What We Can Learn from the Latest Data on Sales Motivation

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 @ 16:07 PM

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Image Copyright iStock

We've been very busy implementing some new findings in our Sales Evaluations and Sales Candidate Assessments.  Sales Motivation is just one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that we measure, but as with all of the competencies, we go very deep.

Back in the good old days, we measured Money Motivated because most of the salespeople employed back in the 90's were chasing commissions.  By 2011, we had decided to go wider and deeper and broke down Motivation based on whether a salesperson was extrinsically motivated or intrinsically motivated.  In 2014 we added 7 sales specific motivational styles to help sales leaders better understand the best ways to work with their salespeople.  And now, in 2017, we have deepened our measurement of Sales Motivation even further by adding a third possibility - Altruistic Motivation.

I was anxious to see what the data would look like but had to wait a few days until we had around 1,000 new assessments to review.  Sales Motivation now breaks down in the following way:

  • 47% of salespeople are intrinsically motivated (satisfaction, love of what they do, mastery, being part of something bigger than themselves)
  • 25% are extrinsically motivated (commissions, money, rewards and materialistic things)
  • 13% are altruistic (being of service to others)
  • The remaining 15% are somewhat balanced between 2 or 3 of the styles.

I always believed that Motivation is Motivation.  In other words, as long as the motivation is strong, it doesn't matter whether salespeople are extrinsically or intrinsically motivated.  However, it is very important for sales managers to understand the difference between the two so that they can provide the proper type of external motivation.  And now, with the introduction of Altruistic Motivation we have thrown a monkey wrench into the mix.  Altruistically motivated people should not really be in sales.  Their most effective role would be in customer service where it would be important for them to not have their own agenda but instead, serve the customer without exception.  Think Hospital, Doctor's office, upscale Restaurant, Concierge, Front Desk at a high-end hotel, etc.

I don't have the data yet but I expect salespeople who are altruistically motivated to have low scores for Commitment to Sales Success and Desire for Sales Success.  I'll update you when the data is available.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales motivation, sales performance, sales excellence, altruistic motivation

Grammar - Why Commas Provide Sales Success Where Periods Fail

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 20:07 PM

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Image Copyright Eerik

You've heard it all before - but not quite this way.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is CRM.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a powerful Inbound initiative.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a customized sales process.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is lots of leads.  Really?

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is targeted marketing.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a custom scorecard.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is outsourced calling.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is an in-house BDR team.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a custom sales playbook.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a sales force evaluation.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is ongoing sales training.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is sales coaching.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a consultative approach.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is the right messaging.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a daily huddle.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a weekly pipeline review.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a full pipeline.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a goal-oriented sales force.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a sales selection tool.

The one thing you need in order to have a successful sales force is a sales recruiting process.

Of course there are more; many more.

The problem is one of grammar.  All of the articles you read, videos you watch and audios you listen to suggest that there is a key to sales success.  Period.  But if you change the period to a comma, you'll quickly see that all of these things are crucial to success in sales.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales pipeline, keys to sales success

Crucial Selling Take Aways from the 2017 Home Run Derby Lead to Sales Greatness

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 @ 09:07 AM

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Did you watch the Home Run Derby on Monday night?  I've never seen anything like it. You could see thunder and lightening through the glass wall in left field as thunderstorms raged while all the home runs were being launched.  Wow, what a show!  Of course, my mind always looks for a correlation to selling and there are some good ones here.  

The sales equivalent to the Home Run Derby wouldn't really work - buyers lining up to place orders with the greatest salespeople on the planet.  That's stupid.  But there's another way to correlate the derby to selling greatness and that is in the area of preparation.  Consider this:

I did some research and found that MLB hitters take as many as 500 swings per day - and they are already among the 750 greatest baseball players in the world.  Resource. What would that look like if we compared it to selling preparation?  Let's consider the following:

  • Each "at bat" (AB) is equal to a sales phone call or sales meeting.
  • Each "dry swing" is equal to a mental review of an upcoming conversation.
  • Each session of batting practice or cage work is equal to a role-play.
  • A swing takes about 3 seconds, so 500 swings is equal to a 25-minute role play.

