The Best Salespeople are 791% Better at This Than Weak Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 @ 18:07 PM

criteria

The first contractor got a proposal to us within a few days, the second contractor got a proposal to us later the same day and the third contractor gave us a price on the spot.  On the responsive scale, the third contractor was the best. 

Certainly, responsiveness is not the only criteria that prospects weigh as part of their decision-making process.    They may also consider:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Timeline of the deliverable(s)
  • Referrals
  • Expertise
  • Credibility
  • Personality
  • Understanding of your needs
  • Fit
  • Price
  • Chemistry
  • Ease of working with
  • Capabilities
  • Your comfort level
  • Reputation
  • Proximity
  • Flexibility

The list isn't complete as I'm sure there are more.  

Although price is only one of 18 criteria listed, it's the only objection salespeople ask for help with.  Salespeople don't ask if we can help with the reputation objection, chemistry objection or personality objection.  With salespeople it's always about price.

The thing is, if you have a reputation problem, or any of the others on the list that aren't price, they may be difficult or impossible to overcome.  Price, the criteria salespeople obsess about, can be eliminated when salespeople sell value.  That's not accomplished by talking about value, saying there's value, or adding value.  It occurs when salespeople bringing the actual value to the customer.  Salespeople must be the value.  When customers perceive that you provide a value that others don't, your higher price won't matter.

Objective Management Group (OMG), which has evaluated and assessed 1,879,518 salespeople, has some data on selling value, one of the 21 sales core competencies we measure.  41% of all salespeople are strong at value selling, but that's deceiving because only 11% of the bottom half of all salespeople have selling value as a strength and that group's average score is just 46%.  On the other hand, 97% of the top 5% of all salespeople have selling value as a strength and their average score is 87%.  Top salespeople are 791% more effective at selling value!

Why is there such a difference?

72% of all salespeople have non-supportive buying habits and understand it when their prospects shop for the lowest price, comparison shop or think it over.  Yet, if you break it down by performance, it's quite a different story.

Only 23% of elite (top 5%) salespeople have non-supportive buying habits but it gets a lot worse from there and quickly.

46% of strong (next 15%) salespeople have it, 72% of serviceable (the next 30%) salespeople have it and 89% of weak (the bottom 50%) salespeople have non-supportive buying habits.

You might be thinking, "It can't be that big of a deal if almost a quarter of the best salespeople in the world have this weakness and they're doing fine," and you couldn't be more wrong.  Understand that if the best salespeople have this weakness, it's likely the only weakness they have and their considerable strengths, grit and tactical selling competencies make up for it.  On the other hand, most of the weak salespeople have many more weaknesses and too few strengths to compensate.

Almost ALL of the bottom 50% buy in such a way that their habits don't support ideal sales outcomes.  And sales training won't fix that.

What does?

You have to change the way you buy things!

Join the discussion for this article on LinkedIn.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, OMG Assessment, self-talk, buying criteria

The Best Salespeople are 2733% More Likely to Have This Than the Worst Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 @ 19:07 PM

beliefs

86% of all salespeople have beliefs that don't support ideal sales outcomes.  That's important because beliefs influence behavior, and appropriate sales behavior drives results.  Think about sales process, sales methodology, sales strategy and sales tactics. Salespeople who have the ability to execute those four elements of success are less dependent on their knowledge of selling than what they believe.  While most salespeople have self-limiting beliefs, it should not surprise you that only 18% of the elite salespeople - the top 5% - have self-limiting beliefs.  But it drops off rapidly from there.  Below I have listed the percentage of salespeople with self-limiting Beliefs by performance levels.

  • Elite (the top 5%) 18% self-limiting
  • Strong (the next 15%) 49% self-limiting
  • Serviceable (the next 30%) 78% self-limiting
  • Weak (the bottom half of all salespeople) 97% self-limiting

In other words, the best salespeople (top 5%) are 2733% more likely to have Supportive Beliefs than the worst salespeople (bottom 50%).  Supportive Beliefs is one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies, each of which correlates perfectly to the four levels of performance. It's also one of six competencies that make up Sales DNA and no competency correlates more to performance than Supportive Beliefs. I'll repeat it.

2733%!

