Posts Tagged ‘sales action plan’

How to Unleash More Selling Time

Do you have a time management problem in your selling efforts?  Are you running out of time as you balance work with your personal life?  Have you tried time management training, seeking time management tips or reading time management articles and books?  And you still have a problem?

Guess what?  You are not alone. This is because time management is not about time management but rather about self management through planning and goal setting. Please let me explain.

Why are you managing time?  Because you made commitments to do that or be here.  In other words, you made promises based upon your sales and business goals within your strategic plan.  If you did not have these goals, would you have a time management problem?  Probably, not.

Take a moment to envision a triangle.  The bottom two thirds of the triangle are all of your goals.  The top one third is time management. Do you see how time management is really the apex of goal setting and goal achievement?

If time management is a problem, my first question is have you committed all of your  business and sales goals to writing?  Then the next question are those goals aligned to your overall strategic action plan or action plans? Finally, are these goals yours or someone else’s?  If they belong to someone else, do you think that maybe you are resisting achieving them?  Would that not affect how your use your time?

Speaking of your plan, does it include a Purpose, Vision, a Values and a Mission statement?  These core foundational statements are extremely necessary when scheduling your time as well as using time. Returning to the earlier diagram, the core foundational statements are between your goals and your time management.

When you have all four foundational statements, you can reduce the time that you spend on decision making. If something comes across your desk that is not in alignment with your core foundational statements, you can quickly discard it and not waste those precious minutes pondering “Should I or should I not?”.

TAKE ACTION: Stop believing it is a time management problem. For as Pogo so eloquently said: “I meet the enemy and he is us.”  Next you need to invest some time into planning your selling activities and overall business success. Finally, if you do not utilize a proven goal setting and goal achievement process, find one to work with your business and sales action plan. Then and only then, will you get unleash your selling time and receive even greater results from the same amount of time.

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12 Is a Costly Number to Every Sales Leader

Do you waste 12 minutes a day as you are conducting your daily sales activities?  Be honest.  If you are honest with yourself, the time wasted each day probably exceeds just 12 minutes.  Ongoing workplace time use and workforce productivity research suggests employees continue to waste a lot of time.

What is all that wasted time costing your ability to increase sales?  Maybe you are thinking, it’s just 12 minutes a day, not much.

By doing some simple math, 12 minutes a day equals 1 hour a week and this translates into 52 hours per year or over a solid week of productivity.  Now that the picture is much bigger, what is that costing you?

If you are a sales leader and value your time, then you should be worth at least $100 an hour or $5,200 annually given all that expertise.  Even if you believe you are only worth $50 an hour that still adds up to $2,600 each year. If you know how much time it takes to close a sale, then do that math.  How many more sales could you achieve in 52 hours?

What can you do as a sales leader for yourself to reinvest those lost minutes into productive ones? Here are some simple strategies from which you can take action:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary conversations and time wasters including social media. Be intentional in all your actions.
  2. Review your sales goals daily, weekly and monthly.
  3. Set a schedule and review your schedule daily. Use a CRM tool as you review your activities.
  4. Use agendas for meetings with your sales management or other colleagues. Without agendas, meeting time becomes a lot of lost minutes.  Do not allow any new items that come from the discussion. Table them for the next meeting.  Keep personal issues out of the meeting. This one strategy helped one of my clients consistently increase revenue by 20-25% annually.
  5. Model as a sales leader the desired behavior. Respect the time of your colleagues and your customers. For example, let your sales prospect know that you only want 30 minutes of his or her time.
  6. Align your time to your sales goals. If you goal is to secure one new sales lead from your regular chamber to civic meetings, then make sure you achieve that goal.  Do not waste time visiting with people that you know. You must first be accountable before you expect others to be accountable.
  7. Have a  sales action plan. As a sales leader, you should be an overall Strategic Business Growth Action Plan© reinforced with Marketing, Sales, Customer Loyalty, Management, Innovation and Financial sub plans. Stop the praying and spraying mentality and behaviors that are time wasters.
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The Only Thing You Can Control in Sales

Sales, wouldn’t it be great if you could control the:

  • Buying decision making process?
  • Competition?
  • Economy?
  • Decision Maker?
  • Sales goals?

