Data: The Top 10% of All Salespeople are 4200% Better at This

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 07, 2021 @ 11:09 AM

dont-care

My wife and I entered the small jewelry shop and were greeted - not with a warm welcome - but with a matter of fact "my name is...and I'm the owner...and I created everything in the store" which was followed by fifteen minutes of non-stop presentation of everything she created.  

You've been in a store like this and you know exactly how you have reacted to that.  It includes thinking all of the following:

  • Stop!
  • Shut Up!
  • I don't care!
  • Go away!
  • Oh wait, I can go away!
  • Please stop so I can leave!
  • Your stuff is not even that good!
  • Has anyone ever listened to this?
  • You've got to be kidding me!
  • There's more?
  • OMG make it stop!!!

When it was over my wife said "thank you" and we walked across the street to a gallery where we were quickly greeted - no greeted is totally the wrong word - instructed to "put on a mask!"  The mask thing again.  About ten minutes later he caught us staring at one particular painting for several minutes and asked, "Are you familiar with her work?"  We said, "No" and he took the opposite approach of the Queen of all Jewelry and walked away!

So in one store we weren't the least bit interested, she didn't notice, didn't care and kept on keepin' on.  In the other store we would have bought that painting and he abandoned us.

I don't usually write about retail selling and today's article is not about retail selling except to make a couple of important points.

If we all know how boring, irrelevant and agonizing it is to be presented to when we aren't interested, then why do salespeople, who have surely been on the receiving end of the scenario described above, insist on presenting before they have a qualified, interested prospect?  It's stupid, irresponsible, and a huge waste of time.  But they persist.

Salespeople aren't great at taking a consultative approach.  According to the data from Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluations and assessments on more than two million salespeople around the globe, only 14% have the Consultative Seller competency as a strength.  Only 42% of the top 10% have it as a strength and as you might guess, 0% of the bottom 10% have it as a strength.  You wouldn't think that anything could be worse than that, right?  But if you look at the bottom 50% - the bottom million salespeople, only 1% have the Consultative Seller competency as a strength. The top 10% are 4200% better at taking a consultative approach than the bottom 50%!

The Consultative Seller is one of twenty-one Sales Core Competencies measured by OMG and each competency has between six and twelve attributes or an average of around nine.  In addition, there are 10 additional competencies with attributes combining for around 450 data points per salesperson and approximately 945 million data points in total.  You can see some of the data here and compare industries too.

Back to the story.

When salespeople have been trained to listen and ask questions first some still choose to tell their prospects everything they know up front.  Why?

I can think of ten potential reasons and none of them are very good:

  1. They lack experience and all they know is what they learned in orientation training
  2. They need to be liked and fear that if they ask questions their prospects will become angry
  3. They don't agree with the consultative approach
  4. Their sales manager is not holding them accountable for taking the consultative approach
  5. Their sales manager is not reinforcing the consultative approach through coaching
  6. They don't listen very well and as a result, don't know which question to ask
  7. They don't know what "good" sounds like and can't replicate it
  8. They haven't practiced and lack confidence
  9. They think that listening and asking questions delays getting to the demo
  10. They are doing fine doing it the way they are doing it

Everything on my list is symptomatic of numbers four and five. With reinforcement coaching and accountability, every other reason goes away.  That brings us to the next point/question.  Why aren't sales managers doing numbers four and five?

I can think of ten more potential reasons and none of them are any good either:

  1. They are spending too much of their time on personal sales
  2. They need to be liked and fear that holding their salespeople accountable will make them angry
  3. They don't agree with the consultative approach
  4. Their boss is not holding them accountable for implementing the consultative approach
  5. Their boss is not reinforcing the consultative approach through coaching
  6. They don't listen very well and as a result, don't know which question to ask their salespeople
  7. They don't know what "good" sounds like either and can't replicate it
  8. They haven't practiced role-playing and lack confidence
  9. They agree that listening and asking questions delays getting to the demo
  10. They are doing fine doing it the way they are doing it

Most of these reasons are essentially the same.

It's a top down problem and the folks at the top just hope the folks at the bottom take care of business and don't really care how. And therein lies the problem.  Ambivalence from the C-Suite basically suggests that they just don't care.

What can we do about that?  Rocky LaGrone had a great answer to that question!