The data is from Objective Management Group (OMG) which  has evaluated and assessed 1,879,518 salespeople.

You probably have two questions by now:

  1. How many beliefs - supportive or self-limiting does OMG measure?
  2. What are some examples of self-limiting beliefs?

A salesperson's beliefs are deemed to be self-limiting if they have more than 6 that are self-limiting.  Most salespeople have upwards of a dozen!

Just a Few Examples:

  • Prospects will buy only if I have the lowest price
  • I need my prospects to like me
  • It's not OK to ask my prospects about their finances
  • Prospects that think it over will eventually buy from me
  • It's impolite to ask a lot of questions
  • If I challenge or confront a prospect they'll get upset with me
  • It's OK if my prospects want to comparison shop

Today is a great time to begin working on your self-limiting beliefs and there is an easy way do that.

Use the Sales DNA Modifier to reprogram your beliefs and overcome your sales weaknesses with our powerful tool for just $119/year.  The Sales DNA Modifier will help you overcome 12 major sales weaknesses through powerful self-hypnosis and it really works.  All you have to do is stare at the computer screen while listening to the audio twice per day for 21 days and then move on to the next weakness.  If you subscribe today, as a bonus I'll send you my powerful 5-page exercise for reprogramming your Self-Limiting Beliefs.  The exercise includes every potential self-limiting sales belief and the appropriate replacement beliefs as well as instructions for how to make it work.  Subscribe today!

Join the discussion for this article on LinkedIn.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales DNA, hidden sales weaknesses, need to be liked, self-talk

How to Transform Your Sales Pipeline Today

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 08, 2019 @ 06:07 AM

pipeline2

Big ones, little ones, sharp ones and stubborn ones. I was pulling weeds from the garden when it became crystal clear to me.  The various weeds were like the many types of opportunities in most sales pipelines.  Big ones, little ones, those that hurt (we're behind the competition) and those who are stubborn (they aren't sharing important information).  The flowers in the garden are allowed to remain and are nurtured with sun, water and plant food. Similarly, we must leave and nurture the opportunities that will grow and produce sales, and weed out the undesirable opportunities that distract us from what is most important.

Flower gardens can be large, colorful, impressive and calming to look at.  Unfortunately, most sales pipelines are full of weeds, not large enough, and certainly not impressive.  From its evaluations and assessments of 1,875,978 salespeople, Objective Management Group (OMG) has found that only 46% of all salespeople maintain a full pipeline.  It breaks down as follows:

Elite  (the top 5%) 76%
Strong 65%
Serviceable 57% 
Weak (the bottom 50%)  41%

And when it comes to full pipelines, we must ask, full of what?  Generally undesirable opportunities.

Why do those undesirable opportunities remain in the pipeline?  They provide salespeople with a sense of security. Unfortunately, what they perceive as a safety net, is really denial of the reality of their pipeline.

Step one in transforming your sales pipeline is to perform a thorough weeding, which leaves you with a smaller pipeline, but with the same number of quality opportunities.  This is where a well-built, predictive scorecard will help.

Step two is to determine how many opportunities must be in your pipeline at all times.  To find the answer to that question you must know the size of your average sale or account, your closing percentage, and monthly sales goal.  Let's assume the following three metrics:

  • Monthly sales goal of $100,000,
  • 25% Closing percentage
  • $20,000 Average sale or account

With those numbers, you must have 20 opportunities worth $400,000 in your pipeline at all times in order to close 5 of them each month.  Complete the same exercise using your own historical numbers.

Step three is to determine the gap between what you need and what you have.  Using the example above, let's say you actually have 4 good opportunities worth a total of $80,000.  Your gap is 16 opportunities worth $320,000 - just for this month!

Step four is to add 16 new opportunities.  How?  Referrals, introductions, inbound leads, cold calls, whatever it takes.  But do it!  Today!  Now!  Referring back to OMG's findings again, only 40% of all salespeople are strong at Hunting.  That breaks down as:

Elite (the top 5%): 88% 
Strong: 77% 
Serviceable: 58% 
Weak (the bottom 50%): 26%

When it comes to generating referrals and introductions, only 35% of all salespeople are strong.  It breaks down as:

Elite (the top 5%): 48%
Strong: 42%
Serviceable: 39%
Weak (the bottom 50%): 32%

[Update - I was asked whether weak Sales DNA is responsible when a strong rep is weak at getting referrals and introductions.  It turns out that for 97% of strong reps, it's not Sales DNA but for weak reps Sales DNA is responsible 97% of the time.]