Yet reality shows us there is only one thing you can control and that is you.  From you, you can control your:

  • Beliefs and attitudes
  • Actions and behaviors
  • Results

We cannot control how people react to us.  All we can do is control our reaction to other people.

Years ago a colleague, George Richardson, gave me a simple diagram about what was in my control. I continue to use this diagram as I work with my executive coaching and sales coaching clients.

salesWhen we look at the big picture, there is very little we can control and even less what we can influence. Most of our thoughts and actions are directed to what we cannot control.

From this behavior, we begin to experience:

  • Guilt
  • Regrets
  • Self-doubt
  • Stress
  • Weakening of our self-confidence

To restrain our natural tendency to focus on what we cannot control it helps to develop a goal driven sales action plan that is aligned to our purpose, our values, our vision and our current mission.  This way just as a map guides our forward movement toward a predetermined destination we can guide our own beliefs and actions to a destination of our choosing.

When we commit our goals to writing, something magical happens. We have gained greater control. Yes unexpected events may happen. However if we engage in deeper reflective thought, we may identify many of those limitations. When new limitations emerge, we can then reflect about how we can overcome these new barriers to our sales success.

Here is one proven goal worksheet that is unlike most others.

If you want to increase sales, then begin to focus on what you can control. Stop focusing on what is beyond your control unless you enjoy all that worry, stress, self doubt and those extra gray hairs?

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Become The 13th Warrior in Sales

One of my favorite recent movies in the last 20 years is The 13th Warrior. This is a well crafted story based on a book by Michael Crichton. There are many good lines in this adventure packed movie. And what is fascinating how many of those lines apply to anyone who is in sales.

13-Warrior-CoverGrow Stronger

As Banderas is leaving the ship, he is thrown a heavy Viking sword.  He tells his Viking companion “I cannot lift this.”  The Viking simply replies “Grow stronger.”

With all the change happening the market place, salespeople must grow stronger every day. Strength comes in 3 shapes, mental, emotional and physical.

  • How are you increasing your knowledge of the marketplace?
  • Is professional development through sales training, reading sales or business books part of your sales action plan?
  • What are you doing in keeping yourself emotionally strong and resilient in face of adversity?
  • Are you physically healthy to engage in daily combat with the forces within your industry, your market, etc.?
  • Do you unite all three aspects of yourself to grow stronger?

Shut Your Teeth

My mother always told me never to tell anyone “to shut up” as that was rude.  In this movie, Antonio Banderas is told to “shut your teeth.” This quick statement reminded me of Mark Twain who wrote “If the good Lord wanted us to talk more than to listen, he would have given us two mouths instead of two ears.”

How often in sales does we lose opportunities because we are so busy talking or just thinking about what we are going to say next?  Maybe it is time for many of us to truly shut our teeth?

Deception Is Everything

In another scene, one of the Vikings deceives an enemy who believes he is much stronger than his opponent. This action surprises Banderas who learns “deception is everything.” 

If we understand the origins of strategy (for a General to deceive his enemies), then in sales we must engage in strategic actions to deceive our enemies (think competitors). Of course deception does not apply to customers, clients or colleagues as we must be authentic in all actions.

I Am Not a Warrior

As Banderas faces his first fight against the “eaters of the dead,” he tells himself I am not a warrior.”  What we tell ourselves can in many instances become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We have no control of what comes into our minds. However we have 100% control of what we allow to stay and what we create. In sales, telling ourselves we are not salespeople or worse yet “I truly hate to sell” serves no purpose except to drain our checkbooks.

Henry Ford said it best “Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.”

Where Do Bears Live?

In fighting the “eaters of the dead,” Banderas asks this simple question Where do bears live?”  How often do we fail to ask ourselves where do our customers live?

