Posts Tagged ‘forward thinking’

Sales Leadership, Bag Phone or Smart Phone?

Funny thing about sales leadership is some past sales leaders sometimes fail to continue to be forward thinking as new ideas or technologies evolve.

sales-leadershipNow younger sales professionals may not remember the first mobile phones that were literally in a bag.  These bag phones started the trend of being connected 24/7.

Over time technology reduced the size of the mobile phone and increased its power.  Today we have all those smart phones and other smart devices that allow those in sales leadership to reach out and touch someone instantaneously.

Many of the early adopters of bag phones saw the value in them.  They found them to be beneficial to achieving the goal to increase sales. Yet some of these same forward thinking leaders decided to hold onto their bag phones because they were familiar with them, they did not have to learn a new device and it worked for them.

They believed in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Yesterday’s old bag phones is an analogy respective to  those in sales leadership who do not want change.  They want to hold onto their authority, their knowledge and their comfortableness.

Those who adopt new technology, new marketing channels, new ways of thinking are more willing to accept change and challenge the status quo. They accept the possibility their authority may be challenged, their knowledge will change and they will be uncomfortable during this process.

Of course to change for the sake of change is not good.  Yet to hold onto the past without looking to the future is equally not good.

Sales leadership in the 21st century must face its greatest challenge – change.  This is quite difficult given how fast change is happening and why additional resources must be hired or contracted to effectively deal with all of these changes in sales, in business and in people. Now is not the time to hold onto that old bag phone.

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Top Sales Performers Embrace These “…ations” Attitudes

So what makes individuals top sales performers?  There are specific aspects as identified within the 5 Point Sales Leadership Model and yet I believe it goes way beyond that to the attitudes of these individuals.

The “Ations” Attitudes of Top Sales Performers

top-sales-performersAspiration – Wants to continued to achieve, to look forward to the future, to always be better

Inspiration – Looks to continued sources of inspiration from working with clients to further personal and professional development

Demonstration – Consistently demonstration key sales skills, talents, emotional intelligence, goal achievement and overall self leadership skills including high business ethics

Exhilaration – Being exhilarated by sales success as well as continued sales prospecting efforts

Frustration – Accepting frustration is part of the overall sales process and sales engagement

Imagination – Looking at the marketplace with creativity

Innovation – Seeking new ways to build relationships to adapting solutions to meet today’s dynamic and ever changing marketplace

Motivation – Understanding what propels their own behaviors and the behaviors of their sales leads

Realization – Knowing what is real and working with what is, is

At the end of the day, top sales performers have different attitudes than average salespeople. They are truly forward thinking and not content to stay with the flow.

William James also believe in the power of attitudes when he penned these words:

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”

Possibly you may wish to add your own “ations” attitudes from your sales experience.

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The Advent of the New Year Is Coming to You

For Christians the Advent season is one of awareness because of the forthcoming resurrection of the anointed one, Jesus Christ.  Yet, this word advent reaches beyond a religion and really into the New Year.



Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming” or “visit.” The word implies being aware of that coming or visit.

Much of what we do in life is out of unawareness because of a lack of clarity. We are not aware because we have not invested the time to gain the clarity we need.

We are too busy thinking about today, worrying about yesterday and failing to look forward to the coming of tomorrow.

Clarity comes from the awareness we receive from reflection.  Investing time to reflect, to think about the forthcoming opportunities to be achieved in tomorrow as well as the  New Year is essential.

We have zero control of what comes into our heads as our senses are continually working. However we have 100% control over what we consciously allow to stay in our heads, our thoughts.

When we choose to be aware, to be forward thinking, we are placing ourselves in positions to receive opportunities that others may not see or experience. No longer are we operating on automatic pilot where we restrict our results and limit our potential.

Each day is the beginning of a new year.  How we choose to be aware of that coming is totally up to us as sentient beings. So as you look to the advent of tomorrow remember through clarity you can look forward to the coming of not only tomorrow, but of the New Year.



May the New Year Be Filled with Incredible Peace and Abundance

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Start 2017 Sales With This Aim Small, Miss Small Focus

One of my most favorite quotes is in the movie The Patriot where the father reminds his sons to “aim small, miss small.” I only wish those seeking to increase 2017 sales would heed this advice.



When salespeople have crystal clarity as to:

  • Ideal customer (role, demographics, psychographics)
  • Ideal target market (industry)
  • Trigger events (market changes and forces)
  • Value their solutions deliver

Then and only then can they truly maximize these words of wisdom “aim small, miss small.”

