New Data Shows How Relationships and the Need to be Liked Impact Sales Performance

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 04, 2018 @ 06:06 AM

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In my most recent article, I shared data that showed a chain reaction would occur when salespeople have more than one major weakness in their Sales DNA and the second major weakness is their tendency to become emotional. As a trigger, the first major weakness causes the salesperson to become emotional, at which time their listening skills become compromised.

That article can be found here and as of this writing nearly 6 dozen LinkedIn subscribers have contributed some very insightful comments here.  Their comments inspired me to dig even further and look into the correlation between relationship building that salespeople do and their need to be liked.  In this study, even I was surprised by what I found!

The table I assembled below includes data comprised of 450,000 salespeople from Objective Management Group's (OMG) data on more than 1.75 million salespeople who have been evaluated and/or assessed.

Relationship-Approval-3

The table is sorted by the 5 ranges of Sales PercentileTM with the weakest salespeople in the percentile of 25 or below, and the top 5% in the elite group, with scores of 95 or better.

The second column shows the percentages of those who DO NOT need to be liked arranged by Sales PercentileTM.  You'll notice that those scores correlate perfectly with the Sales PercentileTM, just as they did in this study of the Correlation Between Sales Motivation and Effectiveness.  With the exception of the extrovert column, ALL of the scores in ALL of the columns correlate perfectly with Sales PercentileTM.

Many of the LinkedIn comments referencing the article on Chain Reactions theorized that relationships either were or were not important.  I mined the data on 5 of the key attributes of the Relationship Building Competency and laid them out by Sales PercentileTM in order to compare them to the findings of Not Needing to be Liked.

There are some striking discoveries here, including the fact that the percentage of extroverts positively correlates to sales effectiveness.  In addition, while you can't see it in the table, 78% of the extroverts need to be liked.

Some of the key data points can be seen below.

Relationship-Approval2

Look at the highlighted data for Not Needing to be Liked, Relationship Based Sales Process and Relationships are Key Factors in Closing Business.  While 86% of the weakest salespeople DO need to be liked, only 42% of them have a relationship-based sales process and some believe that the relationship is the key factor.  Do you see it?  Despite NEEDING to be liked, most of them lack the conscious awareness of whether or not they are successfully building a relationship during the sales process. That is one of the key reasons that the weakest group of salespeople are so incredibly ineffective. Some in this group are attention seekers while some are so timid that if you blew them a kiss they would tumble over.  Either way, this is a group that you shouldn't waste time coaching, shouldn't attempt to raise their expectations, and ultimately, shouldn't retain.  Replace these salespeople and use OMG's accurate, predictive, customizable, sales-specific assessment tool.

Conversely, we see that two thirds of the top group, where only 11% need to be liked,  DO have a relationship based sales process while only 1% believe the relationship is a key factor to closing the business.  Do you see it?  They DON'T NEED to be liked but are conscious of the importance of developing a relationship during the sales process.  They know how (mechanical) but don't need to (emotional).

These findings bridge the gap between the two primary groups in the LinkedIn comments. One group implied that relationships didn't matter at all, while the other group said that relationships were extremely important.  It is important to develop a credible, value-based, trusting, respectful relationship, while equally important that salespeople NOT NEED their prospects to like them.

Over the past two weeks I have enjoyed digging into the data and sharing some of the insights that prove and disprove theories while shedding light on the reasons for various sales effectiveness and performance.

Do you have a theory to prove?

Do you have a question that our data could answer?  Leave your question or theory in the comments here or on LinkedIn, or email me at dkurlan@objectivemanagement.com 

I'll be happy to do the digging and share the findings right here.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, sales process, Sales DNA, Relationship Selling, sales science

New Data Shows Sales Weaknesses Cause Powerful Chain Reactions in Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 30, 2018 @ 06:05 AM

 chain-reaction

I have written extensively about Sales DNA over the years and today we will view Sales DNA from the perspective of sitting inside of a chemistry lab.

