Posts Tagged ‘goal setting process’

Where to Begin to Increase Sales, Your Next Step

Most sales managers to salespeople want to increase sales.  More sales equals more money and far less stress.

Yet to consistently achieve this ongoing sales goal requires a commitment to a process. After taking that initial first step to assess, then this provides a foundation for the next step – Clarify.

If you missed the first step, read this posting Where to Begin to Increase Sales.

Unfortunately again many in sales jump into the third step of execution.  These folks are observed in almost a Captain Wing It mode, spraying their actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.

Clarify is a verb and from this verb, the end result is clarity.

  • How long is my sales cycle?
  • When can I expect to earn a sales?
  • Who should are my best potential customers (think ideal customers)?
  • What is happening in my marketplace, industry and local to world economies?
  • How can I leverage my talents (from the internal assessment) to increase sales?
  • Why are potential customers interested in even considering my solution (products or services)?
  • Where do I find additional resources such as knowledge, sales training, mentors or even sales coaches?

Each of these questions are a result of the previously taken internal and external assessments. Yes there are many, many more.

When salespeople clarify, they also subsequently begin to prioritize what needs to be done first, second, third and so on.  Setting and working through a proven goal setting process also happens in this second step.

Some people will ask what does clarifying have to do with goal setting?  My response is everything.  Even though most people are hot wired toward goal setting, they fail to emotionally clarify why achieving the goal is so important to them.  This emotionalization process looks to both the positive and negative emotions regarding success or failure to achieve the desired goal.

Tomorrow the third step to increase sales, though not the final step will be discussed – Execution.



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Can You Afford Not to Delegate?

Delegation is a way of thinking and doing.  For many in business leadership roles, the ability to delegate is not a talent widely embraced. The reasons for this lack of delegation are many including:



  • No time
  • No money
  • No knowledge about available resources
  • No confidence in employees – fear in hiring wrong people
  • No confidence in themselves – fear of making a mistake

A recent report released by Salesforce Research of 300 small business owners revealed most small business owners rely on outdated and manual processes such as email and spreadsheets to store customer information.  This reliance on outdated processes is further wasting their limited time.

When reading this research, it appears the talent to delegate is a significant limiting factor to embracing newer processes especially when those processes are technology driven.  Most of these business leaders are the decision makers and appear to have time constraints as their number one limiting factor.

Truly forward thinking business owners bite the bullet so to speak and invest the time to find those resources to propel their enterprise forward.  These individuals accept there is an immediate, short term hit to cash flow and profitability yet in the long term they recognize not to take action will leave them even further behind the flow.

What I know from SMB owners to sales professionals to even frontline customer service people, all waste at least 12 minutes a day.  This wasted time translates to one hour per week.  If a business owner would schedule 15 uninterrupted minutes each day with intentional actions to research and then delegate some of his or her activities to others, he or she would have more time and probably even more dollars.

Additionally by embracing a proven goal setting process along with a functional tool (goal worksheet), business leaders can track their delegation and stay even more organized in less time.  What must take place is to step over the fear and the other limiting factors because the failure to embrace delegation will only further constrict sustainable business growth.

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Goal Achievement in a New Sales Leadership Model

Noted business guru Peter Drucker is quoted as saying “Leadership is all about results.” For those in sales leadership including sales management roles, results happen through consistent goal achievement.

sales-leadershipYet sales research continues to reveal consistently achieving quotas is not the current reality.  Back in 2011, Inc magazine suggested 50% of salespeople miss their sales goals. A more recent article in 2014 at e-Marketer stated only 63% of salespeople made their sales quotas.

We only have to look at failed New Year’s resolutions to understand why so many people consistently fail to achieve their goals.

How can people achieve professional goals such as sales quotas when they cannot achieve personal goals?

Realistic personal goal setting is measurable talent.  When this talent is combined with other talents such as self starting ability, personal accountability and results orientation, there is a far greater likelihood of consistent goal achievement.

sales-leadershipAnother reason for including goal achievement within this new sales leadership model is one of execution.  Failed execution is still a major limitation for sales management to executive leadership.  When a proven goal setting process is embedded within the sales culture of the business, then execution gaps can be more quickly identified and closed.

The failure to include goal achievement is evidenced in many sales training programs.  How many of these sales training programs include how to consistently plan, set and execute sales goals?  From my experience these last 40 years, very few.

These sales training programs talk about goals, but rarely invest the time to walk through a proven goal setting process with a doable tool such as a goal worksheet.

