Posts Tagged ‘sales quotas’

Do You Really Want to Increase Sales?

How many times have I heard “I really want to increase sales” or “I need to sell more?”  Yet the results speak for themselves as the majority of salespeople do not meet their sales quotas or sales goals.

The want is a human desire. It is both external and internal.  Until the internal desire is truly emotionally energized reinforced with logical thinking, it will only be a want never a fulfillment of that burning desire to increase sales. It ends up being only an external desire or really a very weak wish.

How often do people say they really, really want to lose weight?  Yet, they “cheat” by eating this or that.  All those “this and that” cheating moments add up to extra calories.

Possibly all this cheating is why people seek the quick fix to improving their lives.  Buy this smart device or this software “app” and magically you will have all the business you ever imagined.

Cheating short circuits the desire and limits the ability to secure the desired results.

To change your results, you must change how you think, how to do things.

Change is not easy just like thinking.

What would happen if you invested the time to emotionalize your want to increase sales?  This would mean sitting down and writing all the good things that would happen if you achieved this want, this sales goal.

Then after listing all those good outcomes, do the reverse.  List all the bad outcomes.  Fill the paper until you can write no more.

Emotionalize your future, because that is what you are doing.

Some people have a dream board where those positive outcomes are in front of them each day.  This helps them visualize the future.

If you want to increase sales or change any aspect of your life, then ask yourself “Do you really, really want this change?”  What are you willing to do to make it so?  By the way, when you find yourself cheating you may realize you truly don’t want to change.

Want to increase sales?  Give me a call and let’s talk. Schedule your time here on my calendar.


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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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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?



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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Handling the Peaks and Valleys in Meeting Sales Quotas

Have you experienced the frustration of peaks and valleys when it comes to meeting sales quotas? For the majority of mid-size to small businesses, you are not alone in that frustration.



Possibly one reason for this frustration is there has been no time in reflection.  Peaks and valleys for many are a repeat of history.  For example within the consulting and training industry, November, December and January are historically slower months because all dollars have been spent.

When I was in corporate, the month of December was very slow because of this one reason – shutdowns.  Our industrial maintenance and repair customers would shutdown their facilities for one of these two reasons:

  • Very slow to no business
  • Maintenance

If the shutdown was for maintenance, our customers made their purchases in October and November in anticipation of this shutdown.

What I did as sales manager was to analyze the peaks and valleys for the past several years to determine how to improve meeting sales quotas.  The result was a recommendation to secure a more stable product line that would be in demand every month and would generate a consistent profit.  My analysis also revealed the valleys had lower profits than the peaks.  As I had already identified the product, my boss approved my analysis and recommendation. Within several months we had secured that product line.

Another strategy to handle the peaks and valleys in meeting sales quotas is continue with the marketing.  Most mid-size to small businesses do not have separate marketing departments.  Their sales team are the ones responsible for marketing, attracting attention.

Unfortunately, when the sales peaks happen, the sales team becomes so busy with the increase sales, they forget about marketing.  Then the sales drop off and without any additional marketing, a valley happens.

My recommendation to my clients is marketing should always be 50% of their time.  They must have their name continually in front of their existing customers as well as potential customers.

Social media through automation software helps to alleviate the time shortage.  By investing 30 minutes once a week, any company can have a weekly presence on the Internet.  Now if the mid-size to small business decides to add a blog to that social media presence, this addition will increase the time commitment.

Yes the peaks and valleys can be handled in meeting sales quotas. The first barrier is to decide to take a proactive response and not stay in the all too common reactive response behavior.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Top Sales Performers Know What Cards to Hold

Imagine for a moment you have a deck of cards. Each card represents a sales lead.  Two of those sales leads are Jokers that you immediately discard. If you want to join the ranks of the top sales performers, you must know what sales leads of the remaining 52 cards to hold and those to fold or discard.

top-sales-performersFor small businesses owners, many hold onto all 52 cards and attempt to work all of these sales leads.  By taking this action they probably:

  • Lose sales because the are concentrated on the many and not the few
  • Increase stress because current sales quotas are not being attained
  • Reduce customer loyalty and retention

So how do top sales performers know what cards (sales leads) to hold and those to fold?

#1 – Know Your Ideal Customer

Top performing salespeople have a clearly articulated  ideal customer profile. They have invested the time to research the demographics and psychographics. They can clearly share this ideal customer profile in 100 words or less.

Example:  My ideal customer profile is:

  • Forward thinking leaders who are not satisfied with the status quo
  • Recognizes there are barriers to growth
  • Admits to not having clarity as how to handle these barriers
  • A small business owner with sales of $3 million to $50 million
  • A sales professional earning between $50,000 & $100,000 or over $100,000
  • A corporation where traditional training and development solutions have failed to yield sustainable results

By applying your ideal customer profile to your deck of sales leads will allow you to begin the process of discarding and even folding.

#2 – Separate Centers of Influence from Actual Ideal Customers

Within those 52 sales leads are probably several if not more centers of influence. These are people who may not be direct decision makers, but can influence the buying decision or make recommendations to those within their spheres of  influence.

