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

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 @ 13:09 PM

improve

I've written extensively about how salespeople score in 21 Sales Core Competencies. Typically, both the articles and data are shared in the context of the difference between top salespeople and weak salespeople but rarely have I written about what happens after salespeople have been evaluated.

Here's how it usually works.  A company asks their outside sales expert for help growing sales.  As a first step, the expert suggests evaluating the sales force using OMG's incredible suite of tools.  The results are shared and reviewed with the client and anonymous data from the evaluation is added to our nearly 1.8 million rows of data.  That is the data I so often write about and you can see the aggregate scores, sorted by sales percentile, industry or region, at our public statistics site.

Post evaluation, the expert will likely help the company by providing some combination of training, coaching, consulting, recruiting, systems and processes updates in the areas that need to be improved.  As a result, do salespeople actually get better?  That's a direct result of the trainer's/consultant's effectiveness, the company's commitment to change, and the sales managers' ability to coach to the sales process and methodology, all well out of OMG's hands.  However, we do have some insight into how much their salespeople improve.

Approximately one year after the initial sales force evaluation, OMG offers to conduct a checkpoint where change can be measured and now I have the data.

I looked at the before and after scores for eight of the 21 Sales Core Competencies as well as the Reaches Decision Makers, Account Manager and Farmer competencies for a total of 11.  See the table below:

checkpoint-changes

One of the first things you might notice is that scores went down in 2 competencies - Relationship Building and Account Management.  Many salespeople believe that selling is simply having relationships and showing up. Then, when training and coaching targets the more impactful competencies, it's not unusual to see scores actually get worse in the two competencies they previously took for granted.

Another thing you might notice is the significance of change for Closing, Reaching Decision Makers, and Selling Value, a bi-product of what I assume the training and coaching would have been focused on post evaluation.

Twelve months later, there is an overall 18% improvement in scores.  We know that a just a 10% improvement creates a 33% increase ins sales.  Don't believe me?  Check out this table:

10-percent-improvementIf a 10% improvement creates a 33% improvement in revenue, what does an 18% improvement create?  Math is a really important tool in creating value and in this case, math tell us we can expect a 59% increase in revenue.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, Closing Skills, sales core competencies, sales data

How the Cheesecake Factory Menu Can Make You a Better Closer

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 15:09 PM

cheesecake-factory

Have you ever visited a Cheesecake Factory?  I LOVE the menu - they offer EVERYTHING.  The downside is that because there are so many items to choose from, it's difficult to decide what to order.  That's better than the options you have with my Blog.  [Please stay with me - the info on how to become a better closer is coming and if you can't wait, just scroll to the last 4 paragraphs.]

Buried in here - somewhere - are more than 1,700 articles.  But can you find any of them?  I can't!   If you scroll the left-side navigation of the Blog, you'll see that I created several categories but most of the series are not up-to-date.  Shame on me.  Despite that, there is a better chance of finding the articles you are most interested in by selecting the appropriate series than by scrolling or using the built-in Google search functionality..

The left-hand navigation menu begins with an opportunity to subscribe to the Blog, order Baseline Selling, followed by the article series, the most popular articles of all-time, 10 most recent articles, awards, and finally, free resources.

My top 5 favorite categories are:

Data and Research 
Comparing Salespeople to Children 
Sales Pipeline 
Music and Selling 
Articles Debunked 

From the most popular articles of all time, my top 5 favorites are

Exposed - Personality Tests Disguised as Sales Assessments
SPIN and Miller Heiman Compared to Baseline Selling
Personality Assessments - The Definitive Case Study
How Your Salespeople Measure Up in 21 Sales Core Competencies
Rebuttal to What Elite Salespeople Do Differently

As with the Cheesecake Factory, the choices are practically limitless but the restaurant has a much better menu.  Salespeople are guilty of the Cheesecake Factory approach too.  We'll call it the CFF for Cheesecake Factory Factor.  Several complications occur when salespeople provide their prospects with too many choices:

  • They GIVE prospects a reason to think it over which results in delayed closings
  • They FAIL to be an expert.  If they asked the right questions and actually listened to the responses, then there would be only one ideal recommendation and/or solution that is both needs and cost appropriate.
  • They ALLOW their competitors to demonstrate their own expertise, recommending a single ideal solution and differentiating.

This will seem cheesy but compare the Cheesecake Factory to a 1960's era McDonalds.  There were only 2 choices back then - a hamburger or a cheeseburger. Of course you could order fries and a shake too.

Here's how it might sound: 

Based on what I know about you, I strongly recommend that you order the cheeseburger from the Cheesecake Factory, which will be a healthier choice than McDonalds.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Closing Skills, top sales blog, cheesecake factory

12 Reasons They Didn't Like You Enough to Buy From You

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 @ 10:07 AM

conflict.jpg
Image Copyright iStock

Everyone has had this happen...probably more than once.