And as for making cold calls, only 33% of all salespeople prospect consistently.  It breaks down as:

Elite (the top 5%): 70%
Strong: 54%
Serviceable: 43%
Weak (the bottom 50%): 25%

If from among the bottom half of all salespeople, 50% of them won't make cold calls, 64% won't generate referrals and introductions, and 82% won't fill their pipelines, then nearly half of your salespeople may not do much of what was laid out in this article.

But there is hope for the serviceable, strong and elite salespeople - the other half.  Many of them will be able to do most of this but the key is holding them accountable.  Their sales managers must set expectations, designate this as non-optional work, impose a deadline, and enforce penalties for non-compliance. 

These four steps are not a one-time fix; they are requirements for continued success in sales that continue into perpetuity. 

Comments?  Questions?  Leave them on the LinkedIn discussion of this article.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, closing, sales pipeline, prospecting, objective management group

Putting Some Hollywood into Your Sales Presentations

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 18, 2019 @ 14:06 PM

Bohemian-Rhapsody-Featured-Art

Last week I wrote about First Impressions and today's topic is presentations.  That's quite the change in direction from Consultative Selling, Sales Process, Assessments, and Performance.

What do Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocket Man, Miracle and Argo have in common and what do they have to do with selling?

What do Unbroken, Hunt for Red October, and A Few Good Men have in common and what is their relation to selling?

Let's tackle the issue of presenting your solutions to two different audiences:

  1. Those who are very familiar with what you have, what you do and how it works;
  2. Those who are unfamiliar with what you have, what you do and how it works.

Think about a time when you were being sold, and the salesperson was blabbing the company's talking points, capabilities, features and benefits and you either already knew that stuff or weren't particularly interested in hearing about it  Wasn't that an awful experience?  It doesn't have to be that awful.  If you saw Bohemian Rhapsody, you already knew what was going to happen to Freddy Mercury and Queen but the movie sucked you in despite that.  If you saw Rocket Man you already knew the story of Elton John but the movie grabbed you by the throat and didn't let go even though you knew how it would end.  If you saw Miracle, you already knew that the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team defied the odds and beat the Russians to win the Gold medal but they had you immersed despite that.  And if you saw Argo you already knew that the hostages escaped from Iran but you were still on pins and needles hoping they made it out of Iranian airspace.

The presentations to people who know you and your company don't have to be boring and repetitive.  What can you do to transform your presentation so that you achieve the same emotional reactions as those four movies do?  You need to stop taking your presentations for granted, stop sleep walking through them, stop treating them like you're reciting the multiplication tables and infuse some drama, interaction and suspense.

Your other audience is the group that isn't aware of your capabilities.  Most of us who watched Unbroken weren't familiar with the story of Louis Zamperini.  Most of us who watched Hunt for Red October and a Few Good Men weren't even aware that they were true stories!  When presenting to new prospects, people who aren't familiar with you, how can you tell your story in such a way as to get your new prospects to react emotionally in much the same way as you would have reacted after those movies?  "Wow, I'm so glad we saw that - I had no idea!"  Again, infuse some drama, interaction and suspense into your presentations!

The Sales Competency on which salespeople generally score the highest is Presentation Approach - presenting the right concepts to the right people at the right time for the right reasons.  That said, there is still room for improvement.  OMG's average score for all salespeople is 71% but there is less disparity between the top 5% and the bottom 10% than any of the other 21 Sales Core Competencies.  Elite salespeople are "only" 157% better at Presentation Approach than the bottom 10%.  Want to see all 21 Sales Core Competencies, the scoring variances by industry and how you and/or your team measure up?  Click here.

Bonus lesson:  Bohemian Rhapsody has a scene where Freddy Mercury articulates Queen's Positioning Statement. Watch it here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales presentation, dka, Bohemian Rhapsody, rocket man, argo

Your Last Chance to Make a Good First Impression

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jun 14, 2019 @ 08:06 AM

first-impression

Most salespeople don't take first impressions seriously enough. If they did, their first impressions would be much more favorable.

