Posts Tagged ‘psychometric assessments’

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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Prescription Without Diagnosis Is Malpractice

One of my colleagues, George Richardson, shared this quote by a Dr. Nancy Synderman “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice”  with me nearly 20 years ago. These words are so true especially for those in any professional role including salespeople, executive coaches, consultants, leadership and management.

How many times do those in any of these roles of sales, executive coaching, leadership training or even management prescribe a solution without a formal or even informal diagnosis? Maybe this is why so many are thrilled with the quick fix and yet are dissatisfied with the results?

Yes an effective diagnosis is an investment of time, money and energy.  However the rewards far exceed the investment especially when one examines all the “redos” from bad prescriptions (solutions).  Possibly the ongoing issue of failed execution is because of poor to non-existent diagnosis.

With the outsourcing marketplace continuing to expand, there is a whole influx of executive coaches and consultants. Many of these individuals hang out their hats without any formal training or the use of any formal and proven tools.  They diagnosis and potentially are committing malpractice.

What ends up happening at least from my experience is other experienced executive coaches and consultants (results driven) must first undo all their poorly designed solutions.  The client is now 20 yard behind where he or she started because of the previous coach’s bad solution.

Then there are those in executive leadership and management roles who make reactionary decisions based on their gut or what they think needs to be done. The authors of Fail-Safe Leadership share a great vignette about a CEO who wants to increase sales.  What happens is each of his executive team take contrary actions that create further misalignment and potentially decreases sales.

When my executive coaching or consulting sales leads balk at taking a proven psychometric assessment or cultural assessment, I present this scenario.

Imagine you are going to your doctor because of a headache.  You tell the doctor why you are there and he or she immediately prescribes brain surgery without any examination of you including an Xray, MRI, blood work tests, etc. What would you do?  The answer usually is run out the door and seek another opinion.

So why would you engage in any solution without verifying what is really happening?

Misguided decisions create misdirected actions also known as failed execution.  To avoid this all to common situation, make sure before embarking on any solution (prescription), you have taken the time to invest in a proven assessment (diagnosis).  You will be glad you did.

Did you know you can measure 78 key attributes or talents? The Attribute Index is one of the most accurate and proven psychometric assessments for individuals who truly wish to know what they do well.

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The Lack of Clarity Is the Unseen Shadow Behind Many Sales Objections

One of the most important sales skills top sales performers can have is to bring clarity to sales objections.  This lack of clarity by the buyer is usually evident when stalls surface during the sales conversation.  For example a sales stall could be “your price is too high” without any supporting rationale or facts.


Sales Objections Surface Because Many Buyers Lack Clarity As What Is Truly Important to Them

Sometimes buyers do not have crystal clear clarity as to what is important to them.  A recent commercial for financial investing demonstrated how to bring clarity this sales objection of “I don’t have time.”  The salesperson asked if the buyer was available at 10 am the next day and she responded no and offered what was happening.  Then the salesperson continued to ask about different times of the day and each time the buyer said no and shared what she was doing.  Finally, the salesperson said (I am paraphrasing) “Wouldn’t you like your investments to work for you as hard as you work each day?”

The buyer physically stopped to indicate she was processing the question and then said “yes.”

Of course this is a commercial, but probably one of the best examples to show how to bring clarity to those sales objections we all experience.

In many sales training programs to sales training books, sales objections are covered. Yet I have not heard or read where this term “clarity” or the “lack of clarity” is included in these resources.

Much of our sales lives and even personal lives revolve around clarity or the lack of clarity. When people have crystal clear clarity about what they believe, they know and they expect sustainable forward progress is possible.  Unfortunately, the lack of clarity is truly one of those shadows in our lives, in the background, obstructing our view and hence our thinking and doing.

Speaking of clarity, do  you know what you do well? Do you know how you communicate or how your behaviors are viewed by others? Do you know what motivates you to move forward? If not, take advantage of this special opportunity until 2/28/2017 by experiencing these three (3) dynamic psychometric assessments (Attribute Index, DISC Index and Values Index)  that will begin to bring clarity to you.

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Sales Leadership Requires You Know What You Do Well

Over the last 10 years, I have discovered this startling fact among those in sales leadership roles:

98.7% do not know what they truly do well!

