Salespeople Make This Mistake - The Dumb Question I Was Asked in a Hotel Restaurant

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Feb 14, 2019 @ 21:02 PM

doubletree

I pulled up to the entrance of the Doubletree Hotel, greeted Chris, and we walked into the hotel restaurant.  As we approached the table, a well-meaning server asked, are you an Honors member?  I said, "yes."  

A moment later she returned and said she couldn't find me in the system.  She asked me to spell my name, went back to her computer, and returned again, saying, "I can't find your reservation in the system."

I explained that I wasn't a hotel guest and we were here for breakfast.  "Oh, then you'll have to pay for your breakfast!"  

"OK," I said.  After all, I was expecting to pay for breakfast!

Can you imagine how much simpler it would have been if her first question was, "Are you staying with us?"

Salespeople make the exact same mistake.  How do I know?  I can prove this with several examples.

Personal - In any given year, I might engage in role-play with as many as 500 salespeople and before they know any better, and sometimes after, they nearly always begin with the wrong question.  And it's not limited to only the wrong opening question, there are tremendous odds that they'll ask the wrong follow-up questions too.

Evaluation Data - Objective Management Group (OMG) has evaluated and assessed 1,833,484 salespeople from companies.  If we zoom in on the data related to asking questions, we find the following differences between elite salespeople and weak salespeople.

Elite salespeople are twice as effective as weak salespeople at asking good questions. 
Elite salespeople are three times more effective than weak salespeople at asking tough questions.
Elite salespeople are twice as effective as weak salespeople at asking enough questions.

These three questioning skills are attributes of the Consultative Selling competency, one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that OMG measures.  See them here and see how you stack up.

Another Sales Core Competency, when it appears as a weakness, prevents salespeople, even those with good questioning skills, from asking the questions.  Salespeople who Need to be Liked are unable to ask a lot of questions, ask tough questions, or have the difficult conversation that nobody else has had with their prospect. 

Elite salespeople are four times more effective in this competency than weak salespeople!

Pay attention to your questions.  If they don't move the conversation closer to uncovering a prospect's compelling reason to buy, don't ask the question.  At the same time, don't skip over important questions and milestones - it rarely works. 

Remember that milestones are the foundation of a staged, consultative sales process and it's difficult to be effective if you attempt to sell without one.

Contribute to the discussion of this article here on Linkedin.

Finally, I leave you with two offers.

Steven Rosen interviewed me for his Fireside Chat series and sales leaders will find our discussion extremely beneficial.  Register here to watch this episode when it's released on February 19 at Noon Eastern Time.

My awesome 2-Day Sales Leadership Intensive is filling up fast.  As of February 15 there are just 7 seats remaining for the March 19-20 event. First come, first served.

Learn more here.

Here's a two-minute video of me explaining why the event is rated so highly.

 

Here's a testimonial from a recent participant.  

 

Here's a quick video with a bunch of participants.

 

I would love to see you there!

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, asking questions, best sales assessment

The Latest and Greatest in Sales Force Effectiveness

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 @ 21:04 PM

Spoiler Warning:  This article is about my company and its new product.  Stick around though and I think you'll realize that it's just as much about your company as it is mine.

One of the proudest moments of my professional career occurred Sunday, April 21, 2013, when my team at Objective Management Group (OMG) introduced our brand new Sales Force Evaluation product to 120 OMG Partners from around the world.  That we were in Boston, just one day after the second bombing suspect was captured, made it even more incredible!

OMG's New Sales Force Evaluation Tool Introduced on April 21, 2013

Partners getting their first look and using their phones to vote their approval.

OMG's New Sales Force Evaluation Tool Introduced April 21, 2013

We have introduced our share of evaluation and assessment tools during the past 23 years, but this introduction was completely different.  My team worked tirelessly for nearly an entire year on our latest gem and our Partners received it, with even more enthusiasm than we felt, when we completed the project just 48 hours earlier.

Why all the excitement?

