Great Example of Why Sales Success Is Not Always Transferable

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 @ 09:04 AM

experience

Would a NFL Quarterback make a good MLB pitcher?  Would a star MLB hitter be a great Pro Golfer?  Would an all-star NBA Center be an effective Lacrosse player?

Right now, an event is occurring on the world stage that shows, in a very persuasive way, why success in sales isn't always transferrable from one company, industry or role to another.

For example, a startup storage technology company hired all the salespeople they could get from the most well-known and well-respected company in their space.  The leadership team expected that these experienced and credible salespeople would leverage the new company's great new technology and cause sales to take off like a rocket for Storageville (made up name).  It didn't happen.

Another company hired a Sales VP from a well-known Fortune 1000 company and believed that his experience would make it easy for him to build a top-performing sales organization like the one he ran at Fortuneville (made up name).  It didn't happen.

These two examples aren't exceptions to the rule.  They are the rule.  But the rule to what?  I'll explain the context for the rule and explain the event that serves as such a great example.

In our first example, a start-up - that means UNDERDOG - hired salespeople from the #1 company in their space.  The problem with salespeople who work for the biggest and best companies in the world is that they don't have to be very good salespeople.  They don't encounter much resistance because they rarely face opposition to a first meeting and often have the red carpet rolled out for them when they arrive.  They don't actually need to sell because buying from them is the safe decision and buyers don't get fired for choosing #1.  And they don't need to sell value because their company's deep pockets allow them to discount and "buy" market share.  When those salespeople move over to the startup they quickly find themselves overmatched for what they are about to encounter.  Suddenly, prospects don't want to schedule meetings, are very resistant, believe there is tremendous risk in trying something new, and won't commit to anything.  The salespeople, never having faced this level of resistance before, don't really know how to overcome or manage it and they quickly fail in a very big way.

In our second example, the hotshot VP arrives with much fanfare but quickly learns that while expectations are great, resources are scarce and he has one fewer layer of management between him and his team.  He is not a roll up your sleeves kind of guy and hasn't actually performed the kind of coaching that this sales team requires to help them overcome the resistance that he never had to face.  While the average tenure of a Sales VP is around 18 months, he's gone after just 10 and the company is back to the drawing board.

And then, the biggest and most obvious example of all.  An individual who successfully ran a huge enterprise unexpectedly changed industries, roles and organizations.  He was the sole decision maker at his previous company but now he has a much larger and empowered leadership team and can no longer make the decisions without support from others. He trusted his family to the most important leadership roles at his prior company but he has struggled to hire and retain leaders that are aligned with his vision in the new organization.  Everyone in his prior company was on the same team and supported and executed the business plan. In the new organization, there are those who seek to undermine his authority, goals and plan, and he has enemies and opponents actually working for him.   

Only time will tell whether this person achieves the same level of success as President of the United States or he goes up in flames and fails to complete his term in Governmentville (made up name).  But make no mistake about it.  On the public stage for all to see is the greatest example of how success in one company or industry does not necessarily translate to success in another.  The challenges are different, the resources are different and the levels of resistance vary most of all.

The next time you decide to hire, my 3 rules of thumb will make your experience simpler and more successful:

  1. Target candidates who have already done what you need them to do.  If you are an UNDERDOG then find someone who has already done exactly what you need for another UNDERDOG.
  2. Only you can determine whether or not you like someone well enough for them to join your team.  Use OMG to help you select those who will succeed in a sales, sales management or sales leadership candidates at your company.  It's been the most accurate and predictive sales specific assessment on the planet for 7 consecutive years.
  3. Assess immediately after candidates complete an online application.  Use the assessment's recommendations to determine who you will invest time interviewing.  The worst thing you can do is fall in love with a candidate who later turns out to be not recommended.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, hiring salespeople, predictive, sales assessments, sales success, Donald Trump

5 Keys to Get Prospects to Trust You and Then Buy From You

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 @ 10:11 AM

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For most of 2017 those of us in the US have been inundated with political news.  That means lots of talking points (or spin) and of course talking points and selling go hand and hand, right? 

