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There isn’t a sales person alive today who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t be selling product, but instead should be selling to help meet the needs of their customers.  The problem is that, despite this, customers are still reporting a very low level of value from time spent with sales people. Why the disconnect?

As customers, we’ve all been on the receiving end of one or more of the common selling strategies. Here are a few you’ve probably seen:

  • A product focus is when salespeople spend most of their time showing and talking about their product or service, its features, advantages and benefits. Objective: Help people understand their product or service so that they’ll want to buy it.
  • A transaction focus is used by salespeople whose main goal is to “get people to the yes”-in other words, to agree to buy whatever they’re selling. Objective: Make the sale, whatever it takes.
  • A customer-needs focus is when salespeople go through a discovery process to determine if customers have needs, wants, problems or objectives they want filled, satisfied or solved. Objective: Establish a need before initiating any selling activity.

Thinking back to your experiences as a customer, how did you feel in these different scenarios? Were you bored? On the defensive? Did you learn something about your needs or discover a pressing challenge that you hadn’t even realized existed before? Or did you just want to get off the phone or run for the nearest exit as fast as you could?

With both product- and transaction-focused selling approaches, the salesperson is essentially trying to convince you that this product or this “deal” is so great that you simply must have it. Their success comes down to how effective they are at persuading you to believe their position.

In fact, many salespeople will say they take a customer-needs-focused approach, but their actions say otherwise. You can tell because they’re still falling back on this idea that they need to sway you or influence you to do something (the implication being that it’s something you don’t really want to do). No wonder customers often feel like they need to push back in these situations. It’s basically a battle of wills, one that’s being fought on a simmering ground of doubt and distrust.

With a true customer-needs approach, on the other hand, the salesperson is focused on helping you get a clearer picture of your own situation so that, together, you can identify what the requirements are and how they can best be satisfied. Their success comes down to how effective they are at bringing your true needs to the surface and the overall value they deliver in filling those needs.

Instead of trying to convince you to buy something, these salespeople spend most of their time finding out if you have needs that they can address. No solutions are even offered until your wants or needs have been admitted.

Here’s the kicker: Our research shows that when people sell this way, they can experience a 15 to 30 percent increase in their sales.

To understand why, we have to look at what we know about the art of persuasion: The more we attempt to persuade people, the more they tend to resist us. But the more we attempt to understand them and create value for them, the more they tend to persuade themselves.

What is your focus?

If you’re in sales, one easy way to identify your own central sales focus is to think about how you spend your time when talking to customers.

Do you spend most of your time in the first half of your contact talking about your product or service? Or do you spend most of your time asking questions that focus on the customer’s needs?

In the interview stage of an effective customer-needs-focused selling process, you should be spending at least 80% of the time listening. And when you do talk, it should be mostly in the form of questions and paraphrasing back to customers what they tell you to make sure you understand them. You explore, ask questions and get feedback, and you make no attempt to sell anything until the customer:

  1. admits needs, wants, problems or objectives they want filled, satisfied or solved.
  2. agrees that not only do they have needs but that they are open to solutions.
  3. agrees to talk to you about a solution.
  4. confirms that they can make purchase decisions.

Generally, if they don’t agree to all four of these steps, you probably don’t have a good prospect. Or they aren’t the real decision makers. Or they don’t have a compelling reason to take action. Or they aren’t favorably disposed to buying from you.

Take a closer look at your own approach to make sure you’re truly focused on creating value for your customers rather than wearing them down to buy from you. One of the most important questions you can start with is this:

In your typical selling situations, who does most of the talking?

If it’s you, chances are, your focus is more product-oriented or transactional, and it’s likely keeping you from reaching your full sales potential.

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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You hire two people with the same qualifications and skills. One succeeds; the other fails miserably.


Part one of Optimizing Performance for Strong Results, a two-part podcast interview with Integrity Solutions’ Mike Esterday, takes an in-depth look at this phenomenon and explores specific strategies you can take to unleash a stronger drive to achieve within your entire workforce.

As Mike explains, rapid change-in politics, government and businesses across every industry-along with increased competition, pricing pressures and product parity have raised the stakes on performance. At the same time, many managers are struggling with how to coach, recruit and work with the growing population of Millennials in the workforce. As a whole, this group has a stronger desire to find purpose in their work, and if they don’t find it, they’re willing to leave. And that means retention has become a pressing concern as well.

The good news is, the issues are connected: If we can light that fire within our people, they’ll not only be more likely to succeed, they’ll be more likely to stay.

