Posts Tagged ‘sales leaders’

True Sales Leaders Take a Moment to Be Personal

What with all the impersonal marketing and social media outreach by those who believe they are sales leaders?  If people buy from people they know and trust, doesn’t it make sense to be somewhat personal in your marketing, prospecting and general business behaviors?

Of course, this doesn’t mean invading someone else’s privacy, but a little personalization goes a long way to start building that trusting relationship.

A Tale of Three LinkedIn Invitations

What does it take to be personal through LinkedIn invitations?  Not much.

Here are two recent examples of sales leaders who made not only made their LinkedIn invitations personal, but gave me the reason for their wanting to connect with me.

Example #1 Hi Leanne! – We both contributed to the June edition of the Worldwide Coaching Magazine. I would be honored to be part of your network! Best regards from Quebec City!

Example #2Hi Leanne, We share several connections and groups. I would like to add you as a connection. Best

After reading these two LinkedIn Invitations, how do they compare with the pre-formatted, impersonal one offered by LinkedIn?

Hi Leanne, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network

If you are like me, there is no comparison. Now some will say LinkedIn mobile platforms do not allow for personalization.  My response is make a note of the person’s name and wait until you get to a desk top.

Your first contact with an almost complete stranger should be as positive as possible.  Again, you want to begin to build trust.  True sales leaders understand the importance of that first contact, the second contact all the way up to the 12th and beyond contact.

Being personal goes beyond LinkedIn invitations or other social media channels.  Picking up the phone just to reconnect with someone or sending a handwritten note card all reaffirm that you are in that group of sales leaders who truly care.  President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

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Sales Leadership, Bag Phone or Smart Phone?

Funny thing about sales leadership is some past sales leaders sometimes fail to continue to be forward thinking as new ideas or technologies evolve.

sales-leadershipNow younger sales professionals may not remember the first mobile phones that were literally in a bag.  These bag phones started the trend of being connected 24/7.

Over time technology reduced the size of the mobile phone and increased its power.  Today we have all those smart phones and other smart devices that allow those in sales leadership to reach out and touch someone instantaneously.

Many of the early adopters of bag phones saw the value in them.  They found them to be beneficial to achieving the goal to increase sales. Yet some of these same forward thinking leaders decided to hold onto their bag phones because they were familiar with them, they did not have to learn a new device and it worked for them.

They believed in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Yesterday’s old bag phones is an analogy respective to  those in sales leadership who do not want change.  They want to hold onto their authority, their knowledge and their comfortableness.

Those who adopt new technology, new marketing channels, new ways of thinking are more willing to accept change and challenge the status quo. They accept the possibility their authority may be challenged, their knowledge will change and they will be uncomfortable during this process.

Of course to change for the sake of change is not good.  Yet to hold onto the past without looking to the future is equally not good.

Sales leadership in the 21st century must face its greatest challenge – change.  This is quite difficult given how fast change is happening and why additional resources must be hired or contracted to effectively deal with all of these changes in sales, in business and in people. Now is not the time to hold onto that old bag phone.

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Are You An Authentic or Just Charismatic Sales Leader?

Would you rather be an authentic or a charismatic sales leader?  This early Saturday morning question surfaced as I read a posting over on LinkedIn.  The posting linked to this HBR article.

sales-leaderMany people fall for the charismatic salesperson.  These are the folks with the warm smile and firm handshake. They seem to make that immediate emotional connection.  Their solutions appears to be want the sales prospect wants to needs.

Then after the checked has been received, the delivery made, these charismatic sales leaders can never be found. Excuses are made as to why something didn’t get done. Often times they will pass the buck, blame others.  Long term customers are really not their goal.

Authentic leaders appear not to be as charismatic.  They also have the warm smile and the firm handshake. Making an emotional connection may not be as immediate.  Unlike the charismatic sales leaders, they are around after the sale.  These individuals do not make excuses for them as the buck stops with them.

Another difference between the authentic and charismatic sales leader is their audience.  As I noted in the LinkedIn comment, the reason some people fall for the charismatic leaders is the internal desire for the quick fix.

Most of us internally want the quick fix even though we know the results probably will not be sustainable.  Time is precious and time is money.  When we can have those quick fixes, we then can go on to other important matters and happiness will follow.

