many are thrilled with the quick fix and yet are dissatisfied with the results?

Yes an effective diagnosis is an investment of time, money and energy.  However the rewards far exceed the investment especially when one examines all the “redos” from bad prescriptions (solutions).  Possibly the ongoing issue of failed execution is because of poor to non-existent diagnosis.

With the outsourcing marketplace continuing to expand, there is a whole influx of executive coaches and consultants. Many of these individuals hang out their hats without any formal training or the use of any formal and proven tools.  They diagnosis and potentially are committing malpractice.

What ends up happening at least from my experience is other experienced executive coaches and consultants (results driven) must first undo all their poorly designed solutions.  The client is now 20 yard behind where he or she started because of the previous coach’s bad solution.

Then there are those in executive leadership and management roles who make reactionary decisions based on their gut or what they think needs to be done. The authors of Fail-Safe Leadership share a great vignette about a CEO who wants to increase sales.  What happens is each of his executive team take contrary actions that create further misalignment and potentially decreases sales.

When my executive coaching or consulting sales leads balk at taking a proven psychometric assessment or cultural assessment, I present this scenario.

Imagine you are going to your doctor because of a headache.  You tell the doctor why you are there and he or she immediately prescribes brain surgery without any examination of you including an Xray, MRI, blood work tests, etc. What would you do?  The answer usually is run out the door and seek another opinion.

So why would you engage in any solution without verifying what is really happening?

Misguided decisions create misdirected actions also known as failed execution.  To avoid this all to common situation, make sure before embarking on any solution (prescription), you have taken the time to invest in a proven assessment (diagnosis).  You will be glad you did.

Did you know you can measure 78 key attributes or talents? The Attribute Index is one of the most accurate and proven psychometric assessments for individuals who truly wish to know what they do well.

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Obstacle with Limitation

How many times have you heard this word “obstacle” in many sales training programs or books on sales fact finding?  This word makes you sound like all the others salespeople out there peddling their solutions.  Considering changing your sales behaviors by replacing this overused and now almost trite word with this word – limitation.

When the word obstacle is heard, many people receive a visual in their heads because we hear words, but think in pictures.  This visual may be so large, so filled with a lot of hidden emotions, it possibly can shut down the sales conversation or make further sales conversation even more difficult.

Now speak the word limitation to yourself.  Do you see in your mind’s eye some foreboding potentially humongous obstacle?  Or do  you see something much smaller, something that may have been consistently ignored?

Possibly there are far more limitations keeping the sales prospect from moving forward than one or two major obstacles?

These limitations may have been ignored by other salespeople because their sales training told them to look to the obstacles.

One obvious but often overlooked limitation is alignment. There is misalignment between the various leaders, managers or departments. Rarely in my nearly 20 years when speaking with sales leads rarely have I heard any mention of misalignment until I bring up this limitation.

Check out Fail-Safe Leadership to better understand how misalignment can easily happen.

Our sales behaviors when they are aligned to the emotional, neuro pathways and experiences of our sales prospects can literally propel the sales conversation forward far faster.  Of course the challenge is to go with the flow of the sales conservation and not stick to some sales script that is several paragraphs behind.

sales-behaviorsThe words we speak, think and write do have a significant impact on our sales behaviors.  When we carefully choose the correct word in our sales conversations, we can change the results.

Unfortunately many in their daily sales behaviors are so busy thinking what we are going to say next, they fail to actually listen to what is being said. The good news is everyone has the capacity to change provided they are willing to do so.

If you are not happy with your sales results in 2016, then consider scheduling a free 30 minute conversation (CLICK HERE) to learn how to close the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals.

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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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Confusing Sales Tools with Sales Answers Are You?

Each day I receive announcements about new sales tools from CRMs, sales training software, books on sales, etc. Most suggest by purchasing these tools, they will be the answer to your sales problems.  Unfortunately, the purchasing of some of these so called answers only further intensify your sales problems.

sales-toolsPossibly what is driving these purchases is the “quick fix virus.” This virus appears to gain momentum especially towards the end of a calendar or annual business year.

