Posts Tagged ‘sales leads’

The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 3

To increase sales leadership requires knowing not only the results of what you were doing differently as asked in Day 2 of these sales leadership questions, but if those results were positive, negative or neutral.  This analysis suggests you know your past results and can quickly make those determinations.

Again, this question further assists in you understanding if you are confusing motion with progress and activity with results. Thanks to Doug Brown of Paradigm Associates for this great increase sales leadership question.

Sometimes even if results are positive, these results may be all about motion such as increase sales leads or first time meeting appointments.  Yet the activity to increase sales results is just that activity without results.

Then if the sales leadership behaviors are negative, possibly it is time to rethink how you do what you do. For example you are working your LinkedIn account or email list and sending our email blasts.  Yet, this activity is not generating any results and you are learning you are potentially upsetting people by cluttering up their inbox.

Possibly some results are neither positive or negative. This may be because enough time has not passed to make any determination.  Here is where you must have understanding as to your sales cycle time.

The ability to increase sales leadership is both simple and complex, The simplicity is sales is all about the transference of feelings. The complexity is exactly how do you transfer those feelings in a positive manner to the right qualified sales leads that result in increase sales.

With so much emphasis on external behaviors from asking the right open ended sales questions to being able to turn stalls into actual sales objections, there appears to be far less emphasis on the internal behaviors which in many instances are the real obstacles to sales success.

If you missed day one of this series of 12 questions to increase sales leadership, you can click here.

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Buzz Words Don’t Sell

Believe it or not, some believe that adopting the most current buzz words will dramatically their increase sales.

Right now the most popular buzz word is sales enablement.  Before that we had trusted advisor, consultative sales,  development specialist, relationship expert, you get the drift.

In many instances, buzz words tell others how you do what you do and not what you do.

In sales, what sells are the results outside of the relationship.

What your sales leads want to know is results do you, your products or services deliver?

The Fallacy of Buzz Words

When a particular buzz word is adopted, sometimes the salesperson believes others know what that word or words actually mean as in sales enablement. Additionally there is a presumption by using a particular flavor of the month moniker, it will reveal the salesperson is ahead of all those other salespeople.

Possibly in selling to much larger organizations (500 employees or more) which represent less than .5% of all U.S. business (source U.S. Census Bureau), their decision makers may know and may embrace these words.  However, at the end of the day, regardless of business size or industry, results are what matter.

Results usually show up in the value proposition, but not always.  Again, many in sales lose sales leads by going into the reeds along the bank.  They stir up a lot of mud and any initial clarity regarding their value proposition is lost.

If you want to adopt any current buzz word, go ahead.  Just remember, buzz words do not sell.  People buy you first. Next they buy on emotions justified by logic.  Finally they buy on value that is unique to them.

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Possibly Your Email Automation Messages Are Killing Sales?

Most of us have experienced those email automation messages.  We download something and then we get an automated message for some follow-up or worse yet a direct sales pitch. Yuck.

Email Automation Reality

These  automation messages probably kill more sales than people realize.  Today I download some sales enablement research for an article I was writing.  I received the following message:

Leanne, I noticed you have downloaded the CSO Insights Sales Management Enablement study. What triggered your interest in this paper? Would you like to arrange a call to see if there is a fit for me helping you with your objective?

Now this was not someone from CSO Insights, but another firm that had access to this particular study. Did you notice the not so subtle sales pitch?

I did respond with the following:

Thank you, I write a column for the Chicago Tribune as well as other publications. I am quite fine with my objectives, thank you.

The return personal response was “Okay.”  Do you think this salesperson gave up too easily?

Now here was the perfect opportunity to do some further research before responding.  This individual could have checked out my LinkedIn profile or undertake a Google search.  He might have realized I am a possible sales influencer.  Instead he let this sales opportunity pass because he saw my response as a sales obstacle.

Email automation messages serve a purpose. They are the first step to discovering unqualified sales leads, qualified sales leads or centers of influence.  The next step is to make a second outreach to confirm the initial discovery.  This second step is the one many people fail to undertake.

What happens is salespeople are busy and in some instances truly crazy busy. All this being busy becomes an excuse not to do any additional research.  Possibly this is why most salespeople only make two contacts and then go onto the next sales lead?

