Posts Tagged ‘Sales Training’

Let’s Stop Selling to the Quick Fix Need

A great friend and colleague, Dan Waldschmidt, wrote an outstanding blog about the charlatans who provide success advice and are liars. What Dan was addressing was those in sales who sell to the quick fix need.

Read Dan’s blog posting – Why Most Success Advice Is Bullshit and What to Do About It.

These salespeople be them executive coaches, organizational consultants to even instructional designers, look to the quick fix need of a sales lead.  They usually know their sales solution is not effective (doing the right thing) and therefore not sustainable.  Maybe this is why so many salespeople hide from return on investment (ROI).

My History of the Quick Fix in Sales

I first saw this for me unethical sales behavior when I was involved in instructional design.  As a subcontractor I was tasked with writing sales training (instructions) for retail salespeople to sell through a series of computer prompts.  The way the training was scheduled was not going to be sustainable.  Additionally, these salespeople were not being trained on the entire sales process.  This sales training was all about selling without any solid establishment of a relationship.

Later as I established my own executive coaching and consulting practice, I had numerous sales opportunities where the client wanted a quick fix.  I knew that a one time learning event provided very little long term cognitive retention.

How can anyone change his or her behavior when he or she forgets the knowledge to change that behavior?

When the client insisted on a one time learning event and wanted “loosey goosey” outcomes such as “improve communications with customers” or “be better leaders,”  I respectfully declined and stated my sales solution would not be sustainable.

Every potential client told me “well, so and so” said he or she could do it.  I would respond with “Then I would reach out to that individual. I know from my education and experience, what you want will not happen in a one day or two day training event.”

Many people will always be attracted to the quick fix for a variety of reasons.  The only way to provide sustainable solutions is to stop selling to the quick fix.  Take the hit in your sales.

And before you hear some internal response such as “this is what the client wanted” to justify selling to the quick fix, remember your sales solution should be effective (doing the right thing) and sustainable.  You should be able to quickly provide a measurable return on investment (ROI).

As Dan said:

“Success is you doing the right thing. When no one is watching. When it’s hard to do.”

Dan goes on by saying:

“It’s the mindset and the actions created by that mindset that lead to the outward evidence of your success. Stop buying into other people shortcuts.”

The last sentence could be easily rewritten as “Stop selling into other people’s quick fixes.”  For the “quick fix” is a shortcut and truly not sustainable.

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Have You Considered Your Sales Solutions to Have These Two Qualities?

Sales solutions that are both efficient and effective have a far greater probability of turning customers into loyal customers or continued sources of sales referrals.  What happens is in the hurry to “close the sale,” some salespeople focus on the efficient and not the effective.

Efficient Sales Solutions

When the sales solution meets all the criteria as in investment, delivery, etc., it suggests it was efficient.  Things were done right.  The right answers were given to the right questions.

Effective Sales Solutions

To be an effective sales solution means doing the right thing.  Possibly the salesperson knows even though his or her solution is efficient, it may not be effective.  For example, sales training during the holidays usually lacks short and long term cognitive retention.  People have their minds elsewhere.

Another no effective example might be given 2 – 8 hour days of training knowing full well the “brain only absorbs what the butt will endure.”  Such a schedule may be efficient and yet it is not effective.  A better sales training solution would be 2 hours a week over 8 weeks.  Sometimes there is push back on this scheduling, yet a good salesperson can demonstrate how such a sales solution can deliver far better results.

Losing the Sale

Many salespeople are not willing to lose the sale for a variety of reasons. Several times in the past I have been asked to deliver one or two day sales leadership training.  Given the behavioral outcomes the clients wanted, I had to turn down the sales because I knew the attendees would not change their behaviors. The clients were convinced this type of sales leadership training could be achieved.  I suggested to the clients to reconnect with their past vendors because given my knowledge and experience I could not secure those desired behavioral changes.

Sales solutions that are both efficient and effective may take a little longer to earn or close, but the results are far more sustainable from loyal customers to more sales referrals.

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Leverage Your Mindset to Increase Sales

If you want to increase sales, right now momentarily forget about your sales training, all the books you read on sales, your CRM, your To Do List, your sales funnel, your outstanding proposals, your appointments today, your sales leads, the calls you must make to whatever else is cluttering your brain.  Now think about your mindset, how are you going to approach all those tasks?

Far too often we allow all the clutter to keep us from seeing what is actually keeping us from our desires, our goals.  This clutter is in many instances negative as in “I gotta call so and so.”

Sales Coaching Tip:  I “gotta” is negative.  I “want” to is positive.

The Reality of Mindset

William James who is considered by many to be the father of American psychology said:

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”

More Than Attitudes to Increase Sales

Our attitudes evolve from our belief system.  Many of our beliefs are subconscious, hidden in the far recesses of our mind. Depending upon the research and if we count our sleeping hours, the total number of daily subconscious thoughts range from 10,000 to 600,000. Here is were our deepest beliefs lie.

