Posts Tagged ‘Leanne Hoagland-Smith’

Will You Be a Casualty of the Sales Coaching or Business Coaching Stampede?

Well, it seems like everyone is now a coach, be it sales coaching, business coaching or even executive coaching.  From local Small Business Development Centers to recently unemployed executives, there continues to be a plethora of “coaches” ready to solve their clients’ problems and fill their own bank accounts.



Yet most have just swapped consulting for coaching and therein lies the problem.

Coaching is not consulting or even mentoring.  Let me repeat that critical statement:

Coaching is not consulting or mentoring!

Coaching in its original intent is about having the client find the answers to her or his own issues. Consulting and mentoring is when the answers are provided by the consultant or mentor.

One of the best definitions regarding the role of for those engaged in sales coaching, business coaching or executive coaching is from Resource Associates Corporation:

“The role of your coach is not to provide answers or solutions. It is to help you develop the potential that lies within you so that your increase your capability to overcome all obstacles and achieve all of your goals…it is to help you discover for yourself where you are today and where you want to be in the future.” (Reprinted with permission)

I share this definition with all clients so that they understand our respective roles.

Great coaches also have employ a process for self discovery supported by proven tools.  The tools in many instances are not the latest and greatest technology applications, but rather tried and proven tools that have been employed for decades if not centuries.

No, not everyone is a coach. No, a coach does not have to be certified through some coaching organization.

If you are thinking of hiring a sales coach, business coach or executive coach ask about his or her process.  Ask about the results that have been achieved and most importantly are those results sustainable? If possible talk to some of his or her past clients, hear from their mouths what results they achieved.

Want to discuss sales coaching with Leanne Hoagland-Smith? Ask about your process for self-discovery. Click here to schedule a free 30 minute session.

P.S. If you want someone else to find your answers, then hire a consultant not a coach.

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Your First Rule of Sales Is Probably Not This One

Have you ever read a article about selling that discussed the first rule of sales? I know I have. These articles usually refer to one of the following such as:


  • People buy from people they know, like or trust
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Research your sales prospect
  • Understand your solution
  • Know your market

Yet even these are great suggestions, I contend the first rule of sales is to know yourself.  Knowing yourself is not as easy as one might think.

Over the last 10 years, I know that 98.2% of salespeople do not know what they do well. So if you don’t know yourself, what you do well, how can you improve?  How can you leverage your talents or strengths to actually increase sales?

Not knowing yourself is nothing new to the human endeavor. Thaleus (620BC) one of the Seven Sages wrote:

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.”

Aristotle (384BC) said:

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

Later, even Shakespeare recognized the importance of knowing oneself when he penned these words:

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

When you do not know yourself, you can appear to be false (unauthentic) to others including your sales prospects, your customers as well as to family and friends.

So where does one begin to know the first rule of sales or one’s self?  Reflection is one simple activity.  By writing down what has happened, reflecting on daily events allows you to gain greater clarity as to your own individual behaviors and beliefs. This activity can increase sales.

There are some proven assessments (psychometric assessments) that reveal information regarding how you:

  • Make decisions (Attribute Index based on the works of Dr. Hartman and Axiology)
  • Communicate (DISC Index based on the works of Dr. William Marston)
  • Are motivated (Values Index based on the works of Dr. Spranger and Allport)

Yes there are others, but these three provided a fairly reliable picture of the How, the What and the Why of who you are.

So as you move forward, remember the first rule of sales probably begins with you knowing who you are.

P.S.Why not schedule a short call to learn more about these assessments with me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith? CLICK HERE to find a convenient time or just call 219.508.2859 MST.

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3 Simple Actions to Take Today to Change Your Sales Results Tomorrow

sales-resultsOver the course of nearly 40 plus years in business, I have been fortunate to meet many much smarter people than myself. One of those individuals is Ray Overdorff who recently shared three (3) simple actions to change one’s sales results.

#1 – Commitment to be a Better Communicator

Sales regardless of all the hype by so called experts is 100% about people buying from other people.  To buy from you, you must talk to your sales prospect.  Communication both verbally and written is the key in making that happen unless of course you are telepathic.

What this means is no sales pitches during the first to even third conversations. People must buy you first, before they can buy your company and your solution.

#2 – Look for Ways to Get People More Involved

Remember the old adage, “no one wants to be sold but everyone wants to buy.”  Getting people involved in your sales process is a significant key to improved sales results.  To be more involved returns to the #1 action, being a better communicator.

