The New Salesenomics

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 23, 2019 @ 21:05 PM

 SALESENOMICS

Back in the 1960's it made sense for gasoline prices to be discounted down to the nearest 9/10 of a cent because gas prices ranged between 17.9 to 18.9 cents.  But when gas prices are around $3.00 per gallon, how does 9/10 cent continue to make sense?  Some habits die really hard.

I don't know about you but some things just don't make sense to me.  I loved the Leavitt/Dubner series of books on Freakonomics and thought I could share some interesting sales and sales management data that make little sense.

Nearly 50% of salespeople are willing to work on straight commission but only 7% of companies offer such a compensation plan.

Two of the sales metrics tracked most often are margin at 65% and profitability at 51%.  Yet only 6% of companies track cost of a sales call.  Why do companies who care about margin and profitability not care about the cost of a sales call?

Only 34% of companies track win rates, 32% track account retention, and 9% track the percentage of meetings that close; yet 57% track the percentage of salespeople under/over goal and 47% track their top opportunities.  Why would they track their top opportunities but not care about meetings that close or win rates?

49% of companies track the number of opportunities in their pipeline yet only 27% track the quality of those opportunities.  That leads to the low win rates that companies are not really tracking!  Could it be by design?

Salespeople reporting to a manager with strong Coaching skills have 26% more closable opportunities in their sales pipelines while salespeople reporting to a manager with strong Accountability skills have 18% more closable opportunities in their pipelines.  On the other side of the fence, salespeople with sales managers who have weak coaching and/or accountability skills saw 77% of their late stage opportunities moved to one of the first two stages of the pipeline!

Sales managers with strong coaching skills are 230% more likely to have elite salespeople working for them!  If that doesn't make a case for developing coaching skills, I don't know what does.

Although they should be spending half their time on coaching, Sales Managers spend around half their time split between coaching, accountability and motivation.  How do they spend the other half of their time?  Does it really matter?  Whether it's spent on personal sales, closing reps' deals, putting out fires, or administrative crap, all of it distracts from being able to coach.

New salespeople with no sales experience – born to sell – have a sales percentile score of 32 with an average Sales DNA score of 61 and an average Will to Sell score of 60.  They fall into the very weak category!  Compare that to salespeople with 5-10 years of experience – trained to sell – who have a sales percentile score of 58 (182% higher) with an average Sales DNA score of 67 (110% higher) and an average Will to Sell score of 66 (110% higher).  Trained to sell beats born to sell.

All of the salesenomics statistics referenced above are from Objective Management Group's (OMG) data warehouse.  OMG has evaluated or assessed 1,862,897 salespeople from companies in countries.

Would you like to see how salespeople score in each of the 21 sales core competencies?  Click here.

Would you like to check out the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment? Click here.

Would you like to discover some more salesenomics?  Check out these articles:

Great News! The Latest Data Shows That Salespeople are Improving 

Data Shows That Only 14% are Qualified for the Easiest Selling Roles

The Wrong Salespeople are Hired 77% of the Time

Golden Nuggets from the CSO Insights 2018 Sales Talent Study

New Data Shows that You Can Double Revenue by Overcoming This One Sales Weakness

Salespeople With This Weakness Score 47% Worse at Reaching Decision Makers

Which 4 Sales Competencies Best Differentiate Top from Bottom Salespeople?

Where Can You Find the Best Salespeople?

The Top 12 Factors that Cause Delayed Closings and What to Do About Them

Data Shows 1st Year Sales Improvement of 51% in this Competency

 

Finally!  Science Reveals the Actual Impact of Sales Coaching

Do the Best Sales Managers Have the Best Salespeople?

New Data Shows That Elite Salespeople are 700% Less Likely to Do This

Elite Salespeople are 26 Times More Effective at This Competency Than Weak Salespeople

Does Being a Strong Qualifier Correlate to Having a Strong Pipeline?

Elite Salespeople are 200% Better in These 3 Sales Competencies

Latest Data - Strong Salespeople Score 375% Better Than Weak Salespeople

Sales Pipeline Data Shows That Most Late Stage Opportunities Just Aren't

Latest Data Shows Most Salespeople Would be Fired or Arrested if they Worked in Accounting

New Data - Are Experienced Sales Managers Better Sales Managers?

