New Analysis Shows the 5 Biggest Gaps Between Top and Bottom Sales Performers

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 01, 2017 @ 06:05 AM

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Image Copyright Cybrain

It didn't take very long for this to happen.  When Objective Management Group (OMG) announced that it was making its findings data available to the public, we knew that it wouldn't take long for someone with a flair for analytics to dig in and come up with something cool.  Last week, John Cousineau, creator of Amacus, got me on a video conference and shared what he came up with.  Hint:  Another way to differentiate top performers.

He analyzed the average scores of OMG's 21 Sales Core Competencies for the top 10% of salespeople and identified 5 that account for 36% of the gap between top and bottom performers.  The first image below shows the 36% gap in the 5 Competencies.  Each point represents a competency, the darker gray shows the average scores for the top 10% and the lighter gray has the scores for the bottom 10%.  The 5 competencies with the largest gaps are shown in blue for the bottom performers and brown represents the gaps between the two groups.

Abacus1.jpgThe next graphic below shows the 5 competencies John identified.

Abacus2.jpg

Translating just a bit, he says that the biggest gap in average scores between top performers and bottom performers - 36% - occurs in the sales core competencies where salespeople:

  1. are comfortable discussing money
  2. take responsibility for their results and don't make excuses or rationalize
  3. thoroughly qualify their opportunities
  4. are able to sell value instead of price
  5. are effective hunting for new business

We must also consider that there are approximately 10 attributes in each core competency and while the gaps certainly exist in those 5 competencies, are there specific skills where the gaps between top and bottom performers are even larger?

The following table shows the biggest gaps between top and bottom performers but instead of showing them by score, they are presented based on the percentage of salespeople who have the findings as strengths. Can you find anything in common between this table and the 5 competencies above?

abacus3.jpg

Hunting, Qualifying, Comfortable Talking about Money and Taking Responsibility appear on both lists, but instead of value selling, we see consultative selling.  

Did you notice the other gaps on this list?  Desire and Commitment are the two most important Sales Core Competencies of all.  They also represent 2 of the 5 competencies in Will to Sell.  All 6 Sales DNA Core Competencies appear on the list as well.  In addition to Comfortable Talking about Money, the list includes Not Needing to be Liked (Approval), Controlling Emotions, Rejection Proof, Supportive Buying Behaviors and Supportive Sales Beliefs.

OMG's data, based on the assessment of more than 1,100,000 salespeople from more than 11,000 companies definitively shows that there is an elite group of 7% - the best salespeople in the world.  These great salespeople are followed by another 16% that are strong.  And then there is the bottom 77%, who all suck.

You can access OMG's findings and compare them to your salespeople and other salespeople in your industry by visiting this page.

When you compare your salespeople to the rest of the sales population it looks like this example where the reader's sales force is worse than the bottom 10% at Taking Responsibility.

abacus4.jpg

You can also make sure you never make another sales hiring mistake by checking out OMG's accurate and predictive sales specific candidate assessments.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales core competencies, sales excellence, accurate sales assessment

What CEO's and Sales Leaders Care About the Most - Are They Trends for 2017?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Dec 16, 2016 @ 05:12 AM

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Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

I reviewed the 88 articles I wrote in 2016 (nearly 1,600 articles on the Blog) and was surprised to discover what I wrote about the most.  It wasn't about sales force evaluations, sales candidate assessments or attacks on the Harvard Business Review.  It wasn't about sales recruiting and selection, sales pipeline or Baseline Selling.  It wasn't any of things I expected to write about most often.   Because my topics are driven by the conversations I have with clients and prospective clients, my articles are a reflection of what CEO's and Sales Leaders care about.  I really think you'll be surprised to find out what they cared most about this year.

I listed the top 5 topics sorted by how frequently I wrote about them.  Then I listed and linked to the 3 most read, most shared and most commented articles.  I listed the reader favorite and finally, my 4 favorite articles of 2016.  You'll notice that they are different from all of the articles that were most read, shared and commented.  Why 4?  Why not?  Here we go!

