Posts Tagged ‘talent assessment’

To Increase Sales Is Both a Want and a Need

Desires are strong emotions.  The want to increase sales is a desire.

increase-salesAdditionally, needs can be emotional as well as logical.  I need to increase sales because my job supports myself, my family, pays my rent or mortgage, etc.

What happens is in many instances salespeople and sales managers fail to leverage both of these motivating factors.  There is one psychometric or talent assessment that looks to “the want and the need.” This instrument is based upon the work of Dr. Spanger and Allport and measures six or seven motivating factors (depending upon publisher) such as:

Publisher: Innermetrix

Motivational Driver Defined Publisher: TTI
Aesthetic Balance, harmony and form Aesthetic
Economic Economic or practical returns Utilitarian/Economic
Individualistic Stand out as independent or unique Individualistic
Political Be in control or have influence (See above combined)
Altruist Humanitarian efforts to help others Social
Regulator Establish order, routine and structure Traditional/Regulatory
Theoretical Knowledge, learning and understanding Theoretical

When we look at these motivational drivers to increase sales, research has discovered when the Economic or Utilitarian/Economic motivator is in the top 50% of all motivators, the person has a greater success in achieving the goal to increase sales.

Also when we use the filters of want or need, these drivers can be separated as follows:

Motivational Driver Want – More Emotional Need – More Logical
Aesthetic Want
Economic Want Need
Individualistic Want
Political Need
Altruist Want
Regulator Need
Theoretical Want Need

Additionally, through the 3 innate motivational drivers of Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose (relates to people) as identified in the 1970’s work of the Theory of Self-Determination by Deci and Ryan, these motivational drivers can be categorized by through these more basic drivers.

Motivational Driver Mastery Autonomy Purpose as Related to People

Note: Economic probably can be shared by all three motivational drivers.

When SMB owners, sales managers and even salespeople understand what drives them to increase sales, they gain much greater clarity and then can make better decisions and have far less missed opportunities.

If you wish to discuss how this talent assessment can help you gain clarity as to your own motivational drivers to increase sales, CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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Are You Making These Top 5 Missteps in Hiring a New Salesperson?

Hiring a new salesperson can be a never ending story. With the turnover (churn) of salespeople as well as those in sales management, there appears to be some miss steps happening.

Top Misstep #1 – Ignoring the Wisdom of Existing Sales Team

Sales managers fail to ask the rest of the sales team as to what type of salesperson is needed.  Even though the essence of sales has not changed, how to reach new sales leads has changed.  In many instances, the existing salespeople will have a better pulse on what is required than the sales manager unless the sales manager is also in the field prospecting and selling.

Top Misstep #2 – Outdated Job Description

From my experience, the majority (over 50%) of all job description are outdated and irrelevant. Today’s salesperson must know the expectations and be assessed to ensure his or her talents work with not against the current job description.  For example, writing (communication through the written word) has become a critical sales skill due to content marketing.

Check out this talent assessment that is quick and very affordable.

Top Misstep #3 – No Onboarding Including Sales Coaching

No longer can sales managers hire a new salesperson and then throw her or him to the wolves with the “Go Sell” directive without further onboarding.  Sales coaching by an outside sales coach has proven to be quite effective.  Even though some sales managers believe they are sales coaches, this in many instances is a false belief.

Top Misstep #4 – Misalignment with Strategic Goals

Misalignment is a killer when it comes to achieving strategic goals including the always present one of increase sales. Sales does not operate in a vacuum.  With multiple departments strategic initiatives can be easily derailed.

Learn more about leadership and the impact of misalignment through this well written, quick (under 2 hours) and easy read book – Fail-Safe Leadership

Top Misstep#5 – Reactionary Hiring

Given the constant churn of salespeople, many sales managers and SMB owners engage in reactionary hiring. What makes far more sense is to continually scout for potential salespeople.  Met with these potential new hires.  Get to know them.  Then when necessity demands hiring a new salesperson you have a much stronger bench from which to select.

P.S. Did you know the average cost of a new hire exceeds $4,000 without any additional sales training and takes over 40 days to fill that open position?  Schedule a time to talk with me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, to stop this drain on your profits.