The Latest Data Shows That Sales Managers Are Even Worse Than I Thought

Sales Playbook and CRM Problems - What the Data Tells Us

New Data Shows How Relationships and the Need to be Liked Impact Sales Performance

New Data Shows Sales Weaknesses Cause Powerful Chain Reactions in Salespeople

Discovered - Data Reveals the Second Biggest Obstacle to Closing More Sales

Discovered - Data Reveals the Biggest Obstacle to Closing More Sales

Topics: sales training, Sales Coaching, born to sell, sales metrics, sales data

The 14 Lies Preventing Salespeople From Getting Their Prospects into a Buying State of Mind

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, May 17, 2019 @ 13:05 PM

lies

Most lies are truths to the people who state them.  Take climate change for example.  Climate change is clearly a real thing. The planet has been warming exponentially since the ice age!  But to think that humans are responsible, that humans can stop it, or else we'll be dead in 12 years, seems ludicrous to me.  My statement is a lie to every reader that doesn't agree with it, but rings true to those who agree.   Lies are in the minds of the beholders.

Let's cover some of the lies being told to companies with sales organizations and how those lies prevent sales organizations from being their best.  Over the past 10-20 years, we have seen and heard the following proclamations (and you can find most of them with this Google search link:

Selling is dead.  Circa 2001. This is obviously false!  Currently in the US, there are around 4.5 million B2B salespeople and nearly 16 million salespeople overall and those numbers are growing.

Cold Calling is dead.  This lie was so freaking good that people actually believed it!  Why?  If they could justify not making cold calls anymore, then their lack of prospecting might not look so bad because, Didn't you hear?  Cold calling is dead, right?" Referrals and introductions are at the top of the food chain but a cold call is much more likely to convert to a meeting than a cold email or an inbound lead regardless of how many follow-ups are attempted.  More importantly, you'll experience far less competition for your prospect's attention by using the phone than if you use web-based cold approaches.

Inbound is King (so selling is dead).  False. How many years running did we hear this lie?  Hubspot, the Lion King of inbound, has a large sales force placing outbound calls to generate sales.  How's that for alive and well?

SPIN Selling is dead. False.  I first read this in 2008.  While it it is true that only the top 5% of all salespeople can execute SPIN, it's still being taught and it's still being (kind of) implemented and executed.  It's one of the oldest forms of consultative selling which, by all accounts, is supposed to be dead!

Solution Selling is dead. False.  I first read that Solution Selling was dead in 2007.  Most of the tech companies I have worked with, including now, in 2019, had been using some form of Solution Selling prior to my arrival so it's clearly not dead.  I believe that there is a fatal flaw within Solution Selling that makes the methodology far less effective and efficient than it could be (learn more here) and than others are, but it's far from dead.

Consultative Selling is dead.  False.  According to Objective Management Group (OMG) which has evaluated and assessed 1,861,244 salespeople from  companies in countries, 59% have not even begun to sell this way yet!  How can something that is still trending up be dead?

Sales Process is dead.  False.  See Consultative Selling is dead.  According to the same statistics, 52% of salespeople are not following a staged, milestone-based, customer-centric sales process.  This is a huge improvement from just 10 years ago when the percentage was only 9!  This too is trending up, not down, so not only is it not dead, but CRM without an integrated sales process is just a data warehouse.

Traditional Selling is dead.  False.  This one depends on how you define traditional selling.  If we define traditional as features and benefits selling (FAB), then it should be dead and buried and forgotten.  Unfortunately, it's far from dead because more than half of all salespeople - the weak half - are still selling this way.

The old way of selling is dead.  See Traditional Selling.

Relationship-building in sales is dead.  False.  In 2011, Harvard Business Review, the biggest publisher of junk sales science, declared Relationship Selling dead.  That alone should be reason enough to call it a fake news.  As a sales methodology, Relationship Selling prioritizes taking making friends and building a relationship over time because people buy from people they like. In the 60's and 70's, a good relationship was more than enough for people to justify buying from you. Today, not so much.  While people DO like to buy from people they like, the relationship is no longer the only criteria.  If you can help your prospect as well as anyone else, the relationship could be a difference maker but if you can't meet the other important criteria, your relationship won't help you.

Always-be-closing is dead.  This. Should. Be. Dead.  It fits right up there with traditional selling and FAB selling.  Of the salespeople that are selling this way, most are misinformed  and the rest are sales bullies.  It should be dead because it leaves people with a bad taste in their mouths and gives salespeople a bad reputation.

