The One Sales Data Point That Varies Wildly

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 @ 06:06 AM


In my last article, we discussed big data and big lies in the sales assessment space and touched on OMG's 230,000,000 data points.  Most of the data points are very consistent across cultures and continents, but there is one that varies wildly depending on the role, the country, and the culture.

One of the many OMG findings is "Enjoys Selling."  Recently, we performed an analysis of those salespeople who had Strong Desire and Strong Commitment toward sales success, but who did not Enjoy Selling and were not Motivated.  It is a very rare combination - we see it in only 1 in 400 salespeople - except in countries, cultures and companies where the emphasis is on hiring entry-level salespeople.  Then, the rate of occurrence can be as high as 1 in 200.  Still rare, but twice as likely to occur.  To put this in context, fewer than 5% of salespeople don't enjoy selling, and fewer than 5% aren't motivated.  But only 1 in 400 have both of these as weaknesses, yet still have both strong Desire and Commitment.  Who are these salespeople?  How can they be committed and have strong desire, but not enjoy it or be motivated? Intrigued?

I don't have a scientific answer for this question, but I do have some possibilities.

Some feel obligated to sell.  They are in a family business and they are part of the family.  They feel obligated to a parent, grandparent, spouse, uncle, aunt or in-law.

Some are selling for the first time and they want to succeed - at whatever they do. They are pushing through - not because they enjoy selling and feel motivated to sell - because they have a need to get their careers off to a good start.

Some are aging career salespeople and need to succeed because they are nearing retirement.  They no longer enjoy selling and no longer feel motivated to sell, but they are pushing through out of necessity.

So if this anomaly represents such a small percentage of salespeople, why did I bother to write about it?

Because you might have one of these people working for or applying for a job one day and you should understand the hidden factors that will have an affect on their results.

According to recent Gallop research, there is a 20% improvement in sales when companies select the right salespeople.  OMG can help you select the right salespeople with the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment and the one that has been named the Top Sales Candidate Assessment for 5 consecutive years.

The Tenfold Blog quoted 20 Business and Sales Leaders on what they believe is the #1 Trait of Superstar Salespeople.  It's very difficult to narrow selling down to 1 trait, but 20 of us did exactly that and you can see what we all had to say.  As a reader of this blog, I don't believe that you will be able to agree with half of the 20 quotes!  Compare that with this article on the 10 Differences Between Sales Winners and Losers.

Finally, the list of the Top Sales Books for Summer Reading was released and you can get that here.  Yes, my best-seller, Baseline Selling is on the list again.  When I wrote this article on Sunday evening, it was sitting at #13 on the list of best-selling sales books on despite being published 11 years ago! 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales selection, sales success, gallop

The Impact of Coaching Salespeople and Sales Managers

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 07, 2010 @ 12:10 PM

coachingYesterday I presented at the Sales EdgeOne Three-Day Sales Summit and my co-presenter, Donal Daly, cited a statistic from Gallop: Organizations that use coaches get a 26% ROI from that effort.  That statistic surprised me in two ways.  First, my experience is that the organizations that we provide coaching to perform much better than that (the quoted statistic is not 26% growth, it's 26% ROI!); and second, if more companies were aware of that statistic, they would embrace using outside coaches!

I was still thinking about that this morning. I thought back to my childhood and thought about the the coaching I had then, and later in life, and the impact it had on my success.

First there was music.  Through the years, I had a private piano teacher, 2 private trumpet teachers, and a private music teacher (all coaches). As a senior in high school, I was one of the top trumpet players in the state.  That would not have been possible without the coaching AND hours and hours of practice.

Then came baseball.  My dad got me started and taught me the basics. To become an all-star, it took two tips from my two coaches that made the difference.  Tip #1 transformed me from average fielder to an excellent third baseman.  Tip #2 morphed me from strike-out king to excellent hitter.  It was the coaching and the hours and hours of practice!

Then came tennis.  My dad got me started and taught me the basics of tennis too.  By the time I was 13, he got me a coach.  Although she was 88 years old, she was sharp as a nail, had as much energy as me and got me to the next level - good enough to get to the finals of a New England 14 & under tournament.  At 15, a much younger, wise old coach helped me develop some "touch" and add some "shots" to my repertoire.  The summer after high school, yet another coach (the tennis/goal setting story I included in Baseline Selling was about this coach and it was the most referenced story in the book) helped me develop the mental aspect of my game and that was good enough for me to enter my freshman year of college as the #2 singles player on the team.  It was the coaching and, in this case, day-long practice sessions.

Then came sales.  The music, baseball and tennis coaches conditioned me to be change ready, always strive for excellence and outperform the expectations I had for myself. I competed with me.  The sales books, tapes and videos I devoured when I was a young salesperson, the lessons I learned from my early sales managers, my own ability to improve what already exists and my ability to develop what doesn't yet exist tells the rest of the story.  It was coaching and practice.

The Sales Force Evaluations we provide are important.  So are the candidate assessments.  Systems, processes, strategies, pipeline, metrics and recruiting are important too.  But without question, the biggest impact comes from coaching. Think of sales and sales management training as opportunities to develop best practices, good habits, important competencies and a complete framework of capabilities.  Then use coaching for tips, personalized adjustments, advanced skills, and subtle tweaks that result in significant, rapid improvement and results.

Coaching anyone?

PS - everything I wrote does not apply to golf (for me).

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, coaching, sales management, tennis, Baseball, sales assessments, gallop, sports, music

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine 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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