Posts Tagged ‘sales leadership’

Fog Lines and Guard Rails on the Sales Leadership Road

Possibly you may be wondering what do fog lines and guard rails have to do with traveling the sales leadership road?  Probably more than you realize.

sales-leadershipFog lines are the outside white lines that let you know you are close to running off the paved road onto the shoulder if there is a shoulder.  These lines were not always part of the American road system, but started appearing in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Recent court decisions affirm that fog lines are part of the roadway.

For those in sales leadership, fog lines are part of your sales’ behaviors specifically your positive core values (business ethics).  When you cross the fog line, you have crossed or compromised your values. This compromise might be something as simple as a little white lie about:

  • The delivery date of your solution
  • How many people actually have downloaded your app
  • Your total number of new customers or total annual sales

Another simple crossing of the fog line could be gossiping about other employees to your competitors.

Now the guard rails keeps the car on the road especially when there is no shoulder and immediate danger lurks on the other side of the guardrail such as a steep mountain cliff.  Guard rails are the positive core values (think business ethics) each professional business person holds true and will not cross.

How many times have you failed to honor your positive core values? Did this failure impact your ability to lead as well as to increase sales?

Personally I believe one’s positive core values have a direct correlation to one’s sales leadership effectiveness. There are some who agree with me including the author of From Values to Action.

Many in sales leadership roles have not invested the time to commit to writing their positive core values. Maybe the organization’s values statement is enough for them. Yet, when we know what our own guard rails are, then we have much greater clarity when we cross that fog line and begin to compromise our sales leadership.

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Sales Leadership Requires You Know What You Do Well

Over the last 10 years, I have discovered this startling fact among those in sales leadership roles:

98.7% do not know what they truly do well!

The irony, if you want to call it that, is 95.4% of these same salespeople know what they don’t do well.

Sales Leadership Question

Why do winning sales teams win?

  • Answer A) Because of the weaknesses of their salespeople
  • Answer B) Because of the strengths or talents of their salespeople
sales-leadership

Credit www.pixabay.com

Most sales managers, SMB owners and salespeople respond with “B, of course.” So if that is true, then why do so few salespeople know what they truly do well?

Through one if not the most accurate psychometric assessments in the marketplace, the Attribute Index, salespeople and other professionals learn how they make decisions externally and internally along with 78 core talents that can be separated into:

  • Interpersonal – talents used when making external decisions
  • Intrapersonal – talents used when making internal decisions

Some of the intrapersonal talents begin with this word of “self” as in self confidence, self direction, self esteem, self management or self starting ability. The interpersonal talents include accountability for others, realistic goal setting for others and relating to others.

When people do not know what they do well and focus their efforts on what they think they do well, numerous opportunities are missed.

What is even worse, people through conditioned behavior continue to prioritize fixing their weaknesses even though knowing full well sales success comes through one’s strengths.

Isn’t it time for those in sales leadership roles to truly know by having crystal, clear clarity what they do well?

Benjamin Franklin understood the power in having clarity around our strengths, our talents when he said:

“Wasted strengths are like sundials in the shade.”

Can you afford not to know what you do well? Learn what you do well along with what motivates you and how you communicate through this SPECIAL OFFER. (until 2/28/2017)

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Self Leadership Is Required in Sales

In business there has always been a lot of attention directed to leadership.  Yet far lesser attention to this idea of self leadership.  As has been noted earlier, many presume people know how to lead themselves through earlier educational experiences.  However, research shows self leadership which falls into that bucket of people or soft skills is sorely lacking.

self-leadershipPeter Drucker said leadership is all about results.

Self leadership is about the individual getting results.

To secure the desired results begins with these two mindsets:

  • Continuous improvement
  • Motivation

Continuous improvement is a mindset where one is always challenging the status quo; looking toward the future and making changes if and when necessary. Sometimes the status quo is working and to make a change for the sake of making a change is simply ridiculous.

Motivation is also a mindset because the mind is what controls all behavior.  Using the Theory of Self Determination allows individuals to identify what is limiting their motivation:

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

In some sales training or business leadership programs, self leadership is included as a subset of sales skills or even talent development. Again there is a presumption people have the capacity and consistently demonstrate this capacity.