Rocky said:

"You could take a stick and beat the C-suite over the head repeatedly until they cry Uncle and then start to listen.


Their biggest problem however is not their ambivalence. It's the fact they don't even know it's a problem. They rely on the sales leader because most of them (C-suite) don't understand sales. Sales is some fuzzy, hard to grip, intangible thing that is a bother but still necessary. The sales leader tells them, "all is good, numbers are coming, next quarter will be better, we are working on it, we need better pricing, we can't produce the product and deliver on time anyway, if we only had the Glen Gary, Glen Ross leads!" Or some other solid excuse...

Then they (C-Suite) play chase and try to fix everything except the cause. For example: Let's get a new CRM, new compensation plan, new marketing, new website, new brand, or something else that exacerbates and hides the real problem. Real problem - wrong sales people, wrong skills, wrong Sales Manager."
 
Thanks Rocky!

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales presentation, listening skills, questioning skills

My Dog Has Better Listening Skills Than Most Salespeople and I'll Prove It

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 10, 2020 @ 06:12 AM

listening2

Short article today.  Prospects don't pay a lot of attention so the less you say the better.  It helps them listen and comprehend more of what you share with them when you use fewer words.  But prospects aren't the only ones who don't listen.  Salespeople don't listen very well either.  As a matter of fact, my dog has better listening skills than most salespeople because my dog knows what to listen for. Don't believe me?  I'll prove it in the video below.

For an overwhelming majority of salespeople, I can't even use "listening" and "salespeople" in the same sentence. That's because they either:

  • don't listen because they are so busy talking
  • hear but aren't really listening
  • listen but aren't listening for the right things
  • listen for the right things but don't ask the appropriate follow up questions to leverage what was said

According to Objective Management Group's (OMG) data on the evaluation and assessment of 2,040,738 salespeople, only 27% of all salespeople listen effectively.  Looking at the top 5% of all salespeople, only 57% of that elite group listens effectively. Only 10% of the bottom half and 0% of the bottom 10% listen effectively.

Listening is the one selling skill that salespeople find most difficult to understand and improve.  If you can't actively listen, then how can you ask the appropriate follow up question?  If you can't ask follow up questions because you don't know which question to ask next, then you'll find yourself explaining, educating, presenting, and wasting time because most prospects simply aren't interested in having salespeople regurgitate what they can find online in a couple of clicks.  And if that's what salespeople end up doing on sales calls, it becomes a transactional, price-driven conversation instead of a value-based, consultative conversation.

Watch how well my dog listens in this enjoyable one-minute video.

In the spring of 2017, we brought Dinger home as a puppy and I wrote this article explaining why he is so much easier to train than most salespeople. 

I don't understand why companies and their salespeople still claim to have competitive pricing.  It's a race to the bottom because no matter what you tell me, in your industry, vertical, territory, area of expertise, and product category, there can be only a single company that will have the lowest price and it's not going to be you!  How do I know?  If you had the lowest price you wouldn't be reading articles on how to become more effective.  Instead, you would be quite content taking orders from the buyers who only buy from the company with the lowest price

Image Copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, listening skills, questioning skills, dog

3 Tweaks to Your Sales Approach Are Steps Toward Sales Greatness

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 @ 06:03 AM

traffic-circle.jpg

Consider how frustrating it is to approach a traffic circle, or as we call them in Massachusetts, a rotary, during rush hour.  You very slowly make your way towards the circle in a long line of traffic, attempt to merge into a congested circle, travel around to the other side of the circle, and finally exit the other end.  Being a bit impatient, I'm usually screaming to myself, "Come on - don't stop! - let's get moving - let's go!"

Hold that thought.

I believe that role-playing is the single most important thing I can do with salespeople to help them to become great.  There are three kinds of role-plays:

  1. I play the salesperson's part and the salesperson plays the prospect. This is my preferred method as it demonstrates exactly what the conversation should sound like.
  2. I play the prospect and the salesperson plays the salesperson.  This approach works best when conducting pre-call strategy and usually serves to show me how ill-equipped the salesperson is to have the desired conversation.
  3. The salesperson plays the salesperson and another salesperson plays the prospect.  This type of role-play occurs later in training when the salesperson has the foundational skills to execute the sales process correctly and to play the sales part with some confidence.

