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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Image Copyright iStock Photos

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.

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

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

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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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