The irony, if you want to call it that, is 95.4% of these same salespeople know what they don’t do well.

Sales Leadership Question

Why do winning sales teams win?

  • Answer A) Because of the weaknesses of their salespeople
  • Answer B) Because of the strengths or talents of their salespeople


Most sales managers, SMB owners and salespeople respond with “B, of course.” So if that is true, then why do so few salespeople know what they truly do well?

Through one if not the most accurate psychometric assessments in the marketplace, the Attribute Index, salespeople and other professionals learn how they make decisions externally and internally along with 78 core talents that can be separated into:

  • Interpersonal – talents used when making external decisions
  • Intrapersonal – talents used when making internal decisions

Some of the intrapersonal talents begin with this word of “self” as in self confidence, self direction, self esteem, self management or self starting ability. The interpersonal talents include accountability for others, realistic goal setting for others and relating to others.

When people do not know what they do well and focus their efforts on what they think they do well, numerous opportunities are missed.

What is even worse, people through conditioned behavior continue to prioritize fixing their weaknesses even though knowing full well sales success comes through one’s strengths.

Isn’t it time for those in sales leadership roles to truly know by having crystal, clear clarity what they do well?

Benjamin Franklin understood the power in having clarity around our strengths, our talents when he said:

“Wasted strengths are like sundials in the shade.”

Can you afford not to know what you do well? Learn what you do well along with what motivates you and how you communicate through this SPECIAL OFFER. (until 2/28/2017)

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Who Helped Me the Most in 2016 – George Richardson A Gentleman’s Gentleman

One of my colleagues, Jim Keenan, wrote a blog posting about who helped him the most in 2016.  He then went on to answer how this person helped him.  Keenan shared his posting with me and it got me thinking, truly thinking, that deep, dive down to your guts type of thinking of who helped me the most in 2016.

helped-me-the-mostI made a list of people who had gone out of their way to be supportive.  As I read the list, I saw the names of old friends and new friends, clients, colleagues and even some authors with whom I never had a conversation.


However, one name surfaced after all this introspection and that name was George Richardson. My connection with George began back in 1999 when I met him at a quarterly conference sponsored by Resource Associates Corporation .

Over the years, George has always been a gentleman’s gentleman full of grace and incredible knowledge.  He is one of the few individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing who always gives credit where credit is due.


George’s support was always present. He facilitated the knowledge of psychometric assessments such as Innermetrix Attribute Index, DISC and Values. George was always willing to share articles or those crucial tidbits of information to fill in the knowledge gaps. Finally George was very generous with his time including scheduling a mastermind meeting every two weeks to help other executive coaches and consultants to better understand these psychometric assessments.


One of my goals in 2016 was to improve my understanding of these three (3) specific psychometric assessments and how they can provide insight into the field of talent management. An article I wrote on LinkedIn Plus was partly the result of George’s insight.


Sometimes knowing someone is out there that has far more experience than you and is willing to support you means so much.  George readily answered questions be it through emails or the master mind sessions.


Knowing that one false statement to a executive coaching or sales coaching client can have far reaching negative impact, George’s support provided additional clarity so I would be better prepared to avoid making those statements.


In today’s world, there are still some people who are selfish with the sharing of their knowledge because they fear the competition.  I am so grateful George is not one of those people.


My world has much greater clarity when it comes to understanding and then sharing the results of these psychometric assessment tools.


George Richardson you are a blessing to this world, thank you.


Please copy and paste these “who helped me the most” questions into your blog, your Facebook page or wherever you place your content marketing.  Share your thoughts as well as your heart to uplift another and shine a bright light onto the pathway for 2017.

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Maybe Sales Quotas Are Only Part of the 2017 Business Growth Equation?

For the last several weeks to maybe months, sales managers and salespeople are looking to 2017 business growth. Within this annual or quarterly activity is the setting of sales quotas or goals.  However if we believe sales research that  44% of salespeople have an 80% probability they won’t close the sale (Hubspot), then maybe there is something else missing?



With so much dependent upon successfully achieving 2017 business growth (fill in the year or quarter), then doesn’t it make sense to deep dive as to what limited 2016 sales quotas?