Maybe. 

While catching up with the latest news during the Thanksgiving break, I heard talking points from both sides of the political spectrum. I was very disturbed with the lack of facts in those talking points.  First we'll discuss the lack of facts and then we'll discuss how to make sure your talking points hit home with your prospects.

Last week the political topic was tax reform and hosts and their guests were obsessed with making the other side not only wrong, but depending on who was speaking, making sure we knew that those on the other side of the aisle are very bad people.

The Republicans bragged about the great tax cut for all Americans and how tax savings for companies will create jobs and economic growth.  Well, it is a cut but not that big, and not for all Americans. My companies will get tax breaks but they won't be significant enough to pay another 6-figure salary. I will pay even more in personal income tax, not less. 

The Democrats say that the middle class will pay more, corporations will be the big winners and that tax reform is nothing but a tax break for the rich because of the repeal of the estate tax.  Well, big corporations will win but when big companies win we all win.  A CEO's job is to use profits to grow the company and that means jobs and expansions.  As for the death tax, that money was already taxed, probably at one of the highest rates, so that tax was completely unfair in the first place.

Who's right?  It doesn't matter.  It's worth saying again.  It doesn't matter who is right.

The takeaway is that even one false argument discredits the entire argument.  When the Democrats say it's a tax break for the rich, who already pay 70% of the taxes, that is an out and out lie.  When Republicans say it's a huge tax break for the middle class, who live pay check to pay check, that is an out and out lie. 

It only takes one lie for people to stop listening to the bullshit. 

When Trump tweets something that is untrue, instead of being guilty of being incorrect on that one issue, it makes him a liar for all time.  When Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi make stuff up, like, "This bill will kill millions of Americans" in response to the proposed healthcare bill they disagree with, that makes them liars.  Not just about this one thing, but for all time.  What's interesting to me is that Trump supporters seem to know but don't really care when he lies while those aligned with Schumer and Pelosi seem to believe their lies.  Politics is all about whose lies attract the most support.

That brings us back to selling.

Not only must your prospects believe you and trust you for all time, but they must also give you their money and money changes everything.  They want value and if they believe you less than they believe your competitor - whether or not that's fair - your competitor will win.

Make these five changes in order to build trust and credibility:

Talking points - Eliminate your talking points!  Prospects recognize talking points as the hard sell so you are better to allow them make up their own talking points about you, your company and your products and services.  Read this for much more on why you shouldn't use talking points.

Facts - You can't be mostly true.  Selling with integrity requires you to always be truthful.  Read this for the one exception to being honest.

Testimonials - Your prospects will view your customers as authentic and believable because they already gave you their money and their story will be trusted.  Leverage your customers to talk about your honesty and integrity.  Isn't that what prospects want from a reference?  "Did Dave do what he said he would do?"  "Were the results what you expected?"  "How was Dave with your sales leaders and salespeople?"  "Did they find him helpful?"  "Would you use Dave again?"  Read this article for more on giving references.

Resistance - the single most important thing you can do when selling is to be aware of and ready to lower your prospect's resistance.  Period.  Nothing else matters if your prospect's resistance is high.  Read this article on how to manage and lower resistance.

Selling - Stop selling! Begin to have meaningful conversations that get your prospects to share their compelling reason to buy and buy from you.  Read this article for more on how to be more effective with your consultative approach to sales.

Image copyright iStock

Topics: Dave Kurlan, credibility, Trust of Salespeople, Donald Trump, talking points, nancy pelosi, chuck schumer

It's OK for Salespeople to Lie When This Happens

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 @ 23:10 PM

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This new world we're all living in is getting downright scary.  It's time to talk about selling in the context of this combustible culture but before I get started, a simple request to the haters on the left and the haters on the right.  You are invited to read something else.  I don't want to spend the next week responding to hate comments.

