Posts Tagged ‘self confidence’

Looking to Be Insulted in All the Wrong Places

Years ago there was a song with these lyrics “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.” Today, it appears many are looking to be insulted in all the wrong places.

My husband and I at breakfast talked about how everyone is looking to be insulted especially those in business.  This conversation was prompted by a friend and colleague who was accused of micro-aggression by a millennial female wait staff person.

I wonder how this particular individual would have handle this comment from a loyal customer “I want to to be served by a man.” My sense is she would have been insulted and probably labeled this also micro-aggression.

“Many of today’s younger people are looking to be insulted.”

When I first started my professional adult career in sales, I was one of the firs female inside salespeople in the pipe, valves and fitting industry within Chicagoland area.  I can’t count the number of times I heard a male customer, sometimes with a heavy Irish brogue, tell me “I want to talk to a man.”

Instead of looking to be insulted, I simply transferred the customer to another male salesperson.  No big deal. Usually what happened is the customer would come back to me because I knew more about the subject than the male salesperson.

At this time, the customer was usually embarrassed.  Instead of making him feel worse, I just smiled and asked him “How can I help you?” After all, the goal was to increase sales, not to turn a loyal customer into a disloyal one.

When I started this position, I made an effort to educate myself in areas that many had ignored such as specifications, time of delivery, quality of products and substitutes. This knowledge proved exceptionally beneficial.

Micro-Aggression Really?

How often do we ask to speak to someone who can speak English well and understand English?  By the definition of micro-aggression, we are marginalizing or demonstrating indirect discrimination against non-native English people.

Well, my thought is it’s my money, my time and my customer experience. I want someone who can understand what I am saying and I can likewise understand the other person on the phone.” This is called effective communication, not micro-aggression.

Tight Shorts Anyone?

My husband coined this phrase “tight shorts.”  It means people whose feathers are easily ruffled.  These are the folks looking to be insulted.  They are the first to complain.  They are seeking justification for their beliefs which in many instances are false.

The last place to wear tight shorts is the workplace. My Dad warned me about people and sales. He said to “let it go like water off a duck’s back.”  Those words I still carry with me today.

When Did It Happen?

When did it happen we can’t say anything without someone looking to be insulted or offended?  Are we so fearful, so lacking self confidence, so emotionally unintelligent we must actively seek to be offended, to be insulted?

Maybe it is time to reassess what and how we teach young people to be.  Yes we must look not to offend that is true. However maybe it is also true we must stop looking to be insulted in all the wrong places.

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Suffering from the Retreat Sales Mentality Are We?

Sometimes when the going gets tough instead of the tough get going what happens is the retreat sales mentality sets in.  This way of thinking attacks the self-confidence, self starting ability and overall personal accountability on two fronts:



  • Conscious
  • Subconscious

A pending sales lead suddenly changes course and leaves you wondering why should I continue?  Retreating and seeking another sales lead appears to be a better route.

If you disagree, then how do you explain sales research that 44% of salespeople give up (retreat) after one followup? (Source: Scripted)

Possibly another reason for the retreat mentality is the salesperson has different expectations than the sales lead.  These expectations may be a quick sale to an easy sale (less decision makers).  However reality in the B2B marketplace runs contradictory to those self-imposed expectations.

  • 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.   (Source: Marketing Donut)
  • 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy.   (Source: Gleanster Research)
  • Firms with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decision.   (Source: Gartner Group)

Another example of retreat sales mentality surfaces during the selling phase of the sales process.  Far too many salespeople are quick to reduce price to get a sale instead of being able to demonstrate the value of their solution respective to the desired end results for the potential ideal customer.

In sales having a strong and positive mental attitude is a prerequisite for success. Giving up when the first limitation arises only reinforces this sales mentality to retreat instead of to persevere.

I believe the words we use and think are critical to overall sales success as well as success in life.  Maybe the next time you become discouraged, ask yourself are you retreating?  What does it mean to retreat?  Is there another way to win this sale for you as well as for your customer?

Curious if your talents of self confidence, self starting ability and personal accountability are strong?

Click Here to take advantage of a special offer.

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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


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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Time to Rethink Our Sales Fears

Sometimes by rethinking what we believe to be true, we can change our results. This is especially true for our sales fears.



