Sales Pros! 10 Things You Must Do Before Leaving for Summer Vacation

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 01, 2015 @ 09:07 AM

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Copyright 123RF Stock Photo

Are you going to the beach? On a sail? On a tour? To another country? To a lodge? To a resort?  Regardless of your destination or purpose, make sure you bring some good books, disconnect from your email and social networks, and actually use the time to recharge.  That's good old common sense.  But if you really want to kick some ass when you return from vacation, you'll want to make sure you do these important things too:

  1. Turn on your auto-responders and leave a useful message - do not let it go out with the default note.
  2. Change your voicemail message.
  3. Schedule the first two days following your vacation with Office Time - you'll need it to respond to 300 emails, return 20 phone calls, and go through mail, documents, and issues that may have arisen while you were gone.
  4. Schedule half days of prospecting time for the 3rd-5th Days back.
  5. Before you leave, make sure you have meetings scheduled for the other half of days 3-5 after your return.
  6. Before you leave, schedule meetings for your entire second week back.  You must complete that before you can leave for your vacation!
  7. If you're like most salespeople, you have more prospects in your dead/lost/stuck folders than in your active pipeline.  Contact all of them before you leave and see if anything has changed since the last time you spoke.  Let them know that you're heading out for vacation and would love to talk with them in either late July or early August if they think there is a reason or if they would like some help.
  8. Make sure your CRM/Pipeline Management application is completely up-to-date and each opportunity accurately reflects where you are today, what the next steps are, the realistic projected closing date as well as the realistic spend, where you are versus your competition, and the realistic likelihood of closing.  Also make sure that the notes for each opportunity are up-to-date.
  9. Check your task lists, calendar, Evernote, CRM and email and be certain that you do not have any outstanding proposals, return calls, follow-ups or promises that slipped through the cracks.  It's easier to take care of those things with an apology before you leave, than it is to kiss those opportunities, customers and clients good-bye when you return.
  10. Identify any prospects or customers that could possibly have an issue while you're gone and ask someone you trust to help in case you aniticipated correctly.  Prep them and go away without worries.

Have a great vacation and when you get back, please go out and kick some ass.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, sales CRM, sales follow up

Are We Wasting Our Time on LinkedIn?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 @ 08:06 AM

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Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

It's the place to be. Join 50 groups. Ask questions. Answer questions. Connect. Like discussions. Contribute comments. Is it a means to an end or is it all a huge waste of time?

LinkedIn is a tool that I use more than some and less than others. As busy as I am, I'm unable to spend an hour on LinkedIn each day, but I do visit daily. I am engaged. And I always wonder if it's a complete waste of time. In this article, I'll share the highlights and lowlights from my informal LinkedIn effectiveness analysis and you may be very surprised with my conclusion.  [Click to Tweet]

How much of our business comes from LinkedIn? We should know this, right? The first answer is easy...NONE of our call-in business comes from LinkedIn and it shouldn't, right? But what percentage of the business coming from landing pages on my Blog, the Kurlan & Associates website or the Objective Management Group (OMG) website come from LinkedIn, either directly or indirectly?

Of the 115,000 plus visits tracked to my blog in the past 6 months, less than 1% of that traffic came from social media although most of that small amount was from LinkedIn. Did any of that turn into business? 21 forms on landing pages were completed, but the majority of those landing pages were blog subscriptions, not downloads, samples, videos, white papers, nor requests for more information. None of those 21 ever came close to entering the pipeline. There was no business as a result of visits from LinkedIn.  

In comparison, about a third of those 115,000 visits were the result of organic search and many visits were from referral sites where someone was visiting another website and clicked a link that brought them here. 1.2% of all visitors completed a form on a landing page and the sources that converted best were the referral sites, followed closely by email marketing and organic search. Some of these contacts become clients.

So where is LinkedIn in all of this? Nowhere, really. Except first degree connections. They'll sometimes reach out to me - sometimes to do business - and I'll sometimes reach out to them.

Let's look at LinkedIn in another way.  