As I was saying, it's scary out there and while the bad stuff has begun affecting businesses, it won't be long before it's affecting salespeople but more on that in a minute.  And promise that you'll read this article to the end instead of jumping to a conclusion before I make the final point.

You might have missed this story about the owner of Dave's Soda and Pet Food.   Dave was a beloved business person in his community when customers suddenly abandoned him, stopped buying from his stores and started hating him on social media.  Why? Because he posed for a picture with the President signing an executive order.  His business was ruined - not because he is a Trump Supporter - he isn't - but because he was in a picture with Trump and people assume that he supported Trump's policies for healthcare.  And how about the Arizona restaurant that was forced to close because it ran a pro-Trump post on its Facebook page and their employees began receiving death threats?

What about the rash of CEO's that were shamed into resigning from Trump's business Advisory council?  They are patriots, love our country, come from both sides of aisle, believed they could help, but caved into the pressure coming from both social media and big media.

Now before you jump to conclusions, I'm not taking sides, this isn't a post in support of Trump nor is this a post to criticize him.  I am simply sounding the alarm over  what will probably happen next.  Based on how crazy things are becoming for businesses, salespeople are next.  Consider this.

What will happen when salespeople whose views might be very liberal, call on and meet with CEO's whose views might be very conservative?  What if the CEO has a picture of Trump on the office wall?

What will happen when a salesperson from a rural rust belt town ventures into the office of a liberal Silicon Valley CEO?  What if she has a picture of Hillary or Nancy on the wall?

Selling disconnects aren't new.  The 5 listed below have been around for decades: 

  • Prospects in Maine don't buy from salespeople who aren't from there.
  • Salespeople from NYC or NJ often struggle selling in the Midwest.
  • Salespeople with a dominant kinesthetic learning style struggle when selling to prospects whose dominant learning style is visual and vice versa.
  • Detail oriented salespeople struggle with big-picture prospects and vice-versa.
  • A poorly dressed salesperson will struggle with a prospect who dresses like a banker and thinks that everyone else should too.

In other words, when prospects sense that "she isn't like me" they pull back and don't buy.

And now we have this awful cultural and political divide which seems to be growing deeper and wider with each passing day. I hate what's happening out there.  The media amplifies every single one of these stories to get anyone who will listen all worked up over it, they get political opponents to speak out, and then the media runs and amplifies the responses to create additional angst (or ratings).

So what should a salesperson do when a prospect asks, "What do you think about all of this craziness in Washington and with our politicians and their policies?" 

And why might the prospect ask?  It is probably because he or she wants to speak out against the other side and it would be cool to rant with a like-minded person.  If you're on the same side you'll be fine, but what if you're not?  And are you willing to risk losing a sales opportunity because you were on the wrong side of the rant?

It's not cool to lie in sales. But I'm suggesting that this is the one time when a lie will do you good!  Resist the temptation to speak your mind and just say, "I'm actually an independent, not very political, and I try to ignore all the craziness."

Of course, if that's what you actually do, even better.  But if you do have a strong opinion, and you don't know for absolute certain if it runs counter to your customer or prospect, you have my permission to tell a well justified fib.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Donald Trump, hillary clinton, sales and politics, nancy pelosi

Perhaps Hope is a Selling Strategy After All!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

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Image Copyright 2Jenn

You've heard that hope is not a strategy - and it isn't a strategy if you're sitting there saying to yourself, "I hope I win this deal..."

As you know, hope was a big news topic this week when James Comey revealed that President Trump said, "I hope you can let this go."  All kinds of partisan and legal strategies will be discussed relative to the meaning, intent and context for the word hope.

Earlier this week, Brad Ferguson, a long-time OMG Partner in Arizona said, "They'll meet with you based on hope and buy from you based on belief."  You'll find three short paragraphs with links below to clarify the ideal way to strategize by utilizing hope and belief.

It should go without saying that for a prospect to schedule a meeting based on hope you must have the right kind of first phone conversation where you identified an issue with which you might be able to help.  See this article for more on how to have a successful first phone conversation.