Being in sales is not easy.  Salespeople are confronted with a lot of fears from meeting strangers to going to places uninvited to not earning a sale after weeks of follow-up. They sometimes never know what is behind the doors they walk through.

Yesterday I read something that did not make sense about this word “fear.”  So I looked up the origin of this word and learned the following:

  • The accepted word origin is Old English and where we have the meaning of being frightened
  • The epistemology of the word comes from the Hebrew word, yirah, and this word has numerous meanings including the “anticipation of some danger” to “awe” or “reverence.”

It is this later definition (awe) that when further explored suggests the idea of amazement, astonishment and mystery.

What would happen if we rethought our sales fears using these lenses of amazement, astonishment and mystery?  Would we not be more willing to embrace these fears?

Have you ever held amazement as you listened to a sales lead describe his or her situation?

Have you ever been astonished sometimes as how quickly you earned a sale or closed a sale?

Have you in those quiet times said to yourself at least once “How did I do earn or close that sale?”

Yes our sales fears are truly sales mysteries.

It has been said “When we change how we look at things, the things we look at will change.” (Einstein & Dyer)

By changing the words we use, by rethinking how we define those words, we can change our results especially in sales. No longer will our sales fears stop us, but rather they will propel us forward with intentional internal strength and appreciation.  Suddenly we will experience greater self-confidence to increase sales.

So the next time one of your sales fears rears its ugly head, rethink how you can be amazed or astonished and never forget sales will always be a mystery because people are still unique individuals with their own mysteries.

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Sustainable Sales Success Tip #10 – Be The Best You Can Be

This past week at a regular B2B networking group, South Shore Business Networking, the question was asked about sales success specific to what makes you different?  Everyone shared his or her personal and professional experiences when answering this question.

sales-successOne member, Marti Masterson of Masterson Alliance (independent insurance agency) shared this simple thought:

Be the best you can be!

Marti begins each day by telling herself to be the best she can be.

Wow, what a simple sales success tip that is probably overlooked more often than not.

We as human beings are negatively conditioned. Unfortunately we gravitate to the negative energy instead of making our own positive energy.

By sending a energizing, positive message to her brain every morning, she is now far more proactive than reactive in her sales behaviors. Marti realizes every action must be the very best from answering the phone to meeting with clients and colleagues.

Imagine what might happen to your day if you began with a similar positive belief statement or affirmation of:

Be the best you can be!

Would you attempt to change your behaviors to model this positive self-talk?  My sense is you would.

Would you also gain greater self confidence, self esteem and a feeling of self-worth. Again my sense is you would.

Being in sales, sometimes it is easy to be derailed, to go into a corner and have a private pity party.  Positive self talk of be the best you can be works to counter that human inclination.

Take a lesson learned from Marti Masterson and embrace each sales day with this positive bolt of personal energy.  You just may find some sales success much sooner rather tan later.

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Consensus Driven Leadership Is for Wimps

Possibly it is a sign of our times or an indicator of a cultural shift, but it appears many SMB leaders are now engaged in consensus driven leadership. What this usually looks like is the majority of decisions from marketing to employee engagement evolve from consensus.  The central leader (and I use that term very loosely) to maintain harmony involves EVERYONE.



The foundation for consensus driven leadership is one of weakness not one of strength.  By walking this path the leader of the SMB reveals his or her lack of effective balanced decision making skills, resiliency and self confidence along with the fear of personal accountability and cover your behind mentality.

This type of leadership suggests other significant problems within the organization. Misalignment comes to mind.  When leadership by committee takes over, each person in the committee interprets based upon his or her role the desired results differently.  The end result is usually chaos.

Read Fail-Safe Leadership to Understand the Impact of  Organizational Misalignment

Missed opportunities also happen because a decision that could be made quickly or fairly quickly is lost in the myriad of meetings.  With change happening in many market places and industries very fast, almost akin to the speed of light, opportunities never see realization because too much time has passed.

Department turf wars are another result of consensus driven leadership.  Each department head believes his or her turf is the most important and will do anything to protect it.

Finally, when consensus driven leadership is in place, the executive leader is actually in charge in name only. Those within the organization know others within the executive team are making the decisions if any are ever made.

