Posts Tagged ‘sales coach’

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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How Process Trumps Price in Business, Executive or Sales Coaching

Once again I heard, “Your price is too high.  I can get sales coaching for a much cheaper cost.” Possibly you have also heard a similar sales objection to your price?



My direct reply to this sales objection was:

“Then that other coach may be a better solution fit for you.  My fees that you believe are too high are the result of 19 years as an executive, business and sales coach with a proven track record.

There are only two problems in any SMB – people or process.

Many executive coaches, business coaches and sales coaches lack a process.  This is why I have personally coached numerous executive, business and sales coaches who did not have a process.  Effective coaching be it for executive, small business owners or sales professionals is 100% about continuous improvement. How can anyone engage in sustainable continuous improvement without an initial process?”

Sales Coaching Tip:  Not everyone is the best fit as a sales coaching client. I already had a sense this was not my ideal customer because forward thinking people do not bring price up at the beginning or sometimes never at all.

In speaking with my colleagues on the East and West Coast as well as with some of my clients, my coaching fees are way too reasonable for the proven results I deliver. However a SMB owner one must be cognizant of the market place.  Also having separate fees for different geographical areas just seems unethical to me.

If you are thinking about hiring a sales coach, then the first question should not be about price, but rather about process.  What process does the coach employ?

The second question should be directed to what are the results generated by the process?  Results must be quantitative (measurable) not just some feel good qualitative results. This may require you speaking with the clients of the coach you are considering hiring.

As to the third and final question, is how do your clients get those results? Here is where the rubber meets the road for those engaged in executive, business or sales coaching.

Click HERE to schedule your time to learn of my answer to that third question.

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Your Greatest SMB Asset Is…?

What is the greatest SMB asset?  Your solutions (products or services)? Your building or location? Your customer base?  Your bank balance? Yes, these are all great assets. However, your greatest SMB asset should be your people.

SMB assetToo often SMBs fail to protect this greatest asset.  For people are not view as capital, but as liabilities.  For example, when sales lag or business slows down, people followed by the marketing budget are the first to be cut.  People are view as too expensive given the current economic downturn.

Businesses exist to make money and more importantly to make a profit. To achieve this goal requires people because even with the advent of current technology, people are still required to stock the shelves for orders, process the orders, ship the orders, reconcile the receivables and handle all customer service inquiries.

From the smallest to the Fortune 100 companies, the investment in human capital through talent management should be next to marketing as the primary business building strategies. For example, if you have long term salespersons who regularly bring high sales and are low maintenance, do you affirm their contributions or are you resentful of their salaries?

As a business coach and sales coach, I have observed many in business leadership roles creating toxic sales cultures , directly and indirectly, in hopes that the high salary and high productive sales person will quit in order to replace him or her with a lower salary person.  Management will take action from changing accounts to showing special treatment to the new hire while ignoring the productive salespersons.

Remember, your people will make or break your company. When you view them as an asset instead of a liability, you may see your balance sheet in an entirely different perspective.

Give Leanne a call at 219.508.2859 if you are interested in protecting and growing this greatest SMB asset or schedule a brief call on her calendar by clicking HERE.

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Why I Have Not Responded to Your Direct Mail Marketing

direct-mail-marketingIn the past 48 hours,  I received two direct mail marketing pieces from local real estate agents here in Northwest IN. One asked the following question:


And then goes into the following:

Your house didn’t sell, and it’s frustrating. I understand. If you are planning….

If you list with me and I bring you a buyer, you pay only 3% commission……

Give me a call, Let’s talk.

I have over a decade of experience and consistently am among the top producers in…

#1 Reason Why I Have Not Responded to Your Direct Mail Marketing

The only problem was I did call this realtor when I received his first direct mail marketing piece.  I called at 10am on a week day, non holiday morning and he did not answer his office phone even though it rang for 6 plus times without going into voice mail. Then I called his mobile phone, same result and no voice mail even came on.

So if you want to sell my house and you can’t answer your own damn phone why in the hell would I list with you?

#2 Reason Why I Have Not Responded to Your Direct Mail Marketing

People buy from people.  Direct mail marketing is the first step in prospecting.  Phone calls must be initiated.  Of course with Do Not Call Lists this may present a problem for a lazy salesperson.

A top sales performer knows how to get around those barriers.  Sales Coaching Tip:  Go to LinkedIn and look the person up. By the way, my phone number is there along with website and other ways to contact me.  If not, do an Internet search and surprise you will be able to quickly reach out to me.  Finally ask for an introduction or go knock on their door and do cold calling like top performing salespeople used to do!