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In Sales Conversations The Fine Line Between Inspiration and Intimidation

Most salespeople truly believe in their sales solutions especially entrepreneurs and single office/home office small business owners. They want their sales conversations to be full of inspiration and yet sometimes just the opposite happens.

We have all heard about pushy salespeople.  These are the folks who make their sales pitches within a few moments after shaking your hand.  I am not talking about those salespeople.

What I am talking about is the salespeople who so firmly believe in their solutions, their sales conversations are full of passion that comes from the heart. Sure they want to close the sale, to earn the business, but first and foremost they want their prospects to share their passion to have that “V8 moment” so to speak.

Salespeople full of inspiration realize it takes more than one contact.  They will make numerous efforts to reach out to their sales leads or prospects and to share their “inspirational” sales solutions.

For some sales prospects, eventually they lose the feeling of inspiration and it is replaced with intimidation.  They don’t want to hurt the feelings of the salesperson, but the constant focus on the sales solution turns them off.  The mistake made by the inspiring salesperson is one also shared by those other pushy salespeople – failure to listen and observe.

Recently I observed an inspired SOHO entrepreneur who was attempting to sell his solution to another individual.  The “sales lead” was polite. His body language told me he was being polite.  However, he had been turned off by the sales conversation quite earlier. Yet the salesperson failed to pick up these non-verbal clues and continued with what he thought to be an inspirational sales solution.

The passion that inspires salespeople to have those sales conversations can easily intimidate especially if the salesperson is not actively listening and observing the non-verbal behavior of the sales prospect.  Top sales performers understand how easily it is to cross the fine line between inspiration and intimidation.

The DISC tool helps to better understand sales conversations behaviors.  To learn more click here to take advantage of this special Labor Day offer by

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Improve Your Sales Soft Skills

Soft skills are absolutely necessary and critical to be successful in sales. You can ask all the open ended questions, work through the sales process flawlessly and if you lack the ability to connect with your sales leads, all your efforts will be for naught.

salesMuch of the sales training and sales development including some sales coaching focuses on the technical skills.  However years ago one of my coaches, David Herdlinger, crafted a simple quadrant.

He asked what causes failure?  Is it knowledge (K) and skills (S) or attitudes (A) and habits (H)?

Most agree it is attitudes and habits.  Some call this mindset.

Mindset is supported by soft skills or people skills.

So what skills would you rate and how would you rate them?

During the last 20 years, I have recognized these five skills as critical to sales success. Below is a quick chart for you to assess yourself.  Then determine based upon the results of rating each of these skills, prioritize them to chart your own personal development.

Skill Rate 1 for low; 10 for high Priority
Communication especially active listening
Delegation (follow-up)
Decision Making respective to type of sales leads; sales conversations, etc.
Leadership (including personal accountability, self starting ability, persistence, goal setting/goal achievement)
Time Management

If people buy from people they know and trust, doesn’t it make sense that people skills should be equal in importance to technical sales skills?

For SMB owners and salespeople, marketing is the first step in demonstrating those soft skills.  Peter Drucker believed a business had two basic functions, marketing and innovation. He also contended if marketing is done well, then selling is effortless.

People must buy you first before they can buy your solutions.  My father shared this hierarchy respective to sales obstacles:

  1. You
  2. Your business
  3. Your solution
  4. Your price
  5. Your delivery

If you want less sales objections, make sure your sales leads buy you first. By taking the time to rate your soft skills, might be the next step to moving you closer to sales success.

Consider reaching out to Leanne and schedule a quick phone call by CLICKING HERE.

 

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The Spray and Pray Tsunami of Social Selling

Social selling appears to have taken the spray and pray sales approach to tsunami proportions. Clueless or lazy salespeople now drown people with emails to postings with sales pitches.

These salespeople and probably some are marketing people spray these sales pitches all over the place through social selling and then pray something will eventually stick. The idea of actually knowing your ideal customer, your target market to the sales leads never enters the minds of these individuals.

For example, this morning I received an email from a complete stranger wanting me to sign up for a one day seminar on time management for the unbelievable price of $700.  My early bird price was $445.

Training and Development Coaching Tip:  A one day workshop delivers less than 10% cognitive retention after 14 days.