Being in a significant leadership role and achieving the desired results is not for wimps.  No it takes both efficient and effective executive leadership skills to steer the organization while keeping all actively engaged. Primer Minister Margaret Thatcher aptly described this type of failed organization leadership when she said:

“Consensus is the absence of leadership.”

I believe she should added “and reveals the presence of wimps.”

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership 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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Sales Training is Not Just for Big Business – Part 02

When people lack basic knowledge about selling, this creates a plethora of internal fears.  One of the objectives of good sales training is to uncover those fears and then close those knowledge gaps.


Fear of Making a Mistake

How many times have new salespeople been given some business cards, some brochures and told “Go sell?” These truly engaged employees with loyalty to their employers want to do their best, but fear making a mistake.  Some learn by trial and error.  Others may read some books, listen to a few webinars to fill the knowledge gaps. What happens is a lot of inconsistency as to the sales process (marketing, selling and keeping.)

Mistakes are OOPS and OOP$ are expensive not only to the bottom line, but to internal feelings of self confidence, self esteem and self worth.  These feelings may increase and impact other talents such as self starting ability.

Fear of Competition

For example, in many mid-size to small businesses there is an inherent fear about the competition.  “I don’t want my competitors to know what I am doing.”  This thought is very much old school.  Social media especially LinkedIn provides more than enough information about you to your competitors and more importantly to your ideal customers.  If you sell in the B2B or even B2C industries and you are not on LinkedIn, for some of your ideal customers you may not be even worth a phone call.

Do not forget you are unique. People buy other people first and then buy their companies and their solutions.  No one does what you do in the way you do what you do.

Fear of Thinking (Innovation)

When people lack the belief they can do well, this also impacts their ability to think creatively.  What happens is they are stuck “selling” the same way and loose many opportunities.  Efficient and effective sales training “unstucks” salespeople and provides the opportunity to discover new opportunities.

For example, earlier this week I was working with a small sales team in a mid-size Midwestern city.  I asked if anyone had consistently called on every single business in the downtown area which probably was close to 50 businesses? The 17 year sales veteran ventured forth and replied “most of them have been called on.”  I then asked within the last 30 or 60 days?  The General Manager said “I doubt if all of them had been called on in the last 30-60 days.”

We are all familiar with the old adage “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” In today’s world within the sales process, marketing must adapt to the new marketing channels of social media and even business to business networking events.

Many of these changes are new to mid-size and small businesses.  Ignoring these changes will eventually spell doom to these businesses.  As Peter Drucker said “The purpose of business is marketing and innovation.”  Everything else is operations.

Yes sales training is not just for big businesses.  Not having sales training tailored to your mid-size or small business is your first step to business failure.

Note: Part 3 will examine the impact of inconsistency respective to the lack of sales training.

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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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Sales Training Is Not Just for Big Business – Part 1



Once again I realized SMB businesses desperately need sales training.  Many salespeople in mid size to small businesses (under 50 employees) have never had any formal education about the sales process – marketing, selling and keeping customers.

I cannot count all the times I heard “I was given some business cards, some brochures, pushed out of the front door and told ‘go sell.’ ”

Believe it or not this continues to happen even in the 21st century!

The lack of education has several negative impacts.

Internal Fears

When people do not know what they are supposed to do or how to do what they are supposed to do, internal fears are created. These fears erode self confidence as well as “natural” and developed sales skills. Then a cascade affect happens where self esteem, self starting ability to even personal commitment are eroded. Fear becomes the driving force and truly immobilizes the salesperson.

Leadership Void

Those with any sales skills are looked to as leaders even though those very same skills are not necessarily good. The sales team may look to the wrong person to lead them because bad leadership is better than no leadership.


With sales people lacking self confidence as well as the leadership void inconsistency happens. There may be duplication of efforts to some ideal customers never being formally contacted. Measurements are never put in place such as sales to close (earn) ratio. Additionally, the overall marketing message for the SMB becomes muddled. Finally the perceived sales leader may be engaged in bad sales behaviors that may ruin a truly good salesperson.

The Reality of Sales Training

Sales training for the most part has been designed and developed for Big Business not small business. Complex sales, extended negotiations, multiple decision makers usually are not faced by salespersons selling in the B2B businesses with under 50 employees. Also marketing is not included as part of the sales process.

