Monday, November 11, 2013

Calling ALL CEO's - Get In The Sales Game - It's Your Job!

A CEO approves executive-level decisions and oversees the company’s entire operations, right? Despite all these responsibilities, should a CEO bother to spend extra time to improve the company’s sales processes and strategies?


A CEO who knows how to run a successful business, understands that the company’s survival relies on this.

So what is a CEO supposed to teach the Sales team? What changes can he make to help them double last year’s profits or at least vastly increase sales revenue?

Train them to sell in tough times. The financial crisis of 2008 has seriously affected the purchasing power of consumers. Out dated sales tactics won’t work anymore because everyone is giving a discount and consumers are aware that there are brands offering the same products and services.
So instead of memorizing sales pitches, reps must be trained to focus on the customer. They should listen closely to figure out the customer’s needs, wants, fears, goals, and dreams. Remember, anything connected to an emotion can be used as a leverage to make a sale!

Train supervisors and managers to ask specific questions during a coaching session. Ideally, sales reps must have a coaching session with their direct supervisor at least once a week. This could help them improve, but only if it’s done properly. For one, supervisors should ask specific questions about the sales representative’s activity. Questions like, “How did it go?” or “Did you make a sale?” doesn’t reveal much about their areas for improvement.
Ask questions like, “What’s your opening line?”, “How did you handle the customer’s objection of…?” instead.

Teach employees outside of the sales team to help with the company’s marketing and lead-generation. The company’s admin staff, support team, and HR team also have connections to possible clients. The problem is they are not trained to sell, or even ask for referrals. Those untapped leads are thousands of potential sales lost!
If you want to know how to run a successful business, you’ll need to learn how to think outside the box. For starters, employees not in the sales division should be trained how to ask for specific referrals, like asking for an introduction with a person from a specific organization or position instead of a general, “Do you know someone who might be interested in product X?

Change the sales system, so that a customer’s lifetime value isn’t over one-off transactions. Train sales reps to avoid selling the most expensive product when it clearly doesn’t match the buyer’s needs. Don’t force a customer to buy a new product, when what they have is still covered by a warranty.

Lastly, and most importantly, devise a sales system where the needs and opinions of the customers are heard. Sure, your company has great products and services, but what if your customers can improve what you are offering?
They are the ones using the products, so it’s only natural for them to have some suggestions. Before the next product launch, ask customers:
  • What they want
  • What they don’t like
  • What they want to see more
Listening to customer’s opinions is important in learning how to run a successful business. Aside from getting dozens of ideas on what to sell and improve about your products, it also drives customer engagement! Use it well.

2013 Incedo Group, LLC

Thursday, October 31, 2013

7 Things Really Respected People Do

Everyone wants to be respected. Here are 7 actions that make those who truly deserve our respect stand out from the pack. Respect is not something you can conjure or demand, no matter how often you sing Aretha’s anthem. Respect is earned. And often the people who are most respected don't have to try to earn it. They simply take action in a way that makes others feel admiration.
Without respect, it’s hard to lead a company, manage a team or gain accomplishments. Earn and cultivate the respect of those around and you’ll soon find support that can help you achieve almost anything. Here are 7 actions that respected people naturally take. With a little focus, you can add them to your daily practice and avoid the Rodney Dangerfield dilemma.

1. They Under-promise and Over-deliver
Think about how you lose respect for someone. It usually happens when they represent something to you that turns out not to be true. It doesn't matter how big or how small the act. The first time it happens you may forgive, but the second raises credibility concerns. By the third time, you’ll likely never trust that person to deliver again. Conversely, respect follows those who religiously do what they say they’ll do. With trust comes respect and vice versa; it is a continuous circle. Respected people never leave you hanging.

2. They Are Comfortable in Their Own Skin
It's nearly impossible to respect people who don't love and respect themselves. They don't need to be flawless, but neither can they be flaw-focused. A little self-deprecation is admirable, but only if it accompanies self-confidence and assuredness. No one wants to follow leaders who are insecure and constantly complain about their own inadequacies. Most respect those people who take control of their own lives and resolve or accept their own shortcomings with a peaceful smile. Respected people understand nobody is perfect.