Topics

  • Sales Strategy/Tactics (20)
  • Sales Success (10)
  • Sales Process (6)
  • Sales Data (6)
  • Sales Management - Coaching and Accountability (6)

What were the most popular articles of 2016?  As I do each year in December, I'll break it down this way:

Most Read

Breaking News - More Salespeople Suck Than Ever Before

Must Read - This Email Proves How Poorly the Bottom 74% of Salespeople Perform

The 5 Questions That Get People to Buy So That You don't Have to Sell

 

Most Shared

Breaking News - More Salespeople Suck Than Ever Before

Tech Buyer Explains Why He Has No Use for Salespeople

Must Read - This Email Proves How Poorly the Bottom 74% of Salespeople Perform

 

Most Comments

Tech Buyer Explains Why He Has No Use for Salespeople

The Biggest Secret to My Sales Success

The Crucial Selling Skill Nobody Talks About

Reader Favorite

Breaking News - More Salespeople Suck Than Ever Before

My Favorites

Remembering the Most Powerful Lesson of My Sales Career

Most Salespeople are Wrong about the Concept of Being Willing to Walk

Why a Customized Sales Process is Like Buying Shoes

Why Uncovering Pain Doesn't Close the Sale with the CEO

Are these popular articles trends for 2017?  While they could be, they probably aren't.  Most of these articles are timeless. Thanks for being a loyal reader this year.  Have a great holiday and a Happy New Year and I'll be back with more new articles in 2017.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales excellence, ownership of sales growth, best sales articles, hot sales topics

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

The Crucial Selling Skill That Nobody Talks About

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 20:10 PM

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Image Copyright 123RF Stock Photo

Earlier this week I received an unsolicited email from the founder of a company who introduced himself and asked me to try his new tool for speakers.  By itself, this was not unusual because I receive 20-25 unsolicited emails per day. They want to optimize my website, sell me SEO services, provide me with online marketing tools, sell me the latest SaaS program, provide a guest article for my Blog, buy advertising on my Blog, sell me leads, book appointments for us with prospects, or show me the latest sales enablement tools.  Unlike most, this particular email was actually formatted and the sender signed his complete name, title and company.  But let's talk about the biggest, most surprising thing about this sender that brings us to the topic of today's article.

Just three days later I received a follow up email from the same sender and the subject line read, "Good By from [company name withheld].  The body of the message began with, "I was looking forward to helping you but I haven't received a response to any of my emails...so I will be removing you from my contact list."

I couldn't care less because the tool looked lame and if he thought that he was going to hurt my feelings with his threat to remove my name he is as stupid as he is impatient.  And patience is what I want to talk about today.

"Patience is the most important selling skill that nobody ever talks about.  You can visualize patience on a pendulum where on one side there is an excess of patience and on the other, tremendous impatience."

When there is an excess of patience it always results in the salesperson accepting an endless number of stalls and put-offs, thereby lengthening the sales cycle, and shrinking the win rate.

When there is an excess of impatience, as we observed with the email sender, there will be a disproportionate number of prospects who become turned off, pissed off, or off-ended.

In a perfect selling world, salespeople must be able to walk the fine line between patience and impatience.  They must be able to challenge and push back on stalls and put-offs, but do so with kindness and professionalism so as not to cause a prospect to feel pressure.

We can't call the skill Patience because that implies having too much patience.  But the correct balance of patience is the key to pipeline velocity, shorter sales cycles and higher win rates.  I call this the ability to Manage Patience.

And the best news?  In the coming months we will add Manages Patience to Objective Management Group's (OMG) already feature-rich, acutely accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessments.  You can subscribe, get a free trial, or request samples here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales excellence, sales effectiveness, long sales cycle, win rates, managing patience

What it Takes to be an Elite (Top 7%) Salesperson

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 06:10 AM

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Last week I received a call from a young, motivated salesperson - we'll call him Jim - who desperately wanted to be one of the elite 7% of all salespeople.  Despite being just 26 years old, he believed that he was already in the top 7%.  During our call, he asked me a great question.  He asked, "How many of the top 7% have you actually met and where are they today?"  I didn't have to think very long or hard to answer that question because it was one of the easiest questions I have ever been asked.