Download this simple 7-Step-Sales-Process designed for Mid-Size to Small Businesses.

If you are a small business owner, then now and not later is the time to invest in your sales team.  Your salespeople with the right development can improve their sales results. Of course this presumes you have the right person in the right sales role; using the right talents; making the right decisions for the right results in the right time frame and within the right environment.

Note: Part 2 will explore the impact of internal fears.

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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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Connecting the Data Dots of Talent Assessments

Being somewhat of a numbers person, I truly love to collect data and look for data trends.  My sense is beneath all these numbers are data gems that can be helpful to individuals and businesses.  Unfortunately, many fail to connect the data gem dots.

talent-assessmentsLucky for me, I discovered one data gem specific to top sales performers.  Now sometimes it was applicable to entrepreneurs if they had come from a sales background.

Before I share that bit of information, think about all the talent assessments languishing in drawers, in files or on hard drives. Once taken for the most part, they appear to be no longer relevant unless it is for an annual performance review. What a waste of resources!

Now imagine for just a moment if those talent assessments were actually incorporated into daily behaviors,  goals and action plans.

  • Would these sometimes very expensive data collectors and predictors of behavior to motivation become even more valuable?

Unfortunately, negative conditioning from our K-16 experience has us conditioned not to use tests as benchmarks for improvement, but rather as “forget it documents.” Most take the test and forget it. The true forward thinkers will review the test; think about it; and then apply that information moving forward. These individuals have turned the test into an assessment, a benchmark for improving.

Use the Results Tool™ to leverage any talent assessments and strengthen critical thinking skills.

When we think about top sales performers, not all have exactly the same sales skills.  From my research and others, their motivators may also be different as far as order and intensity. So the question is:

Is there something else that can separate top sales performers from all the other wanna bees?

Possibly, we can agree top sales performers are driven to achieve?  This one trait is more of a temperament, the degree of optimism or pessimism the individual holds for his or her self and life.

Those who hold this temperament have a tendency to undervalue their own unique self worth and instead place a lot of emphasis on achieving and getting things done.  Hmm, sounds like most of the top sales performers I know or have coached. Additionally,  these individuals still display self confidence and are quite comfortable in social situations as well as being well organized. Hmm, this does sound like some top sales performers you know?

Using data dot gems will become another competitive advantage for mid size to small businesses as well as solo entrepreneurs. Of course, some will continue to balk at reviewing and leveraging these data gem dots. They will fall behind the flow and will become even more non-competitive in today’s data driven world where numbers may show the way to sustainable business growth.

Take advantage of this 72 hour special and learn if you have this temperament of “driven to achieve.”

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals in the key areas of strategic growth, people development and process improvement. She speaks and writes specifically to high performance sales people who require a tailored executive coaching solution and to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees whose challenges are more unique and resources more limited. 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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Leadership for the Self-Employed

Being a sole proprietor, one may not think about leadership given there is no one to lead. Yet is that really true?

When we gaze back through the annals of time, many who are still viewed as great leaders, began as self-employed ones. Did you know that:


  • George Washington was an independent surveyor?
  • Abraham Lincoln was a farm boy turned self-taught lawyer?
  • Thomas Alva Edison in his early years sold candy on trains?

With over 70% of all U.S. businesses being “non-employed” meaning having no employees (self employed), there are millions of leaders who daily pursue their passions and their professions.  Leadership probably always started out with individuals then expanded into organizations where it became more recognized.

Possibly as an entrepreneur, self employed individual for almost the last 20 years, I believe in the concept of self-leadership that being able to lead oneself first before leading others. For if you cannot lead yourself first, then there exists a solid presumption you cannot lead others well.

Self-leadership and leadership share many of the same talents:

Even if a small business owner is among that 70% without employees, he or she still has the opportunity to lead others such as customers to vendors.  Through leading others, these individuals share the same talents as those who lead much larger organizations. These talents include:

Leadership today has extended beyond the headlines of the usual recognized community to national leaders. Today every small business owner or entrepreneur has the capacity and even more so the responsibility to be a leader. Leadership can no longer be relegated to those with employees or elected officials. No leadership has come full circle back to each self-employed small business owner.

Unsure about your own leadership talents? Then this quick assessment may provide the clarity you need.


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