One Question Provides Salespeople with Instant Feedback on How Well They Differentiated

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 @ 11:03 AM

1

Most salespeople do not know the difference between their prospects' decision-making process compared with their decision-making criteria.

What's worse is that even more salespeople don't even bother asking about it.  According to data from Objective Management Group (OMG) who has evaluated/assessed 1,841,209 salespeople, only 27% of all salespeople are strong qualifiers so it's likely that the majority are not asking.

If you do ask a prospect about their decision-making process, you might hear about the steps they will take. If you ask about criteria, you might hear about the topics they'll consider when they make their decision.

I'll take you through an example. 

Let's say we were going to decide on the best car we have ever owned.

Our process would be to make a list of 5 cars we have owned and enjoyed.  My personal best are my current car, a 2018 Lincoln Navigator, a 2001 Jaguar XJR, a 1999 BMW 7 series, a 2005 Lexus LS and a 2015 Lexus GX. So far, that's similar to short-listing the vendors a company will invite to make presentations.  PROCESS.

Next, identify the criteria that's important to you.  For my list, I chose look, comfort, features, handling, noise level, cargo space (my son's catcher's gear takes up a lot of space) and driving enjoyment.  Note that the price I paid is not one of my criteria but I understand if it is one of yours. This is similar to identifying the questions that each vendor will be asked.   CRITERIA.

Rate each car on a 1-5 scale for each of your criteria, with 5 being the best.  PROCESS.

Next, calculate the average score for each of the 5 cars.  PROCESS.

Finally, rank the cars by score.  Your favorite car is the one with the highest overall score. Mine is my Lincoln Navigator.  This represents how the decision will be made.  CRITERIA.

Knowing a prospect's process and criteria for making a decision is only the first step.  Why are they doing it that way?  Do they need to do it that way?  If they want to work with you, why are they complicating it so much?  If there is urgency to get their problem solved, why are they taking so long?  Does it all come down to the fact that none of the salespeople stood out?  Nobody differentiated themselves?  There wasn't a single salesperson who was head and shoulders above the rest?  Everyone seemed and sounded so much alike that your product or service appeared as a commodity?

Shame on you!

Whenever they commoditize you, your company, your product, your service or your price, you are receiving instant feedback as to your how poorly you differentiated yourself.  The only consistently effective way to differentiate is to take a consultative, value based approach, featuring listening and questioning skills.

Unfortunately, most salespeople are unable to identify compelling reasons to buy, create urgency, and get their prospects to "must have."  Most salespeople fail to uncover anything more than business issues, which are never enough to differentiate.  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, consultative, prospect buying strategy, reaching decision makers

Dave Kurlan's 10 Rules for Effective Sales Emails That Connect With New Prospects

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Mar 10, 2019 @ 17:03 PM

emails-1

They aren't personal, they aren't written well, their messages are identical, you want to delete them and I know  you get these emails too.  I had already decided to save some of these worthless emails for an upcoming article when Keenan posted this rant on LinkedIn.  After you read his rant and related comments, please return to my article for a short tutorial on what's wrong with these emails and how to make them stickier.

I didn't include emails that were newsletters, promotions, or advertisements and focused only on the thirteen emails that were meant to appear as if they were sent only to me.  Of course they weren't sent only to me. Some were undoubtedly created/sent using artificial intelligence and if artificial is another word for fake, then some of those emails were absolutely artificial in their intelligence!  In the image below you can read some of the introductions, subject lines, calls to action, highlights and lowlights of these emails.  Below that you can read their offerings, my 10 Rules for sending sales emails  and an example of what a good email would look like.  If your desktop, laptop or tablet supports zooming, you might want to try that to read the contents of the following table:

emails

Their Offerings:

  • 4 for Lead generation /appointment setting - a great example of poor targeting
  • 1 for Receiving Fees for Referrals
  • 2 for Magazine Recognition - an example of good targeting with an attempt to appeal to my ego.  Entrepreneur of the Year and 10 Best Performing Sales Management Solution Providers.  Undoubtedly Pay to Play or they would have called.
  • 1 for Software - mediocre targeting
  • 1 for  Outsourced Software Engineers -  mediocre targeting
  • 1  for Commercial Office Leasing - excellent targeting
  • 1 for Investment Opportunity - poor targeting
  • 1 for List of SHRM members - decent targeting
  • 1  for Candidate sourcing automation - mediocre targeting

Rule #1 - Target and Qualify Each Contact!  Do you have any idea how many cold emails I get offering to help me grow sales?  Really?