SMB owners and sales professionals suffering from working too much IN the business instead of ON the business now are scrambling to meet sales goals as well as other organizational goals.

Many of us have seen the impact of the quick fix when it comes to losing weight. Take this pill or exercise just 5 minutes a day and you will lose weight. If the quick fix really worked, we wouldn’t have an obesity problem in this country.

The quick fix is also terrible disease for SMBs.  Usually it originates  from unclear executive leadership directives.

Fail-Safe-LeadershipIn the book, Fail-Safe Leadership, the authors recognize how a lack of clarity creates expensive misdirected actions. They provide a poignant vignette about a CEO who expresses a vague goal to increase sales.  His C-Level direct reports all take different actions to achieve this goal. As their actions were not in alignment, the goal to increase sales was not realized.

If you are seeking sales answers, the first action is to stop and determine where you, your organization and your salespeople really are.  Do not be confused by thinking these new sales tools will automatically be the answers to your lackluster sales results.

The second action is to forget about any quick fix solutions such as sales tools to solve your sales problems.

The third action is to reach out to someone who is not in your organization.

Click here to schedule that 30 minute outreach session right now.

You probably do require a fresh set of eyes who will be direct with you and tell you what the real problem is provided you are willing to hear the truth.

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Time to Fall Clean Your Marketing Toolbox

Fall is here.  Now is the perfect time to clean out your marketing toolbox and refresh it for the forthcoming last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year. So what is currently in your toolbox?

marketingUpon opening your toolbox, you will have a removable upper tray that contains your lightweight marketing tools. Down below is a larger compartment to hold those heavier tools.  All of your tools have a cost.

For example, your lightweight tools include your elevator speech, business cards, stationery from envelopes to letterheads, brochures, postcards, postage, promotional items or giveaways CDs or DVD’s, Costs for these tools range from pennies to hundreds of dollars.

The heavier tools at the bottom of your toolbox have a lot of variety.  There are speeches that you can deliver to local organizations or to larger conference audiences.  Printed books such as Be the Red jacket or Fail-Safe Leadership along with published articles are always effective heavy marketing tools. Paid advertising, membership in referral groups, local chambers and other B2B networking groups are other heavy tools.  Finally, there is that all important website. And let us not forget your blog or other social content marketing channels such as LinkedIn Pulse.  These heavy tools costs hundreds to thousands of dollars, but may also provide you a steady stream of passive income.

When you analyze all the costs within your toolbox, you will be amazed at the total investment. For some this may quickly exceed $50,000. Whatever the costs, the results from these tools deliver must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure their value.

Is your 30-second elevator speech effective?  How about your 60 second and three minute elevator speeches? If no one is seeking you out after you deliver your infomercial, then it is definitely time to refresh that tool. Have you updated your website to make it search engine friendly? By being proactive now will keep you from being reactive later.

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Add Amplification to Your Sales Strategies

Sales strategies abound in today’s B2B and B2C markets.  In many instances, the larger firms are ahead of the flow when it comes to including a new sales strategy into their sales playbook.  Smaller firms especially those with under 50 employees lack the exposure to many of these up and coming ways to increase sales.

sales-strategiesAmplification is one such sales strategy that is often overlooked by SMB owners and sales professionals.  This was quite evident during a discussion yesterday at the SouthShore Business Networking group.

I shared how by belonging to a community of like minded sales professionals I was able to amplify this recent LinkedIn Pulse article – Great Coaches Are Equal to Top Sales Performers.  I published this article on Friday, September 30, 2016.  On Monday I shared it within one community. By Wednesday am, the results from LinkedIn were impressive:

  • 257 Views
  • 50 Likes
  • 7 Comments
  • 22 Shares

Ninety percent of those who shared it had over 500 connections or 20×500 equals 10,000. Add this to my 2,500 connections and the amplification was four fold.

Many of these same individuals also shared it on Twitter.  A quick glance of the first 12 people who shared this article revealed amplification of over 10 fold to my current Twitter followers of 11,663.

Amplification through just one community increased my marketing reach from approximately 14,000 to over 150,000.  The best part of this sales strategy was it cost me absolutely nothing.

