The Perfect Day for a Salesperson - 10 Ways to be More Efficient and Effective in 2018

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Dec 08, 2017 @ 09:12 AM

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Introduction

You can be more effective and more efficient selling in 2018, do every single thing I wrote about in this article, exactly as I wrote it, and without any difficulty, by making a conscious decision to follow this blueprint.  It's not hard. It's not scary.  It's not unusual.  It's not even thought-provoking.  It's simply a list of best practices that great salespeople (top 5%) do and that crappy (46%) salespeople either don't do consistently or don't do it at all.

Pre-Planning

The ideal sales day begins the previous evening.  Looking ahead to tomorrow, how many meetings do I have, which of those are sales related, how many items on the to-do list must be completed, how many proposals are due, and how many emails must I respond to before the day begins?  Based on all of that, how early do I need to set the alarm?  For me, most mornings it's for 5:30 AM.

CRM

Upon awakening, I like to begin the day inside CRM (we love Membrain) so that I can see all of my opportunities, the stage of the pipeline they are in, identify those I must move along, and who is waiting on me for something.

Calendar

Next, I need to identify my prospecting time for the day.  That's when I'll do the required work on those opportunities that need attention and schedule new meetings.  On most days, I have less than an hour of time for this so I need to be prepared to be ultra productive.  I can't afford to spend an hour attempting to reach potential new clients since even for me it will take 10-15 attempts to reach a CEO or Sales VP so it's crucial to actually connect with prospects during this time.  I begin with introductions, move to referrals, then to inbound leads from appropriately titled decision makers, and back-fill with LinkedIn connections and other inbound leads.  I only want to schedule future calls - not spend time talking with them today.  If you aren't fortunate enough to have a steady supply of introductions, referrals and inbound leads to call, you need a way to be more efficient than cold calling and I recommend that you use ConnectAndSell.  In an hour of calling they'll help you connect to an average of 7 prospects whereas attempting to reach prospects on your own might not yield 7 connections in an entire day.

Email

It's still early so this is the ideal time to respond to emails that I didn't get to yesterday, those that came in over night, and those where I need to be proactive.

Preparation

Finally, there are the scheduled sales calls.  For brand new opportunities, what do I need to know about them, their company, their industry and our common connections before we speak?  What is the desired outcome for each call?   What is the game plan to get there?

Sales Calls or Meetings

These days almost everything I do is by phone or video conference and that holds true for sales calls as well. If I want to achieve a predictable outcome then all I have to do is have a great conversation that faithfully follows our sales process, reaching the required milestones along the way.  One of the things that I love about Membrain is that the sales process, milestones, scorecards and playbooks for each milestone are on the screen during the call.  Companies that are in sales training, learning sales process and/or methodology, introducing playbooks, on boarding new salespeople, incorporating integrated CRM, or getting veteran salespeople to change the way they do things gain an additional benefit or 3 from these features.

What Can Go Wrong?

There is very little that can go wrong when you prepare like this.  Surely, some calls will cancel or reschedule, some prospects will be unqualified, some opportunities may be poor fits, and some prospects won't want to share answers to your questions.  You can't control any of that stuff but you can prepare for it.  Read this article to better understand how to use your unexpected free time.

Contrast

I receive a few incoming cold calls and schedule a few sales calls or meetings with salespeople calling on my companies each week and here's what I can tell you about them.  They.  All.  Suck.  No exceptions.  Here's why:

When salespeople are scheduled to have an actual sales call with me all they want to do is pitch, present and demo.  Does anyone, other than those salespeople that we train, actually use a consultative approach to sell?

Summary

Armed with an effective approach, appropriate planning, effective sales process and methodology, supportive sales tools and good scores in all 21 Sales Core Competencies, you will succeed.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, crm, sales best practices, membrain, time management, connectandsell

Which is Worse - Crappy Salespeople or Crappy Sales Managers?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Dec 05, 2017 @ 21:12 PM

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In his book, The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki said, "Don't Worry, Be Crappy."