For a prospect to buy based on belief they must find you credible, likable, caring, relatable, expert and trustworthy.  I call this SOB Quality and this short video explains what it is and how you can easily achieve it.

Hope, as a significant selling strategy, is when you intentionally abandon all hope of getting the business. To better understand how, and why you must accomplish that, read more here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Closing Sales, cold call, Donald Trump, james comey

Managing and Overcoming Resistance is the Key to Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 01, 2017 @ 13:03 PM

[Another disclaimer - this is not a political post and I am not taking sides. I am simply using an example from President Trump's recent address to the joint session of congress to illustrate my message about managing resistance when selling.]

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Image Copyright SIphotography 

If you watched the address on Tuesday evening or the news coverage on Wednesday morning, you couldn't help but notice that there were three separate and distinct audiences in the hall.  On the right, joyous republicans.  On the left, resistant democrats.  And in the gallery, a mixed group of guests.

Prior to his speech, the media were saying that for Trump's Presidency to be successful,  it was crucial that he must "sell his vision" to America and Congress. 

There were mainly positive reviews of his speech and  most pointed out the distinction between the republican and democrat audience.  But the reviews of the speech aside, did he really sell it?  Continue reading for my analysis.

The reality is that the President only "sold it" to Republicans as well as those Americans who thought his message resonated.  He didn't sell it to the democrats seated in the hall last night.  He didn't sell it to the haters and he didn't sell it to the left - they weren't buying.

Several years ago, I recorded a two-minute video that accurately describes what happened.  Watch it now and then I'll add a few more thoughts.

Since the Republicans were predisposed to like his message, their resistance was low and Trump didn't need to be great last night.  He only had to not screw it up.  

The Democratic Senators and Congressmen were predisposed to dislike the message and since their resistance was sky high there wasn't anything that Trump could have said or done last night to change that.  Even when he modified his position and included policy that Democrats traditionally favor, their resistance remained high.  When Democratic lawmakers were asked how they felt about some of Trump's message being more along the lines of the Democrat's agenda, they criticized him for chaning his position.    That's what real resistance looks like.

Most salespeople encounter prospects with that kind of resistance only when they are making cold calls and then, only because most of them are so inept at lowering resistance! When salespeople finally get an opportunity to meet or schedule follow up calls with their prospects, resistance is rarely close to what we saw last night. But when it is, the following steps must be taken for there to be any hope of success:

  • Be aware of the resistance
  • Stop what you are doing
  • Agree and Take the necessary steps to lower the resistance
  • Offer comforting messages that your prospect can agree with
  • Confirm that resistance has been lowered
  • Ask and receive permission to continue
  • Remain aware of any change in resistance
  • Rinse and Repeat if necessary

Don't resist dealing with resistance!  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, resistance to change, sales resistance, Donald Trump

The Benefits of Completely Bashing Your Competition

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 @ 16:10 PM

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Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo 

The circus will be coming to an end in just under 2 weeks.  Everyone has seen at least some of the show and some have seen the entire production, including reruns, reviews, commentary and highlight videos.  In the past 60 days I'm certain that even if you don't live in the United States, you've seen at least part of the circus.  Yes, even you.  I'm referring to the circus known as the 2016 Presidential Election. It has moved from ugly to downright terrifying as we watch two presidential candidates slinging the most horrible attacks on each other.  And the worst part is that most of those attacks are well deserved.  But there is an important selling lesson we can take from all of this.  Does bashing your competition ever work?

While it was expected that we would hear each candidate attack the others in their 3 debates, on Twitter, and in their television advertising, we didn't expect it at the recent Al Smith Dinner in New York City.  It was a festive environment with completely different expectations, but after the two candidates finished telling their best jokes, they each went on the attack. The attacks were not well received and there was even some booing.

Let's take look at how they could have exposed each other's weaknesses and liabilities during a debate and then we'll discuss how you can apply these lessons to selling.