What if you aren't already one of the greatest salespeople but want to become one?  This article tells the story of a 45-year-old writer with nothing but Little League experience.  He embarked on a quest to become a home run hitter and in doing so it took:

  • 100 swings per day
  • 15 months
  • 28 broken bats
  • a total of 38,400 swings

The key ingredient here is practice and in the area of practice, role playing.   Most salespeople not only hate to practice (read role-playing), but don’t believe it is necessary.  But it's crucial to practice every possible scenario that could come up so that we are completely prepared - for anything. How many salespeople are so thoroughly prepared that it wouldn’t matter what their prospect said, did, or asked and the competition would be irrelevant?

"The only difference between successful salespeople and the other 77% is that the successful salespeople actually do the very things they don't like doing."  

Here is a great movie clip from Hitch that demonstrates how difficult it is to role-play.

 

 

As Aaron Judge became the greatest home run hitter on the planet Monday night, it's important to understand how much practice and preparation was required to get there.  It has taken him his entire short lifetime!

If you want to become a great salesperson - one of the top 7% - then you need to put in the equivalent of your 500 swings every day and practice through role play.  Those who commit to this and make it all consuming will experience financial rewards and personal gratification that will make it all worthwhile.

If you like the baseball/sales analogy, there is none better than the one found in the best-selling book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball.  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, Sales Coaching, role play, sales effectiveness, aaron Judge, HR Derby

30 Interesting Non-Selling Subjects to Make You Better at Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 05, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

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I was sitting next to a guy who knows that our son is one of the best ball players in his age group in New England.  He is from the former Soviet Union and when he told me that he tought his son to play catch I was confused.  I said, "You didn't play baseball growing up - how were you able to teach him?"  

He said, "When I was in school, we may not have played baseball, but we did have to practice throwing grenades and it's exactly the same motion!"

Who knew?

And he didn't know at the time that practicing grenades would prepare him for something completely different years later.

The same goes for sales.  There are so many subjects, all unrelated to selling, that can make salespeople more effective.

I've written about many of these subjects before.  Don't click on all of them though.  Find 3 that interest you and read only those.  Then leave a comment below on how that could help you.

Intentions and Affirmations

Driving

The Nutcracker

Baseball Practice

George Carlin

Faith

Shoes

Basketball Practice

Military General

Coyotes

Preppers

March Madness

School of Rock

Presidential Debate

The Martian

Jack Reacher

Whiplash

Chris Cagle 

Punishing Ballplayers 

Music

The Mac OS Beachball of Death

Bad Guys

Engelbert Humperdink

Superbowl 49

Blizzard of 2015

Earthquakes

Politics

Band of Brothers

Soup

Baseball

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, sales effectiveness

Sales Effectiveness - How to Win Every RFP That You Respond To

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 14:06 PM

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Image Copyright Gustavofrazao

I am amazed by the sheer number of salespeople who believe they must respond to an RFP, RFQ or RFI.  The resources, including people, time and money, required to respond to the specs from just one of these requests is daunting.  Some companies have so many requests coming in that they spend all of their time responding to them.  This is crazy!  Do you respond to every email you receive? Every call you get?  After all, it's a request, not a demand.  So why the frenzy over responding and replying so quickly?  You won't believe some of the reasons!

Top 10 Reasons Why Salespeople Respond to RFPs, RFQs and RFIs

  1. We won't get future business if we don't respond
  2. We can't get this business if we don't respond
  3. We will appear unresponsive if we don't respond
  4. We want to get a foot in the door
  5. We want to impress them with our capabilities
  6. We will win 10% of them and since we don't know which 10% we need to respond to all of them
  7. We want this business
  8. We need this business
  9. We want to be a back-up option
  10. We have always done it this way

If you and your company follow an effective sales process, proposing must be one of the final milestones prior to closing - it cannot and should not be one of the first milestones!

So not only is there the question of whether to respond, there is also the question of when.

Requests to propose come in one of four buckets:

  1. They want to do business with you but need something formalized
  2. They want to buy from your competitor but need to keep them honest
  3. They want to drive down the price and they are initiating a bidding war
  4. They want to buy from your competitor and need high bids to justify their decision.

That's it.  There aren't any other reasons.  And if you aren't in bucket #1, you should not be proposing!

Proposals are not selling tools, companies do not buy from you because of your proposals, and proposals don't differentiate you from your competition.  Your sales ability - specifically your listening and questioning skills -  will differentiate you from your competition.  Look at any survey of buyers and they all point to the fact that differentiation takes place in the field!