Strategic Plan?

Without a well researched and yes time consuming strategic plan, SMB owners, sales managers and salespeople are engaged in the role of Captain Wing It.  You heard about Captain Wing It haven’t you.  He or she goes around spraying all his or her actions all over the place and then prays something will stick.

Goal Setting Process?

Given how many people fail to achieve their own personal resolutions or goals, this suggests there is not formal goal setting process in place.  Think about all those courses you took on Goal Setting 101,

Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Processes?

Larger firms have improved their recruiting, hiring and retaining processes. In a recent LinkedIn Pulse article, David Brock looks at the dramatic loss of dollars because of these poor retaining processes.

Talent Development?

Much has been written about talent development from the employment of psychometric assessments to executive coaching, leadership coaching or sales coaching.  And yes, return on investment can be measured when specific goals are set provided there is sales culture where organizational alignment exists.

Learn more about the impact of organizational alignment in this book, Fail-Sale Leadership.

Far too often individuals regardless of their roles confuse symptoms with problems.  They also look to obstacles or barriers instead of seeking what is limiting forward progress as in this instance business growth.  Note: A limitation may not be as obvious as an obstacle or barrier.

Reach out to Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time or schedule a time on her calendar (CLICK HERE) to have a quick conversation to further explore what is limiting your business growth.


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If I Only Had a Sales Brain

Remember the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz and his fervent wish of “If I only had a brain?” Sometimes I hear this somewhat similar desire with salespeople who appear to yearn for a sales brain.


Would such a brain actually increase sales?

The ending lyrics to the Scarecrow’s desire may provide some insight:

I would not be just a muffin’,
My head all full of stuffin’,
My heart all full of pain;
And perhaps I’d deserve you and be
Even worthy even you
If I only had a brain.

The desire for a brain reflected the Scarecrow’s own self imposed limitations and his own internal negative feelings of self-worth.  He didn’t feel worthy of deserving anyone’s attention because of his own limiting beliefs.

In actuality, Scarecrow confused having a physical brain with having a mind.  He needed reinforcement that he had a mind as evidenced by receiving the degree from the Wizard.

How we think about ourselves is the foundation for success in any endeavor and especially I believe in sales. Having a sales mind or better yet a sales mindset now that is somewhat different than having a sales brain.

Possibly this is why understanding how we make decisions within our sales conversations to our marketing and sales activities is essential. By applying the work of Dr. Hartman through the science of Axiology, we can actually improve our decision making process by leveraging our various talents.

Did you know you had 78 talents?

Download this PDF file (78-core-talents-self-eval-dl) to self assess yourself.

Additionally the work around the neurosciences including neuro linguistic programming (NLP) to emotional intelligence all work together to support a strong as well as emotionally aware sales mindset.  Today some forward thinking sales training actually incorporates NLP and emotional intelligence into their learning objectives.

Of course we as human beings are not one dimensional.  This is why it is important to also understand why we do what we do and how we do what we do.  Psychometric assessments such as the Values Index and DISC Index provide insight to those other two dimensions of “why” and “how.”

Now that you may be having the Scarecrow’s “If I only had a brain,” tune running through your head, you may wish to further reflect what it means to have a sales brain and as well as sales mindset. Reflection or better yet guided reflection can support you in reaching your goal to increase sales.

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Leadership or Sales Temperament the Confusion Continues

For the last several months we have been hearing about leadership temperament. In working with executive coaching and sales coaching clients, I hear considerable questions regarding sales temperament. Sometimes people believe leadership and sales temperaments are mutually exclusive. No the reality is they are mutually inclusive.



First what is temperament?  I continually return to the Attribute Index’s Technical manual that defines temperament as:

The degree of optimism or pessimism with which you tend to view the world around you.  Each of us can choose to see things in an overly positive or negative light but having a neutral view is preferential.

Additionally, according to the Attribute Index, we all have two temperaments:

  • External – How we view the outside world, others
  • Internal – How we view our own internal world, ourselves

Within the Attribute Index, there are 20 external temperament patterns and 20 internal temperament patterns.