#3 – Invest Time to Research

Once you have begun your separation process, invest additional time to research.  Probably within 15 minutes at the most you can find out the following:

  • Annual sales
  • Growth rate
  • Number of employees
  • Recent awards
  • Industry trends

This information is critical when you meet each of those sales leads.  Top sales performers always do their research so they understand what is happening within the potential ideal customer’s world.

#4 – Know Your Talents

Do you know what you do well?  How can you better leverage those talents to earn those sales leads?  Before you engage in actually reaching out to those sales leads, know what you do well.

Top sales performers do not share the same talents or sales skills.  Their advantage is they know how to leverage what they do well. This difference allows them to capture sales leads others may miss.

Check out this talent assessment that identifies 78 key talents.

#5 – Be Willing to Hold

Patience is another attribute of top sales performers.  They realize sometimes patience is necessary.  Building relationships takes time.  Many in sales, will fold their cards (sales leads) before playing out the hand.  They give up too quickly.

Sales is sometimes like playing with a deck of cards. You never know what card (sales lead) you will draw. Your goal is to have 100% clarity regarding where you are going respective to sustainable business growth.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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How Comfort in Scarcity May Be the New Sales Philosophy


During a recent tele-seminar arranged by Lynn Hidy, I offered this observation that comfort in scarcity may be the new sales philosophy. This comment was a piggyback to Dan Waldschmidt’s observation that  “sales quotas are for losers.”

Beliefs drive Actions generating Results

When sales people adopt the comfort in scarcity sales philosophy, they are submitting to a self limiting belief.  Since beliefs drive actions generating results, all of a sudden if I can just make the sales quotas or do the minimum because:

  • The economy sucks
  • My sales manager is nuts
  • This organization is dysfunctional
  • My clients are too demanding
  • Fill in the “scarcity” blank

then I am a sales success.

I have triumphed over everything and feeling pretty comfortable about where I am right now.

The down side to this comfort in scarcity sales philosophy is it restrains the sales person from:

  • Pushing himself or herself
  • Moving forward
  • Challenging the status quo

Sales quotas are the minimum performance thresh hold. The WAY SMART goal would be to exceed those scarcity sales goals by challenging yourself to being incredible, to truly Be the Red Jacket in the sea of sales sameness where all those other gray suits are by being comfortable in scarcity believing and consequently doing.

Beliefs drive Actions generating Results

How many times has the thought of if I do better than the minimum, someone is going to expect me to do even better next time?

What if I fail?

How can that be good?

The fear of success sometimes can be the driver for this comfort in scarcity sales philosophy.

Yes, you just may fail the next time. However, there is just as good of a chance you will be successful isn’t there?

There is a lot of talk of abundance versus scarcity mentality.  And that is what it is, talk.

Until sales people and individuals in general start moving outside of the “quota sales” zone or “status quo” ta sales philosophy, they will continue to deliver the same results.


Beliefs drive Actions generating Results.

The questions you may wish to consider are:

Do I find some comfort in scarcity?

Is this the way I wish to life the rest of my professional sales life?

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Well, You Know How Sales People Are – Friday’s Editorial

This past week I heard this statement several times:

“Well, you know how sales people are.”

My immediate gut response was “No, I don’t. How are they?”

Then I started thinking about why so many people have had this similar reaction or belief to sales people. Yes, there are some pushy, over the top sales people, but from my 40 plus years of business and sales experience those folks are truly few and far between. Most sales people are professional and truly want to do a good job just like employees in any other organizational roles.

Beyond the “used car salesman,” who trained sales people to be pushy?  Well, I think the responsibility is shared with upper level management from the small business owners to C Suite executives, sales managers and sales training coaching consultants.

Many are familiar with the sales meeting in the movie Glenngarry GlenRoss. Here is the high pressure, ABC (Always Be Closing) sales training coaching scenario.  Yes using the word coaching is truly a stretch as this was not coaching.

If sales people are that bad, then the blame is not on the individual but rather who hired the person and who trained the person.  Also the leadership culture created by management is also responsible. With an attitude do anything to get the order to meet the quarter’s sales quotas, does not say much for an ethically driven and accountable sales culture.

So the next time you hear or even make a comment similar to “Well, you know are sales people are,” then maybe it is time to revisit your leadership culture, the alignment between your strategies, structure, processes (sales training coaching) and rewards, ethics and beliefs along with your own expectations. Remember sales people, just like all your other employees, are not born that way, they are made.

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How to Increase Sales Tips and Snippets Part 3

Maybe today’s title should be “How Not to Increase Sales” or “How to Increase Sales When Pigs Fly” as I am quite fed up with the following marketing strategies, marketing messages and tactics that only tick people off (I would use another word, but do not know who is reading this sales blog posting).

Sales Tips Not To Do #1

Do not used LinkedIn Discussion tabs to promote your next book, your workshop, your seminar or to send fellow LinkedIn members to a landing page with sales letter copy asking you to sign up for this freebie or even buy your solution (product or service).  There is a Promotion Tab.  When you engage in this behavior, all you do is demonstrate how stupid you are because you do not know the difference between the definition of the word Discussion and Promotion. Ttherefore you are violating the first sales buying rule. People do not normally trust stupid people (politicians excluded).

