Posts Tagged ‘goal setting’

Are Your Sales Results Suffering Because of this Confusion?

“I have plenty of lists, daily, weekly and monthly” said an acquaintance.  My next question was “How are your sales results?”  The not so surprising response was “they could be better.”

This acquaintance and many of my sales coaching clients share this confusion about list making and goal setting.

List making is very much like a simple mini action plan.  Each item on the list is an action based upon an objective to be achieved.  In some instances, having lists works on the smaller actions and usually fails on the bigger ones.

A goal is a predetermined objective to be undertaken with the desired end to be a positive result.  Sometimes especially if the goal is to increase sales, the goal must be thoroughly “thought out” or what I call “flushed out.”  This thinking or flushing requires some additional time.  Critical thinking skills such as integrative ability must be applied along with:

Lists work with goals, but lists alone will not achieve the desired sales results.

Consistent goal achievers are excellent critical thinkers.  They identify what they want to achieve and then look to the what is limiting them from achieving their goal.  These limitations may be also considered as challenges or obstacles.

The confusion between list making and goal setting may also explain why there are misguided decisions that create misdirection.  If the item on the list is more complex or must work with another action that has not been clearly articulated, then the ability to achieve the goal especially if the goal is to increase sales is severely limited.

Another tell tale sign of this confusion is the answer to this question:

Have you invested the time to create a strategic thinking plan with specific written daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals?

Again, the answer over 95% of the time is NO! What this answer tells any sales coach or business coach is there is considerable misalignment happening which helps to explain miss guided decisions creating miss directed actions.

Yes, lists are great, but written goals aligned to an overall strategic thinking plan will consistently increase sales and far better sales results than lists alone.

Schedule some time to talk with Leanne by CLICKING HERE to improve your sales results.  Yes it could be as simple as just embracing a proven goal setting and goal achievement process.

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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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Maybe The Answer Is Not An Action Plan to Increase Sales

Funny how many people each month come to my website seeking an action plan to increase sales, an action plan to improve sales or action plans to increase sales.  Yet maybe the answer is not to be found in this search because these individuals are failing to understand the foundation for any action plan.

action-plan-to-increase-salesAction plans happen because there is a desired result to be achieved. This desired results is called a goal. Having any plan to achieve that goal would suggest having a thorough understanding of the goal setting process is a requirement before constructing said plan.

From my 20 years of experience in working with SMB owners and salespeople, most, probably close to 90% do not consistently achieve their personal goals less alone professional goals.  Also most sales training never looks to incorporating a proven goal setting process within the plan of action. Having any plan either professional or personal therefore is frankly illogical because it is doomed to fail from the very beginning.

Years ago I realized this disconnect when engaging in strategic planning with executive coaching and small business coaching clients. We would work through their Purpose, their Vision, the Values and even the Mission statements. Then when it came to critical success factors and actually constructing the goal, all forward progress would come to an immediate and screeching halt. We then would invest one to two sessions on how to actually set goals and then incorporate them into a plan of action.

I believe human beings are naturally goal setting creatures. They want to improve themselves however this one factor appears to exist:

There is a presumption that goal setting happens through osmosis (doesn’t require any training)

This presumption is why an action plan to increase sales falls short.  Unless the professional person has learned how to consistently set and achieve WAY SMART goals, any action plan to increase sales will not be sustainable.

My suggestion is if you are seeking any action plan to increase sales then before you invest any dollars embrace and consistently apply a proven goal setting process using a proven goal setting worksheet.  Once you have established this habit, you will be over half way to achieving your goal to increase sales.

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Are You Embracing This Presumption When Setting Sales Goals?

End of the year or quarter is when sales managers review and then start setting sales goals. The reason I did not state “new” sales goals is because sales research suggests most salespeople do not achieve their goals (quota) estimated by TAS Group to be 67% and so the goals are not new.



Possibly the reason for this continued failure to achieve quota is because of this serious and unspoken presumption:

Most people know how to consistently set and achieve their own personal goals.

Just look to the number of people continually wanting to lose weight, wishing for more success or setting New Year’s resolutions if you disagree.

  • Fact – Goal setting for the most part is not a learned skill
  • Fact – Goal achievement for the most part is not a learned behavior

Think for a moment when you had any teaching or training on how to set your own personal goals?  In many instances the goals were set for you by someone else and then you were left on your own to change your behavior to achieve the goal.