Note: The Attribute Index is a psychometric assessment based upon the works of Dr. Hartman and the field Axiology. You may find this article,  “Would you ride an unproven rollercoaster? Maybe you just did when you bought that psychometric assessment,” of interest if you are considering any psychometric assessment.

Whether we are in a leadership role or a sales role, our temperament remains the same, We can be extremely positive, extremely negative, or neutral.

What I have learned after reviewing and debriefing over 500 of these psychometric assessments is many people recognize their own temperaments both external and internal with greater clarity than their decision making styles or key talents.  People for the most part know of their own degrees of optimism or pessimism.

If my corporate and sales coaching clients have any surprises, it comes from the actual description based upon the three dimensions of thought that act as the foundation for this information.

  • Systems (analytical) or Thinking – Head
  • Intrinsic (emotional) or Feeling – Heart
  • Extrinsic (practical) or Doing – Hands

At the end of the day, there is no difference in our leadership temperament or sale temperament. What is different is the role and how we make decisions based upon that role.

If you wish to learn more about a incredibly accurate assessment that can be tailored to your leadership role or sales role, click here to schedule time in this calendar or text me at 219.508.2859.

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Sales Communication – Selling to the High D & High C

Many people in sales have either heard or have taken the DISC Index profile. This is one of the best tools to understand and apply sales communication behaviors. The assessments reveals how you communicate; how others perceive your communication and how you can leverage that knowledge to increase sales.


I am a high D (at the top) as well as a higher C (above the norm). Both of these scores reflect how I communicate.  The high D is very decisive while a higher C tends to follow the rules and is more analytical.

For me this translates as someone who is very literal.  I do not make presumptions about anything I read or hear during a sales conversation. Facts are important to me and small talk is not my thing. Yet I am still very much focused on the results of the solution being presented.

Many buying decision makers are high Ds.  They tend to be more assertive and challenging. One of the more common characteristics is those with high Ds do not like to waste time.

Now the high C presents some different characteristics including don’t rush the buying decision making process. A high C will want to evaluate the sales conversation.

The combination of a high D and a high C creates a more task focused individual and less people oriented.  This individual maybe more of an introvert than an extrovert.

Also remember the D buyer is looking for results while the C buyer is seeking information. Neither one of them like to be pushed.

Learning the characteristics of the behaviors associated with the DISC Index profile can dramatically improve sales communication. Of course, people are multi-dimensional and one assessment short changes the complexity of individuals. This is why I recommend two other psychometric assessments:

  • The Values Index – Understanding what people value in other words what motivates them
  • The Attribute Index – Understanding how people make decisions, their temperaments and 78 core talents.

If you are interested in learning how to improve your sales communication, give me a call at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time. I will be happy to answer your questions.

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Remember This to Unlock Sales Motivation

In response to this LinkedIn Pulse article, 7 Top Tips to Hire & Keep Rock Star Salespeople, a SMB owner shared his own frustration in hiring and keeping commissioned salespeople.  In his efforts to improve the sales motivation of his salespeople, he bought books, made recommendations for sales seminars and only one salesperson made any significant sales revenue growth.

sales-motivationMy response to him was two fold:

Use of Psychometric Assessments Unlock Sales Motivation

The use of psychometric assessments help to weed out truly motivated salespeople from those not so motivated. Possibly the first assessment to use is the Values Index followed up by the Attribute Index.

Understanding the Theory of Self Determination

Sales motivation like all motivation must come from within each salesperson.  Psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan in their work discovered all humans beings share the same three basic intrinsic motivators. By knowing these motivators, SMB owners, sales managers and salespeople can take actions to ensure their own actions are not creating sales motivation barriers.

One of the biggest fallacies respective to motivation is outside encouragement.  As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Your goal is to understand how to either make the horse thirsty or understand when the horse is thirsty.

External motivators have been shown time and time again not to be effective or sustainable. Now if the person values financial reward; has the talents to achieve financial reward and you as the SMB owner or sales manager do not place obstacles in front of that person, you have probably increased the chances for sales success.

Yes, you can increase sales by investing time on the front end to identify those people who are internally motivated to increase sales. Yes it may be difficult and frustrating, but it can be achieved with the use of the right tools and understanding of human motivation.


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