One of the groups I belong to, Sales Management Executives, has 205,000 members. With a group that large, you would expect to see incredible engagement, right? This morning I looked through the current discussions and counted 9 new discussions from today, but because we are looking for engagement, I looked at the discussions that were started 3 days ago. Between them, there were 2 comments and 29 likes from 25 discussions posted to 205,000 people and 14 of those likes all belonged to a single discussion. My knee-jerk reaction is that this group is a complete waste of time as there appears to be only 50 or so people or .004% of the group engaged. Is this the norm?

I looked through a second group I belong to, ATD Sales Enablement Community.  This group is more of a niche so I expected better engagement from their 11,000 plus members.  In the past week there were a total of only 5 new discussions which, between them, collected 5 comments and 0 likes.  Historically, there have been a few good discussions in this group but it is the exception, not the norm.

Next I checked in on Executive Round Table and its 17,000 plus members. There were 40 new discussions posted in the past 3 days with 2 comments and 3 likes. Of those 40 discussions, 15 of them were SPAM - income opportunities, loans, investments, etc., and 8 of the 25 remaining conversations were redirects back to the poster's blog article or website. Yikes!

I'm not suggesting that there isn't any meaningful content, nor am I suggesting that I never find a discussion in which to participate. But they are few and far between. You would need to look very hard to find one worthy of your time.

I'm connected to more than 1,000 people on LinkedIn, but a quick trip to my LinkedIn home page, where updates from my connections are posted, suggests that on any given day, there are probably fewer than 25 people - or 2.5% - that are actively engaged.

Another way of looking at LinkedIn is to dissect the discussion topics in the groups. For this analysis, I visited a newer group, Sales & Marketing - Top Management (Worldwide), which has nearly 8,000 members. Of the 15 discussions posted in the past week, all 15 were started by experts (including me) - where the discussion was either a rhetorical question (not me) to which the expert already knew the answer, or a link to the poster's blog article (I did that) or website. The only people engaged are the experts who are looking for more business! Who would want to be part of a group like that?

Until today, I had always believed that if I wrote good blog articles like this one and then shared my content in the LinkedIn groups, that it was a good thing - people would benefit - and it would improve visibility. But today, with my critical eye, I concluded that content like this is not what belongs in these groups and additionally, taking the time to post there is a complete waste of time. I have proof. In the first 6 months of 2015, I have written 50 articles and shared each article with around 10 groups on LinkedIn. If only 3,000 of 115,000 visits can be tracked back to LinkedIn, that averages out to around 60 visits per article or 6 per group, per article. It would be more productive to get an extra hour of sleep each night!

Today I read an article - it was posted on LinkedIn - that said Twitter was the more powerful social medium for business. Really? There are about 25 other sales experts that regularly tweet updates to their followers when we all post new articles to our Blogs. Let's suppose that one quarter of my articles got tweeted by half of those experts to an average of 1,000 followers each (I don't know any of these actual numbers, so I'm trying to be very conservative.)  That would be 13 articles x 12 tweeters x 1,000 followers or tweets that reached 156,000 which resulted in 70 visits over 6 months.  Yup, Twitter will be really useful!

At OMG, we have a private LinkedIn group for the 150 global partners who recommend and use our sales force evaluations and candidate assessments with companies like yours. I wish I could say that this group is the exception and utilizes LinkedIn exceptionally well. Unfortunately, that isn't the case and engagement is no better than in any of the other groups I used as examples.

At the beginning of this article I said I would share my LinkedIn highlights and lowlights and all I have shared so far is lowlights. Are you ready for the highlights?

...

Impressive, huh?

To me, the phone is looking better and better every day. Read this article for more information on the next big game changer for sales.

I still think LinkedIn is important for making connections, visibility and getting found. But the additional time we spend on LinkedIn would be better spent on the phone, talking with prospective customers and clients.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, lead conversion, linkedin, social selling

12 Proven Sales Hacks to Increase Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 @ 07:06 AM

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It seems that these days, things are changing faster than we can recognize. Cosby is finally out of the news, but the Marathon Bomber is back in. The terrible winter weather is in our rear view mirror, but now we are dealing with droughts and tornadoes! And in our world, Sales 2.0, a term we haven't heard in a while, is making the rounds again. In today's article, we'll talk about the sales improvements that readers are most interested in.

