Posts Tagged ‘leadership skill’

Isn’t It Time to Stop the Must Have Leadership or Sales Skill?

Is it just me or are you as tired as I am about all the postings about having this must have leadership or sales skill?  Do this or learn that and “wala” you will be a top sales performer or authentic leader.

Please give me a break!

This desire to find the magic number one skill, trait, quality, call it what you will, regardless of role is complete and total hogwash. Fact – There is no number one top sales skill.  Those seeking the “must have” are really seeking the quick fix to cure what ails them.

Many sales coaches, marketing experts or leadership consultants who write about this or that being the must have or top sales skill recognize the never ending desire for the quick fix.  They are meeting a need, but their solutions are potentially unrealistic for their clients.

Human Beings Are Unique

When we look to find the must have sales skill or leadership skill, we are forgetting this basic premise about human beings.  We are all unique.  We have different experiences.

From those different experiences, our brains are wired differently.  We may be intrinsically motivated by Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose as it relates to people (Theory of Self-Determination).  However, how those motivators are connected to each other is unique based upon his or her own life experiences. This uniqueness can be further identified through the work of Dr. Spranger and Allport.

Take Advantage of this Labor Day Special Opportunity (until 9/5/2017) to

Learn What Motivates You as well as Know Your Talents and Behaviors

If there truly existed a must have sales skill or leadership skill, doesn’t it make sense that everyone who have this skill would be able to increase sales?  So why do so many sales professionals still fail to meet annual sales goals? Why do we keep reading about a new must have sales skill?

Human beings are unique and complex. Our brains co-exist with our minds where all our experiences reside. Add in our emotions and we realize there is not just one “must have” sales skill.

If you disagree, then take this free 170904-Short-Sales-Self-Assessment and identify the one must have top sales skill. Then have another salesperson take the same assessment. Do you both share the same top sales skill?

May you enjoy a most prosperous and enjoyable Labor Day.

Share on Facebook

Leadership Is About “Did You Really Hear What I Said?”

There are many aspects of effective leadership.  One critical aspect is the ability to actively listen. When leaders hear what is really being said instead of what they think is being said, there is far greater communication success. We see this in sales where successful sales leaders hear what others may have missed.

leadershipUnfortunately, because people like to talk more than to listen, much of what is said is lost. When I wrote the book, Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits, the Keys to Unlocking Sales Success, I devoted one chapter to selling.  Within that chapter I discussed what it means to have active listening skills to ensure CLEAR communication has been achieved.

C – Clarity

You must listen for clarity to separate the tangibles from the intangibles and the knowns from the unkowns.

L – Legitimize

You must listen to legitimize the real issues.  Many times perceived problems are really symptoms in disguise.

E – Emotion

You must listen for emotions. Here is where the verbal words and non-verbal gestures along with the syntax (speed, pitch, volume and emphasis) are very important.

A – Agreement

You must listen for agreement to find common ground from which you can build ongoing trust.

R – Retention

You must listen for retention because the information you are receiving is critical to your sales success. In many cases the facts that you are receiving have been heard by others, but they simply failed to listen.

“Did you really hear what I said?” through active listening is an essential leadership skill. When we as leaders recognize the importance of active listening, then we can truly move ourselves, our teams and our SMBs forward to that next level.

* * * * *

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.


Share on Facebook

Move Sales Conversations Forward by Avoiding Weak Words in Sales

The words we think, write and speak all have an impact.  Top sales performers understand how to avoid weak words in sales during their sales conversations.


Weasel Words of Live

Years ago one of my coaches, David Herdlinger, in a presentation talked about the “weasel words.” These words included:

  • Could of
  • Would of
  • Should of
  • Try
  • Maybe
  • Might

Later I added these two words to that least especially when having meaningful sales conversations:

  • Think
  • Yes (or Yeah), but

Other words that are considered weak words in sales range from “just” or using a negative word instead of a positive one.

Add Emotional Intelligence to Your Sales Conversations

Emotional intelligence is a proven leadership skill.  The words we speak often reflect our emotional intelligence or lack thereof.  One of the more weak emotionally intelligent words is “need.”  How often have we heard in a sales conversation the salesperson may a statement such as “you need to do this” or “you need to consider this?”