You worked hard and smart, thought you did a great job, expected to win the business, but didn't.  Later, you learned that the prospect "Didn't really like your style."

It's not at all unusual, but it is almost always misinterpreted.  Salespeople tend to take this personally by internalizing the comment as, "They just didn't like me.  But why?"

What most salespeople fail to understand is that "style" is really code for something completely different.  I have listed 12 possibilities that style could really mean.  Think back to one of those situations and determine how many of these 12 could have been the real culprit:

  1. Relationship - it wasn't strong enough and you failed to connect.  In extreme cases this would be termed a personality conflict.
  2. Resistance - you were not effective enough at managing their level of resistance and it failed to drop.
  3. Accommodating - you were actually too accommodating and failed to gain their respect.  They saw you as a facilitator as opposed to an expert, a resource or an adviser.
  4. Value - the prospect failed to receive value from the time spent with you and considered you to be more of a vendor or supplier than a resource or adviser.
  5. Content - they did not like what you presented, suggested or recommended.  It wasn't what they wanted to hear.
  6. Listening - they didn't believe that you listened to them or to what they wanted.  You were too interested in following and achieving your own agenda.
  7. Authority - your statements lacked authority and you failed to establish credibility.  You were just like everyone else.
  8. Aggressive - they found you to be too confrontational, or obnoxious.
  9. Intellectual - you relied too much on facts, logic, and figures and failed to include anecdotal stories and examples.  You weren't engaging.
  10. Cultural - they have a defined culture, specific core values, and you didn't fit with their culture
  11. Flow - your meeting or call wasn't conversational, it lacked the give and take and back and forth associated with being a mutually authentic conversation.
  12. Expectations - they had certain expectations of you, your capabilities, your offering, the meeting or call, and you failed to meet those expectations.

Have you been guilty of any of these dozen?  If so, what can you do to improve?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, Closing Skills, sales effectiveness, lost a deal, beating the competition, personality conflict

Sales Excellence: How to Close Anything and Everything in Any Vertical

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 @ 06:01 AM

CLOSING-OVERRATED.jpg

I was listening to CNN on Satellite Radio and in between rants about the immigration ban, protests, the federal judge who issued a stay, and Trump's first week's worth of executive orders, an advertisement came on promoting How to Close Anything and Everything, no matter what you sell and who you sell it to.  And to make their offer even more enticing - it's being offered for free!  Did you hear it?  It wasn't a promotion for my company...

Closing is awfully important. Nothing happens until the business gets closed.  But most people don't know the real truth about closing.

I am going to share the real truth about closing and it's quite different from what you've read, what you've listened to, what you've watched, and probably from what you've practiced.  Countless books, tapes, videos and podcasts have been devoted to closing techniques.  Thousands of companies deliver seminars and training programs to help salespeople develop their closing skills.  They're all wrong and they have all wasted your time.

I have written 1,600 articles and not once have I shared the closing secret that I am about to share in this article.

Objective Management Group (OMG) has evaluated and assessed over one million salespeople.  If we review the 21 Sales Core Competencies, zoom in on the 10 Tactical Selling Competencies, and then filter the results to show average scores for elite salespeople - only the top 7% - you will see this:

Elite-Selling-Competecy-Scores.jpg
Top 7% of All Salespeople

Notice that the best salespeople in the world possess fewer than half of the attributes of the Closer competency - it's their second worst score next to Social Selling (isn't that ironic?).

If closing is so important, then how come the world's best salespeople don't have very good closing skills?

The top 7% have closing skills that are twice as good as the general sales population who average only 23% of the attributes of the Closer competency. 

All-Salespeople-Tactical-Selling-Competencies.jpg
All Salespeople

But this isn't about contrast. I told you that I want to share the truth about closing.

The average scores for elite salespeople are very good for Hunting, Consultative Selling, Qualifying, Presenting and Sales Process.  

If you start with an effective sales process and follow it, keep your pipeline filled through consistent hunting, use an effective consultative approach, and thoroughly qualify, the business will simply close and most of the time, you will be the one who wins it.

However, if you don't have an effective, predictive sales process, don't take a consultative approach and don't thoroughly qualify, then the pressure will be on you to be a great closer.  And even if you are a great closer, most of the time, it still won't be enough to get the business.

Some of the companies that have asked me to help were winning an incredibly small percentage of business.  Most of them believed they needed training to improve their salespeople's closing skills when the reality was that they were not executing the milestones and competencies that precede closing.

Winning business is not brain surgery, but developing the skills to execute an effective process, be a consultative seller and qualify effectively takes time and a lot of practice.

Great salespeople do this.  Great sales trainers know how to teach this.  Great sales managers know how to coach to this.  Nike said it best.  Just do it.  

It's not a secret anymore.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, Closing Skills, Closing Sales, closing excellence

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

Audio Book
Top 30 on Kindle
Top 100 on Amazon

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Article/Post - Gold
 Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Assessment Tool - Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

2018 Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs Widget

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader