Key to Significantly Improve Sales Training Results

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 13:05 PM


Before we discuss how to improve sales training, a quick promo for the latest and greatest taking place over at the ever-improving Top Sales World.  The June issue of Top Sales Magazine has been published and you can download it here.

  • Among all of the important articles this month is mine on The Top 5 Reasons Salespeople Fail to Meet Quota and the Common Link to All 5 Reasons.
  • Jonathan Farrington interviews Jill Konrath on her new book, Agile Selling.
  • In the June issue are the Top Sales Article and Top Blog Article for May.
  • They announce who are the Top 50 Sales Influencers of 2014.
  • They introduce a brand new eLibrary!
  • Finally, they have redesigned their website and it's better than ever!  See it here.

 

Cooperstown

baberuth

For the last 6 years, I have been coaching and/or managing youth baseball teams and personally coaching our son since he could stand.  Monday, my wife and I had the pleasure of watching him during a baseball practice for a 12-and-under team that will be competing in Cooperstown later this summer.  It's a really big deal and it's a very talented team.

It's not just about the talent.

The coach of this team provided some very good, advanced coaching to this group of very coachable, extremely talented kids and he ran some terrific, fast-paced drills.

By comparison, the always likeable kids on a typical regular season team have skills ranging from limited to all-star caliber and everything in between.  On the regular season team, most practice time is devoted to baseball basics while not moving any faster than the speed of the average player.  

Which players and on which teams do you think show the most improvement?

If you guessed the best players, you would be half correct.  The best players, getting the advanced instruction on the travel teams, improve the most.  Those same kids, on their regular season team, learn almost nothing new and aren't challenged or pushed.  Practice, and sometimes even the games, can be so boring for them that they don't play their very best.

Translation from Baseball to Selling

If we translate all of that baseball to selling, the only two things that change are the activity and the age of the people being coached and trained.

In order for your best salespeople to improve, they need to be part of a group that won't hold them back, allowing for more advanced, faster-paced skills training.  They can be coached up very quickly if they get the right training and coaching at a pace that challenges them!

The Talent Warp

It is extremely difficult for some executives to understand this next point.  Some refuse to acknowledge that it's even possible. YOUR top salespeople, when compared with the rest of the sales population outside your industry, might only be B or C Players.  It's just not that unusual to discover that the top salespeople in some companies aren't at the top because of their skills, but because of their accounts, their assigned territory, their expertise or tenure in the industry.  It's important to note that studies show you will get the best bang for your buck when you train your B's!

When it comes to your less effective salespeople, it's important to understand that not all of them CAN be coached up and most of them have hidden weaknesses that cause difficulties becoming comfortable with what they're learning. That makes it nearly impossible for them to apply it in the field unless they are also getting extremely effective coaching from their sales managers.  They struggle to change.  That's why some of your underachievers shouldn't be trained at all.  Some of them just shouldn't be selling!

More on Baseball and Sales

If you like articles that use the baseball playing or baseball coaching analogies, then you may enjoy some of my other articles about baseball and selling:

Are You Any Good at Evaluating Sales Talent?

Improve Sales Effectiveness at the Salesperson's Hall of Fame

When it Comes to Compensation, Sales is Not Like Baseball

Baseball's Huge Impact on Sales Performance 

Sales Lessons from Baseball's 2013 World Series 

World Series, Superbowl and the Sales Force: The Rallying Cry 

Winning and Losing is Contagious 

Sales Coaching Lessons from the Baseball Files 

Making it Easy for Salespeople to Succeed 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, Sales Coaching, sales effectiveness, jonathan farrington, jill konrath, Top Sales World

How to Make it Easier for Your Salespeople to Sell

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 00:11 AM

The article that addresses the title is a little further down but I would appreciate it if you would please first read the paragraphs before the article.

I want to thank you for reading my Blog.  Whether you've been here for all 850 plus articles or just joined us this month, I hope you find it useful and original.  When I first started posting articles back in 2006 my original goal was to organize my thoughts in order to write my next book - a Sales Management Bible.  Instead, I realized that while I no longer had time to write another book, I did have 10-15 minutes, early each morning, to share my thoughts and experiences, usually based on data and science.

This Blog has been honored with many awards during the past few years, and was nominated for four more this week.  Understanding the Sales Force is nominated for Top Sales & Marketing Blog of 2011.  Winners will be announced in the 2011 Top Sales & Marketing Awards ceremony on December 16.  One of my articles, Money Motivated Salespeople a Dying Breed, was nominated for Top Sales & Marketing Blog post.  

The third nomination places me in the company of these experts, legends and thought leaders:  Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Neil Rackham, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Jeffrey Gitomer, Linda Richardson, Dave Stein, Jill Konrath, Mike SchultzDr. Tony Allasandra, and I were all nominated for Top Sales & Marketing Thought Leader of the Year.  You could do a lot worse than reading the material that this group cranks out!

Finally, Objective Management Group was nominated for Top Sales Assessment tool.

Jonathan Farrington hosts the 2011 Top Sales & Marketing Award Event along with Gerhard Gschwandtner on December 16. I'll provide registration information as soon as it's available but in the mean time, I wouldn't mind at all if you wanted to take a moment and vote (for me if you want to).  When you vote, you'll have to register first - sorry - and choose a category for your vote.  If you want to vote in the other two - or more - categories after you've voted, click HOME and then select another category.  You can vote as often as you wish but only once per day from the same computer. 