Most companies have mediocre salespeople and a small percentage - less than 10% - are strong.  But there is an exception.  Many of the greatest salespeople, following a necessary stint in sales leadership, become sales consultants.  Now you are probably familiar with the sales consultants who have best-selling books or who tweet and blog on social media.  But they aren't the only sales consultants and trainers by a long shot.  There are thousands more and some of them are really good at what they do.  The best and brightest of them partner with my company, Objective Management Group (OMG), and provide our award winning sales candidate assessments and sales force evaluations to their clients.  Without a doubt, the nearly 300 individuals that represent OMG around the world, are the single biggest collection of the top 7% anywhere.  And each year, when around 150 of them gather for our international sales experts conference, that is where you will find the single biggest gathering of elite salespeople.

Why did Jim ask how many of these top performers I had met?  Because to him, the top 7% are the celebrities of sales.  It's like asking someone if they have met any professional athletes, movie or TV stars, or Presidents.  He has the top 7% on a pedestal because he wants to be one.

The bigger question for me is why Jim?  Why aren't the other 93% of the sales population calling, writing and asking how they can become part of the top 7%?  Why isn't it more important to them?  

Part of the answer should be so, so obvious.  If it was more important to them they would already be part of the top 7%, certainly part of the next 16% and not one of the bottom 77%!

Much of this problem boils down to Commitment to success in sales.

  • All salespeople score, on average, only 59% for Commitment.
  • The top 7% (Sales Quotient over 139) average, 72%.
  • Strong salespeople (Sales Quotient between 130-139) Score, on average, 65%
  • Serviceable salespeople (Sales Quotient between 115-129) 60% - or borderline Commitment.
  • Weak salespeople (Sales Quotient between 91-115 and the largest group) score, on average 45%
  • The bottom 10% (Sales Quotient under 91) score, on average, 39%

Notice that the biggest drop-off (from 60% to 45%) occurs when you drop from serviceable to weak.

If I had to guess, Jim's commitment is consistent with the elite group.  And while the top group has the highest overall scores for Commitment, it doesn't necessarily hold true that if a salesperson has a high commitment score that they are or will become part of that group.  Commitment is only 1 of 250 data points and while it is the most important, it is only 1.  For example, a salesperson with strong commitment, but a low score for Desire for success in sales, Motivation, Excuse Making, or even Coachable, is less likely to make it to the top group.  

OMG measures 21 Sales Core Competenceis and while I have mentioned 4 in this article, there are 17 others that will also have a great impact on whether a salesperson can make it to the top.  While 10 of those competenices are Tactical Selling competencies, 6 of them represent Sales DNA.  The top 7% have Sales DNA greater than 82% while weak Salespeople score 60% and the bottom 10% only 54%.  Sales DNA is a huge contributor to sales success and the lower the score on Commitment, the less likely it is that one could overcome a low Sales DNA.

Of course, when it comes to hiring salespeople, there is only one tool that can accurately predict whether you have an elite candidate, a strong candidate, or one of the others.

And if you were an elite salesperson, have put in your time in sales leadership, and are ready to bring OMG's great tools to your clients, you can learn more here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales motivation, sales excellence, sales commitment, Sales Experts, elite salespeople

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

Top 10 Reasons Why Sales Don't Grow

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 06:08 AM

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Have any of these things ever happened to you?  

  • Physical issues - low energy, prolonged pain or discomfort
  • Automobile issues - vibration under the seat or in the steering wheel, car accident
  • Home issues - leaks, faulty electrical, down trees or power lines from storm damage
  • Legal or Tax issues

If they did happen to you, what did you do? Did you call the doctor, car dealer, electrician, plumber, insurance company, lawyer or accountant?  Or did you hope it would all go away by itself?