Attitudes reflect our beliefs both conscious and subconscious.

Negativity First

We are conditioned as children to negativity.  Parents tell us:

  • “Don’t touch the stove”
  • “Don’t talk to strangers”
  • “Don’t go to where you are not invited”

Sales Coaching Tip:  The last two bullets explain much of the fear of cold calling.

Our parents in their efforts to keep us safe from harm have started our brains on a negative path.  Unfortunately, they failed later to counter balance all that negative conditioning.

Then as we grow, we internalize these don’ts and place negative consequences on them.  Our DO NOTS have now turned into CANNOTS!

A New Mindset

If you wish to increase sales, there is a way to discover where you have gaps (clarity) and how to close those gaps (execution).

Here is the formula for a positive mindset regardless of your role:

(b) • {A+S+K} + mmG = PBC = IP ∴ IR

If you wish to learn this formula, have under 30 minutes and truly want to increase sales or improve your results, schedule a time to talk by CLICKING HERE.

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Why Are So Many Salespeople Hungry for the One Size Fits All Solution?

Right now I cannot count the number of articles, books to sales training workshops that promise to deliver what I call the one size fits all sales solutions.  From the top five closing questions to a proven sales process, each of these sales solutions fail to recognize these three critical buying axioms and one selling axiom.

#1 – People Buy From People They Know and Trust

The fallacy of these one size fits all selling solutions presume the salesperson has established a sound relationship with the buyer and every relationship is the same.  Building rapport in sales (I truly dislike that designation because most people can build rapport with a dog) takes time, a lot of time. Sales research continues to suggest very few people can earn the sale on the first contact.

#2 – People Buy First on Emotions, Justified by Logic

More and more sales research is being complied about the importance of emotions and how those emotions (emotional intelligence) are connected to the brain (neuro science).  Books like Sales EQ by Jeb Blount help salespeople to understand the power of emotions for both the buyer and the seller.

#3 – People Buy on Value UNIQUE to Them

Since each of us are unique individuals, what we value is unique to us. One of my dearest friends will only buy white or silver cars as her current house is white.  She has shared with me numerous times how car salespeople try to sell her a red car and ignore her desire (think value) for a white or silver one.

#4 – Most Salespeople Do Not Know Their Talents; Thereby Fail to Leverage These Talents

After working with hundreds of salespeople, I can honestly say the super majority, well over 90%, do not know their talents.  The one size fits all solution works against not with the talents of these individuals.

Yes I know salespeople are hungry to increase sales. However, when that hunger ignores these three buying axioms and one selling axiom, the goal to increase sales will not be achieved or it will be much harder to achieve.

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Are You Forgetting Sales Leadership Is Situational?

How many times have we read or heard about leadership being situational?  If any type of leadership is truly situational, it is sales leadership.

Leadership is first about leading yourself or self-leadership.  From your own leadership efforts you secure your desired results.

Peter Drucker said “Leadership is all about results.”

In sales, results do matter.  For without the ability to increase sales, those in sales would be quickly unemployed.

When top sales performers meet with new sales leads, the nuances of their sales conversation will adapt to the situation.  They understand people communicate differently.  In many instances, top salespeople know and leverage their knowledge of DISC to further the sales conversation and ultimately the relationship.

CLICK HERE to Schedule a call with Leanne to learn more about DISC and how it impacts your sales leadership and sales results.

Those new to sales or who have just returned from the “latest and greatest sales training” event in many instances wear blinders.  Their inexperience or recent learning conditioning has them so focused to follow a per-determined path they lose:

  • The relationship
  • Sales opportunity

Understanding how sales leadership is situational is incredibly important.  Knowing what to say and when to say what to say always returns to the situation.  Being present in the moment supports those strong leadership qualities from active listening to caring to respect.

Situational leadership happens from experience.  For those new to sales, securing a mentor or even a sales coach may support further sales leadership growth.

Additionally, those who understand situational leadership in sales as well as in business know the importance of leaving one’s ego at the door.  These leaders recognize each meeting (think situation) is potentially different because the other person is different from the last person they met.

Each person is unique and what he or she values is unique. 

If you want to increase sales, then start reflecting upon your own sales leadership. Find an accountability partner to review with you your recent sales meetings. And remember, your success is determined by your own willingness to recognize what you don’t know.

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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 Problem with Value Creation in 3 Letters

Every decade or so, another new term floats to the top of the business world.  In sales, value creation has been front and center.  Sales experts to sales training firms now educate salespeople on how they can create value.

The undisclosed problem with value creation resides in this 3 letter word – EGO.

When salespeople believe they create value, they are putting themselves and their egos before the buyer.  All of a sudden they know better than the buyer based upon their own experiences with other buyers.  In some cases this may be true.

