Salesperson's Terrible Reaction Part 2

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 @ 10:10 AM

weaknesses.jpg

I posted a very short article where I discussed one salesperson's reaction to a great sales role play.  I received a number of emails telling me how helpful the video, story and lessons were.  

The article highlighted Self-Limiting beliefs or negative self talk. Today we will take it a step further and discuss the other things that could have been at play - hidden weaknesses - and the interference they cause salespeople while selling to their prospects.  Like chains, salespeople are only as strong as their weakest link...

The salesperson (let's call him Fred) really believed – from conviction – that the approach was too direct.  I had challenged his personal values and when you challenge someone’s values they will usually dig in their heels. 

Suppose someone else in the room felt exactly the same way as Fred, but wasn't as comfortable confronting me as Fred was.  Would that have been any different?  Yes, it certainly would!  Their fear of confrontation would suggest that they have a need to be liked - technically known as Need for Approval - a very common, yet hidden sales weakness that prevents salespeople from asking questions and pushing back for fear that the prospect will not like them anymore.  I don't believe that Fred has this weakness or he would have been too uncomfortable confronting me and digging in his heals in front of the group.  He was definitely not uncomfortable when he made his case!

Need for Approval affects more than half of all salespeople but only 6% of elite salespeople have the weakness while 78% of weak salespeople have it.  That says a lot, doesn't it?

To say that Need for Approval gets in the way of selling is an understatement.  This weakness alone can interfere with the execution of every stage of the sales process.  For example, it's crucial that modern salespeople have the ability to take a consultative approach in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.  A consultative approach requires asking a lot of questions, pushing back, punching holes, and sometimes, gently confronting. Salespeople with the need to be liked simply will not do that.

When Fred reacted, we were in a role play where we were having a financial conversation.  His reaction could have been triggered by his own discomfort talking about money, a hidden weakness that prevents salespeople from having financial conversations.  Salespeople with this weakness often skip over financial qualification steps and can't dive in for a deeper discussion when there is a challenge finding enough money to pay for what needs to be bought.  Those salespeople often under or over propose because they always fail to learn exactly how much money their prospects will spend with them.

Today it is more difficult than ever to be successful in sales.  The most important take away from these examples is that when salespeople further complicate the modern challenge of selling with their own weaknesses, success becomes even more unlikely and difficult to achieve.

Make sure you read Dan McDade's article - part 3 in his lies or myths series - on sales and marketing alignment.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, sales process, sales qualifying, hidden sales weaknesses, EQ

How Can a Simple Zero Derail a Sale or Deal?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 07, 2015 @ 13:01 PM

derailment

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Today, I was coaching a very talented salesperson, one who is even better at getting deals closed.  Yesterday, he closed a large deal when late in the day, and completely out of nowhere, he got the dreaded "we changed our mind" email.  This is his story.

When I debriefed him, it was apparent, even to him, that there was a moment toward the end of the meeting when he had happy ears.  He gets that.  He knows what he should have asked.  What really bothered him was, "Why did this happen?"   Not why did the deal come undone, but why the happy ears?  What caused his usually reliable and steady emotions to betray him?  And we better figure this out quickly because he was beating himself up so badly that blood would surely be dripping from his head at any moment now.

He accepted my statement about his having an emotional reaction at that moment in the call, but was adamant that it was abnormal.  We discussed the one thing that was different about this opportunity than others like it.  This opportunity was triple the size of his average sale and challenged his money tolerance.  Money Tolerance becomes a Sales DNA weakness when the deal size exceeds the amount at which money becomes "a lot" to the salesperson.  In this case, the deal had an extra zero and far exceeded this salesperson's conceptual $50,000 limit.

Bob's sales call was a veritable chain reaction - a 3-car pile-up.  The prospect said something, an alarm went off in Bob's mind, but instead of addressing it, asking a question, setting expectations, and clarifying that everything was still OK, he ignored it and hoped for the best.  That alarm was the voice in his head that pointed out that this deal was different.  There was a $50,000 commission at stake.  It was bigger than most.  It became more important than most.  That was his Emotional reaction to the Low (in this case) Money Tolerance.  The Tendency to Become Emotional is another Sales DNA weakness.  Those 2 weaknesses caused another Sales DNA weakness to rear its head.  Fear of Rejection would not ordinarily be an issue for Bob, but in this case, it was the truck that smashed into the first two cars that had collided.   Fear of Rejection morphed into the second voice Bob heard in his head.  It said, "You'd better not ask about that because that might cause you to lose the business.  Better just shut up and hope for the best!"

It's funny, but once Bob understood what happened, he calmed right down, called his prospect, and was able to calmly and expertly resurrect the deal.  Like I said, Bob is a very talented salesperson, but even great salespeople can be hindered by emotions, money and fear when the circumstances are right.

The bigger issue is salespeople who aren't elite, and how frequently they are besieged by some or all of the dozens of issues like these that affect salespeople, sales cycles, sales win rates, and revenue.  Would you like to know how, when, where, and how frequently your salespeople are impacted by things like this?  Watch this 4-minute video to learn about our Sales Force Evaluation.

evals

The year's first issue of Top Sales Magazine is now available for download.  In addition to articles by the heavy hitters of sales consulting and training, do take the time to read my article on page 8 - "What You Think Versus What I Think about Consultative Selling".