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Are You Missing This in Your Sales Performance Appraisals? Part 1

This morning I read some interesting research from the Gallup organization on performance appraisals.  I believe this research could easily be extended to sales performance appraisals.

“Only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.”

Regardless if in your sales management role you manage a team of salespeople or just yourself, motivation is essential to moving forward. Unfortunately, very few management training or even sales training programs include motivation beyond possibly Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Human beings have the internal desire to improve otherwise we would still be living in caves and never would have landed on the moon. Yet human motivation still defies many in sales leadership roles because the time to understand it and work with it is not given.

One of the better instruments to better understand what motivates salespeople or any individuals is from the research of Eduard Spranger, a German philosopher and psychologist. His book originally published in German, Lebensformem was into English in 1928 as Types of Men: The Psychology and Ethics of Personality. In his research, Spranger identified six core values he found in every person which he Spranger believed motivated human beings. These six core values were:

  • Aesthetic – form and function
  • Economic – usefulness
  • Political – power and control
  • Social – people
  • Religious – unity
  • Theoretical – truth discovery

Sales performance appraisals should be benchmarks as to not only to revenue growth, but as a means to ensure continued internal motivation.  What would happen if those in sales be they managers or actual salespeople ask themselves the following three questions:

  • How is this organization’s management aligned to the six basic values that motivate people?
  • Do I know what truly motivates me?  (Note If you answered money or believe money is the answer without confirming that motivating value, you may be making a dangerous presumption.)
  • Am I leveraging the motivating values of my team or myself? (Note: If you don’t know what those values are, you probably can’t answer this question with any accuracy.)

Consider this special opportunity to assess not only what motivates you, but your 78 key talents as well as how you communicate.  Learn more by CLICKING HERE on this talent assessment opportunity.

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The Reality of Selling Has Always Been This

So what is the reality of selling?  If you listen to many of the sales trainers, sales consultants to sales authors, the reality is 100% focused on the salesperson.  Ask this question, make this comment, etc.

sellingHowever, the reality of selling hasn’t changed since man began exchanging something for something else. Zig Ziglar said “Sales is the transference of feelings.”  Each of those exchanges between seller and buyer resulted in the transference of some feelings.

Doesn’t it make sense to redirect sales training to the buyer instead of the seller? Some sales training programs and sales consultants do focus on the buyer as through the application of the DISC psychometric assessment (talent assessment).  Those who understand the behavior principles behind DISC can apply those principles through their sales communications with their buyers.

The Selling Myth That Distorts Reality

Possibly one of the the greatest selling myths that distorts reality is sales people create value.  The reason this is a myth is because value is unique to each buyer because each buyer is a unique individuals with unique experiences and expectations.

Of course people can be easily fooled since the human ego likes to be front and center with internal thoughts of “Look what me!” Then what happens “Watch me go! I just created value!”

The ego takes over the sales conversation. Now the focus is on the salesperson and not on the buyer because the salespeople believes he or she knows best based upon his or her experiences.

Selling is rather simple thought not necessarily easy for probably 97.7% of the small businesses in the US as they have under 20 employees and for the most part do not engage in buying decisions with multiple decision makers. Complex sales usually require a larger workforce probably with the exception of technology and software programs.

When we remember to keep the selling authentically focused on the buyer and look to create those transference of feelings (relationships), then possibly sales success has a greater chance of actually happening. Just remember sales is a process and one or two calls don’t make for a relationship.

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Sales Leadership Is Self Leadership

For those who make a living selling something to someone, sales leadership is essential. How you lead yourself first and foremost, that being self leadership, will determine your ability to increase sales.



Self leadership is necessary for any professional role. However in sales, it is far more essential and evident.
From my executive coaching results, 100% of all top sales performers (those earning $100,000 plus or those wanting to earn $100,000 plus share one common self leadership characteristic:

They are all driven to achieve!

Sales leadership is probably 60% internal personal skills such as self-starting ability, 20% people skills (soft skills) as in empathy and 20% sales skills such as asking open ended questions or follow-up by evaluating what is said. Self leadership is a combination of internal talents and people skills.