We know this to be true if we look at all those quick fix products sold from the self improvement industry, the health industry to the sales industry.  Many of them are sold by charismatic people.  And yet the problems are still very much present.

Probably the most notable difference is authentic leaders are guided by non-negotiable positive core values (business ethics) while for some charismatic leaders they will do or say whatever they need to do or say to get their prospects to take action.  They may promise the moon (oversell the solution) or make negative comments about the competition. Again for them winning is everything and the heck with positive core values.

Each of us in sales has a choice to be an authentic sales leader or a charismatic one.  For me I prefer the former because I will never sacrifice my positive core values for a quick buck.

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To Increase Sales You Pay for What You Hire

An interesting side discussion happened within this posting, 7 Top Tips to Hire and Keep Rock Star Salespeople. This one thread focused on the desire to increase sales compared to the lack of compensation to top sales performers and the 100% commission out of the hiring gate. Another comment mentioned the unwillingness for sales management to pay for salespeople.



Possibly the inability by sales management to pay for top sales performers may help to better understand these two statistics I recently read.

“Inability to Articulate Value Is Leading to Failure in Achieving Sales Goals

According to a survey by SiriusDecision, sales leaders for the past four years in a row have said that the No. 1 barrier preventing salespeople from achieving quota is their inability to articulate value. And according to a recent survey of executive buyers by Gartner, customers agree. Only 34 percent of executive buyers, for example, feel that salespeople can articulate value.” Source:

If firms really want to increase sales, maybe those they are hiring are unable to clearly articulate the value.  Value articulation changes respective to each sales lead.

Truly good to great salespeople are flexible and agile. They can discover what their sales leads truly value. With multiple decision makers within the buying decision, the value may be different for each buyer.

Of course there may be other reasons for this failure to articulate value from misalignment to no strategic thinking to bad sales culture to poor sales management or executive leadership. Yet after working with numerous salespeople for almost the last 20 years, hiring poorly is a significant problem faced by the smallest SMB firms to the largest.

To increase sales requires an integrated strategic plan and a process to find, hire and keep the best sales people.

Want to talk?  Click HERE to schedule the time that works best for you.

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Sales Leadership Talent of Monitoring Others

Many of us may remember the hall monitors from our high school days. These students usually sat at desks and stopped all students who walked by. They asked to see hall passes before allowing the students to proceed. To be a hall monitor was an indicator of achieving academic excellence as well as being recognized for overall positive behavior.

sales-leadershipMonitoring others is also a sales leadership talent.  Innermetrix defines monitoring others as “the ability to focus on the actions and decisions of others in a practical and pragmatic way to identify both successes and mistakes.  It is the ability to identify the causes of success and failure and to do so in an objective and accurate manner, not allowing personal feelings or biases to influence such decisions.”

From a sales leadership perspective, this talent is not just for those in sales management, but is a jointly held capacity specific for sales teams as well as overall organizational excellence. Obviously this talent does not work in isolation, but works with many of the other 77 talents as identified through the works of Dr. Hartman and the science of Axiology.

Individuals who exceed at this sales leadership talent have the ability to “accurately and effectively evaluate the performance of another.  This objective evaluation is crucial in accurately leading, developing, and managing the person being monitored.” (Source: Innermetrix)

When sales leaders lack this talent, there is an indication these individuals do “not place enough importance on systems and order.”  Their observable leadership behaviors might include discounting “the need to make systematic measurements in order to improve performance”  or “allowing too much subjectivity into their assessment.” Probably the most common observable sales leadership behavior by these individuals is they  “will tend to see what they ‘think’ the person is capable of, instead of seeing how the person is actually doing.”

Effective sales leadership is the application of many talents at different times for different reasons. How sales leaders apply this particular skill set is crucial to the ability to increase sales as well as reaffirm a culture of excellence where trust is a key. From my own observations, this particular talent is inconsistently applied leaving some sales team members feeling distrusted and “out in the cold.”

The application of consistent leadership talents happens when everyone within the organization knows and adheres to the shared and clearly articulated positive core ethics and beliefs (the value statement). Failure to enforce the values statement may return the organization once again to those high school monitors who would let their best buddies by without the hall passes, but would “issue citations” to other students they did not know or worse yet did not like.

Not sure if you have this sales leadership talent of monitoring others or would like to know the 77 other talents? Then this talent assessment may support you in gaining that knowledge and clarity.