Of course you made the call because things don't fix themselves.

Yet, despite knowing that things don't fix themselves, thousands of executives believe that sales problems will resolve themselves, change, and improve.  Why?

That's the key question.  Because when you don't know exactly what's wrong, it's much easier to remain in denial.

Most companies all deal with the exact same issues with their sales organizations. Flat or lethargic sales growth, the bulk of the revenue coming from a small percentage of the salespeople, not enough new business, difficulty selling against low priced competition, longer sales cycles, lower win rates, and on and on and on.  It's universal frustration and companies seem to fall squarely into one of four categories on this:

  1. They identify the cause and fix it.  "Hooray.  Sales and profits are on the rise!"
  2. They don't identify the cause but try to fix it through guesswork.  "Well, that didn't work.  We wasted another year!"
  3. They identify the cause but don't fix it. "We can do this ourselves."  Sure you can.
  4. They don't identify the cause and don't fix. "Hey, everyone has these issues!"

While most companies have similar issues, the causes are usually different.  There can be any number of problems that contribute to the observable issues, but these are the 10 I see most often:

  1. Recruiting - ineffective process and/or inconsistent sales selection
  2. On Boarding - is neglected, shortcuts are taken, or it's done poorly
  3. Coaching - sales managers don't coach enough and don't do it effectively
  4. Accountability - there isn't any so it's very easy for salespeople to fall behind
  5. Messaging - you wouldn't believe how bad - how inconsistent - the messaging is at most companies
  6. Sales Process - there usually isn't one and when there is it's either awful or nobody follows it
  7. Training - it's usually either do it yourself bad or it's not provided at all
  8. Gaps - skill gaps that prevent salespeople from being able to take a consultative approach or sell value
  9. Sales DNA Gaps - the strengths required to support tactics, strategies, process and methodology are missing
  10. Pipeline - usually a mess - filled with unqualified opportunities that will never close

Yet it's not enough to simply acknowledge these problems. Even if you are aware that some or all of these problems exist, whether or not they can be fixed is another story altogether!  That's because it is all about capabilities.  What are they capable of today, can they become more capable, how much more capable, and what will it take?  

To answer those questions we need to know if the people trainable and coachable.  Can sales leadership learn to coach effectively and hold salespeople accountable for the required changes?  Can the sales culture be improved to become a coaching culture?  Is leadership strong enough to replace under performers who can't be coached up?  Which skills and competencies must be developed?  How do you deal with the weaknesses in Sales DNA?  If recruiting and selection are to blame, how can it be improved?  How do you incorporate best practices into a inadequate sales process and/or methodology?  Do we need a playbook?  Is it our scripts?

The problem with improving sales performance is that the more you know, the more questions there will be.  And that is why it is so insane when so many executives ignore the problem, pretend they know what to do about it, and don't call for help call until the revenue issue reaches such a state that there isn't enough time or money to fix it.

It is so easy to blame the sales force but don't. They didn't recruit themselves, they didn't train themselves, they didn't set unreasonable expectations, and they didn't make themselves suck.  The blame gets placed higher up - where a false sense of hope and optimism live.

Ask me about a sales force evaluation - knowledge is power!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales force evaluation, sales performance, sales excellence

What the Sales World Can Learn from Marathon Participants

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 @ 16:04 PM

marathonEarlier this week, the world was once again focused on the city of Boston and the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.  I don’t run, but I know several people who do and the preparation for running this, or any other marathon, is daunting.

This isn’t an event that one can take lightly.  Consider the length of time that a runner must train to prepare for running a 26.2-mile race.  It takes up to 20 weeks to prepare for a marathon, while gradually building strength and endurance.  It includes several shorter weekday runs as well as a long-distance run of anywhere from 12-15 miles one day over the weekend.  Someone training for a marathon should run up to 50 miles per week.  It takes an enormous commitment – to a hobby!