That advice suggested that companies just get their early versions of software and tech products out there and they could make them better later.  

How are early versions of technology different from crappy salespeople and crappy sales managers?  For one thing, salespeople and sales managers tend to stay crappy unless professional training, coaching and interventions occur.  And unlike products, user feedback tends to be sketchy when it comes to salespeople because they refrain from giving it.  But what would happen if they did?

Prospects care about two things.  Are the salespeople calling on them likable and do they bring value?  Read that correctly.  I didn't type that they can recite the unique value proposition or talk about value.  I wrote that they actually bring value.  More specifically, strong, effective salespeople must be the value.  While it's great when salespeople receive product training to become more knowledgeable, they shouldn't be sharing their product knowledge on sales calls.  It's redundant because prospects and customers can find that information with 2 clicks on Google so they don't need to hear the same thing from salespeople. 

Most salespeople are crappy and I'll share 3 statistics to help you understand just how crappy they are.  Objective Management Group (OMG) has data on 1.6 million salespeople that have been assessed and evaluated. In the next 3 graphics I will share the Sales Quotient (the overall score for the 21 Sales Core Competencies that OMG measures) in 3 categories.  The sample size for this particular statistic is arond 417,000+ salespeople. 

This first graphic below shows the average Sales Quotient for all salespeople.   The average score is 116.

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The next graphic below shows the avarage Sales Quotient for elite salespeople who have a Sales Quotient of better than 140.  Only 6% of all salespeople are represented here.  Their average score is 144.

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The final graphic below shows the average Sales Quotient for weak salespeople who have a Sales Quotient below 115. Amazingly, 46% of all salespeople are represented in the weak group.  Their average score is just 103.

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Watch this 1-minute video for some thoughts on what you can work on first. 

Kurt Mortensen interviewed me for his sales podcast and you might find this 15-minute interview on sales process helpful.  As we approach year-end and my article in the December issue of Top Sales Magazine has a number of things that salespeople can work on in December to improve.

It's a different story altogether with sales managers.  Their salespeople need to be coached every day.  And it needs to be the kind of coaching that makes their salespeople want to come back for more.  Providing technical help, pricing, or discounts is not coaching.  Telling salespeople what to do is not coaching either.

Salespeople and sales managers can be trained but I can tell you this.  It's a lot easier to train crappy salespeople than it is to train crappy sales managers.  Selling is difficult but effective coaching brings difficult to a whole new level.

I've written a lot of articles on coaching salespeople and you can find 30 articles right here.  You can also register early to attend my annual Sales Leadership Intensive that is coming up in May.  It's simply the best training on how to master the art of coaching salespeople.

So don't worry if you're crappy - just do something to make yourself better and then instead of crappy you'll be happy.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, Sales Coaching, kurt morensen

B2B Salespeople Send 16,000+ Unqualified Proposals Each Day!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 21:11 PM

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If you have a role in sales or sales leadership then what could be better than knowing exactly how you and/or your salespeople REALLY compare with the other salespeople in your industry or in the world?  Could anything be more fascinating than a visual or infographic depicting how effective your sales force is at various aspects of selling?  And what if these visuals could demonstrate that B2B salespeople create and send more than 16,000 inappropriately timed proposals each day?  Cool, huh?  More on that data in a minute.

Earlier this year we introduced a free public site where you could actually see how your salespeople compared in each of the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  Recently, we improved the site so that in addition to average scores and comparisons in each competency, you can see the percentage of salespeople that have each competency as a strength.  Check it out here!

I love some of the new infographics we have developed to show clients the capabilities of their sales force.  For example, check out this slide that visually tells the story of how their sales force sells.  The number in each pie chart is the average score in each competency and the colors indicate the percentage of salespeople that have that competency as a strength, weakness or in between.  For example, the highest average score for this sales force is for the value seller competency but only 1/3 of the sales force has value seller as a strength.

