Posts Tagged ‘sales coaching tip’

In Sales, the Problem with the Word “Help”

How many times in the course of a sales day, do you read or hear “I help…?” In reviewing visitors to my LinkedIn profile, I can say over 50% of the headlines use this common verb of help.

The problem with this word is it does not differentiate you or your business from all the other people and businesses helping other people and businesses. With the very crowded marketplace and where 97.7% of all businesses have under 20 employees, differentiation is key to growing any SMB.

Sales Coaching Tip: Differentiation is essential to attracting sales leads

When any word is used too frequently, people become immune to the word.  It does not take hold in their minds and in some instances creates a negative, emotional reaction. Your sales goal should Be the Red Jacket in the Sea of Gray Suits.

There are a plethora of verbs that can be substituted for this word of help such as:

  • Facilitate
  • Build
  • Expand
  • Connect
  • Strengthen
  • Work
  • Align

Additionally a goal statement could be equally effective as in “Our Goal” is to:

  • Connect you with the right decision makers to increase sales
  • Strengthen your internal customers to reduce high, costly turnover
  • Align your people and processes to ensure efficiency, effectiveness while increasing profits

The goal statement demonstrates not only what you do, but the desired end results of your solutions. How many salespeople fail to include the results in their messaging be it their 30 second infomercial, their positioning statement or their value proposition statement?

Sales Coaching Tip: Potential customers want the end results of your solutions.

Sometimes we must rethink what we say and how what we say is received by our intended audience (think ideal customer). Words do matter and even more importantly the impact of those words really matter.

So if you are determined to use the word help, then connect it to the results of your solution.

Reach out and schedule a call with Leanne by CLICKING HERE.

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In Sales and Marketing Feelings Count More than Logic

Sales and marketing research can be interesting and provide some insight as what not to do. The CMO Council and Dow Jones surveyed over 2,000 consumers from North America and the United Kingdom which revealed the importance of feelings in sales and marketing messages.

Of course, the word feelings does not appear in the research yet when discussing reactions to what bothers consumers most respective to brand advertising feelings are behind all of these responses such as:

  • False, misleading or phony advertising
  • Stupid or irritating TV commercials/videos
  • Store personnel who don’t know the product

If something is false or phony, is our first reaction one of intellectual reasoning or a “gut” feeling?

When something is stupid or irritating, is our first reaction again one of logic or a negative feeling?

If we encounter store personnel who don’t know the product, is our intellect in charge or our feelings?

Words such as irritating, annoying or obnoxious reflect feelings and not to our logic or intellect. People buy first on feelings. Then they justify their buying decision with logic.

For example, I am looking for a small storage cabinet for our dining area.  I want something different that provoked some aesthetic feeling.

My first goal was to find an antique dry sink, but to no avail.  Then I went to my local small business favorite furniture store and saw a doable solution with my budget. The owner of the store showed me a more expensive cabinet that was even more different. My first emoti9onal reaction was it was 20% higher.

I came home and did my Internet research (logic).  The price was fair on either cabinet given both pieces at the furniture store were 100% solid wood while other pieces on the Internet were wood products (glue and wood, particle board). So I will be going back in the next few weeks and buying that very unique and more expensive cabinet.

The challenge in sales and marketing is not to create negative feelings, but rather awareness and then positive ones. This is why most people dislike sales pitches because they only reinforce past negative feelings.

Your Sales Coaching Tip: If you wish to increase sales, consider how to bring more positive feelings into your sales and marketing actions.  Watch for  emotional reactions. Avoid those words or tactics that awaken negative feelings.

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Sales Success Goes Beyond Determination

Many sales experts including sales coaches share quotes about sales success or success in general. These words of wisdom sometimes include the word determination.  Yet determination is almost a smoke screen hiding the one of the essential characteristics for sales success.

What Is Hiding?

Years ago I learned this definition of success from Resource Associates Corporation and discovered what was hiding within many definitions of success:

“Success is the continual achievement of your predetermined goals stabilized by balance and purified by belief.”

Your actions must be predetermined.  Determined spraying and praying your actions will not yield the success you want.

Later I amended this great definition of success by adding these two clauses:

“Success is the continual achievement of your predetermined goals stabilized by balance, purified by belief, aligned to your purpose and fueled by your passion.”

I believe misalignment of purpose happens with determined actions.  As a colleague said “People confuse motion with progress and activity with results.” Our passion is what keeps us going after those too frequent not interested to all those voice mails that are never returned.

Sales success begins and ends with predetermined actions. President and General Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.” Determined actions are the plans while predetermined actions are the planning.

Predetermination beginning actions include making lists such as what I suggested in yesterday’s blog. Reflection is a companion to predetermination actions because you are thinking about what specifically needs to be done before you take determined action.

Reflection upon what has happened during the day is the end of daily predetermination actions.

  • How did the day go?
  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go as well as planned?
  • Whom did you fail?
  • Who helped you?
  • What actions will you take tomorrow?

Sales Coaching Tip:  This is an exceptional book, From Values to Actions,  about predetermined action and success in sales, in leadership and in life.

