The Real Impact of Coaching Your Salespeople, Sales Managers

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 01, 2014 @ 13:04 PM

Positive Impact of CoachingI read several books while on a recent vacation and one of them, Edgy Conversations, by Dan Waldschmidt, was in a class of its own.  Once you commit to the first page of his new book, you won't be able to put it down.  I know Dan and we talked about his book last month.  He told me that it took him FOUR YEARS to collect the 1,000 stories that he decided to share - stories about how ordinary people achieved extraordinary success and how you can too.  I highly recommend his book.  You can learn more about it here.  You can order it from Amazon.com beginning on Wednesday, April 2.  I'm sure Dan would like you to order it only on Wednesday. :)

I'm in the middle of another page-turner, this one called The Man Who Killed Kennedy - The Case Against LBJ.  It's difficult to put a positive spin on this amazing, insightful book, about one of the biggest assholes the USA has ever known, but I can take two unintentional sales-related lessons from the book:  

  1. Who you know, how well you know them, how well-connected they are, and your ability to leverage those connections are an intangible that trumps all strengths, skills and strategies.  In this case, the connections were mob bosses, FBI directors, oil magnates, politicians and the underworld, but they were very real and strong connections.
  2. Effective coaching will lead to all of the desired outcomes.  In this case, coaching was used for evil purposes, but it was coaching nonetheless.

Let's discuss coaching.  It has been well-documented that effective coaching will positively impact sales. My own data shows sales managers, who consistently and effectively coach their salespeople, grow revenue by an average of 26% annually.  However, according to Objective Management Group's data from evaluating more than 100,000 sales managers, just 18% are capable of the effective part of the equation and even fewer are willing to invest 50% of their time on coaching.  That's a huge problem!

So what to do?

Your salespeople MUST be coached.  You and/or your sales managers MUST devote the time and learn to effectively coach the salespeople.  However, most sales managers have an ego that's larger than their actual sales management competency.  For many of them, their ego screams, "I don't need any help.  I know how to do this.  I don't need anyone telling me to do it differently.  I'm probably better at it than they are."

We coach sales managers like that all the time and the first session can be challenging.  However, when we get beyond that first session and they learn how much there is that they didn't know, how much better they can be, and how much more of an impact that they can have on each and every salesperson and each and every deal, things change rather quickly.

Are you providing effective sales coaching?  Here's an easy test to determine for yourself.  We know that when the coaching is really effective and impactful, the following things occur:

  • Salespeople can't wait to come back for more.  Are your salespeople begging for your coaching?
  • Your coaching leads directly to positive changes in behavior.  Do your salespeople change after each coaching session?
  • Your coaching has a direct impact on a salesperson's ability to close a deal on their own.  Do your coaching sessions lead directly to closed business?
  • Your sales force becomes exponentially better.  Is that happening?

I would like to blog about the transition of a sales manager, where the individual grows from a supervisor of salespeople, to a master sales coach.  This transformation requires and allows for unlimited coaching (usually 2x weekly) from me for one year.  To facilitate this, I will make a coaching slot available for half the normal fee to the first two companies to respond (one slot per company).

Speaking of coaching, the April Issue of Top Sales Magazine is available for download today.  It may be the best issue ever and it includes some terrific articles including one by me.  You don't want to miss "The Biggest Sales Skill Gap of All" because the information in that article is crucial for the master sales coach.

Enjoy.

Image credit: michelangelus / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, Linda Richardson, jonathan farrington, Top Sales World, LBJ, Dan Waldschmidt

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

Prediction for Your Company's Sales Force in 2011

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 06:12 AM

10 Sales Experts were inducted into the Top Sales Hall of Fame at yesterday's Top Sales Awards event.  They include legends, both living and deceased, like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracey and Earl Nightingale.  Current legends like Gerhard Gschwandter and Jeffrey Gitomer were honored.  Others who were inducted include Keith Rosen, Bill Brooks, Linda Richardson, Neil Rackham and Dr. Tony Allasandra.

When asked for her prediction for 2011, Linda Richardson said, "Clients won't be looking for sales training.  They want sales force transformation.  They want to know whether they have the right people in the right roles..."

Thank you Linda!  A Hall of Fame sales training company leader saying what I've been saying for 20 years! 

Linda's comments were not really a prediction though.  Jim Collins wrote about how great companies focused on having the right people in the right seats in his 2001 book, "Good to Great". Objective Management Group, founded in 1989, has been helping its partners provide sales force transformations via the insights and findings from its Sales Force Evaluations and Sales Candidate Assessments for at least 10 years. Years ago I urged all of our partners to provide sales force development instead of sales training so that we could transform sales forces. Perhaps Linda was simply suggesting that she expects to model her business after ours.

This sounds very similar to when mainstream MD's write breakthrough articles and basically say what alternative MD's have been saying for decades.  Three examples are, "Supplement with Omega 3's", "Those prescrtiption drugs will actually kill you", and "Supplement with CoQ10".

Time to take the supplements - I'm against the clock.

Topics: sales training, Sales Force, Neil Rackham, Jeffrey Gitomer, Linda Richardson, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracey, sales transformation, sales development

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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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.

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