Managing and Overcoming Resistance is the Key to Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 01, 2017 @ 13:03 PM

[Another disclaimer - this is not a political post and I am not taking sides. I am simply using an example from President Trump's recent address to the joint session of congress to illustrate my message about managing resistance when selling.]

resistance.jpg

Image Copyright SIphotography 

If you watched the address on Tuesday evening or the news coverage on Wednesday morning, you couldn't help but notice that there were three separate and distinct audiences in the hall.  On the right, joyous republicans.  On the left, resistant democrats.  And in the gallery, a mixed group of guests.

Prior to his speech, the media were saying that for Trump's Presidency to be successful,  it was crucial that he must "sell his vision" to America and Congress. 

There were mainly positive reviews of his speech and  most pointed out the distinction between the republican and democrat audience.  But the reviews of the speech aside, did he really sell it?  Continue reading for my analysis.

The reality is that the President only "sold it" to Republicans as well as those Americans who thought his message resonated.  He didn't sell it to the democrats seated in the hall last night.  He didn't sell it to the haters and he didn't sell it to the left - they weren't buying.

Several years ago, I recorded a two-minute video that accurately describes what happened.  Watch it now and then I'll add a few more thoughts.

Since the Republicans were predisposed to like his message, their resistance was low and Trump didn't need to be great last night.  He only had to not screw it up.  

The Democratic Senators and Congressmen were predisposed to dislike the message and since their resistance was sky high there wasn't anything that Trump could have said or done last night to change that.  Even when he modified his position and included policy that Democrats traditionally favor, their resistance remained high.  When Democratic lawmakers were asked how they felt about some of Trump's message being more along the lines of the Democrat's agenda, they criticized him for chaning his position.    That's what real resistance looks like.

Most salespeople encounter prospects with that kind of resistance only when they are making cold calls and then, only because most of them are so inept at lowering resistance! When salespeople finally get an opportunity to meet or schedule follow up calls with their prospects, resistance is rarely close to what we saw last night. But when it is, the following steps must be taken for there to be any hope of success:

  • Be aware of the resistance
  • Stop what you are doing
  • Agree and Take the necessary steps to lower the resistance
  • Offer comforting messages that your prospect can agree with
  • Confirm that resistance has been lowered
  • Ask and receive permission to continue
  • Remain aware of any change in resistance
  • Rinse and Repeat if necessary

Don't resist dealing with resistance!  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, resistance to change, sales resistance, Donald Trump

The Law of Opposites; Does This Description of Salespeople Offend?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:11 PM

partyI'll get to it, but first bear with me...

Last week, I was driving into Boston to lead our fall Sales Leadership Intensive.  I was listening to the personalities on the Boston sports radio station discuss the client appreciation event that they attended the prior evening.  Coincidentally, several of their sales managers were supposed to attend our sales leadership event and were unable to be with us because they were required to be at the client appreciation event.

On the radio show, the host asked his co-host who he thought was the drunkest person at the party.  After reaching agreement on that, they made this memorable (for me) comment.  I have the comment in quotes but I might have a word or two wrong. I think I captured the gist of it though.

"Our salespeople are true professionals.  They are really good at these events.  The late nights, heavy drinking, schmoozing...  They do it practically every night, so they're used to it."

To me, the concept that salespeople entertain their clients in that fashion sounded very 70's.

Does this describe what you and your salespeople do today? 

Do your salespeople do this at trade shows?

Is this one of the stereotypes that people have when it comes to salespeople?

Do your customers, clients and prospects expect this kind of treatment?

In my opinion, this behavior is the complete opposite of how salespeople should behave, deals should get done and clients should be appreciated.  

Speaking of opposites, while reading this book (no comments about the kind of books I read - please stick to the topic), I came across the Law of Opposites which basically explains (not directly) what happens to salespeople.  The Law of Opposites suggests that when you want something, an opposing force, or opposite, will manifest itself.  We are supposed to persist, find a way, and overcome this resistance with our talents.  The most interesting aspect of this law is that opposites ONLY manfiest when we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.  So, if you or your salespeople are selling, and there isn't any resistance, you're doing something wrong!!

What do you think?

(If you receive this by email or RSS, please click the article title so that you can tell us what you think about this.)

SoldLab published this article of mine on their site last week.  This is a perfect time of year to review it as you plan for 2014.  And make sure you read how less is more, more is less, more is more, lower is higher, fewer is greater, bigger is smaller and harder is easier.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales resistance, law of opposites, salespeople as schmoozers, salespeople entertaining clients, bad sales behavior

Sales Competencies and Your Competition

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Nov 06, 2008 @ 11:11 AM

If you have heard me speak or you have completed a profile of your ideal sales hire than you know I believe that your products or services fit into one of four categories of resistance:

  1. Your prospects need it and want it - like food - you have a lot of competition.
  2. Your prospects want it but don't believe they need it - like a luxury car - still lots of competition. 
  3. Your prospects need it but don't want it - like personal lines insurance - lots of competition.
  4. Your prospects don't believe they need it or want it - like high-end consulting - much less or no competition at all.  Not that there aren't others in your space, but your prospects are probably not speaking with the others in your space.

Companies don't invest enough time and energy being strategic and tactical about competition.  The approach shouldn't be economic as much as it should be tactical.  Your approach should revolve around neutralizing your competition as opposed to being competitive with your competition.

For most companies, it's a foregone conclusion that your prospects will buy and the only question is from whom they will buy. But what if you are in group 4?   What if the question is not about from whom but IF they will buy?  What if your biggest competition isn't from another company in your space but it's from prospects that don't think they need what you have?  What if your prospects think that they can do it themselves? Do it in-house?  What if they simply don't want your help? What if your biggest threat is their sense of being able to do without?  That's a totally different strategy than one where you must outsell your competition.  The problem is that most of the group 4 companies use the "why you should buy from us" strategy when they should be using the "why buy at all" strategy.

If you're in group 4, you need salespeople that can create a need for what you have as opposed to salespeople who have mastered the ability to present capabilities and make presentations that focus on why you.

So what if you're a company in groups 1-3 and you have competition and instead of perpetuating the "why buy from us" strategy you adopted the "why buy" strategy from group 3?  If you did that you would suddenly be doing two things your competitors aren't doing.

  1. you'd be creating a greater need for what you sell, which leads to the urgency that causes prospects to pull the trigger;
  2.  you would be differentiating yourself from all of your competitors.
In order to pull this off, your salespeople must be able to sell more consultatively (not a word, an approach), sell value (not tell about the value), and become extremely effective at asking good, tough, timely questions (not making presentations).  Do you have the right salespeople?  Can they make the transition?  What will it take? If you haven't done so already, evaluate your sales force to get these answers.

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, sales, sales process, Salesforce, Sales Force, competition, sales evaluation, sales resistance, sales profile, sales personality test

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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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