To believe salespeople when setting sales goals can achieve them when they cannot achieve their own personal goals is beyond ridiculous. This presumption is fatal to everyone concerned from the the individual to the SMB to the stakeholders.

For over 10 years I have been administering this one simple psychometric assessment, The Attribute Index, and it reveals that the super majority of people over 90% have “realistic personal goal setting” as one of their lower talents.  When my sales coaching clients start setting their own personal goals and achieving them then it is far easier in setting sales goals and drum roll…achieving them.

Download this FREE 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl to self assess yourself and take advantage of a special offer to learn if you are engaged in this dangerous presumption.


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Why SMART Goals Are No Longer Enough

SMART goals have been with SMB sales professionals and owners for over 50 years.  Yet how many executive leaders and salespeople consistently fail to achieve both professional and personal goals?

smart-goalsAs SMB has evolved, now is the time for SMART goals to evolve as well.  In the past, the SMART acronym was:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistically set high
  • Target date, time driven

Lee Iaccoca is quoted as saying:

“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”


Other research supports the act of committing something to writing increases the odds that it will be achieved.  Did you know the earliest empirical study of goal achievement and writing goals was undertaken in 1935?


Research by Gail Matthews at Dominican University has proven strategies for effective goal achievement must be actionable. This goes beyond writing goals down. There must be action steps, the sharing of goals and some personal accountability process for goal achievement.


Remember as a child when your parents wanted to demanded you achieve certain things like good grades, good discipline to even keeping your room clean?  Do you also remember feeling a little to a lot of resentment? Having those feelings was quite natural.

When we embrace the Theory of Self Determination as developed by Deci and Ryan, we understand this intrinsic motivation of choice.  When we have choice through autonomy, we are more likely to own the decision we are making.

Choice in goal setting is about truly owning the goal as our own. 


Within the pre-existing SMART, the A stood for achievable.  Today we know that when we align our actions to our purpose, our plan and our passion, achievement is far easier.

By adding WAY before SMART goals and replacing Aligned to Achievable, we now have a goal setting and goal achievement criteria that has evolved with current research and works with intrinsic motivation.  WAY SMART goals reflect what was possibly implied in the past, but never clearly articulated.

P.S. If your current goal setting worksheet is not working, consider this goal sheet that embraces the WAY SMART criteria plus digs a little deeper into committing that goal to writing.


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Do You Truly Love Sales?

Everyone is in sales.  Mothers sell eating healthy to their children. Teachers sell learning to their students.  Business owners sell their vision to their customers both internal and external. Sales people sell their products and services to potential customers.

love-salesA recent survey indicated that the number one open position within the United States business arena is sales.  Companies are looking for salespeople who are competent and want to sell.  They really want leaders who truly love sales.

With my clients, finding an performance driven salesperson is a continual challenge.  Many who sell want an annual salary and fear the commission only position.  Yet, it is in this type of selling position that a truly great salesperson will excel.  As another client has said many times “When you are hungry, you will hunt.”

Is selling easy?  The answer to that question is simply “It all depends.”  Selling products or services demands specific skill sets including: communication, creativity, decision making, goal setting, marketing and problem solving just to name a few.

Learn more about a powerful assessment that will let you know about your own selling skills.

However, the most crucial skill in selling is being able to relate to people and discover what they are not saying. Some define this ability building rapport, but it is much more.  I believe this is all about having authentic emotional intelligence as reflected through empathy. To leverage this skill demands that your energies are continually pointed at the customer and not at you.

Empathy has been demonstrated to separate top sales performers from average ones. And, yes empathy can be developed provided you are willing to let go of your ego and become an authentic leader who readily gives of herself or himself.

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What’s In Your Sales Equation?

We have all heard the commercial “What’s in your wallet?” This question started my brain thinking about “What’s in your sales equation?” What variables when put together add up to increase sales?

Sales-EquationHave you  recently assessed those variables?

Have you recently clarified those variables?

Have you recently executed those variables?

Sometimes the best way to change our results is to stop and reflect upon our current actions.  Reflection is a self-assessment.  Through reflection we gain greater clarity.  From that clarity we are better able to execute what needs to be done.

For many to increase sales begins with sales training.  Possibly we again have put the cart before the horse.

Very little sales training explores attitudes and more importantly those subconscious beliefs that drive human behavior.  Instead the focus is on new knowledge and skills.

If the purpose of sales training is all about learning how to hit specific desired results (think goals), then how much goal setting and goal achievement has been undertaken?  From my experience, the answer is not much.

Years ago I was exposed to an equation for improved performance.  Since that time I have revised it to a sales equation. If you wish to know what these variables mean, then give me at a call at 219.508.2859 Central Time or make an appointment by clicking HERE.

(b) • [ (a+s+k) + (mmG)] = PBC ∴ IP = IR = IS

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her.

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Where We Are Missing the Boat in Leadership Development

Leadership development is wanted, no demanded, according to this article in Business Insider.  Two thirds of the college educated millennials surveyed by Deloitte are looking to leave their current employers in the next four years.  The main reason is a lack of leadership development.

Boats-TwoThis research confirms what employers want – employees with leadership skills and yet they are not getting college graduates with the necessary skills to be effective leaders.  Hint: If you want a great book on effective leadership, read Drucker’s The Effective Executive.

Now think about what this survey has actually revealed.  After 16 years of education young people know:

  • They lack the necessary self-leadership skills required in the workplace
  • Leadership skills are necessary for employment mobility

Very few high schools develop self-leadership skills. There are exceptions such as Culver Military Academy located in Culver, IN.

Leadership for many schools is oriented to community service projects with the hope the leadership skills or rather self-leadership skills will transfer through an osmosis process.

Self leadership is the ability to lead yourself first before you can lead others. 

Even though there are many good to great teachers, they never developed all the leadership skills demanded in a knowledge economy.  Therefore, teachers are limited in the skills they model or even teach.

The best example to demonstrate this lack of leadership development is through “goal setting.”  Years ago in giving a keynote graduation speech to high school seniors I shared this interactive story.

How many of you or your parents, caregivers have ever shopped at the local grocery store?  Please raise your hands. Now how many of you or your parents had a written grocer list in hand?  Please raise your hands.  Have any of you observed that written grocery list being left at home, forgotten?  Again, please raise your hands?  What happened? (I called on those with raised hands.) And by the way, when you forget that written grocery list, whose plan are you now on, yours or the owner of the store?

May we have agreement that from forgetting something, wasting more time, buying things not needed, spending more money, having to go back to get want was forgotten and feeling upset all have importance, significant importance. (Please raise your hands).  So if a written grocery list has significant importance because of the wasted resources of time, energy, money and emotions, where is the written plan for the rest of your life? If you don’t have that written plan, then you are somebody’s else’s plan.  Personally for me that is not an option.  Do you want someone else to be controlling your future?

Leadership development should begin in junior high and continue through out high school.  By the time young people decide on their post secondary education path, they should have a solid foundation of leadership skills including:

  • Communication (listening, speaking and writing)
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Financial
  • Goal setting and goal achievement
  • Positive attitude development
  • Social
  • Team collaboration
  • Time management (Really self-management as no one can manage a constant)

When our society recognizes that leadership development is an investment in the future of our young people and more importantly in our economic growth, then everyone wins.

The Career and College Success Boot Camp is all about leadership development. Classes are forming now for the summer of 2016. Call Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.508.2859 to learn more.

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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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Time to Update SMART Goals to Being Smarter Goals

Many have heard about SMART goals.  From my research, the first person to talk about SMART goals was Zig Ziglar.  My simple question is if SMART goals have been around for at least 50 years, then why are so many goals still not achieved?

smart goals


Possibly the reason for the failure is today, the SMART goal setting criteria is not smart enough and probably was never enough.  There were three other criteria embedded into the SMART goals that most people never realized.

W – Written

Goals must be written down.  Yes some people are able to achieve goals without writing them down. However most of us do not have that ability.  Case in point is the every day grocery list. What happens when you fail to take your written list with you?

Writing provides clarity of thought and therefore of action.  We are better able to visualize what we desire to achieve.

A – Actionable

When written goals have action verbs, this propels the subconscious mind to take action.  I start my goals with the word “To” and then the action verb such as “increase sales,” earn 3 new executive coaching clients,” or “secure 5 new sales appointments.”