Rule #2 - Begin Your Email with Hi or it They Won't Read it

Rule #3 - Avoid Inauthentic Comments.  If I don't know you then why would I care if you hope I am well?

Rule #4 - Don't Sell Your Product or Service.  You're only attempting to provide them with a reason to connect.  If you provide your features and benefits in the email they won't have a reason to connect.

Rule #5 - Keep it short and Simple!  I'm not going to read 14 paragraphs!

Rule #6 - Send 50 Qualified, Personal Emails Instead of 5,000 Generic emails

Rule #7 - Don't Give Your Prospect a Job! When you ask them to call you that's exactly what you are doing.

Rule #8 - Your Subject Line Can Not Look/Sound Like Spam

Rule #9 - Your Email Must be Believable!  Are you really going to grow my business because you combine email, social media, outbound, and inbound calling?  Maybe you can save me time but don't promise something you can't control, like whether those meetings you claim to schedule will convert.

Rule #10 - Your Email Should Read Like an Email to a Friend or Customer

Putting it All Together.

You've seen the lowlights of the absolute crap that passes for email introductions and read my 10 rules.  If I were going to write a first email to a targeted (it would be the right person in the company), qualified (they would definitely use what I sell) suspect, I would want to introduce myself, offer my positioning statement (the problem I solve that they probably have), provide a couple of examples, ask if they are experiencing any of those problems, and whether they would like any help.  For example, if I wanted to target the CEO of a SaaS company, I would write the  following.  The Italic font is just to differentiate the example from the rest of my article. Don't send the email with italics!

Hi Bob,

I've helped a few other CEO's in the SaaS world who were frustrated over all of the inaccurate revenue forecasts they kept getting. 

When I first spoke with other SaaS CEO's, the two biggest problems they used to have were all of the opportunities that weren't closing, and lack of new opportunities to replace those that didn't close.

You may not have these frustrations but if you do, and would like to take a few minutes to discuss whether or not I can help, just reply to this email with something as simple as "OK" and I'll make it easy to schedule a call.

Looking forward to talking with you.

Dave Kurlan
CEO
Objective Management Group

It's still a cold email but it's a million times better than all of the pitiful emails that most of us receive each day. I would prefer that salespeople use the phone for a cold reach out but if it's a choice between a cold email or nothing, I'll take the email. It's OK to follow up on this email by phone.  Remember, you can't have a conversation over email so if anyone does respond to your email attempt, move that conversation to the phone as soon as possible.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, prospecting emails that work, good sales email, effective sales email

Why Coaching Causes Some Sales Managers to Hold On for Dear Life

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 04, 2019 @ 05:03 AM

holding-on

Over the past few months I've been coaching 30 sales leaders from 3 companies and while most are trying their hardest to do everything I recommend, apply everything they learn, and coach as instructed, there are several that don't follow through and fail to move the needle for their teams.  A few don't want to be coached.  A few don't think they need to be coached.  A few are too proud to be coached.  A couple are too mentally challenged to be coached.

Avoidance aside, there are six scientifically proven reasons for their struggles and I'll share them with you here.In the table below, you'll see data from Objective Management Group, which has evaluated 1,838,327salespeople and sales managers.  The first three Sales Management Competencies shown in the table are from the category of Sales Management DNA. They are shown below  as weaknesses.

Sales Management Competency

Percentage with Competency as
a Weakness 

Controls Their Emotions 55%
Supportive Beliefs 100%
Supportive Buy-Cycle 65%

100% of sales managers have Self-Limiting Sales Management Beliefs. Let's say that their beliefs include, "coaching won't work" or "my salespeople won't follow a sales process" or "If I hold my salespeople accountable they'll quit" or "If I debrief their calls the way you instruct they'll hate me" or "I could never learn to role-play the way you teach it."  If they have any of those beliefs, what are the chances that they can apply what they're learning from me or anyone else?

65% of sales managers have Non-Supportive Buy-Cycles.  This means that they make their major purchases in a way that will not support ideal sales outcomes.  It could be that they look for the lowest price, comparison shop, think things over, think a relatively small amount of money is a lot of money, they do research, or some combination of those things.  If that's the case, and a salesperson comes back with a put-off, objection or excuse, the sales manager won't be any more effective coaching the salesperson than the salesperson was dealing with it with the prospect.

55% of sales managers become emotional. They're talking to themselves or thinking too much and as a result, their listening skills won't be optimal.  If they attempt a role-play to demonstrate the coaching strategy, they might jump ahead instead of doing a slow, consultative role-play, following up answers with appropriate new questions to ask.

Those aren't the only factors.  Two more come from the category Will to Manage Sales.