Possibly we do what others tell us to do, join Chambers, attend business to business networking events or engage in the various social media sites? These actions in many instances are disjointed because we have failed to engage in strategic planning and strategic thinking.  What happens next is the Captain Wing mentality where there is a lot of spraying of actions all over the place and an equal amount of praying those actions will stick.

Yes sales is a wonderful profession provide you are willing to work hard and truly enjoy what you do. You can become the 13th warrior provided you make the effort.

* * * * *

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

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What Is Missing in Your Action Plan to Increase Sales?

Some in small business as well in sales roles have an action plan to increase sales. What these documents look like probably varies from a couple of scribbles to numerous pages with detailed goals and other documentation. Yet, in most of these written action plans, there must be something missing because of this one ongoing issue:



Lack of clarity as to what each small business does

How do I know this?  I just listen.

Think back to the last face to face business to business networking event you attended. How many of those small business professionals could clearly and quickly article what they do in such a way that you wanted to learn more?

What I continue to hear is a lot of stuttering, hems and haws, to almost complete silence or reluctance to describe what these small business owners and sales professionals actually do.

An action plan to increase sales exists for that purpose to increase sales.  To be able to realize this goal begins by clearly stating what  your small  business brings to potential customers. This suggests your response should include:

  • Results
  • Emotions
  • Call to action

If your action plan to increase sales is not delivering your desired results, then maybe it is time to step back and determine if the problem starts with how you position your small business and not necessarily your sales action plan.

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Push Your Brains, Not Your Brawn in Sales

There is a lot of pushing going on in small business to Fortune 500 sales.  Hungry, sales starved small business owners to others use their brawn to push their business cards, their elevator pitches instead of using their brains to push toward their desired end results such as increase sales or sustainable business growth.

salesFor the sake of argument, I am defining brawn as those common, repetitive sales activities where non-thinking energy is applied.

Brawn is automatic pilot (conditioned response) doing while brain is intentional thinking (unconditioned response).

In talking with an executive sales coaching client who was sharing her meeting with a potential client, she asked a question about what was happening within this particular organization. The sales lead jumped all over her by saying “you should know what is going on here.”  Keeping her cool, she used her brain not to overreact but to demonstrate she had done her research and was just attempting to learn were there any additional challenges.  In our executive coaching debriefing conversation, she realized that in the future, by placing a clause before her question to indicate she had down her research might possibly avoid a repeat of this particular situation.

Sales is far more about thinking than even speaking or picking up the phone to talk to a sales lead. Engaging in industry or company specific research is an example of pushing one’s brain. Reading and self improvement are two others examples of pushing the brain. Thinking what you will say to that sales lead before you pick up the phone so you do not sound like all those other vendors wanting the same business.

Having a written sales action plan is another example of pushing the brain.  Far too many sales people are in the role of Captain Wing It pushing their brawn by spraying their actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.

Yes doing is needed in sales, no doubt about that. However without intentional forward thinking, the brawn will almost always lose to the brain.

If you truly want to increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days

Consider giving her a call especially if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.

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News Flash – Social Selling Is Not a New Sales Frontier

I just read another posting by another sales expert about social selling specific to LinkedIn.  The observations this author made applied to all selling in general.


Social selling is not a new sales frontier as it implies all other selling is not social as if people buy from robots.

If people buy from people, then all selling is social and has been since the dawn of man or at least since mankind has been exchanging his or her resources for the resources of someone else.

Beyond some sales expert attempting to sell another book or workshop, the focus on this new term “social selling” is because the existing selling has not been working.

Selling does not work if you:

  • Expect a quick fix
  • Believe one size fits all from your own marketing to your solutions
  • Lack a written plan, a personal commitment to that plan
  • Buying a tool (technology or non-technology) will automatically increase sales
  • Adopt a copy and paste attitude (copy this person’s profile, elevator speech, etc.)

Sales is a process (marketing, selling and keeping) and the length of time for that sales process will vary depending upon many factors. However one factor is always present people who are by nature social.

Social selling has always existed.