Getting more people involved is also the essence of a high performance sales culture.  It is not just the salespeople responsibility to increase sales.  Everyone in your SMB must be 100% committed to both external customers (paying customers) and internal ones (other employees).  If your salespeople cannot secure the involvement of the order department to the delivery department, then the external customer ultimately suffers.

#3 – Get a Coach (Results Driven, Ethical)

When salespeople get a good coach who is results driven and highly ethical, then they will see improved sales results.  Depending upon the industry and the limitations facing the salesperson, these results may materialize as quickly as 24-48 hours or may take longer.

Not all sales coaches, executive coaches or business coaches are cut from the same cloth.  One suggestion is to ask about how the coach, coaches, his or her process.  Read the reviews and if possible talk to one or two of the coach’s clients.

Yes just by taking these three (3) simple actions, you can change your sales results.

P.S. Always remember to give credit to whom it is due.

If you are considering hiring a sales coach, schedule a complimentary session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith by clicking here.


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Another New Sales Tool? Really? Why?

Almost every day I am solicited to try this or that new sales tool.  All promise incredible results.  Really?

sales-toolHow many sales tools does a salesperson really need?

How did top sales performers years ago manage before the creation of all these new technology based sales tools?

Will the adoption of a new sales tool really increase sales?

Do you suddenly become captive to the newest latest technology and lose sight of what you as a sales manager or salesperson are supposed to be doing?

Here are some other questions to ask before adopting any new sales tool:

  • Are you taking this action proactively or reactively?
  • Is the justification to “monitor” or control your salespeople?
  • Will the technology build trust both internally and externally?
  • Will the tool actually improve individual sales performance?
  • Will there be more time spent on entering data instead of making calls or meeting with sales prospects?
  • How much time is involved in the learning curve?
  • What is the actual return on investment including dollars and time?

I remember reading on numerous occasions the greatest complaint about most CRM tools was:

The salespeople don’t use them!

Technology is great when applied correctly and for the right reasons.  As the old saying goes, “one does not need an elephant gun to kill a fly.”  Just make sure you have the right tool for the right purpose.

Remember time is money and adding any new sales tool starts as a negative drain on profits and productivity.

Consider investing a few minutes to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith about how to increase sales. CLICK HERE to schedule your free session.

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Aim Small Miss Small Sales Mindset

With all the focus on social selling, there appears to be a different sales mindset emerging and not a necessarily good one.  I was reminded of this when reading a LinkedIn article by Jeb Blount entitled “Social Selling Is Not a Panacea.”



One of the problems with this concept of social selling is it creates a lack of clarity and focus.  The salesperson is aiming at a much bigger target, the various social media sites, and thus misses big.

As Jeb shared in his $10 bet  with a new hire, he was far more successful just by dialing and actually converted two of the sales calls. In comparison the new hire converted no one.

When a salesperson has an aim small miss small sales mindset, he or she has enhanced his or her clarity to the point of it being crystal clear.  Missing the target is no longer supported with a hope and a pray. “I hope I make a sale.”

BAR – Beliefs Drive Actions Generating Results

To have such a sales attitude because attitudes are indeed habits of thought (Zig Ziglar) requires a strategic plan from which the market to the ideal customer have been clearly identified. These beliefs drive the actions (behaviors) generating the results (increase sales).

ACE – Assess – Clarify – Execute

Such a sales mindset begins with assessing not only the business, the industry, but the salesperson as well. From that collected data, there is the opportunity to clarify the necessary objectives and strategies. Next step is executing those strategies.

Feel -Know – Do

To complete this aim small miss small mindset, the salesperson must connect to the buyer.  What does he or she want the buyer to feel?  Obviously to create this environment, the seller must know what the buyer is feeling. Here the focus is on the buyer and not on the seller.

Then what does he or she want the buyer to know? Possibly because the buyer has conducted some research, the buyer may already know something about the seller.  Yet here is the real opportunity to explore the wants and needs of the buyer.

Finally what does the seller want the buyer to do?  In simple sales talk, this is a call to action.  This action could be a simple of having a coffee visit to scheduling a more formal meeting.  Adding the person with permission to an email list such as a newsletter is another call to action.

I believe in what Zig Ziglar said years ago “Sales is the transference of feelings.”  When that transfer is successful and when the seller has demonstrated his or her ability to connect to the value drivers of the buyer, then there is far greater likelihood to increase sales.  Of course if you are looking for the quick fix or what Jeb calls “panacea,” you may be sorely disappointed.

