Posts Tagged ‘sales coaching’

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.

sales-coaching

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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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Quick Fixes in Sales Often Ignore This Reality

In sales many seek the quick fixes that range from sales training, incentives, hiring new sales managers, new salespeople or some motivational speaker.  Yet in a few days to a few weeks, the sudden burst of sales productivity gradually returns to its pre-quick fix levels.

quick-fixesThe reality is 99.9% of all quick fixes ignore this reality. The reality is clarity or rather lack of clarity.

In the story Alice in Wonderland, Alice approaches the Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree.  At the foot of the tree are various paths. Alice asks the Cat “What path should I take?”  The Cat responds with “Where are you going?” Alice states “I don’t know” and the Cat then replies “Well any path will take you there.”

Clarity is essential in sales, in business and in life.  If you don’t know where you are going with crystal clear clarity, you will end up taking the wrong path.

Many SMB owners and C Suite executives in their efforts to increase sales confuse symptoms with problems.  They believe lack luster sales are the problem when in reality the poor sales are usually a symptom of one or more problems.  All of these problems return to a lack of clarity. Without clarity there is incredible miss direction and misguided decisions.

For the last almost 20 years I have been working with SMB owners and sales professionals.  Given that most have never invested the time to determine where they are going; how they are going to behave and what they are going to do in the immediate future to get to where they are going, I am not surprised by the inability to increase sales or sustainable business growth.

The lack of clarity is the reason for executive coaching.  These professional coaches look to support their clients in gaining crystal clear clarity.

Years ago I wrote an eBook entitled Triage Business Planning with this message on the front cover:

Know Exactly What to Do and When to Do It.

Track the Right Things to Produce the Right Results Avoid Misdirected Actions and Misguided Decisions.

If you have any hesitancy when reading the previous words, then you probably lack crystal clear clarity and may be subject to the temptation of quick fixes.

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Time to Leverage the Sales Currency of the Future

Yesterday I heard Nikolaus Kimla, CEO of Pipeliner CRM, make this very insightful statement:

“Recommendations are the sales currency of the future.”

He is so right in that people buy from people they know and trust.  Recommendations or testimonials reaffirm that trust bridge between the buyer and the seller.

Just recently in working with a sales coaching client, one of the salespeople said the reason a new patient came to their office was because of the written along with the video testimonials on their website.

SMB owners, salespeople and those in the C Suite have the opportunity right now to get ahead of the flow and start gathering all those recommendations and testimonials. Yet how many in sales actively leverage this sales currency by just asking for recommendations?

Sales Coaching Tip:  The third phase and final phase of the 7-step-sales-process-advsys is “Keeping” where people ask for recommendations as well as sales referrals.

The value of recommendations go beyond some positive words.  In many instances recommendations generate sales referrals.  This is what some in the past would call the “mother lode.”

Right now jump over to LinkedIn and look at your recommendations received and more importantly given.  Do you make it a priority to give authentic recommendations?

If you think recommendations lack sales currency, how many times do  you read the online product or business reviews?  Those are rated recommendations. Have you ever bought or not bought because of these reviews?

To increase sales requires being ahead of the flow as well as of knowing where the flow is going.  Leveraging recommendations can propel your business ahead of the flow while increasing your sales currency.

Doesn’t it make good business sense to undertake those actions now in the present?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Clarity Strategist 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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Moving Beyond Inspiration to Perspiration

Many people are inspired.  They listen to a Ted Talk, read a good book to attend a sales training event.  Yet at the end of the day or a couple of days later, that inspirational message is like dust in the wind.

inspiration

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Some firms look to sales training to inspire and fail to move beyond inspiration to what really makes the difference – perspiration.  Did the sales team, the sales management and even the Chief Executive Officer turn those inspiring thoughts into actions?

Recently I did a one day sales training event for a rapidly growing local small business with multiple locations.  The morning session was for the call center team and in the afternoon I repeated the training with the sales team. Both sessions included over one hour on how to use DISC Index for better communication and sales results.