Yes there is probably more to failed sales quotas than just goal achievement. However if this gap was closed, my sense is identifying what is really limiting the ability for the salespeople to achieve their sales quotes might be far easier to identify.

If you want to learn more about your own talent for realistic personal goal setting, CLICK HERE to schedule a brief call with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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An Unconventional Solution to Reduce Sales Stress

Sales stress happens to many salespeople. Gotta make those monthly or quarterly sales goals is a continual conscious and usually unconscious thought.  Yet it is amazing how many salespeople ignore this somewhat unconventional solution.


Embrace a written goal setting and goal achievement  WAY SMART process both personally and professionally.

Possibly the reason this solution is not implemented is there is an existing presumption that people including salespeople know how to set and achieve goals.  Reality is they don’t.

What happens is people look at daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly sales goals. Then they start frantically dialing for dollars; attending as many B2B networking events or engaging in some other energy draining sales prospecting activity.

If they only had invested the time to clarify their own goals and then put them down in writing, the inevitable sales stress would have been dramatically reduced.

Research by 3M suggested individuals who write things down have a 42% greater likelihood of finishing that task.

What would a 42% reduction of your current stress do for you?

Consistent goal setting and goal achievement is a process.  It is not something individual learn through osmosis or some quick fix sales training seminar.  The process must be supported with a goal worksheet that reinforces the overall goal setting and goal achievement process.

Let us not forget for the most part stress is a reactionary behavior.  Yes there are some things in life that create immediate and uncontrollable reactions such as ill health. However much of life we can control provided we are willing to make the effort.

In working with executive coaching and sales coaching clients, I have them work through a goal setting and goal achievement process.  This is one of the first coaching discussions we have.

Yes it is a time consuming process to begin with. However over time what happens is the process becomes embedded as a critical thinking skill. Clients then becomes mentally engaged in how to achieve the goal.  They are now more in control of their desired end results.

Sales stress is not fun and not all sales stress can be 100% eliminated. What you can do as a SMB owner or sales professional is to reduce as much of that stress both personally and professionally just by writing your goals down and then working through a proven process.

Learn more about  proven goal setting process reinforced by a great goal setting worksheet.

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Where’s Your Sales Beef? – Part 1

In 2001, Wendy’s had a series of commercials asking “Where’s the beef?” These commercials highlighted the quality of Wendy’s hamburgers and to differentiate their hamburgers from their competitors.  Today in sales, quality and differentiation are even more important.



Within your solutions (products or services) where is your quality and how does your quality differ from your competitors is essential to know. More importantly when speaking to sales leads or ideal customers, this is one path toward being able to articulate the value of your solutions.

Sales Coaching Tip: According to sales research “Value Articulation” is a consistent barrier to increase sales.

Within this commercial series “Where’s the beef ?” became a simple and effective message of value articulation.

For me, “Where ‘s the beef?” is in every solution I bring forward.  I have developed a process – ACE Model for Forward Thinking Leadership & Sales Culture™ – to ensure consistency of quality and to differentiate myself from my competitors. Value articulation happens within the sales conversation beginning with Assessment.

By engaging in a series of  proven assessments, I have the capacity to identify the real problems facing the individual or organization. Many other firms advance solutions that solve leadership and sales symptoms while failing to address the real problems. This is one reason many individuals and SMB businesses experience repetitive problems.

From these assessments, the client and I engage to Clarify the results of each assessment and to now work together to gain clarity as to what and how to proceed. This requires understanding and consistently employing a proven goal setting process reinforced by The Results Tool™.

Finally, it is time to Execute.  Given execution is where many salespeople, executive leaders and businesses fail, by investing the time to assess and clarify, consistent and results driven execution is much more likely to achieve.

Then when something new happens or something stops working, we return to assessing the situation, clarifying and then executing. This circular improvement process is ongoing.  Due to its simplicity, clients always know:

  • Where they are in their improvement efforts
  • What actions to take next

If you are in sales, then consider answering the question of “Where’s the beef?” Possibly by answering this question you will gain greater clarity around how to communicate value articulation to your sales leads.

Tomorrow’s blog posting will look at “Where’s the sales beef?” from another perspective.

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Action Plans to Increase Sales Growth Begin Where?

When creating actions plans to increase sales growth, the first question to be asked is where to begin.  Some will start writing down goals, others may start with action steps while others may focus on their sales funnel.

action-plans-to-increase-salesThe question I have is why do action plans to increase sales fail?

We know from continued sales research that many salespeople do not meet company sales goals or even their own. Those in sales become extremely busy as the end of each quarter approaches in their rush to increase sales.