Discovering sales strategies that are cost effective and deliver measurable results is in many instances one of trial and error.  Amplification works. Probably the major obstacle is building a community of like minded individuals who recognize amplification is not a one way street.

As with other sales strategies amplification must be aligned to existing marketing strategies within the sales process such as content marketing.  To engage in this sales strategy without having a well thought of strategic plan is not forward thinking and will not be as effective as it could be.

Read Fail-Safe Leadership to better understand how misalignment impacts sustainable business growth.

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Is Leadership Misalignment What Ails Your SMB?

For SMBs there is plenty written about marketing and sales alignment as well as to what happens when marketing and sales are misaligned.  However maybe it is time to recognize leadership misalignment is probably what is causing the marketing and sales misalignment problems.

leadership-misalignmentIn the book Fail-Safe Leadership: Straight Talk About Correcting the Leadership Challenges in Your Organization, the authors bring two ideas to the leadership table.  The first idea is a leadership audit that truly looks to identify the symptoms caused by leadership misalignment problems. Here is a brief sample of those issues.

  • Lack of personal accountability
  • Time management problems
  • Unacceptable results
  • Preponderance of consensus-driven decision making (i.e. cover your behind mentality)
  • Communication problems

These are all symptoms of leadership issues. Unfortunately many in executive coaching and consulting roles attempt to solve the symptoms while not recognizing the real problem because solving the real problem requires more expertise.

The second and even more important idea is a results driven leadership development model instead of the traditional competency based leadership model.  By identifying these two different leadership models and their impact on results, leaders can begin to change how they see things.  As it has been said by others, “when we change how we look at things, the things we look at will change.”

Both of these ideas help to better understand the impact of leadership misalignment within any SMB or even much larger organization.  The authors also describe the three types of alignment present in all businesses from the smallest to the largest.

Level One Alignment- Leadership writes strategic vision. Result: Research shows 60-70% of employees don’t know the vision and are clueless as how to align their behaviors to that vision.

Level Two Alignment – Leadership shares strategic vision. Result: Each department goes in separate directions to achieve that vision.

Level Three Alignment – Leadership creates a strategic vision based upon developing leaders in the organization and that development starts first with the executive leadership team. The graphic below reflects what Level Three Alignment looks like. Result: The results are achieved in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

leadership-misalingmentJust as when the wheels in a vehicle or the gears in machinery are misaligned, the performance (think results) suffer.l  If you want to correct the marketing and sales alignment, then make sure your forward thinking leadership team has created a workplace culture of alignment.  Otherwise, you will continue to have all departments rowing in different directions toward different results while thinking they are rowing in the correct direction.

Download this Leadership-Align-Audit-ADVSYS at no charge to you except maybe a sense of being uncomfortable.

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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 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Your Leadership Actions Always Trump Your Words

Actions always trump words.  No matter what leadership says, it is what the leaders do, their leadership actions that matter.

leadership-actions

Credit www.gratisography.com

Sure there may be words on the wall sharing the organization’s vision, values and mission statements. There may be words in the employee handbook or on the corporate website.  Yet these words remain silent to the leadership actions seen by everyone.

The old and familiar quote “Actions speak louder than words.” is so true.

In the book, Fail-Safe Leadership, the authors provide a checklist to help to determine if any organization has some leadership actions issues.  This checklist is based upon the observations of those within the organization.  For example, are “can’t do attitudes” or “excessive or unproductive meetings” observable?

Some in leadership roles want to be a friend to everyone.  They believe agreement, everyone getting along is the way to lead.  Their behaviors are very malleable and may create confusion to even disrespect.

Then there are the opposite types of leader who live by “do what I say and not what I do.” Their leadership actions generate confusion, inconsistency and disengaged employees. In some cases, fear drives the culture.

Until we learn how to read minds, our actions will always trump our words, our spoken thoughts. As leaders, each of us must take time to reflect as to how our behaviors are being viewed by others. Noted business expert Peter Drucker shared this words:

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” 

The results of your leadership are your actions.  If you want to be a better leader, look to the results your behaviors are generating.

Download this free Leadership-Align-Audit-ADVSYS to learn if your organization has leadership challenges.

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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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