The reviews of the learning engagement from all contacted were all eight or higher on a scale of one to 10. All call center team members told me the sales training was informative and inspiring. Two of the sales team used the work inspiring to describe the sales training.

After one week, I conducted a follow-up as each session as each employee was asked to set a professional sales goal either as an individual or team. What I learned was the call center team had set a pretty BHAG. Yesterday in speaking with the very happy CEO in our follow-up meeting, he shared the call center was on target to achieve this goal in possibly half the established time frame.  Their united progress was exhilarating.

As to sales team, their efforts paled in comparison.  A couple of team members never returned my voice mail follow-up call.  None of those in the sales team had set a goal.

Until people take action, inspiration remains that just words that feel good.  Taking action is where the perspiration happens and what makes sales training, sales coaching or leadership development worth the investment.

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Time Management Is Our Greatest Oxymoron and Lie We Tell Ourselves

Have you ever attended a time management training event or read a book on time management?  You do realize of course this concept of managing time is an oxymoron and probably the greatest oxymoron we humans have.

time-management

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Just to be clear, an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Since time is a constant meaning there will always be 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute, no amount of human behavior can change those facts.

We cannot manage time.

What we can do is better manage ourselves.

Time Management Is Self Management!

Believe it or not, there are five specific and measureable talents that can support us in overcoming what is limiting ourselves from better self-management.

Concrete Organization: The ability to understand the immediate, concrete needs of a situation and to establish an effective plan of action for meeting those needs.

Consistency and Reliability: The internal need to be conscientious in one’s personal or professional efforts

Project Scheduling: To understand the proper allocation of resources for the purpose of getting things done within a defined time frame.

Attention to Detail: The ability to see and pay attention to details.

Realistic Personal Goal Setting: To set goals for one’s self that can be achieved using available resources and operating within a projected time frame.

When we take a 30,000 ft view and see these talents all working together, it is much easier to understand how to specifically improve the self management of ourselves.

After working with executive coaching, sales coaching and leadership development clients now close to 20 years, I can personally attest to the impact of realistic personal goal setting as the talent that has the greatest and most immediate impact on self-management.  When people are intentional about setting personal goals, this behavior has a direct correlation on other talents such as consistency, attention to detail, personal accountability and results orientation.

If you want to better manage time, then take a time management course. However if you truly want to improve your results, then look to improving your self management through these 5 talents because time management is the greatest oxymoron and lie we have as human beings.

Special offer until 2/28/2017, have these 5 talents assessed along with 73 other talents plus the DISC and Values Index and a 30 minute executive telephone coaching session.

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Sales Coaching Tip: 3 Words to Change Your Sales Results

What would happen to your ability to increase sales results if you just remembered three (3) words in all your interactions with sales prospects, sales leads, colleagues and clients?  Do you possibly think you could change your sales results?

sales-results

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Sales Coaching Tip:  Feel

When you meet with someone because people buy from people they know and trust, what do you what them to feel because trust begins with an emotion, a feeling.  Trust does not begin from a point of logic. Knowledge, facts or logic support the building of trust.

People are human beings who are emotional creatures first and foremost.  Our feelings are innate within us. People buy on emotion first, justified by logic.  So why wouldn’t you think about this word “feel.”  What do you want others to feel about you?

Sales Coaching Tip: Know

Once the feelings are in place, then what do you want the other person to know about you, your company and if you have enough time your solution. This “knowing” continues to build the relationship that came from the feelings. Remember your first to third meetings may just expand your buyer knowing about you and continuing those positive feelings of trust.

Sales Coaching Tip: Do

Finally before you conclude the sales conversation, what do you want the person to do? A call to action from a simple “Let’s get together for coffee” or “Let’s connect on LinkedIn” allows you to continue making contact with the individual.  Given most sales are earned after 4 contacts, then possibly the reason your sales results are languishing is because you aren’t making enough contacts?