Let's kick things off with the most popular article of the first 6 months of 2015, which talks about how dramatically things have changed in selling. Read this very popular article from earlier this year, which is all about the next change to take place in selling.

On LinkedIn, this article explains one simple change that salespeople and sales managers can make that will significantly improve the pipeline and win rate.

With all that has changed, no single characteristic is more important to selling than an individual's unconditional commitment for sales success. This article explains what committed salespeople do differently.

This popular article compares a bad sales email to a good one and a similar article exposes an ineffective cold call and includes a breakdown as to why it was so bad! This article completes the business development highlights with 3 keys to help convert more of those calls to meetings.

We've covered how to be more effective getting meetings scheduled, so let's move to another popular article that explored the possibility that with everything changing so quickly, consultative selling could already be dead.

One of the biggest challenges that companies are having right now is in attracting, assessing, interviewing and selecting new salespeople. Companies are hiring and it's more difficult than ever to hire a good salesperson. Accordingly, some of the most popular articles of the first 6 months of 2015 were written about hiring salespeople.  

This article explains why 1 million sales jobs will be lost, while this one explains why half of an entire sales force resigned in a single month. Could this happen at your company? Why is it that some great salespeople don't live up to your expectations while others are as good, or better than expected? This article explains how and when that can happen. On the other side of that story are the weak salespeople - those with poor Sales DNA and/or sales skills - who somehow find ways to succeed. This article talks about the intangibles they may possess and why they can't be taught or replicated. To round out the best of the sales selection articles, read this one about the phoney baloney sales candidate and how you can make sure that he doesn't fool you.

Finally, you won't want to click on this one right now. Instead, save it for when you have 30 minutes to read it in its entirety. The article began as a simple rebuttal to some junk science on sales selection and turned into a debate on the science of sales assessments and specifically, put Objective Management Group's (OMG) sales candidate assessments on trial. The people have spoken, but what did they say?

Was today's article helpful? Share it! Tweet it! Comment.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Sales 2.0, cold calling, sales selection, objective management group, sales emails that work, building the sales pipeline

Apply Jack Reacher to a Modern Sales Approach

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 @ 16:06 PM

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I'm a big fan of the Jack Reacher thrillers and movies. Perhaps you've seen one of them...

While reading Lee Child's newest Reacher book, "Personal", I saw a huge connection between how the Jack Reacher character survives and succeeds on all of his highs: high-risk, high-stakes, high anxiety missions; and how a successful salesperson survives and succeeds in the sales equivalent of a Jack Reacher story.

One of Reacher's trademark expressions is, "Expect the best but prepare for the worst." That is very consistent with what I have always taught, "Be eternally optimistic about your outcome, but completely skeptical of everything you hear along the way." I believe that regardless of which expression or quote resonates the best, that mindset is essential for surviving and succeeding in sales. Without it, roadblocks, hurdles, surprises, and disappearing acts will knock you off your game as surely as white sticks to rice. That mindset provides a bonus gift too - it will prevent you from ever developing happy ears!

Another of Reacher's trademark expressions is, "The fastest thinker wins." This speaks not only to strategy, but tactics as well. It's not enough to "Let me see what I can do and get back to you tomorrow." You need to be quick on your feet, adapt as your environment changes, respond as your prospect challenges you, and demonstrate your agility on the fly.

Finally, as scary as some selling situations are for some salespeople, as intimidating as some prospects can be, as difficult as some prospects act, and as tough as some of the competition is, selling is not life or death. Although with the way that some salespeople respond to it, you might think it is. You don't need a deadly weapon - just your eyes, ears and mouth as ammunition. Add a modern, predictive and reliable milestone-centric sales process, a modern methodology, and a never-ending supply of questions, patience for listening, and the ability to carry on a conversation with your prospect that nobody else has ever had.

In the end, no matter how bad it seems, no matter how hopeless the circumstances, regardless of the position you are in, with these two expressions and your ammunition having your back, success is not a matter of if, but when.