Why So Many Training Strategies Miss the Mark

How many people have plateaued in your organization? How many do you believe can move off that plateau and perform at a higher level?

In the podcast, Mike shares that when he asks that second question, the answer he typically gets is about half. But what many managers don’t realize is that lack of belief in their people has a direct and negative impact. People pick up on it, and so they perform to the level that they think their managers expect of them.

“All growth, whether personal or corporate, begins with expanding mental paradigms,” Mike says.

Most people perform at the level they believe they should be performing at, he explains. In other words, our actions, behaviors and even our abilities are bounded by our comfort zones. To improve performance then, training and coaching need to focus on stretching that “area of the possible.”

But most don’t, at least not effectively. Mike explains the simple reason why:

“That soft stuff is hard! It’s a lot easier to teach people product specs, selling techniques, managing numbers and activities. It’s tougher to get at attitudes, beliefs and achievement drive.”

But those factors are the “turbo chargers” for most people’s success.

The other key? A learning process that gets people to learn and practice skills long enough that they become part of their natural behavior.

The Importance of Purpose

Purpose is also a major factor in growing performance, Mike says. Organizations that focus on purpose tend to light that internal fire more. In the podcast, he explores three components to this focus:

  • Purpose of the organization: Communicating clearly why we’re in business
  • Purpose of the job or team: Lighting the “personal why” by clarifying the purpose of the individual’s or team’s role and how it links to the organization’s purpose
  • How that purpose creates value for the customer: Understanding the impact on the customer

This last point is critical. Customers can tell what our intentions are when we interact with them. Are your employees thinking, “How can I get this transaction done?” or “How can I fulfill their needs?”

When people shift their view from believing the purpose of their job is to sell products to believing the purpose of their job is to improve lives, they’ll release more achievement drive, and that will increase the activities they need to do to succeed.

And that, Mike says, is how you create meaningful work.


Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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Johnny Walker, president and CEO of JohnnyWalker.co, is an Integrity Solutions business partner and expert at building_MG_4928 great service teams. We caught up with him recently in a recent podcast to hear his thoughts on how training can bridge the divide between sales and customer service.

The relationship between sales and customer service is critical, but these two divisions are typically trained separately, with different emphases and objectives. While most companies stress the importance in sales training of having a customer-centric focus, they often overlook many of those concepts when training the customer service team.

That lack of a consistent approach and mindset for interacting with customers can cost companies revenue, customer loyalty and even great salespeople who get fed up when the relationships they’ve spent months developing are destroyed in an instant by a fumbled customer service issue.

Hiring Great People Isn’t Enough

Building a great customer service team requires more than hiring great people who naturally enjoy helping others. As Johnny explains in the podcast, we also need to equip those great people with the soft skills like emotional intelligence so they can interact effectively with the customer. The customer has to feel that the person on the other end of the call is laser focused on understanding their needs and solving their problems. They must truly believe that they are the most important person the customer service rep has talked to all day.

And that’s why one of the most common customer service tools around is also one of the worst things we can do in customer service training: hand people a script. We all know when someone’s reading a script, especially when you’ve talked to several customer service reps from the same organization and they’re all saying the exact same thing.

As Johnny puts it, we need to focus our training efforts less on what to say and more on how to interact. We can do that by giving people a process that allows them to be authentic and build genuine relationships rather than a script that takes their personality out of the equation.

Listen to the podcast to hear more from Johnny as he discusses:

  • The connection between sales and customer service
  • Pitfalls of typical customer service training approaches
  • A values-based, concrete process that helps customer service reps relate and empathize with customers, even when they’re having a bad day

Re- Blogged from Integrity Solutions 

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Mindsets are a powerful thing. They can be deeply ingraine–and difficult to change. Stanford University Mindset Psychologist Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation, famously studied the behavior of thousands of children. She found that when they believed their intelligence and abilities could grow, they had a desire to learn and, as a result, were willing to embrace the challenges necessary to keep achieving more. They didn’t give up in the face of criticism or setback.

Dweck coined the term “growth mindset” to describe the mindset of these children, as opposed to those with a “fixed mindset,” who believe their intelligence is static and, therefore, are more likely to avoid challenges and negative feedback, ultimately plateauing before they ever achieve their full potential.


The correlations to the workplace aren’t hard to see. If you’re a manager or HR professional, consider the different employees you’ve worked with and developed over the years. Were there some who seemed eager to tackle the tough assignments and put in the effort, able to bounce back from setbacks and find the lessons in others’ success?