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This is a cool slide.  It shows the 8 sales leadership competencies that we measure in the outer ring and his tendency by rank outside the ring. When a tendency is not aligned with a strength we have a problem.  For example, in this slide, strategic thinking is green - a strength - but strategy is ranked 6th out of 8 as a tendency and recruiting - a weakness - is ranked 1st out of 8 in his tendencies.  Those are both problems!  Gene should be spending much more time on strategy and much less time on recruiting.

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We reevaluate a sales team after a year or so and this is how we show the change in a particular competency.  In this slide the average score increased from 39 to 47 in the Consultative Competency and there were improvements in most of the attributes and half of the salespeople now had this competency as a strength.

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My favorite slide is the one where we restage the company's pipeline according to what's real.  In the slide below,  we looked at 717 late stage proposal ready opportunities.  If they were all truly late stage, the visual would have looked like the umbrella stand in the middle image.  However, our analysis caused 36% of the opportunities to move back to the suspect stage and 33% of the opportunities back to the prospect stage.  Only 27% were actually closable and another 4% were qualified.  This company prematurely sent 494 unqualified proposals!

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This company is not unusual.  If their 239 salespeople produced 494 unqualified proposals, then how many inappropriately timed proposals do 4.5 million B2B salespeople produce?  A little more half are in inside sales roles that handle the top of the funnel.  That leaves around 2 million B2B salespeople who are making 4,133,891 premature unqualified proposals per year or 16,535 per day!

We have around 50 more infographics like these that help to visually show how well equipped a sales force is to compete, win more business and grow revenue.  We identify all of the gaps and issues to be addressed and recommend a plan of action to accelerate sales effectiveness. 

 Most importantly, we provide answers to the questions that companies cannot answer on their own.  If this interests you, excites you or is something you want us to do at your company, just email me and I'll forward it to the appropriate person.

Image Copyright iStock

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales force evaluation, sales leadership, sales core competencies, OMG Assessment, sales proposal

5 Keys to Get Prospects to Trust You and Then Buy From You

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 @ 10:11 AM

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For most of 2017 those of us in the US have been inundated with political news.  That means lots of talking points (or spin) and of course talking points and selling go hand and hand, right? 

Maybe. 

While catching up with the latest news during the Thanksgiving break, I heard talking points from both sides of the political spectrum. I was very disturbed with the lack of facts in those talking points.  First we'll discuss the lack of facts and then we'll discuss how to make sure your talking points hit home with your prospects.

Last week the political topic was tax reform and hosts and their guests were obsessed with making the other side not only wrong, but depending on who was speaking, making sure we knew that those on the other side of the aisle are very bad people.

The Republicans bragged about the great tax cut for all Americans and how tax savings for companies will create jobs and economic growth.  Well, it is a cut but not that big, and not for all Americans. My companies will get tax breaks but they won't be significant enough to pay another 6-figure salary. I will pay even more in personal income tax, not less. 

The Democrats say that the middle class will pay more, corporations will be the big winners and that tax reform is nothing but a tax break for the rich because of the repeal of the estate tax.  Well, big corporations will win but when big companies win we all win.  A CEO's job is to use profits to grow the company and that means jobs and expansions.  As for the death tax, that money was already taxed, probably at one of the highest rates, so that tax was completely unfair in the first place.

Who's right?  It doesn't matter.  It's worth saying again.  It doesn't matter who is right.

The takeaway is that even one false argument discredits the entire argument.  When the Democrats say it's a tax break for the rich, who already pay 70% of the taxes, that is an out and out lie.  When Republicans say it's a huge tax break for the middle class, who live pay check to pay check, that is an out and out lie. 

It only takes one lie for people to stop listening to the bullshit. 

When Trump tweets something that is untrue, instead of being guilty of being incorrect on that one issue, it makes him a liar for all time.  When Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi make stuff up, like, "This bill will kill millions of Americans" in response to the proposed healthcare bill they disagree with, that makes them liars.  Not just about this one thing, but for all time.  What's interesting to me is that Trump supporters seem to know but don't really care when he lies while those aligned with Schumer and Pelosi seem to believe their lies.  Politics is all about whose lies attract the most support.

That brings us back to selling.

