How Obama, Dan Pink, The Heaths, Steinbrenner and Kurlan Might Prepare Your Sales Force for Change

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 @ 05:09 AM

obamaI was up against the time, as 6:30 AM had arrived prior to the end of my article.  That's how it was yesterday when I wrote about having a change ready sales force.  The only problem with yesterday's article was that I never really got to the part about being change ready!  So to start where we left off you'll need to read Part I first.

How do we prepare the sales force for the four possible outcomes while letting them know that options 2-4 are not acceptable?

There are several possible approaches and Alex Bartholomaus, who spoke with me yesterday, said he would like to see me talk about these two:

  1. Dan Pink's approach from Drive.  Using this approach we would understand people's need for autonomy, mastery, and purpose to help them decide the option that would best suit them.  We can tell them that by embracing and then mastering the new sales process they'll have a much greater opportunity to self-direct their calls. With more self-input comes more control, more consistency, better results, greater income and a greater sense as to why they do what they do.
  2. Chip and Dan Heath's approach from Switch. Using this approach, we must direct the rider (provide very clear and detailed directions and expectations like, "begin using this process on your first new call on Monday"), clear the path (make it easy to start like, "start by asking these 5 questions...") and motivate the elephant (display the logos of all of the companies who bought from our competitors in the past 12 months because you didn't approach the sales process the right way).

Of course, you don't have to take either of those two approaches. 

You could take the Obama approach and draft legislation making it punishable by law to present company or product features or benefits prior to reaching 2nd Base (using the Baseline Selling model).  Of course, to make this work you would have to start a new division of your company, hire a staff of administrators, and force everyone to complete paperwork proving their compliance after every call.  Naturally, they would have to pay a filing fee each time they submitted the paperwork, wait 21 days for approval, and receive an automated response telling them that their submission was not acceptable because they failed to complete the hidden field.

You could also take the George Steinbrenner approach and simply let everyone know that if they don't embrace the new sales process, strategies and tactics they'll be terminated.

Personally, I would use a combination of approaches - even the last two.

  1. Set clear expectations
  2. Let them know it's not optional - failure to comply will lead to termination
  3. Show them why we're going in this direction.  Present the data showing bad conversion ratios, margins and revenue and compare those numbers to what it should be.
  4. Run a contest with several awards:
    • first to close new business using the new process - salespeople present a report on the merits of the new sales process and how it helped close the business.
    • first to start a sales cycle using the new process - salespeople report on how their prospects reacted in comparison to how they used to react
    • salesperson who uncovers the best compelling reason to buy - compelling reasons are submitted at the end of each day and the entire sales force votes on the best.
    • salesperson who closes the largest sale in the first 90 days
    • salesperson who generates the most referral business from customers who were sold using the new sales process
I am up against the time again but we got further today than yesterday!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, Sales Force, change ready

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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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