Leanne Hoagland Smith

Leanne  Hoagland Smith

Blogger & Heurist for the Next Generation of Talent Management

Greater Chicago Area USA

Posizione attuale: Chief Results Officer ADVANCED SYSTEMS

Edizioni: #BSBA2013 #BSBA2014

Partecipa nel 2014 per Best Sales Blogger

3° classificato categoria Best Sales Blogger edizione #BSBA2014

" My philosophy specific to talent management is:
*People are the most ADVANCED SYSTEMS*

All problems, challenges or goals can be traced back leadership and have a dollar & cents price tag *Solutions should not cost an arm and a leg I developed the ACE Model™ because it recognizes the importance to: Assess the people and/or the organization Clarify the real problems, needs and wants Execute for sustainable results From my philosophy and the ACE Model, discovering the gaps between today’s results & tomorrow’s goals becomes much simpler. "

Leanne recently received the Small Business Journalist of the Year through the regional US Small Business Administration Office. For more info look at website 3 .



10 questions to a Winner !


We start now to learn more about the Winners of the third edition of th Best Sales Blogger Awards #BSBA with a series of interviews that will allow us to establish a contact with authors that we hope will continue over time. We make them 10 questions + 1.

Ten questions are about sale, sharing professional content in the network and use that sellers make nowadays. The question at hand is specific on personal activity and is not just a question.

We start with Leanne Hoagland Smith.  


BSBA: In the huge offer of methods and techniques, there are thousands of bloggers, articles, books and consultant firms. Unavoidably there are though different and even opposite theories about sales.

What's your advise for a salesperson who would like a support in order to improve? How to find his/her way in this wide offer?


LHS: My first recommendation is to engage in an assessment process to determine the answers to the following questions.

#1 – What do you as a salesperson do really well?  Most people think they know what they do well, but from my experience they do not know and hence leave opportunities on the table.

#2 – How do you communicate or how do others perceive your communication style and behaviors?  In sales, communications is the key to building relationships.  When you can quickly ascertain how to communicate in a way that resonates with others, this learned an developed skill will give you a competitive sales advantage.

#3 – What motivates you to sell? By understanding your own personal motivational drivers provides greater awareness as to what you need to do to move your actions and results to that next level.

#4 – How emotionally intelligent are you?  Emotional intelligence is a proven factor in leadership and in sales because we:

  •       Recognize and understand the emotions of others
  •       Recognize and understand our own emotion
  •       Know how to manage both sets of these emotions

BSBA:  What is the best advice you can give to a young man/woman who wants to start a career as a professional seller?

The best advice is first be true to who you are as individual.  If we believes “sales is the transference of feelings,” how can you remain true to yourself and still have a positive transfer?  You are unique and no one else is like you. Learn from others, but wear your own coat and shoes.

Second tip of advice would be to invest in yourself through learning.  Use your free time to read books to journals to blogs. If possible attend workshops on sales, customer loyalty and especially marketing. Buyers are more educated today than ever before. You cannot afford not to be equally educated.

My final tip of advice is to find a mentor who can help guide you.  After you have some financial success then hire a sales coach to gain a competitive advantage over your peers who have not hired one.

BSBA:  And for " experts ", what is the skill/attitude that you have seen too much neglected by the salespersons you met in your career ?

LHS: For me, the one neglected skill is active listening.  I still must bite the bit sometimes and not talk. Silence is not only golden but green when it comes to sales.

Additionally with the more educated buyers, writing as a skill is even more neglected. Through social media and content marketing, salespeople who have honed the skill of writing especially with an emotionally compelling message will be ahead of the flow when it comes to increasing sales. 

BSBA: We often speak about improvement and enrichment of the salespeople qualification, but there are some habits that should be got out. Which are habits of the past that, 

          as time went by, you removed from your techniques or changed ideas on?

LHS: Personally I was never a fan of building rapport as one can build rapport with a dog. Additionally the focus on SPIN selling missed the simplicity of the qualifying and fact finding process.  I have only 4 basic questions that I ever ask and they are all centered around the desired result, the goal the potential client wants your solution to achieve.

Possibly qualifying has gone beyond the simple decision maker, wants and/or needs and dollars.  What I believe to be true is money may be there but not allocated for your solution. Also urgency should be included as a qualifier and finally commitment to take action.  These last two are not emphasized enough as far as I am concerned.

Recently I was exposed to motivational interviewing which suggests through the research statements are more powerful than questions by a 2 to 1 factor. This appeals to me because I have always restated what I heard to ensure clarity. 

BSBA: In the last 80 years, billions of words have been written about how to sell. There are so an "old" and a "new-school". Sometimes even contrasting in their ideas. In your 

          opinion, is the evolution of selling techniques influenced by new ideas and thoughts or is there just an adaptation to the new tools we have (such as communication,

          web, CRM), the new market and products/services? Or, last, the buyer's changing in behaviour (awareness, advanced purchasing process)?

LHS: Right now what has changed is buyer’s behavior.  Today’s buyers are far more educated than in years past because of the Internet. Depending upon the complexity of the sale, these educated buyers can prolong the sales process or make it appear “tougher” to sell.

Technology has always been a tool from the first writing implement to today’s smart devices.  How you as a salesperson adapt those tools to your use so you can work smarter and then harder are a choice only you can make.

As to how to sell, I suggest to remember the wise words of Zig Ziglar in that “sales is a transference of feelings.”  Add that knowledge to Peter Drucker who believed the function of business was marketing and selling may have you again ahead of the flow.


BSBA: Social networks are opening new frontiers in business relationships, but both companies 's top managers that the best sellers seem to be wary of their use. What 

         will lead us to the sales 3.0? Market, technology, or other?

LHS: I wonder back when the phone was invented and salespeople started using it was this new adaptation called Sales 2.0?  My sense is we are too wrapped up about the numbers and have forgotten the people element. Social networks only open the door and may reduce the overall relationship building time and the sales cycle time. 

The people in the market with their wants and needs will always drive the buying process. This is why I believe front loading the sales process with effective marketing will be far more beneficial than any other sales strategies.

BSBA: What are the best sales practices in your experience?

LHS: I truly do not know how to effectively answer this question as the best sales strategies look different for salespeople, for small businesses and for types of industries such as B2B or B2C.  My belief is the best sales strategy is probably referrals as the testimony of another exceptionally satisfied client will always win out when compared to other strategies. Cold calling works for those entering the sales profession as it gives them needed experience. For me, education based marketing has been the most powerful strategy within the overall sales process.


BSBA: Which is the best technique of customer loyalty that you know?

LHS: Loyal customers evolve from the delivery of the promised results within the promised time frame.  If the salesperson can under promise and over deliver as the expression goes, this is a great first step in developing loyal customers. Additionally by becoming the go to person, some may use the term trusted advisor, provides another powerful building block toward loyal customers. 


BSBA: Which is the best book about sales that you read?

LHS: As to the best book on sales, I would recommend To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink.  Pink’s book brings sales into the world it always existed human beings and is just a further exploration of Ziglar’s “sales is the transference of feelings.” 


BSBA: What is the best use of network technologies today that a seller has to practice?

LHS: – Note: Presuming you are meaning CRMs in this question. If not please let me know.

From my experience and working with so many small business owners, I like VIP Orbit as a network technology. Some of my clients like Sales Force while others use Outlook.

The goal should be to find the network technology that works best for you and for your organization.  In some instances it may make sense to have a customized one created especially if you are a small business. 


BSBA: Thank You Very Much Leanne Hoagland Smith for Your collaboration!

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