I can still remember my first (unintentional) lesson about first impressions.  My family was gathered at my grandfather's house to watch the debut of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show.  It was February 9, 1964 and at 8 years old, I was one of seventy-three million people watching the show that night.  I was as excited about this show as I would be later that same year when I attended my first Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park.  That is pretty excited! 

Sitting on the carpet, I was completely focused on seeing and hearing The Beatles play five of their hit songs, but my mother was doing color commentary from the plastic covered sofa behind me.

She said, "He's cleaner than the other 3", referring to Paul McCartney, who had straighter teeth, and a face more suitable for the mop top hair style shared by the four of them.

There it was, my first lesson in judging people by how they looked, and more specifically, what "clean" did and did not look like.

We were all exposed to unintentional lessons like that when we were young and those lessons stay with us today.  My father was an optometrist and around a quarter of his patients were on welfare.  While they were entitled to the same eye examination as everyone else, they were not allowed to choose from the same selection of eye glasses  and were not allowed to wear contact lenses - unless they could pay the difference.  Therefore, I assumed that anyone I saw wearing "those glasses" must be on welfare.

15 years later, when I was in the music business, a man who looked like he spent the night sleeping on the side of the road, bought the most expensive guitar I had in stock.  He paid cash.

Enough for the trip down memory lane.

When you are in sales, your first impression has been made the moment a prospect sets eyes on you, and based on how that prospect reacts, you, in turn, create a first impression of them.

Objective Management Group (OMG), which has evaluated or assessed 1,869,505 salespeople, has a finding I haven't written much about called Sales Posturing.  In a nutshell, Posturing measures first impressions, how memorable you are, and how effectively you differentiate yourself from the competition. In the table below, you'll see scores for Posturing,  as well as Relationship Building which is one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies. 

posturing-relationships

While there is a correlation between both sets of scores and the overall effectiveness level of salespeople, the difference in scores is minuscule in comparison to creating urgency, The 21 Sales Core Competencies, Closing, and 5 Scores Related to Money.  This proves my point that most salespeople, even the great ones, do not pay enough attention to the quality of their first impressions.

How much focus have you given to how you make your first impression?  Here are 10 things you can control to assure that you make a great first impression.  For a lot of these, Goldilocks and  the Three Bears will be a good guide.  Not too much, not too little, but just right:

  1. Your smile
  2. Your handshake
  3. Your confidence
  4. Your outfit
  5. Your hair
  6. Your first words
  7. Your tonality
  8. Your trustworthiness
  9. Your approach
  10. Your authenticity

Thirty-three years ago, when I was far less experienced in the sales development space, my first impressions were not very good and it was represented by the quality of my clients at the time.  Fortunately, thirty-three years provides a nice, long runway for improvement!

Selling, and especially consultative selling, is difficult enough without having to dig out of the hole created by first impressions gone wrong.  You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression so remember, every encounter provides you with your last chance to make a good first impression.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, relationship building, assessment, omg, the beatles, objective management group, Ed Sullivan

Win a Free Coaching Call with Dave Kurlan and 4 More Prizes

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 12, 2019 @ 14:06 PM

contest

By the middle of June each year, we tend to know who the best of the best are.  Super Bowl Champion, NBA Champion, Stanley Cup Winner, Masters Winner, and in baseball, MLB all-stars are being selected.  It's as good a time as any to recognize the best readers of Understanding the Sales Force!

While there are several approaches that can be taken, we will have a competitive, yet winnable contest.

Challenge: Review any 1 or more of the articles that have been published so far this year.   

In the comment section below, enter your best lesson or takeaway from the article(s) you have chosen.  There will be five winners based on the quality of the lessons submitted:

5th place: Complimentary signed copy of Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball.   $18.49 value

4th place: Complimentary subscription to the Sales DNA Modifier  $119 value

3rd place: Complimentary subscription to the Baseline Selling self-directed course $795 value

Runner Up: Complimentary subscription to the Baseline Selling Advanced course $795 value

Grand Prize: Complimentary coaching call  with Dave Kurlan $1,000 value

What are you waiting for?  Let's get started!