Not only must your prospects believe you and trust you for all time, but they must also give you their money and money changes everything.  They want value and if they believe you less than they believe your competitor - whether or not that's fair - your competitor will win.

Make these five changes in order to build trust and credibility:

Talking points - Eliminate your talking points!  Prospects recognize talking points as the hard sell so you are better to allow them make up their own talking points about you, your company and your products and services.  Read this for much more on why you shouldn't use talking points.

Facts - You can't be mostly true.  Selling with integrity requires you to always be truthful.  Read this for the one exception to being honest.

Testimonials - Your prospects will view your customers as authentic and believable because they already gave you their money and their story will be trusted.  Leverage your customers to talk about your honesty and integrity.  Isn't that what prospects want from a reference?  "Did Dave do what he said he would do?"  "Were the results what you expected?"  "How was Dave with your sales leaders and salespeople?"  "Did they find him helpful?"  "Would you use Dave again?"  Read this article for more on giving references.

Resistance - the single most important thing you can do when selling is to be aware of and ready to lower your prospect's resistance.  Period.  Nothing else matters if your prospect's resistance is high.  Read this article on how to manage and lower resistance.

Selling - Stop selling! Begin to have meaningful conversations that get your prospects to share their compelling reason to buy and buy from you.  Read this article for more on how to be more effective with your consultative approach to sales.

Image copyright iStock

Topics: Dave Kurlan, credibility, Trust of Salespeople, Donald Trump, talking points, nancy pelosi, chuck schumer

How Companies Routinely Short Change Their Own Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Nov 09, 2017 @ 19:11 PM

bad-decisions.jpgThe classic, "build it and he will come" from the movie Field of Dreams, applies to business too.  Every day, companies invest so much of their funding into making their products better under the belief that if their product is the best, people will come.

While that approach has worked with iPhones and iPads, you'll be hard pressed to find another product that people literally line up to buy.

I see technology companies especially making this mistake; where they achieve very good growth for the first several years until they hit the wall.  Then they raise money, invest it in bettering their product, market to show how much better their product is compared to their competition, and then don't understand why the growth doesn't start up again.

Early on, their salespeople succeeded at selling to the low hanging fruit - the people that raised their hands because they needed or wanted the product.  When the salespeople run out of low hanging fruit, sales stall as they struggle to convert prospects who see the product as nice to have, but not must have. That's when most companies change gears and begin to innovate and invest in their product when in fact, they really need to innovate and invest in their sales force.

I can speak from experience.  At Objective Management Group (OMG), we work on improving our own product every single day in order to maintain our huge advantage over every other assessment that could be utilized for assessing salespeople.  Our assessment is cutting edge, worlds beyond what any other assessment company can provide, and literally the most accurate and predictive sales assessment in the world. 

Unfortunately, we are well aware of the fact that our new features and enhancements won't sell a single additional sales force evaluation or candidate assessment. There is a benefit to continued innovation and development.   It makes our partners feel more confident about what they provide to their clients and it makes us proud, but we know that those enhancements won't be the reason for a single additional client to use it.

Why?  If they really have a problem that only we can solve they would have bought the product we had 35 versions ago.  And if for them, it's only nice to have, our version 2 years from now won't be any more desirable than today's version.

So why don't companies get this?

In my opinion, it is because they can have a sense of control when they invest in their product.  In other words, they know that if they invest x amount of time, y amount of money, z amount of research, and n amount of testing, their next product iteration will be exponentially better than the current version and that will attract additional investor money, make it easier to recruit, and get better product reviews in the trade publications and blogs.

On the other hand, investing in the sales force is either a complete unknown to them, or if they had a bad previous experience, a potential waste of time and money.