This person did not know the following:

  • I deliver time management training and development
  • I live in NW AZ no where near Nebraska, Indiana or Texas (these were the locations for the workshops)

The Power of Social Selling

Social selling is a tremendous and powerful platform especially for SMBs.  The investment is nominal and the reach can be exponential. However if done in error, the results can be harmful to the organization’s credibility as well as the person engaged in social selling.

Spraying and praying when it comes to sales is not new.  Salespeople have been doing this for years.  Buy a list, send out direct mail pieces and reap the rewards.  Of course the research suggests if the business receives a 2-3% response that is good.

Then there are those salespeople who at B2B networking events tell everyone their ideal customer is anyone with a pulse.  Messages like this are smaller examples of spray and pray marketing.

If you want to increase sales, gain clarity as to who your ideal customer is.  Knowing about the industry trends as well as the marketplace would also be beneficial.  Taking these small and predetermined steps will move you far close to your goal of increase sales than the continued spray and pray behaviors of others.

P.S. Time management is an oxymoron.  Schedule a time to speak with me by clicking here to learn why.

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Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn

A colleague, David Brock, made an update posting on LinkedIn  sharing his frustration about people using company profiles wanting to connect with him. Then if he did accept, the next action would be a sales pitch. Beyond being a violation of LinkedIn policy, this action demonstrated how many lazy salespeople still exist. (Note:  Only a person not a company can send a LinkedIn invitation.)

Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn Invitations

Then there are those template LinkedIn invitations from people.  I have been tracking mine recently and in the last week all 20 plus invitations used the general, template invitation. Not one person took the time to personalize the LinkedIn invitation. Several did send me a sales pitch after the invitation was accepted and I immediately disconnected from them.

Imagine how refreshing it would be to actually receive a personalized LinkedIn invitation.  The invite would educate you, the recipient, as to what prompted the invite.  Then you don’t have to rack your brains or do your research to figure out who in the heck this person is or how in the heck do I know him or her.

LinkedIn Coaching Tip Courtesy of Viveka von Rosen:  If you are using the mobile app, there are 3 little dots on the top right and by clicking on these dots you can see the option to personalize the invitation.

LinkedIn Messages and Sales Pitches

How about those LinkedIn email messages and their sales pitches? Many if not most of these LinkedIn members never truly read the profile of the person they are pitching.  Again, their desire to pitch demonstrates their laziness.

LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform to locate sales leads and then to begin to build a relationship.  Making a sales pitch right out of the gate is beyond ridiculous. This sales strategy and tactic will not increase sales.

LinkedIn Profiles and Lazy Salespeople

Possibly the most obvious laziness is in LinkedIn profiles. Beyond having a headline that looks like all the other headlines for a particular industry, the summary is usually a regurgitation of the person’s resume. Many even lack a professional photography.  The attitude is throw up anything and it will stick while the reality is throw up anything and it will probably suck.

If your goal is to increase sales, then revisit your LinkedIn profile and your marketing strategy. Yes LinkedIn can increase sales and quickly demonstrate to others if you are one of those lazy salespeople.

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The “Everyone Wants” Sales Mistake

Have you ever heard or made a similar statement “everyone wants” fill in the blank?  This statement is repeated in many sales presentations or just general sales conversations.  However using this statement may create you a sales mistake.

When blanket statement such as “everyone wants” or “everyone knows” are used, there often is a negative, emotional subconscious if not conscious reaction such as:

  • No, I don’t want
  • No, I am not like everyone else
  • No, I don’t know

With every sales lead or prospect, there is an opportunity in making a sales mistake because each of those new sales leads are unique individuals with unique experiences. In sales, one size does not fit all.

Recently I had a conversation with someone who took offense during a meeting when another person said “everyone wants quality.” This individual emotionally felt insulted because he did not want what the other person stated.

During our brief conversation, I restated what I had heard and asked him “If for the same dollars, your desire for safety excellence could be maintained while improving overall quality would you be agreeable?”  His response was “Yes.”

Read this sales coaching post about the importance of feelings in sales and marketing.

This sales mistake often happens during times of contention.  The person selling an idea, a solution attempts to secure agreement with “everyone wants.”  Unfortunately with people’s emotional receptors already subconsciously turned to the negative dial, this attempt at agreement fails miserably.