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, Sales Coaching, best sales blog, dka

How to Raise the Incomes of Minimum Wage Workers Without Wealth Distribution or Socialism

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 05, 2019 @ 19:06 PM

robin-hood

Hang in there - this will be an article on sales - but you need to get through the big set up.

Bernie Sanders spoke at a Walmart shareholders meeting and criticized the company for not paying higher wages.  He said that a company owned by the wealthiest family in the USA, should be able to pay $15/hour.  Bernie and some of his colleagues believe in wealth redistribution, conjuring up images of Robin Hood stealing from the wealthy and giving it to the poor.  Walmart says the average wage of their hourly workers is $17.50.

Bernie and his pro socialism friends believe that people who have built successful business enterprises should be penalized for their success while capitalists believe that their success allows them to reinvest in their businesses and create new jobs and great new products and services.  Wages will rise as a result of supply and demand and right now, demand outweighs supply. Ask anyone who is hiring salespeople or computer software engineers and they'll tell you how much wages are increasing!

Not stated, but implied, is that minimum wage employees are forced into those low paying jobs and the wealthiest Americans are to blame.  Why can't low hourly wage workers seek and earn better paying jobs?  Is it lack of skills?  Lack of motivation?  Lack of commitment?  Lack of education? Lack of opportunity?  Lack of training?

Why not sales?  Selling is a profession that employs 16 million in the US alone and for most sales jobs, especially with today's lack of candidates, there is a laundry list of qualifications that are NOT required:

  • college degree (an archaeology degree won't be much help)
  • HS diploma (not usually required for B2C but usually required for B2B)
  • experience (lots of entry level sales roles available)
  • skills (they can be taught)
  • money (not many straight commission jobs being offered)
  • professional appearance (lots of inside sales roles to be filled)

Instead of wealth redistribution, why can't we offer entry level sales positions to all who are willing to do the work to raise their incomes from $7.50/hour to as much as $53,000?  According to Salary.com, that's the total average entry level sales compensation being paid right now.

There is no shortage of sales trainers out there so there would be plenty of help available to train inexperienced salespeople.  The government could even pay for some of those training programs. OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment accurately predicts sales success - even for those without sales experience! And every company has sales openings.

The single most common issue revealed in my daily emails is, "Dave, how can we get more salespeople into our recruiting pipeline?  Where can we find more sales candidates?  Why aren't salespeople responding to our job postings?"

I looked into some of the progress being made by 9 of my personal clients who are currently recruiting salespeople and discovered that despite the lack of candidates, in the last 12 months they have managed to assess 1,919 candidates, 20% were recommended, 25% were worthy of consideration, and 55% were not recommended.  Buried in those average recommendation rates, 2 companies had more than 85% of their candidates recommended and 2 had 0% recommended.  4 companies had more than 70% that were not recommended.  While difficulty levels will affect recommendation rates, that is surely not the case here.  The companies with high recommendation rates had job postings that described their ideal candidates while the companies with low recommendation rates had job postings that described Joe or Mary weak candidate.

You might not think that these recommendation rates would help much if only 45% of this group would be recommended or worthy but if we look at only the lowest difficulty levels - entry level - the combined rates will be closer to 75%.

There are ample opportunities to assimilate low hourly wage workers into B2C sales positions, have them assessed, hired, on boarded, trained and deployed.  On the other hand, wealth redistribution would cause massive layoffs, inhibit innovation, stifle R&D, limit consumer spending, stop the booming economy, crash the stock market and cause a major recession.  Other than that it's a terrific idea.

What do you think?  Add your comments to the LinkedIn discussion here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales assessments, bernie sanders, wealth redistribution

How to Know if You Are You Really Selling Consultatively

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 03, 2019 @ 20:06 PM

consultative-2

Most of the CEOs and sales leaders I speak with agree that their sales organizations need to be more effective at taking a consultative approach to selling. At the same time, they insist that they talk about it often and that their salespeople are doing OK with a consultative approach.  OMG's Sales Force Evaluation usually reveals that they aren't doing much more than talking about it, as their scores for the Consultative Seller competency are quite low.