Reacher is coaching a young CIA agent throughout the new book. I'll be hosting my annual Sales Leadership Intensive - absolutely our top event of the year - on August 27-28 in the Boston area. Check it out and join us for the finest training available on mastering the art of sales coaching.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Closing Sales, handling objections, great sales management training, complex sale, jack reacher

What You Get When You Accelerate Sucky Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 @ 08:06 AM

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Celebrating Fathers Day, we went to a restaurant of my choosing - an upscale burger place - and it took nearly an hour for the food to come. I asked, "Is it normal for the food to take this long?" I was told, "No, usually it only takes 35 minutes" - for burgers! Granted, they were special, great tasting, artisan burgers, but they were burgers! If this was a romantic dinner for my wife and me, then who cares how long the meal takes? Let's just enjoy the time together. But they had people waiting 45 minutes to be seated. They were scaling and the service kind of sucked.  

Chris Beall, CEO of ConnectAndSell.com says, “Be careful not to accelerate suck!”. That quote appeared today on the High Velocity Sales Blog, where Chad Burmeister wrote a great article about outbound on demand. You should read that article. It can change your world! Anyway, I wanted to elaborate on that quote as it applies to expanding your sales force. 

 

So many companies reach the point where they are ready to scale - exponentially grow their company, revenue, operations, capacity or reach - and to do that, they need to significantly expand sales. Scaling requires that the right sales leader(s), along with the right salespeople are already in place to form a foundation that can be replicated and/or multiplied. When that isn't the case, and it usually isn't, that is when suck gets accelerated.

Most companies set revenue as a milestone for scaling, but revenue can be deceiving. There is a huge difference between $10 million comprising 5 major accounts, versus $10 million made up of 3,000 accounts. The first scenario sounds more like a case where the founders were able to go back and sell their wares to the companies that previously employed them. The second scenario suggests that we have a top performing sales force where the majority of salespeople are capable of finding and closing a large quantity of accounts.  

Attempting to scale in the first scenario will lead the company into a dark hole, while replicating the second scenario should work quite well. Most companies find themselves somewhere in the middle so the scaling process and result are less predictable.

How do you know whether or not your sales force is scalable today? A sales force evaluation will quickly and accurately answer that question.

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How do you get the right salespeople for the right roles? Subscribe to the award-winning and incredibly accurate and predictive OMG Sales Candidate Assessments.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, growing a sales team, sales assessments, objective management group, Scaling sales

Why Some Great Salespeople Produce and Others Don't

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 @ 06:06 AM

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Earlier this week I wrote an article on how to get sales selection right. Once and for all. Forever. If you didn't read it, please give that a quick read before reading this article because I used the earlier article as a starting point for this one.

Earlier today, I was talking with someone who wanted his farmers - salespeople who are assigned to a single enterprise account - to hunt. His idea is to take existing salespeople and have them bring on new accounts instead of hiring additional salespeople to do that. There are certainly pros and cons to that, but do you think it will work? What would it take? What are the chances? If it works, can it be replicated? Let's take an inside look at the factors, chances and reasons, shall we?

Let's use a sports example for this:

Last winter, the Boston Red Sox signed Hanley Ramirez, an all-star shortstop in the National League his entire career, and decided that at age 30, he could learn to play left field. Okay, you're tired of baseball examples, so how about an example from basketball, football and soccer?

Do you suppose that in basketball, a great point guard, like Stephen Curry, could play center? He's not tall enough - it's not in his basketball DNA.  

Do you supposed that in football, a great quarterback, like Peyton Manning, could play left tackle? He's not heavy enough - it's not in his football DNA.

And why in the world would you take a player who is great at what he does, only to move him to a position that he is unfamiliar with and unprepared to play?

OK, how about a soccer example? My soccer friends are getting excited now...just one problem...I don't know enough about soccer to even create an example, even though I am certain that there are probably many. (I'm sure that one of my regular readers, Ray Bigger, a former soccer referee, will comment...Ray?)

So, returning to baseball, how do you suppose Hanley Ramirez has performed in left field for the Boston Red Sox this year? Well, one third of the way through the 2015 season, he is on pace to save the Red Sox minus 42 runs, which will be more runs lost than the 39 home runs he is on track to hit this year. According to the same website, he is worth minus $4.8 million, or $26.8 million less than the $22 million he is to be paid this year. So, can this all star, who was at best a mediocre shortstop, play left field? He can certainly be placed in that role, but he is a major under performer as a left fielder.