If this was true,

  • why do 44% of salespeople give up after making one call? (Source: Scripted)
  • why do the average salespeople make only two attempts to contact a sales lead or prospect? (Source: Sirius Decisions)

Continuous improvement and motivation are essential in securing results and working with the other aspects within the 5 Star Sales Leadership Model. Top sales performers do not rely on the business in providing the incentive for ongoing learning or motivation through recognition or rewards.

In today’s world with so many solo entrepreneurs as well as businesses with under 20 employees, business leadership and sales leadership are partners. These two roles must work together to achieve sustainable business growth.

Until 2/28/2017, learn what motivates you as well as how your behave and what is driving your decision making process through this special opportunity.

 

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Sales Process in a New Sales Leadership Model

Given over 97% of all businesses within the US are under 20 employees, many lack a simple sales process. By not having a process impacts the ability to determine where there are gaps limiting increase sales and ultimately the overall sales culture.

SMB owners today cannot afford to have separate marketing and sales departments. In many instances, the SMB owner is the primary role of sales leadership manager. He or she must find salespeople who understand marketing in  today’s marketplace and can utilize the variety of social media and technology platforms to prospect. Finding new sales leads becomes the responsibility of the salesperson.

Then after the marketing phase of the sales process has been successfully completed, the selling phase begins. Here is where the salesperson attempts to convert the sales lead into a loyal customer.

sales-processAfter the salesperson earns the sale, then the third and final phase of keeping the new customer kicks in.  This is probably where many salespeople even in the larger firms miss new sales opportunities because they have failed to ask for at least one if not more than one sales referral or stay in contact with the now loyal customer.

Alignment between the sales process and the other four points of the 5 Point Star Sales Leadership Model is essential if the desired results are to be achieved. For example if the salesperson cannot successfully plan, set and achieve his or her WAY SMART goals, the results are diminished.

Download this simple 3 Phase 7-step-sales-process-advsys

There is plenty of SMB research that shows the loss dollars when prospecting fails, when sales conversions fail and when loyal customers go elsewhere. By employing a simple sales process closes the gaps and stops the draining of those valuable profit dollars.

P.S. To not include marketing within your sales process in today’s marketplace may severely limit your ability to not only increase sales, but have a sales culture of high performance. Marketing goes beyond paid advertising and is 100% about salespeople building relationships built on trust and their ability to convey exceptional knowledge in an emotionally engaging approach.

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Goal Achievement in a New Sales Leadership Model

Noted business guru Peter Drucker is quoted as saying “Leadership is all about results.” For those in sales leadership including sales management roles, results happen through consistent goal achievement.

sales-leadershipYet sales research continues to reveal consistently achieving quotas is not the current reality.  Back in 2011, Inc magazine suggested 50% of salespeople miss their sales goals. A more recent article in 2014 at e-Marketer stated only 63% of salespeople made their sales quotas.

We only have to look at failed New Year’s resolutions to understand why so many people consistently fail to achieve their goals.

How can people achieve professional goals such as sales quotas when they cannot achieve personal goals?

Realistic personal goal setting is measurable talent.  When this talent is combined with other talents such as self starting ability, personal accountability and results orientation, there is a far greater likelihood of consistent goal achievement.

sales-leadershipAnother reason for including goal achievement within this new sales leadership model is one of execution.  Failed execution is still a major limitation for sales management to executive leadership.  When a proven goal setting process is embedded within the sales culture of the business, then execution gaps can be more quickly identified and closed.

The failure to include goal achievement is evidenced in many sales training programs.  How many of these sales training programs include how to consistently plan, set and execute sales goals?  From my experience these last 40 years, very few.

These sales training programs talk about goals, but rarely invest the time to walk through a proven goal setting process with a doable tool such as a goal worksheet.

Yes there is probably more to failed sales quotas than just goal achievement. However if this gap was closed, my sense is identifying what is really limiting the ability for the salespeople to achieve their sales quotes might be far easier to identify.

If you want to learn more about your own talent for realistic personal goal setting, CLICK HERE to schedule a brief call with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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A New Sales Leadership Model

One of my favorite models is the 5 Star Model for Organizational Development.  Jay Galbraith and his colleague created a simple graphic to ensure both alignment between key functions of any business and the desired results. Essentially this model is for leadership as well as sales leadership as it looks determine where the gaps exist between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals.

sales-leadershipThe simple genius of this model was the interconnectedness of these 5 keys areas of:

  1. Strategy
  2. Structure
  3. Processes
  4. Rewards
  5. People

Results were always in the middle. By incorporating this model into executive leadership behaviors worked to avoid misalignment between these 5 areas.

