Your Salespeople Call on the Wrong People and Expect Them to Buy

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 30, 2008 @ 10:10 AM

I speak quite often to groups comprised primarily of CEO's and Presidents.  Yesterday was a good example of that, with about 100 people in the audience.  There were 35 No-Shows, most of whom did not have the title of President or CEO. 

I speak about sales force issues that are meaningful to Presidents and CEO's.  At the end of these keynotes I learn who is interested in getting some help driving sales excellence in their company.  The historical data from about 14 years of these keynotes show that about 80% of the Presidents and CEO's say "yes" while about 80% of the sales managers and Sales VP's say "no".  Surprised? 

Let's translate this to your business. How many sales opportunities fail to convert because your salespeople failed to meet with the individual(s) in the company that:

  1. cared the most
  2. had the power to cause change;
  3. had the ability to spend money despite a spending freeze;
  4. had the ability to spend more in the face of "buy low" policies;
  5. was committed to solving the problem;
  6. didn't have to run your proposal UP the food chain.

Will you ever do business with some of the "wrong" people?  Yes. And that's the problem.  If it worked once, maybe it will work again so your salespeople continue to hope against hope when they should be doing whatever it takes to meet/speak with the right people, those who actually have the ability to do business with you.

I can count on one hand the number of sales managers or sales VP's that made the decision to do business with my company over the years.  In my world it always begins with a CEO or President and then, after we have evaluated their sales force, we work with the VP or sales manager.  I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the sales managers and VP's who felt it was THEIR job to provide the expertise for which CEO's and Presidents hire my company.  Their job is to manage the sales force.  They are not experts in sales force evaluation, sales candidate assessment and selection, sales training and coaching, development, leadership, and the development and deployment of sales systems and processes. If they were, that work wouldn't make up such a huge part of the work we do with them! 

Even after engagement with a CEO/President, most sales managers and VP's do their best to prevent us from helping although once they begin working with us they come to embrace our help.

Back to your world. Identify all of the ways in which the wrong people your salespeople call on can hinder, delay, stall, block, interfere or otherwise screw up your salespeople's ability to get the business.

Make your list here.

Got yourself a good list? Have five to ten items on it?  Good - Live by it!  It's very low percentage selling so don't allow your salespeople to sell to those people. 

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales, Baseline Selling, sales management, selling, Salesforce, closing, sales competenices, sales targeting, sales assessments

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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