How can you determine if you or your team are being effective at using a consultative approach?  I created this list of outcomes that would be true if your consultative approach was working effectively.  You and/or your salespeople are :

  1. Having much better, very different conversations
  2. Experiencing prospects who are much more engaged
  3. Witnessing your prospects becoming emotional
  4. Watching prospects take shortcuts to give you their business
  5. Being thanked for your help by your prospects
  6. Realizing that price is no longer an issue
  7. Finding it easier to get and keep the decision maker engaged throughout the sales process
  8. Seeing your sales cycle becoming shorter
  9. Getting excited over higher win rates
  10. Finding your competition becoming irrelevant
  11. Bonus - Closing occurs naturally.

Speaking of closing, Graham Hawkins shared a post on LinkedIn which listed all of the known closing techniques. He noted that his close rate is through the roof and he doesn't need to use any of those closes any longer because when you are selling consultatively, the sales close themselves.

He is completely correct because the top 5% of all salespeople in the world have mediocre scores for closing (55%) and very strong scores for consultative selling (77%).  Looking at this data another way, only 24% of the top 5% are strong closers but 60% are strong at selling consultatively.

If you're truly selling consultatively, you won't have a problem with the buyer journey either.  Whether you call it the buyer journey or the buyer-seller journey, there are things you need to consider.  

The buyer journey is a slippery slope. The journey is completely separate from the sales process,   When salespeople align with the journey, they become facilitators, and when they facilitate, they are the same as everyone else and become commoditized.  When salespeople use a consultative sales process, the buyer journey is completely neutralized.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, closing, buyer journey, win rates

How Top Salespeople Anticipate and Manage Resistance

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 29, 2019 @ 16:05 PM

anticipation

Last week Tom Hopkins shared a post on LinkedIn that resembled what I have said so many times.  He said, "The art of selling involves two jobs: Job One is to reduce sales resistance and the other is to increase sales acceptance."

Many readers left comments about the importance of relationships as a means to preventing resistance from going up.

I left a comment that said, "Thanks Tom.  Most salespeople fail to lower resistance because they lack the self-awareness to understand what it is that they might say or do, or how they might act that would raise resistance in the first place.  When salespeople can anticipate and manage resistance, they won't have to work so hard to reduce it so frequently.  All of the comments about the importance of developing relationships to lower resistance and increase acceptance are misguided.  Just look inside your own family dynamics to recognize that relationships don't eliminate or lower resistance.  It might be quite the opposite."

One reader asked me a great question, "How do you anticipate resistance?" 

I thought that was such a great question that we should discuss the topic more fully in this article. Are you familiar with the Carly Simon song from the 70's?  It was even more popular as the theme song for the Heinz Ketchup ads.  Ready?

A great starting point for this discussion is my short 2:34 video on managing resistance.  

So back to the question as to how you anticipate resistance.

Most salespeople are so bad at anticipating resistance that they are frequently doing one of two things:

  1. Missing the signs - their prospects are resistant and they are completely blind to it;
  2. Trying to overcome whatever resistance they do observe by becoming defensive and making the situation worse.

Our two-year old GoldenDoodle anticipates resistance better than that! 

Dinger

The Carly Simon song was, "Anticipation."

Our dog knows that when the rest of the family is out, and my phone plays the familiar sound from the Blink camera, they have returned home and he excitedly runs to the door.  He knows that after he comes back in the house from doing his business he'll get a bone and he sits and waits for it.  He knows that when all of us put our jackets on we'll be leaving the house and he runs into the bathroom where he'll spend the time sleeping.  He knows that when we turn off the news we'll be heading upstairs to bed and he leads the way.  He is a master of anticipation.

Unfortunately, most salespeople are a bit slower on the uptake as they frequently fail to recognize the patterns. 

One of the reasons for that is their poor listening skills. Only 25% of all salespeople emphasize listening over talking and it's no surprise that almost the identical percentage of salespeople listen effectively.  Those who aren't really listening won't hear the building resistance in a prospect's voice.  Salespeople don't listen because they are strategizing in their mind, thinking ahead, considering what's been said, scripting their next move, determining what their next question should be and generally not paying attention. It's not a big jump to go from lack of listening to lack of observing.  If they aren't paying attention via their listening, then they aren't paying attention via observation either. If they aren't observing, they won't see the changes in body language that could signal the building of resistance. When salespeople are busy thinking instead of paying attention, they are not controlling their emotions and staying in the moment as they should.  Only 37% of all salespeople are able to control their emotions.