Y – Yours

Probably the most valid reason why SMART goals are not smart enough is because the goal in many instances is not owned by the individual.  Someone else set the goal such as a parent, teacher or sales manager.

The goal must be Yours.  If you do not truly own the goal, then you will only demonstrate a half-hearted response to achieve the goal. By being Yours, there is now an emotional investment into the goal through ownership.  Remember, people change their behaviors because of emotions, not because of logic or reason.

To truly realize the potential within the goal setting and goal achievement process, begins with WAY SMART goals.  When goals are written, actionable and yours, this unites the two different aspects of our brains – logic and emotion.  Consider being smarter by adding WAY to your SMART goal setting criteria and let me know the results.

P.S. If you need a goal setting worksheet that brings into the goal setting process your talents, then consider the Results Tool™.

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The Annual Self Improvement Race Begins

self-improvementOnce again the annual self improvement race begins. And once again only a few will cross the finish line if we believe the 2014 study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology from the University of Scranton.

These researchers revealed the following about the 45% of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions or what is really the annual self improvement race:

  • 52% have confidence in achievement
  • 8% have actual achievement

What was also interesting was the listing of the Top New Year’s Resolutions:


  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Stay fit and healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others in their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

Earn more money; be more successful in career or business or buy something expensive, all did not make the top 10 list. What this appears to suggest is the annual self improvement race is really about personal self improvement and specifically finding balance in our personal lives, imagine that.

self-improvementFor myself and my clients, I developed the 8 Spoke Life Wheel to determine where to set personal goals and how to achieve personal balance. By the way, did you know Buddha was the first person to write about the Wheel of Life and using that wheel concept for personal growth and balance?

When we look at the Top Ten List of New Year’s Resolutions, the majority of self improvement resolutions fall into these categories:

  1. Physical (Lose weight; stay fit and healthy; stop smoking)
  2. Mental (Get organized; learn something exciting) and/or
  3. Career (Get organized; learn something exciting)
  4. Financial (Save more, spend less)
  5. Purpose (Enjoy life to the fullest)
  6. Ethics & Beliefs (Help others achieve their dreams)
  7. Social (Fall in love)
  8. Family (Spend more time with family)

Why Only 8%?

My belief is the reason for the low success rate is because of:

  1. No written plan
  2. No proven goal achievement process
  3. No to weak resolve

No Written Plan

Just as I have written so many times before, people place more faith in the everyday common written grocery list than they do for the rest of their lives. We all know what happens when we forget the written grocery list. We also know failure to bring that list means we are now on the grocer’s plan. Yet, well over 90% of the population does not have a written personal action plan and ends up without achieving what they want, whatever that is.

No Proven Goal Achievement Process

self-improvementEven the best written personal growth action plan must be supported by a proven goal achievement process including a goal setting worksheet. The process works with the goal setting worksheet (actually the goal worksheet is both a process and a tool). Goal Setting Tip: Through the efforts of myself and a colleague, Laura Novokowski, we have created The Results Tool™. This goal worksheet has an embedded goal setting and goal achievement process.

No to Weak Resolve

The great philosopher Yoda said “Do or do not, there is no try.” The word try for many weakens their resolve. They give up when the going gets tough. Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.”

Each of us have the power, the resolve to change today’s results to secure tomorrow’s goals. Our greatest self improvement  barrier is ourselves. Pogo said it best “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Be One of the Few and Not One of the Many

Yes 2015 can be your year provided you are willing to be one of the few to achieve success and not one of the many who does not make it across the finish line. If you want 2015 to be better take these actions:


  •  Assess through reflection about 2014 what was good, no so good and where you can make course corrections
  • Establish a written personal growth action plan to overcome the enemy – you
  • Commit your WAY SMART goals to writing
  • Use written belief or affirmation statements
  • Find an accountability partner – a mentor, a colleague
  • Print this posting out to support you in your efforts
  • If by mid-February you are not where you want to be, then hire an executive coach.

Only you can take the necessary self improvement actions.  So the question returns to:

Will you be one of the many who fail to cross the finish line or

one of the few who cross the finish line?

P.S. The Attribute Index is a great talent assessment tool to discover more about yourself from your preferred decision making style to 78 key talents.  Possibly part of the reason you have not crossed the finish you is because you have more confidence in what you don’t do well than what you do well?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach who takes an heuristic approach to personal and professional growth. 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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