Maybe the problem is not the creation of actions plans. but rather the failure is somewhere in the execution?

My sense is the reason there is failure to increase sales is because there is no consistent goal setting process and goal achievement process behind the action plans to increase sales growth.

Goal setting, consistent goal setting, is a process along with a finely honed skill.  This skill unites the many critical thinking skills within problem solving as well as reflection.

Consistent goal achievement happens because of this one element,  emotion. When the goal setting is emotionalized, there is a stronger desire to achieve the goal.  This is why SMART goals are ineffective because they fail to bring in the emotions into the goal achievement process.

When SMART goals are WAY SMART, this dramatically increases the odds for success because of this one letter “Y.”  The “Y” represents “YOURS.”  Until SMART goals are truly owned by the salesperson, they have no internal, emotional value.

If people buy first on emotion; justified by logic, then people achieve goals first on emotion; justified by logic.  Salespeople must buy into the goal.  Emotions are the”buy in.”

After many years in sales, I recognize the importance of writing (the W in WAY) things down and alignment (the A in WAY) with my other actions.  Failure to write things down and misalignment contribute to failed execution.

Finally, the workplace culture can also contribute to the inability to increase sales.  When salespeople find resistance within the other internal departments such as customer service to shipping to accounting, making those sales goals is very difficult if not impossible.

Probably the two best places to begin those actions plans to increase sales are:

  • Employ a consistent goal setting and goal achievement process reinforced with a proven goal setting worksheet
  • Assess your workplace culture to make sure there are no execution gaps

By taking these two actions before the creation of any action plans to increase sales, may just save you a lot of time, money and wasted emotions.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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The Unsuspecting Self Improvement Barrier of Ambivalence

In listening to a presentation on Motivational Interviewing the discussion centered around ambivalence that being the simultaneous and contradictory feelings toward something. I suddenly realized when it comes to self improvement, ambivalence is probably always one of the many barriers that potentially keep people from moving forward.


Credit: Gratisography

How many times do we want to do something to change the status quo and yet our behaviors are contradictory to that desire?

When we invest the time to recognize and identify the specific ambivalence that is holding us back we can then moved forward.  Of course, the shadow behind ambivalence is change and more so the fear of change.

Due to past negative conditioning, we are reluctant to change and much of that reluctance is subconscious. This is why so many self improvement initiatives fail is because all those subconscious thoughts are increasing our fear of change, our ambivalence.

What I also learned during this presentation, that making reflective statements is far more powerful (2 to 1) than asking open ended questions.  Upon my own reflection this made sense because a statement creates a stronger emotional internal, subconscious response.

As you progress through your own self improvement plan and goal setting process, consider if ambivalence is one of the barriers to your own success?


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IsThis Common Sales Training Presumption Your Increase Sales Barrier?

After having sat through various sales training seminars, workshops to 2 day learning engagements, I realized that the majority shared this common presumption that was a barrier to increase sales. Being human beings and being focused on one objective such as learning specific sales skills, we overlook the obvious.


Credit: Gratisography

The obvious was consistent goal achievement.

Goals, sales targets, quotas, call them what you will are part of the dialogue in any small business. Yet a review of many of the learning objectives within the numerous sales training engagements either fail to identify goal achievement or gloss over the ability to consistently set and achieve goals.

I liken this oversight to the concept of learning through osmosis. Stand next to top sales performer, Fred, who consistently achieves the sales goals and you will magically become a consistent goal achiever. Now isn’t that truly ridiculous?

Goal Setting Process Unites with a Goal Setting Worksheet

Years ago I was introduced to the concept of having an embedded goal achievement process within a goal setting worksheet through Resource Associates Corp.  Later, a colleague Laura Novakowsi and myself after additional research of other goal setting tools created a goal setting worksheet that was process driven and allowed talent assessments along with critical success factors and resources to be part of that process.  We named this goal worksheet The Results Tool™.


In working with my executive sales coaching clients as well as small business owners through strategic planning, this simple one page goal worksheet has produced incredible results including increase sales. One of my sales coaching clients just shared he and his team secured one of the largest accounts for his territory because of The Results Tool™.

To consistently increase sales, presumes everyone knows how to set and achieve goals. Unfortunately this is not reality. We have ongoing research about all the failed goals from New Years Resolutions, to weight loss to missed sales quotas.

Consistent goal achievement requires critical thinking skills and not necessarily specific sales skills like fact finding or negotiation. When a process is embedded into the actual goal worksheet, two objectives are being addressed simultaneously.  The goal setting process allows for consistent results and the tool then becomes a shared communication device.  In other words, everyone on the sales team is working using the same process and the same tool.