Rather than responding to proposals, you should be doing your best to learn why they sent it to you, why they want you to propose on this particular solution, and why they want to solve their problem in that particular way.  Get the specs of the proposal changed!

Prior to proposing, you must know that the business is yours and they want to buy from you.  Period.  If you don't already know that for a fact, you are not ready to propose.  If you do know it for a fact, then the proposal is simply a formality.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Closing Sales, Winning Sales RFP's, RFQ's

Sales Science and Data Win the Day

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 @ 08:06 AM

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Image Copyright bowie15

As we close in on closing out the first half of 2017 (already!) this is when I share the best articles from the first six months.  Today, it's more difficult to read that article, watch that video, listen to that audio tip or pay attention to any of the great material that is being written by experts so this is a way to catch up and read the best of the best.

There were some really great articles from the first half of the year.  I'll share the top 3 by views, the top 3 by shares and the top 3 by engagement but you'll instantly notice that whether it's views, shares or engagement, sales science and data - stuff you can sink your teeth into - win the day.

Top 3 Articles sorted by most read:

The Official 2017 List of 21 Sales Core Competencies 
How Your Salespeople Measure Up in the 21 Most Crucial Sales Competencies for Modern Selling
New Analysis Shows the 5 Biggest Gaps Between Top and Bottom Sales Performers

Clearly, readers were most interested in science and data!

Top 3 Articles sorted by most shared:

How Your Salespeople Measure Up in the 21 Most Crucial Sales Competencies for Modern Selling

Top 10 Tips to Help You Sell More And Get More Done Than Anyone Else This Year Part 1

7 Reasons Why Salespeople Underperform and How Sales Leaders Can Coach Them Up

 

Top 3 Articles sorted by most engagement:

Top 10 Tips to Help You Sell More And Get More Done Than Anyone Else This Year Part 1

New Analysis Shows the 5 Biggest Gaps Between Top and Bottom Sales Performers

What B2B Companies Must Learn from 10 Reasons Why Amazon is Destroying Retailers

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales science

Perhaps Hope is a Selling Strategy After All!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

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Image Copyright 2Jenn

You've heard that hope is not a strategy - and it isn't a strategy if you're sitting there saying to yourself, "I hope I win this deal..."

As you know, hope was a big news topic this week when James Comey revealed that President Trump said, "I hope you can let this go."  All kinds of partisan and legal strategies will be discussed relative to the meaning, intent and context for the word hope.

Earlier this week, Brad Ferguson, a long-time OMG Partner in Arizona said, "They'll meet with you based on hope and buy from you based on belief."  You'll find three short paragraphs with links below to clarify the ideal way to strategize by utilizing hope and belief.

It should go without saying that for a prospect to schedule a meeting based on hope you must have the right kind of first phone conversation where you identified an issue with which you might be able to help.  See this article for more on how to have a successful first phone conversation.

For a prospect to buy based on belief they must find you credible, likable, caring, relatable, expert and trustworthy.  I call this SOB Quality and this short video explains what it is and how you can easily achieve it.

Hope, as a significant selling strategy, is when you intentionally abandon all hope of getting the business. To better understand how, and why you must accomplish that, read more here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Closing Sales, cold call, Donald Trump, james comey

Predict the Weather but Control the Sales Forecast and Revenue

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

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Image Copyright Mark_KA

It's June 6 in Westboro, Massachusetts, USA, and the temperature is 49 degrees Farenheight or 9 degrees Celsius. It's pouring rain and with the exception of 3 nice days in the middle of May, when the temperature was in the 80's, it's been like early April since, well, early April!   The weather sucks.  And in case you aren't familiar with what the weather should be like at this time of year, it should be 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius) and sunny.  

You may be more familiar when the rant sounds like: "It's almost the end of the quarter, we're only at 65% of forecast, the pipeline is half empty, and nothing is closing. With the exception of 3 nice deals that came in during May, our salespeople have sucked." 

While the crappy weather and your crappy 2nd quarter revenue have crappy in common, there is one huge difference that can help you hit your sales forecast even when the weather forecast is for rain.

As long as you know the monthly sales goal, closing percentage, average order size, and length of the sales cycle, I will guarantee that you will meet or exceed the sales goal.  Let's pretend:

  • The monthly goal is $100,000
  • The closing percentage is 20%
  • The average sale or account is $25,000
  • The sales cycle is 6 months.