Possibly the reason for this sales mistake is much of the sales training truly looks to “asking proven questions” or “demonstrating proven sales techniques.”  Securing agreement is one of those proven sales techniques. In years gone by, this was called “mini-closes.” The caveat to the success of this sales technique resides in how the technique is employed.

Words do matter and many a sale mistake has been the direct result of selecting the wrong words.  This is why speaking less is far better than speaking more.

P.S. If you wish to discuss how sales coaching can increase your sales results in the next 2 months, schedule a FREE strategy coaching session by clicking here.

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The Magic Well Not So Magic Increase Sales Formula

Just read another eBook about how to increase sales for executive coaches in just three easy steps. Following these three steps, your executive coaching or sales coaching practice will magically transform itself and you will have riches beyond your wildest expectations.  Really?

business-stratgegy-increase-sales-strategic-planningThis author’s three steps are the three basic steps to increase sales for any business:

Result Focused Solution

Your solution should produce results.  People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

Generate Sales Leads

You must have a process that generates sales leads.  Maybe this is why Peter Drucker said a business has essentially two functions – Marketing and Innovation

Convert Sales Leads

The desired result of lead generation is lead conversion which will increase sales if done correctly. Again referring to Drucker who believed when marketing was done well (lead generation) selling (lead conversion) was  effortless.

Real World Versus Ideal World

So now you know the magic formula, you should have no problem in achieving your goal to increase sales. Of course, the author went into a little greater detail about how to generate leads along with a sales pitch at the end of each chapter to attend his most recent FREE webinar.

Even with those who follow this particular expert’s instructions to the letter, they will still potentially fall short because people buy from people they know and trust.  If you have failed to establish trust through your marketing efforts to your actual sales conversations, then this magic formula will fizzle like a dud firecracker.

Many salespeople especially solo entrepreneurs look for the quick fix to increase sales.  They begin their businesses by skipping the first several steps.  Those few steps involve strategic planning.  The failure to undergo strategic planning results in not knowing:

  • Exactly what to do
  • Exactly when to do it
  • The right things to track
  • How the right things produce the right results
  • How to avoid misdirected actions
  • How to avoid misguided decisions

If you truly want magical results to increase sales, find a magician.  Or you can schedule a free consultation to turn tomorrow’s goals into today’s results by CLICKING HERE.

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The Rush to Sell Is a Rush to …

Nowadays, more so than ever before, there appears to be a rush to sell.  We experience this with unsolicited emails to outreaches within social media challenges especially LinkedIn.

This desire to increase sales is natural because for salespeople increase sales means job security.  The ability to increase sales may also increase the salesperson’s personal wealth.

However, this rush to sell is turning more people off than on. And when one is in sales, turning off potential sales leads, ideal customers to even centers of influence is not a doable marketing or selling strategy.

Why the Rush?

The question to be asked is why is everyone rushing to increase sales?  Is it because of:

  • Sales training?
  • Prospecting training?
  • Sales management?
  • Executive leadership?
  • Social media training?
  • Quick fix mentality?
  • Personal agenda?
  • Ego?

In other words, who is pushing this rush to sell?

The act of selling something to someone is an act of transferring feelings because people buy first on emotion, justified by logic.  Sometimes those feelings are one way, usually held by the seller who wants to make a sale.

Elevating the feelings of the buyer usually takes times because the buyer must know and trust you as the seller.  Developing trust is also time dependent.

Possibly this rush to sell can be directly traced back to some of the questionable sales training as well as prospecting training within the B2B and even B2C marketplace. Bombard people with social media postings, build up your LinkedIn connections to blanket all your contacts with emails and you will increase sales. No all you will do is annoy potential sales leads and centers of influence.

My sense this ongoing rush to sell returns to the quick fix mentality as well as the lack of:

  • Personal goal driven sales plan
  • Personal goal driven marketing plan
  • Personal goal driven self-leadership plan

As you start each day, each week, each month and each year, remember your desire to increase sales must work with your sales leads and not push them away or given them any reason to mistrust you because that rush to sell is a rush to no sales and potentially no job.

CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne about how to begin to increase sales.

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Coaching Tip

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

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