With the new year fast approaching, some salespeople are probably setting 2017 sales goals or receiving sales goals from their SMB owners or sales managers. In many instances based upon working with my executive and sales coaching clients, these goals are beyond unrealistic.

Those BHAG, big, hairy, audacious goals, are great if they are the goals of each individual salesperson or if there is a collective buy in as discussed in yesterday’s blog posting of “Imagine This Truly Forward Thinking Sales Kick Off Meeting.” Yet the question to be asked is how many of these BHAG are actually achieved?

Why not considered instead of eating all the elephant (BHAG) at one sitting, eat just one bite at a time. Focus on one small area such as in January reconnecting via a personal call or visit with all existing customers with the goal to secure at least one sales referral from each loyal customer. February’s sales goal (think a second bite) could be connect with all those sales referrals.

The aim small, miss small attitude works extremely well with the WAY SMART goal setting criteria.

WAY:  W – Written; A – Actionable; Y – Yours

SMART:  S – Specific (aim small); M – Measurable; A – Aligned to Purpose, Passion and Plans; R – Realistically Set High; T – Target Date, Time Driven

Yes when we aim small, we do miss small. This is not to discourage the vision of the company or current mission. Rather it works with ensuring consistent execution of existing strategic initiatives or objectives.

Doesn’t it make more sense to consistently achieve the smaller  2017 sales goals than to aim big and miss big wasting a lot of resources that you or your SMB can ill afford?

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Salespeople Have a Higher Meaning

This past week I attended a “Power Breakfast” sponsored by Pipeliner CRM where the CEO Nikolaus Kimla made the following statement:


“Salespeople have a higher meaning.”

Kimla was discussing how those in sales have been viewed less than positively when being compared to other professions such as doctors, lawyers, etc.  He then added his rationale for this “higher meaning.”

“Salespeople produce wealth and peace.”

His two statements gave me pause.  I had never thought of sales in those connected terms.

Possibly the reason I had not thought in those connected terms is my economic and altruistic drivers are low compared to my other motivational drivers of knowledge, independence and leadership. Note:  The Values Index is a great tool to identify basic motivational drivers.

From a knowledge perspective, when we in sales provide solutions to wants or needs and those solutions meet those wants and needs, we are producing peace.  Depending upon the intensity of the results from those solutions, we not only produce wealth for ourselves, but for our customers.

Your Purpose Statement and Higher Meaning

Upon further reflection, remember I said I have a high knowledge motivational driver, I realized my purpose statement indirectly reflected Kimla’s higher meaning. As I look to be a “trailblazer,” I am willing to tackle the difficult tasks before my clients must experience them.  That is the peace part.

As to the wealth, I am always focused on a positive return on investment for my clients.  Here is the wealth piece.

Those in sales do receive considerable negative attention.  Yet professional salespeople are in high demand because nothing happens until something is sold.

Possibly forward thinking sales professionals such as Kimla may help all in sales to view themselves differently.  As the noted French author Marcel Proust said:

“The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.”

Kimla provided an opportunity for those in sales to do just that

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Are You a Firefighter or a SMB Owner?

Are you are SMB Owner? In the book It’s Not the Big that Eat the Small, but It’s the Fast that Eat the Slow, the authors revealed that majority of executives and  the SMB owners spend less than 15 minutes a day working on their business.  Their business leadership time is mostly devoted to fighting yesterday’s and today’s fires.

SMB-ownerThink about last week and how much time you spent on small to large fires.  These fires ranged from late employees to unsatisfied customers.  The results were unproductive meetings to a lot of re-working or re-do’s.  Stress was high and you had an occasional thought questioning your sanity in starting this business as you see your profits continue to dwindle.

So how do you transform from being a firefighter to becoming a results driven, forward thinking SMB owner or even sales professional?  First thing is to make an appointment with yourself each day to think about the future of the business.  Take 30 minutes early in the morning to review current goals, assess your dashboard of key performance indicators and revisit the vision you established for your company.

Next, communicate the business goals clearly to all employees.  In the “E-Myth,” Michael Gerber looked at how entrepreneurs need to let go and not be everything to everybody. When your goals are known and expectations are set, you are empowering your people to take responsibility and accountability for achieving these goals.

Of course this communication does suggest you have engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning and thinking process. You have a written strategic plan that you revisit weekly.

Finally, make sure your people are able to handle the fires.  No employee comes to work to intentionally “mess up the business.”  However, very few employees have been developed to be excellent communicators, effective decision-makers and consistent goal achievers. Human capital is the greatest asset of any business and usually the most underdeveloped.