Want to talk with Leanne Hoagland-Smith about how to improve your sales mindset?  CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #17 Humility

Sales success today definitely requires leaving your ego at the door.  Being humble, demonstrating humility is essential. This does not mean you as the salesperson is a doormat. No what it means is you are authentic because you are more focus on the potential ideal customer or sales lead than yourself.

sales-successThe word humility comes from the Latin word humilitas, This word can be translated as humble. Another translation is “grounded” or “coming from the earth.”

Many of the top sales performers I personally know are grounded. This sense of being grounded is consistently displayed in how they collaborate with other colleagues. They are always focused on the wants and needs of their ideal customers or current customers. This focus generates sustainable sales success.

Being grounded requires strong internal positive core values or business ethics.  Grounded individuals are not the “snake oil” salespeople.

Grounded also extends to having a sense of intentional balance between one’s personal and one’s professional worlds. Individuals who are unintentionally off balance appear not to be as grounded as those who have more balance.

Also I believe top sales performers do come from the earth. For me what this means they are people first and understand people buy from people.

Yes humility is not something that can be easily faked.  Eventually, a strong ego will surface and crack the facade of humility.

Believe it or not, one’s internal temperamental bias can reveal one’s ego and therefore suggest one’s humility.  A negative bias toward one’s self esteem reflects a good ego and suggests this person is open to criticism, another sign of being humble.  Conversely, a positive internal bias suggests the individual is self-centered and dislikes any criticism.

Sales success has many factors and varies between individuals.  The goal is to apply some or all of these tips to your own sales behavior and then monitor the results.

If you want to learn more about how to determine your own ego, CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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Sales Leads – The Downfall of the Thrill of the Chase

For many in sales, the thrill of the chase is everything. These “hunters” love to find and chase down sales leads.



Within the SMB world, this thrill of the chase can present a psychological problem for the salesperson and a a business growth problem for the SMB owner, executive or sales manager. The problem for the salesperson is the activity associated with hunting for new sales leads.

Sales research suggests the super majority of earned sales (estimated as high as 80%) happened after multiple contacts, usually more than three. This same research also suggests the majority of salespeople (estimated as high as 80%) stop after three contacts.  The thrill of the chase becomes almost an aphrodisiac that requires constant drinking.

If you disagree with this sales research, then monitor your own sales numbers or those of your sales team.  From my experience in working with and speaking to SMBs, these percentages are fairly accurate.

For the SMB owners, executives or sales managers, the constant churning of sales leads is expensive.  However, possibly their belief is why waste time on “nurturing” new opportunities? Time is money. Possibly they are demanding more “closed sales” activity?

Additionally the overall sales culture may suffer from this thrill of the chase. Inside sales may have to deal with the fall out from the salespeople not following up.  The inside sales team can become stuck in the middle. I know this to be true because of my own corporate sales experience with outside salespeople.

Possibly this is why inbound marketing is so essential to this thrill of the chase. Through this marketing approach, sales leads come to the hunters and potentially the time frame to earn or close the deal is much shorter.  Now previous problems from the time to make multiple contacts for the salesperson to a smaller churn of sales leads by the SMB have been dramatically reduced.

The thrill of the chase is energizing.  Salespeople myself included love to earn the sale and increase sales.  We must remember the chase may be longer than anticipated and not to give up especially if those sales leads are qualified ideal customers.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth.

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Sales Continues to Be the Want To More than the Know To

How many times for those in sales have they been instructed, trained or directed to find the wants and needs? A recent LinkedIn Pulse posting by a colleague, Nancy Nardin, entitled “Why the CRM Industry is Ripe for Dispurtion” hit the “want” nail on the head with this one quote:


Several years after I started my SMB sales culture development and sales coaching practice, I was fortunate to listen to another colleague, David Herdlinger, who developed the K.A.S.H. Box. With his permission, I expanded his idea to The K.A.S.H. Box for Sustainable Change. (See graphic below)

salesAs I shared this concept with my very forward thinking, engineer husband, he made this comment:

It is not question “Do I know it?”, but always a question of “Do I want to do it?”

How many of us know what we need to do?

Salespeople know they probably should use CRM, but do not use CRM because they do not want to.

Salespeople know they must increase sales leads by prospecting, but they do not want to.

Most people know they should eat healthy, but do not eat healthy because they do not want to.

Most people know they should exercise, but do not exercise because they do not want to.