Social Selling is dead.  Already?  Talk about fads!  We've only been selling socially for several years so how can Social Selling die as quickly as Pokemon Go?  The reality is that Social Selling never existed in the first place.  Personal promotion?  Sure.  But selling?  Nobody sells anything over social networks.  Everything is marketing, advertising, blogging, tweeting, videos messages, connecting, and building networks and followers.  Sounds like PR and marketing to me.

Outbound is dead.  False.  See this article.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace salespeople.  False.  I'm sure you're getting the same cold emails as I do.  They all promise to grow your business, generate leads, make appointments, and if you don't respond to their first attempt, then several more emails will follow.  Each email is powered by AI.  Each email is worse than the one that preceded it and are so awful that I'm sure that the recipients hit the delete button faster than you can say thank you.  Further, AI will never be able to replicate a human having a deep, thoughtful conversation that helps a prospect become emotional.  Prospects buy emotionally.

For example, check out the following consultative questions I taught a sales team to use yesterday.  I used generic versions of the questions and hid the responses but you should be able to easily understand the flow.  Identify a business issue that you frequently uncover and use that as you convert the questions and answers to your business.

Salesperson:  So why do you need this?

Prospect: Response.

Salesperson:  How were you handling that problem up until now?

Prospect: Response.

Salesperson: How long has that been going on?

Prospect: Response.

Salesperson:  If you've been doing it like that for all this time, why change now?

Prospect: Response.

Salesperson: Tell me about the last time that happened.

Prospect: Response.

Salesperson:  How much it that cost when that happens?

Prospect: Response.

Salesperson:  So over this period of time, what has the total cost been?

Prospect: Response.

Salesperson:  How does you that affect you?

Prospect: Response

Salesperson: How do you feel about that?

In each case, the salesperson can't ask the follow up question unless they get the appropriate response they are hoping for.  And as the questions become more emotional and more difficult, the tonality, pace and facial expressions must change along with it?  Can you imagine this type of exchange taking place over email driven by AI?  No. Freakin. Way.

All of the lies we are told create excuses for salespeople to not learn, embrace, practice and apply the most important aspects of successful selling.  The lies mask the best practices of great salespeople and great sales organizations because they suggest that there's an easier way to sell where you can hide behind your keyboard and monitor.  Well, I've got news for you.  There are no shortcuts, no easy paths, no magic pills, nothing but doing the hard work.  If it isn't challenging, and you aren't challenging yourself to improve, then AI will replace you.

Join the discussion and leave your comment at the LinkedIn post.

Image copyright iStock Photos

 

Topics: Consultative Selling, solution selling, Relationship Selling, inbound, SPIN Selling, outbound, AI

10 Reasons Why Salespeople Hallucinate

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 15, 2019 @ 14:05 PM

hallucinate

I was in the basement of our home looking for something when I saw it.  It moved left to right, low, between the stored Christmas trees.  I took another look and this time it moved right to left.  Each time I moved, it moved.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized it wasn't a critter but a shadow that I was casting.

I saw something that simply wasn't there.  A figment of my imagination.  You could even call it a hallucination.

Salespeople frequently have hallucinations where they think there is something there, like a great opportunity, and in reality, there isn't anything there.  Not even close.  And then there are the salespeople who don't see an opportunity when there is actually a great one hiding in plain site.

Let's talk about the many reasons that these scenarios occur.

Let's start with my top 10 reasons why salespeople hallucinate an opportunity where there is none:

  1. The prospect seemed to like them and was open
  2. The salesperson did so much talking that they failed to identify whether or not there was a compelling reason to buy
  3. The prospect didn't voice an objection so the salesperson assumed that they were a go
  4. The salesperson failed to differentiate but assumed they were effective
  5. The salesperson failed to thoroughly qualify and assumed that it was all systems go
  6. The sales manager did not inspect the opportunity or coach to the opportunity after it was updated in CRM
  7. The prospect was not comfortable sharing and the salesperson was not comfortable challenging that
  8. The prospect asked for a quote or proposal and the salesperson took that as a buying signal and went into facilitation mode
  9. The salesperson began with a demo and the prospect, who was not the decision maker, thought it was nice to have but not a must have
  10. The salesperson assessed all of the competition, the size of the company, how hard it would be to get the business and decided for the customer that it wasn't worth pursuing.