Executive Coaching Tip: Misalignment is usually the real problem especially when execution fails.

Nearly two decades after working with executive and sales coaching clients,  I realized a similar model would be beneficial for those in individual sales leadership roles.  This model could work in tangent with the 5 Star Model for Organizational Development.

What I developed is the 5 Star Sales Leadership Model™. Here the focus is still on results. This model looks to the individual salesperson and where there also may be misalignment impacting results.

sales-leadership

 

  1. Goal Achievement
  2. Sales Process
  3. Self-Leadership
  4. Talents
  5. Sales Skills

What I have observed is many times a singular focus when it comes to the goal to increase sales. For example, there is a flurry of activity on sales training for improved sales skills and yet very rarely is goal achievement included in sales training.

Maybe the SMB is forward thinking and has taken to developing talents. However, that talent development sometimes works against self leadership especially motivation.

Sales results are not just because of one aspect of the salesperson or the SMB.  No, the results are because of interconnected aspects. The 5 Star Sales Leadership Model™ brings clarity to those interconnection points and looks to simplify what might be limiting the salesperson and consequently the SMB from achieving the desired results.

This week, I will review each point of this model to further explain the rationale for each point. I look forward to your feedback.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip 07 – Time

How a salesperson uses his or her time is probably one of the greatest contributors to sustainable sales success.

sales-successTop sales performers recognize time is a constant and can NEVER be managed. There will always be 60 seconds to a minute; 60 minutes to an hour; 24 hours to a day; and 7 days to a week.

No one can manage a constant!

This learned knowledge keeps these individuals from wasting their time and dollars on all those time management courses and books.

Top sales performers also know that time can never be saved.  There is no way to go into a “time” savings account because of the constant nature of time.  One can never get time do overs. One cannot pull out 5 minutes from the “time” savings account.  One cannot go back in time even though sometimes we wish we could.

What these high performing salespeople do know is time can be invested by leveraging sound sales tools and  sales leadership skills.  These actions contribute to their sales success as well as their personal success.

Do you know what you do well? If yes, how do you know this to be true? The Attribute Index is the best assessment to confirm your sales leadership talents.

Sales tools such as calendars, sales scripts even word documents that can be easily copied and pasted all allow time to be used to its fullest capacity. There is no down time for top sales performers.  When waiting for appointments, these individuals may be reading a journal, a book, reviewing their next appointment or quickly responding to texts or emails.

Time management does not exist. What is reality is sales leadership through self-management. Sales leadership begins with your own attitude including how you think about time.  The question to ask is not “How well do I manage time?” but rather “How well do I manage myself within each day?”

Remember these words of Benjamin Franklin if you want sustainable sales success:

Time lost is never found again.

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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The Continued Problem with Most Sales Training

Today I received another email about the 7 sales skills that can be taught through sales training.  This headline only reinforced the continued problem with this area.

sales-training

We train dogs; we develop people!

As I reviewed these 7 sales skills each of them is not an issue of acquiring knowledge as in training, but rather the unaddressed issue of performance, the application of knowledge.  Years ago my coach, David Herdlinger, created the KASH Box (the 4 quadrants). I then further developed it by naming it the KASH Box for Sustainable Change (the 4 quadrants plus the 4 boxes on top, the sustainable change drawer and the incorporation of the knowing doing gap).

Salespeople face ongoing training whether it is paid for by their companies or if it is self-directed. Look at all the books on sales from sales leadership to fact finding to prospecting to sales referrals. The list is endless.  My question is why so many books. seminars, even experts given most of them state the same facts?

People seek the quick fix and the most inexpensive one as well.  Buy a sales book or attend a sales seminar and you will become far more successful. You will increase sales!

Of course, how many attendees actually begin to apply what they have learned and continued that application?

Earlier this year, I attended an educational seminar for business consultants geared toward sales and marketing offered by Ari Galper.  Much of what Galper said created disequilibrium within my mental schema (made me uncomfortable because it was contrary to what I thought to be true and what I was doing). Upon further reflection, I had made some significant changes to my marketing including my content marketing as in this blog.

