10 Prep Steps to CRUSH IT in an Interview

A Harvard Business Review study concluded that up to 90% of all hiring decisions are based on the interview, yet a similar study by Michigan State University found that interviews reveal only a 14% accurate view of the candidate. That’s why a well-structured interview process is so important.

There are plenty of factors that can derail the success of an interview. Hiring managers let personal bias get in the way of finding the best candidates and candidates think the power of their personality will carry them to a job offer. The truth is, finding the right fit in an interview is hard to do.

We’ve prepared ten practical pointers to assist you in your next interview. It doesn’t matter if you are doing the hiring or a candidate searching for the right role, this podcast delivers valuable advice.

It can be confusing to keep all of the information on potential job opportunities straight, so we’ve got you covered. Your Potential Employer Template will keep you organized and focused on the information that really matters.Click Here to download it now.

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want to Miss:

  • Candidates will retain your power and spot the best possible opportunity for a job you’ll love.
  • Hiring managers will learn to spot hidden superstars.
  • Steps to prepare for both an in person and Skype online interview
  • Learn the right questions to determine the right fit for you and your company
  • Simple steps to let go of limiting thoughts that hold you back from being your best

3 Small Steps that make a BIG Difference Selling to Dentists

For the past two decades in my work as a sales coach, I have witnessed hundreds of product presentations and attempts to influence dental consumers. Each year, we gather feedback from clinical professionals about their buying habits and the qualities they look for in the people and companies they buy from. The results indicate, there are several common ways representatives unknowingly hurt themselves when selling to dentists.

Dental professionals make buying decisions differently than typical consumers or fellow healthcare providers. And, when reps understand how their customer want to buy, their influence and value improves and sales increase. For your benefit, I have summarized three of the most common mistakes made selling to dentists and their staff.

PRESCRIPTION BEFORE DIAGNOSIS IS MALPRACTICE

Dental offices are busy with limited time for unexpected interruptions and unplanned meetings from salespeople. Reps know they need to get to the point and purpose of their call quickly. For most reps, that translates to jumping into a memorized product presentation of features and benefits. Salespeople rationalize this ‘short cut’ approach by getting to the ‘meat’ of their message thinking it demonstrates respect for the clinician’s time. Unfortunately, most dentists see it as an informative distraction.  In medical terms, most reps offer a prescription before a relevant diagnosis is ever made.

Salespeople would be much more effective in their results if they first asked a few ‘diagnostic’ or qualifying questions. Effective diagnostic questions strategically uncover key pain points by exposing limitations in the product being used now. They also reveal valuable insights about a prospect’s critical needs, wants and expectations for buying.  More importantly, well crafted questions will lead prospects to consider their reasons why they might switch to a new product. This simple approach seems ridiculously obvious why and how it positively improves sales, yet, so few representatives do it. We have coached hundreds of salespeople to adopt this technique (using our proprietary I.D.E.A. ApproachTM sales model) and their results improved significantly.

OVERLY FOCUSED ON PRICE & PROFIT

Most reps learn early on, “selling is a numbers game”. And, it makes sense when salespeople are hyper focused on numbers because their compensation and career depend on it. Another common mistake reps make, is to assume dentists share the same money motivation (price and profit) for buying. As a result, finance focused sales presentations are missing what matters most to clinical providers, lowering the likeliness of earning an order.
Healthcare consumers are interested at getting good value for their purchases but do not buy based primarily on money matters. The majority of dentists practicing today make buying decisions based on how it will advance their ability to improve patient outcomes. This includes a better cosmetic result, stronger restoration, provide safer treatment delivered faster with more comfort. This means, to attract interest and increase influence and ultimately win approval for an order, healthcare sales professionals must prioritize patient care over price or profit in their presentations.

To do this, seek to understand where the clinical challenges are in using their current product. Ask questions to uncover specific limitations in how a product is used, delivered, performs, lasts or impacts safety. Then use strong product knowledge to describe your product’s exact clinical advantages over what they are using now. Concisely describe how patient care is more comfortable, safer, faster, stronger or cosmetically better than any product they’ve seen.

As a dental hygienist, the best sales secret I can offer is that most healthcare professionals buy for the same reason they entered the industry and that is to help people. Salespeople who focus on and work to improve the quality of patient care their customers provide will be richly rewarded with higher credibility, faster trust and better sales.