 If you or your salespeople are guilty of one or more of these selling sins, it's time to take professional selling more seriously.  Salespeople are hired and well paid to have sometimes difficult discovery conversations with sometimes difficult prospects.  Those who retreat to the office to quote are behaving like minimum wage facilitators.  Facilitating is easy while selling is challenging so do your job, push through the uncomfortable stuff and differentiate!

Coach your salespeople through all 10 of these difficult selling scenarios by attending our one-of-a-kind, two-day, Sales Leadership Intensive on June 4-5.  Two days of great training and discussion all oriented towards making you a master of sales coaching.  Visit http://kurlanassociates.com/sales-leadership-event.  As of May 15, 2019, we have 8 seats remaining and they won't last long! 

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, sales effectivnes, dka

Dave Kurlan's 23 Steps to Improved Channel Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 08, 2019 @ 14:05 PM

dave-video

When you purchase a car, do you consider yourself a customer of the dealer you bought or leased it from, the auto maker, or both?  

When you purchase a Sony flat screen TV from Best Buy, do you consider yourself a Best Buy customer, a Sony customer, or both?

When you purchase a Nespresso machine from Amazon, do you consider yourself an Amazon customer, a Nespresso customer, both, or neither?

Those questions are important to consider when we discuss channels and who is your customer.

I recorded a three-minute video because it is easier to explain this in a video than by typing a long article.

 

If you sell to and through a channel, and assuming you have the mindshare of the reps, here are my 23 conditions you should require prior to a ride-along in the territory:

Pre/Post trip assignment for reps who work with Distributor partners:

  1. Touch base with territory sales person or manager to schedule two days of field calls.
  2. Identify which accounts they will be seeing and type of work those accounts focus on.
  3. Ask the question when is the last time this account has seen or heard about our products?
  4. How many units/projects/purchases a year does this firm make?
  5. What type of products do they use? If applicable, have they specified our products in the past?
  6. Does this company use other products that you carry or just our products?
  7. Determine what the purpose of each presentation/sales call is. Example-lunch and learn, update, class, small group, large group or specific project/opportunity to discuss.
  8. Will the decision makers be joining us?
  9. Send a complete itinerary before my trip to ensure you are using my time wisely?
  10. Are we doing any social events after work that could lead to business?
  11. What is your (distributor sales person) relationship with these accounts?
  12. How much annual business do you do with these accounts we are seeing?
  13. Who are your top 10 customers by volume? Should we be meeting with them?
  14. Who and how should we follow up on opportunities generated from the trip?
  15. Send overview of the two day trip to appropriate sales manager.
  16. How many new accounts are we calling on that you have never met? What is the potential there?
  17. What sales tools do you currently have, and what do you need me to bring?
  18. What are the biggest objections or opportunities with this account we are seeing?
  19. Do you plan on showing any of your other products or will this be focused only on my products?
  20. What did we learn from this call? Did you hear the same things I did, what could we do better or differently? 
  21. Setting expectations, I’ll take the lead on a few calls and then I’ll watch you present. This way I can give feedback and help where needed.
  22. Helping the distributor partner understand our product can help differentiate them from competition.
  23. Explain that our Channel Partner reps rank their accounts A, B, or C. Ask rep if the accounts we will visit are A’s, B’s or C’s. Some accounts that are B’s and C’s for other products could be A's for our products.

The changes and improvements that will occur from requiring these conditions are dramatic but will take some time to bare fruit.  Think about every rep at every channel partner and how long it might take for them to accept, embrace, buy-in, and execute on some of these requirements.  Raise your expectations but give it some time!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, channel sales

What to Do with the Salespeople Who Become Your Biggest Problem

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, May 03, 2019 @ 14:05 PM

problem-child

I coach a lot of sales managers and sales leaders and when I ask them what they want help with today, it's rarely a big opportunity, it's seldom coaching best practices, it's hardly ever targeted metrics for their team, and it's almost unheard of for them to request that I help them improve as sales managers,  Oh no.  They almost always want  help with their biggest problem child.  Every sales team has a maverick - the person that can't be managed, but leads the company in sales.  Over the past 33 years, I've met a lot of mavericks and the best advice I can give a sales manager is to ignore and thank your mavericks but don't let them near the rest of your salespeople!  This article is not about managing your mavericks!

