Dave Kurlan's 10 Surefire New Years Resolutions For All Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 03, 2019 @ 06:01 AM


Like most people, this year I intend to make good on my New Year’s resolution.  It’s actually more of a life resolution than it is a New Year’s resolution in much the same way that salespeople should make theirs a career resolution. If it’s important enough then it shouldn't be for only one year.

I’ve compiled a list of resolutions that all salespeople should make and follow.  Some will likely surprise you but they are all necessary to become more successful.  Enjoy the 10 most important elements for New Year's Resolutions That All Salespeople Must Make.  Here we go!

  1. Stretch.  Everyone begins the year with goals but they tend to be goals that will either be easy to reach or impossible.  A stretch goal is important but it can’t be some random number.  Sell this much, sell this many, earn this much, or pay this debt won’t work.  The goal must be for something special, important, exciting, and compelling that the numbers will help you achieve.
  2. Believe.  Your stretch goal doesn’t become real until you believe in it.  Think back to when you were younger and obsessed about that bike, game console, go-kart, dress, date, musical instrument, sports win, computer or toy.  You never stopped hoping and wishing and believing and you can't stop believing now.  
  3. Commit.  Now that you have identified something exciting and believe that it can be accomplished, you must commit to it.  Whatever it takes.
  4. Stuffed.  Achieving your goals is dependent on a lot of things but none more crucial than always having a full pipeline.  You can’t sell six if there are only four opportunities in your pipeline.  First determine what it will take to sell one.  Working backwards, how many opportunities are required in each stage of the pipeline in order for you to sell that one using your own conversion ratios?  (Averages are in parenthesis - actual mileage may vary)
    1. Closable - has indicated intent to buy from you at a specific time (2)
    2. Qualified - thoroughly qualified to buy from you at a specific time (4)
    3. Prospects  - there are compelling reasons to buy from you (8)
    4. Suspects - first meeting has been scheduled (12)
      In this typical scenario, 26 opportunities must be in the pipeline at all times in order to sell one in a week, month, quarter or year or whatever your x per y is.  is the number you must sell and y is the time frame, like 4 per month. Multiply the numbers above by x.
  5. Discipline. When you are fully committed to your mission, you will be disciplined.  It means that you will perform the required activities even when you don't want to.  Back in the 1950's, insurance executive Albert Gray said something along the lines of, "The difference between successful salesmen [note - this was his wording circa 1950] and everyone else is that the successful salesmen will always do what they don't want to do while everyone else doesn't."  Discipline also means no distractions.  Identify what can and does distract you and swear off of it during the work day.  Period.
  6. Consistent.  This is about routines.  You must have a business development routine that you follow each day.  Whether you use the phone, knock on doors, send out emails, connect via social media or follow up on leads to generate new business, you must follow the same routine each and every day,
  7. ExceptionsThis is the hidden key.  Make no exceptions.  While my resolution in 2019 is to eliminate flour and sugar from my diet, I know that if I make just one exception I've blown the day.  If I blow the day, I'll rationalize that I might as well blow the week too.  And a blown week becomes a month blown and the plan fails.  Make. No. Exceptions.
  8. Improvement. Commit to self-development and a goal of becoming just 10% better at every aspect of selling. Check out this article to see how a 10% improvement in effectiveness leads to a 33% increase in revenue.
  9. Efficiency.  Commit to using tools that will make you more efficient.  I'm not a big proponent of all-in-one solutions that do everything because they compromise on everything.  These are my recommendations:
    1. Pipeline management - Membrain
    2. Call Efficiency -  Have 5+ conversations per hour with prospects using ConnectAndSell 
    3. Scheduling - YouCanBookMe
    4. Finding Someone's Email - FindThatEmail
    5. Automated Email Reminders - FollowUpThen
    6. Who Best to Introduce you to Targeted Prospects - Reachable
    7. Powerful Task list that synchronizes across all devices and platforms - ToDo
    8. Easily Share large files - WeTransfer
    9. Easily share content with prospects, look great doing it and track when they visit and what they review - Postwire
  10. Trust the process.  Sales process is crucial to success.  Once you have a customized, formal, staged, milestone-centric sales process, trust it.  If the process works and has a built-in custom scorecard, trust it.  It won't steer you wrong.  Review this article on customized scorecards.  Watch the video in this article to better understand what an ideal sales process looks like.