POSITION PRODUCT AS A SOLUTION

When discussing their product or service, salespeople typically describe the same set of product features and benefits. As if, the prospect is expected to hear something to grab their interest and then buy. Unfortunately, this approach ends up sounding like a canned sales spiel. And, requires the prospect, not familiar with your product advantages, must figure out how their procedures, processes and patients will benefit. This is not exactly the customer focused service any buyer desires or deserves.

Every customer believes they and their situation is unique. Generically reciting features and benefits as a sales presentation undermines the very results reps are attempting to achieve. So, positioning your product or service to prescriptively address buyer needs, wants or desires will always be more effective than a generic sales spiel.

Offering a solid product recommendation that improves or resolves client challenges is the very essence of consultative selling. And, according to hundreds of healthcare buyers, an approach they are craving to receive. Most dental reps would become much more consultative if more focused on positioning their offer to improve a buyer’s current situation. Even if the doctor doesn’t yet know it can be improved. That’s where effective qualifying questions, good product knowledge and a powerful sales process make a big impact.

We have developed a template of ‘Diagnostic Questions’ for uncovering how any product or service can be beau-tifully positioned as a solution. This sales tool has been field tested and fine-tuned to work well with dental and healthcare consumers. You can have it for FREE by downloading it here. [Diagnostic Questions Template] 

A Mid-Year Review to Finish Strong

As August begins, we’ve officially entered into the second half of this year. And, it will seem like the blink of an eye before we are exchanging holiday gifts, eating too much and making New Year resolutions. The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. With a little prioritizing and planning, there is still time to meet or beat your annual goals.

Mid-year is an excellent annual milestone to check in. This is done best when we take a pause to look…really look at where we are directing our time and talents and the results we are creating. A good process for self-reflection includes four steps. They are:  Reflect, Re-evaluate, Recalibrate, Recommit. Use it to elevate your perspective and verify you are on track, moving forward and progressing toward the results that are most important to you.

Reflect
As we begin to feel the sand slip through our hands and see life picking up speed, it is tempting to get busy being busy. But first, take some time to ensure you are headed in the right direction. Don’t mistake movement for achievement.

To ensure you are progressing in ways that matter most to you, consider each life dimension including Health, Intellectual, Financial, Career, Spiritual, Family and Social. Even if you have not focused or planned a goal for each area, you will gain valuable clarity by reflecting on these questions:

  • What is working for me, right now?
  • What accomplishments am I most proud of?
  • What is my status in each area of life?(Health, Intellectual, Financial, Career, Spiritual, Family and Social)

Reevaluate
Your priorities aren’t what you say they are; they are expressed by how you live. It is far to easy to fall into the trap of habit without examining the resulting risks or rewards. Challenge status quo—it may be uncomfortable but necessary to tap into your potential. Consider where you desire or require change or improvement by asking:

  • What is demanding more time and attention than is truly important to me?
  • What area(s) needs greater energy or attention?
  • What do I really want to accomplish by the end of this year?

Give yourself permission to edit and shift your priorities. Since it is probably not realistic to work on every life dimension simultaneously, focus in areas of greatest importance then stay hyper focused there.

Recalibrate
What gets measured gets done. Goals and renewed commitment are important but until you identify exactly what success looks like, you may miss it when it arrives. A lot of people and professionals miss defining metrics that matter. They reason, “I’ll know it when I see it!” which is really just a poor excuse for not setting clear ways to measure progress. Keep it simple by asking yourself:

  • How will I measure or recognize success?
  • What methods will I use?

                “Motivation Gets You Going…and Habits Get You There”                    

                                                                                                      ——  Zig Zigler

Recommit
Now is the time to double down on doing. Identify new or recommit to the steps and rituals that will lead you to the results you desire.  If this feels overwhelming or nebulous, try this exercise. Take out a blank sheet of paper and do a thought download to list all of the incremental steps or actions needed to achieve your goal.

Don’t let your brain tell you that you don’t know how or that you need more information. Exercise your innate creativity to find options. Make reaching your goals a must. You are your only limit. It is a good idea to complete this exercise in two sessions on separate days. Your brain will work on options even though you may not be consciously thinking about it. The second pass at ideas is usually easier and yields the best results.

Commitment is sticking to what you said you’d do long after early excitement has left you. Add lift and sticking power to progress toward your goals by keeping your WHY top of mind. Recommit to your results by focusing on your reasons behind your goals for sustained enthusiasm and focus.

Time may continue to fly by, but ultimately you control the shadow your impact creates. A mid-year check in and checkup, provides a new view of the daily efforts and results they shape. This shift in perspective along with a willingness to trade routine and habit for what works better is how success is won.

Sampling Success Strategies

Double Your Sample Trial Rate Selling to Dentists

The idea Try It Before You Buy It has grown to become a common customer expectation. Most consumers expect to sample a product prior to purchasing to take the risk out of buying. Yet, sampling as a sales strategy in healthcare has all but vanished.Gone are the days where clinical providers strain to carry sacks full of trial products from trade shows or shuffle the samples that once stuffed their shelves. Where have all the freebies gone?

Considering fewer than half of all samples distributed are ever tried, they are an easy target to eliminate in an effort to reduce costs. But this approach may be costing you and your firm millions in potential sales. Sampling still remains the single best way to create brand experience and tee up sales like nothing else!

It’s about time healthcare reconsider their sampling policies and tap into what other industries already know.The advantages and benefits of letting prospects try before they buy considerably outweighs the effort and expense required. With a few changes in strategy and tactic, your sampling response rates will improve considerably while you advance your sales and marketing goals by following these ideas:

There is no brand more closely associated with sampling success than COSTCO. “When we compare it to other mediums … in-store product demonstration has the highest [sales] lift,” says Giovanni DeMeo of demo company Interactions, which handles Costco’s sampling program. “Giving out free samples has boosted sales in some cases by 2,000 percent.” To illustrate how sampling influences customer-purchasing behavior,Datalogix research revealed, sampled households were 4x more likely to purchase than the control group. That is,four times as many people purchased than those who did not receive a sample. Unit sales within the sample group also showed a 700% increase in purchases.Sampling programs work exceptionally well for healthcare if executed using the right approach.

Set Your Sample Strategy

Clarify Your Goals

The purpose of sampling is to create a positive brand experience resulting in a sale. Too often samples are distributed as part of a half-baked plan. Sales and customer service people are given a cursory supply of grip stock in hopes they will convert into sales.A trial offer can serve as both an effective marketing tactic and powerful sales tool. Consider a few ways sampling will advance your promotional objectives:

  • Reaches a new target segment
  • Expands lateral product use
  • Builds value and maintains price integrity
  • Demonstrates superior brand performance
  • Interrupts competitive brand loyalty
  • Exposescustomer insights
  • Drives traffic to new market platforms or promotional programs
  • Overcomes low consumer confidence or unfavorable brand image

 A productive sampling strategy requires clarity on expected outcomes, focus on a target audience and a straight forward execution plan. Our firm created sampling protocols for several dental companies aimed at selling to dentists and hygienists using this approach.Their results were impressive, considerably exceeding industry averages.

Monitor Metrics & Methods

A definitive sampling strategy can yield triple digit product trial rates increasing sales considerably. To realize the full potential of sampling, both sales and marketing objectives must be clearly defined. This includes Identifying specific metrics to track progress and verify if goals were met. Some ways to measure results include:

  • total sample requests
  • coupon redemption rate
  • surveys completed
  • clicks to view offer
  • user feedback received
  • sales conversion rate
  • total new customers acquired
  • total sales generated

Narrow Your Niche

Use your sampling strategy goals todefine yourtarget audience. If your goal is to expand customer reach, it isbetter to focus on specific market segmentsor demographics where your product has sold successfully. If you wish to appeal to new users, those who have never purchased your product before, identify subcategories by specialty, location or age. It is tempting to want to ‘expand your net’ but, sampling success is achieved by narrowing your scope.

Conditions that Qualify

There are specific conditions proven to set sampling up for greater success. For example, food samples have greater conversion rates around hungry prospects than those who are not. Consider when your target audience may be more receptive and more likely to buy.Then position your offer to capitalize on these opportunities.

Trial conversions are highest when sampled products are used immediately upon receipt. This is why educational events with hands on instruction are excellent sampling environments to promote sales.And, trade shows typically deliver lower conversion rates because of the long lapse between receipt and their use.

Sales reps will enjoy higher sales conversions by assisting buyers to identify a case where the sample can be used. This technique establishes a higher sense of urgency for use and allows sooner experience product advantages. Even more valuable, representatives now have an invaluable follow up opportunity to solicit user feedback and ask for an order.

Sampling is always the next best alternative to selling.Yet, medical and dental consumers are more receptive to trying new products at the following times:

  • When an order is placed, offer a complementary sample
  • When a prospect expresses or implies a performance need, want or expectation
  • When product praise or success story is shared
  • During an educational session
  • After an attempt at closing has been rejected

Timing is Everything

How effectively samples are positioned in selling scenarios significantly impacts how well they generate sales. One of the biggest mistakes representatives make is offering samples as an afterthought or ‘throw in’ after presenting another product. As if the sample will sell itself! Products or services sold or sampled in any sales scenario should always serve as a prescribed remedy to a buyers stated or implied need.Reps must be trained to position products as solutions in their sales process. This is done by skillful blending qualifying questions with solid product knowledge.

Words that Work

Representatives who ask for orders prior to offering samples make more sales. Therefore, the closing sequence used has a big impact on sales outcome. Ideally, a sample would only be offered after asking prospects to buy. Most companies have generous return policies providing the same no risk protection as sampling—but better. Asking for an order before sampling is a better option because buyers will gain experience using the product and enjoy its benefits sooner. And, customer’s who buy before they try gain greater product appreciation and enjoy its value sooner.

We have summarized the best sampling sequences when selling to dentists and healthcare consumers. Download the Sampling for Higher Sales Cheat Sheet to gain better sales sampling results HERE.

Fruitful Follow Up

  • 44% of salespeople give up after one follow up[1]
  • 80% of sales require five follow ups…or more[2]

These sobering stats expose huge sales opportunity for any rep on the planet.Big money is being left on the table every day. To help, we’ve created a sampling follow up protocol shown to boost sales to triple digits.Here’s how it works:

When a prospect agrees to try a sample, representatives would follow up to obtain an order at a later time. The problem is, most prospects are not typically available after the sample is tried. This causes sales from sampling to plummet. It is important to keep in mind, most clinical providers are accustomed to giving feedback in exchange for services received or access to product demos. Therefore, representatives who schedule follow up feedback meetings at the time a sample is provided enjoy an impressive 78% increase in sales made from samples. This compares to the current industry standard of only 4%. We’ve included some word tracks in a FREE Sampling for Higher Sales Cheat Sheet HERE.

Customers buy long before they pay.Sampling as a much bigger impact than simply selling a product. They provide a chance for buyers to experience your brand of service, tech support, product knowledge and customer care. So, don’t be so short-sighted and stingy when it comes to letting customers try before they buy.When positioned appropriately,sampling will boost sales to expand new users and deliver long-term loyal customers. To achieve true sales potential, sometimes a brand needs to lead by a sample. If your company’s sampling results could use a boost, call us, we can help. 800-471-2619

 

[1]SOURCE: Scripted

[2] SOURCE: The Marketing Donut

How to Make Sales Training Pay Higher Returns?

Perhaps, you too have assumed sales training was little more than a black hole that consumes a lot of budget and delivers very little in return. Realizing a better return on your training investment is indeed possible. The following ideas and insights will offer new ways to get sales training to boost both performance and profits!

Behavior is influenced by the skills that support it along with the results expected. Training outcome is a direct function of a quality intake.  That is, the better your skills and performance expectations are understood, the more training can be directed to improve those areas. The more accurately your needs are assessed, the better your training efforts address those needs, the greater the return on your training investment.

Grey Goals Beget Grey Results

Start first by clarifying your reasons for conducting training. This may sound obvious, but too often development initiatives are launched without identifying how performance is expected to change and how results will be specifically measured. Quality planning can make a considerable difference on the return training actually delivers.

Consider these common objectives as you clarify your sales training goals:

  • Increase Product Knowledge
  • Strengthen Company Knowledge
  • Clarify Performance Expectations
  • Improve Sales Skills
  • Develop Teamwork and Morale

In training, and in medicine, the prescription is only as good as the diagnosis. To maximize your investment, avoid generic programs and opt for those that build on the unique strengths and skills of your team. Generic programs offer generic short term results. Training tailored to meet your specific sales objectives by leveraging the unique strengths of your sales team provide the best sustained improvements for long-term productivity and ROI.

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

With today’s modern technology, sales knowledge and selling skills can be calibrated and assessed with a high degree of accuracy. After almost three decades of measuring sales talent for dental companies, we continue to observe a close correlation between the sales acumen of representatives and their overall performance. Assessment data provides valuable direction for designing and developing an effective sales training program that drive predictable outcomes.

Ask the following clarifying questions as part of your training planning efforts:

  • What are our strongest skills and where are we underdeveloped?
  • Is our sales performance consistent with our skills assessment?
  • What skill improvement strategy will meet or exceed our sales objectives?
  • What do we expect the short and long term returns on this effort?
  • What investments are we willing to make to achieve these objectives?