Topics: sales training, Sales Coaching, closing deals, hidden sales weaknesses, deals that blow up

Why Your Lowest Price Can Be a Barrier to Closing Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Aug 02, 2012 @ 17:08 PM

Price Comparison and Sales ContextIt's not really the price as much as it's the context for which that price is provided.  Let's take mobile apps for example.

$9.99 on its own seems very inexpensive, but with apps available for $3.99, $1.99, $.99 and even free, it's expensive - by comparison.  Look at the moon - we think it's fairly large, but when you look at it in comparison to Earth and Mercury's moon, it's a blip in the sky!

Let's look at a more complex service with a much higher price tag.  If the salesperson says that their solution is only $5,000 per person, the prospect immediately views this as an expense - and a costly one at that.  How can they justify spending on average $5,000 per person?  However, if the salesperson says, "We can help you recover $3 million in lost revenue and solve your customer retention problem for around $50,000 over the next 8-12 months", it sounds like a bargain and a no-brainer.  The reality is that the $50,000 solution could be more costly even than the $5,000 per person solution.  But the context, the perceived value and expected result are different.

It's not about prices, presentations or building value; it's about putting prices in the context of what those prices will buy.  Compare the two examples above and you'll see both the answer and the obstacle.  The answer is the context.  The obstacle is that your salespeople may not be learning what the compelling reason is for their prospects to spend the money.  Without the compelling reason, it's impossible to replace the red-bolded words above with the words your salespeople need to use.

Another potential obstacle, but hidden this time, is that some of your salespeople are uncomfortable having financial discussions with their prospects.  Those salespeople won't be able to get to the quantification of the problem.  And what about the salespeople who need to be liked?  They can't ask the tough questions and become emotional if they go out on a limb and ask.  These are three of the many hidden weaknesses that OMG often finds when evaluating sales forces.

You can teach and coach on most strategies and tactics, but when your salespeople aren't able to execute one that was properly introduced and demonstrated through role-play, you can be sure that there is a hidden weakness to blame.

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales training, sales evaluation, sales personality, hidden sales weaknesses, selling value, overcoming price objections

Do Chain Reactions Like This Really Occur When Selling?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 08, 2012 @ 12:05 PM

chain reactionMary always succeeded in finding new opportunities, but her weaknesses, especially her Need for Approval, Discomfort Talking About Money, and Tendency to Become Emotionally Involved, would usually interfere with her ability to gain traction and close the sale.  During the past year, she has improved enough so that she is not only finding new business, but closing it too.  But she isn't out of the woods yet.

One weakness where she hasn't yet made progress is her Discomfort Talking About Money.  When that weakness gets in the way, it begins a chain reaction from which recovery is nearly impossible.  It could start as innocently as this:

Mary: I'm looking forward to working with you and helping you.  We haven't finalized the terms yet, can we talk about that?

Prospect: Sure.

Mary: I'll need a deposit for $20,000 along with your acceptance on this agreement.

Prospect: OK.  How about if I just send the check out in a couple of weeks?

Mary: (Knows that a check must accompany the signed agreement).  Umm, OK, (Not only is she uncomfortable talking about the money, but now her need for approval gets in the way and prevents her from pushing back for fear that she will no longer be liked.)

Prospect: Great.

Mary: (Oh no.  Mary knows what just happened and that it must be corrected.  But how can she accomplish that without them becoming angry with her?  And now she is talking to herself and in a panic because she promised her boss a signed agreement today, so now she is acutely emotionally inolved.) Well, ah, is there any chance I can get a check today?

Prospect: It would be very inconvenient and I don't have time to walk it through.

Mary: (Worse now and still needing to repair the damage) Um, OK, well, we can't start anything until we have a deposit.

Prospect: I understand.

Mary: (Trying to recover without getting her prospect upset) I'm supposed to bring the agreement back with a check.

Prospect: I told you I would send you one.

Mary: I know, it's just that, well (really uncomfortable now)...

Prospect: Look, I told you I would send a check and if that isn't good enough, then we'll find someone else to buy this from!

Mary: (Devastated - it happened - he hates her now.)  I'm so sorry - no -this is fine. I'll wait for your check.

One weakness, yet it has the power to bring down the entire house of cards!  The salesperson goes from in-control to out-of-control in seconds.  The closed deal becomes an unclosed deal.  The salesperson is a wreck.  That causes another weakness to kick-in.  As Mary beats herself up, her Low Self-Esteem causes her psyche to further deteriorate.  

Her sales manager sees another opportunity slipping away and doesn't understand how a sure sale could have been blown.  It wouldn't have happened if he was on the call and he can't be on every call, so he blames Mary.

Are hidden weaknesses derailing your salespeople's opportunities?  Are they preventing your salespeople from gaining traction?  Are you unable to identify what is actually going wrong?  Are hidden weaknesses preventing you from further developing your salespeople?  Could those weaknesses prevent your salespeople from selling more consultatively?

A sales force evaluation will identify all such gremlins and help you eradicate them.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales force evaluation, hidden sales weaknesses, sales assessments

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

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.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Vendor Neutral Certified 100 SalesTech Vendor Objective Management Group

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Individual Blog -  Silver

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Article/Post -  Silver


Top Sales Awards 2018 - Assessment Tool -  Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blog 2019

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader