FDR and Sir Isaac Newton on Why Salespeople Fail

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 25, 2020 @ 07:08 AM

fire

There we were, in the dark, in the middle of a hotel parking lot, at 3:45 AM.  Why?  The hotel fire alarm went off and we didn't want to ignore the warning that was so loud my wife and I couldn't hear each other speak.  Why was every other guest in the hotel parking lot with us?  Well, what if the hotel was on fire?  What if our lives were truly in danger?  

Unlike the made up fears that prevent salespeople from asking tough questions, qualifying more thoroughly, or picking up the phone and making a cold call, the fear of burning alive in a hotel fire seemed like a pretty justifiable one.

What are salespeople so fearful of?  Rejection?  Not being liked?  Not getting a meeting?  Not closing a sale?  Oh yes, incredibly scary.  If I had those fears I might not want to leave the house.  Oh wait, most salespeople aren't leaving their houses.  Is it because they're afraid of the virus?  No.  It's more likely that they're home because their companies have asked them to work remotely.  But make no mistake.  Even if they won't admit to it they are afraid of the things I wrote a few sentences back. And today, more than ever, they are loving their convenient excuses for hiding behind their laptop screens, churning out emails instead of making phone calls, and hoping that as Ray Kinsella's daughter, from Field of Dreams said, "People will come."

Why are these imagined fears so debilitating? 

Because we allow them to be.

I'm guilty of having debilitating, imagined fears.  When my son got his driver's license, my wife and I worried endlessly. Where is he? Do you think he's OK? Could he have gotten in an accident? Do you think he is paying attention? I hope he's not playing his music too loud. Could his friends be distracting him? Why isn't he home yet?  Did I ask, "Where is he?"

Turning back to salespeople, suppose the things they worry about were to actually happen?  Who would care?  How would life change?  The only ramification would be their inadequate pipelines.  The only ripple effect would be in the size of their commission checks. Their inaction is the only thing that can hurt them.  Remaining in their comfort zone hurts them.  Failing to change hurts them. 

In his 1933 inaugural address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." 

Sir Isaac Newton's third law of Physics states that for every action there is an opposite reaction.  What would the opposite reaction be to the action of not taking action? 

NOT taking action, and that includes not asking the tough question, IS an action against your pipeline, your income and your success. 

NOT taking action due to fear IS an action against your self-worth. 

NOT taking action, whether due to laziness or complacency, IS an action against what your company and your customer expect and deserve from you.

I'm sounding the alarm.  This is why salespeople fail.

Image Copyright 123 RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, asking questions, closing, prospecting, sales fears, fear of rejection

You're Afraid to Sell Because You Think There is Hope

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 @ 07:11 AM

bandofbrothers

It may have been in episode 4 or 5, in season 1.  It was definitely in the HBO series Band of Brothers.  Thanks Chris, for recommending it.  I can't believe I'm a decade late watching this!

A soldier was telling an officer that after the drop into Normandy, he simply hid in a ditch.  The officer asked if he knew why and he replied, "Because I was scared!"  The officer said, "You were scared because you thought there was hope.  The sooner you can accept that you're already dead, the sooner you can function as a soldier."

Think about that statement - not just its war implications, but also its life, and of course, sales implications.

Some people worry constantly about troubled love ones until that trouble causes their death.  The worrying ends because in those cases, death eliminates the fear.

In sales, we certainly don't want salespeople to have a defeatist attitude - nothing could be worse than that.  But on an opportunity by opportunity basis, there is tremendous power in believing we have already lost, or that we cannot possibly win this deal or account.

Why?

In battle, if we believe we are already dead, then what's the worst that can happen?  If we are already living the worst that can happen - death - then we won't be afraid, we won't be tentative, and we will do not some, but all of the things we were trained to do.  We'll fight!

In sales, if we believe we have already lost, then what's the worst that can happen?  If we are already living the worst that can happen -  we lost - then we won't be afraid, we won't be tentative, and we will do not some, but all of the things we were trained to do.  We'll sell!

"We'll sell" means that we'll ask all of those good, tough, timely questions that salespeople don't always ask; qualify more thoroughly than ever before, and not give in to the pressure of an early demo, presentation or proposal until the milestones in our process tell us that it's appropriate. 

Most salespeople fail to achieve because of their fear, but if we can eliminate the fear, only a lack of selling skills would hold them back and those can be taught.  Sure it can take 8 months to a year to train and coach salespeople to master consultative selling.  But that's a hell of a lot better that the 2-3 years it can take when all of their fears still prevent them from even trying what they are being taught.

Pop culture, especially a movie that tells a true story, can provide a better context for change than when we map out steps and teach.

You won't get this deal, so stop being afraid.  Do the things you've been afraid to do because you don't have anything to lose!

 

 

 

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, fear of failure, selling fearlessly, selling skills training, sales fears, sales qualifying

Does Fear Prevent Salespeople From Executing Your Sales Plan?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 @ 06:04 AM

Do you have those dreams?  No, not the one where you become wealthy and can buy anything you want; the dream where you're in the elevator and it begins a free fall from the highest floor.  Or the one where you go to school without your clothes on.  How about the one where you can't control your car?  How about the one where you are being pursued by a bad buy and you can't run?  These are some of the dreams that people have on a recurring basis and they tend to be quite scary while we're having them.  But, despite how real they seem and how scary they are, do those dreams prevent you from riding in an elevator, driving a car, or attending your kids' or grandchildren's school?  Probably not.

dreamSo if these powerful images don't get in the way of life, why do you let simple self-limiting beliefs - negative thoughts - prevent your salespeople from selling more effectively? At Objective Management Group (OMG), some of the data on more than 500,000 salespeople we have assessed suggests that most salespeople have a collection of self-limiting beliefs that would knock your socks off.  These negative thoughts prevent them from executing on a range of core, sales best practices that let sales opportunities slip through your fingers, delay closings, shrink margins and maintain a skimpy pipeline.  The three beliefs that burden more salespeople than any others are, "I must make a presentation", "It's not OK to ask a lot of questions", and "It's OK if my prospects shop around".  How does that make you feel?

Did a self-limting belief pop into your head just now?  Was it something along the lines of, "I can't do anything about that"? Or, "I can't confront all of my salespeople"?  Or, "Makes sense but I don't know which self-limting beliefs they have"?  Or, "That's their problem.  I just have to worry about myself"?  Or, "I'll add that to my list - I have too many bigger problems than than to worry about"? Or, "There isn't anything I can do about that - I'm not a therapist!"?

Those are just a few examples of self-limiting sales management beliefs!  Is it possible that you or your sales managers have some of them?

Topics: sales management, Sales Coaching, record collection, fear of failure, dreams, self-limting beliefs, sales fears

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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 eight 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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