Back to our sales farmers. Can they achieve success as hunters? Is it in their Sales DNA? Can a good salesperson adapt?

I am 100% certain that good salespeople who are in farming roles could be as effective at hunting as Hanley has been in left field.

They don't have it in their sales DNA, and if they wanted to hunt (a far more lucrative role than farming), they wouldn't have signed up for a farming position!  

Salespeople can be trained and coached (at least most of them), but overcoming the limitations of their Sales DNA is much more difficult. When it comes to hunting, there are several strands of Sales DNA that will determine whether a salesperson WILL hunt, and several skills that determine whether or not they will be effective. Together, those attributes make up the Hunter Competency.

Assuming that a salesperson is both trainable and coachable, any of these four weaknesses are difficult to overcome: 

  • The need to be liked
  • Difficulty recovering from rejection
  • Procrastination from perfectionism
  • Reluctance to make cold calls  

When a salesperson is untrainable, uncoachable, or has two, three, or all four of those weaknesses, the difficult simply becomes impossible.

Every day, I wish that my gray Lexus GX460 SUV will handle and look like a red sports car. It's not in the car's DNA. Just because you can wish for something, doesn't always mean that it is possible.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, new business development, Boston Red Sox, ideal sales roles

How to Finally Get Sales Selection Right

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 @ 13:06 PM

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Before I share some crucial sales selection tips, I need to begin with some baseball. My apologies to all of my cricket and soccer obsessed readers.

My team, the Boston Red Sox, just lost their seventh consecutive game. They are in last place and heading for their third last place finish in the past four years. The outlier year was 2013, when they won the World Series. I think there was far less talent on that championship team than on this year's edition, but the 2013 team had a rallying cry (Boston Strong) and everyone overachieved. You can't count on everyone overachieving each year, so in lieu of that, as Jim Collins would say, you must have the right people in the right seats. 

When it comes to sales selection, sales leaders regularly make the same mistake that Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington has made for the last 4 years. Ben is the architect of these 3H (helpless, hapless and hopeless) Red Sox teams. Ben continues to select players who have succeeded in the easier National League, who struggle to compete in the more challenging American League. He also promotes minor leaguers before they are ready. Similarly, companies hire salespeople who have succeeded for other companies, in other industries, in other roles, against different competition, with other price points, calling on different decision makers, with longer and shorter sales cycles. They even hire salespeople away from their competitors, believing that their customers will follow. Well, how has that worked out for you?

Here's an example:    Yesterday, I received an email from an OMG Client in the Middle East wondering why a candidate was not recommended. The email said:

I would like you input on this attached folder, this guy has a great file, why he is not selected and was not hirable?  I need to understand what are the criteria of selection for an account manager?  

I wrote back:

The custom role specification for an account manager was used on this candidate and as you can see on page 3, it requires a candidate to meet at least 70% of the criteria for an account manager.  Your candidate met only 65% of the criteria and possesses only 40% of the account manager skill set.  He is much better suited for a hunter role where he has 100% of the hunter competency.

Most Sales leaders believe that if a salesperson has had any success, or good references, or even a good score on OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, they should be chosen. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every role, in every company, calling into every vertical and decision maker, selling against every competitor and at every price point, with varying degrees of resistance, is different.

You wouldn't hire a hunter to manage existing accounts any more than you would hire an account manager to hunt. But that's what sales leaders and HR professionals do - every minute of every day - when they aren't using anything more than a resume and experience as a predictor of future performance.

It reminds me of the time when I was on a boat with Dennis Connelly, a senior sales strategist at my company. I can't remember whether the lights weren't functioning or there just weren't any running lights, but I do remember that darkness had replaced light. He needed to navigate back to the slip in the harbor, but there were hundreds of boats to steer clear of and all he had was a flashlight! At that point, you need an awful lot of luck to succeed.

For the most part, that's what sales leaders rely on each time they select a salesperson. "Let's hope that this one works out!" How many 3M's (mishires, mistakes and mishaps) does it take before a sales leader or an HR professional realizes that the way they hire salespeople just doesn't lead to consistent success?