Sales DNA is the combination of strengths (or weaknesses) that support (or sabotage) the execution of sales process, sales strategy and sales tactics.  Objective Management Group (OMG) measures and includes the 6 most powerful of those strands of Sales DNA in its 21 Sales Core Competencies.  While I usually discuss the impact of these weaknesses, we have never conducted a lab experiment like this before! 

John Pattison, the COO at OMG, built a new tool for us to play with.  It allows us to slice and dice the data in ways never before possible (for us).  I feel like a kid with a new train set but that analogy ages me.  I feel like a kid with a new PlayStation!

The image below shows the average scores for all salespeople in the 6 Sales Core Competencies of Sales DNA.

DNA-pct-strengths-2

 

The average scores for all salespeople are not very good!  The next image shows the percentage of all salespeople who have those 6 Competencies as strengths.  This isn't very good either.

DNA-pct-strengths-1-1

 

You can see all of our data in all 21 Sales Core Competencies and filter it by industry and company here.

Most experiments begin with a theory or a question. My theory is that Sales DNA is similar to a chemical reaction whereby if a salesperson has 2 or more of the 6 above as weaknesses, and #2 is the tendency to become emotional, then weakness #1 will trigger weakness #2. 

A weakness is triggered when salespeople are aware of the need to execute a step, strategy or tactic, like asking a specific question, but are worried that the prospect will dislike them for doing so. As a result, they avoid executing and thereby sabotage themselves.  

DOESN'T NEED APPROVAL:  As a weakness, it causes salespeople to avoid an action when they worry that their prospects won't like them.  Prevents salespeople from asking tough questions, pushing back and challenging their prospects, the core skills to selling like a Challenger.

CONTROLS EMOTIONS: As a weakness, it occurs when salespeople worry, strategize, panic or get excited.  This causes them to get in their own heads, and prevents them from being able to actively listen and ask good questions, the core skills of a consultative approach to selling.

COMFORTABLE DISCUSSING MONEY: As a weakness, salespeople aren't comfortable asking a prospect where their money is coming from, how they might find money they don't have, how they might find more money than what was budgeted, or how to prioritize expenditures to solve their problems.

Let the experiment begin!

The first Competency I tested was Doesn't Need Approval or, whether or not a salesperson NEEDS to be liked.

58% of all salespeople Need to be Liked (a weakness) and their average score is 76 (weak).

When I sliced the data with Controls Emotions you can see what I found in the table below:

Emotions

66% of salespeople who need their prospects to like them become emotional when the weakness is triggered.  2/3 of them!

I wondered how much that percentage might change based on our Sales PercentileTM score so I dug deeper and learned that:

The bottom 25% of all salespeople, almost all of them at 85% - become emotional when the need to be liked is triggered.

For those in the percentiles between 26 and 50, 72% become emotional when the need to be liked is triggered.

Salespeople in the percentiles between 51 and 75 were less likely to become emotional when the need to be liked is triggered.  It happens with 60% of them.

Only 41% of the salespeople in the percentiles between 76-94 (strong) have the need to be liked but when it is triggered, 46% of that group become emotional.

Only 18% of elite salespeople (the top 5%) have the need to be liked but when it is triggered, 24% of them become emotional. 

* * * * 

I ran the same experiment on Comfortable Discussing Money.  As with the need to be liked, 60% of all salespeople have this as a weakness.  

67% of those who are not comfortable discussing finances become emotional at the moment the money weakness is triggered.  Again, it's two thirds of them!

As with the need to be liked, the percentage changed according to Sales PercentileTM so here is what happens:

78% of the salespeople in the bottom 50% become emotional when the money weakness is triggered.

59% of the salespeople in the percentiles between 51 and 75 become emotional when the money weakness is triggered.

Only 34% of salespeople in the percentiles between 75-95 are uncomfortable discussing money but when the weakness is triggered, 41% of that group become emotional.

