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Top 10 Rules for Getting Salespeople to Follow Your Sales Process


Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

Our priest was sharing his frustration over parishioners who took shortcuts and left church early.  At a parish he was assigned to earlier in his career, parishioners received the host and exited via the side door without returning to their seats for the remainder of the service.  He wondered how many of them had simply developed a bad habit and challenged them by saying, "The next time you find yourself leaving early, ask yourself, 'why am I doing this?'"  A lady approached him after the service and felt terrible about all of this.  She said that she had been leaving early to tend to her sick husband.  The Priest said that this didn't apply to her, she was already making a sacrifice by attending, and she should care for her husband.  She paused and finally said, "but he passed away three years ago!"

This story got me wondering about the widespread misuse of the sales process.  There are certain steps that must be executed at specific times to assure a successful outcome.  However, undisciplined salespeople are often tempted to skip steps when prospects ask for prices, quotes, proposals, demos, references, and presentations much earlier than the process allows for.  Once in a while these salespeople get lucky and get the business.  And then they start skipping the steps they've been trained to follow because, after all, they are more comfortable and confident at presenting, proposing, quoting and demoing, than they are with listening, questioning, probing and identifying compelling reasons to buy.  Like the lady with the sick husband, they take steps that aren't necessary or desirable, simply out of habit.

Sales Management's number one priority is to assure that their salespeople don't fall into old habits, take shortcuts, get lazy, or avoid steps in the sales process where they aren't as skilled or comfortable. Once your customized, optimized, integrated sales process is in place and introduced, my top 10 rules for all things sales process, strategy and tactics are:

  1. this isn't voluntary
  2. no exceptions
  3. live it and breath it
  4. hold them accountable to it
  5. coach to it daily 
  6. reinforce it
  7. point out what happens when they skip steps
  8. show them what happens when they execute
  9. non compliance has consequences
  10. practice daily

© Copyright  Dave Kurlan All Rights Reserved

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 08, 2010 @ 08:57 AM


Great Post Dave. Guilty of this myself sometimes.

posted on Monday, March 08, 2010 at 10:16 AM by Michael Synk

Oh, if managers would only listen to what can get them more effective. Leave "it's all about me" at home and consistently upgrade there skills so that they can can be effective managers of an effective sales team, growing them and getting the company to the the next level.

posted on Monday, March 08, 2010 at 12:46 PM by Ed Kleinman

I love this list. Simple, but certainly not easy for more than half the sales leaders out there.

posted on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 8:36 AM by Dave Stein

Awesome post. I just left a company that had implemented a CRM system years ago that no one followed. The results were a gong show. 
I also worked with a large transportation company in Canada that had implemented CRM for their sales people and none of them followed it. By my calculations, they were giving up close to $40M in profit a year by not following the process.

posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 10:11 AM by Chris Hamilton

Good post, if getting sales people to implement the processes we teach was easy we'd all be out of work! 
In regards to #10, practise daily, I've found it very effective to create a list of "demonstratable Skills" that sales people need to be able to demonstrate competency in. Without simple, bite sized chunks to learn and practice adoption seems to take longer.  
This list of skills needs to be very "tactical" and linked to specific selling situations that occur in their respective business. 

posted on Monday, March 22, 2010 at 9:29 AM by John Hirth

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