Getting Training to Stick

People forget about 75% of what they hear in approximately 24 hours. That’s the bad news.  The good news is that learning and retention can be dramatically improved if training is positioned to serve the individual needs and interests of its recipients. Changes in performance are the result of greater clarity on results expected, stronger skills and consistent reinforcement of applied learning methods.

There are several important considerations to increase retention:

Relevance: Does training content and techniques apply your customers, and your product in your selling situations? Training customization has a direct impact on how often reinforcement tools and concepts are used and applied by reps. To ensure your team will welcome the tools and techniques you offer—make sure they are not only real-world and have been proven successful in their world.

Frequency:  How often concepts and ideas are reinforced has a direct impact on their tendency to become habits. The old cliché is true, ‘what gets reinforced—gets repeated’.  Providing frequent opportunities to remember and apply key ideas from any training program is the best way to improve retention.

The frequency and relevancy of training methods will determine how well reps use and apply new concepts and skills. Reinforced skills and techniques will lead to lasting habits and ultimately improved performance over time.

Convenience:  Using learning reinforcement tools and techniques is like a gym—it must be convenient to be used. For example, audio programs make good use of ‘windshield time’ for field sales reps, while mini learning modules are perfect for busy telesales and customer service representatives.Convenient follow up methods reinforce learning and positively impact improvements in behavior and productivity.

Apply these proven principles with your sales team or find a training partner experienced to help you implement them.  Bigger and better performance is possible with a strong strategy and a tailored approach proven to work.

Take the first step in realizing your true sales potential with a complimentary Training Planning & Comparison Profile click HERE or call ANSIR International at 800-471-2619.

 

Why Trusting Your Gut Instinct is a Bad Hiring Strategy

There are a variety of factors that can negatively impact hiring decisions. One bad hire is one hire to many. Staying alert to the common factors that derail recruiting will minimize mistakes. One such frequent fail is trusting your gut when assessing candidates. Over 39% percent of company leaders say they rely on personal instincts when hiring. And, not surprisingly, 71 percent of the same line managers surveyed would change their hiring decisions if given a second chance.

Relying on gut instinct when interviewing is a bad idea because it introduces unconscious filters that can bring unwarranted opinions, feelings and considerations that get in the way of making objective hiring decisions. As a result, less qualified candidates may receive unmerited advantage and those potentially a better fit overlooked. In an ideal world, hiring managers would select job candidates based on credentials and their track record for results.

People like people most like themselves. As a result, personal bias may show up where common interests are shared or the same sports team or alma mater are followed. According to UCLA Professor and author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect explains, “Social connection is as important as food and shelter. It’s been baked into our operating system for tens of millions of years.” These associations are not harmful or negative in and of themselves. Only when they bring unfair advantage when objectivity and balanced decision making is required do they add risk to the hiring process.

Our brain makes broad brushed assumptions or stereotypes to gain greater understanding and influence with others. Social scientists once believed that only bigoted people used stereotypes. However, it turns out, all of us routinely stereotype others, without knowing it.

In a typical interview situation stereotyping can undermine impartial decision making and add risk to employee selection practices. For example, when we are exposed to people of different cultures, ethnicities or religious practices. Despite a commitment to embrace diversity, we are hard wired to view differences as reason for separation not harmony.

Consider the notion, all blacks are good athletes. Fat people are lazy. People with glasses are smart. Mexicans came to America illegally. Arabs and Muslims are terrorists. Jews are greedy and all Irish are drunks. These exaggerated untrue and inappropriate beliefs constantly press up against our inner most desire to be fair, impartial and open minded. Ignore them we fall victim to their lies.

Competency stereotyping tends to be more insidious when making hiring decisions. Intellectually, we know that hair color has no influence on intelligence yet, blondes are commonly jeered as ‘airheads’ or dumb. Yet, could hair color effect a person’s candidacy for a position requiring high intellect? Would an Asian candidate receive higher favor for a job demanding strong competency in math and science? Is it possible a female hiring manager would be disinclined to hire an individual native to a country known for undervaluing women? Alert to the presence of all forms of prejudice, we control its influence and limit the impact.

Individuals who carry a commanding presence may set up hiring resistance against themselves. When meeting powerful people, it is likely you will either get inspired or intimidated. One creates a positive impression the other repels it. It is natural to be wary of people who we perceive as a threat to our status within an organization. Hiring managers may unintentionally overlook strong and potentially exceptional employees in an effort to protect his own power and position.