Only 8% of elite salespeople (the top 5%) are uncomfortable talking about money, but when the weakness is triggered, 17% of them become emotional. 

Upon the triggering of the first weakness, these findings show that for most salespeople with more than 1 major weakness along with the tendency to become emotional, the emotions weakness is triggered as part of a chain reaction.

The data also confirms that nearly all of the weakest salespeople (Sales Percentile below 25) have these weaknesses (and more) and the 1st weakness almost always triggers the 2nd weakness.

Finally, the data confirms that very few of the salespeople in the elite top 5% have these weaknesses and when they do it is far less likely for the 2nd weakness to be triggered with the 1st.

When everyone on the sales force receives the exact same sales training and coaching, these findings explain why top salespeople continue to succeed while poor salespeople fail to show measurable improvement

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, Sales DNA, sales statistics, emotional, need to be liked, talking about money, sales data

More Fake News in Sales Organizations Than on TV Networks!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 @ 21:12 PM

fake-news.jpg

Most of your salespeople are just like fake news and I will prove it.  I'm not talking about the elite top 5% or the next group of 15% who are very strong.  I am referring to the bottom 46% of the sales population who, if I am to be completely honest, totally suck. If yours is like most companies, then half of its salespeople fit this description.

I'm going to show you exactly how your salespeople report fake news but first, we need to break down how fake news happens so that I can demonstrate how your weak salespeople do the exact same thing, every chance they can get.

Have you ever been so excited about something that you couldn't wait to share the news?  Excitement is the key element to fake news.

The opportunity for fake news happens when a journalist has an agenda or bias that reflects their personal beliefs. It's true of democrats and republicans, as well as liberals and conservatives.  You've seen it happen on every major news network and in many major publications.  A news story comes along that supports the journalist's beliefs and the journalist - let's call him Happy - becomes so excited that he can't wait tell that story. In an effort to quickly get it out there, he might skip several steps of the editorial process.  Happy might proceed with an anonymous and/or unreliable source, fail to get a second source, not check the facts, report on a document he hasn't seen, take a quote out of context, twist the words, or simply make the story fit his narrative. I've seen more of this in the past eighteen months than in the rest of my lifetime combined.   

As I said before, your salespeople are doing the exact same thing.  It happens when they are talking with a prospect who shares information that the salesperson recognizes as a perfect fit for your product (or service). These salespeople believe that they must present and they become very excited to pitch their product. In an effort to quickly get to the presentation (or demo) they skip several steps in the sales process, don't ask if they are talking with a decision maker, recommend a solution without understanding the actual problem, and submit a quote without thoroughly qualifying the prospect's ability to pay. Later, in the CRM application, they check off the steps of the sales process as completed and later still, their sales manager reads the summary, contributing to an unreliable sales forecast.  And as I wrote here, this contributes to the 16,000 unqualified quotes and proposals being created and sent each day. Unfortunately, I've been seeing this kind of fake news for 32 years because so many salespeople either don't have or don't follow a formal sales process and as a result the sale usually doesn't close.

Getting excited is one of the six major weaknesses found in the Sales DNA of salespeople.  If there was such a thing as Reporting DNA I'm sure the same weakness would be found there too.  But there's a second weakness at play and that's Beliefs.  Reporters aren't the only ones with beliefs.  Salespeople have as many as 75 sales beliefs and the beliefs either support or sabotage their sales outcomes.  In the scenario above, the non-supportive belief that they must present was so strong that it was responsible for the excitement that caused the outcome to be sabotaged.

Fake news is killing our trust in the media, undermining our government and dividing our country.  What do you think happens when your salespeople provide fake news to their sales managers and don't give their prospects the benefit of having a thorough two-way conversation before they jump and present or demo and propose an out of context quote?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, Sales DNA, fake news

Is Excuse Making Actually the Biggest Obstacle to Increasing Sales?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 14, 2016 @ 07:12 AM

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I've talked a lot about excuse making and the powerful difference between using your index finger, which points outward, versus your thumb, which points inward.  Today, Brandon Steiner wrote a great little article about taking responsibility.