The word “need” is loaded with implied negative judgment and is potentially insulting to the listener. What happens is a subconscious, almost visceral reaction to this word of need. Top sales performers recognize they require positive reactions to their sales conversations not negative ones.

What would make more sense is to replace the word with a phrase  such as “Possibly you may wish to consider this?”  First, the word possibly opens up the mind and gives the other person an implied option.  Second, “may” is a word of respect and one of asking permission instead of telling someone.  Third, the word “wish” again leaves an open decision in the hands of the listener.  Finally “consider” is a word of reason and intellect and not an emotionally negatively charged word.

Silence and Sales Conversations

Avoiding weak words in sales can just be as simple as remaining silent.  In sales, silence is golden, but more importantly green.  Many times silence in and by itself at the right time will move the sales conversation to conclusion and increase sales.  Sometimes a simple request of “Where do we go from here?”  followed by total silence is all it takes to earn the sale.

* * * * *

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

Share on Facebook

The Surprisingly New, Yet Very Old Leadership Skill

Possibly as you read this title, you may be thinking of one of the current fads moving through leadership training and coaching such as agile leadership? If so, you may be disappointed because this leadership skill is one that is very old and yet never really discussed in any detail. Maybe there is a presumption that leaders already have this skill?

leadership-skillThink for a moment of past leaders and all of their leadership skills.  What one skill has stood the test of time?

From my perspective, that one skill has been the ability to write. If we look to history, we see Moses writing the 10 Commandments to George Washington’s Farewell Address to Congress to contemporary leaders.  The ability to communicate through the written word is essential to all of these leaders and the millions of  other unsung leaders.

Technology has further embolden this very old leadership skill.  This newer communication channel of technology started with email and now has spread through social media and content marketing.

More and more communication is being channeled through electronic mediums. Forward thinking leaders must learn how to communicate succinctly as in 140 characters in Twitter to emails to sharing organizational initiatives through the company’s newsletter or blog. Given that the super majority (97.75) of businesses here in the US have under 20 employees, the ability to hire out copy writers is dramatically reduced. Business leaders will need to be able to communicate even more frequently through the written word than ever before.

Effective writing that is emotionally compelling  and engaging is not new.  We only have to go back to the US Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution. The gentlemen who wrote these words agonized over the right word to convey the right, emotional message.  Each word was scrutinized to ensure the reader would have absolute clarity.

The other reason this old skill is a new skill has to do with the ability to have clarity of thought.  During a radio broadcast, Sales Coaching Over Coffee,  hosted by Lynn Hidy of Up Your TeleSales, the panel of Dan Waldschmidt, Fred McMurray and myself invested over 30 minutes of the 60 minutes radio show discussing the lack of critical thinking. There appeared to be agreement that solid, reflective, critical thinking was absent because there was too much energy being devoted to the current minute as well as a general reluctance to think.  “Thinking is hard work” as Henry Ford observed years ago.

What I know to be true is those who have honed this leadership skill of writing are for the most part far better thinkers. The more one writes, the better one thinks. The better one thinks the more one writes.  Something magical happens when the pen or even the keyboard is touched.  A connection is made between the fingers and the brain.  Thoughts flow like water provided the brain is continually being pumped.

If you are considering investing in a leadership development program be it through training or executive coaching, you may wish to confirm there will be some writing happening during this learning engagement. Failure to develop writing as a critical leadership skill may become the next Achilles Heel in your small business.



Share on Facebook

Storytelling Is the Next Generation of Talent Management

A recent article showcased how storytelling is becoming essential within talent management. The possible reason for this surge is the inability of managers or key leaders to motivate their employees as revealed by a recent study by Melcrum.

talent-managementGiven the annual Gallop survey on employee engagement, between 75-80% of all employees are just engaged meaning not giving 8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay or actively disengaged meaning giving less than 6 hours of work for 8 hours of pay. This suggests there is a lot of wasted talent management by unmotivated employees who are not profit centers.

Storytelling is a world wide cultural accepted skill. The roots of storytelling go back to our earliest ancestors.

Years ago I read this quote which I often share with my executive leadership and sales coaching clients:

“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.”

Hannah Arendt

By removing the judgement within defining a meaning eliminates at least one inherent emotional and motivating obstacle:

“Don’t tell me what to think or what to do!”