Remember these three words are not just about your sales leads, your prospects, but are equally about you.

What do  you feel when meeting a new person?

What do you know about yourself and know about that person?

What do you want to do regarding this sales conversation or sales appointment?

Yes Feel, Know and Do are three action verbs that can truly improve your sales results.

If I asked what what do you do well, what would you tell me.  Here are 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl.  Identify your first one and then take this special opportunity to confirm your own beliefs. What I have learned is over 98% of the salespeople and executives I have assessed, do not know what they do well. Then two questions are:

“How many sales opportunities have you lost?”

Can you continue to lose sales opportunities?

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Cost with Invest

Buyers are cost driven because the word cost has been in front of them since grade school.  This mindset limits your sales behaviors and your results.  However by replacing the word cost with invest or investment you can redirect and change the tone of the sales conversation.

sales-behaviors

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Sales Coaching Tip:  People hear words, but think in pictures.

Words do matter. Cost has a negative connotation.  People hear or read the word cost and they see money leaving their pocketbooks, their cash flow never to return.

The word invest has a positive connotation.  People hear or read the word invest or investment and they see some money leaving their bank accounts, but with the knowledge some of it will return.

Additionally the word invest creates a greater emotional response.  There is an implied sense of spirituality not in the truly religious sense, but of something positive in the future.

Also when sales behaviors begin to replace the word cost with invest, the salesperson has demonstrated more research and the ability to connect to the value drivers of the sales lead or buyer.  People buy on value unique to them.  Top sales performers know how to discover and then connect to those value drivers.

For example, if selling a solution, the salesperson can demonstrate her solution increases business results by 20%, wouldn’t that have far greater impact on connecting to what the buyer values? Of course, there is a presumption the salesperson has already discovered it is important for the buyer to increase business results.

Our sales behaviors reflect our own personal philosophies, beliefs. I personally believe when we change our words, we can dramatically improve our results especially when we engage in those crucial sales conversations.

You may find these other postings on New Sales Behaviors for 2017 of interest:

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Create with Connect

The last couple of years in the word of sales training there has been a focus on sales behaviors specific to how salespeople create value.  I find this word “create” to be misleading and very much ego centered (All about me!).  What I suggest to my sales coaching clients is to replace “create” with this more emotionally intelligent word of connect.

sales-behaviorsNow I must admit to my own negative bias. I believe no one in sales can create value because value is unique to each decision maker, each buyer.  Why does one person like blue and another like red? If salespeople could create value, then the person would be sold to like red.  And most of us know no one wants to be sold. We could literally live in a world where everyone drove a Yugo, ate at McDonald’s and shopped at Walmart.

When we think, speak and write the word connect, we are actually engaged in more authentic sales behaviors.  As salespeople we are looking how to bridge the gap between the buyer’s position and our position.

Another advantage of the word connect is it implies a more level relationship where a good ego is present.  Create is a word that suggests a very strong ego and strong egos are not necessarily beneficial when it comes to the ability to increase sales.

Finally, the word connect works with the sales buying rule people buy from people they know and trust.  When salespeople work to connect with the other sales prospects, they are actively engaged in employing those essential soft skills as well as emotional intelligence.

The last several days this leadership and sales blog has focused on changing sales behaviors by replacing existing words with different words to enhance the sales relationship.  If you missed any of these postings, you may find them below:

2017 New Sales Behaviors: Replace Plan with Campaign

2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Help with Facilitate

2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Obstacle with Limitation 

My own personal mantra is “Change your words; improve your results.”  Please let me know if you have changed your words and if your new sales behaviors have improved your sales results.

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

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

business-growth

Credit www.gratisography.com

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

Strategic Plan?

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

Goal Setting Process?

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

Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Processes?

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

Talent Development?

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

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

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

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

 

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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?

sakes-coaching

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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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