Forget for just a minute how incredibly impressive the product looks.  It's the information that sets it apart from, well, even our previous sales force evaluation product, which was already the best on the planet.  Of the many differences between our new and old products, the one I like the most is this one:  While our old product was findings-centric; the new product is answer-centric.  Why should you care about any of this?

Our Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis answers 4 critical questions about your company:

  • Can our sales force be more effective?
  • How much more effective can we be?
  • What will it take to accomplish that?
  • How long will it take to accomplish that?

If you don't care about the answers to those 4 questions, then you must have already cashed out or retired.

In order to answer those 4 questions, we answer these additional 19 questions along the way: 

  • How Does Sales Leadership Impact Our Sales Force?
  • What Are Our Current Sales Capabilities?  (here is an image of the summary page of this chapter)
OMG Sales Force Evaluation
  • How Motivated Are Our Salespeople and How Are They Motivated?
  • Can We Generate More New Business?
  • Can We Be Better at Reaching Actual Decision Makers?
  • Can We Shorten Our Sales Cycle? 
  • Can We Sell More Consultatively? 
  • Are We Selling on Price and Who Can Become a Value Seller? 
  • Is Our Value Proposition Consistent? 
  • Can We Close More Sales? 
  • Do Our Systems and Processes Support a High Performance Sales Organization?
  • Can We Be More Consistent with Our Sales Process? 
  • How Well Are Our Sales Leadership Strategies Aligned? 
  • Do We Need to Change Our Selection Criteria?
  • Can We Improve Ramp-Up?
  • Can We Improve Our Pipeline and Forecasting Accuracy?
  • Can We Improve Our Sales Culture?
  • Who Can Become More Effective in Their Roles?
  • What Are the Short-term Priorities for Accelerated Growth?
Each thoughtful explanation is supported by plentiful data points.  It's all about the science and if our science can explain the sales performance taking place at your company and how you can improve it, you would have to be an overconfident know-it-all not to be excited about this turn of events.
 
Speaking of science, if you weren't already following me and OMG, our highly accurate and predictive sales specific tools are legendary.  Our "old" tool won the Gold Medal for Top Sales Assessment Tool in 2011 and 2012.  Our sales-specific evaluations and assessments have been used to evaluate and assess more than 1831615 salespeople and sales leaders in more than 10,000 companies.
 
 
If you would like to get in line and explore whether it makes sense to have your sales force evaluated in the 2nd quarter, click here and I'll have the appropriate partner follow-up with you.
 
 
Thanks for reading today - I appreciate it.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales improvement, omg, best sales assessment, top sales assessment, sales development tool

Sales Recruiting Effectiveness and Trust

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 05:12 AM

An Objective Management Group (OMG) Partner asked for a statistic that shows the difference between a company's effectiveness hiring salespeople when using a recruiter versus their effectiveness when using OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment.

We have so many statistics that they are coming out of our...database! 

The assessment is customized right down to who they need to call on, the price point they are selling at, the competition they face, what you actually need them to do, the resistance they'll face, etc.

When a candidate is not recommended (we don't believe they will succeed in that role at your company selling the product or service specified to your market with all of the conditions they'll be facing), but a client hires that candidate anyway, 75% fail within 6 months.  When a recommended candidate is hired, 92% rise to the top half of their sales force in the first year.  That's having statistics on your side!

We have boatloads of anecdotal evidence but we have not collected empirical data on the comparison our Partner asked for so I was wondering if you would find it satisfying to help?  Whether or not you have used OMG's assessments and/or a recruiter, if you could answer six very simple questions, we will have that statistic very soon!

If you are feeling very helpful, this is the last week (ends 12-9-11) I'm accepting answers to the Trust Survey based on this article about whether salespeople can be trusted.  The data collected from this survey will help us develop the next generation of assessments that will include industry specific needs for salespeople who can more effectively build trust, as well as enhancements to sales training based on industry perceptions.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, top sales thought leader, best sales assessment, best sales candidate assessment, best sales blog

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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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