Let's pretend that we are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  For most of us, this will be an incredible test of our acting ability.  It will probably be a disaster.  

Trump has a YUGE supply of potential material about Hillary's lack of integrity, abundance of corruption and foreign policy failures. If he attacks her she will attack back and put him on the defensive and most people find him unlikable when he defends himself.

Hillary has a book full of material about Donald's business dealings, refusal to release his tax returns, lack of knowledge about policy, bad temperament and treatment of women.  If she attacks him, his return attacks will be even more vicious.  There's that as well as the fact that most people don't find Hillary very likable and when she attacks it makes it even worse.

We know what it looks like, sounds like and feels like when they attack each other and we are no longer rooting for them to do so.  We are cringing.  So how would it sound if they proceeded to expose weaknesses and vulnerabilities without attacking?

Donald might say, "I like Hillary, I invited her to my wedding, Bill and I were friends, she has a long history of service to our citizens, and she has always done her very best.  At the same time, most of you have probably heard or read the news reports detailing Hillary's alleged crimes, corruption, lies, cover ups, and deceit.  My opinion about that doesn't really matter, and you can form your own opinions.  Just do the research. Look it up.  Instead, I want to use my time to talk about the issues.  Let's talk about how my plan for a tax reduction will help the economy and benefit the middle class."

Hillary might say, "I've been an admirer of Donald Trump for 20 years.  I've come to know his family and I like them a lot.  We don't always agree but he has supported my campaigns in the past and I have a great deal of respect for him.  However, a lot of people are concerned about Donald's refusal to release his tax returns, his lack of transparency, all of those lawsuits against the failed Trump University, his uneven record in business, the video from a Hollywood set, and the 11 allegations of unwanted sexual advances.  You can make up your own mind about his values and behavior, but I tonight want to talk about my plan to fix Obamacare."

There is a huge difference between an attack and pointing people in the direction of commonly available news stories.  There is a huge difference between complimenting and name calling. You've heard the names and I believe that they are unnecessary.

Applied to selling, it means that you must be complimentary to your competition, ask questions about any dissatisfaction rather than pointing out problems, and don't say that you're better or that they're worse.

For example, at Objective Management Group (OMG) we are often asked to compare our sales force evaluations and sales candidate assessments to other assessment brands.  We always agree that the other brand is a good and accurate assessment.  Then we mention the category the other brand is part of.  For example, Myers-Briggs and Caliper are excellent Personality Assessments. DISC and Predictive Index are excellent Behavioral Styles assessments.  While we compliment the brand or the company, we use criticize the category - personality or behavioral styles - to point out that neither type of assessment was built for sales, neither type is predictive of sales success, and neither type measures the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  We always say that the assessment they mentioned is good, and that if they were using (a personality assessment) to determine how well an individual fit within their culture that would be a good use.  Or if they were using (a behavioral styles assessment) to understand the best way to work with and manage an individual that would be a good use.  But if they wanted to accurately predict whether a candidate would succeed in this particular sales role, at this particular company, selling into this particular market, against their particular competition, and at their specific price points, only OMG has the track record, predictive validity and sales expertise do that.

Bashing the competition - even in Politics - doesn't lead to very good outcomes and the same is true in sales.  Play nice!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, election, sales assessments, objective management group, Donald Trump, beating the competition, hillary clinton

A Sales Expert's Take on Who is Most Deplorable

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 @ 06:09 AM

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I was home recovering from a bout of asthmatic bronchitis last week and I got a chance to watch some news shows on television.  That's when I realized how incredibly angry I am about the 2016 US presidential election!

Earlier this month I broke the business rule about not talking about religion when I revealed that God was my greatest secret of sales success.  I thought I might be criticized but instead I received dozens of supportive and encouraging emails.  So, if I can break that rule, why not go one step further and break the rule about politics too?  Specifically, I want to share my opinion on who is the most deplorable and who this entrepreneur/sales expert will support in November. I'll probably lose some readers.  I'm sure the trolls will find me and have their say.  But I'm willing to take that chance because what is taking place right now is completely crazy!