Of course they can do both but companies tend to focus on one significant initiative at a time.  Consider  the fact that most tech company founders and CEO's are technical themselves and you can easily understand why they usually choose to put their resources into product development.  That's why their choice of Sales Leader is so crucial.  Tech companies need sales leaders who will fight for resources, fight for the best training, fight for the best coaching, fight for the best tools, fight to hire the best salespeople, fight for more money, and fight for time.  Nice sales leaders are nice to have but demanding sales leaders are essential.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, accurate sales assessment, sales leader, technology company

Increase Odds of Successful Sales Hire by 368%

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 06, 2017 @ 16:11 PM

 

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A Harvard Business Review study proved that using pre-employment assessments increased the probability of a successful hire from 13% to 72%.

I read that exact statement in a marketing promo for a search company and as they hoped, it got my attention. I thought the premise would make for a good article. I began by searching Google for the source of that quote and low and behold, I couldn't locate it. I can't say for sure that the study doesn't exist or the percentages aren't correct but I could not find a single thing that correlated to that quote.

Of course it makes sense that no such statistic exists

 because with assessments making that much of a difference, it would be a no-brainer for every company to use them and on what planet are the chances of success only 13%?

Objective Management Group (OMG) has an extremely accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment with very impressive statistics. Until seeing the statistics above, I hadn't attempted to use OMG's existing success stats in that fashion. We know that 75% of the candidates who are not recommended by OMG, but hired anyway, fail inside of 6 months. We know that 92% of the candidates who are recommended and later hired rise to the top half of the sales force within 12 months. If we use those two related statistics we would get a probability increase of 368% (25% to 92%). But in this case, we have already been told that the likelihood of success for the candidate that was not recommended was only 25%.

Instead, what if we take the two generic rates of success in hiring salespeople? The first says that 50% of all salespeople hired will turnover. That doesn't mean that the other 50% will succeed, only that they won't turnover! In the case of 50% turnover compared with 92% success, that's an 84% improvement. The second rate of success tells us that based on around 50% of all salespeople hitting their quotas for the last several years, half of the people who don't turnover will succeed. That's 25% - still double our fake 13%. Compared with a 92% success rate, that's a 368% improvement.

The latest data out of OMG shows that 5% of all salespeople are elite (Sales Quotient over 140) and the next 11% are strong (Sales Quotient over 129). Those two groups represent only 16% of all salespeople, down from 23% just 2 years ago. If only 16% of all salespeople are any good, you will need a better way to identify them when their resume and/or online application hits your screen and you better know who they are before you decide to interview anyone. That's where an accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment comes into play. OMG's is very customizable and with its accuracy and predictive quality, you'll save a lot of time and money by identifying the candidates who will succeed very early in your sales recruiting process.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, accurate sales assessment

Distraction, Engagement, and Selling with Great Efficiency

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 @ 14:10 PM

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What do you do when a call or meeting cancels unexpectedly?

The choices come from two categories:

  1. Distract
  2. Engage

Distract includes catching up on your reading, browsing the net, stepping out for a beverage and/or snack, making a social call, chatting with colleagues, relaxing, driving, or taking a nap.  It also includes getting things on your to-do list taken care of, administrative work, proposal writing, quotes, responding to email and other non-selling time work that could be done during the evening or the hours before the sun comes up.  Distract is the sales version of charcoal.  It's dirty.

Engage is phone specific.  It includes returning calls, diving into CRM and making calls to move opportunities forward, making calls to schedule new meetings, and making calls to get introductions. Engage is the sales version of Diamond.  It's crystal clear.

In other words, when you find yourself with engage time during business hours, that should translate to phone specific action.  Everything else must be done after hours.

Many salespeople are so busy getting the work done that they don't see how much selling time they waste doing administrative work that can be postponed until later.  Instead they do their administrative work and postpone their selling.  This Google search reveals that most salespeople spend between 3% and 35% of their time actually selling.  When we correlate these percentages with selling effectiveness, the top 23% of all salespeople spend double that amount while the bottom 77% are actually in the 3-25% range.  The bottom 77% are there only because they score poorly when measured on 21 Sales Core Competencies.  The fact that they don't manage their time well either simply compounds the problem.