Storytelling is a critical talent management and leadership skill for this next generation of employees. By sharing stories, individuals can create their own pictures in their own minds and take internal ownership of the story. Talent Management Tip:  People hear words, but think in pictures.

How do you find the storytellers in your small business?  Look to those who write for your company newsletter or salespeople who write to engage their customers. Good writers are usually good storytellers or at least a place to start.  The added benefit to storytelling is the more one writes, the better one thinks and the better one thinks, the more one writes.

Share on Facebook

Emotional Intelligence Bridges Intergenerational Conflict

Intergenerational conflict is a term probably many small business owners as well as those in sales management have never considered within their organizations.  Employees sometimes don’t get along and that is part of the workplace and has been for decades. Yet, today with four unique generations in the workforce and a fifth one just looming on the horizon, intergenerational conflict will become more and more evident.

intergenerational conflict

Yesterday I attended a Lunch and Learn sponsored by Express Pros of Northwest Indiana entitled the Faces of Change in the workplace. This learning experience centered around a video produced by Express Pros.

One key point within this learning event was a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) where 72% of those who responded indicated intergenerational conflict was an issue within their organization.

Since human beings still are not telepathic, most conflict be it in the workplace, the family or just in society happens because of communication.   Someone communicates either verbally or non-verbally her or his dislike of a situation to a person. The by product of this expressed dislike is conflict.

Conflict can be very damaging to any organizational in that it impedes performance and may even lead to a negative work environment.  This type of workplace is very costly as it usually has higher than average employee turnover to even law suits.

Emotional intelligence bridges conflict and especially intergenerational conflict. Individuals who recognize, understand and the manage the emotions of others while also recognizing, understanding and managing their own emotions have a greater opportunity to avoid conflict in most situations.

Emotional intelligence is viewed as a positive leadership skill.  When this intelligence works with the different communication styles (DISC) as suggested by the work of William Marston, then intergenerational conflict is dramatically reduced. Small Business Coaching Tip: Daniel Goleman’s book Working with Emotional Intelligence is a must read for small business owners, those in sales management and any professional in today’s workplace.

With the workplace changing and good help being hard to find and keep, possibly now is the time to look at developing the emotional intelligence of your employees and even yourself. This may be one of the best investments you ever made.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a certified DISC, Emotional Intelligence, Attribute Index consultant and can support you in your efforts to assess and then develop your employees to be better. She can be reached at 219.759.5601 Chicago, CST.

P.S. The DISC tool is also great to better understand the buying behaviors of your prospects and then from that information match those buying behaviors to your selling style.  Join others on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 from 12-12:30pm Chicago CST for a FREE webinar “If you are telling, you ain’t selling.” Learn more about this webinar series of “60 Minutes of Good Content into 30 Minutes of Great Content ™”


Share on Facebook
RSS Subscribe!
Coaching Tip

People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

What’s Happening?

Internal Results interviews
Leanne Hoagland-Smith
. Some of her answers may surprise you.

Check out this podcast on value creation between David Brock and Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Listen to Leanne Hoagland-Smith at Sales Scenario podcasts

Another list of top sales bloggers

Pre-order this great book How to Get a Meeting with Anyone. You may recognize a familiar name.

Top 100 Most Innovative Sales Bloggers Honored this blog is included in this impressive list.

Best Sales Blogger Award for 2014 Third place awarded to Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

NWI SBDC awarded Small Business Journalist of 2014 to Leanne Hoagland-Smith. Awards.

Expand Your Business Horizons
Sign up to receive monthly newsletter devoted to small businesses and busy sales professionals Beyond the Black
Be the Red Jacket
Seeking an easy and practical book on marketing, selling and sales? Read the reviews at Amazon and then order your hard copy or eBook.
Sustainability Expert
The Institute for Sustainability
Ezine Expert
Blogroll – Leadership, OD
Contact Coach Lee

Leanne Hoagland-Smith
219.759.5601 Main Office CDT
219.508.2859 Mobile CDT

Office located near Chicago, IL Main Website

Sales Corner

Tracking by The Sales Corner
Blog Rankings
Business Blogs - Blog Rankings
Blog Top Sites
RSS Search
Blog Log