This article is about the ineffective salesperson who is lazy, or has an attitude problem, or is stubborn, or isn't making the calls, or can't close any deals, or has an empty pipeline, or won't adapt to the new way of selling, or can't seem to grasp the importance of getting traction, or claims not to know what's expected in the way of performance.  While you can objectively read the description in the prior sentence and say, "Easy. Terminate and move on," when the sales manager is emotionally involved, they aren't objective, think they can fix this person, and believe that giving up will reflect poorly upon them.

We can spend many hours over many weeks and months working on ways to motivate, change, improve, coach up or fix these salespeople.  The problem is that most of these problem children can't be fixed.  It's not that poor performers in general can't be coached up; it's that poor performers who are problem employees usually can't be fixed.

50% of all salespeople are weak and these salespeople definitely fall into the weak category.  But there's something else that makes them problematic.

I usually take the following steps to make my case to their managers and senior executives:

  • We review the OMG sales evaluation for the problem salesperson - the root cause of most issues can be found right in the summary and usually have little to do with the 10 selling competencies and more to do with the 5 competencies in Will to Sell (grit) and/or the 6 competencies in Sales DNA (strengths or weaknesses that support or sabotage the 10 selling competencies).
  • We develop a plan for the sales manager's next coaching conversation with the problem salesperson.  This is usually one where we attempt to change the offending behavior or move toward replacement
  • We present the plan to the sales manager's VP Sales and/or CEO for buy-in.
  • In most cases, the problem salesperson is managed out, not coached up.

Even though we can manage the problem salesperson out in a fairly short period of time, most sales managers misdirect their energy on their problem salespeople instead of using that same, limited energy to support and coach up their cooperative and more effective salespeople.  MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR TIME!  DON'T WASTE IT ON PEOPLE YOU WILL END UP TERMINATING AND DON'T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF BELIEVING THAT YOU CAN FIX PEOPLE!

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, sales evaluation, sales attitude, OMG evaluation, problem attitude, sales maverick

Using the Power of a Duracell to Help You Hire Perfect Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 25, 2019 @ 12:04 PM

duracell-9-volt

Apparently, Duracell 9 volt batteries are the picture of consistency. 

Last night, all 7 of our upstairs smoke detecters starting squawking within about 30 minutes of each other to indicate that their batteries needed to be replaced.  Given that the Duracells were installed in those units on the same day 4 years ago, one would hope that there are more things that we could rely upon to be as consistent and predictable.

One of those things is Objective Management Group's sales candidate assessments.

What could bring more peace of mind to the sales hiring process than knowing that it's already been used on 1,853,846 salespeople, from 1,853,847 companies, in industries, and in countries to hire salespeople.  Of the sales candidates who were not recommended by the assessment, but were hired despite the warning, 75% of them failed within the first six months.  That's predictive!

Statistics are great, but what you really want to know is, how hard is it to use, how complicated will it make my sales hiring process, what if a candidate I like isn't recommended, what if a candidate I don't like is recommended, and how do you make it fit my world?

The only people that don't love OMG's sales candidate assessments are recruiters - because the assessment makes recruiters work a lot harder to deliver quality sales candidates.  And today, with so few sales candidates proactively looking for work, it's even more important that you get it right.  After all, you're working from a position of weakness.

Sales leaders, HR directors, CEO's and COO's love the OMG assessments because they are sales specific in that they measure the 21 Sales Core Competencies instead of personality traits and behavioral styles.  Traits and styles are nice to know, fun to have, warm and fuzzy, but they are not predictive of success in sales, and especially not any specific sales role.

Because the assessment measures 21 Sales Core Competencies, there is nothing to interpret making it very easy to use.  And since you'll assess all of your candidates, not just the ones you like, you can focus your time on the candidates who are most likely to succeed in the sales role for which you are hiring.  When it comes to those sales roles, there are 30 variables you can customize to help the assessment identify the right salespeople for the role, and another optional layer of customization allows you to fine-tune another 15-20 requirements.

In companies today, those who hire salespeople using their gut, other assessments, or desperation, tend to get it right about half the time and the cost of getting it wrong has skyrocketed.  Companies that use OMG's sales candidate assessments have found that of the candidates who are recommended for the role and eventually hired, 92% move to the top half of the sales force within 12 months.

If you aren't already using OMG, what's holding you back?  It's not expensive, it's not difficult, it's not scary, and it's not risky. You'll easily be able to hire better salespeople!

You can checkout a sample sales candidate assessment here

You can request a free trial here

You can checkout pricing plans here.

