Posts Tagged ‘training and development’

The Spray and Pray Tsunami of Social Selling

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

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

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

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

This person did not know the following:

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

The Power of Social Selling

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

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

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

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

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

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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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The Free Sales Training Conundrum

This morning I read a posting about “free” sales training or any other training.  Those who provide training and development services especially the solo entrepreneurs are retreating to offering free as an incentive to increase sales.  We see this with many of the e-courses now being offered. The first one is free and thereafter there is a price to pay.

free-sales-trainingOf course, free sales training does not pay the bills. 

Free does not create value.

Free may actually devalue the expertise of those providing sales training and even business or executive coaching services.

Some of my colleagues offer free psychometric assessments to attract attention.  They believe this approach will provide enough of an opportunity to at least begin to build attention.

Years ago my father told me free does not work because it presumes the sales lead finds value in the free offering. What the sales lead is usually seeking is the expertise, the knowledge, the insight behind the freebie whether the salesperson is selling products or services. Dad also made this insightful statement:

FREE HAS NO LONG TERM VALUE!

Do you really want a client who only wants free? 

Don’t you want a client who values how your solution will provide the client with sustainable results?

Think about your own buying decisions.  What does free say to you?

As it has been said before, people must have skin in the game.  With free sales training, there is no skin, no commitment to even attend the sales training session less alone to take action.

Finally with all the free sales training offerings in the marketplace, how does free differentiate you from everyone else?

Don’t you want to Be the Red Jacket, the person who stands out from all the other gray suits? If so, then possibly a new marketing strategy as well as sales strategy might be required.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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What’s Better, Sales Skills or Sales Attitude?

Funny isn’t it we hear about the importance of having the right sales attitude and yet most of the sales training, sales workshops, sales seminars focus on sales skills? Does that make sense?

sales-skillsYears ago one of my colleagues by the name of David Herdlinger developed the KASH Box.  This was a simple quadrant with the letters K (knowledge) and A (attitudes) on top and the letters S (skills) and H (habits) on the bottom.

What David so simply illustrated by this graphic is the failure of sales training, leadership training, learning in general was due to a lack of emphasis on Attitudes and Habits not because of Knowledge and Skills. When I shared this graphic with my husband, he made this statement and one that I use when working with clients:

The issue is not of “Do I know it?” but one of “Do I want to do it?” The want to do it will always trump the know it.

My husband’s synthesis can be explain by the self-determination theory (SDT).  This theory is one that I have yet to see directly included in any sales training.  Indirectly, probably I do know of one training and development publishing firm, Resource Associates Corporation, that has infused the SDT into its curriculum without calling it SDT.

Sales skills are important.  What is more important is the desire to sell, the desire to achieve goals, the desire to improve, to be better.  When those desires are present, the individual will take it upon himself or herself to learn the necessary sales skills.

Desire is an attitude, an emotional belief and becomes an internal motivator.

Unfortunately what happens is in some sales training (not all), the desire is replaced with a structure of how to sell. along with the appropriate sales skills.  The structure becomes more important than the desire, the attitude.  Additionally what may also happen is the structure can negate the individual’s natural and authentic sales style.  Here we see the square peg in the round hole.

If you want to increase sales, to get to where you want to be (provided you have crystal clarity as to where that really is), then consider looking to your internal attitudes about sales and not as much as to your sales skills.  By the way, if you ever had the thought “I hate to sell” or “I do not want to sell,” then I rest my case.

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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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True Leadership Goes Beyond Education

Yesterday I was listening to a visitor to a monthly mastermind group of small business owners talk about himself and how he became involved in this one, multi-level marketing leadership program.  He specifically mentioned he lacked education about himself as an individual and consequently as a leader.

leadershipWhat continues to bother me about his comments is he believes education is the answer to making better leaders.  Read this book, listen to this CD, attend this seminar and with all that education you will be a better leader.  From my perspective, his recipe for leadership success was bordering on the quick fix and this one truism:

True leadership goes beyond education.

Leadership and really sustainable, true leadership goes beyond education.  Sure learning helps to fill in the knowledge gaps, yet there have been numerous unsung leaders throughout history that never had any formal education and yet they led well.

I was listening to Dr. Ben Carson talk about his mother who made her children read books and write a book report after finishing each book.  Even though she could not read, she realized internally the importance of learning.  She demonstrated how true leadership goes beyond education.

Caron’s talk reminded me of my Swedish grandmother who put together a 20 year plan to immigrate to America.  She had no formal leadership education and yet she led her family to this country as did many other mothers and fathers.

Years ago I connected with a company, Resource Associates Corporation, that published numerous training and development curriculums for business including:

All of their training and development curriculums were process driven.  The founder of the company realized that true leadership is embedded in all roles and must come from the inside out (that was the process).  She reinforced all curriculums by integrating goal setting into every curriculum through a separate action plan.

What bothers me is some believe that a book, an online course or worse yet several people have the answer about what makes a good leader.  Leadership is something we all have.  Some people have taken this concept to that next level. Unfortunately, for some that next level is not positive because it does not benefit all or benefits only a select few.

If you want to be a better leader, reading a book is not a bad thing. However, true leadership goes beyond education.  It requires reflection, practice, feedback and more reflection. Authentic and true leadership begins with examining your beliefs (attitudes) because those beliefs drive your actions creating your results.

Years ago Peter Drucker said “Leadership is all about results.”  I amended his definition by adding this clause “through the consistent demonstration of positive core values.” Sometimes in the quest to be better leaders we may become bogged down with all the peripheral stuff including education and fail to realize the very essence of leadership.

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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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The Real Problem with Leadership Programs

Many organizations offer leadership programs from the private, upper end universities to the learning centers within Fortune 100 firms. And the majority of them all share this one real problem.

Leadership

Leadership is not a program!

Programs have a beginning, a middle, an end and once in a while an encore.

Finish the program and with the wave of a magic wand or the presentation of some certificate  and you are a leader.

Now go out and lead!

Bull Feathers!

Years ago I attended a unique training and development certification. I recognized this one company, Resource Associates Corporation, truly understood leadership because their solutions (training materials) recognized leadership is a process not a program. The curriculums from executive leadership to management to even sales all infused leadership as a process within the written training and development materials. This embedding of leadership in all its curriculum supported the alignment of strategies, structure, processes, rewards and people. (5 Star Model)

Leadership is a continual process of achieving predetermned results.

This is why having a goal driven action plan must be part of any leadership development.  The action plan supported by SMART goals continues the internal process of self leadership that being assess, clarify and execute.

Executive coaching is by its very essence a self leadership process that is directed by an executive coach who understands self leadership and employs his or her knowledge through the art of questioning with the individual being coached.

If the leadership process is repeatable, provides continual improvement and delivers sustainable results, then let us call it a process and stop with subconsciously suggesting there is an end. Of course selling a program with the implication that it is sustainable is far easier than selling a process reinforced with aligned, developmental curriculum.

Now some may disagree, but how many times most your people go through  leadership programs?

The very action of having numerous and duplicate leadership programs reflects the inherent lack of sustainability within these programs.

The word process subconsciously and consciously  implies greater complexity and more difficulty. This is very true.

Yet life is about overcoming difficulty because when something is easy, it lacks the same internal value as when something is much harder to achieve.

If you or your organization want sustainable results, then stop with the continual, revolving door leadership programs and embrace a self leadership process of assess, clarify and execute.

P.S. Leadership development is not rocket science so do not pay rocket science prices.

 

 

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Believe It or Not Everyone Is In Sales

believe-it-or-not-sales

Years ago when facilitating some customer service training and development for a telecommunications firm, one of the participants (a customer service technician) flatly said he was not in sales. I then asked him if I had permission to ask him a few questions and his responses are in quotes:

  • Do your children go to school every day? “Yes”
  • Do they always want to go to school every day? “No”
  • So when they do not want to go to school, you can either yell at them or speak to them about why it is important to go to school? “Yes”
  • Does yelling work? “Not really”
  • Does speaking to them about the importance of school work a little better? “Yes”
  • So is your goal for them to “buy” into the importance of school? “Yes”

At that point he realized he was indeed a salesperson.  His Ah-Ha moment actually created an entire new employee as the next day he came to the customer service training in freshly cleaned and pressed uniform, hair washed and cut, beard gone and his past reluctance participation was not longer evident.

Upon talking to him privately, he shared he had a mental image of the “used car, slick salesperson.” He did not and was not that type of man.

Once he realized that everyone is in sales and being in sales is a positive, he became the star of the customer service training. I later learned he outperformed all his other customer service technicians by his up selling of additional telecommunications features and packages.

Yes everyone is in sales, just some people get paid to for their marketing and selling efforts.

  • Parent are selling education to their children
  • Doctors are selling good health to their patients
  • Politicians are selling their positions to their constituents

Since our beliefs drive our actions, until we identify those beliefs, it is quite impossible to have sustainable change regarding our actions. Once those beliefs have been identified and satisfied by each individual, then he as in the case of this customer service technician or she can intentionally change his or behaviors thus unlocking instead of restricting his or her potential.

Consider looking at your own beliefs if you want to improve your results including increase sales.  You just may be surprised and a better you may emerge upon this reflection.

P.S. Beliefs may also extend into these 3 words that some in business by their behaviors believe to be  “dirty.” Attend this FREE webinar “The 3 Dirty Words in Business on Thursday December 6 from 12-12:30pm Chicago, CST.

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The ABC Approach to Increase Sales

Have you ever considered to increase sales is as simple as being:
ABC approach to increase sales

  • Authentic?
  • Believable?
  • Consistent?

Yesterday I had two experiences that confirmed the ABC approach to increase sales.  The first one was quite early in the morning where I earned two new clients because over the course of 5 years my marketing and sales behaviors had been authentic, believable and consistent.  Due to changes in their small businesses and personal lives, they decided it was time to make an investment in me. Pretty cool!

