9 Reasons Why Salespeople Lack the Urgency Necessary to Succeed

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 @ 04:09 AM


Mass.-Environmental-Police.jpg

I was in the right-hand lane of very slow moving traffic because of a lane closure ahead, marked by orange cones.  I was along side the cones in the lane where traffic was merging left.  All of a sudden, a police siren and flashing lights were upon me but I had nowhere to go.  Cars were in front of me and to the left of me with cones to the right and the cop was right on top of my rear bumper.  He moved into the lane closed off by the cone, rolled his window down and screamed, "Get out of the way!"

But, from what?

He stopped his Ford F150 along the guard rail inside the coned off lane, turned off his lights and sirens, and put his truck in park.  He was working a private detail, was 5 minutes late and was with the Massachusetts Environmental Police.  I couldn't believe it.  He turned on the lights and sirens, reserved for code 3 emergencies and traffic violations, just so that he could park - and he screamed at me.

You're probably wondering what in the world this scenario has to do with selling but it does, and in a big way.

There was money on the table and the cop was feeling tremendous urgency to make sure he didn't lose the money.

I coach a lot of sales leaders and their most common frustration is that they can't understand why their salespeople don't seem to have the same urgency as they did when they were selling. Their salespeople lack urgency when returning calls and emails, lack urgency booking appointments with people they've been asked to meet, lack urgency when it's time to follow up, lack urgency when the deal needs to be closed, and lack urgency building their pipelines.  The opposite of the cop. 

So while I found the cop's behavior unacceptable, it's exactly the behavior that money motivated salespeople will exhibit, sometimes to the point of rude and obnoxious.

In my experience, there are several possible reasons behind this lack of urgency.  They include, but aren't limited to these 9 reasons:

  • Expectations - their managers have not been crystal clear as to what exactly they expect their salespeople to do.
  • Need to be Liked - Their need for approval is very strong and they don't want to appear to be a pest or a nuisance which in their mind could cause the prospect to dislike them, so they back off.
  • Intrinsically Motivated - They are motivated by being part of something bigger than themselves, mastery, love of selling, and job satisfaction so the expected behavior is inconsistent with how they are motivated.
  • Fear of Failure - When salespeople are afraid of failing it causes a sort of paralysis as they ask themselves, what if I fail?
  • Rejection - Similar to the failure issue,  they are worried about being rejected and when they try to avoid being rejected, the results don't follow.
  • Lack of Desire - Their desire for sales success isn't strong enough to get them to do what needs to be done.
  • Lack of Commitment - They aren't willing to do whatever it takes when what it takes is more difficult, scary or inconsistent with their beliefs.
  • Compensation - Their comp plan is weighted heavily toward salary so they are already being paid - whether or not they do what you need and expect them to do.
  • Perfectionist - Perfectionists don't do anything until they are certain it will be done perfectly.  In the mean time, they procrastinate.

Would you like to suggest a 10th possible reason?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, closing, urgency, Pipeline, follow-up calls, police

The Unusual Case of Arturo - How He Sabotaged His Own Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 07:07 AM

ArturoOne of my clients owns a Mexican company which provides phone, video conferencing and surveillance equipment to integrators and end-users.  During the height of the violence in Mexico, Arturo was kidnapped and held, bound and gagged, at gunpoint.  He was released - one of the few, fortunate survivors - but the emotional scars ran deep.  It took months for him to recover from the post-traumatic stress and return to work - selling again - and I have been coaching him for the past few months.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for Arturo and the courage that he has demonstrated to once again face the world.

During our last few conversations, he has had a huge backlog of follow-up calls to make - as many as 150 at one point - on known opportunities.  We worked on time management, scheduling a specific date and time with a prospect for the follow-up call, identifying the strongest opportunties and not wasting time on the weaker opportunities, being more effective at qualifying, blocking out time in his calendar to make follow-up calls, etc.  In the end, the list of opportunities that required follow-up continued to grow.

When I learned that he still hadn't rectified the problem I asked for an example of a follow-up call which he needed to make, but didn't.  I was amazed at what I heard.  

He had a fairly large opportunity scheduled - in his calendar as I had suggested - for follow-up.  He didn't make the call and of course, the prospect didn't call him either.  Interestingly, Arturo was making all of his 1st calls without any problem; however, once he developed a relationship and created an opportunity, he was developing call anxiety before the follow-up call.  Instead of fearing rejection while doing the hard work - making 1st calls - he was struggling with being rejected at the end of the sales cycle, causing him to avoid the calls all together.

Arturo is not the only person with this issue.  For months, Arturo has been sabotaging his closing efforts and for the first time, finally understands why his failure to follow-up has been occurring.

Solving the problem was actually quite easy.  I explained to Arturo that his prospects were wondering, "If he doesn't follow up when he is trying to get the business, what kind of follow-up will I get after he has the business?  He doesn't appear to care very much or be very reliable, so I don't think I will buy from him."

Arturo is a proud man and when he understood the implications, the embarassment of the consequences was much greater than the discomfort from the fear of rejection.  I told him to make a sign that says, "Choose Success over Discomfort."  The fear won't soon disappear, but he will take action in spite of it.

Congratulations Arturo - I expect your sales to quadruple!

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales personality, increase sales, overcoming rejection, follow-up calls, sales case history

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years.  Dave's Blog earned a Bronze Medal in 2016 and this article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016. Read more about Dave.

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