But it doesn't need to be that way. Not when there is a highly predictive, customizable, sales selection tool that consistently gets it right. Not when it's sales-specific and has science on its side.  Not when it's so affordable that it's a no-brainer to use.

92% of the recommended candidates, who are hired with this tool, rise to the top half of the sales force within one year. 75% of the candidates who are not recommended by this tool, but who somehow get hired anyway, fail within 6 months. The tool is insanely accurate.  

It's all about sales selection. You can subscribe to OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments right here.

I stand behind it. 10,000 companies use it. It works! Isn't it time for you to finally get sales selection right?

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, Baseball, sales selection, objective management group, Boston Red Sox

Why You Must Hire Salespeople Right Now

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 04, 2015 @ 17:06 PM

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Forbes conducted a survey of Fortune 500 CEO's and 82% of them said they would be hiring more people within 2 years.  Why should that be important to you?  

To answer that question, let's talk about your KPI's, or Key Performance Indicators.  The reason KPI's are more important than all of your other metrics is because they are, or should be, forward-looking indicators, rather than lagging indicators.  In the consulting and training work that I have done over the past 30 years, I have always viewed the Fortune 500 and their respective strategies as another set of KPI's.  We all remember the economic crash that hit in November of 2008.  But two years earlier, I was training salespeople that sold to Fortune 500's when, all of a sudden, out of the blue, this unexpected feedback began coming to me.

Many salespeople began reporting that there were major delays getting purchase orders on business that had already closed, all the result of spending freezes. In September of 2006, more than 2 years before the collapse actually occurred, I wrote this article about Selling in the Upcoming Recession. The behavior of the Fortune 500, two years prior to the collapse, was a major leading indicator.

When I hear that 82% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are planning to hire more people, I sense confidence, expansion, revenue growth and the need for increased capacity at all levels. And if companies are planning to grow, then that sure as heck shouldn't be limited to the Fortune 500.  

If you want to grow along with the Fortune 500, you'll need to hire salespeople. I know. You don't need any, there aren't any good ones out there, the last 11 times you tried, they failed, and it's too risky. I've heard all of the excuses. So let's dissect them one by one.

You've struggled to hire good salespeople - That means you keep doing the same thing, stupid, and getting the same results.  You need a better sales recruiting process and a very predictive sales selection tool.

Your territories are full - Is that like when the bases are full? You need a heavy hitter to come to the plate and clear the bases. In other words, any time a great salesperson comes along, you should hire that individual and find a spot, especially when it allows you to jettison an underperformer.  How do you know it's a great salesperson? Don't forget that very predictive sales selection tool!

There aren't any good salespeople out there - I don't know if I would agree that there aren't ANY, but there are certainly a lot fewer good salespeople who are actively looking. So what can you do? With a good sales recruiting process, you'll learn to write a job posting that attracts those who are out there, and find the passive job seekers too.

It's not the right time - it's too risky -  It is never risky to hire a good salesperson. Even the worst of the good salespeople bring you something, certainly enough to to pay for themselves. But good salespeople are not expenses.  They are investments, profit centers, and your economic engine! How do you mitigate the risk? You should know the answer if you've been paying attention. Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessments! You can learn more and/or subscribe here.

Let's be like birds and take advantage of the lift they get when they fly behind the lead bird. Let the Fortune 500 lead the way so that we can get behind them and have an easier time of it.

Hire some good salespeople now and let the growth begin!

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, hiring salespeople, sales test, predictive sales test, fortune 500

How You Can Increase Sales During the Summer

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 03, 2015 @ 07:06 AM

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As I scrolled the list of concerts coming to Boston this year, two things struck me.  Most of the bands that are touring were popular when I was young (don't young pop artists tour too?) and the members of those bands are getting really old!  There's something depressing about seeing 70-year-olds on the stage recreating their hit songs from decades ago.  But it is concert season and salespeople tend to drag out their own old and inappropriate beliefs about selling in the summer.