When I finally reach scenario 3 with salespeople playing their own part, it seems a lot like approaching the traffic circle. Let me explain.

When there is a question they need to ask or they need to summarize what they heard, the traffic circle scenario comes to life.  They slowly approach the circle, and when they finally reach the circle, travel around it a couple of times before exiting and finishing their comments.  In other words, they talk in circles, confusing, distracting and boring their prospect.  Take a step toward greatness: Be direct and concise because less is more memorable and powerful while being less confusing and boring.

Consider how a professional baseball or golf coach may break down swing.  Take a practice swing or two, get in your stance, use the proper grip, bend at the knees, open some at the waste and shoulders, eye on the ball, smooth, extend, hold your follow through, etc.  If you want to hit the ball solidly you must do those things in that order, but you can't be saying those things to yourself as you get ready to swing or bad things will surely happen.

Hold that thought.

You may have several talking points.  You may have rehearsed or even memorized those points; what you want to say about them and the order in which you want to say them.  But if you use your talking points and sequence, your prospect will be totally bored by the logic and mind-numbing time it takes for you to go through them.  A step toward greatness: Abandon the formality and sequence and simply have a conversation.  If there is a question or comment that makes it appropriate to introduce one of those talking points, then fine, but keep it conversational and do not become presentational.

Don't you hate it when a good prospect derails your momentum by asking for references?  This is truly a combustion point in selling.  (There is a great Disney book on combustion points called Be our Guest) You don't know if the prospects really want to talk with people or are using the reference requests to get rid of you.  You don't know whether to provide references, which ones to provide, whether they'll follow up with a call, or what your customers will say to them.

Hold that thought.

Today, it's helpful to have video on your smart phone, of several happy customers that can speak to any concerns your prospects might have.  No delays.  No wondering.  On demand references and testimonials.  Take a step toward greatness:  Everyone on the sales team must record a couple of great 1-minute videos from their best and happiest customers. The videos can be shared across the sales team so that everyone has a robust library of customers who can do the selling for you.  Third-party testimonials are much more powerful than the promises of a salesperson any day of the week. 

Speaking of testimonials, many of you have read my best-selling book, Baseline Selling.  Since writing that book, I have written, shared (complimentary) and given you the opportunity to read more than 1,700 articles on sales and sales leadership right here on my Blog.  I would be most grateful if you would return the favor by writing a review of my book at Amazon.com.  

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, sales conversation, sales presentation, listening skills, talking points

3 Lessons that Apply to Every Sales Call No Matter What You Sell

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 18, 2017 @ 14:12 PM

3-nutcrackers.jpg

It's a family tradition that each December we attend the Boston Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker.  It's truly a magical show and even though the primary dancers change from year to year, the execution of the show's script and musical score is flawless.

Several years ago, during one of the performances, it dawned on me that the orchestra's role in the show correlated very nicely to an effective sales presentation.  There were 3 fantastic lessons that I presented then and as I have done each year since, will present again here.

If you attend a Nutcracker performance or simply listen to some of the orchestral suite during the holiday season, one of the selections you'll hear is the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy".  Perhaps you can't match the music to the title, but I'm sure if you listen to the first 30 seconds of this version, you'll recognize the melody regardless of your religion or ethnicity.

Even though you've surely heard it before, can you identify the four primary musical instruments at the beginning of the selection?

In this version, you're hearing the glass harmonica, while most orchestral versions and performances feature the celesta, oboe, bassoon and flutes.  Can you hear them?

Just as the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" sounds familiar to you, your salespeople find familiarity in the sounds, questions, comments and discussions on their sales calls.  As much as you may not be able to distinguish the specific instruments creating those sounds in "Dance...", your salespeople may not be able to differentiate the credible comments and questions from the noise on their sales calls.

During a first sales call, suppose your salespeople hear one prospect say, "This has been a very interesting and productive conversation and we might have some interest in this."  And imagine another prospect at the same meeting says, "We'll get back to you next month and let you know what kind of progress we've made."  And still a third might say, "In the meantime, please send us a proposal with references and timeline."

Lesson #1 (based on Objective Management Group's data) - Of every 100 salespeople:

  • 70 rush back to the office to begin work on the proposal and tell their bosses that their large opportunity is very promising because all 3 prospects in the meeting were very interested;
  • 19 leave the call and make 2 entries in their journals - "propose" and "follow-up" - and they'll do both eventually;
  • 11 are still at the meeting, asking more questions.