While some professional runners enter a marathon, more than 30,000 people were simply participating because they could.  These participants have full-time jobs, careers and businesses.  This is a hobby.  Yet their commitment to this hobby should be embarrassing to most salespeople, who don’t put forth anywhere near this level of commitment, effort, time or practice into their own career!

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past 8 years and 1,150 articles, then you have no doubt read that salespeople can be categorized into 3 groups.  According to the data amassed by Objective Management Group’s (OMG) assessments of nearly 750,000 salespeople:

  • There is an elite group of salespeople, but it represents only 6% of the sales population.
  • An additional 20% of the sales population is good, but not great.
  • There is a bottom 74% and, for the most part, they suck equally.

This contradicts the traditional thinking that the bell curve has a top 20%, middle 60% and bottom 20%. 

So, perhaps our top 6% is the group who takes selling as seriously as those runners who train for a marathon.  But the question is, why only 6%?  Why not everyone else?

To answer that question, we need to better understand the differences between selling and other professions.  If you forecast a sale and it goes to a competitor, management says, “Too bad.”  Losing is OK.  But even an attorney who loses a case gets paid to lose…

If you’re a structural engineer and you screw up…if you’re a cop and you shoot an innocent victim...if you’re a bus driver, train conductor, airline pilot, or ship’s captain and you hit something…if you’re in manufacturing and you turn out defective products…if you’re a safety inspector and you “pass” a product that fails…

Most professions have no tolerance for failure.  In sales, because it’s not just possible, but likely that salespeople will fail, most companies have sales cultures of mediocrity, making it a virtual certainty that underperforming salespeople will continue on that track.

If underperformance is acceptable, then why would anyone, other than the most committed salespeople, put in the effort and time that a marathon runner would?

Can we change this? 

Not until we stamp out mediocrity.  That won’t happen until we raise the bar on sales management.  Only 8% of all sales managers make up the elite level and only a total of 18% are competent at sales management and coaching.  With 82% bordering on sales management incompetence, it’s no wonder that we can’t make improvements to the levels of commitment, effort, time, practice and effectiveness of most salespeople.

I’m one voice, but if you’re as disturbed by all of this as I am, perhaps you’ll share this with all of the CEO’s, Presidents, Sales VP’s and Directors, Sales Managers and salespeople in your circle.  Ask them what they have observed.  Ask them what they think.  Ask if they see the need to change something, anything, anytime soon.  And chime in with your own comments about this question – can we change this?

As long as we’re talking about the quest for sales excellence, check out Jack Daly’s new book, Hyper Sales Growth.  In his Weekly Insights Newsletter, Verne Harnish, the Growth Guy, wrote, "It's finally here! The book all the millions of fans (that's literal) of Jack Daly have been wanting -- a book that shares the same time-tested sales management techniques that work to drive the growth he's been teaching in his powerful and packed workshops. It's all about getting the sales management piece right - and this is the book that shows you the way."  

I don't know about you, but there just isn't enough good sales management guidance, and with only a handful of us devoting our blogs to it, a book from someone like Jack will be quite helpful.  To take a line from the old Smucker's jelly tagline, "...it's just got to be good."

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales excellence, sales commitment, jacky daly, hyper sales excellence

Great Salespeople Can See the Pixels - The Rest Watch the Movie

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:03 AM

lucyEach morning my son and I build a story from the playlist we hear on the radio.  Consider today's playlist from Sirius/XM's 70's station:

  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • I Wish
  • Skyhigh
  • Disco Lady
  • Diamond Girl
  • No Sugar Tonight
  • Could it be I'm Falling in Love

So the story goes that Lucy was up there in the sky with her diamonds and I just wish she hadn't been blown sky high because she's a Disco Lady who just loves those diamonds.  Because of this unfortunate incident, there won't be any sugar tonight.  Could it because I'm falling in love?

Forget for just a minute how lame this is and let's pretend that one of your salespeople just returned from a sales call and you debriefed him.