If you do the math and nothing else but the math, then as long as 20 new opportunities, worth a total of $500,000, enter the pipeline each month, beginning 6 months ahead of the first monthly goal you intend to meet or exceed, you will never miss another sales goal ever again.

Let's walk through the Algebra.  If you close 1 of 5 then 5/1 x $100,000 is $500,000.  But you can't just have one or two big opportunities worth $500,000 in the pipeline because you close only 1 of 5.  Remember, your average sale is $25,000 so you'll need close 100,000/25,000 or 4 and at 20% that's 4 x 5 for 20 opportunities.  Finally, with your 6 month sales cycle, what you add to the pipeline in June represents December revenue, not June, so beginning this month you're working on next year's revenue.

As long as you manage what you can control - the new opportunities that enter the pipeline - then you will never miss another number again.

Back to the weather.  Consider my rule of puppies, which says that the harder it is raining, the more often the puppy will want to go outside and make sure that I get wet. And don't forget the rule of spring baseball, which states that the more games our son is scheduled to play during April, May and June, the colder and wetter the weather will be.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, closing, sales pipeline, sales forecast

Phone Prospecting - the Key to Scheduling Meetings

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 23, 2017 @ 17:05 PM

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Cold calling is dead.  Not.

Cold calling doesn't work.  Untrue.

Cold calling is a waste of time.  True if you suck at it.  False if you're good at it.  

Even if you are following up on inbound leads your follow up call will be cold.  They don't know you and you don't know them.  Cold.

Back in the 20th century, when I first started cold calling, I hated it so much that I vowed to become so good at it that I could reach my new appointment goal in an hour instead of the 6 hours it was taking each day. It's about being effective, not dialing your brains out!

Today, a salesperson left a voicemail message and he didn't sound bad; but his strategy and script were awful.  Listen to the message below and try to identify what was wrong.  Then watch the video below to hear me talk getting your prospects to pay attention and engage with you on the phone.

Listen to the voicemail.

 

If you took the quiz then you know the right answers, right?

So why do salespeople have such a difficult time on the phone?

In addition to poor strategy, their scripts are awful, they usually sound awful, they fail to get their prospects' attention and rarely, if ever, get their prospects engaged.

Watch this video to get a better sense for what I mean.

 

Latest News -

Kurlan & Associates was named again in the 2017 Selling Power list of the Top 20 Sales Training Companies.

The Salesman Podcast, with host Will Barron, just released this interviewwith me talking about Excuse Making.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, cold calling, sales effectiveness

How to Simplify Coaching Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, May 19, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

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Image Copyright ColorCarnival

We just completed a two-day Sales Leadership Intensive and that's always a great experience for the sales leaders who attend.  The focus is on coaching salespeople for impact and everyone learns what it takes to become so effective at coaching salespeople that they ask for more. 

It's been a long time since I have written an article that mentioned our son, the baseball player.  He's really good, and we have dozens of video clips of him performing at a high level. But baseball doesn't always produce highlights.  Failure is a part of baseball too and if he struggles at the plate, the very first thing he does is watch the video to see what he did wrong.  We study the video together and when that isn't enough to fix the issue, we head outside and I pitch to him until he makes the necessary adjustments to get back on track.  

When you take sales coaching, baseball, watching video and put it all together, what do you get?

You get the post-call debrief - the most powerful tool for great sales coaching.

The post-call debrief is a structured coaching conversation where we compare the outcome to the goal and work backwards to determine when the call or meeting went off the tracks and why.  We identify the skill gaps and/or weaknesses that were responsible, and capture lessons learned.  Next we strategize getting the opportunity back on track, if possible,  and role play what the next conversation should sound like.

When Michael and I review video together it is very much like the post-call debrief.  We slow down the at-bat, analyze his approach, pick apart the swing, identify the thing or things that caused an undesirable outcome, and determine what must change so that it doesn't happen again.  Then we go out and practice it.  This is a good swing

When I review a sales call with a salesperson, it is the same as studying baseball video.  We slow down the call or meeting, analyze the approach, pick apart the conversation, identify the thing or things that caused the undesirable outcome, and determine what must change so that it doesn't happen again.  Then we role-play it, or in other words, practice it.  

The problem is that most sales managers do not really coach and those who do, don't do it often enough or well enough.  Shouldn't professional salespeople get the same quality and frequency of coaching that amateur and professional athletes get?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, Sales Coaching, Baseball

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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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