Posts Tagged ‘sales coaches’

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

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

Please give me a break!

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

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

Human Beings Are Unique

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May you enjoy a most prosperous and enjoyable Labor Day.

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Your Commitment to Your Professional Growth Is?

Yesterday, I made this short update at LinkedIn about professional growth for executive coaches, business coaches or sales coaches:

If you are not continually expanding your knowledge, testing your own boundaries, how can you ask your coaching clients to do the same?

Even though I referenced those in professional coaching roles, this question can be asked of any professional in any role including sales, executive leadership, management and even customer service.

With over 97% of all U.S. businesses being fewer than 20 employees, professional growth many times falls on the financial shoulders of each individual.  These investments toward continuing professional development may range from buying books, joining organizations to even hiring an executive coach.

Some recent research by RandstadUSA suggests that millennials expect their employers to pay for their professional development. This may be true if the firms are large enough in revenue to fund those expectations.

The question to be asked is why aren’t you investing in your own professional growth?  Possibly the fear of it might not work?  I can attest even when I purchase a book or attend a seminar that I discover is not up to my expectations, I still walk away with one tidbit of knowledge.  My growth is not dramatic, but there is growth.

FEAR is for the most part False Evidence Appearing Real. 

Right now write down your goals for your own personal and professional growth.  For example, read one recently published book per month on sales or leadership. Did you know that 23% of 18-49 year olds have not read a book in the last 12 months. This number increases to 29% for adults 50 years old and older.  (Source: Pew Research)

P.S. Remember, this old saying “The chicken was involved; the pig was committed.”

If you are unsure of how to construct a good goal statement or lack your own action plan for professional growth, then CLICK HERE. If you wish to speak with me, Leanne, then click here for a free strategy session or call 219.508.2859 MST.

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What Are Your Top Sales Lessons Learned?

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. As for many people birthdays are a time of reflection.  We think about families, our friends, our experiences and ourselves as we travel back through the years.  What I realized is how many decades I have been involved in sales and all the sales lessons learned over the course of those years.

Probably of all the sales lessons learned, my father’s two sales buying rules come first to mind.  He gave me my first sales job of selling penny candy at his Sundry store.  I then graduates to selling coffee, milk shares, malts and hot dogs. Dad shared these two sales lessons.

#1People buy from people they know and trust.  A lot of people will say know, like and trust.  For Dad, the “like” criterion was “Would I take him or her home for dinner?”

#2People buy first on emotion followed by logic of reason.  Emotions are why we have such a variety of solutions in the marketplace.  No longer can you have any color as long as it is black. (Henry Ford)

I added this third sales buying rule – People buy on value unique to them. Yes I know a lot of sales training and development programs along with sales coaches to sales experts talk and write about salespeople creating value. That is not true.  If I want a red car (emotion) and all you have is a black car, you cannot create any value for me.  What a good salesperson can do is to connect to my other value drivers and he or she may be able to sell me the black car.

Possibly my fourth sales lesson learned is about being 100% authentic.  Authenticity cannot be faked.  People can smell a phony. Anymore their internal senses are tuned to smell unauthentic people.  Here is where active listening and emotional intelligence play a tremendous role

Lesson number five is not everyone will buy from you and that is okay. Knowing your ideal customer increases your ability to sell and proportionally decreases your stress.  Working with people who don’t fit your ideal customer may increase your revenue, but it is truly worth all the grief and aggravation?

President Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.” His words along with the words of Marcel Proust “The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.” complete sales lessons six and seven.

When we fail to plan (think) we engage in what a colleague called Captain Wing It behaviors. Then when we fail to change how we see things, we run the risk of engaging in Einsteins’ quote about insanity to being content with the status quo.

There are many more sales lessons learned and to be learned.  Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

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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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What Is Sales Truly About?

The marketplace is filled to the brim with sales training, sales books to sales coaches.  Yet at the end of the day, what is sales truly about?


Credit www.

My father taught me sales was about buying.  You as the salesperson had to build a relationships between you and the prospective buyer or even center of influence to be successful. He believed focusing on selling was a big error and allowed the ego to interfere in the buying/selling bridge.  Maybe that is why he shared these two buying rules with me.

#1 – People buy from people they know and trust. 

#2 – People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.

In the ensuing years I added a third buying rule based somewhat on the Theory of Self Determination (Deci and Ran) along with the works of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Dr. Gordon Allport that being:

#3 People buy on value unique to them.

The reason I asked the question of “What is sales truly about”  is because there is so much focus on the behaviors of the salespeople, the behaviors including motivation of the buyers are often ignored.  What happens is the seller gets fairly wrapped up in his or her own ego, the mind is filled with a lot of next step triggers and the actual buying process takes a backseat to the selling process. When this happens, earning the sale becomes far more difficult.