This video provides another perspective on Excuse Making and how bad that is for sales organization.

 

 

The big thing with Excuse Making is that until the excuse making stops, nothing can change.  So if you want to see improvements in effectiveness, growth in revenue, and a jump in profit, salespeople must execute in a fundamentally different way.  When they rationalize about what happened, accepting that allows them to repeat the mistake.  When they take responsibility, you can ask what they could have done differently.  Excuse Making = Status Quo.  Responsibility = Change.

In the past two months I have been a guest on several shows and the interviews were all quite good!  You might be interested in catching:

  • The Smart Sales Pro Interview where I talked about Sales DNA
  • The Growth Institute Blog where I wrote about Why Sales Training Doesn't Work
  • Will Barron - The Salesman Red interviewed me about Why Salespeople Struggle
  • Rapid Learning Institute featured me as the sales selection and hiring expert in this Webinar on preventing hiring mistakes.
  • I wrote about the Benefits of Getting your Sales Process right on the Growth Institute Blog
  • Will Barron recently interviewed me on sales weaknesses and it was a really good interview. You can watch or listen to it here.
  • Lori Richardson recently interviewed me on similar topics too - another really good interview, that you can get here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales performance, Sales DNA, sales excellence, excuse making

Holiday Sales Treat - A Mashup of Two Classic Songs

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Dec 06, 2016 @ 06:12 AM

brady-bunch.jpgcold-outside.jpg

This past weekend I read that the lyrics to the popular Christmas song, "Baby it's Cold Outside" were rewritten to emphasize consent.  And the weekend before I saw the news that Brady Bunch Mom, Florence Henderson, had passed away.  That immediately caused the Brady Bunch theme song to come to mind but my brain tends to combine things. In 2005, when I combined sales and baseball,  it became Baseline Selling, which when I looked as I was writing this, was still ranked #9 in the sales category on Amazon.com.  So my brain went and combined the Brady Bunch Theme song with a lyric change and came up with this diddy on OMG.

If you're too young to know or forgot how the theme song sounds, refresh your memory here.  Then sing these lyrics to that old memory:

Here’s a story, of a normal sales force
That was struggling to grow business every day
All of them had weak performers 'cept their leader
And most had *NFA.

Here’s the story, of their top performer
Who had bigger, badder, better customers
All of them were sold by other sales reps
Before becoming hers…

The OMG Sales Force Evaluation
Showed the boss why sales were rarely getting closed
Most had Sales DNA below a sixty
And pipelines full of holes.

OMG made some really great suggestions
And they followed what we said they had to do
And the changes caused performance to get better
Sales went through the roof.

OMG helps your business make more money
With answers and some truly great insights
And our candidate assessments help recruiting
You'll get selection right.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales DNA, brady bunch, baby it's cold outside, need to be liked, dean martin

What is the Single Biggest Differentiator Between Top and Bottom Salespeople?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Oct 03, 2016 @ 06:10 AM

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Thanks for continuing to read my Blog - I appreciate it.  There is one Blog that I never fail to read, and that's Seth Godin's Blog.  Seth doesn't write about sales - he pens a thought leadership Blog - but sometimes his articles are very applicable to sales and selling.  Recently, he posted two very short articles - each is less than 30 seconds to read and I believe they are both well worth your time.

The first is Fully Baked.  The second, on a related topic, is Skills vs. Talents

Over the years, I have seen first hand that one of the major differences between great and mediocre salespeople is that great salespeople want to improve - they made themselves great - and mediocre salespeople aren't willing to make the changes to become more effective.  Great salespeople strive for mastery while underachievers don't.  Back in the 1950's Albert Gray said something along the lines of, "Sales winners do the things they don't want to do and the others don't."

All professions have their small percentage of practitioners who aren't very good, but can you imagine the impact we would experience if attorneys, accountants or engineers underperformed to the same degree as nearly half of the sales population?