Yes you can turn the tide from being the reactionary fire fighter to the proactive SMB owner or sales professional.  The choice as in other aspect of life is 100% up to you.  This is not the time for excuses because losers make excuses, winners take action.

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What Would Happen to Our Sales If We Had Crystal Clear Clarity?

Funny think about sales, many people lack crystal clear clarity.  These are the salespeople that scurry around B2B networking events, who stumble when ask what they do, and who complain about the inability to increase sales.

salesMany salespeople as well as SMB owners think they lack the tools, the skills, the leads, the network of connections.  Never do they recognize what is limiting their business growth, their professional growth and their personal growth is crystal clear clarity.

Clarity Is Not Easy

The challenge with clarity is it is not easy.  We are conditioned to see the same landscape with the same eyes.  So we seek other landscapes instead of changing our eyes or our lenses to see what is right in front of us. This is quite evident by the lack of follow-up in sales.

Clarity Begins at Home

The old expression of charity begins at home can also be applied to clarity.  Finding clarity in our own lives beginning with our purpose is the first step before seeking clarity in our professional lives or SMBs.

An Outside Perspective Required

Even for the most forward thinking leaders, they have probably have reached out to mentors, colleagues and even hired executive coaches to achieve that outside perspective.  As we are creatures of conditioning, we are unable to see the forest for the trees. An outside viewpoint allows us to move up the mountain, to SEE the 30,000 viewpoint and then the impact of that perspective at SEA level or the trees.

The First Step

If you truly want to increase sales, then the first step is to gain crystal clear clarity. This begins with assessing what is happening right now in your life.  From the results of that assessments or assessments, you can gain the clarity needed for exceptional execution of your actions.  As the old expression goes, a “physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient” (Sir William Osler), the same can be said about a salesperson who assesses himself or herself.

Call or text Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.508.2859 and invest 2 hours to gain incredible crystal clear clarity that will improve your sales execution.

You can schedule a quick phone call to gain greater insight in what these 2 hours look like by clicking HERE.

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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:


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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How Boring Are You to Your Sales Prospects?

Boredom is described as the “state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” (Merriam Webster Dictionary) Boring is the action that creates that state of boredom.  The last thing you want as a salesperson is to bore your sales prospects, yet many still do just that.

sales-prospectsOf course, these sales prospects may be more polite and not tell you they are bored. However with numerous sales leads not converting, there is some boredom happening within the sales conversations from the first marketing interaction to the actual sales presentation.

Same Boring Rapport Building Questions

Much is written about rapport building in sales.  Personally, I find that word, rapport, to be tiresome.  One can build rapport with a dog. What happens is the emphasis becomes on the behavior and not on the person.  We have all heard these boring rapport building questions and inwardly cringe when we experience them ourselves.

Same Boring Fact Finding Questions

“So what keeps you up at night?”  How many times has that boring fact finding question surfaced? Then there is the all too common “What problems are keeping you from moving forward?”

Same Boring Sales Meetings

Sales research from Forrester suggests 80% of sales meetings are a complete waste of time from the executive buyers’ perspectives.  My sense is much of that is due to boredom.

With human beings now having a shorter attention span than a goldfish (source Microsoft), keeping sales prospects and potential ideal customers engaged is truly not easy.  Yet with some due diligence, some risk taking, forward thinking salespeople can reverse that trend.  The question of the day is:

Are you ready to challenge your own sales behavior and stop boring your sales prospects?


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Freedom Is Intrinsic to Our Motivation

Have you ever considered freedom to be intrinsic to motivation? Many times we think of freedom in different terms such as the freedom to walk the streets, the freedom of free speech, etc.

motivationYet if one understands the Theory of Self-Determination, freedom is the authenticity to be one’s self while being responsible to ourselves and others within our community. Choice is infused within freedom.

We chose our behaviors. When we ignore others in the quest to assert our own freedom, we are no longer making responsible choices. We truly are not free.

Autonomy is the ability to make choices.  This intrinsic motivational driver is usually the most difficult one to engage because others make choices for us.  In some instances, this is necessary as with a young child.

When we understand how choices are essential to motivation, parents, managers and even individuals can further expand human potential and consequently performance.

If  you want to learn more about The Theory of Self Determination, this book, Why We Do What We Do, by Edward L. Deci, s a great read and a must read for those in any position of authority including:

  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Team Leaders
  • Supervisors
  • Managers
  • Executives
  • Vice Presidents
  • Presidents
  • SMB Owners
  • Sales Professionals
  • Board Members

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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