I'll start with Hillary.  I don't like her,  I don't like what she has done, and I don't like the prospects for business if she becomes the next president.  Her policies are bad for business and since this is a business Blog, I'll stick with that.

Donald is next.  I don't like him either but I do love what he stands for.  He stands for change, he's from the outside and he knows how to get things done.  His policies will create jobs so a Trump presidency will be good for businesses.  I'll stick with that.  By the way, back in May I wrote about the Rise of Trump for LinkedIn (a sales article, not an article in support of Trump).

So who is most deplorable?  Hillary has done some pretty deplorable things.  Trump has said some deplorable things.  But if you want to know who is the most deplorable, it's not them. It's the media.

You probably don't have the time or inclination to watch a Trump or Clinton campaign speech.  You might simply be reading headlines or getting little sound bites each day. That's what the media wants because your lack of attention allows the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC, the biggest Clinton supporters, to take Trump's sound bites out of context and create some powerful anti-Trump headlines that make him out to be a racist.  The Washington Post writes opinion pieces based on these sound bites and every one of those articles is written to make sure we have the appropriate amount of hate for Trump and assure that Clinton gets elected.  CNN puts a political panel together - usually three Clinton supporters who talk about how horrible Donald Trump is. Two Trump supporters are then asked for their responses but are rarely allowed to actually state their opinions.  The hosts cut them off, badger and bully them, and try to make them say what the hosts want them to say.  Don't believe me?

Watch Don Lemon of CNN refuse to let Corey Lewandowski talk,

Watch Chris Matthews of MSNBC bully Rudy Giuliani. 

Watch Don Lemon badger Kellyann Conway on CNN.

And yes, Fox News will sometimes do the same thing - letting Trump supporters speak while shutting down Clinton supporters.  but as you can see in the comments below, this article proves that Fox was anti-Trump throughout the primaries.

When those same media outlets had the opportunity to press Clinton on the email scandal, they simply reported on it. You didn't read opinion pieces in the Washington Post, and CNN and MSNBC kept asking why we were still talking about it.  "Let's move on!" they said.

This is really scary.  This article shows that Google, Apple, Instagram and Twitter are manipulating searches to hide negative Clinton information.  And this is probably the most revealing information of all.  This video proves that the internet is manipulating what you read about Hillary and Donald.

I really don't care which candidate you support and I hope you don't care which candidate I support.  

On the other hand, I really hope you care that the media has so much power to change the narrative.  Last week, CNN's polls showed that Trump had taken the lead over Clinton both nationally and in some swing states.  But CNN spun that around and instead of talking about Trump's momentum, they talked about how he can't possibly win and what it will take to stop him.

Here's an example that is so fresh I'm sure most of you saw it or read it. Trump recently suggested that if Hillary is anti-gun, then perhaps her bodyguards should be disarmed.  If you heard the entire context for his comment then you would know that he was saying that if bad guys are the only ones with guns then we will be in even more trouble than we are now.  The media turned that into Trump's second call for violence against Hillary.  And yes, the same thing happened the first time.  Seriously, the media has put more words into his mouth than there is pollution in the Ohio River.

Today, new polls show Trump increasing his national lead to 7 points and being just one state away from the presidency.  However the NY Times shows Hillary with a 2 point lead.  How can that be?  They are reporting on poll results from 2 weeks ago and not including Gary Johnson in the results!  