You can see evidence of that in this article where the data shows that the best salespeople have twice the level of commitment to achieving greater sales success than their underachieving counterparts.  You read that correctly - that's twice as committed!

All salespeople can develop the skills to achieve greater sales success, but only those who are committed enough to make changes can overcome Sales DNA that doesn't support the execution of those skills.  Even so, most salespeople fail to learn even the skills necessary for sales effectiveness in 2016.  And improving their Sales DNA?  Most salespeople have never even heard the phrase and aren't aware that their sales DNA needs to be improved.  We know you can't fix stupid, but how do you fix uninformed?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales DNA, sales excellence, sales commitment, Seth Godin

Sales 102 - The Pitch Deck, the Price Reduction and the Data

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 @ 09:09 AM

Pricing.jpg

Recently I met with a CEO whose salespeople were not closing enough business.  We had just evaluated their sales force and I had the answers as to why their sales were so underwhelming.  Before we could explain what was causing their problem, the CEO said something along the lines of, "We are going to create a new pitch deck and reduce our prices. That will solve the problem!"  

They weren't suggesting a small price change either.  It sounded like an 80% reduction and their reasoning overlapped with one of the contributing issues that we identified.  Their salespeople weren't reaching decision makers which raises more questions.  Why weren't they reaching decision makers and could anything be done about it?  Would lowering their prices solve the problem or did the issue go deeper than that?

It's not terribly unusual when salespeople are unable to reach decision makers but there are always several potential reasons as to why:

  • Tactical - they simply don't know how to get the decision makers engaged in the conversation
  • Conceptual - they don't think they need to
  • Sales DNA - their weaknesses won't allow them to ask to get the decision makers engaged
  • Commitment - they give up when the going becomes too difficult for them
  • Fear - they aren't comfortable speaking or meeting with that level of decision maker

What did the data from the sales force evaluation tell us?

In the case this company, the salespeople didn't believe they needed to reach the decision makers.  As it related to reaching decision makers, their Sales DNA was OK.  Commitment and Fear factors were OK too.  So if they didn't believe they needed to, isn't that lack of direction, inspection and accountability on the part of management?

The other big issue for this sales force was their Sales DNA as it related to money and decision making.  To the salespeople, the amount they were asking for was, "a lot" but the new reduced amount will probably be a lot too.  They also "understood" when their contact stalled to talk with a decision maker who would routinely not be interested in spending that much money.

The Solution

The appropriate solution would be for us to help their salespeople become more effective at getting the decision makers engaged in the conversation and at selling the value of their offering, while helping management coach to those outcomes.  

Lowering the Price

Their reasoning for lowering the price is that the contacts their salespeople are talking with would supposedly have the authority to spend the lesser fee without requiring approval from the decision makers.

Can that work?   

In my experience, if the salespeople don't reach decision makers it won't matter how much they are charging.  They'll continue to hear the same stalls, especially if they continue to begin their first meetings with the pitch deck!  The pitch deck is simply a crutch that turns a potential two-way conversation into a one-way presentation and that makes matters worse instead of better.  If they do convert more often with the lower price, they'll still have to close 5 times as many deals to bring in the same revenue.  So if they are closing 1 of 10 today, and they close 3X more deals but at 1/5 the fee, they will lag 65% behind their previously unacceptable run rate.

On the other hand, if they become effective reaching decision makers, their sales cycle will be significantly shorter, their win rate will improve by 3-5X and at the original fees, their revenue will increase by 3-5X as well.

Hermann Simon wrote the bible on pricing and questions related to how your product or service should be priced can be answered in his book, Confessions of the Pricing Man.

"The question to be answered is, should they do what's easiest and lower the fees, or do what's best for the company and fix the problem?"