 

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, top salespeople, time management, elite salespeople

It's OK for Salespeople to Lie When This Happens

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 @ 23:10 PM

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This new world we're all living in is getting downright scary.  It's time to talk about selling in the context of this combustible culture but before I get started, a simple request to the haters on the left and the haters on the right.  You are invited to read something else.  I don't want to spend the next week responding to hate comments.

As I was saying, it's scary out there and while the bad stuff has begun affecting businesses, it won't be long before it's affecting salespeople but more on that in a minute.  And promise that you'll read this article to the end instead of jumping to a conclusion before I make the final point.

You might have missed this story about the owner of Dave's Soda and Pet Food.   Dave was a beloved business person in his community when customers suddenly abandoned him, stopped buying from his stores and started hating him on social media.  Why? Because he posed for a picture with the President signing an executive order.  His business was ruined - not because he is a Trump Supporter - he isn't - but because he was in a picture with Trump and people assume that he supported Trump's policies for healthcare.  And how about the Arizona restaurant that was forced to close because it ran a pro-Trump post on its Facebook page and their employees began receiving death threats?

What about the rash of CEO's that were shamed into resigning from Trump's business Advisory council?  They are patriots, love our country, come from both sides of aisle, believed they could help, but caved into the pressure coming from both social media and big media.

Now before you jump to conclusions, I'm not taking sides, this isn't a post in support of Trump nor is this a post to criticize him.  I am simply sounding the alarm over  what will probably happen next.  Based on how crazy things are becoming for businesses, salespeople are next.  Consider this.

What will happen when salespeople whose views might be very liberal, call on and meet with CEO's whose views might be very conservative?  What if the CEO has a picture of Trump on the office wall?

What will happen when a salesperson from a rural rust belt town ventures into the office of a liberal Silicon Valley CEO?  What if she has a picture of Hillary or Nancy on the wall?

Selling disconnects aren't new.  The 5 listed below have been around for decades: 

  • Prospects in Maine don't buy from salespeople who aren't from there.
  • Salespeople from NYC or NJ often struggle selling in the Midwest.
  • Salespeople with a dominant kinesthetic learning style struggle when selling to prospects whose dominant learning style is visual and vice versa.
  • Detail oriented salespeople struggle with big-picture prospects and vice-versa.
  • A poorly dressed salesperson will struggle with a prospect who dresses like a banker and thinks that everyone else should too.

In other words, when prospects sense that "she isn't like me" they pull back and don't buy.

And now we have this awful cultural and political divide which seems to be growing deeper and wider with each passing day. I hate what's happening out there.  The media amplifies every single one of these stories to get anyone who will listen all worked up over it, they get political opponents to speak out, and then the media runs and amplifies the responses to create additional angst (or ratings).

So what should a salesperson do when a prospect asks, "What do you think about all of this craziness in Washington and with our politicians and their policies?" 

And why might the prospect ask?  It is probably because he or she wants to speak out against the other side and it would be cool to rant with a like-minded person.  If you're on the same side you'll be fine, but what if you're not?  And are you willing to risk losing a sales opportunity because you were on the wrong side of the rant?

It's not cool to lie in sales. But I'm suggesting that this is the one time when a lie will do you good!  Resist the temptation to speak your mind and just say, "I'm actually an independent, not very political, and I try to ignore all the craziness."

Of course, if that's what you actually do, even better.  But if you do have a strong opinion, and you don't know for absolute certain if it runs counter to your customer or prospect, you have my permission to tell a well justified fib.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Donald Trump, hillary clinton, sales and politics, nancy pelosi

Why Do Salespeople Use Facts and Logic to Combat Objections?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

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The easy answer to the title question is that they have been trained to do that since they first arrived at sales kindergarten.  Whether talking points, bullet points, inarguable facts, competitive differences, ROI, value proposition, brand promise or cost of ownership, these words and phrases have been reinforced since day 1.

The problem is that while salespeople confidently spout off these return volleys, the only thing accomplished is to make it more difficult to sell anything.  When a prospect states an objection their resistance goes up.  When a salesperson attempts to counter the objection with logic or facts, the prospect hears the hard sell and resistance is raised some more.

Logic does not overcome objections.  So what does?