Here is where some sales objections happen as well as where stalls pop up. Now the seller must work far harder to convert the reluctant buyer.

This is why I believe top sales performers naturally know to stay quiet and to focus on the prospect.  These individuals also appreciate the autonomy within the Theory of Self Determination and then leverage their knowledge of DISC theory as developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston.

Zig Ziglar recognized what sales is truly about when he said “Sales is the transference of feelings.” That transference always begins with the buyer.

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The Sales Leads “Q” Dilemma

Most SMB people will agree that sustainable business growth relies on the ability to increase sales.  To achieve increase sales demands new prospects or sales leads.  Some business growth experts and sales coaches advise to go after the quantity (get more leads) while others look to quality (more qualified leads).  So what is a crazy, busy SMB salesperson supposed to do?



The first action should be to return to the strategic plan.  Review the marketing research and organizational capacity.  Update the ideal customer profile based on current customers as well as those customers who were not converted.

Then compare current marketing and selling efforts with actual results.  Quantity sales leads may and usually mean more effort for less results. Quality may generate better results, but not enough.  In the marketing and selling worlds, this is known as “know your numbers.”

Sales Coaching Tip:  Remember, people buy from people they know and trust. You may have to make more than three (3) contacts to earn the sales (close the deal).

Possibly the next action is to update your sales conversation without changing an effective marketing message. From my experience in working with executive coaching clients, how they say what they say is not as effective as it can be.

Sales Coaching Tip:  People buy first on emotion justified by logic.  When you create an emotional response there is greater likelihood, the ideal customer will want to further engage you in conversation.

Additionally you may wish to review your own community as well as to ask for referrals from existing customers or colleagues.  By establishing mutually beneficial relationships, you may receive quality sales leads (aka as referrals). Of course as in any relationship, this does require time.

Sales Coaching Tip:  People buy on value unique to them. Understand how to connect your ideal customer’s value drivers and then build upon them.

What “Q” sales leads to focus on will continue to be a dilemma for any SMB owner, executive or salesperson. By investing the time to reflect and then redirect your actions will generate improved business growth.

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Want to schedule a time to talk with Leanne? Just CLICK HERE

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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Collaboration or Consensus Selling, What’s Your Pick?

Suddenly there is a flourish of advice about consensus selling from sales trainers, sales experts and sales coaches.  I am sorry, but that advice is just plain hogwash. Yes I am biased with over 40 years of selling. This is just another fad to sell more sales training and sales books.

consensus-sellingConsensus selling means everyone must agree and such a position means you as the salesperson have already lost something.  Finding 100% agreement among everyone means something has got to give from the very beginning otherwise why do you need consensus?

What are you willing to give up as the buyer or as the seller before you enter any sales conversation?

If sales is the transference of feelings, then why not build upon those feelings through collaboration selling?  This type of selling works to create a win, win for everyone and does not start with a lose, win position.

Collaboration begins from a proactive, positive position where both the buyer and seller are working toward a shared goal.  Of course it is up to the seller, to be able to create absolute crystal clarity as to what that shared goal is while connecting to the value drivers of the buyer.

Consensus does not start from that proactive position, but rather one of reactive.  Therein lies the difference and why consensus selling is just plain wrong.

Just think about the feelings associated with those words upon your own personal reflection. Which word makes more sense? For me I would much rather collaborate with my ideal customer.  Here we respect each other and if something must give, we both accept that without feeling any pressure to do so.

My sense is more is given away through consensus selling than collaborative selling as well as the relationship is not nearly as strong.

Want better SALES results with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

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The Viral Infection of the Sick Sales Culture

Yesterday I listened to a former client shares her challenges with her current employer.  The majority of these challenges are embedded within the existing sales culture. No wonder so many salespeople feel that are continually teased and expected to perform like some household pet.



Over the years other clients have shared similar stories.  Many if not all of the issues always return to the workplace culture and specific to the sales culture. There are far too many sick sales cultures being operated by SMB owners.

Given all the information that is currently available, one would think that forward thinking leadership would address their people and process problems. Having underperforming employees is costly.  Gallup through its annual workplace engagement survey continues to suggest around 66% of all employees are not actively engaged (giving 8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay).