When I was growing up, the media consisted of radio, television, newspapers and magazines.  Reporters reported on the story - they weren't part of the story.  Today, the media extends to everything on the Internet they are forcing their agenda on the American people.  It's propoganda, which I wrote about in July on LinkedIn

So I will cast my vote for Donald Trump because he represents what America needs, even if America doesn't particularly like him and the media is hell bent on keeping him out of office.  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Donald Trump, cnn, don lemon, chris matthews, media, hillary clinton, msnbc, washington post

Why Salespeople Need to Negotiate and 10 Other Timely Sales Lessons

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 05, 2016 @ 12:05 PM

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Regular readers know that I have written more than 1,400 articles to help them better Understand the Sales Force.  Some of the articles won awards.  A few were stinkers.  I intended for all of them to be very helpful and I believe they are.  Over the years, some of my favorite articles were completely overlooked, getting relatively few reads compared with the most popular articles that were viewed by tens of thousands of people.

Today I wrote an article for LinkedIn that not only explains Donald Trump's rise to presumptive GOP nominee, but identifies ten, great selling lessons associated with his rise.  It doesn't matter whether you love, hate or are neutral to Trump, I invite you to read my observations and lessons and contribute to the conversation.  You can read the Trump article here.

Speaking of lessons, when salespeople miss key milestones in the sales process – and they are often missed – it leads to proposals and/or quotes that rely on guesswork instead of facts, assumptions instead of agreements, and hope instead of acceptance. When salespeople send proposals to their prospects, they hope the proposal will do the selling for them, but it causes one of four things to happen instead. An article I wrote that appears today on the Selling Power Blog identifies those missed milestones and the four things that happen instead.  You can read the Selling Power article here.  

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales lessons, time management, negotiating, sales groups on linkedin, Donald Trump, sellingpower, sales milestones

This Simple Strategy Will Sell Your ROI and Value Proposition Every Time

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 07, 2016 @ 06:03 AM

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Most salespeople can calculate ROI and explain it to their prospects, but many of them find it equally difficult to articulate that same ROI after they have been presented with a price objection.  They become defensive, review features and benefits, and make the situation worse for themselves instead of better.  We are going to review the case history of a salesperson who had an $85,000 solution that would increase company revenue from $10 million to $20 million.  Despite promising a $10 million gain, he was unable to overcome what he heard from his prospect:  "That's too much money!"  In this article, we willl discuss how it's done.

The prospective client had 30 outlets and needed to grow from $10 million to $20 million, the magic number for the CEO.  At $20 million, volume and pre-payment discounts would increase his bottom line by 10 points or an additional $2 million over and above what the $10 million in organic growth would produce.  $20 million was also the key milestone to sell the business to a strategic buyer and get a 10:1 return on EBITDA.  If ever there was a compelling reason to move forward, this CEO had it.  Unfortunately he was looking at the $85,000 cost as a line item rather than an investment to achieve a $10 million return. Rex, the salesperson, was unable to get him to see the $85,000 through that lens, so he turned to me for help.

I asked Rex what the prospect's average project sold for and learned that it was $35,000.

When you put that in context, that is 10 additional projects, per outlet, per year, to capture the additional $10 million.  And if we break it down even further, it's each outlet, selling just 3 additional projects, every 4 months.  At a 30% margin, it requires only 8 projects in total to break-even or 16 for a 100% return on investment.  That can be achieved when half of their outlets sell 1 additional project in a year!  So what does that tell us?

Rex never put this in context or he would have closed this in about 2 minutes flat.

It also means that the prospect had probably not done the math either.  If he had, then he was betting that Rex's solution wouldn't help half of the 30 outlets sell even one additional project over the entire year.  Rex was betting that his solution would help each of the 30 outlets sell ten additional projects over the entire year.

Articulating this particular ROI is simply about having a discussion on the point spread!

Did the prosopect think so little of the solution that he really believed it couldn't help 30 outlets capture 16 additional projects between them in a year, or did the prospect fail to do the math?

Most of the time, selling has little to do with features, benefits, products or services.  It always has a great deal to do with math - the quantification of the compelling reason to buy - in this case $10 million - and the articulation of the value proposition in the context of the prospect's real world situation - 30 outlets capturing a total of 90 additional projects between them over a year.

Selling is all about the math.