Most SMB people know they should take different actions, but do not take those actions because they do not want to.

I could continue this “know to, want to” list, but you get the drift.

salesMy wise husband also said “If I want to, I will find a way to know what I need to know.” The want to is the impetus for taking action, for execution.  This is why knowledge is not power, but applied knowledge is where true power resides. The application of knowledge is all about the “want to” not the “know to.”

The want to is 100% about your attitude (beliefs). When you have a positive, forward thinking “want to” attitude, you will increase sales because you have incorporated the strongest of the three intrinsic motivators, Autonomy, from the Theory of Self Determination:

  • Mastery
  • Autonomy (Choice)
  • Purpose/Relatedness

Want to schedule a time to talk with Leanne?


Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth.

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In Sales SMB Marketing Is First Person Not Third

Every morning I check my marketing statistics to keep better track of my sales results.  Part of this routine involves reviewing my LinkedIn Profile respective to people who visit my profile among other statistics.



Today I noticed how many LinkedIn Profile summaries are written in the third person. From a SMB marketing perspective, this does not make any sense because people buy from people they know and trust.  A third person summary distances the buyer from the seller.

Common Example

(Name of person) is a certified business coach and executive coach (insert role) based in (location). She or he helps leaders and teams in companies as well as non-profit organizations discover what needs to be developed or changed, and how this will be done, in order to reach better individual and organizational results. 

The summary goes on about experience, education, blah, blah, blah.  This is not emotional marketing copy to encourage any sales lead to reach out.

LinkedIn has become a proven marketing channel especially for SMB owners, executives and sales professionals.  Speaking in the third person on a personal profile does not make sense.  Third person belongs to the LinkedIn business pages.

Summary Tells the Rest of Your Story

As Paul Harvey said “And the rest of the story.” The LinkedIn summary is free and prime marketing real estate.  To waste it on a third party perspective is just plain ridiculous.  LinkedIn Coaching Tip:  The summary is NOT a regurgitation of your resume.

Here is where you can tell the rest of your compelling story that markets you from an emotional perspective.  Who cares how many years of experience you have. What people want to know is about you from a human perspective.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is the Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking SMB owners, executive and sales professionals experiencing repetitive people and process problems.  She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results.

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Leadership and Sales Training Going Beyond RLTF Learning Model

Education has created a secondary learning model of Read It, Learn It, Test It and Forget It or RLTF.  This Learning Model has unfortunately expanded its roots into leadership and sales training.



On a regular basis I receive catalogs from various leadership and sales training companies including associations that offer half day to two day learning engagements to even on-line learning. The investments for these learning events range from $1oo to $2,000.

As an educated instructional designer I know that the majority of these engagements are 100% impact learning without any spaced repetition.  Impact learning is a one time exposure to a learning event with these retention results:

  • 50% 24 hours later
  • 25% 48 hours later
  • 5% or less 16 days later

Spaced repetition as in your arithmetic facts increases cognitive retention six times more (62%) and remembering now is from 15 years to life. Right now you know without even thinking what 5×5 is.  However if I asked you what is 14×18 is, your response would not be nearly as quick.

Another aspect of the RLTF Learning Model is application or practice.  Unless we apply what we learn and continue to apply that knowledge, we forget it.  How many individuals in the US had a foreign language in high school and college and now later as an adult can’t speak that language?

Possibly the most damaging consequence of RLTF Learning Model is it focuses 100% on knowledge and skills while ignoring attitudes and habits.  Knowledge and skills reside within the analytical part of the brain. However human beings, for the most part, are emotional creatures first.  Their attitudes and habits determine their behaviors.  As my husband has said:

“It is not a question of do I know it, but do I want to do it?

If I want to do it, I will learn how to do it.”

By its very nature, the RLTF Learning Model has a very low return on investment (ROI) because of impact learning.  This is why some more forward thinking SMBs are now following in the footsteps of larger firms by investing in one on one executive leadership and sales coaching. Of course there are plenty of SMBs that still believe in the RLTF Learning Model because it is the quick fix.  Unfortunately as noted in the movie “The Executive Suite,” the quick fix:

“…is just a loss of faith in the future.”

If your SMB wants a positive return on investment for its leadership and sales training then make sure it goes beyond impact learning and truly provides numerous opportunities for long term cognitive retention.

Liked what you read? Then CLICK HERE to reserve your 30 minute conversation with Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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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 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 profile on LinkedIn.


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

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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.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith
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