One of the obstacles to understanding the connection between sales leadership and self leadership is the word leadership.  For some it means seeing other people leading other people.  These individuals do not see themselves leading others.

In sales, top sales performers understand they must lead their ideal customers through encouragement, empathy and experience to making a favorable buying decision.  This leading again may be subtle or sometimes a little more direct.

However first they know they must lead themselves by having crystal clear goals supported by clearly articulated positive core values.  They know themselves, their talents and how to work with this knowledge toward where they see themselves in 1, 2 to even 10 years down the road.

Want to learn if you have this sales leadership characteristic or if your team does?

Take advantage of special pricing until 12/31/2015 for this quick, under 10 minutes,  talent assessment.

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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 Do You Define a Real Salesperson?

Isn’t interesting there are so many books on selling to sales consultants more than willing to define what it means to be a real salesperson?  Possibly all these different definitions can explain the numerous selling styles such as:


  • Consultative selling
  • Question based selling
  • Relationship selling
  • Socratic selling
  • SPIN selling

The reason I bring this question forward is because so many are quick to say being this way is what makes for a real salesperson or a real executive coach, a real consultant, a real … (fill in the blank). Real becomes a way to dismiss anyone who does not share the exact same characteristics, education,  experiences or training.

What I know to be true is to be a real salesperson is unique to each individual.  There may be some common data points from talents, decision making style, motivators to behaviors. Yet, the ability to be successful in sales returns back to how Zig Ziglar defined sales.  Ziglar said “sales is the transference of feelings.”

Anyone can transfer feelings. Some are able to do it better than others.  Of course outside of empathy, this ability to sell is different for each individual again because humans are unique.

When we as salespeople attempt to adopt this type of selling versus that type of selling we have the potential of losing what makes us unique. We fail to leverage our own unique strengths (talents). Worse yet we become unauthentic because being this way or that way is not natural to us.

Authenticity builds trust. 

Being unauthentic builds distrust.

Currently I am working with a client who has a salesperson with “natural instincts” that have not been corrupted by adopting this selling style over that one.  She has had no “sales training” and yet instinctively she knows what to do.

Her strength is recognizing that sales is the transference of feelings and she has good empathy. She is focused on getting results and is driven to achieve.

As we work together, she is learning about more about sales especially understanding how to forecast sales and leverage business to business networking events.  The last thing I want to do is to force her to be this type of salesperson or that type.

Is she a real salesperson?  Absolutely. Would she be hired by a large firm for sales? Probably not because she would not fit how they define an real salesperson.

As in any other aspect of life, when we attempt to define what is real we lose sight of the potential that exists within others. Now if we what to learn how to define top sales performers (those who earn or have the potential to earn $100,000 or more) , that is another question and can be learned by taking this talent assessment to learn if you have the one shared data point.

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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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What Sales Attitudes Do You Seek When Hiring?

You want top sales performers. From your own past selling experience, you know top sales performers have the right sales attitudes reinforced by certain sales skills.

Yet, how do you find if those sales skills really exist beyond the standard hiring interview?  And more importantly, how accurate is the assessment or assessments you may have given to determine those sales attitudes?


Credit Gratisography

Attitude Defined

Years ago I read in one of Zig Ziglar’s books this definition of attitude:

An attitude is a habit of thought.

This definition is simple and quite on target.  Our repetitive thoughts are our attitudes. A combination of those attitudes turn into the beliefs we have about people and life in general.

Additionally it is also important to note that the majority of our 20,00 to 50,000 daily thoughts are subconscious.  Even though these thoughts are hidden, they are involved in our decision making process.

Sales Attitudes Are Talents

Sales attitudes are talents because the talents are the observations by others of the attitudes.  For example, top sales performers relate well to people because people buy from people.  This relating well may also extend into having an “empathetic attitude.”

Would you consider these as attitudes or sales talents or both?