3. They Find a Way to Be Inclusive
Individual performers can certainly impress, but not when they disregard others on the journey. In fact, the more someone blazes a solo trail, the more resentment they create. It's great to lead the way, providing you bring the followers along and engage them in the process. There is little glory or fun in reaching a pinnacle and then waiting for everyone to catch up. People earn respect by bringing others to the Promised Land so all who are motivated and capable can share in the experience, the risk and the reward. Respected people leave behind no willing and able person.

4. They Focus on Solutions, Not Blame
So much productive time in life is wasted playing the blame game. I can't think of a single benefit to the practice. Those who insist on harping on scapegoats for political gain end up looking foolish. In most cases, either the truth surfaces or the work environment becomes so toxic that productivity drops and no one walks away unscathed. Analyzing a problem and identifying the source is certainly valuable but, once the problem is clear, the focus should be on resolution. People who bypass the politics and blame to resolve issues for the common good earn admiration and loyalty from almost everyone. Respected people solve problems without creating new ones.

5. They Seek and Share Knowledge
There is great value in being an active and continuous learner, but keeping it to yourself raises the proverbial "tree in the forest" question. What good is growing smarter if you don't share that knowledge for the benefit of all involved? So many entrepreneurs strive for learning ... only to struggle when it's time to open up to the team that needs to execute. Of course it takes work and effort to create an effective process for teaching, but this is why excellent teachers garner so much respect and stay lifelong in your memory. Respected people know the value of communal learning.

6. They Praise the Work of Others
Everyone appreciates being acknowledged. A job well done deserves recognition, while false modesty gets old fast. But people who ignore those who took part in a successful accomplishment are soon despised as selfish and ungrateful. There is little you can truly accomplish solely by youself. A little demonstrated gratitude and acknowledgment will go a long way in bringing you the reverence of your supporters. Better yet, share the glory and raise the esteem of everyone involved. Respected people take pride in contributing to the success of others.

7. They Find the Joy in Everything
It's hard to believe that anyone can actually discover happiness in trauma and tragedy; amazingly, it does happen. Humans constantly hope for joy, yet many gloss over daily events on that can raise a smile or elicit a giggle. But there are those who take life a little less seriously, always looking for that moment that can break the tension. These are the people who demonstrate the best of humanity and make even the hardest workday a day worth having. Respected people love life with all its twists and turns.

by Kevin Daum the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies @awesomeroar

Monday, October 28, 2013

5 Critical Leadership Traits

  1. Good communicator. That means effectively communicating timely and consistent messages during good and bad times. And, knowing how and when to be a good listener. Communicating is critical. Employees must hear from their leaders. And, hearing from their leaders in person versus e-mail and written memos is even more effective.
  2. Being a servant leader. Put your employees and your company first. A top manager who makes decisions that are self-serving will lack followers and will bring the company down.
  3. Adaptable. Today, more than ever, a leader needs to adapt. That means adapting to competitive and industry situations. It also means being willing to change your decisions if new information or circumstances warrant the change.
  4. Decisive. Leaders who aren’t decisive and who can’t make a decision will spin their organization into a frozen state where employees are unmotivated, wasting time, and discouraged.
  5. Motivating. Smart, decisive, engaging, tough yet fair, personable and encouraging leaders are motivating. These leaders motivate employees to deliver their best for their leaders and for their company.

What is your list of five traits?

Posted by Eric Jacobson  

Friday, October 25, 2013

What makes a leader special?

 I’ve seen my share of leaders.  Some I’d rather forget, but learned a lot from and others I admire and emulate what they did and how they interact with their people.

As I look back and reflect on those that help me grow and develop, I noticed that good and great leaders have 10 things in common.   Here are the 10 common things I observed about the leaders that I’ve worked with:

1)      Listen to their people – When I say they listen, they really listen and respond to their constituents in a timely manner.   They value their interaction with their people and see to it that they make time to listen to their needs and concerns.

2)      Roams the floors – Just like Abraham Lincoln, a great leader spends time in their constituents’ work area and interacts with them.  They walk the floor and make themselves accessible.

3)      Believe in continuous improvement – their leadership paradigm is that the more they learn the more value they can add to their people.  They invest time to learn something.   Upon learning it they live it and lead others to what they learned to spread the knowledge and grow talents around them.

4)      Never quit – the word quit is not in their dictionary.  They know who to tap and ask for help to guide the team to get the job done.  They’re able to encourage and motivate the team to dig deep and muster the courage to work through adversity.