Here are some links to three must read articles you might have missed:

The Difference Between Sales Commitment and Desire 

How Watching a Movie Again Improves Sales Effectiveness 

Sales Process is to Religion as Sales Methodology is to Prayer 

Today's article has been more about me than you and since that's never the intent here, let's change gears.  

How to Make it Easier for Your Salespeople to Sell

If your company is an underdog (what you sell is more expensive than the competition, you have a new company, new technology or new product, you have a story to tell, you are not the industry or market leader, it's 6 or 7 figures, etc.), your salespeople have much more resistance to overcome than those who aren't underdogs.  There are several strategies that can be used to minimize the effect of the resistance your salespeople face.  You can:

  • Train your salespeople to lower the resistance;
  • Train them to overcome the resistance;
  • Do remarkable things that cause you or the company to be recognized, opening the door for your salespeople;
  • Spend millions on advertising so that you become better known;
  • Acquire the better known competitors;
  • Out perform the better known competitors;
  • Lower your prices (you can but I don't recommend it)
  • Get acquired by one of the better known competitors;
  • Have happy clients make introductions for you to highly targeted prospects;

Making the job easier for your salespeople is your number one responsibility after coaching and accountability but most sales managers don't give this challenge much thought.  How about you?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Seth Godin, Neil Rackham, Jeffrey Gitomer, Linda Richardson, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Guy Kawasaki, Mike Schultz, Dr. Tony Allasandra, jill konrath

The Search for Perfection - How it Can Ruin Your Sales Efforts

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 @ 22:09 PM

darksideSometimes perfection is good but sometimes there is a strange dark side.  First the good and then, in the fifth paragraph, I'll share the frightening dark side with you.

First the good: After months of planning and design, Jonathan Farrington, his design team and the Sales Council (I am one of the Sales Council members along with 23 others including Jill Konrath, Linda Richardson, Keith Rosen, and Tony Alessandra) have finally launched Top Sales World, a site with hopes of becoming the top web site for sales on the planet!  Stop by and let me know what you think.  Over the coming weeks and months you will find the best expertise, advice, videos, podcasts, articles and resources on sales and sales leadership. More good: Lee Salz has been working on his Sales Management Minute for quite some time and it too strives for perfection.  Visit him and let him know what you think.  And as my regular readers know, I've been working with my team at Objective Management Group for more than 20 years to perfect the Sales Force Evaluation, the Sales Candidate Assessment and the Leadership Team Evaluation and as always, we are THIS CLOSE to perfection.

That's the good side of perfection - you work hard, diligently and creatively to develop something and it comes out, well, almost perfect.

But as I mentioned earlier, there is a dark side to perfection and I'll share the gory details with you here.  You have salespeople who are perfectionists and while this is a good when it comes to attention to detail and getting things right, it's bad when it comes to selling. Bad things have names - usually Greek or Latin, so I named it Perfection Adversis - Perverse for short - when your salespeople can't, or more specifically, won't, do what they need to do until they're sure they can do it...perfectly.  As you know, it's simply not possible to consistently sell with a perfect approach.

Let's take prospecting for example.  You have some people who are prospecting monsters - no problem.  You have others with call reluctance - too many weaknesses to even think about using the phone to make cold calls and you understand their fears and have them in account management roles.  Still others must be directed to call and then held accountable. Finally, there are your perfectionists who, because they are unable to achieve cold calling perfection, don't even make the attempt.  These salespeople, in a hopeless search for perfection, are chronic procrastinators.

Is there hope?  Yes, of course. And all you have to do is....

Give them permission to do it badly!  Do it with them.  Help them fail!  Make sure they have fun with it.  Make it a game.  Give them points just for doing it.  In time, they'll strive to improve but they can't improve until they start and they can't start until you find a way to make it safe for them.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than what they're doing now!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, Sales Force, Keith Rosen, Linda Richardson, jonathan farrington, jill konrath, Top Sales World, perfectionists, procrastinators, sales management minute, lee salz, tony alessandra

Complete Sales Reference Manual - Now Available

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 @ 06:08 AM

mastering the world of sellingThis year I had the opportunity to contribute to a book that would be a compilation on sales.  While sales titles are released almost weekly these days, only a small number of them contain anything new, and most don't raise the bar for the selling industry as a whole. This book is different.

This book includes contributions from 89 sales experts, covering every possible topic, including sales, sales management, sales 2.0, sales process, sales strategy, sales tactics, sales motivation, sales presentations, and sales psychology. It's more like a reference manual!

The book's contributors include legendary stars like Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy, and Dale Carnegie, as well as my contemporaries like Jeffrey Gitomer, Chet Holmes, Jill Konrath, Anthony Paranello, Michael Bosworth and Neil Rackham.

David Riklan and Eric Taylor compiled and edited this compilation of the best that the top sales experts have to offer and, to entice you to order a copy of their book today, they have arranged for you to receive bonus gifts totalling - get this - $2,686.  The book is an outstanding resource and well worth the introductory price of $14.36 on its own.  I contributed to the bonus gifts and from what I've seen of the list, I would order the book just to get my hands on the bonuses!

The book is called Mastering the World of Selling and you can learn more about it and order it by clicking this link.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Neil Rackham, Jeffrey Gitomer, Linda Richardson, dale carnegie, Zig Ziglar, jill konrath, Chet Holmes, Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy

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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 medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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