  • Handling rejection
  • Persistence
  • Persuading Others
  • Self Confidence
  • Self-Starting Ability

Attitudes Reflect Temperament


Credit: Gratisography

People have two types of temperament:

  • External – How one views the outside world
  • Internal – How one views oneself and one’s life

Both temperaments can have one of these three biases:

  • Positive – Optimistic
  • Negative – Pessimistic
  • Neutral

What is interesting according to the Attribute Index (published by Innermetrix based on the works of Dr. Hartman and the science of Axiology) is these biases can also be defined through the three dimensions of thought within each temperament.

What Is Missing In Many Sales Hiring Assessments

When hiring assessments fail to separate the external from the internal decision making process as well as not recognize the impact of biases, these assessments miss key attitudes and consequently key behaviors needed for top sales performers. This lack of clarity dramatically impacts performance as it relates to sales attitudes.

Another critical missing element is statistical reliability and validity.There are very few hiring assessments that are constructed from an objective, deductive perspective.  The Attribute Index is one of those and why as trained and degreed instructional designer I have chosen this particular assessment after reviewing well over 100 other hiring assessments.  Most of those other sales hiring assessments are constructed from a subjective, inductive perspective.  What all this means boils down to this question:

Would you prefer a sales hiring assessment with a .92 statistical co-efficient (meaning out of 100 people you will miss read 8 people) or one with a .85 statistical co-efficient (meaning out of 100 people you will miss read 15 people)?

Actually have delivering hundreds of these “sales attitudes” assessments, I can report that 98.6% state the accuracy is at least an eight on a scale of one to 10 with one being low and 10 being high.

If you truly want to confirm you have hired for the right sales attitude, then invest the time to confirm that knowledge and provide a solid foundation from which to further develop those top sales performers.

The Attribute Index is the best hiring and talent assessment because in less than 12 minutes, you will know the following:

  • External and internal decision making styles
  • Basic motivation
  • Preferred work environment (external only)
  • External and internal temperaments
  • External and internal biases
  • 78 Key Talents

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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 small businesses under 50 employees whose challenges are more unique and resources more limited. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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The Endless Small Business Stream of Got No Excuses

Boy if I had a dime for every time I hear one of these “got no” excuses from small business owners, I would indeed be a millionaire.

small-busninessThis past week I heard the following seven got no excuses multiple times:

  • Got no time
  • Got no money
  • Got no sales
  • Got no people
  • Got no clients
  • Got no sales leads
  • Got no patience or some other attitude

I wish I could say I got no clue as to the why behind all these got no excuses, but that would be a lie.

Why the “Got No” Exists

Human nature is pretty easy to understand.  It is very much like water and will take the path of least resistance.

Taking no action and allowing others or circumstances to direct one’s life shifts the lack of results off the shoulders from the “Got No” small business owner, sales professional or business executive.

Facing the Truth

small-businessThis past week I listened to Miles Austin talk about some of the realities in sales. He quoted a study by Omniture that 45.2% of salespeople never responded to phone calls.  From my own informal research, I can attest more than 85% of all salespeople do not follow up on every single sales lead.

One of my colleagues years ago said “We drive by more business than we will ever have.”  There is a lot of driving by going on and little follow-up because the hard cold truth is there is business out there. Small Business Coaching Tip:  The book, Leadership and Self-Deception is a great read and supports facing the truth.

Emotionalize What You Want

When people really want something, they will make the time and find the money. The challenge is the emotionalization of all the “Got Nos” is lacking. By emotionalizing the desired end result be it money,new sales, sales leads or some other necessary small business interpersonal attitude, this directs human nature away from the path of least resistance. Remember human beings are emotional creatures, first and foremost. This is by organic design.

Discover the Barriers

small-businessThe “Got No” happens because barriers preventing the desired results have not been discovered. When a small business person applies some critical thinking skills to what is keeping him or her from achieving the desired results, those Got No barriers can be identified and then solutions with actions steps can be delineated.

Leverage Your Talents

Do you know with 100% clarity what you do really well? Chances are you don’t and this becomes part of the path of least resistance. Additionally by allowing behavior conditioning to take over, the tendency is to waste a whole lot of time attempting to improve what we don’t do well or worse yet turn non-talents into weaknesses. Small Business Coaching Tip: The Attribute Index is a talent assessment that identifies 78 key talents in under 12 minutes,.