Lesson #2:

  • Prospects' voices are like musical instruments.  Each instrument in "Dance..." has a specific role in the performance.  If the wrong instrument or notes are played or they're played at the wrong time, the entire selection is ruined.  Prospects' comments in the scenario above have different meanings depending on their business titles and their roles in the buying process.
  • If "please send us a proposal", "we're interested" or "very productive" are spoken from an Executive - the CEO, President or VP of something - it has a far different meaning than if the comment were to come from a buyer in Procurement.
  • When any of those 3 comments are spoken by a user - an engineer for example - rather than a buyer or an Executive, the comments may be far more genuine, but carry much less authority.

Lesson #3:

  • Sometimes it's more fun to listen to a song, symphony or simple melody and to figure out how and why the composer or arranger selected the particular instruments to play the particular parts of the selection.
  • Your salespeople must apply that wonder and analysis to their sales calls.  The prospect may be the composer (started the initiative), arranger (selected the vendors to talk with), director (charged with the initiative and conducting the process) or musician (following directions of the conductor).  It's the salesperson's job to figure out who they're dealing with, what role they play, what influence they'll have and how to get the various players aligned on the compelling reasons to buy and your ideal solution.

Homework Assignment - Return to Lesson #1 and answer 2 questions:

  1. Which of the 3 sales outcomes do your salespeople typically find themselves doing?
  2. Which additional questions do those 11 salespeople stay to ask?

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, asking questions, sales tips, Nutcracker, listening skills, sales put-offs

The Key to Powerful Sales Conversations

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 @ 19:08 PM

ContextEarlier this week, I wrote this article about the importance of using specific words and phrases at specific times. 

That article discussed some of the milestones in the sales process where just the right word or phrase can make such a huge (make or break) difference in the direction that the sales call takes.  In the article, I mentioned "at just the right time", but I didn't elaborate.  I'll correct that omission with the following examples.

The ideal time to ask specific questions with carefully selected words or phrases is when it's contextually appropriate.

For instance, you shouldn't come right out and ask which competitor the prospect is buying from today.  But when you learn about a quality problem that has persisted for 9 months, it is a contextually appropriate time to ask.

You shouldn't come right out and state that your prices will be higher than the competition.  But upon learning of a compelling reason to buy, quantifying the problem and hearing that the reason (that they are still buying from the vendor with the quality problem) is because of their prices, it becomes a contextually appropriate time to let them know.

You wouldn't come right out and ask who the decision-maker is.  But upon learning that the problem is costing the company $5MM, it would be a contextually appropriate time to ask who else cares about $5MM.

One of the reasons, why salespeople fail to gain traction, differentiate and convert opportunities to sales, is that the relatively small number of questions which they are asking are coming from a list of questions rather than at a contextually appropriate time.

If you ask the right questions and get the timing right along with it, you'll get the results you are looking for as well.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales management, sales leadership, sales tips, listening skills, questioning skills

Drivers and Your Salespeople Need to be Patient

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 @ 22:11 PM

slow driverI was driving to a meeting when I became frustrated with the car in front of me.  The driver was traveling much too slowly and, despite the fact that I had plenty of time to get to my meeting, I could feel the developing anxiety.  As I thought about the irony of not being late, yet feeling anxious anyway, my thoughts turned to selling.

In a sales call, no matter how slowly it may be going or how difficult a prospective client may be, I have the patience of a saint.  If I were to experience the same impatience because a meeting was moving too slowly, as I do with slow-moving traffic, I would rush to the end, leaving my potential client behind, and those meetings would end very poorly for me.  

In order to create urgency and accelerate the sales process, your salespeople actually must slow down their meetings.  Instead though, in much the same way that I rush to get to my next meeting, they rush to the presentation or demo.  To make matters worse, your prospects want your salespeople to present and conduct demos.  They want prices and proposals and your salespeople are too willing to oblige. 

When you and your salespeople begin to develop a better understanding of what consultative selling entails and the related business conversations that go with that approach, they often have the same urge to move the meeting along.  It's similar to when I'm trying to run to my next meeting.