Sales Tips Not To Do #2

If you believe that automated telephone marketing messages really work especially if your ideal customer is breathing, then I have a bridge to sell you.  Once again, all you are doing is ticking off your prospects unless of course they are as desperate as you are.  Remember the words attributed to P.T. Barnum “There’s a sucker born every minute.” and your goal is not to be that sucker.

Sales Tips Not to Do #3

Sending out emails to strangers with whom you do not have a relationship only increase sales objections. This morning I received this one and besides laughing my fanny off, I was shaking my head because this person believes in quantity and not quality and definitely not relationship selling.

Dear Leanne (He did use my name, but I do not know him.)

The purpose of this note is to bring your attention to some interesting findings from a recent survey on setting sales quotas.  (Not an emotional engaging opening statement. My brain translated this as The purpose of this note is to sell you something.)

Properly set sales quotas are important to companies for four reasons:

1- Communicate to the salesperson how management wants them to allocate their effort  (I corrected salesperson to be one word not two.)
2- Help management evaluate performance
3- Provide a benchmark against which results can be measured
4- Allow management to match a salesperson’s skill to market potential (Again, made the spelling correction.)

The annual ritual of executives trying to set higher quotas while the sales organization argues for lower ones is right around the corner. (Presuming that all companies are on an annual calendar year even though they may be on a fiscal one. In sales,  presumptions are one of the quickest ways to derail any effort to successfully earn or close the sale.)

I would enjoy a conversation with you to discuss our methodology to set quotas fairly across territories.  Please let me know if this would be of value to you. (Since I an single entrepreneur with multiple strategic partnerships and teach goal setting as part of my sales training coaching practice, not this would not have value. Also you never invested the time to truly know what I do.  This would have been far better from a strategic perspective to help me with my clients. Of course that will now happen when pigs fly.)

Forward Thinking Marketing and Selling  Quotation

“Adversity is the first path to truth.” George Gordon Byran

Enjoy the weekend, remember to schedule 15 minutes between now and Monday morning to review what you need to do to ensure that next week is a successful marketing, selling and sales week.

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The Combined Power of Intentional Thought & WAY SMART Goals

Some say the road to Hell is paved or littered with good intentions.  I always thought that to be true because the reason it is leading to Hell is because there was no predetermined destination. With so many in selling  not achieving their sales  quotas according to CSO Insight survey earlier this year, this old adage appears to still be true.

In the sales process, many marketing and selling actions are the result of good intentions, however they fail to deliver the desired results of more customers and more revenue.  This outcome can be changed when goals are part of the overall sales process. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  If you have not followed up on all sales leads but you want to this is an example of having good intentions while traveling the road to Hell.

This morning, Friday June 18, 2010, I received notice from Sylvia Rosen of the Buyer Zone that this fledgling sales blog (established in February 2010) has been included in the 20 great sales blogs.  What an honor and it is very much appreciated for these three reasons:

Reason #1: Outside acknowledgment validates the quality of your writing and thinking efforts

Everyone likes to be acknowledge for a job well done.  When this recognition comes from a totally unbiased and unexpected  source, it has even more meaning.

Reason #2: Goal setting and achievement works

I am a big believer in  SMART goals. As I grew older I revised the goal achievement criteria from SMART goals to WAY SMART goals and then aligned these goals to a specific plan. Over the course of time, that personal action plan became more standardized and was then put onto one page for easier review. Transitioning into my business, I then created a series of one page action plans beginning with an overall business action plan and a sales action plan.

Reason #3: Intentional thoughts (positive thinking) is necessary for success

Henry Ford I believe said it best – Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right. Positive intentional thoughts must be present if you truly want the sales success you deserve in sales. One of my colleagues, Laura Novakowski, is writing a series of articles on this very subject in her blog.

When I began this sales blog, I committed these goals to writing:

  1. Increase traffic by at least 20% over the previous year – achieved every month
  2. Achieve an Alexa ranking of under 300,000 by September of 2010 (actually achieved in May 19, 2010
  3. Achieve 150 unique visitors per day by September of 2010 (currently at 130 unique visitors per day)
  4. Achieve Alexa ranking of under 200,000 by December 31, 2010
  5. Achieve 500 unique visitors per day by December 31, 2010
  6. Achieve Alexa ranking of under 100,000 by December 31, 2011
  7. Achieve 1,000 unique visitors per day by December 31, 2011

In late April, I added another goal and that was to be included in the top 100 sales goals. Recently due to the achievement of some of the above goals, I just added this goal, secure $1,000 in passive income by 12/31/2010. To achieve this goals means including some relevant advertisements through Reach Sales. From these written goals, my thoughts are very intentional and directed to achieving these desired results. My belief right or wrong is if I had not committed this goal to writing my thoughts would not be as clear and clarity of thought is required unless you like selling or living in a fog.

There is tremendous power when one combines intentional thoughts with WAY SMART goals. Just make sure you keep track of all those goals achieved so when you hit a bump in the road your thoughts will stay incredibly intentional.

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