Funny several other local real estate agents did call and one of them is with whom we listed because she demonstrated she was not a lazy salesperson.

#3 Reason Why I Have Not Responded to Your Direct Mail Marketing

Being a sales coach, I encourage my clients to understand their sales leads. Do some research.  Today’s sellers are far more educated than prior years. Your approach has been a total turn off because you do not know what I value when it comes to selling my house.  You think it is all about commission?  Wrong!!!!

The real estate agent we listed with and will relist with understood what we valued and she made a connection to our value drivers. She also did her research beyond the local comparables and was the only one out of 10 real estate agents we interviewed who went beyond the basics.

I truly do not know who educates real estate agents about marketing. Whomever they are paying, they are paying way too much.

As to their sales skills, again I question are they really salespeople selling real estate or real estate agents showing homes?  My sense is many of these real estate agents would starve if they had to truly engage in actually selling.

P.S. I wish I could say I am sorry for this rant, but I am not.

* * * * *

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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Sales Training Is Not Just for Big Business – Part 05

Even mid-size to small businesses can locate good sales training that meets their needs. This requires the following:


  • Letting go of the quick fix mentality
  • Realizing training must be a continuum with development and then coaching the next steps
  • Investing time to find the right person such as a sales coach, business coach or sales training consultant

The Quick Fix Mentality

Unfortunately, there are still quite a few small business owners and sales managers who live in the quick fix, band aid world.  Sales training is not the panacea for ineffective to poor leadership.  Additionally without a strategic plan, there is the definite possibility of misalignment as noted in the book Fail-Safe Leadership.

Another aspect of the quick fix mentality is the promotion of super salesperson to supervisor or sales manager.  The technical sales skills that made the salesperson great are not the same skills for an equally great sales manager.

Training Is a Continuum

Training is the first step.  Once everyone has the basic sales skills, understands the corporate objectives and all united as a team working for the best results then further sales development is required. This development goes beyond the basic sales training.  It may involve further role play when a new product is introduced or a new market is being targeted.

Depending upon the size of the sales team, further development may require hiring a business coach or sales coach to work with individual team members or the entire team. This outside resource can quickly bring new insight and fresh ideas to the team because the sales coach has not been tainted by the same experiences.

Finding the Right Sales Coach, Business Coach or Sales Trainer

Not everyone is the right fit for your mid-size to small business. You must find the right fit to ensure that your investment of time, energy, money and emotions returns a positive and hopefully significant investment.

LinkedIn is a great place to start through the use of key words.  Internet searches also help to locate that right fit for your company.  Probably the best way is to ask your clients to your colleagues along with others within your B2B or B2C business network.  More than likely there will be someone local (within 5-25 miles) who can meet your needs and wants.

Then invest a little more time to interview at least three (3) of these individuals.  Ask them about their overall sales training process and business philosophy. The sales training should be spread over several weeks with follow-up sessions because a one time exposure to a learning event results in less than 2% retention after 16 days.  Multiple exposures to the same learning event increase cognitive retention up to 85%.  If you disagree, how come you quickly know how much 10×10 is without even thinking?

Listen to learn if they assess the people and the situation first before providing any sales training.  Without any assessments or diagnostic tests, this is like going to the doctor with a headache and being told you need brain surgery. Finally ask each for two (2) or  three (3) referrals that you may call.

The Attribute Index with 75% Accuracy Can Identify

Your Top Sales People.

Whether you believe it or not, your mid-size to small business does require sales training.  And the generic workshops or seminars are mostly likely too generic, probably do not offer any proven assessments and lack any significant return on investment. These sales workshops are for a quick feel good and reflect the quick fix mentality.

P.S. If you missed any of the first four parts of this series, Sales Training Is Not Just for Big Business, here are those links:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

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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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May The Rage of Poor Marketing Ends Quickly

Rage is one of those words with several different meanings ranging from an intense storm to a burning passion to the early adoption or a fad.

poor-marketingLately it seems the rage (fad) to send a rage (intense storm) of blanket emails by raging (passionate) small business owners, in many instances, solo proprietors. Here is one I received just yesterday:

I hope all is well!

I’m writing today with the hope of your support. (insert name) has just celebrated a very successful year! We have been extremely fortunate to work with outstanding companies and talented people since the beginning. We are asking for your help to expand our social media presence by simply following our company’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages. We appreciate your support!