As you embrace each day, write down what actions are necessary to move you forward to achieve your desired sales results. Then predetermined actions will become an attitude, a habit of thought, and propel you toward the sale success finish line.

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“I’ve Been In Sales My Entire Career”

So how long have you been in sales?  Is your tenure a few years or decades?

This statement was recently made in an email to me:

“I’ve been in sales my entire career.”

For many this statement is very true because everyone is in sales if we believe Zig Ziglar’s definition of sales to be the “transference of feelings.”

As to actual time as a salesperson,  this individual’s selling career spanned a total of seven (7) years.  Given I have been selling for over 50 years, seven years is a good start, but there is still a long way to go.

When I read “my entire career,” my thoughts jumped to a minimum of 15-20 years. Our experiences do create our reality.

In today’s ever so written word world, we must be careful with the words we use.  For those words have different meanings and may unintentionally create mistrust instead of trust.

Sales Coaching Tip:  People buy from people they know and trust.

Possibly for this individual who knew the intended recipient of this message was far more experienced the message could have been better nuanced such as “my entire young career.”

Now some folks have years of selling experience and are still clueless while others have only a few years and have valued insight. Yet I believe experience does matter.

As I can only speak for myself, I tend to listen to those who have at least 15 to 20 years of experience as salespeople. However if I had only one or two years of selling experience, I may listen to someone who had seven years.

P.S. Also remember always to give attribution to the words or creative efforts of others when you incorporate them into your blog, your speeches and your everyday conversations.  By taking that action, you appear to be just a tad more credible as well as ethical leader.

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Imagine This Truly Forward Thinking Sales Kick Off Meeting

A new quarter is quickly approaching.  Sales managers and SMB owners are scrambling to schedule their next Sales Kick Off meeting.  What would happen if the following took place?

sales kick off


One the screen is the predetermined annual sales goal broken down into quarterly goals based upon the last five years of sales per quarter.

Then the sales team (depending upon size) breaks into small groups and each group determines their own sales goals based upon their current sales funnel and their own motivation.

Note:  This is a working sales kick off meeting. To start the meeting could be some inspirational speaker or video.

Depending upon the time given to this sales kick off meeting, discussion could go beyond sharing of sales goals and into limitations that might keep the salespeople from achieving those goals.

Sales Coaching Tip:  Execution is still the second greatest limitation to achieving sales goals.

This approach is truly forward thinking because it works with the Theory of Self Determination. Those who are loyal readers of this blog have been exposed to this theory numerous times.  However for new readers here is a quick synopsis.

Back in the 1970s, Deci and Ryan developed the Theory of Self Determination. Their research revealed that human beings have three (3) shared intrinsic motivators:

  • Mastery
  • Autonomy (choice)
  • Purpose (as it relates to people)

Why this approach is forward thinking is because most sales kickoff meetings ignore these three motivators especially autonomy as goals are not a choice, but constructed by the sales manager or SMB owner. Additionally, the salespeople usually know their clients and markets (mastery) probably better than their sales managers or SMB owners.  This mastery bhy the salespeople is ignored.

Integrating this approach within a proven goal setting and goal achievement process reinforced by a proven goal setting worksheet can potentially explode the sales for the next quarter as well as year.  Many people will work up to the bar because when goals (the bar) are set by others they become a psychological restraint. Then this thought emerges:

Why do any more when this is expected of me?

Finally, when this innovative approach is taken with the sales kick-off meeting, then it naturally builds WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) leading to WIIFU (What’s in it for us?” Now doesn’t this make far more sense?

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith has some openings in her 2017 schedule if you wish to have her work with your sales team to truly have an highly engaged and energetic sales kick off meeting. CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne.

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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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Reframing Your Sales Conversations to Feel, Know, Do and Remember

How many sales conversations leave you confused, wondering what was just said?  Maybe others may feel the same way about your interactions?



Imagine for a moment if you would embrace just these four words – Feel, Know, Do and Remember – into ALL interaction with your sales leads to professional colleagues to centers of influence. What changes would you experience?


No one likes sales pitches.  The reason is because they stir up negative feelings.

In sales, you want positive feelings because positive feelings begin to build trust and a sense of being comfortable, of knowing you. Sales Coaching Tip: People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.


You also want to demonstrate your own expertise. Not in a way that your ego takes up the entire room.  No, with a little more subtlety. Your sales leads and others want to feel and then know you know the:

  • Industry
  • Marketplace
  • Current trends


You want some “do” action to take place after the sales conversation.  This could be:

  • Having the individual commit to receiving something of value such as an article or a link via email, etc.
  • Scheduling an appointment
  • Connecting on LinkedIn
  • Making a sales referral


After each sales conversation, you want the other person to remember you because you have differentiated yourself. To be remembered suggests:

  • You have truly engaged the other person because you have worked with her or his feelings
  • You have imparted knowing
  • You have directly or indirectly implied some “doing” action

Now this remembering may happen after the initial meeting because you initiated some follow-up such as sending a personal handwritten note or because of your “doing” action as noted previously.