For example, the candidates in the 2016 US Presidential primaries have been presenting their plans and much of that revolves around math. I am not making a political statement here; I'm simply providing three examples of math used by the candidates in their attempts to support (or not support) their plans. The challenge for most of them is that their math doesn't always work and that leads to issues with credibilty, but not necessarily their popularity!

Bernie's plan is about free everything, but when you do the math, free will actually cost taxpayers $1.5 trillion per year.  That math doesn't work.  Donald has used the $58 billion trade deficit with Mexico to demonstrate how he will use that as leverage to get Mexico to pay for a wall.  That math works.  Ted wants a 16% flat tax.  I didn't know if that math worked, so I did some research.  I found that the total of American wages paid is around $10 trillion and the total of corporate revenue is about $16 trillion so at 16% that would generate around $4 trillion in revenue to the US Governement.  The 2016 US Federal budget is $3.5 trillion so that would leave $500 billion surplus to pay down the debt.  If that surplus could be sustained, the debt would take 36 years to pay off!  So does that math work?  Only to balance the budget.  

Learn to do the math and you'll make it so much easier for your prospects to understand your value proposition as it pertains to them.

Watch this 45-minute training video on Selling Value to capture the other pieces of the value selling puzzle.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, roi, EBITDA, building value, selling value, Donald Trump, ted cruz, bernie sanders, unique value proposition

Latest Debate Had Some Great Sales Leadership Examples

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 @ 07:12 AM

carly.jpg

You didn't need to watch too much of the debate or watch for too long before hearing some bizarre examples of what some of the GOP candidates would do if they were elected as the Chief Leader of the United States.  Carly Fiorina doubled down and said she simply would not talk to world leaders, like Vladimir Putin, until she could talk to him from a position of strength.  Chris Christie said he would draw a line in the sand and if Putin crossed it with one of his war planes, Christie would shoot it down.  Trump said he would kill the families of terrorists.  Rand Paul was smug - he knows more than anyone else on the stage and has known it for longer.  Cruz and Rubio debated details of the law.  Carson said the right things - all night - but has very little in the way of outward presence.  He isn't animated enough, passionate enough, or dynamic enough to be the Chief Leader.  Jeb Bush stumbled.  So out of this cast of characters, who was the "leader" who didn't say the wrong thing?I believe that it was Chris Christie with his line in the sand.  He's talking about setting clear expectations and holding accountable those who didn't meet those expectations.  Trump was talking about that too, but Trump's KPI is not within the law!  Christie's line in the sand is a no-fly zone in Syria - and a violation would be a very reasonable KPI to which every country could and should be held accountable.

In other news, today, Rapid Learning Institute sponsored two presentations where I commented on the hidden reasons why your next sales candidate might be a bust.  Both sessions were a big hit!  They posted this article which talked about the takeaways from the first session. 

Evan Carmichael, of EvanCarmichael.com, a great site for entrepreneurs, named me one of the Top 100 Leadership Experts to follow on Twitter, coming in at #59.

Last week, I posted the top 5 Articles from my blog in 2015.  Readers voted and the winner is:  Rebuttal to What Elite Salespeople Do Differently 

This relatively short and simple article turned into the most lively online debate that I have witnessed in the 10 plus years of authoring this blog and I was very proud of all the supporters who took the time to write, explain their positions, and set the record straight.  Thank you all for reading in 2015.

Finally, TopSalesWorld.com is holding their annual Top Sales & Marketing Awards for 2015.  This year I am proud to be nominated and be a finalist in 7 categories:

  1. Top Sales and Marketing Article
  2. Top Sales and Marketing Blog Post
  3. Top Sales and Marketing Blog
  4. Top Sales and Marketing eBook
  5. Top Sales and Marketing Webinar
  6. Top Sales Assessment Tool (Objective Management Group/OMG)
  7. Top Sales and Marketing Thought Leader

The winners will be announced in the December 22 issue of Top Sales Magazine. If you don't subscribe (it's free) you can subscribe here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, topsalesworld, chris christie, GOP and sales, Evan Carmichael, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina

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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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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