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Forward Thinking Sales Leaders Speak Simply Without Being Judgmental

Business growth, that being the ability to increase sales, improve profitability and retain both external and internal customers is dependent upon the various communication channels such as blogs, YouTube, other social media platforms, direct marketing, advertising or face to face business to business networking.  Forward thinking sales leaders are those who speak simply about business growth and their words do not convey any judgment.

forward-thinkingSure these top sales performers may have strong indications of what is or usually is not working with their sales leads. However, these forward thinking sales leaders are diplomats in the sense they respect and understand the emotions of others as well as their own emotions. They understand that certain words conjure either a positive, neutral or negative emotional response. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The talent of  diplomacy is the application of emotional intelligence.

For example, I just read a LinkedIn profile where the word “need” appeared countless times.  Need implies judgment.

Just take a moment to think about how you internally process the word “need” when it is spoken to you. Possibly memories such as your parents saying “You need to do this….” come to mind. When we hear the word “need,” we sense the other person is making a judgment about us or our businesses and this judgment is probably negative. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Sustainable personal and business relationships are based on positive interactions not negative ones.

The word “think” is potentially another judgment word.  How do you internally react when someone who you may not know very well makes this statement “I think you….”  Again you may have a negative reaction because the person is unintentionally implying you have not been thinking.

Then there the more common judgmental words such as “should have,’ “could have,” or even “had you.”  Speaking of you, this can also be viewed sometimes as being judgmental. Another word that subconsciously suggests judgment is “why.”

Those who wish to be forward thinking sales leaders may wish to consider removing these words that suggest or imply a negative viewpoint and scour the dictionary for words that are more positive or even neutral in contextual meaning.

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

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

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

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

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Are You One of The Soulless Sales People?

Years ago it was said “those who do, do; those who don’t teach.”  With so many in sales positions not achieving their sales goals, walking or running around like zombies or ghouls, one has to wonder if some of these individuals have indeed become the soulless sales people.

soulless-sales-peopleWhen I looked up the word “soul” in my Webster’s 7th Edition New Collegiate Dictionary, I was surprised to read this one definition:

“b: a moving spirit : Leader”

This meaning may suggest soulless sales people lack a moving spirit and are not leaders.  We may hear them mouth the words of their sales solutions, but our intuition senses there is no authentic, passionate energy behind those words.

Soulless sales people are not bad persons.

They are in many cases in the wrong roles or positions.

Or possibly as past sales leaders they have failed to adapt to today’s changing marketplace?

This failure to change has drained their spirits and their sales leadership capabilities.

They have lost the fire in their bellies, complacency has stepped in and living in the past or the current status quo is much easier than forging new paths, new ways of marketing, selling and leading.

Technology may also be partially to blame for increasing the number of soulless sales people.  Some in sales now believe by stroking the keyboards they can increase sales, improve business growth and ultimately have a thriving small business.

Then maybe you are not one of the soulless sales people and good for you.

However when you begin to lose your moving spirit, the fire in your belly, your self leadership and sales leadership skills, then consider remembering this article so that you never, ever, turn into one of those soulless sales people.

Happy Halloween!

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 in career 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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Self Leadership The Next Generation of Talent Management

As more people are being asked to do even more because of less people in the workplace, the opportunity for self leadership continues to grow and yet is still ignored within the arena of talent management.

self-leadershipSelf leadership is not new. Most of the Founding Fathers here in the US demonstrated this talent as did many other historical leaders.

The premise of self leadership is simple, you cannot lead others until you consistently lead yourself towards the achievement of predetermined results through the demonstration of positive core values.

Self leadership is truly all about you knowing (Socrates), choosing (Kierkegaard), and choosing (Mirandolla) the self leader you are and want to become.

Of course, what this means is as a self-leader you have already engaged in a consistent reflective thought process and can clearly articulate your purpose, passion, plans and positive core values.

You have written WAY SMART or SMART goals.

You truly know your talents such as role awareness and incorporate those talents within your goal achievement process.

Finally, you know yourself, your emotions and are able to manager those emotions as well as the emotions of others. (Emotional intelligence)

If you want to be successful in this next generation of sales leaders, managers or executives, then invest the time to focus on developing you self leadership.

Consider taking this self assessment leadership assessment as a starting point.


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