It's an obvious choice unless you're the one who has to make the choice, with the future of the company depending on the decision.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Force, Sales DNA, pricing, selling value, OMG evaluation, pitch deck

How March Madness Applies to Salespeople and Your Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 @ 21:03 PM

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March Madness is all the rage with college hoop fans glued to their sports news feeds, video highlights, and brackets. In addition to March madness, folks are paying a lot of attention to the US Presidential Primaries, with an audience that's huge in comparison to past election years.  Spring Training began this month and as a baseball fan, I've been waiting for spring training all winter long! These distractions are evident in a number of ways and I can speak to how they affect business, the sales organization and salespeople.

This month, more people are showing up late for online training, showing the effects of staying up late to watch election coverage and debates and seeing how their favorite teams fared the night before.

Prospects have behaved worse than ever.  Salespeople are having even more difficulty reaching prospects and getting calls and emails returned - even from those who have expressed their interest in doing business.

On my own blog, March readership has been upside down with some articles getting only 10% of the views they normally receive.  For instance, here are 4 articles that I can almost guarantee that you didn't read, but that you should have:

Top 5 Conditions for B2B Prospects to Buy Your Services

Top 5 Keys to Prepare Your Sales Force for the Coming Recession

The Strategy That Will Help Nail Your ROI and Value Proposition Every Time

How to Sell to Existing Accounts So That You Don't Lose to the Competition

Salespeople are exhausted.  The salespeople who are selling to me, the salespeople we are coaching, and the salespeople we are training are all a step behind.  They're not quick enough on their feet, they aren't listening effectively, and they are missing openings, important statements and comments.

Even the salespeople who have been scheduled for job interviews are showing up late, missing appointments and have been generally disappointing in their interviews.

I love all of these entertaining things as much as the next person and I'm short on sleep too.  But we can't let that get in the way of what we need to be doing during business hours.  We all need to operate much like a jet airplane ready for take-off.  When it's time, rev those engines, accelerate down the runway, lift off and soar.  The lazy, distracted, zero-urgency, going through the motions pretenders will not have any success - with me or with anyone else.

If you have the skills and the Sales DNA, then you must be focused, disciplined, consistent, committed, motivated and persistent - characteristics that anyone - and I mean anyone - is capable of for 8 hours a day.  If you lack the skills and/or the Sales DNA, then you must use those same characteristics to develop your skills, overcome your weaknesses and become the best that you can be.

You have a choice - be part of the elite 7%; be part of the strong 16% or be part of the crappy 77%.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales performance, Sales DNA, keys to sales success, hyper sales excellence, presidential primaries, spring training

The Importance of Resiliency in Sales and Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 @ 06:04 AM

paul-blart-mall-cop-2

We saw Paul Blart - Mall Cop 2 and laughed a grand total of twice.  It was inept comedy, a horrible sequel and a terrible movie.  Despite that, it was a great example of resiliency as Blart is continually rejected, stopped, ridiculed and put-off, only to ignore those events, bear down and try even harder to accomplish his goals.  From that perspective, the movie, and Kevin James, succeed at demonstrating what it is like to be a salesperson.  Every other employee in a company is provided with a job description, a set of goals or expectations, training if necessary, and then left to do their job.  Nobody will stop them or make it difficult for them to complete their work, as long as they are capable.  Salespeople, on the other hand, must deal with prospects who won't answer their phones or emails, competitors who say bad things about them and their companies, as well as products and services that aren't always the best in quality, value, or the best choice.  Salespeople must demonstrate resiliency in order to succeed, yet one of the components of resiliency is sorely lacking in today's modern salespeople.

Only 34% of all salespeople have strong commitment for success in  sales - down considerably from 58% in 2007. Why?  One reason is that selling is more difficult than it was 10 years ago.  Another reason could be the rapid growth of inside sales teams where, unlike the traditional quota-carrying outside salesperson of years past, members of the inside sales team are often younger, less experienced, and not necessarily committed to a career of sales excellence.