Engagement in the technology driven “social world” is essential provided you are engaging in the right areas where you prospects are spending or investing their time and you are leveraging the those tools to the best of their capabilities.

In sales including this now popular term of “social selling,” authenticity is demanded now more than ever because of technology and the 24/7 connected world.

Focus on being authentic, caring, and committed to your sales action plan as well as marketing action plan, then you will earn the success from those hard efforts.  Do not be fooled by the experts who advocate social selling because these individuals are just jumping on the bandwagon to sound different or to make selling sound different. Selling has truly not changed. What has changed is potentially:

  • More obstacles to increase sales
  • Less thinking by salespeople
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Is a Sales Goals Worksheet Different?

Why would a sales goals worksheet be different than a marketing goals worksheet or even a personal health goals worksheet?

sales-goals-worksheetWhat I know to be true is there is no difference because the sales goals worksheet should be aligned to a proven goal setting process. What might be difference is the goal driven sales action plan because the goals for sales are usually different than the goals for marketing.

By having a uniform goals worksheet allows for both clarity and  consistency of all actions.  Switching from this goals worksheet to that one just because of this one word – sales – does not make any sense.

The more a salesperson can repeat with success a proven goal setting process including the use of the sales goals worksheet the more success he or she will have.

If you want to increase sales, find a proven goals worksheet that works with all goals of your life and not just the sales goals.


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What Are Your Action Plans to Increase Sales?

Many small businesses have a sales action plan and some of the more forward thinking have a strategic action plan. Successful organizations understand they must align several action plans to increase sales. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  An effective action plan is reinforced by written WAY SMART goals.

action-plans-to-increase-salsThe first action plan is the strategic one. This plan is forward thinking and incorporates many aspects of the organization.

Then comes the marketing plan followed by the sales action plan.

One often overlooked plan is customer loyalty.  For salespeople are just as responsible for keeping customers loyal as are other departments within any small business.

If you are a salesperson, another overlooked or just plain ignored plan  is your own professional development action plan. With buyers become better educated, salespeople must also become better educated.

With 97.7% of all small businesses having under 20 employees, these smaller firms cannot in many instances afford to develop or educate their sales team.  Given all the excellent and normally free resources on the Internet, sales self education and professional development is far easier than ever before.

Yes for sustainable business growth requires several action plans to increase sales. By understanding this simple concept is the first step forward to having a thriving small business.

Triage Business Planning was constructed on having several action plans to increase sales and overall business growth. There is a 50% savings until September 30, 2013.

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Are You Where You Want To Be In Sales, If Not, Why Not?

Many times I have asked this question when delivering a keynote to sales professionals, mid-size to small business owners or when fact finding with a potential executive sales coaching client:

are-you-where-you-want-to-beAre you where you want to be?

The answer more often than not is NO.

Then I ask what believe to be the next logical and sequential question:

So if you are not where you want to be, do you have 100% clarity as to why you are not there?

And again the answer is NO.

Unfortunately far too many salespeople fail to invest the time to secure crystal clarity as to where they want to be.

Sure they have an idea of what might be in the way, the reasons for not achieving that desired goal such as to increase sales.

Yet they still are lost in finding the right path for themselves.

Maybe this is why they attempt to walk the paths of others?

And then are so disappointed when those paths fail to lead them to their desired results.

To be able to answer this question of “are you where you want to be in sales?” with the necessary clarity starts with an assessment of your own talents.

From those benchmarks you can begin to create a path or sales action plan with goals as benchmarks.

Now execution follows because you also have invested the time to think about potential obstacles obstructing your chosen path to increase sales.

So if you are not where you want to be, then consider:

  • Assessing where you are
  • Creating the desired sales action plan that works best for you
  • Executing the right decisions to create the right actions to deliver the right results

The Attribute Index is a great and proven assessment to begin to gain the clarity you may be lacking. Having given this assessment to hundreds of sales professionals and executives, 98.8% rank its overall accuracy as an 8 or higher on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high). Discover more about the Attribute Index.

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