Agreement.

The first rule of dealing with resistance, even if it appears as an objection, is to lower the resistance even if it means agreeing with the objection.  For example, let's pretend that your prospect says, "Your company has a bad reputation."  Instead of arguing the fact, let's respond with, "Your right."

Watch the air get sucked out of your prospect's argument!  They will be speechless.  And their resistance will have dropped too.

Then you can say, "We had a terrible reputation.  That's why I'm here now and the person who was responsible for our bad rap is long gone and hard to find."

Don't expect your customer to ask, "Where do I sign?"  They might say, "That's good to hear."

And you should follow up with, "But in your mind, doing business with us is still carries a huge risk."

Expect them to say, "That's right" because nothing has changed - yet.

And you can ask, "Can we talk about that?"

They'll clarify their concerns and you can ask, "What if I could address  each of those concerns and mitigate your risk?"

Assuming that you hear some version of "that would be good" you can proceed to ease their concerns, one at a time, remembering that less is more.  Don't start selling.  Just make them comfortable enough so that they can buy without you getting their way.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, handling objections, using facts to sell, using logic to sell, bullet points, talking points, buy emotionally

5 Sales Hiring Mistakes and Fake Resume Claims

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 @ 06:10 AM

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I always enjoy reading articles that expose things I don't know about topics I enjoy, like 7 Unsung Built-in Gems in Mac OS X. I had the opportunity to provide that kind of training to a dozen or so sales leaders on some of the less obvious findings and relationships in Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessments and how to use them. We also discussed which of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that we measure were pertinent to their different sales roles and why.  One of the regional sales managers asked, "What are the 5 Biggest Mistakes that Sales Managers Make When Recruiting Salespeople?"

While that question is quite easy to answer, most companies, including their recruiters, HR professionals, sales leaders and executives are guilty of some or all of the following 5 mistakes:

  1. Their job posting fails.  Most sales job postings all read the same.  Great job, great company, great opportunity, great benefits, blah, blah, blah.  And even if you are using the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment on the planet, it won't help at all if your job posting lures the wrong candidates into the pool.  Describe the candidate along with the experiences you hope they had and the capabilities they must have to succeed in your role.
  2. They wait too long to assess their candidates.  If you wait to assess until after you have interviewed, you won't embrace the findings and recommendation on the assessment unless they support how you feel about the candidate.  If you already fell in love with the candidate and the assessment says "Not Recommended" and you ignore the recommendation it will lead to a hiring mistake.  Assess every candidate immediately after you receive their online application or resume and then you won't  accidentally ignore a candidate whose resume suggests a bad fit but whose assessment scores suggest a very capable salesperson for the role.
  3. They don't properly on board.  They say, "We're using the best assessment and the salesperson was recommended so she should know what to do."  Wrong.  Every new salesperson deserves proper on boarding so that you can prepare them for success instead of setting them up for failure.
  4. They don't thoroughly interview the candidate.  It doesn't have to be a long interview but it needs to be thorough.  You need to dig deep behind every resume claim to separate fact from fiction.  Here are the top 5 examples of claims that sound great but actually turn out to be bogus when you learn about the all important context (in parentheses) for the claim:
    1. Top salesperson  (out of 2)
    2. President's Club (for all salespeople who hit 75% of quota)
    3. Grew annual sales in territory by 200% (from $40,000 to $120,000)
    4. Doubled size of the territory in the first year (closed one big deal that was in the pipeline when he arrived)
    5. Uses words like developed, initiated, led, created, or built in reference to sales programs (did not actually sell anything).
  5. They don't set expectations, coach to those expectations and hold the salesperson accountable for achieving those expectations in the first 90 days.

These five mistakes are easy to correct and then companies will experience far greater success and consistency with their new sales hires.  In most cases, the only thing preventing companies from making these changes is the self-limiting belief that "we've always done it this way."

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales candidates, sales selection, sales assessments, OMG Assessment

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years.  Dave's Blog earned a Bronze Medal in 2016 and this article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016. Read more about Dave.

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