The patience that's so elusive to me on the road (but so easy for me in a sales call, consultation, coaching call or training session) is exactly what your salespeople must develop to be effective in differentiating your company on every sales call.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Moneyball, listening skills, questioning skills, sales traction

Sales Traction - The Key to Measuring the #1 Sales Competency

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 @ 06:11 AM

One of the KPI's I introduced in my Moneyball article two months ago was Traction, the ratio of suspects that become prospects.  Using the Baseline Selling process, that is also the ratio of opportunities that move from 1st base to 2nd base.  Translating that one more time, it is the number of 1st meetings that move to "we have a real opportunity here".

Many companies track some or all of the following KPI's for their salespeople:

  • leads to appointments
  • leads to closed
  • opportunities to closed
  • proposals to closed
  • demos to closed
  • quotes to closed
Traction brings a sales opportunity to life in much the same way that 3D on a big screen brings a movie to life.  While the other KPI's above are helpful, they are much more like watching a movie in black & white on a 19" TV.  You watched the movie, but you weren't part of the movie.  
So what does traction consist of?
Aside from the obvious, how effective salespeople  are when attempting to move opportunities from "some interest" to "solid prospects", Traction tells us how consistently a salesperson accomplishes that.  And by measuring their consistency and effectiveness with that single ratio, we get much better insight as to how well our salespeople are applying and executing the #1 sales competency, their consultative selling skills.
Traction will also provide meaningful insight as to exactly where in the sales process the opportunities are getting hung up (closing is not the cause, it's the effect) and why.  In most scenarios, if your salespeople aren't consistently developing traction, it will be for one of the following reasons:
  • Relationships aren't strong enough
  • They jumped from 1st Base (start of 1st meeting) to 3rd Base (conducted a demo or presented)
  • They didn't uncover the compelling reasons to buy (see #1 sales competency)
  • They didn't distinguish or differentiate themselves because of one of the 3 reasons above
Track salespeople's traction daily.  If you conduct a daily huddle, add the number of 1st Base meetings that converted to 2nd base but make sure your salespeople completely understand the criteria for reaching 2nd Base or you'll have them believing they arrived at 2nd Base every time and that will defeat the purpose.  2nd Base Criteria:
  • They need what you sell
  • Compelling reasons to buy were identified
  • Compelling reasons to buy from you were identified
  • Strong Relationship was established
  • Differentiated your salesperson and company from the competition through effective questioning
  • Quantified the cost of the problem or opportunity
Try it today and tell me what happens!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Moneyball, listening skills, questioning skills, sales traction

Get Your Veteran Salespeople to Take Baby Steps

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 11, 2011 @ 22:05 PM

 

baby stepsWe expect newer salespeople to be sales challenged, that is, not very effective when it comes to listening and questioning.  But the reality is that for at least 74% of the sales population, veteran salespeople aren’t very effective at this either. Here are some of Objective Management Group’s additional statistics from assessing salespeople:
•    58% talk too much
•    58% don’t ask enough questions
•    84% present too early in the sales process
•    85% offer quotes or proposals too early in the sales process
•    86% take prospects at their word – they trust enough to not ask a clarifying question

I see this over and over again in the early stages of sales development at every company we help.

Read this great example from yesterday's mailbag:

A salesperson emailed his lessons learned and included this one:

“The final lesson again concerns the compelling reasons to buy. Ideally in your line of questioning during uncovering these you should try and get the prospect to attach a monetary value to the compelling reasons. This made me think of a prospect of mine where I believed I had two separate compelling reasons but when I looked at them I didn’t have the monetary value associated with the issue. The two reasons were: 1) The current test environment is all physical and is taking up too much space in the datacenter. By replacing it with new virtual infrastructure it will save lots of space and data center power and cooling. My next question should have been ‘How much money is it costing you each month in space, power and cooling by not moving to the new infrastructure?’ 2) The test environment was so different to their production environment half of all application go lives were backed out of after application issues when they moved into production. Again, my next question should have been ‘How many times has this happened and what do you estimate the cost of each aborted go live to be?’”


I wrote back, “On your very last example, you suggested questions that you could have asked – good job.

“To help even further, there should be some additional questions in and around “how many times has this happened?” and “what did it cost?”