Let's revisit the self-awareness issue.  Most salespeople aren't consciously aware of how prospects react when salespeople answer a question a certain way, ask a certain question, become defensive, begin blabbing their talking points, dodge questions, move the needle on the bullshit meter, or appear untrustworthy, all cases where their prospects could regularly become resistant.

You've undoubtedly heard the question, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Wikipedia states that this is a "philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception."  The same question is valid when applied to salespeople.  If a prospect becomes resistant and the salesperson doesn't see or hear it, was the prospect truly resistant?

Sales closing rates vary wildly by industry but generally range from as low as 10% to near 50%.  In its evaluations of 1,865,460 salespeople, salespeople scored an average of only 24% in the Closer Competency and only 6% of all salespeople have the Closer Competency as a strength. (See stats on all 21 Sales Core Competencies

Let's play a game of what if.

If 75% of salespeople are not really paying attention, it's reasonable to deduct that resistance goes up in at least half of their sales calls (37.5% of all calls assuming all salespeople make the same number of calls) without the salespeople knowing it.  Failed closings average 70%, and if resistance occurs 37.5% of the time, then in 26% of the cases, resistance is responsible for salespeople losing the sale.

Managing resistance is huge and Tom Hopkins was and is correct when he said that lowering resistance is job number 1.

There is no sales tactic that is easier to learn than how to lower resistance. It's a shame that for most salespeople, it is the sales equivalent of an archeology degree.  They aren't likely to use it.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, linkedin, Tom Hopkins, win rates, sales data

10 Reasons Why Salespeople Hallucinate

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 15, 2019 @ 14:05 PM

hallucinate

I was in the basement of our home looking for something when I saw it.  It moved left to right, low, between the stored Christmas trees.  I took another look and this time it moved right to left.  Each time I moved, it moved.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized it wasn't a critter but a shadow that I was casting.

I saw something that simply wasn't there.  A figment of my imagination.  You could even call it a hallucination.

Salespeople frequently have hallucinations where they think there is something there, like a great opportunity, and in reality, there isn't anything there.  Not even close.  And then there are the salespeople who don't see an opportunity when there is actually a great one hiding in plain site.

Let's talk about the many reasons that these scenarios occur.

Let's start with my top 10 reasons why salespeople hallucinate an opportunity where there is none:

  1. The prospect seemed to like them and was open
  2. The salesperson did so much talking that they failed to identify whether or not there was a compelling reason to buy
  3. The prospect didn't voice an objection so the salesperson assumed that they were a go
  4. The salesperson failed to differentiate but assumed they were effective
  5. The salesperson failed to thoroughly qualify and assumed that it was all systems go
  6. The sales manager did not inspect the opportunity or coach to the opportunity after it was updated in CRM
  7. The prospect was not comfortable sharing and the salesperson was not comfortable challenging that
  8. The prospect asked for a quote or proposal and the salesperson took that as a buying signal and went into facilitation mode
  9. The salesperson began with a demo and the prospect, who was not the decision maker, thought it was nice to have but not a must have
  10. The salesperson assessed all of the competition, the size of the company, how hard it would be to get the business and decided for the customer that it wasn't worth pursuing.

 If you or your salespeople are guilty of one or more of these selling sins, it's time to take professional selling more seriously.  Salespeople are hired and well paid to have sometimes difficult discovery conversations with sometimes difficult prospects.  Those who retreat to the office to quote are behaving like minimum wage facilitators.  Facilitating is easy while selling is challenging so do your job, push through the uncomfortable stuff and differentiate!

Coach your salespeople through all 10 of these difficult selling scenarios by attending our one-of-a-kind, two-day, Sales Leadership Intensive on June 4-5.  Two days of great training and discussion all oriented towards making you a master of sales coaching.  Visit http://kurlanassociates.com/sales-leadership-event.  As of May 15, 2019, we have 8 seats remaining and they won't last long! 

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, sales effectivnes, dka

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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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