5)      Admit their mistakes – everyone makes mistakes, but great leaders admit their mistakes and apologize and make it right for their people.  They learn the lesson from their mistake and make sure that they address it in a timely manner.

6)      Love their people – they understand that people are their most important asset.  They value their people and make sure that they have their people best in interest when they’re making decisions.

7)      Add value to others – Great leaders always look for opportunity to add value to others.  They make this a priority to ensure that they seek opportunities to grow and develop their people.   When you grow leaders in your organization, you multiply the overall capabilities of your organization.

8)      Use story to convey their message – they know how to use personal stories to connect with their people and appeal to their people.

9)      Touch people’s heart – before they ask people to do something for them, they’re often the first one out there to lead other and work amongst everyone.

10)   Grateful for their people’s contribution – they appreciate the contribution of their people. Take the time to recognize and seek opportunities to celebrate their success and achievements.  They make it a point to make sure people know that their work is valued and appreciated.

I’d like to leave you with this quote from John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  Want to be a leader?  Make sure you do the same thing to help others and inspire them to achieve things they otherwise thought they could not accomplish themselves. 


By Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM in October 24th 2013

Trust and the Workplace

The office is more than a place that employees go to earn a paycheck. Relationships between employees and employers are essential in creating an efficient and successful businesses. For these relationships to flourish and employers to successfully manage employees, there needs to be some degree of trust.
The Jacobs Model , outlined in an infographic by U.K. financial-protection insurer Unum, identifies eight drivers of trust that are necessary in the workplace.
Find out what they are and how to use all eight to build workplace trust below

Read more:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

Forget the stereotypical leadership image of a buttoned-up person in a gray suit hauling around a hefty briefcase. Today, standout leaders come in all shapes and sizes. She could be a blue jeans-clad marketing student, running a major ecommerce company out of her dorm room. He might be the next salt-and-pepper-haired, barefoot Steve Jobs, presenting a groundbreaking new device at a major industry conference.

"Our research indicates that what really matters is that leaders are able to create enthusiasm, empower their people, instill confidence and be inspiring to the people around them," says Peter Handal, chief executive of New York City-based Dale Carnegie Training, a leadership-training company.

That's a tall order. However, as different as leaders are today, there are some things great leaders do every day. Here, Handal shares his five keys for effective leadership:

1. Face challenges.

Great leaders are brave enough to face up to challenging situations and deal with them honestly. Whether it's steering through a business downturn or getting struggling employees back on track, effective leaders meet these challenges openly. Regular communications with your staff, informing them of both good news and how the company is reacting to challenges will go a long way toward making employees feel like you trust them and that they're unlikely to be hit with unpleasant surprises.

"The gossip at the coffee machine is usually 10 times worse than reality," Handal says. "Employees need to see their leaders out there, confronting that reality head-on."

2. Win trust.

Employees are more loyal and enthusiastic when they work in an environment run by people they trust. Building that trust can be done in many ways. The first is to show employees that you care about them, Handal says. Take an interest in your employees beyond the workplace. Don't pry, he advises, but ask about an employee's child's baseball game or college graduation. Let your employees know that you're interested in their success and discuss their career paths with them regularly.

When employees, vendors or others make mistakes, don't reprimand or correct them in anger. Instead, calmly explain the situation and why their behavior or actions weren't correct, as well as what you expect in the future. When people know that you aren't going to berate them and that you have their best interests at heart, they're going to trust you, Handal says.

3. Be authentic.

If you're not a suit, don't try to be one. Employees and others dealing with your company will be able to tell if you're just pretending to be someone you're not, Handal says. That could make them question what else about you might be inauthentic. Have a passion for funky shoes? Wear them. Are you an enthusiastic and hilarious presenter? Get them laughing. Use your strengths and personality traits to develop your personal leadership style, Handal says.

4. Earn respect.

When you conduct yourself in an ethical way and model the traits you want to see in others, you earn the respect of those around you. Leaders who are perceived as not "walking their talk" typically don't get very far, Handal says. This contributes to employees and other stakeholders having pride in the company, which is an essential part of engagement, Handal says. Also, customers are less likely to do business with a company if they don't respect its values or leadership.

5. Stay curious.

Good leaders remain intellectually curious and committed to learning. They're inquisitive and always looking for new ideas, insights and information. Handal says the best leaders understand that innovation and new approaches can come from many places and are always on the lookout for knowledge or people who might inform them and give them an advantage.