Sales Management Competency

Percentage with Competency as
a Weakness 

Commitment 23%
Takes Responsibility 55%
Coaching 90%

23% of sales managers lack Commitment, suggesting that they won't do what it takes when that is outside of their comfort zone.

55% of sales managers are Excuse Makers and when they rationalize why coaching won't change anything, why some salespeople can't be coached, why coaching them the way I recommend won't work, nothing will change.  Excuse making must be snuffed out from the top down.

The five competencies we discussed above don't even take into consideration the actual Coaching Competency shown above.  Unfortunately, 90% of sales managers are weak in the coaching competency.

When you put all of this together, it's easy to understand why some sales managers struggle so much when it comes to coaching.

I can help!  Each year I host the top-rated Sales Leadership Intensive where, for two long days, we help sales managers develop their ability to consistently and effectively coach up their salespeople.  As of this writing we had around 5 seats left for March 19-20 so if you can make it I promise it will be life-changing. This is the best coaching-specific training you will get anywhere!  You can learn more here

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales management competencies, OMG Assessment

How to Use the Your Experience with Turbulence to Overcome Resistance

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Feb 24, 2019 @ 11:02 AM

turbulence

We were on a JetBlue flight from Florida to Boston and the turbulence was much worse than usual.  More dramatic, longer lasting, and bad enough for the flight attendants to remain seated for the entire flight.  You've probably experienced a flight like that too.  Fun!  

The jet was probably traveling 500 MPH but it's funny how when the air is smooth, it doesn't even seem like you're moving, but when you add some serious bumps, you can feel every single one of those 500 MPH.  It feels more like an out-of-control roller coaster!

Sales calls work the same way.

When prospects are rushed, disinterested, resistant or rude, the call feels bumpy, like a jet traveling through turbulence.  When prospects are engaged, interested, and answering your questions, it feels smooth, like you're hardly moving.

So how can you get that smooth feeling on every call or meeting?

It's all about managing resistance which I explain in this 2-minute video.

 

When pilots encounter turbulence they might seek to find smoother air by lowering their altitude.  When great salespeople encounter turbulence they must first seek to lower resistance.  Most salespeople are unable to do this because it's more natural for them to respond with logic, talking points and specifications, which only serve to raise the resistance even more.  Or they might be more focused on how their prospects don't seem to like them enough to buy from them.

There are only a few steps required to improve in this area.

  1. Observation and Awareness - pay attention!  It's easier when you're listening than when you're talking.
  2. Lower Resistance - agree with them. Offer to leave.  Ask if you're boring them.
  3. Ask a great question - about them - to get their attention and then follow up with an even better question to get them engaged.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, jet blue

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

Hiring Salespeople Should Not be Like a Coin Flip

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 06, 2019 @ 18:02 PM

coinflip

For most companies, hiring the right salespeople has always been problematic.  With the shortage of quality sales candidates, it's now more difficult than ever.  The pressure to fill a role often causes sales management to hire the best from a limited and deficient pool of candidates instead of hiring the right candidate for the role.  The difference is huge, especially if you have a complex sale, a long sales cycle, a high-priced product or service, or a lot of competition.  If you rush to hire someone and get it wrong, three things usually happen.  The first and most obvious is that you will inevitably have to begin the hiring process all over again in several months.  Second is the lost opportunities from having a weak salesperson and for periods of time, no salesperson.  Finally, there is lost revenue from customers who are stolen away, creating negative territory momentum, where the pendulum swings to favor the competition in that territory.

Hiring salespeople does not have to be like a pot luck supper or a coin flip.  If you are selective instead of impulsive, good things will happen.  Take a look at the image below.The spreadsheet shows the difference between one company's top 3 producers and their 3 worst producers.  If you notice the difference in color between all of the green at the top and the red down below, you'll see the findings and competencies that differentiate the two groups.  At Objective Management Group (OMG) we call this a tailored fit.  It's the last of two levels of customization to fine-tune our sales candidate assessment criteria and that is what allows us to make such accurate recommendations and achieve predictive validity.

WFTF

For the real company in this example, from 180 possible findings, 27 clearly differentiated their tops from their bottoms.  Of the 27 differentiators, the following were represented:

Candidates who meet at least 80% of these 27 findings WILL succeed in the role.

You can easily hire the best salespeople for the role with help from (1) a predictive sales candidate assessment that provides the equivalent of a crystal ball and (2) having the discipline to be patient enough to wait for the right candidate.  What's holding you back?

There is one more thing you are required to do.  After hiring your salespeople, you must provide them with a comprehensive 90-day on-boarding process so as to assure their success rather than setting them up for failure.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, sales assessements, hiring mistake

I'm Sorry But Your Sales Process Sucks

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Feb 01, 2019 @ 11:02 AM

sucky-process

Perhaps you saw this too.  Yesterday, a post appeared in my LinkedIn feed that talked about the power of sales process.  The article was clearly written to support the author's technology application, which helps track sales KPI's; so they should know a little about the topic of sales process.

Towards the end of the article, they provided a sample of what an effective sales process should look like.  The following text is exactly what they wrote:

If you don't have a sales process or aren’t sure what is meant by that, we can help. Start by thinking about your most successful clients. (Or, if you’re new, some of your team’s most successful clients.) What were the different steps that client went through before they became a client?

It might look something like:
Current Customer Referral
Initial Contact
Follow-up Appointment
First Sale
Upsell/subscription

5 Steps?  Yikes!  

I expect clients to have skimpy, lame, thin sales processes but this was from someone attempting to demonstrate their expertise in sales process!

Their recommended process was basically: get a meeting, sell something and follow up for more.  That's not a process, that's simply 3 outcomes.

In addition to initial contact, a solid, customized, formal, structured, staged, milestone-centric, optimized sales process should include all of the milestones that must be reached to get from that initial contact to the first sale.  In my experience with sales process best practices, that would include between 4 and 6 stages, each having between 4 and 8 milestones for a total of somewhere between 16 and 24 milestones.

The video below is a fast, enjoyable walk-through of sales process and methodology.

 

Let's not forget that a solid, customized, formal, structured, staged, milestone-centric, optimized sales process should also have a predictive scorecard built in.  Your win rates will go up and your sales cycle lengths will go down.

If you don't have these things in place, I'm sorry to say that your sales process sucks.

Join the discussion of this article on LinkedIn here.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, sales process, sales best practices

An Easier Way to Coach Salespeople - For a While

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 30, 2019 @ 17:01 PM

 easy

One of the challenges that sales managers have is their trepidation around transitioning from very little coaching to daily coaching; and at the same time, moving from coaching light (ineffective coaching) to coaching pro (effective coaching).  Why?  They aren't masters of role-playing and role-playing is one of the primary tools to demonstrate best practices and how effective sales conversations should sound.

As I suggested to a pair of sales managers today, there is an intermediate step they can take.  You can use the following approach to coach to any selling competency but this example helps your salespeople who need to take a more consultative approach.

This is easy - you can do this.

After a salesperson completes a sales call ask, "On a zero to ten scale, with ten being a very consultative conversation and zero being a very transactional conversation, how would you rate your performance?"

They won't say zero because they're supposed to be taking a consultative approach. They won't say ten because they didn't actually take that consultative approach.  They'll respond with a number between four and six.  You're off and running! 

Next you can ask, "Why did you rate yourself a five?"  This causes them to be somewhat introspective about their conversation. "Because I didn't do everything I could have done."

Ask, "What could you have done better?"

Assuming that they answer and identify something they believe would be more consultative, you can ask why they didn't do that.  This is when you'll probably hear something about being uncomfortable and discomfort is where the real coaching takes place.  

"I was afraid to ask that because I was worried they wouldn't like me" (Needing to be Liked is a component of Sales DNA)

"I was uncomfortable asking that because it's not polite to ask about money" (Conditioning that Talking about money is not polite is a component of Sales DNA)

"I was uncomfortable pushing back because I understood their objection" (Understanding means there is a self-limiting belief - a component of Sales DNA)

"I was uncomfortable challenging their outdated thinking because I was worried about how they might respond" (worry means they were emotional - a component of Sales DNA)

In order for you to coach up your salespeople, you'll need to help them push through their discomfort and overcome weaknesses in their Sales DNA.  You should encourage them, give them permission to fail, remind them every day that it's OK if something bad happens, and when they do that which is uncomfortable, praise them and point out that they survived.  Never reprimand for doing something they were uncomfortable with when it yields a negative result.

Look at that - you're actually coaching!

As I mentioned at the outset of this article, this is an easy way to ease into coaching, but this is not a coaching best practice by any stretch.  This is not how you coach up salespeople.  This is not powerful, impactful coaching where your salespeople can't wait for more.  This is simply a starting place.