And if you like stats and data, checkout some of the datasets in the 21 Sales Core Competencies here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales talent, sales assessements, sales hiring tools

2 Selling Shortcuts That Will Always Work

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 22, 2019 @ 16:04 PM

shortcut

Do shortcuts work in sales?

I can tell you that shortcuts work when you're driving a car and need either a more direct route to your destination or a route that avoids traffic.  Waze helps a lot with that!

Shortcuts work in math when you know what the formula is and how to use it.

But shortcuts in sales?  Not usually.  Watch this 1:30 video on sales shortcuts and then I'll share two scenarios where shortcuts can actually be used.

 

 

So most shortcuts in sales will only serve to lengthen your sales process because the more milestones you skip, the less you know, the less urgency there is, and the harder it will be for you to overcome the void.

However, there are two shortcuts that do shorten the sales cycle, but there are crucial prerequisites to using them. If you attempt to use them without having met the prerequisites, the shortcuts are doomed to fail.

Before I share the shortcuts, you'll need context so please watch the first 4:30 of this video on sales process.

 

Now that you have reviewed the sales process with the milestones, I will share shortcut #1.  One of the milestones between 2nd and 3rd base is the timeline.  Most salespeople handle that milestone by asking something along the lines of, "When will you be making a decision?"  Bad.  Salesy.  Ineffective.  And the answer given is usually sometime in the future, which serves to lengthen the sales cycle.  Instead, if you simply ask, "When would you like to have this problem solved?" you will get an answer more in line with "today," or "yesterday," or "ASAP."  That not only serves to shorten your sales cycle, it also allows you to take another shortcut by asking, "And when there is urgency to get a problem solved, what kind of shortcuts can you take on your end to move this along?"

4 out of 5 of the bottom 50% of all salespeople have difficulty reaching actual decision makers.  They often begin the sales process with the wrong person and then ask to meet the actual decision maker.  Naturally, prospects resist and salespeople usually give in, continuing to pitch to the wrong person.  That brings us to shortcut #2.  One of the milestones between 1st and 2nd base is uncovering the compelling reason to buy. When the decision maker is not engaged, and especially if there is no compelling reason or urgency, intermediaries tend to be hesitant to get the decision maker involved.  However, if the compelling reason to buy has been uncovered, there is urgency to solve it, and the salesperson asks, "Who else cares about this?" they'll immediately hear the names and titles of the people who care - the people who are making the decisions - at which time the salesperson can ask if they might like to offer their opinions on the problem.

Shortcuts work, but only if you use the proper shortcuts and use them at the right time.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, reaching decision makers, shorten sales cycle, shortcuts

The Voicemail Message with Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 @ 18:04 PM

kitchen-sink

This week I received a voicemail message from a salesperson that literally included everything but the kitchen sink.  I don't recall listening to a voicemail that sounded like this before.  I don't think voicemails like this are effective.  I don't like voicemails like this.  

The most interesting thing about this voicemail is that even though I don't recommend it, if you leave it for enough of the right people, it will probably get one of out twenty-five prospects to raise their hand in much the same way that a marketing email might get someone to raise their hand and ask for help 1/10th of 1 percent of the time.

My description of the voicemail doesn't do it justice.  Listen to it here

I'm surprised he didn't offer catering, dog-walking, house-sitting, fish-feeding, or massage.  Seriously, the reason that some prospects will raise their hands and call back are that he rattles off so many services, that one of those services is bound to be something that someone, somewhere, will need, especially if the message gets delivered to enough people.

This is a good example of what hard work looks like.  The message wasn't targeted or effective, but if you make enough calls, and cast a wide enough net...

I wrote an article with my 10 rules for sending a good email and similar to the rules of that article, a good voicemail message is very targeted, provides less, not more information, and in a perfect world, provides little more than a name and phone number.  But even the name and phone number voicemail that I teach is usually delivered incorrectly by salespeople who forget or ignore that the approach requires context.

Just remember that even a clock with a dead battery is correct twice per day.  There is more than one way to get the job done and if you belong to the outwork everyone club, this approach could work for you.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, cold call, best cold calls, voicemail, best sales email

Six Overlooked Factors When Hiring Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 11, 2019 @ 14:04 PM

turnover

This week I've been sick with my annual bout of asthmatic bronchitis - fun stuff - and the question I've been asking myself is, "how long will it last this year?"  Historically, it's takes 2-4 weeks for this to subside and it sucks big time during that 2-4 weeks.  But thinking about time frames got me thinking about one of the universal timelines and challenges facing companies everywhere.

How long should it take for a new salesperson to become successful and why do so many of them fail?

There are six factors in total but let's begin with those on the client-side:

  1. The length of your sales cycle
  2. The length of your learning curve
  3. A Transition period

If you have a six-month sales cycle, a three-month learning curve and it takes 3 months to transition from their old world to your business, that translates to 12 months of pipeline building before you can reasonably expect your new salesperson to start closing business.

On the salesperson side, there are also three factors:

  1. Length of their runway (cash or safety net to survive a transition that doesn't guarantee as much money)
  2. Degree of urgency (how much urgency they feel to get off to a great start)
  3. The theory of relativity  (the more difficult your business is compared with their old business, the shorter the runway becomes)

If your new salesperson has a six-month runway, medium urgency, and selling in your world is more difficult than the world from which they came, there is a negative six-month gap and it's pretty clear that the salesperson will fail.

These factors are but a handful of the factors that go into successful sales selection strategies.  If you select the right salespeople up front, you'll experience much less turnover, fewer delays to growing your revenue, and build stronger sales teams.

Objective Management Group offers the most predictive, accurate and customizable sales-specific candidate assessment on planet earth. You can check it out here.

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Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, hiring salespeople, sales talent, sales selection

The 21-Day Solution for the Toughest Sales Weaknesses

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 16:04 PM

Salesmind

About a year ago, I wrote a very popular article called, Persistence Over Polish, where I discussed the competencies that the top 10% of all salespeople were better at than everyone else.  The article identified 5 of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that were the biggest difference makers, showed the gap in capabilities, and explained the impact of having these competencies as weaknesses.  You should really take 2-minutes and read it.  Then, about a week ago, I wrote another popular article called, How the Rubber Band Sabotages Sales Performance.  That article discussed six competencies specific to Sales DNA and the impact those six have on performance when they appear as weaknesses.  At the end of last week's article, I promised to introduce a solution to you within a week and true to my promise, the solution follows.

Let's begin with two examples of the problem:

Only 2% of elite salespeople (top 5%) have any weaknesses at all in their Sales DNA, while 98% of weak salespeople (the bottom 50%) have weak Sales DNA overall.

Salespeople who need to be liked are 148% less effective, they are 147% less likely to reach the decision maker, and their probability of closing is 151% smaller.  That's why elite salespeople are 329% more effective at creating urgency than weak salespeople.  Urgency causes action, while a lack of urgency results in an opportunity that gets stuck in the pipeline.

Salespeople who are uncomfortable talking about money are 168% less effective, 129% less likely to reach the decision maker, and their probability of closing is 150% less.  

And if salespeople have both of those weaknesses?  It's over before they make the call!

All 10 of the tactical selling competencies require salespeople who do not need to be liked.  It's most important for effective hunting, consultative selling and  selling value.  Both selling value and Qualifying require that salespeople be able to have in-depth conversations about finances.

Years ago, Objective Management Group (OMG) had a product called Salesmind.  It used self-hypnosis to reprogram a salesperson's limiting beliefs.  Beliefs influence behaviors and behaviors impact results.  Salesmind was extremely effective, helping salespeople overcome 10 different sales weaknesses, each after just 21 days of use.  Compared to coaching and the discomfort associated with change, Salesmind was easy and fast!  But Salesmind was a CD and computers stopped shipping with CD drives so the product faded away.  Until now!

We have migrated all of the terrific Salesmind programming to an online platform called the Sales DNA Modifier, where it can be used more easily than ever before.  We retained the very best content from Salesmind, and added sales affirmations as downloadable audio files for when you are driving in the car.  

The 10 best things about the Sales DNA Modifier with Salesmind are:

  1. It works!
  2. It's easy
  3. It's fast
  4. It requires only 5 minutes of your time, twice per day
  5. You don't need to think about it
  6. It's more powerful than getting coached or going for therapy
  7. It's available 24x7
  8. You can access it from any device
  9. It will make you a much more effective salesperson
  10. You will feel much better about yourself

The Sales DNA Modifier is available as an online subscription for just $119/year and comes with a money-back guarantee.  Check it out here.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, sales weaknesses, Sales DNA, need to be liked

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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