There you have it.  My surefire 10-step resolution to make your new year your best year.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales motivation, sales goals, sell more, new year's resolution

When the Sales Goals Change but the Behavior and Results Don't

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Apr 18, 2010 @ 23:04 PM

Suppose that you need your salespeople to find significantly more new business.  Perhaps you've wanted this for a while but it's only recently that you communicated this to your salespeople.  You've changed the goal but after a month your salespeople's behavior and results haven't changed at all. 

Let's compare this to weight loss.  You decide that you will finally lose that 30 pounds you've been carrying around for several years.  Your goal changes but after a month, the weight hasn't begun to decrease.  Did the behavior change?  Was there a change to either diet, lifestyle or exercise?  With weight loss goals, it's usually very apparent that the weight won't come off until at least one of those three behaviors change.

Unfortunately, with salespeople, it's not always apparent that a modified goal requires modified behaviors.  As much as salespeople tend to take the path of least resistance, sales managers tend to enable them by not holding them accountable and not providing the right type and amount of coaching and motivation.

You can change salespeople's behavior but it takes more than asking or demanding.  You must be able to provide a reason, explain the benefits, share the plan, set expectations, and have a timeline.  You must be able to coach to the new goals, hold them accountable to the new behavior, and be willing to enforce consequences when you don't see the anticipated change.

Or, you could simply allow them to continue doing what they've been doing...

I wrote an article on just this subject back in September.  It was the Hierarchy of Sales Coaching - How to Change Behavior. 


Topics: sales management, Sales Coaching, Sales Force, Sales Accountability, sales expectations, sales goals

Sales 3.0 - Time to Upgrade Your Sales Force?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 @ 07:02 AM

Stay with me on this one.  I need to go through a couple of metaphors to take you where I want to go. 

I heard that Dallas, TX received more than 11 inches of snow, the most in the hundred years that records have been kept.  The mid-Atlantic states experienced similar record snows this past week and Central Florida continues to have a cold winter.  So if the US is experiencing conditions not experienced in the last 100 years, then how accurately can the computer models used by meteorologists predict weather patterns and provide accurate forecasts?

Our economy has experienced a similar record defying dip. How can we base an economic recovery on how the economy has recovered in the past?

How can we continue to approach selling to consumers and businesses as if nothing has changed?  Not too long ago, web developers and observers began touting Web 2.0. Shortly thereafter, some sales gurus began talking about Sales 2.0.  I wrote this article about Sales 2.0 only nine weeks ago and recently I've been thinking about Sales 3.0. But it's all nonsense.  What does this nomenclature do for us or tell us?  If you didn't know what constituted sales 1.0, and you don't know what sales 2.0 is all about, why would you care about Sales 3.0? 

Software developers do this.  Which version of Word do you run?  My Windows Registry shows that Word 2007 is actually Word 12.0  but aside from the developers, who cares?  The only thing the labeling can tell anyone is whether you are running the most up-to-date version of the program. 

Are you running the most up-to-date version of Sales? I'm sure you're not.  So there are a few things to consider.  An out-of-date software program will continue to work if you are still running it on the old operating system which is running on the old computer.  The environment and requirements haven't changed so why change the program?  

An out-of-date sales operation (software), attempting to run in a changing marketplace (operating system) and an uncertain economy (computer) is destined to fall behind, struggle and eventually fail.

So how can you determine whether it is time to upgrade?  It's fairly simple. 

If you find yourself having to compromise on your growth goals - I want to grow 30% but it isn't realistic so I'll settle for 8% -  it's time to upgrade.

If sales are flat or worse, they've declined, it's time to upgrade.

If your metrics show that any of your conversion ratios have declined, it's time to upgrade.

If your pipeline isn't as full as it once was, it's time to upgrade.

If you aren't attracting, recognizing, selecting or retaining A players, it's time to upgrade.

If you are frustrated with your company's progress, it's time to upgrade.

You don't need to know what's behind Sales 2.0 to determine whether it's right for you, all you need to do is honestly assess your progress and measure your level of frustration.  If it's any lower than jumping for joy over your unbelievable success, you need to upgrade your sales force.

(c) Copyright 2010 Dave Kurlan


Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Force, Sales 2.0, sales goals, sales 3.0

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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