For one, they work much less.  I understand the need for a summer vacation, but why is the summer any different from when they take their winter vacation?  They return from their winter vacation and work really hard, but for some reason, before and after the summer vacation, they hardly work.  That's lazy!

Two, they believe that their prospects aren't working during the summer and they either slack off on the prospecting, or give up way too early in their attempts to reach their prospects.  Why wouldn't their prospects be working?

Three, they believe that their prospects don't work on Fridays or Mondays.  Sure - if they are on vacations that week, but the rest of the time?  They're working!

The only businesses that shut down for summer are snow plowing companies and they don't really shut down - they simply return to their core business of landscaping and construction.  Salespeople can't shut it down either.  Bare down.  Work harder.  Get laser-focused.  Be more tenacious.  If you know that your competitors are letting up, it's your opportunity to differentiate, be there when they aren't, call when they can't, schedule more meetings and close more business.

I work harder in the summer.  With our son's baseball taking up so much time, I must get more done in fewer hours.  You can too.

I don't know whether I've gotten behind or my articles are having children, but here are some more of my new, fresh articles that have been posted on other sites:

This short interview with me about sales enablement has appeared on multiple sites this week.  One of my favorite clients, Tom See, Sr. VP of Sales at Universal Studios Hollywood, emailed me this morning to let me know that he was alerted to it from his Disruptive Leader feed.  I like being disruptive, but this interview hardly qualifies!

I was one of "70 Top Sales Pros Who Revealed Their Most Impactful Sales Advice."  This was a pretty cool piece!

The latest issue of Top Sales Magazine is available for download.  My article on page 18 was named Top Sales Article of the week.

The Selling Power Blog featured this article of mine on How to Stop Using Price as a Selling Crutch.

My best-selling book, Baseline Selling, was named a Best Summer Read for 2015.

The Sales Mastery Summit posted this video interview on Constructing a Predictive Sales Pipeline / Process and Sales Process

I'll be hosting my annual Sales Leadership Intensive - absolutely our top event of the year - on August 27-28 in the Boston area.  Check it out and join us for the finest training available on mastering the art of sales coaching.

Get busy - get more done - Succeed.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales, sales management seminar, rolling stones, summer selling

Connecting the Dots on Sales Management

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 28, 2015 @ 09:05 AM

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Do you remember the morning that you couldn't find your keys, but they were right there on the counter?  Or the time that you couldn't find an article of clothing, but it was hanging right there in your closet the entire time you were looking for it?  Or the time you couldn't find your car in the airport parking garage?  And yes, it was right where you parked it.  Sometimes, things are right in front of you and you don't notice them!  And that brings us to this sales management topic.  

Last week, I wrote about the sales force where half of the salespeople resigned and why that happened.  If you didn't read that, please read that now.

And earlier this week, I wrote about the similarity between the 2 main characters in the movie Whiplash and a salesperson with a difficult prospect.  If you didn't read that article, please read that now.

So it was right in front of me and I missed it completely.  Until now.

The tormentor in Whiplash could have been the sales manager in the first article!  He didn't have relationships, he wasn't trusted, and he wasn't respected.  He may have confused respected with feared - he knew his students feared him and he believed - incorrectly - that it was respect.  He didn't take the time to know what motivated his students, although he assumed, like most sales managers do, that he knew.  In this case, he assumed it was greatness or stardom.  He didn't have any need for his students to like him, he put tremendous pressure on them and was hated!  Fletcher and Jeff are the same person!

Objective Management Group's statistics show that 18% of all sales managers should not be in sales management, 34% of them cannot be trained to become effective sales managers, and only 7% are elite at their role.

You should know by now that half of a sales manager's time - 50% - should be spent coaching their salespeople.  Unfortunately, most sales managers don't allocate that kind of time for coaching and aren't very effective at it.

That's why we hold our annual Sales Leadership Intensive where, among other things, we spend the major parts of two days on how to master sales coaching.  Assuming that you and your sales managers are not among the elite 7%, this two-day event is the fast track to joining that elite group.  Learn more about our August Sales Leadership Intensive right here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, Sales Coaching, training, whiplash

About Dave

Dave Kurlan's Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award four years running and this year this article earned Gold. Read more about Dave.

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