Movies have been a great source of inspiration for me.  In addition to utilizing close to 100 different movie clips to demonstrate various selling and sales management lessons during training, a quick search revealed that I have relied on various movies to offer an analogy in more than a dozen Blog articles over the past 10 years.  Among them are lessons from:

We Bought a Zoo 
Dragnet 
Moneyball 
The Pursuit of Happyness 
The Lion King 
The Peaceful Warrior Movie 
Anti-Trust 
Gravity 
The Secret 
First Knight 
The Blind Side 
Coach Carter 

There are lessons everywhere.  All you have to do is look for them.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales, Sales DNA, sales commitment, movies and sales

A Good Look at Bad Salespeople - Companies Don't Get This!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

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Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

This week I received a cold call from one of the worst salespeople ever.  

I get to see the Sales DNA and Sales Competencies of more bad salespeople than anyone on the planet so I know bad when I see it or hear it.  Objective Management Group (OMG) has assessed more than 750,000 salespeople and when I compare percentages between the beginning and end of the last ten year period, not much has changed.  74% of all salespeople still suck and I get to see just how bad they suck.  Once in a while I get to experience sucky salespeople up close and personal.  What I am about to share is just such a story.

The caller said she was from [ABC Systems] and asked if I was the person that handled such things.  

Yes, the very first thing she said, did or ask was to qualify me as the decision maker.  No pleasantries, no preliminaries, no questions to see if we had any issues, not anything except, WAS-I-THE-PERSON?  BANT is an ancient qualifying acronym with A standing for authority.  But it shouldn't be used THAT soon in the call!  Even if they were using the ancient BANT method, I was only 25% qualified at that point. That didn't seem to matter to her though because upon learning that she had a decision maker, she stated that she would like to send a rep over to talk with me about it.  I guess she believed that if I'm the guy, then I must be qualified enough to meet with a salesperson.    I said I was happy with our current system and thanked her for trying.  In an effort to salvage the call, she said, "I can assure you that we can save you 40-50% off of what you are currently paying."  So much for credibility.  She didn't know what I was paying for my current system.  For all she knew I might have even been using her system. I do know this:  40-50% savings is a promise she simply can't make.

She was working the top of the funnel as an appointment setter. Those roles are important in a company but if she does make an appointment, can you imagine the poor outside salesperson who shows up for that meeting?  It doesn't matter that it's with the decision maker.  If the field sales rep can't save the decision maker that 40-50% he was promised, the salesperson will fail to meet expectations!  And what other expectations can there be after a cold call like that?  The decision maker will not care how it works, how it's different, or how it's better.  The expectations were set:  How much will this cost?  A sale cannot be any more transactional than that!

So what did she do well?  She made the dial, got me on the phone and got me a tiny bit qualified.  

What did she do poorly?  Everything else.  If she had been evaluated or assessed by OMG, she would have scored OK only as a Hunter, but horribly as a Consultative Seller, a Qualifier, a Closer, an Account Manager or a Farmer.  She wasn't even fun to talk with.  She didn't have any intangibles whatsoever.  She shouldn't have been in this role.

Everyone has sucky salespeople - it's just a matter of how sucky they are.  Companies tend to put these junior/inexperienced/ultra sucky people on the phones to do lead generation/inbound/appointment setting/top of the funnel work and this is a great example of everything that is wrong with that.  Why do companies do this?  It costs too much and is too distracting for their highly paid salespeople to be making these calls.  But salespeople are the very ones who can convert these conversations.  Salespeople are the very ones who want to schedule a quality call, as opposed to an awful call.  Salespeople have a vested interest in the outcomes of these calls.  If only there was a way to have salespeople in the conversations, but not waste their time trying to reach decision makers perhaps once or twice every few hours.

Oh wait.  There is a way!  ConnectAndSell has an amazing service that does exactly that.  As of this morning, the dashboard at the top of their website showed that they had delivered nearly 3 million conversations for their clients.  It really works.  Check them out here.

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, prospecting, Sales DNA, cold calling, lead generation

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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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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Awards

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Article/Post - Gold
 Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Assessment Tool - Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

2018 Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs Widget

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

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Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



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