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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

Sales Assessment Findings and Cultural Differences

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 08:10 AM

cultural differencesI was in Istanbul this week, speaking to nearly 250 sales and business leaders.  I learned that Turkey didn't participate in the global economic crisis as they're simply growing all the time.  My audience wondered how cultural differences affect our assessment findings and seemed quite satisfied with the explanation.  I'll repeat it here.

If we can agree that selling is simply helping people to buy from you, regardless of industry, product, service or geography, then what exactly is different from one culture to another?

There are many cultures where you must be from "there" in order for people from "there" to buy from you.  Don't believe me?  Some examples of "there" exist right here in the USA!  Maine, Alabama, NYC and the Midwest.

There are other cultures where you must determine which meal is most appropriate for business to be conducted - breakfast, lunch or dinner?  Do you bow, kiss, shake hands or nod?  How should you dress?  What should you order?  Is dining together a requirement?  Should you accept an invitation to their home?  How long should you discuss your families before it's appropriate to begin discussions about business?

Beyond the the obvious cultural differences which can be found on many websites, when it comes time to actually sell, the selling doesn't change much.  That said, do the findings on our assessments change according to culture?  The only thing which changes is whether a weakness has the same power to intefere with performance.  For example, Need for Approval (the need to be liked) has tremendous power to hold back salespeople  in North America, where 63% of all salespeople are burdoned with it.  It prevents salespeople from asking a lot of questions, tough questions, pushing back and challenging their prospects.  Salespeople with Need for Approval are affected throughout the sales process.  By comparison, the same finding in Asia, where cultures are based on respect, have little impact on salespeople's effectiveness, even though the finding is still accurate.

The biggest issue with assessment findings and culture is with our two most important findings: Desire for Sales Success and Commitment to Sales Success (one more here).  In some cultures, a much higher percentage of salespeople lack Desire and Commitment.  When companies learn that their salespeople lack Desire or Commitment, they immediately want to blame culture; but that's the easy way out.  It certainly might be consistent with the culture of their company, but not something the company must endure, even on the other side of the globe.  Leadership must simply decide that if it wants to build a better sales culture, they better begin with Desire and Commitment becoming mandatory requirements.

Speaking of requirements, findings, sales assessments, candidates and culture, I have updated my hugely popular White Paper, The Science of Salesperson Selection.  If you would like an updated copy, click here

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, sales management, Sales Coaching, white paper, istanbul

2 Keys to Selling Success from Ann Romney and Chris Christie

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 @ 06:08 AM

ann romney and chris christieAnn Romney gave a great speech at the Republican National Convention.  She wrote it specifically for her intended audience of women, connecting herself and her husband, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, with that audience, and it worked.  They loved her.  

She was a tough act to follow, but Chris Christie successfully followed with a terrific speech of his own.

Speaking of love, one talking point which I heard loud and clear from Christie was that the people of this country need to choose respect over love.

I have been delivering that message for more than 20 years, not to citizens who must vote for a candidate, but to sales leadership, sales management and salespeople who let their need for approval - their need to be liked - interfere with every facet of what they do.

Salespeople who have need for approval have a difficult time asking questions, pushing back and challenging their prospects.  This affects them at every stage of the sales process, from overcoming early resistance, to scheduling meetings, to selling consultatively, to qualifying and to overcoming putoffs at closing time.

Sales Managers, who have need for approval, find it difficult to be consistently firm - think lack of accountability - and it's even more challenging to coach salespeople to ask better questions via roleplay.

Sales Leaders, who have need for approval, often have organizations where everybody likes them, but not quite enough to perform for them.  They have an especially difficult time replacing non-performers and holding Sales Managers accountable.

Chris Christie said that "we the people" need to choose respect over love and the love will come.  The key word is choose.  We have free will, which means that we can choose.  When we choose respect, by nicely asking tough questions, pushing back with permission and challenging the status quo when appropriate, we usually earn the respect of others.  They will be your friend if they like you.  They will buy from you if they respect you.  Which would you prefer?

You probably know which salespeople, working for you today, have need for approval, but it's not so easy to identify candidates who have that major weakness.  That's where OMG's legendary, accurate, predictive Sales Candidate Assessments enter the picture.  

Topics: sales competencies, sales blog, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, chris christie, ann romney, GOP and sales, sales presentations, objective management group

Basketball and the Difference Between Sales Studs and Sales Duds

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 14, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

Baseketball is like salesI heard former NBA all-star and current ESPN basketball analyst, Bruce Bowen, talking about Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics.  He characterized Garnett as one of the toughest competitors on the court, unlike some younger, very talented players who aren't as competitive and don't know how to close out games.  He said the difference is that Garnett is trying to win while the less competitive players are trying to make friends.

I've been talking about Need for Approval being one difference between the elite 6% of salespeople and the bottom 74% of salespeople for years, but this is the first time I have heard of the affliction as a differentiator in sports.  In one of my books - it was probably Baseline Selling - I discussed how it would play out if the pitcher had need for approval from the batter and vice versa.

Why is Need for Approval such a differentiator?