"The most successful leaders I know are truly very curious people. They're interested in the things around them and that contributes to their vision," Handal says


BY Gwen Moran | June 14, 2013

Read more:

Friday, January 25, 2013

You are NOT A Leader if....

Everybody thinks they’re a leader – most are far from it.

The harsh reality is that we live in a world awash with wannabe leaders. As much as some don’t want to admit it, not everyone can or should become a leader (my take on the born vs. made argument).

Simply desiring to be a leader doesn’t mean a person has the character, skill, and courage necessary to be a leader.

If you think you’re a leader, but haven’t been recognized as such, you have a problem. Either you’re incorrect in your self-assessment, or those you report to don’t recognize your talent. Here’s the good news; handled correctly, either scenario can be resolved if you’re willing to do some work.

I’m often asked what it takes to get to the top – it’s as if people want an add water and mix recipe for leadership. While there are many paths to leadership, they’re certainly not all created equal. Perhaps a more telling issue in today’s world is many of those desiring to get ahead, have no desire to help others get ahead.

I never cease to be amazed at the numbers of people in leadership positions that shouldn’t be. Likewise, I’ve stopped being surprised when those charged with leadership development can’t seem to figure out what constitutes a leader. It’s my hope the following list will eliminate the confusion about why someone isn’t a leader. You’re not a leader if…

1. You don’t get results: Real leaders perform – they get the job done – they consistently exceed expectations. No results = no leadership – it’s just that simple.

2. You get results the wrong way: If the only way you can solve the deficit described in point #1 above is through chicanery or skullduggery you’re not a leader. The ends don’t justify the means. If you abuse your influence, don’t treat people well, or confuse manipulation with leadership, you may win a few battles, but you’ll lose the war. Optics over ethics never ends well, and being a jerk doesn’t make you a leader.

3. You don’t care: Indifference is a characteristic not well suited to leadership. You simply cannot be a leader if you don’t care about those you lead. The real test of any leader is whether or not those they lead are better off for being led by them.

4. You’re chasing a position and not a higher purpose: If you value self-interest above service beyond self you simply don’t understand the concept of leadership. Leadership is about caring about something beyond yourself, and leading others to a better place – even if it means you take a back seat, or end up with no seat at all. Power often comes with leadership, but it’s not what drives real leaders.

5. You care more about making promises than keeping them: Leadership isn’t about your rhetoric; it’s about your actions. Leadership might begin with vision casting, but it’s delivering the vision that will ultimately determine your success as a leader.

6. You put people in boxes: Stop telling people why they can’t do something and show them how they can. Leaders don’t put people in boxes, it’s their obligation to free them from boxes. True leadership is about helping people reach places they didn’t know they could go.

7. You follow the rules instead of breaking them: Status quo is the great enemy of leadership. Leadership is nothing if not understanding the need for change, and then possessing the ability to deliver it.

8. You churn talent instead of retain it: Real leadership serves as a talent magnet – not a talent repellent. If you can’t acquire talent, can’t develop talent, or can’t retain talent you are not a leader.

9. You take credit instead of giving it: True leadership isn’t found seeking the spotlight, but seeking to shine the spotlight on others. The best leaders only use “I” when accepting responsibility for failures. Likewise, they are quick to use “we” when referring to successes.

10. You care about process more than people: But for the people there is no platform. Without the people you have nothing to lead. When you place things above the people you lead you have failed as a leader.

by Mike Myatt, Contributor to

Thursday, January 24, 2013

5 Must Have Skills for a Leader

Good times or bad...those who have these skilss will find a way to provide the leadership needed no matter what the situation...
1. They have the right values and beliefs. Great leaders live by a set of principles that guide them when the need arises.

2. They are inherently courageous. There is not an absence of fear, but management of it. Anyone who has overcome intense fright will tell you that there isn’t a better rush.

3. They are prepared. Their organizations are disciplined to assess threats and map out ways to deal with the crisis when it occurs. The CEO has to believe this day will come, and when it does, the company will be prepared to cope from the moment the crisis occurs to the point that recovery procedures begin.

4. They know how to communicate. Getting the right ideas into the heads of others is paramount. In the case of a recall or an environmental disaster, the first concern is public safety, not the financial interest of the shareholders.