Sales Coaching Tip: Even the most uneducated buyer can smell EGO a mile away.

When we look at the true meaning of the word create, it means to bring something into existence that did not exist before.  Value is unique to each buyer. Therefore value already resides within the buyer and cannot be created.

Possibly people confuse value creation with value connection and value rediscovery.

Value Connection

Through active listening, the salesperson learns what the buyer values.  Then the salesperson can craft his or her solution to ensure it connects to those value drivers.

Value Rediscovery

When salespeople rediscover an un-articulated value (this used to be called latent needs in sales), they can bring this to the attention of the buyer.  Possibly in the past other salespeople had failed to discover this value and it resided quietly in the buyer’s subconscious until it was rediscovered.

Ego is a sales killer.  No one likes to be sold as the old expression goes.

When salespeople believe in value creation, their egos prevent them from active listening to asking different questions.  Ego becomes a fallback behavior and potentially turns off more buyers than turns them on.

People buy from people they know and trustEgo prevents that exchange of knowledge and trust from happening.

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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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Too Many Impersonal Sales Questions May Limit Your Sales Results

Funny thing about humans beings, we back off from personal questions and yet we want people to know us.  Many sales questions are logical, impersonal and just may unintentionally limit or restrict sales results.

If sales is the transference of feelings (Zig Ziglar) and I believe this is true, then results driven salespeople have the capacity to frame impersonal questions into personal ones without violating the sales prospect’s personal space. Training and then developing this capacity is missing in many sales training programs and even with some sales coaching solutions.

For example, there are still sales training programs asking this couched prospecting sales question:

What keeps you up at night?

The desired end result of this question is to find the “pain” of the sales lead.  Yet, there are a plethora of different sales questions that can deliver far better results and better yet differentiate you from all those other numskulls.

Imagine asking this question:

If you could wave a magic wand, what would the three things you would like to see different in your business (substitute with your people, your process, your sales, your results)?

Asking proactive questions that fringe on being impersonal without being too personal can deliver the facts you are seeking to present your case.

There are other questions, but if I gave them all to you, why would you continue to read this blog or even reach out to speak with me?

Sales is still very simple, though not necessarily easy.  The level of difficulty increases with more complex sales that require more decision makers.  For most SMB owners and sales professionals, they probably do not engage in complex sales with the frequency of much larger firms with 100 or more employees.

People buy from people they know and trust.  Your sales questions must showcase you are knowledgeable and trustworthy.  Sounding like all the other salespeople with their antiquated and too personal questions will not increase sales.

Schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith by CLICKING HERE.

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The Cheap and Easy Quick Fix Is Not Cheap, Easy or Quick

How often do sales managers to SMB owners to even sales professionals seek the cheap and easy quick fix to increase sales?  Then how often do companies create viable tools, but those tools are abused and misused because of this ongoing desire for the quick fix?

What usually happens is disappointment sets in and those in charge seek another cheap and easy solution to what ails their businesses and specifically their sales.  Einstein’s definition of insanity is alive and well not only in these SMBs, but all other organizations.

As an elected school board trustee and public educator, I saw this behavior through the application of grants.  Most grants have a three year funding cycle and then the school must fund the solution of their own.  Instead, they seek another grant because this was a viable way to get money and money drove the decision making process, not results. There was a constant turnover of programs that only diminished student engagement and effective instruction.

For profit businesses and other not for profit organizations also seek the easiest solution in the quickest time frame.  Investing in long term solutions is rarely considered.

We know this to be true because of the lack of return on investment for the majority of sales training and development programs. There is and remains a quick fix mentality by executive leadership because they have not engaged in any strategic planning nor understand how people learn and what keeps the application of newly learned sales skills on the back burner.

Today I submitted my 40th article to Worldwide Coaching Magazine.   The subject of this article looked to artificial intelligence (AI) and executive coaching.  Possibly the future will be “Coach Data.”  Unfortunately, even two entrepreneurs who have built AI into at their AI executive coaching program recognize this solution should never replace face to face interactions.

Executive coaching is a skill set that is often confused with consulting or worse yet traditional training and development programs. The first significant difference between executive coaching and traditional training and development quick fix is return on investment.  ROI is a demonstrated and measurable result.

Time is the next significant difference. Changing behaviors does not happen overnight.

Reflection of application of newly learned skills is the third significant difference. Executive coaches continually ask for their clients to share what has happened since the last coaching interaction. They also request application of new behaviors between sessions.

Beliefs probably are the fourth and probably the greatest difference.  Our beliefs, our attitudes drive our behaviors. Traditional sales training and development to leadership development to customer service training looks to the behaviors first instead of looking to the beliefs.

All of these differences demonstrate that executive coaching, sales coaching, leadership coaching or business coaching is not cheap, easy or quick.  If you are seeking the quick fix to your people problems, save your money until you can afford to do it right.

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

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