Allowing all forms of personal bias to negatively influence hiring decisions can lead to hiring mistakes and expose managers and their organizations to considerable risk. In addition, superstars who might have made considerable contribution may be bypassed for lesser qualified candidates. All forms of social profiling sets up untrue unfair conditions whereby the best person for the job overlooked. As a result, we must stay rigorous in our efforts to recognize when personal bias raises its head and adhere to solid hiring practices that reveal individuals who represent the best cultural and job fit.

The best weapon to combat the negative influence of personal prejudice is to rely on a structured selection protocol that standardizes the hiring process among candidates, eliminating much subjectivity. These interviews pose the same set of questions in the same order to all candidates, allowing clearer more accurate comparisons between them. This may seem like an obvious approach, but incredibly it remains underused. The dialogue during the interview will be slightly more awkward than it already is, but the payoff in reduction in risk and discovery of the right people for the company and the job is worth the effort.

Keep your bias at bay and spot your next superstar using this FREE Candidate Interview Scorecard for fast easy talent candidate comparison HERE.

How to Spot & Keep Top Talent

Using Science and Technology to Create a Happier More Productive Company

The key to building a high performance organization is to recognize, recruit and retain the elite few who will make the greatest contribution to desired results. Most people are at their best during the hiring process. A comic once said, “The closest some people come to perfection is on a resume!” And, unfortunately, it’s true—some even stretch the truth to score a job. Fifty-six percent of more than 2,000 hiring managers say they’ve caught a lie on a resume, according to a 2015 Career Builder survey. This makes it difficult to recognize superstars from the mediocre performers.

When a leading sports coach was asked how he consistently assembled winning teams he said, “It’s easy! I can smell a champion a mile away!” Fortunately, advancements in technology and human sciences have made your job, as a hiring manager, a lot easier to sniff out champions. Today, with computer-aided tools, it is possible to compare the skills of employees or job candidates against critical job requirements with a high degree of accuracy. When talents match up, success comes easier and employees are more productive and happier at work. This means, increased retention of superstars who require considerably less direction and supervision.

A large number of organizations employ rudimentary and haphazard approaches to selecting their workforce. This represents a serious disconnect for companies that claim their talent management system offers a competitive advantage. Many firms fail to use scientifically proven assessments to make selection decisions; even though such assessments have been shown to significantly increase productivity, reduce costs and attrition and offer other critical organizational outcomes that translate into literally millions of dollars. There are many financial advantages associated with using assessment tools to guide selection and employee development decisions.

The obvious question: which assessments are best and how can their results benefit you? There are hundreds of assessment tools on the market today. Yet, not all are appropriate for spotting the best talent. Sample the power of our assessments and learn what motivates people at work by clicking here.

There are legal, cultural and financial considerations hiring managers must be aware of when utilizing assessments in the workplace.

Legal

United States law holds that employment practices (E.g. use of pre-employment aptitude tests) may be considered discriminatory and illegal if they have a disproportionate “adverse impact” on members of a minority group. Not all assessment instruments on the market meet the EEOC and OFCCP standards; therefore it is wise to verify those selected do not adversely impact any protected groups.

Ethical

There should be good evidence that assessments are both accurate and valid. Accuracy or reliability means the results are reliably repeatable or consistent. Validity, on the other hand, is the proof that the tool actually measures what it says it does. Example, if an assessment claims to assess selling skills, their needs to be strong evidence to prove or back up that claim.

Cultural

Your company culture is your brand. Think about how your current organization differs from competitors or other firms you have been with in the past. It is important, therefore, that company, cultural and job attributes are considered in the assessment process. These requirements serve as desired benchmark talents to compare people for selection, training and promotion.

Financial

Differences in cost of assessments, ranging from free to over $1,500 per person, vary greatly as does the value they provide. As a general rule, these tools are like most purchases; you get what you pay for. It is only when the benefits received outweigh the cost incurred that any expense becomes an investment. To squeeze the biggest return from assessments, clarify the results you expect (i.e. reduce turnover, spot leaders, save time hiring) along with how you intend to use the information gained.

Quality assessments administered by qualified experts offer considerable advantages in recognizing, recruiting, and retaining top performers. They do this by providing accurate insights to reveal job fit, cultural compatibility and predict performance. As a result, employee turnover is reduced, job satisfaction increases and overall productivity is improved. The bottom line: companies using assessments employ more people doing more work they are good at and enjoy.