So if you are seeking some sales training or even executive coaching for your sales team, check to make sure the presumption that everyone knows how to consistently set and achieve goals is addressed. Then check to make sure there is a shared goal setting process reinforced by a simple goal setting worksheet.  You may be amazed by the results.

Learn how you experience increase sales through a consistent goal achievement process reinforced by this goal setting worksheet, The Results Tool™

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant for mid-size to small businesses that are seeking to increase sales.  Her task is to support you in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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How Many of Our Choices Return to Same Place Different Time?

The end of the year is quickly coming to an end. Now once again small business owners including many sales professionals are scrambling because their results from their past choices are not where they want them to be. And there is a plethora of sales experts and business consultants writing articles to giving radio interviews to capture all of those individuals who are now seeking the “quick fix.”


Credit: www.gratisography

Einstein had identified these behaviors as insanity “doing the same things over and over again hoping for different results.”

We, as small business owners, are the sum total of all of our choices.  There is very little in life that happens outside of our decision making process.

So does this leave your head scratching why you are in the same place, a year later?

Part of the reason for a lot of motion and little progress is because small business owners lack crystal clarity.  They are so enmeshed in their day to day operations they have failed to make the choice to see the big picture.

Clarity only happens after taking stock of everything that is happening. This assessment is critical from both an organizational and individual perspective.  Additionally, the assessment should be directed to these five areas (5 Star Model):

  • Strategy
  • Structure
  • Process/Systems
  • Rewards
  • People

Another reason for being in the same place a year later is because there is no consistent goal setting/goal achievement process.  Just writing the goal down and then identifying the action steps short changes the goal setting process and ultimately the results.

What would happen if the goal was:

  • Emotionalized?
  • Resource driven?
  • Talent focused?
  • Forward thinking regarding potential obstacles?

A tremendous disservice has been heaped upon small business owners through past educational experiences.  They were expected to learn consistent goal setting through some osmosis process instead of being “trained” in how to successfully set and then achieve their goals.

Finally, so many of the choices small business owners make focus on what is beyond their control.  This type of behavior only increases stress while reducing results. When time is invested to ask these 3 questions, choices do change:

  • Is this event beyond my control?
  • Is this event something I can influence?
  • Is this event something I can control?

What I know to be true after working with hundreds of individuals as well as myself, we as human beings tend to expend a super majority of our time on things beyond our control. Things outside of our control reduce our ability to secure our desired results. When we become focused with crystal clarity and have a written WAY SMART goal driven action plan, we devote our time to what we can control and that makes all the difference.

If right now you are not where you want to be and this is pretty much where you were last year, then you must decide to make a new choice, one that may make you very uncomfortable.  By taking this action, next year will indeed be quite different as long as you remember to focus on what you can control, yourself and no one else.

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Moving Beyond the Sales Goals Worksheet

One of the regular key words within my website analytics is “sales goals worksheet.” There must be a lot of salespeople seeking this tool with the goal, I presume, to increase sales. The question to be asked is “Will finding this tool improve your sales success, or it is something else?”



From my experience, there is a whole lot more of “something else.”  What that something else is, well, that all depends. However, what I have found to be true is there are two other factors consistently needed, but ignored by many in sales.

The first factor is a proven goal setting process.  Unfortunately,  the reality is most people plan their vacation or even the weekly trip to the grocery store with far more diligent, attention to detail than their personal or professional goals and that includes sales goals.

Any sales goals worksheet does not work in isolation but works with a goal setting process.  This process for many is not successful for a variety of reasons and three of those key reasons are:

  • Not a WAY SMART goal
  • No emotionalizing of the desire for achievement or for failure
  • Little to no applied critical thinking skills

Now the second factor is the integration of the sales goals worksheet into thorough planning process that not only includes sales goals, but other areas that may successfully impact the ability to increase sales. Salespeople are truly their own business regardless if they are employed by someone else.

Acknowledgement and then acceptance of his reality will propel them forward ahead of all those in sales who are still engaged in the role of Captain Wing It. 

Each salesperson does require his or her own goal driven strategic action plan especially those who work for firms with less than 20 employees. Sales Coaching Fact: 97.7% of all US firms have under 20 employees

When salespeople move beyond the sales goals worksheet and begin to act more like a business instead of a role, they will not only increase sales, but more than likely reduce their stress not to mention having a lot more time for family, friends and their own personal endeavors.

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