Why This is Still a Great Selling Sales Book After 10 Years

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 09:01 AM

 

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I continue to be amazed at the staying power of my 2005 book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball.  3 publishers have contacted me this year about writing a 10th Anniversary Edition, a revised and updated edition, or a follow-up.  Yesterday, Pete Caputa, VP at Hubspot, wrote a really great article about the 3 sales books that are must-reads for salespeople, why, and Baseline Selling was one of the three.

I was speaking to a group of CEO's in NYC yesterday and when they wanted to know about Sales Process, Solution Selling, Value Selling and The Challenger Sale, the easiest way to explain both was to show the visual of the Baseline Selling sales process and show them how it all fit together.  So it got me thinking.  While other books come and quickly go, why has Baseline Selling continued to sell, resonate, help, fit and make sense, even as selling as a profession continues to experience dramatic changes?

After giving it some thought, I came up with the following things that differentiate Baseline Selling from all other books:

  • It is a complete sales process that can be customized to fit any business, role, vertical, service or product.  It has stages, milestones and steps.
  • It is also a complete methodology.  It has a well-defined approach, a dialog or conversation, that helps salespeople move from stage to stage and milestone to milestone
  • It has plenty of examples, stories and sample dialog.
  • It identifies and explains how to manage and overcome deficiencies in Sales DNA - weaknesses that interfere with successful selling.
  • It is very easy to follow, memorable and easy to apply.
  • It is a fast and fun read.
  • If you like baseball, it's even more fun to read.
  • It stresses fundamentals and as a result does not lend itself to becoming obsolete.
  • It pays tribute to the authors of historically time-tested and effective strategies and tactics and builds on them for the 21st century.
  • It was written based on my experiences with companies from more than 200 industries, has examples from many industries and, as a result, it has a much wider appeal than most books on selling.
  • Most readers found that laying out the sales process over the baseball diamond and using the base paths as stages was quite helpful.
  • Some mentioned that they found the rich bibliography of other sales books very helpful.

The book is rated 5 stars on Amazon and this morning the paperback ranked 8th in Sales.

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And the Kindle edition is ranked 14th in Negotiating (I know - don't ask.)

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And this is after 10 years! You can read the reviews there.  In addition to the reviews on Amazon, 23 experts added their reviews on BaselineSelling.com.  All those people can't be wrong after all these years...

While we're talking books, you can also get a free copy of my eBook, 63 Powerful Tips for a Huge Increase in Sales here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, Closing Sales, top sales books

Epic Debate on the Science of OMG's Sales Assessment

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 09, 2015 @ 06:03 AM

 trial

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Sometimes things happen in ways that you never plan for.  Last week, a blog post appeared on another site that listed, 8 Things that the Top 1% of Salespeople Do Differently.  In response, I posted a simple counter argument on my blog.  The extremely popular article was syndicated by CustomerThink.com, where the conversation picked up comments from both doubters and supporters alike.  It was a perfect storm except in this case, it was more like Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessments on trial.  You won't believe some of the things that were said!  In my opinion, that very conversation is now the ultimate, defining conversation comparing the science behind OMG's award-winning sales assessments, to gut instinct, faith, intuition and experience.  The conversation explored whether or not the science was accurate, valid, predictive, consistent, and reliable.  The contrarions weighed in, the know-it-alls spoke up, and eventually, the supporters arrived in droves.  If you read only one article/discussion on sales selection tools in your lifetime, this must be the one.  Read and Join the discussion here, but I warn you, it contains a LOT of very compelling and highly-charged reading.

In February, I wrote another extremely popular article which won awards for best article of the day, week and month.  Depending on where it appeared, it had a title of either The 25 Ways That Selling Has Changed or How Dramatically Has Selling Changed?  One of the comments, by Chris Bealle, CEO of ConnectAndSell, asked a similar question about sales management, so last week I wrote How Dramatically Has Sales Leadership Changed for EcSell Institute's in advance of their Spring Coaching Summit (I'll be there speaking about The Four Keys to Selling Value).