The second experience was over lunch and a relatively new client shared with me that she recommends me to everyone because over the course of that same 5 year time span, I had been always authentic, believable and consistent in my behaviors. She also shared that one of my perceived competitors in Northwest Indiana does not come close in any way to my executive coaching,  facilitation, knowledge of training and development, organizational development consulting and my business ethics.  I must admit her comment brought an internal and external smile and just a tad bit of self satisfaction. Yeck, I am just as human as the next person.

Authentic is simply are you say who you are.  Probably this is more about always demonstrating your positive core values or business ethics more than anything else to realize the goal to increase sales.

Believable is what you say true.  This capacity is about your knowledge base and the ability to apply that knowledge base.

Consistent is all about your demonstrated behaviors in all interactions. Possibility the phrase “talk the talk, walk the walk” best represents this capacity.

If you want to increase sales, then ask yourself and be honest in your responses. Am I:

  • Authentic in all interactions?
  • Believable in all interactions?
  • Consistent in all interactions?

Remember the first sales buying rule is people buy from people the know and trust. This ABC approach to increase sales is all about you being a “people” first.

Sales Cartoon

sales-cross-selling

Credit www.funnysalescartoons.com

Sales Quotation

“SOS in business from my experience more often that not is Stubborn or Stupid.”

James Sandrick

P.S. If you have not already registered for this FREE Webinar, If you are telling, you ain’t selling, on Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 12-12:30pn CST, there are only seven (7) tickets left.

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Value Connecting Conversations Versus Value Creation

Some sales experts and business consultants have jumped on what appears to be this ever growing wagon train of value creation.  There is a strong belief salespeople can create value. Think value proposition statement. If you have been a reader of this blog for a while, you may know I am a contrarian when it comes to this belief, because I believe value is unique to each buyer.

A recent (July 2012) research report by e-tailing group and MyBuys suggests buyers place greater value in sharing data with retailers than within their social networks especially if it enhances the shopping experience.  This research appears to reinforce the “brand” of the retailer as customer enhancement is directly connected and builds customers’ expectations. Seth Godin defined “brand” the noun as meeting the expectations of the buyer.

So what is a salesperson to small business owner to do if value is unique to each buyer?

One answer is to have value connecting conversations.  What makes more sense is for the salesperson to listen for what the buyer values and then connect that “value perception” to his or her solutions. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  “If you are telling, you ain’t selling.” D.Herdlinger

Value connecting conversations require strong communication skills and especially active listening.  As I write in Be the Red Jacket, active listening is a self leadership skill and does require to have “a CLEAR grasp of what the other person is experiencing as well as thinking.”

The advantage to value connecting conversations is the focus is not on you or what you believe the value of your solution is, but rather on the buyer.  Your ego has taken a back seat to the ego (think wants and needs) of the buyer. What has happened is a pull versus push sales dynamic where the buyer pulls you to him or her instead of you having to push your value onto him or her.

Even though I write extensively about sales, business and leadership, I also  facilitate training and development and deliver keynotes.  Please feel free to give me a call at 219.759.5601 CDT.

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Conducting Business Face to Face or In Person Meetings Still on Top

Conducting business face to face through in person meetings still tops using technology according to 2011 survey published in the October 2011 edition of The Wire from AirPlus.  Even though many of those surveyed had increased remote conferencing be it  teleconferencing, Web Conferencing or virtual conferencing, the effectiveness of these technology solutions remained to be seen.

Only 12% believed that remote conferencing was as effective as meeting face to face or in person meetings while 88% believed its effectiveness was sometimes to never as effective.

In yesterday’s business and sales blog about How Social Media Goes Beyond the Keyboard, I shared about how I met some Facebook  friends for coffee (face to face) and had the opportunity to get to know them outside of the social media environments. Granted these were not potential customers (at least I do not think so), but they were business colleagues and centers of influence. Meeting them in person was a definite plus not to mention our get together supported another local business through increase sales.

With marketplace now extending beyond one’s  backyard to across the world, sometimes conducting business face to face or in person is not possibly especially for many small business owners with limited travel budgets. However to earn that next large potential sale may require you leaving the comfort of your office and jumping on a plan for that coveted in person meeting or driving a couple of hundred miles.

For the last 10 plus years in the training and development worlds, eLearning through online courses, webinars, etc.  has become quite prevalent.  However research still suggests a blended environment of face to face training and development (on site) and eLearning is still more effective than just eLearning alone.

Surveys from AirPlus reaffirm that human beings are human and are wired for personal, face to face interactions. Yes it is good to see a face through the use of technology based applications like Skype.com. However, that is still not a replacement for receiving the handshake and actually physically touching someone.

P.S. Tomorrow will be the first guest blogger post for 2012. Each Wednesday guest bloggers from across the globe will share new insights and further help educate the readers of this blog. Your feedback as always is appreciated.

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Office located near Chicago, IL

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