ANSIR International invites managers of dental companies to sample a FREE talent assessment measuring workplace motivators. Get access to complete your FREE custom Driving Forces Motivators just Click Here by August 31, 2016. (Your results will be automatically sent to you upon completion of the assessment.)

Performance Improvement

Skills Training is Not Always the Answer

It is easy to assume weak employee skills are to blame when sales or productivity are down. In an attempt to boost productivity, managers will roll out a training initiative to improve the knowledge and talent used to drive performance. It’s been our experience that short falls in productivity are often the result of environmental factors managers can control and not necessarily a deficiency in employee skills.

Managers assume their direct reports understand the results that are expected and know the best approach to get there. Apparently, this isn’t the case for many. According to Gallup, only about half of employees ‘strongly agree’ that they understand what is expected of them at work. Obviously, to hold team members accountable for results—they must clearly understand the results expected…and how to get there.

One way managers can positively impact the productivity of their direct reports is to strengthen communication. This is the fastest most effective way to boost performance and results. Only 32 percent of employees, in the same Gallup survey, said their manager assists them in setting or reviewing performance goals. As a leader, the more clearly you set expectations and goals up front, the less time you’ll need to determine what went wrong later.

There are two practical management methods that significantly improve the quality of relationship between manager and his/her team and productivity. They are

One-On-One Sessions. These are short (30 min) weekly meetings managers’ conduct with each team member. They are designed to:

Catch Up on the status of projects pending

Confer about challenges to results expected

Connect on issues (both professional and personal) that build intimacy and loyalty in the relationship.

For a FREE copy of a helpful cheat sheet used to conduct One-On-One Sessions, download it here.

Another successful strategy to boost performance is the monthly Mentorship Meeting. This is a status meeting with each team member to review performance, tactical efforts and goals at a higher level. Too often, employees mistake feedback from managers as corrective or being in ‘trouble’. As a result, they dread, fear or withdrawal from what would otherwise be valuable learning opportunities. Inconsistent review of issues that matter to employees creates distance in manager-direct relationship and promotes job dissatisfaction and disengagement. Monthly Mentorship Meetings keep momentum moving forward in a positive direction.

If you think your people are happy, motivated and good to go…. think again. Gallup learned in a recent study that only 20% of sales people describe themselves as being ‘very’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ at work. And, just 42% say they are ‘satisfied’ Monday-Friday’s. This suggests, a considerable 62% of your sales team is probably not as passionate about work as you might think they are.

As an effective leader, you must lean in when employees may be leaning out. One reliable way to remedy low job satisfaction is to connect with consistent coaching sessions. This includes hosting weekly and monthly meetings to check in and observe where their head, heart and habits are. One-On-One and Mentorship Meetings offer a great opportunity for both of you to step above day-to-day activities and see how employee efforts are translating into results (both good and bad).

Employee productivity, therefore, is not necessarily a reflection of skills. More often than not, performance is a by-product of the culture and conditions managers create. Leaders can shape the behavior of their team by elevating the environment through clear consistent communication, practical processes and finally serving as positive role model for the actions and attitudes they desire. In the end of the day, you are usually the best training program some employees will ever attend!

 

Use this FREE One-on-One Cheat Sheet to start your sessions now.

4 Steps to Summit Your To-Do List

.... After a Long Weekend

Good memories of extra time off from work still linger. Yet, the triple digit messages blowing up your INBOX prove you’ve been away from your normal routine. Sure, you are rested and relaxed, but back at work the beat goes on.

After a vacation, long holiday or just a restful weekend, adopting these proven tactics getting back into high gear can make the transition a little easier.

“Minimize your movement and maximize your efficiency.

Plan more, move less.”

Kyle Connaughton

One of the best ways to hit the ground running at work is to clarify your priorities. Ideally, the day before or prior to everyone getting into the office, take some time to do a little productivity prep work. Studies have shown every minute invested in planning saves ten in execution.

COLLECT

Catalog everything in your life that requires some action or consideration on your part. This step is not about deciding where to put your attention, it’s about acknowledging what is pulling or pushing it. Do a data dump on everything in your mind: work, personal or both (depending on how wide and deep you want relief). List projects and tasks including those you need to do, want to do, should do, like to do, or are fun to do. You get the picture. This process of ‘collecting’, according to time management expert David Allen, author of Getting Things Done is that it frees up your brain’s random-access memory (RAM) to think more clearly and creatively for higher quality results.