5. They live and breathe the company culture. If the culture is right, the decision-making is much easier.

inspired by John Bell

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What are the drivers for buyers in determining who to do business with?

Great News! Price is NOT the driver in fact nearly 75% of the purchase decision is based on something other than price. Selling is a skill mixed with a little art but the facts tell us that all the elements of the Value Proposition are the most critical when it comes to meeting the customer’s needs…finding their hot button!

Things like Trust, Experience and Assortment all speak to an ease and comfort of doing business that hopefully becomes Loyalty and a repeat customer!

1. Price: 24% (Budget mentality)
    * Consistently offers better prices compared to competitors

2. Delivery cost: 4% (Secondary Budget)
    * Has reasonable delivery costs

3. Trust: 17% (No headaches)
    * I know and trust this supplier – they consistently do what they say they are going to do

    * The items they sell are always good quality
4. Experience: 17% (Convenience)
     * I know they have it and they know how to do it

5. Information: 11% (Information)
    * They make it easy to get information

6. Assortment: 12% (Selection)
    * Has good range of prices, quality and products

7. Return policy: 12% (Insurance)
    * Their warranty and return policy and process are reasonable

8. Loyalty: 3%
    * They have been good to me

Based on research from McKinsey & Company

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Management Is (Still) Not Leadership

A few weeks ago, the BBC asked me to come in for a radio interview. They told me they wanted to talk about effective leadership — China had just elevated Xi Jinping to the role of Communist Party leader; General David Petraeus had stepped down from his post at the CIA a few days earlier; the BBC itself was wading through a leadership scandal of its own — but the conversation quickly veered, as these things often do, into a discussion about how individuals can keep large, complex, unwieldy organizations operating reliably and efficiently.

That's not leadership, I explained. That's management — and the two are radically different.
In more than four decades of studying businesses and consulting to organizations on how to implement new strategies, I can't tell you how many times I've heard people use the words "leadership" and "management" synonymously, and it drives me crazy every time.  The interview reminded me once again that the confusion around these two terms is massive, and that misunderstanding gets in the way of any reasonable discussion about how to build a company, position it for success and win in the twenty-first century. The mistakes people make on the issue are threefold:

Mistake #1: People use the terms "management" and "leadership" interchangeably. This shows that they don't see the crucial difference between the two and the vital functions that each role plays.

Mistake #2: People use the term "leadership" to refer to the people at the very top of hierarchies. They then call the people in the layers below them in the organization "management." And then all the rest are workers, specialists, and individual contributors. This is also a mistake and very misleading.

Mistake #3: People often think of "leadership" in terms of personality characteristics, usually as something they call charisma. Since few people have great charisma, this leads logically to the conclusion that few people can provide leadership, which gets us into increasing trouble.
In fact, management is a set of well-known processes, like planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving, which help an organization to predictably do what it knows how to do well. Management helps you to produce products and services as you have promised, of consistent quality, on budget, day after day, week after week. In organizations of any size and complexity, this is an enormously difficult task. We constantly underestimate how complex this task really is, especially if we are not in senior management jobs. So, management is crucial — but it's not leadership.
Leadership is entirely different. It is associated with taking an organization into the future, finding opportunities that are coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about vision, about people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing useful change. Leadership is not about attributes, it's about behavior. And in an ever-faster-moving world, leadership is increasingly needed from more and more people, no matter where they are in a hierarchy. The notion that a few extraordinary people at the top can provide all the leadership needed today is ridiculous, and it's a recipe for failure.
Some people still argue that we must replace management with leadership. This is obviously not so: they serve different, yet essential, functions. We need superb management. And we need more superb leadership. We need to be able to make our complex organizations reliable and efficient. We need them to jump into the future — the right future — at an accelerated pace, no matter the size of the changes required to make that happen.
There are very, very few organizations today that have sufficient leadership. Until we face this issue, understanding exactly what the problem is, we're never going to solve it. Unless we recognize that we're not talking about management when we speak of leadership, all we will try to do when we do need more leadership is work harder to manage. At a certain point, we end up with over-managed and under-led organizations, which are increasingly vulnerable in a fast-moving world.

John Kotter

Dr. John P. Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at Harvard Business School and the Chief Innovation Officer at Kotter International, a firm that helps leaders accelerate strategy implementation in their organizations.