“It should start with:


Tell me more about that!
How big of a problem does that cause each time it happens?
What are the users saying?
Who are they saying it to?
How do you feel when you have to retract an app that already went live?
How many times did that happen in the past 36 months?
What should that number be?
How much time is wasted as a result?
What does it prevent you from doing?
What would it be worth to recover that time?
Is there a lost opportunity cost associated with this?
Is there a hard cost associated with an abort?
So if you had to guess, what is the overall cost associated with not moving to the new environment?
Is that a lot?
Who else cares about that?
How do you feel about that?”

That’s 17 additional baby steps to get from “half of the go lives have to be backed out” and “how much did it cost?”  Most of your salespeople attempt to go from A to Z without stopping to visit B through Y.


You cannot script these questions.  Your salespeople must be able to identify the questioning opportunities in real time while their prospects are responding to the question currently in play.  This requires VERY focused listening, note taking, and patience.  And the biggest challenge?  Your salespeople must avoid the temptation to jump to a different question topic, jump to presentation, or jump in with a solution!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, active listening, listening skills, questioning skills, sales assessments

Selling is Like Rocket Science Until You Do These 2 Things Well

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 @ 08:03 AM

sofaWe were in the designer furniture store where everything is made to order, takes 8-12 weeks and the price of a chair starts at $2,500 US.  I was reading my Kindle when a woman walked in and began admiring one particular sofa.

A salesperson walked up to her and you'll never guess what he asked...  Believe it or not he asked, "Can I help you?"  I cringe whenver I hear that question but that's an article for another day. 

Of course the only possible answer she could respond with was, "Just looking."

Crucial point #1 - he could have approached her and introduced himself, learned her first name and asked why she came in today?  He could have asked what she liked about the sofa she was admiring.  He could have asked if she was hoping to find a sofa.  What he did ask could just as well have been,  "Ignore me because I'm a mindless robot who doesn't respect you or care enough about you or your potential business to make it seem like you are important."

Next, he said, "We just got some outdoor furniture in over here!"  Huh?  Outdoor furniture?  She's falling in love with a sofa and he's pulling her away to look at outdoor furniture?

She ignored him.

He's not stupid.  No, he's a moron and tried again.  "We have some really good deals on the outdoor furniture...."

She ignored a second time.  Good for her!

He walked away.  He was done!  Rejected.  He gave up.  Wasn't that easy?

Then her husband walked in and asked, "Did you find anything?"

She said, "I love this sofa but I can't find anyone to sell it to me..."

Selling isn't rocket science but it seems like rocket science until you learn to do two things really well:

  1. Listen.
  2. Ask questions that will get specific desired responses.

The furniture salesperson (yikes!) got the responses that his questions should have elicited.  Too bad.  The sofas started at $6,500!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, retail sales, asking questions, sales 101, listening skills

The Myth of Sales Habits and Competencies

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 @ 08:02 AM

egoI get a kick out of the feedback we get from some veteran salespeople and sales managers after their first training sessions.

We hear things like:

  • It reinforced the importance of...
  • It reminded me to always...
  • It provided more clarity on....
  • I realized I had away from the habit of...

Here is what I think.

The training could not have reinforced the importance of anything because if they had already acknowledged that something was important, why weren't they doing it?

The training could not have reminded them to always do anything because if they had forgotten to always do something then they probably did not really know to do it in the first place.

The training may very well have provided more clarity on multiple topics but more clarity comes from not having much clarity or understanding to begin with.

Now my favorite.

If they realized that they had gotten out of the habit of doing anything, then did they really ever have a habit?  When something is a habit, one always does it and nothing would prevent it from getting done.  So it is far more likely that there was never, ever anything even close to resembling a habit.

So why do some veterans feel the need to provide feedback in this manner?

Could it be their egos?  Could it be that they are simply too embarrassed to admit that the material was either new to them, or they had rarely, if ever, used or implemented strategies and tactics like these before?

For instance, they have surely heard the importance of asking questions before.  But just as surely, they haven't been tought exactly how, when and where to ask in a simple, effective, non-threatening manner. They haven't been shown how long to continue the questioning, how to continue it, exactly what they are seeking to learn, when to stop, how to summarize, and how to turn the resulting urgency into a commitment to spend more money to do business with them.

Ego.  They simply can't admit that they didn't know.

Read Frank Belzer's related post on ego from earlier today....

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales ego, listening skills, questioning skills

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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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