Yet stories as my former client shared are still ever present.  Symptoms of a sick sales culture include:

  • Inconsistency such as the awarding of new accounts to the taking of accounts and giving them to another salesperson
  • Unrealistic sales goals or quotas
  • CRMs used as a means of controlling salespeople; keeping tabs on them
  • Internal disagreements between separate departments such as accounting, shipping, HR, etc.
  • Executive leadership living in the past (status quo) and not in the present
  • Top  performing salespeople are punished by raising expectations for them while not for other salespeople

SMBs cannot afford to have even one person not operating at 100% performance.  My client confessed the workplace culture has diminished her productivity by 10%-15%.  She is half way through her year long plan to leave her current employer.  This client shared the top producing role for several years. The business was sold and sales accounts redistributed.

Work for her that once was exciting is no longer fun.  She must tell herself how to respond to the sarcastic remarks and ongoing negative behaviors within this workplace culture. How would this make anyone feel?

What is really sad is a sick sales culture harms the top performing salespeople the most because it restricts them from doing what they do well. I witnessed this in my former corporate role right after I retired because there was a change of executive leadership (father to son).

Until executive leadership recognizes the real problem instead of symptoms, this viral infection will continue to spread. Unfortunately far too many sales consultants and sales coaches are addressing the symptoms such as sales training while ignoring the real problem, a sick workplace culture.  Then executive leadership complains the sales training did not work.  No wonder insanity is ruling the day!

Want more sales CLICK HERE to schedule a call with me.

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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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When It Comes to SMB Competition Do Not Confuse Awareness with Obsession

Yesterday in speaking with two executives (Jim Fowler and Luke Christiano) from, I suddenly realize that many in sales confuse awareness with obsession when it comes to SMB competition.

SMB-CompetitionBeing aware of your SMB competition is necessary.  In many more time intensive strategic planning processes, there is time devoted to identifying the competition, looking at them from a comparative competitive advantage such as what does the SMB competition offer than the other SMB does not  offer?

Now being obsessed with your competition is foolhardy. As one of my colleagues, Rick Gosser of Gosser Corporate Sales has said “I am me, no one else is like me.”  Each of us brings a unique perspective and expertise to our interactions as well as solutions.

In listening to many conversations with local SMB owners and sales professionals, there is a great tendency to be overly concerned about their competitors.  Their obsession reminds me of something I learned years ago about life.

SMB competitionWe can control only a very small part of our lives.  We can influence a little more.  However most of what we experience is truly out of our control.  Yet, human beings invest far more time about what they cannot control than what they can control.  The end result is a lot of wasted time, energy, money and emotions.  I always encourage executive coaching clients to direct their attention to what they can control and influence.

Even if you and your SMB competition offer the exactly same solutions, there is still a difference.  People buy from people they know and trust.  Someone may believe he or she knows you better than your competition and conversely another person may believe he or she knows your competition better than you.  Obsessing about your competition is just plain illogical.

If you want to increase sales, be aware of what is happening in your marketplace.  However obsessing over your SMB competition will not increase sales.  Learn how to build upon your knowledge, your expertise and your relationships.  By taking this proactive and abundance approach will increase sales.

P.S. I know this to be true because I belong to a community of 50 sales trainers, sales coaches and sales consultants. Since I have connected with these individuals, my business has grown and I have had the opportunity to establish mutually beneficial relationships.

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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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The Sales Fact Finding Problem of Symptom Solving

How many times in the sales fact finding do salespeople look to solve symptoms instead of the real problems?  Probably more often than many will admit.

sales-fact-findingFor example, small business owners come to me and other sales coaches because they have a sales problem.  Unfortunately, the inability to increase sales is a shadow or a symptom of another problem usually people (executive leadership) or poor process such as customer service.

Now in some instances, the weak sales maybe because of a lack of sales skills.  Usually, for small businesses with under 20 employees (97.7% of all U.S. businesses), the real problems are:

  • Ineffective executive leadership
  • No strategic plan
  • Poor communication to all employees
  • No alignment between sales goals and strategy and operations including better sales fact finding skills
  • Isolated marketing to no marketing especially through social media such as LinkedIn

When small business owners to those in sales management look to blame salespeople, this may become a foolhardy path.  Yes, there maybe some poor sales skills require some sales training or sales coaching. However until all actions are aligned as noted by the authors of Fail-Safe Leadership, the desired results will be inconsistent to unsustainable.

The flip side to this sales fact finding problem is the willingness of the salesperson to say “your poor sales is a symptom of …”  Telling the decision maker that he or she or the overall operations of the small business is the real problem is difficult.  Additionally it may require turning down a viable sales lead because your solutions as the salesperson do not align or will not correct the poor sales problem.

Many salespeople can solve symptoms. Top sales performers are true leaders who know how to separate the symptoms from the real problems through effective sales fact finding research and interactions (asking exceptional questions) with the sales lead.

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

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