My one sentence response was:

Yes all is well and thank you for asking.

This poor marketing message was sent by a LinkedIn first degree connection who was so passionate he decided to email his entire contact list.  Our last conversation was he was seeking a sales coach.  He did not become a client and my note to myself was “gut tells me there is more than this to meet the eye.” In other words, this guy was picking my brain.  So I should not be surprised by his somewhat questionable and quite poor marketing action.

I then did a quick “Google” search of his company and saw several negative reviews including his leadership behavior as CEO.  What is really frightening he is consulting on leadership.

What unites these in the rage (early adoption I truly hope not) poor marketing messages is the following:

  • No first name
  • A false sense of familiarity
  • A strong to mild passionate request to take some action

My reason for sharing this is with you is my own personal rage (passion) against poor marketing especially ineffective marketing that is being promoted by professionals with questionable business ethics who are teaching and being paid for this rage (fad).

Marketing is not a quick fix, one time hit and “Wha La” sales leads are dropping on your front door step.

Effective, ethical and sustainable marketing takes considerable time to establish. This is why content marketing is no longer a fad, but a stable marketing strategy and tactic to attract attention and begin to build relationships.

Today’s advice is to forget blanket emails that are impersonal and one way (meaning it is all about you).

Look to build authentic relationships built on people knowing you and trusting you.

Yes this action does take time, however as the expression goes Rome was not built in a day nor is a strong market presence.


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Business Coach or Executive Coach, Who Are You?

This past week I was asked to take a survey from a national firm regarding the state of coaching.  What was interesting was how this firm defined these two roles or solutions:business-coach-executive-coach

  • Executive Coach – Changing behaviors
  • Business Coach – Providing strategies

As I worked my way through the survey, I once again realized how the definition of terms can alter the results because internal conflicts have been created.

Research has demonstrated professional coaching when executed well can have dramatic results.

For me personally, coaching is about securing clarity regarding specific Beliefs that drive Actions (behaviors) generating Results. To raise the BAR of individual performance starts with the beliefs. Since beliefs comprise thoughts as well as attitudes (habits of thoughts) thinking is required and more importantly strategic thinking is necessary.

As it has been said “If you do (think) what you have always done (thought), you’ll get what you have always gotten (thoughten)”  [Source: Tony Robbins without the parentheses.]

From those revisited thoughts and strategies, behaviors begin to change especially when aligned to a written strategic action plan.

Being a literal person,I define being a business coach as working with small business owners. Here they gain clarity about their current business strategies and alignment of those strategies to their behaviors. The decision maker is the small business owner.

An executive coach, in my opinion, works with executives usually within a corporate environment. In other words, more often than not I am hired by an organization to bring clarity to an executive through his or her own self discovery using the coaching process.

Even though this survey did not separate  a sales coach from the other two definitions, I define sales coaching as working with those engaged as professional salespeople who wish to improve their overall performance. For me, when I am hired as a sales coach, the client is paying me from his or her income.

In all roles, executives, small business owners and salespeople there exists both strategies and behavioral changes.  To suggest being a business coach  is only about strategies or an executive coach is only about behaviors  is a disservice to both the coaches and those being coached.

So to answer the question as to “Who are you?”

For me, I may now have to consider I am both a behavior coach and strategy coach or BS Coach for short.


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To Be or Not To Be a Client of a Business Coach

“To be or not to be,” that is the question. And no where is that question more prevalent than in the small business community where so many from owners, executives to salespeople are struggling. Maybe that is why some of these forward thinking leaders are considering hiring a business coach.

business coach

USA Today featured an article entitled, Tightrope: Coach can hone your business game, and the author, Gladys Edmunds,  answered this question “to be or not to be a client of a business coach.” She raised several good points and yet the main answer to this question was overlooked.

In speaking with other professional colleagues and through my own 15 years of experience, the real reason to hire a business coach, executive coach or even a sales coach, is for clarity. Sure clients reach out to streamline operations; to improve executive leadership skills; or to increase sales. Yet behind these problems is always this shadow problem of clarity. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The roles of business coach, executive coach or sales coach sometimes become blurred many times because the client lacked clarity.

One of my sales coaching clients recently exclaimed to me “Paying you $1,400 was worth it just to know I love being a salesperson and I am truly a good salesperson.”  She lacked clarity as to what she wanted to do in her mid career life as well as her leadership and sales talents. In just 8 hours of executive and sales coaching time, this client was able to gain crystal clarity and that made all the difference.

As a successful recruiter and manager, she had taken a new job that promised to be one thing and was yet quite another.  Many of us have experienced that situation. Being a forward thinker, she realized she need guidance to make this new role sales role successful.

After she arrived at clarity about her current position and the organization’s culture, a crystal clear, WAY SMART goal was set: To find a new sales position which would offer her a six figure income within 3 months.  Within 2 months, she received 2 offers and has accepted one of those offers.

If you wonder about the question “To be or not to be a client of a business coach?”, then ask yourself these five simple questions:

#1 – Am I where I want to be with my small business or my role such as salesperson? Yes or No

#2 – Do I know where I want to be with 100% crystal clarity in other words I can see it in the most minute details.Yes or No

#3 – Do I know with 100% certainty my talents? Yes or No

#4 – Do I have a written action plan supported by written WAY SMART goals including step by step action steps? Yes or No

#5 – Am I internally happy, satisfied, with my business or career progress? Yes or No

If you answered No to at least two of these questions, then you may wish to just talk to a business coach, sales coach or executive coach depending upon your current issue.  Many, including, myself, will provide a discovery conversation (no charge) to learn if they can guide you to turn those No answers to Yes ones.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who disrupts the status quo by discovering new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses; those who wish to grow beyond their current employees and executives or sales professionals in chaos.  She is recognized as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers in 2013 by Open View Sales Labs and can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Sales Desperation the Silent Killer to Increase Sales

“Don’t let them see you sweat” is a common quote. Yet sales desperation more often than not is felt not seen by the potential ideal customer or prospect and is truly the silent killer to increase sales.


Sales desperation is when salespeople internalize the inability to increase sales and the result becomes negative behaviors especially emotions that have the opposite effect.  For example, salespeople may shorten or even jump over the different phases and steps within the sales process.  Or when the salesperson is speaking, his or her voice sounds anxious.Either of these examples are more likely felt first before physically being noticed.

Since people buy from people, emotions are always present. Sales desperation can be sensed or felt by the prospect especially if that potential buyer is experienced in the buying/selling process and has emotional intelligence.

Yesterday in speaking with a potential sales coaching client, she shared with me part of her experience with another female sales coach she had just interviewed. The other sales coach was more assertive. I made the observation she (the other sales coach) appeared to be selling and not marketing.  I received a “yes” from the potential client. Now this could be the regular sales style of this sales coach. My sense tells me she was probably somewhat sales desperate and in that sales desperation jumped into selling.

The end result was the potential sales coaching client was emotionally turned off and then logically turned off. Sales Training Coaching Tip: People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.

Sales desperation is truly the silent killer to increase sales. The advice is no matter how poor your sales results are, leave those thoughts and feelings at the door along with your ego.  Finally, enter each sales meeting with an authentic positive attitude and look to make a friend first and then look to discover if you can earn a sale.

If you do not know the 5 sales objections, you may find this free webinar, Kiss the 5 Sales Objections Goodbye, of interest.

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The Ongoing Fear of Small Business Competition

Fear of small business competition appears to be integrated into the DNA of many enterprising individuals.  These small business folks are so fearful of another competitor hanging his or her shingle up to because the market is already crowded enough. So much of those vital resources of time, energy, money and emotions are lost to the fear of small business competition.


Today, I had another privilege that being to join 49 other top sales professionals in a group organized by Jonathan Farrington.  If I had tight shorts or was worried about my small business competition, I would have never joined this amazing group of sales professionals.

Also this month, another opportunity to what some would also view as my competition allowed me to join other executive and small business coaches in this endeavor,Worldwide Coaching Magazine.

Last year around this time, I met with another 20 plus top sales professionals and we joined forces to retweet and support each other through an informal group.

Currently I am working with another sales coach, Dianna Smith,  where we have the opportunity to provide a solution to a small business consultant in another state.

The fear of small business competition is truly a wasted one especially in these times due to the Internet and social media. By uniting with other like minded, highly ethical professionals you as the small business owner have the opportunity to double, triple your sales reach or marketing influence.

Remember as another colleague shared with me years ago, “you drive by more business than you will ever have.”  The fear of small business competition in today’s world is scarcity thinking and your time could be so much better invested.

P.S. If you believe in value selling, then you may find this free webinar, April Fools Only Sell on Value, of interest on April 4, 2013 from 12-12:30pm CDT.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith
219.759.5601 Main Office CDT
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Office located near Chicago, IL Main Website

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