Make Course Corrections through Reflection


Invest the time to reflect each day as to what went well; what did not go as well as planned and where tomorrow brings new opportunities.  Return to your written WAY SMART goals, make those course corrections. This is not the time to take the path of least resistance, throw up your hands and spew those ridiculous “got no” excuses.

You and only you have the power to make the change you want.  Now is the time to take action so you can be where you want to be.  If you need some support, call a friend, a mentor or even hire an executive coach.  I know a good one.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant with a heuristic touch for mid-size to small businesses that are seeking a high performance culture from increase sales to workforce engagement.  Her task is to support forward thinking leaders in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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Is Your Action Plan to Increase Sales an Incomplete Puzzle?

The first of the year is in full swing.

action-plan-to-increase-salesAre you of the many who is returning to his or her action plan to increase sales?

Did your action plan for last year not materialize or achieve what you wanted?

How about the previous year?

Have you wondered why?

Having worked with many salespeople to entrepreneurs including small business owners it seems every sales action plan is really an incomplete puzzle missing at least one if not several or more pieces.  Here are a few of the more common missing puzzle pieces.

#1 Missing Puzzle Piece – Goal Setting Process

Do you integrate a proven goal setting and goal achievement process in your action plan to increase sales?  The reason to many action plans fail to deliver consistent results is because there is no reinforcing goal setting process.  It appears salespeople know how to consistently set and achieve goals even though research continues to reveal just the opposite.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Upgrade from SMART Goals to WAY SMART Goals.

#2 Missing Puzzle Piece – Emotionalization

If human beings are emotional creatures, have you emotionalized your desires to achieve the results.  By listing all the positive outcomes and negative outcomes through an emotional filter helps to build up commitment to achieve the desired results within your action plan to increase sales. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The emotional outcomes should be part of the goal setting worksheet and goal setting process.


#3 Missing Puzzle Piece – Strategic Business Plan

Since your action plan to increase sales is part of your overall business strategy, where is your strategic business plan.  Even if you work for someone else, you are your own small business and require a well thought out course plan of action. By having a simple business plan to stop the bleeding, you are honing your critical thought processes. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  President Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.”

#4 Missing Puzzle Piece – Effective Marketing

Yes you must make sales, this is a given. However to increase sales requires people or your ideal customers (as found within your strategic plan – see #3) to be able to find you, know you and trust you.  Effective marketing is how people find you, know you and begin to trust you. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Peter Drucker said “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

#5 Missing Puzzle Piece – Emotionally Compelling Story

If people buy first on emotions, followed by logic, then what is your emotionally compelling story?  Without a story to differentiate you, to allow you to Be the Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits, you end up sounding like everyone else. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Your brand (your promise to your stakeholders) should be part of that story.

#6 Missing Puzzle Piece – Leveraging Top Talents

Due to negative conditioning people are more focused on what they do not do well than what they do well. After giving hundreds this talent assessment, The Attribute Index, I can confidently make this statement:  99.3% of adult population does not know one of their top five talents.  Yet I can also attest 95.7% know at least one of their bottom five talents. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Winning teams win because of the talents, strengths of their team not the weaknesses.


#7 Missing Puzzle Piece – Self Leadership

This is another puzzle piece that is often missing, self-leadership.  Through ongoing leadership development, top sales performers continue to hone their craft while balancing their personal lives with their professional lives. Ongoing continuous improvement is a key mantra for them. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Hiring an executive coach to finding a mentor helps to bring this piece back into the puzzle to increase sales.

Are You Where You Want to Be?

These are just a few of the missing puzzle pieces I have observed to help answer the real question of Are You Where You Want To Be?  Yes there are more. However if you take action on these seven missing puzzle pieces, I am fairly confident you will see improvement, rather quickly I might add,  in your action plan to increase sales.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.,  is an executive coach and business growth consultant for mid-size to small businesses that are seeking to increase sales.  Her task is to support you in bridging the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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