Contrast that with the employees who gave up easily when any obstacle got in the way, who looked for ways to avoid challenges and didn’t see the point in putting in the effort. They probably ignored useful feedback and felt threatened by others’ success.

Growth-mindset employees tend to be high performers because they believe they can keep achieving more. Even though work problems have become increasingly complex and the environment keeps changing, they’re driven by an inner motivation that says, “I can keep learning and rising to the challenge.”

Fixed-mindset employees often stall out—or worse. They believe they can’t, and so they don’t.

Coaching Growth-Mindset Beliefs Starts with the Manager’s Mindset

To build high performance across the organization, managers should encourage and promote a growth mindset among all employees. To do that, they first have to believe that the solutions to the challenges their employees face can be found within the employees themselves. Too many managers have their own fixed mindsets about what an employee’s growth potential might be, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When managers assume that their employees’ ability to learn and adapt are finite, limiting their horizons for personal and professional growth, it can cause good company cultures to deteriorate, strategy to derail, talent to be squandered and results to suffer.

A growth mindset is essential not just for employee performance but also for the manager’s performance as an effective coach.

Expanding Belief Boundaries

Great coaches understand how an employee’s belief boundaries will affect what they perceive as possible, and how these boundaries either help or hinder progress towards achieving higher levels of performance.

So, what are belief boundaries? Over time people form certain beliefs about themselves, and these beliefs influence their view of what they believe they can achieve. As a result, they:

  • Form boundaries around their own inner beliefs.
  • Make assumptions about their abilities that directly relate to their inner beliefs.
  • Use inner beliefs as a mental paradigm that controls and regulates their actions, feelings, behaviors and abilities.


A coaching culture that supports a growth mindset hinges on expanding an employee’s belief boundaries, starting with understanding how their beliefs and values are influencing their emotions, which in turn are driving their behaviors and actions. When coaching efforts shift from providing feedback to building self-discovery, belief boundaries incrementally stretch, creating an emotional openness to learning new skills and behaviors.

Steps to Building a Growth-Mindset Coaching Culture

Here’s an action plan to get started building your growth-mindset coaching culture:

Senior Leadership Steps

  • Create new expectations and clear accountabilities for coaching, with all levels of managers responsible for improving their teams’ behaviors, attitudes and skills.
  • Communicate and model core organizational leadership values and behaviors, emphasizing that coaching is an authentic, honest desire to develop managers and their teams to their full potential. Without this, other management levels will not follow.

Middle Management Steps

  • Encourage coaching as a tool to achieve business results.
  • Reinforce that coaching is also about building a shared purpose, connecting coaching conversations with organizational values, direction and strategy.
  • Coach the coaches, using the power of questions coupled with listening to gain an accurate picture of how frontline managers are effectively leading and coaching.

Frontline Management Steps

  • Understand the drivers of human behavior—emotions, beliefs and values—using these insights to break through perceived blocks inhibiting employee success.
  • Use the power of questions to build employee self-discovery.
  • Know when to be non-directive (listening, questioning, clarifying, to promote creative thinking and idea generation) and when to be more directive (giving advice and training).
  • Respond to resistance by uncovering the true root cause of employee disengagement, and treat failure as an opportunity to learn.

When a manager sees more in their employees than they themselves see and is able to express a genuine confidence in their ability to succeed, employees will rise to meet higher expectations. Expanding belief boundaries and building a growth mindset at all levels improves problem solving and increases creativity and innovation across the organization. And as new levels of success occur, employees will continue to form new behaviors and keep improving their performance.

About the author

LIsa BullockLisa Bullock has over 20 years experience working with Global 1000 companies to link strategic business objectives to high impact learning solutions. Contact Lisa at lbullock@integritysolutions.com

Reblogged from Integrity Solutions.

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Do the people in your office trust you? Maybe not as much as you think they do.

Consulting firm EY released its Global Generations 3.0 research which found that less than half of full-time workers between the ages of 19 and 68 place a “great deal of trust” in their employer, boss, or colleagues. Another recent survey from Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute found that 80% of employees trust their colleagues, but only 65% trust senior leaders in their companies.

That’s a problem. EY’s research also found that low levels of trust majorly influences employees to look for another job (42%), work the minimum number of hours required (30%), and be less engaged and productive (28%).