CATEGORIZE

Not all tasks are created equal. Yet, our mind tends to trick us into thinking everything holds high completion or priority value. They don’t. We can see it when we step back and view tasks in relationship to each other filtered by our true priorities or our highest intentions.

A quick and easy way to categorize tasks is whom is responsible for completing the task:

  • Tasks I must do: these are projects that only you have the knowledge, skill, insight or background to complete. You must do these items yourself.
  • Tasks I don’t know how to do: completing these tasks would require a learning curve too time consuming to deliver an appropriate ROI. These typically are ‘one off’ tasks or require skills or knowledge that you simply don’t possess.
  • Tasks I should not do: Items that are either so mundane that the time and effort you’d expend completing them would rob from more important tasks. These projects could offer an excellent teaching or development opportunity for a member of your team. Delegating these tasks would strengthen or create new skills that would elevate the value employees bring to your company or department.
  • Tasks that should not be done: Every executive has activities and tasks that remain on our TODO List that if we were bold or brave enough, we’d admit we are never going to do them! These are items that would be ‘nice to do’ or tasks to tackle when we ‘have the time’—but they just don’t seem to rise in priority to ever take action on. So, you officially have the permission and my encouragement to cross these items off your list! They are draining valuable emotional energy that could be better directed elsewhere.

CLARIFY

Directing your attention to your Tasks I Must Do List, prioritize items listed and estimate the time each task will take to complete. This step will require you to consider your most critical tasks within the context and importance to the others on your list. Simplify your life by establishing priorities. Reduce or eliminate procrastination by ascribing estimated completion times. Download a FREE To-Do List Template.

CONNECT

Identify the energy required and importance of each task and plan to complete them based on your natural energy fluctuations throughout the workday or week. This is one of the most important, yet frequently missed elements of productivity planning and effective time management.

Assign High, Good, Moderate or Low Energy to Peak, High, Moderate or Low Effort Tasks. Download a FREE TO-DO List Template.This will allow you to best leverage your energy, attention to boost productivity by keeping you focused on the priorities that matter every day… not just the ones after time away.

5 Ways Sales Meetings Can Payoff

….. After the Meeting is Over

The investment required to attend sales meetings is enormous….and not just for the company footing the bill. Every member of the sales organization makes a considerable investment of time, energy and productivity. Time away from territories, customers and daily work responsibilities mean loss in sales and productivity. Yet, seldom do participants take the few finish and follow up steps necessary to enjoy the additional benefits these events can deliver.

Since many dental companies are wrapping up their annual or regional meetings around this time, you will find value in using these ideas to make your meetings pay off and pay up greater returns to your advantage:

  1. Collect Top ‘Take Aways’ from meeting content, speaker recommendations, or the good ideas sparked by after hours conversations with colleagues. Once you’ve captured these items, prioritize and incorporate them into your Personal Productivity Plan* (See downloadable MSWord document HERE).
  2. Identify Results Expected associated with each item you’ve listed. This simple post-meeting step is like adding rocket fuel to super charge your ideas into action! Clarifying the impact or benefits expected will keep you connected with the advantages you anticipate to receive by taking action on meeting ideas. Let’s face it; your enthusiasm for adding items to your task list will fade quickly unless a positive outcome is pulling you toward the benefits you expect to receive.
  3. Schedule a Deadline for Completion. Placing a deadline next to each action item will assist in further prioritizing the importance of the ideas gleaned from the meeting. It will also provide the valuable accountability most of us need to complete a task.
  4. Create Permanent Reminders. If a meeting take away is more of a daily habit or sales tactic then create a permanent reminder to assist in making a long term change. ‘Permanent reminders’ are notices with more sticking power over Post-It notes, which are easily lost, moved or forgotten. Printed labels, recurring pop up reminders and mobile home screen messages are a few great examples.
  5. Summarize the Macro Message. Getting the most from any educational event requires a clarification on how the meeting message directly contributes to advance your interests. Encapsulating the main message aligns the intention of the event with results received. Miss the point– lose the advantage. To gain greatest benefit from meetings, ask yourself, “What concept or idea received advances the value I contribute at work?”

Taking the minimal effort to clarify and take action on the big ideas inspired at meetings or educational events has the power to inspire results that ripple rewards long after the conference is over. Make your investment attending off site events deliver greater rewards with these finish and follow up habits.

* To make the most of your valuable time and talent, download a FREE  Personal Productivity Plan  HERE.