Now several months later, I continue to apply several of his key concepts because they made sense to me. After buying his book, Unlock the Game, via Kindle, I realized why his concepts made sense.  Note: I did write a review on Amazon and recommend buying the Kindle version not the hard copy.

These changes are now starting to bear fruit or results. Had I not begun to apply what I learned, I would not be enjoying these new results.

If you are considering any sales training, make sure the engagement incorporates a developmental foundation which usually means there is a proven application process behind the learning to ensure application is the desired end result.  To learn more about how this can be done, schedule a time to talk me me by CLICKING HERE.

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Consensus Buying, What Is That?

Consensus leadership has now made its way into consensus buying. What in the heck is that anyway?

consensus-buying

Credit www.gratiosgraphy.com

If sales is the transference of feelings, so is buying.  Consensus suggests someone must give up something.

Well in sales you give up something, dollars for the exchange of something else.  However, I don’t believe that is what the sales experts are describing.

Why should consensus buying happen if the seller is speaking to the right ideal customer?

If the ideal customer is the decision maker, has a specific want and need that can be solved by the seller’s solution, has an allocated budget, has urgency and a commitment to take action, why should the seller or the buyer give up anything?

Sales should be a win for the buyer and for the seller.  Actually if the salesperson has artfully executed his or her interpersonal and intrapersonal skills (sales leadership), then the buyer should feel he or she has received a greater win (more value) than originally expected.

Consensus buying always dilutes the sales process because both buyers and sellers enter the sales process already in defeat.  My father said in the majority of buying transactions, people have three options:

  • Quality
  • Delivery
  • Price

Dad also said in many instances, people can only get two of those three options.

Are buyers willing to give up quality?

Are buyers willing to up up delivery?

Are buyer willing to give up price?

By the way, I don’t believe experts are using this as an example of consensus buying.

What consensus buying suggests is the sales leadership (intrapersonal and interpersonal skills) of the salesperson is lacking. Possibly he or she did not engage in his or her due diligence (interpersonal sales skill).  When that sales mistake happens, then no wonder something is given up because the salesperson did not know what he or she needed to know. We have all heard about money being left on the table because of failed due diligence.

Sales leadership is about securing the desired results using clearly articulate positive core values.  Consensus implies not only giving up quality, delivery or price, but positive core values as well.

I hope this entire idea of consensus buying quickly disappears because to quote Margaret Thatcher:

“Consensus is the absence of leadership.”

Want better results, more sales with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

* * * * *

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 219.508.2859 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

 

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Sales Leadership and Sales Culture Partners in SMB Sustainable Growth

Probably for SMB, sales leadership and sales culture are more critical for sustainable growth than for larger firms.  With fewer people and in many instances the same operations being performed as in larger firms, everyone must embrace a sales leadership role and foster a sales culture of high performance.

sales-cultureUnfortunately, for a variety of reasons, SMB fail to recognize the partnership between sales leadership and sales culture.  People being people are allowed their own “turfdoms” where no one can venture without permission.

What would happen if all employees would ask the following questions?

  • Who pays my salary?
  • Who pays the bills to keep the doors open?
  • Who pays my retirement and other benefits?
  • How does this company grow financially?
  • What can I do to make this company profitable?
  • What can I do to contribute to the sustainable growth of this SMB?
  • How can I help others make this company profitable?
  • What can I do to help others contribute to the sustainable growth of this SMB?

A forward thinking sales culture begins from the inside out. Systems, strategy and people are united together to create and strengthen internal customer satisfaction or better yet active engagement.

From this internal perspective, points of connection are made with external customers leading the way for improved customer loyalty.  This way everyone is rowing toward the same direction and with the same energy.

As in any organization, executive leadership must take the helm.  However in some instances, executive leaders may require assistance to further develop their talents.

By the way, would you agree that most leaders do not know what they do well?  Think about your recent efforts toward self improvement.  Did you focus on further developing your strengths or were you focus on your weaknesses.  If the later was your focus, does this make sense?

Sustainable SMB growth happens through assessing, clarifying and executing and then continually repeating this three step process.  If you want to increase sales, then consider the existing partnership between sales leadership and your sales culture.  Remember, each and every employee is in sales, not just the paid salespeople.

Want better results, more sales with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

* * * * *

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 219.508.2859 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

 

 

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