In the discussion about Kevin Garnett, Bowen said that Garnett doesn't care what other players think about him. Given his reputation as a shut-down defender, we can interpret that as he doesn't care if other players have a problem with him being tough, unrelenting, unfriendly, angry and passionate on the court. He isn't going to smile at an opponent, ask how he's doing or praise him for a nice play. He doesn't care if his opponent has a problem with that.

In sales, the elite 6% don't care what prospects and customers think about them, as long as they are thinking about them. They don't need to be best friends or have a relationship outside of work. That allows them to ask tough questions, challenge strategies and comments, and push-back when appropriate. These are behaviors that the bottom 74% of salespeople aren't able to do because they care so much about what their prospects and customers think about them. They worry that, if they ask too many questions or push-back, their prospects and customers won't like them anymore.

Who says that those prospects and customers like them now?

Because they don't ask tough questions and don't ever push back or challenge anything, we can be certain that they aren't having the type of conversations that add value.  And if they aren't adding value, their prospects and customers probably don't respect them.   

Do you know which of your salespeople have need for approval and how to deal with it?

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, Sales Coaching, sales motivation, difference between top salespeople and the rest, sales competition

Salespeople Become More Effective Part 2

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 10, 2010 @ 08:09 AM

baseline selling process Yesterday's article discussed the possibility for salespeople to develop weaknesses AFTER being assessed and during the period of comprehensive sales training, coaching and development.  Today, we'll discuss some of the areas where you should see fairly early improvement, as well as the areas where you need to see it but may not.

The first problem that you must take care of is the elimination of Excuse Making so we should see Excuse Making as one of the first weaknesses to become a strength.  That should be followed by issues like being Too Trusting of Prospects, Not Being Goal Oriented, Not Asking Enough Questions, Ineffective Listening, Assuming and Failure to Uncover Real Budgets.

Some of the issues that take longer to resolve are Consistently Following the Sales Process, overcoming Need for Approval and changing the way your salespeople buy things (Non Supportive Buy Cycle).  Unfortunately, these three issues are perhaps the most important of all.  So how do we handle the challenge of knowing that these three take longer, yet needing these three to resolve more quickly than normal?

The key is Sales Process.  You must talk about Sales Process and, assuming it's been formally developed, structured, optimized and introduced, include it in every daily coaching and development call so that the backdrop for your conversations is "Where in the process are you?"  In Baseline Selling, that would sound like "Which Base are you on?"

By making the Sales Process the backdrop for each conversation, it won't take as long to get your salespeople consistently following the process.  The next challenge is for them to effectively execute each of the steps in the process.  These conversations will expose the sales challenges that develop as a result of their Need for Approval and Non Supportive Buy Cycle.  The more chances you have to demonstrate how those weaknesses sabotage their efforts and lead to undesirable results, the more attention those weaknesses will get from your salespeople and awareness and attention leads to overcoming those weaknesses.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, Sales Coaching, Sales Force, sales management functions, sales weaknesses, sales assessments, non supportive buy cycle

The Secret - The Ancient Scrolls and its Impact on the Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 @ 12:03 PM

Al Turrisi was kind enough to give me a book called the Power of the Kabbalah.  Its ancient scrolls originated around 4,000 years ago, inspired The Secret and predates Moses and the Bible!  Since this book is not the Kabbalah itself, rather a Cliff Notes version, it tends to read more like a self-help book. It is far more powerful than a self-help book though as it points to a number of rules that will cause a transformation in one's life.

Seven of the desired behaviors are consistent with the philosophies in Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball as well as Objective Management Group's Sales Assessments:

The importance of Desire. Read the Top 10 Factors for Salespeople to Overachieve.

It's not about you.  Over the past several months I have found myself telling an awful lot of salespeople and sales managers that it's not about them.  It's even become a finding in Objective Management Group's Sales Manager's Evaluation - The It's All About Me finding.

Need for Approval or what happens when you need people to like you.  This is the second most powerful weakness in all of selling. Here's an article about that.

Becoming Emotionally Involvedor reacting instead of proacting.This is the third most powerful weakness in all of selling. I wrote an article about this.

Resistance or the great challenge that presents itself rather than an obstacle.  I wrote a an article about this earlier this month and another one a couple of years ago.

Certainty or having faith that what you say, ask, or do will get the desired outcome.

Doing What's Uncomfortable.  I wrote an article about this a while back too.

Many of the articles I linked to were Baseline Selling Tips.  Speaking of Baseline Selling, this is the third anniversary of the publish date of the book, a good reason to reread or order it.

So in summary, simply by having your salespeople overcome their sales weaknesses, doing the very things they are uncomfortable doing, having faith in their abilities and having a strong desire for success will cause those very same people to experience life changing experiences.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

 

 

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, Baseline Selling, assessments, sales skills, Salesforce, Sales Force, Changing_Behavior, over achievement, sales weaknesses, Motivation, sales core competencies, assessment, sales evaluation, over achieve, improve sales performance, sales winners, overachievers, sales assessment test, Baseline_Selling, sales assessments, sales test, objective management group

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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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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