A seventy-four percenter, your "C" player said that he presented but the prospect rambled, complained about some problem with an explosion and some diamonds and seemed very distracted.  Your salesperson is going to send a proposal and follow up but he doesn't see much of an opportunity. 

Your "B" player is a top 26 percenter, good, but not a great salesperson, who said that she had a fairly strong opportunity.  She identified a problem - Lucy was blown sky high and is up there with her diamonds and the prospect needs to address the problem.  She is going to attempt to get him qualified before proposing a solution.

Your "A", an elite top 6 percenter who outsells everyone by a 3:1 margin, put it this way:  The prospect has a very compelling reason to get our help.  As a result of the "incident", the prospect will have no sugar tonight and worse, he is very concerned that he might be falling in love.  It's affecting his work/life balance and the money he lost when those diamonds were lost is preventing him from taking advantage of all the new opportunities being presented to him every day.  I really differentiated us from everyone else, listened, showed I cared, developed a strong relationship, and had the conversation nobody else had with him.  He thanked me for asking the right questions and helping him understand his real problem, and said he can't wait to work with us.

Every sales call has data points or dots or even pixels if you will.  In our pretend scenario above, we can convert those data points to a story line or pixels to a movie.  Great salespeople have the ability to see AND connect the dots as well as identify the dots that are missing.  An example of the missing dots in our story might go like this:

"You said that as a result of the incident you won't have any sugar tonight.  What about your prospects for sugar over the long term?  Why is the sugar so important?  What happens if you can't replace the sugar?  How will that affect your recovery from falling in love?"

Good salespeople identify only some of the dots and sometimes focus on the wrong ones.  

The remaining 74% of salespeople, the "C's", fail to see the actual pixels and they just watch the movie until it ends.

We have been describing the Consultative Sales approach.  How do your salespeople fare in their ability to sell consultatively and, more importantly, which of them can be trained and coached to effectively execute this with consistency and results?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, sales management, sales excellence, sales effectiveness

How the Landscape Quickly Changes on Your Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 @ 15:02 PM

winter in NEdirty snow

Do you see the two pictures?  Here in New England, we get perhaps one day each year when we are fortunate enough to see how beautiful the world can appear when it is covered with freshly fallen snow against a back-drop of sun and blue sky.  That was the case earlier this week.  Ironically, just 9 hours later, the scene had changed dramatically, from one of beauty, to one of pure ugliness.  The blue sky was replaced by clouds,  the sun was hidden and the fresh snow had melted from the trees.  Worst of all, the sand and salt that was applied to make the roads drivable and safe had turned those pretty white snow banks into brown and black crud.  Yuck.

Of course, if you weren't looking at these two pictures, you would have no way of knowing that prior to the snowfall, the scene had also looked just like picture #2.  Picture #1 was for show.  Picture #2 was the reality of winter in New England.

Isn't that a lot like the sales calls your salespeople are conducting?  Their prospects are very nice, say a lot of the right things, express interest in your offerings, request proposals, presentations and quotes, and promise to follow up.  Your salespeople return all excited about what they perceive as picture #1.  "It went great, they were very friendly, they liked me, and I think we're in a good position to get the business."

The reality is that if they had asked the appropriate questions, they would have discovered that the landscape looked much more like picture #2 - there was competition, an incumbent vendor, a decision maker who hadn't been identified, and the "interest" was to obtain pricing so that they could go back to their incumbent vendor, who they love, and leverage your pricing to get the incumbent to lower theirs.

Give your salespeople these two pictures and the next time they begin to think that everything seems wonderful, make sure they remember to brush the snow away, take off their rose colored glasses, and learn what the landscape truly looks like underneath the false interest.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales excellence

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years.  Dave's Blog earned a Bronze Medal in 2016 and this article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016. Read more about Dave.

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2016 Top Sales & Marketing Blog Post - Bronze

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Assessment Tool - Gold

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

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Blog

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

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Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

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