Earning the trust of your team has real bottom-line benefits, says Dennis Reina, cofounder of Reina, a trust-building consultancy and author of Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace: Seven Steps to Renew Confidence, Commitment and Energy. He points to one of his clients: an airline with a troubled operations team. Lack of trust, marked by infighting and poor communication, was making the team ineffective. In a year, Reina’s team raised the level of trust in the department by 51 points, according to a post-test they did. The department saved $1 million in strategic planning costs because they were able to work well together and cut the planning time down to one-third of previous requirements, he says.

There are a number of simple, straightforward actions that build trust, Reina says. Here are six simple tactics that work.


Few actions ruin your trustworthiness faster than breaking your word, Reina says. Doing what you say you’re going to do reinforces the perception of your character. If circumstances change and you’re unable to do so, explain why with as much detail and context as possible so all parties understand the reason for the change. When you’re consistent with your word, people know they can depend on you.


Leaders are often counseled to give specific direction and communicate clearly, but context is also important, Reina says. When people understand why you’re asking them to take on a difficult challenge or a task they’d rather not do, help them understand the importance of what you’re asking. Seeing how their role fits into a bigger picture and is valued helps them understand and trust the organizational vision, which can help foster greater trust in both the company and its leaders. Plus, transparent cultures are good for business.


When you’re interacting with your team members, pay attention and focus on the conversations and dynamics, says Tara A. Goodfellow, managing director of Athena Educational Consultants, Inc. Listen to what matters to your employees and let them know that you are actually hearing and considering what they’re saying. If you’re distracted or unfocused, you risk making them feel like you’re insincere, which will erode trust.

“If you don’t get to know your employees and what motivates them, it’s really hard to build that trust,” she says.


Leaders and organizations that welcome varied input and feedback are more trustworthy. The EY study found that 38% of respondents say that a diverse environment is a “very important” determinant of trust. In this context, diverse environment means that it “strives to recruit, retain, and promote diverse people with all differences including gender, country of origin, and thinking style,” according to the survey results.


You’re going to make mistakes and there are going to be things you don’t know, so ask questions, admit when you’re wrong, and, when appropriate, make amends, says Timothy G. Wiedman, a former corporate manager and associate professor of management and human resources at Doane University. By showing a measure of vulnerability and willingness to admit when you’re wrong or need help shows that you’re human and helps people more easily relate to you, he says.

“A question that should have been asked—but wasn’t—may have catastrophic consequences that will not soon be forgotten,” he says. But when people know that you’re willing to get the answers you need instead of faking it, they’ll trust you more, he says.


Employees will trust you most when they feel you’re looking out for them, Reina says. Encourage feedback—even when it’s difficult to hear—and create an environment where they feel secure. When they are having challenges at work, provide the support, training, or resources they need to improve. And if they’re facing an unfair or otherwise disruptive situation, go to bat for them to make it right.

“People are forgiving if they know that their leaders—particularly their senior leaders—are trying,” he says. “If they know that their senior leaders are being straight with them and they have [the employees’] as well as the company’s best interest in mind, they’re more likely to trust.”

Re- Blogged from:- Fastcompany.com

Source:- https://www.fastcompany.com/3063754/work-smart/6-habits-of-trustworthy-leaders


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We now know that managers with high Emotional Intelligence are more likely to become great leaders and coaches. Emotional intelligence is defined by the ability to understand and manage our emotions and those around us. Daniel Goleman, expert in psychology and brain sciences, shared research in his book Emotional Intelligence, showing that up to 90% of performance effectiveness is due to emotional savvy rather than technical knowledge.

In today’s workplace, emotional intelligence allows individuals to management relationships, navigate social networks, influence and inspire others. These abilities can influence productivity, efficiency and collaboration.


Some of the benefits of cultivating emotional intelligence skills are:

Self-Awareness. Leaders are more self-aware. They can recognize emotions as they arise in response to an action or situation. This self-awareness allows them to address problems and handle the situation better.

Self-Management. Regulation of emotions is the next step in emotional intelligence. By regulating emotions, individuals are less likely to make rash or hasty decisions, or let their emotions take over.

Social Awareness. Being sensitive to the emotions of others allows leaders to discern what is going on around them. They are able to sympathize, give helpful feedback, inspire and motivate. These traits allow the leader to gain respect and loyalty.

Relationship Management. Effective communication and conflict resolution are benefits of emotional intelligence. Leaders must be able to clearly express their thoughts and know whether their co-workers are listening. Also, conflict resolution is an important part of communication. Leaders can mediate disagreements and help walk through effective solutions.

Emotional intelligence has become so important to the workplace that many companies look through the lens of emotional intelligence in hiring, promoting, and developing their employees.


Re- Blogged From

Integrity Solutions

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