Sales Coaching Tip:  You may have to engage in more than one “Remember” action.

Sales conversations are becoming a dime a dozen especially this time of year when salespeople are scrambling to make those “dreaded” quotas.  By embracing the “feel,” “know,” “do” and “remember” verbs and reframing your sales communication, just may help you to be different, to be the Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits.

P.S. When you change your words, you will improve your sales results!

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You’re Standing on Whose Sales Ground?

Have you ever thought about this concept of “sales ground?”  I hadn’t either until just recently when someone said “they don’t want to sell on your terms?”



Salespeople have two grounds where they travel in their selling activities.

Territory – The Most Common Ground

Years ago a trusted colleague by the name of Michael Sleppin said for “you must have a Sherwood Forest large enough to hunt in and small enough to defend.” This observation is quite true for many SMB salespeople who for the most part sell locally.  Of course with social media and depending upon your solutions (products or services), that sales territory may be much larger than just local.

Buyer’s Terms – The Less Common Ground

Each buyer has her or his own sales ground or terms.  You as the salesperson must meet them initially on their terms especially if the sales lead is truly qualified and meets your ideal customer profile.

Sales Coaching Tip:  Terms extends beyond payment, delivery to attitudes and beliefs.

Probably some professional salespeople have never considered the sales lead’s terms in this context.  Yet to ignore their terms initially may be a reason why personal and business revenue are not growing.

My father, a professional salesperson, said to me “Always meet your customers or potential customers on their terms first… Your goal is to have a conversation, the opportunity to develop a relationship… Remember not to have tight shorts because the person said something that struck a nerve and you took offense…”

His words helped me as the first inside saleswoman in the Chicagoland area selling pipe, valves and fittings nearly 4 decades ago. Had I been offended when male customers told me “I want to speak to a man” (his terms) I never would have been successful in sales.

If you are having unsuccessful sales efforts, schedule a quick call with Leanne by clicking HERE

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Giving Directions Is Value Articulation in Action

Value articulation is, according to decision makers, is essential within the sales conversation.  In speaking with a colleague, I was attempting to explain this concept when I suddenly realized how giving directions was a great example.



When someone asks for directions, they have a need and they are the decision maker.  How you respond to this request will demonstrate your knowledge (mastery) and your purpose (relating to others).  Additionally depending upon how you frame your response you may be providing choices for the other person.

Sales Coaching Tip: Understanding the Theory of Self Determination can be extremely powerful within any sales conversation.

When you give directions with extreme clarity, conciseness and simplicity, you are articulating the value within your solution, your answer, specific to this need.  Then you can also further connect with the other value drivers of the individual by sharing a shortcut, how to avoid tolls or excessive traffic. You can also provide recognizable landmarks as well as any other information.

Value articulation can be quite simple but not necessarily easy.  You as the salesperson must sometimes go with your intuition, your gut brain.  By picking up on body language, verbal syntax, actual spoken words, there is an opportunity to further identify what is important to your sales lead, hopefully your ideal customer.

For it is what is important to your sales lead that matters not what other past customers said or why they bought. This is why value creation is not possible because you don’t know initially what is driving the desire to solve a particular problem.  You may not even know what the real problem is.  In many instances, the experienced problem is a symptom.

Your goal is to successfully connect to the sales lead within your sales conversation. Value articulation is your connection bridge, your ability to give directions and ultimately your path to increase sales.

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Sowing the Seeds of Sales Distrust Part 2

As said previously sales distrust can be sown anywhere along the sales process path. By understanding the simplicity of the trust cycle any salesperson can avoid these distrust pitfalls.

sales-distrustIn the book, Building Productive Teams by Glen Varney, he discussed the “trust cycle.” This simple explanation reveals the various weak points in building trust and avoiding sales distrust.

The cycle begins with the individual in this case the buyer receiving adequate information. This leads to influencing the decision making process of the buyer. More trust is built and the cycle repeats itself.

Adequate Information

In your marketing messages and within your sales conversations are you providing adequate information about solution.  Does this information build upon your credibility? Sales research from the Corporate Executive Board suggests B2B buyers get 57% of their information before they make any outreach to a specific solution provider.

Sales Coaching Tip:  Provide necessary information in your interactions, but do not provide your solutions. Rather show the impact of the information if no decision is made to take action.

Influencing the Decision Making Process

Your information must be emotionally compelling as well as logical. People buy first on emotion; justified by logic. The words you speak and your behaviors all influence the buying decision making process and have the potential in sowing the seeds of sales distrust. At this juncture within the trust cycle, emotional intelligence becomes very critical.

Sales Coaching Tip: Words such as “should,” “need,” or even “think” may negatively influence the decision making process.

More Trust Is Built

Some trust is now established and more trust begins to build. Again, a simple failed action of not returning a phone call can sow the seeds of sales distrust.

Sales Coaching Tip:  Do a self-check moment of reflection after each conversation to ensure you are still building trust.

Yes people do buy from people they know and trust.  As the salesperson, it is 100% your responsibility to consistently demonstrate your knowledge and trust with purpose and without being “pushy” or a know-it-all.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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