Would you like to learn how to conduct powerful, impactful, meaningful coaching of your salespeople?  Join me for my March Sales Leadership Intensive.  You can't get better training on how to be an effective sales coach.  Watch a video testimonial.  Watch another video testimonial. Watch me talking about the event from :20 to 1:22 in this video.  Register and save $100.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management training, sales leadership training, coaching salespeople

Great News! The Latest Data Shows That Salespeople are Improving

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 @ 18:01 PM

breaking-news

Some really terrific news came across my desk this week when John Pattison, Objective Management Group's (OMG's) COO, showed me two graphs he had created.  For the first time in recent memory, salespeople as a profession GOT BETTER!

That's right, when we compared the results of the 85,000 or so salespeople that were evaluated in 2018 to the 80,000 or so salespeople that were evaluated in 2017, there was a measurable improvement in overall scores!

Let's review the two graphs below.

In the first graph below you will see the that the blue plot line for 2018 has moved to the right for the middle 50%.  

Sales Percentile 2018 vs 2017

The next graph presents a more familiar looking bell curve. The move to the right for 2018 (shown in blue) is even more apparent in this graph.

Sales Index 2018 vs 2017 v4

It might not seem like much but there are two significant points to consider:

1. The lion's share - probably 99% of this data - is from salespeople and sales candidates prior to receiving professional sales training from any of OMG's partners.

2. An average improvement of 2% by the middle two quartiles is significant.  Remember, this is an average increase for the middle two quartiles (the IQR).  The 2% average is also affected by which company provides the training and coaching and which sales process and methodology are selected.  If 80% of revenue comes from the top 20% of salespeople, then the middle we are talking about here produces about 20% of the revenue. A 10% improvement represents a 33% increase in revenue so a 2% increase in effectiveness would yield a 6% incremental increase in revenue.   For example, suppose you run a $20 million company with a 33% margin and you improve revenue by 6%. That's an increase of $1,200,000 on the top line and $400,000 in gross profit.  Most businesses will take that incremental improvement on top of their expected year-over-year organic growth.  Often times, that improvement is the result of being more effective at selling value and in addition to being 2% more effective overall, salespeople are improving margins by 5 points or more.  In our example above, the gross profit would increase to $456,000.

What can we attribute this improvement to?  If I had to point to one thing, it would be that the coaching by sales managers is finally starting to support, rather than undermine, sales training and sales process.  I'm sure you have your own ideas as to what has moved the needle.  Add your comments to this discussion on LinkedIn.

Finally, we have evidence that the work being done to improve the capabilities of professional salespeople is paying dividends.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales revenue, revenue growth

Do the Least Informed Salespeople Have the Loudest Voices

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 @ 06:01 AM

ignorance

Do the least informed among us have the loudest voices? This article is about salespeople but to set the stage, we'll start with the news.

When I listen to and watch the news, it seems that those on the fringes and representing special interest groups get the most attention, benefit of the doubt, dictate how everyone else should think and act, and cause tremendous tension and stress.  Yet, wherever I travel, whomever I interact with, whatever their story, and regardless of their skin color, religion or national origin, I never see any signs of the friction, division or hate that is amplified by the news media on a daily basis.  Why does the news media continue to deliver stories of hate, invite people of extreme opposite sides to debate, or express so much hate themselves?  When I tune into the news, instead of news, all I hear is screaming, hate and accusations.

Do the least informed among us have the loudest voices? 

Now sales.  Consider two very different salespeople working a new opportunity. 

Rita is a consultative seller and in her first meeting with a prospect, she listens and asks a lot of questions.  She is patient, polite and curious.  She doesn't talk about capabilities, products, prices, but she does ask why the prospect has taken so long to address his problem.  In doing so, she learns about other players in the company, their influence, interference, beliefs and the impact it has had on the prospect.  Rita didn't judge or push; she simply continued asking questions until there was urgency to fix the problem.

Lou is a transactional seller and in his first meeting he tells the prospect about his company, its capabilities, and his products.  He claims that his company is better than everyone else, will be competitive and have the best prices, and then he bad mouths Rita's company.  Lou monopolized the conversation, didn't give his prospect a chance to talk, and his prospect didn't care to ask any questions.

Do the least informed among us have the loudest voices? 

Consider a sales training program with an emphasis on helping the sales force develop a more consultative approach and the ability to more effectively sell value.  Those who agree with the need for sales process, methodology, strategy and tactics quietly embrace this approach.  Those who are threatened by change, who want to maintain the status quo, begin the rebellion, oppose the approach, and challenge the trainer. They hijack the training and little is accomplished. I remember this occasionally happening to me 30 plus years ago but I learned to diffuse it up front.  Today, I still hear stories about this happening to other trainers who haven't figured out how to deal with it yet.

Do the least informed among us have the loudest voices? 

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, news media, opposition

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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, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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