As OMG celebrates its 25th year of pioneering, growing and perfecting the science of sales evaluation and sales assessments, I will have a lot more to say on this subject...starting right now.  For many years, Neil Rackham has long been considered the father of sales research.  After all, his body of work includes research on more than 10,000 salespeople, he wrote SPIN Selling, and he has had an impressive career on this side of sales.  As someone who loves comparison data, I would like to remind people that my data and research at OMG is nearing 1 million salespeople evaluated and assessed.  That's almost 100 times more data than Neil Rackham has and I have used it to write several award-winning White Papers.  He has sold more copies of SPIN Selling than I have of my book, Baseline Selling, but he had a 20-year headstart on me...  By the way, if you haven't read Baseline Selling, it continues to be a very popular 5-star read and I receive notes from people every single day telling me how much they love it and the impact it has had on growing their revenue.  Have you read Baseline Selling?

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, personality, top sales books, sales selection tool, Validation, sales science, OMG Assessment, Customer Think

United Airlines Uses Customer Service This Way to Impact Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

united airlinesYesterday, I was returning from New Orleans on an airline I had previously decided never to use again.  When I arrived at the airport, the monitors showed that my flight, scheduled to depart at 5:18 PM, was delayed.  I entered a very short queue to speak with a gate agent to learn just how long the flight would be delayed.  There was one person ahead of me and one person at the counter.  There were two gate agents.  Twenty minutes later, the second gate agent finally looked up from her computer and asked the man in front of me if he had "some kind of question" he needed answered.  It turned out that he was also concerned about making a connecting flight and wanted to know how long the delay would be or whether the flight would end up being cancelled.

Based on how she responded, you would think he had insulted her entire family.  I clearly heard her snap that there was "a gate agent working on connections behind the scenes (a lie), a gate agent would be here an hour before the flight (a lie), and there were no seats available on any other flight leaving New Orleans because of the convention (truth).  Come back an hour before the flight."

He could not understand why she treated him so nastily so he repeated his fair and calm question and asked, "But do you know how long the flight may be delayed?"  She was even worse the second time, saying, "I already told you to come back an hour before the flight" and then repeated everything she previously said.  She had no interest in talking with him, helping or rescheduling him.

The information was available online.  United's website showed that the status of the flight was a 3-hour delay even though that information was not posted on the airport monitors.  When 5:18, the originally scheduled departure time, rolled around, not a single gate agent had ventured anywhere near the gate.  Everyone seated in the gate area was abuzz with the lack of communication, attention and ambivalence.

Today, as I begin writing this from Washington DC, I'm still not home yet, but I'm closer, having taken things into my own hands and thankfully, not leaving it up to United to get me home.  When I finally landed in DC 3 hours late, 50 people got in line to wait for a single United agent to reschedule them onto a future connecting flight.  Nice preparation, United!  But this isn't about me.  This is about United and what an excellent job they do at selling!  And I must say, they are very effective.

Yes, they sold me, for a second straight time, that flying United is not a good experience, their people don't care, putting their own needs first, ahead of their customers.  United is not the only company guilty of  deplorable customer service.  There are many others and you have likely experienced them too.

Customer service has a very important selling role.  Their job is to solve a customer's problem and do it in such a way that the customer forgets about the problem they had and remembers only how well and painlessly their problem was solved and how nicely they were treated in the process.  When companies screw this up, customer service has succeeded in UNSELLING a customer.  It isn't rocket science, but it does reflect poorly on recruiting, selection, management, onboarding and training.  Do you have similar experiences that you can share in the comments below?

United has been in the news for their horrible customer service before.

Want a good sales book to read?  Check out this list of the best sales books to read this summer.

Do you, your sales managers and/or sales leaders want to receive the most awesome sales leadership training around?  I'm hosting my annual Sales Leadership Intensive in September in the Boston area.  It's two days of training when my team devotes an entire day to mastering the art of coaching salespeople.  Watch this testimonial video and this one too.  If you're interested in attending, I'll make special arrangements for the first 10 who respond.  Just email me.

Sales Leadership Intensive

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management training, Customer Retention, top sales books

Sales Leadership Challenges to Having a World Class Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 @ 06:06 AM

World-Class Sales Organization.

We hear those words a lot.  Some companies aspire to it.  Others claim to be there already.  You are more likely to hear claims like those from a large enterprise, but you have better odds of actually finding it in a small-to-midsize company.

World-Class Sales Organization.

Some would say it's a description of a company's people.  Others would suggest it has more to do with results.  Many would say it's about the size of the sales force.  And a few would point to sales leadership and discipline.

World-Class Sales Organization.

The top team of sales strategists at my sales leadership consulting and training firm, Kurlan & Associates, set out to define what a world-class sales organization is and we developed this model.

World Class Sales Force

There is an important distinction to be made here.  At a large company, there could be one or more individuals responsible for each category in the model.  In a small business, one person (and sometimes fewer than that) may be responsible for all categories.  And in many companies, some of those categories are placed under the direction of people who aren't qualified  to lead them.  In other companies, there are huge gaps where some (or all) of one or more categories are missing.

Let's discuss the challenges of this model in a smaller company where there may be a half dozen salespeople reporting to one sales manager.  How is one person supposed to handle:

  • Sales Leadership 
  • Sales Architecture
  • Sales Infrastructure
  • Sales Talent Management
  • Sales Enablement
  • Sales Human Capital
Some of the help, which we provide in small and mid-market companies, occurs when some (or all) of these pieces are missing altogether, or when they have been undefined or improperly executed.
 
We are nearly halfway through 2013, so this is a good time to determine where the gaps exist in your sales organization and then deal with them.  It's not as important that you get it right, as it is that you have the above in place.  You can get them right over time.

Speaking of time, we're on the cusp of summer which begins on June 21 and it can't come quickly enough for me!  Nancy Bleak, author of Conversations That Sell, has published her 3rd Annual List of sales books you can bring to the beach.  We are proud and thankful that Nancy has chosen to include my best-seller, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball on her list.  We also encourage you to include Frank Belzer's terrific book, Sales Shift, on your summer reading list.
 
If you found this article helpful, you might find these articles on the subject of sales leadership helpful too:
 

Help is Here for Salespeople Who Find Themselves as the Underdogs

How Coyotes are at the Heart of Sales Motivation

What Percentage of Sales Managers Have the Necessary Coaching Skills?

Quadruple Dittos Motivate Your Sales Team to Achieve

Latest Debate Had Some Great Sales Leadership Examples

The Secret to Coaching Salespeople and Why It's So Scary 

The Conversation Sales Leaders Must Have with Salespeople

Connecting the Dots on Sales Management

Verne Harnish's Rant and 3 Sales Leadership Issues

The Most Important Sales Issues Heading into 2015

Keys to Improved Sales Performance - Part 4 of 4

The Real Problem with the Sales Profession and Sales Leadership

Why Sales Leaders and Salespeople Get Frustrated

Top 10 Sales Leadership Tips From 2013 - So Far

Top 5 Sales Leadership Articles of 2013 - So Far

How Much Sales Development Can Leadership Do In-House?

Sales Leadership Challenges to Having a World Class Sales Force

Sales Leadership Observations about Pipeline and Terminations

Sabermetrics for Sales Leadership - Projecting Sales Revenue

Disagreement Over Sales Leadership Best Practices?

The Sales Leadership Landscape - A Different Perspective

Are Sales Leaders More Receptive to Training Than Salespeople?

Sales Leaders Got These Issues All Wrong

Sales Strategy and Tactics - Thoughts from the Super Bowl

What Sales Leaders Don't Know About Ego and Empathy

Sales Leadership - a Balancing Act to Achieve Compliance and Quotas

Sales Leadership - It's Not About the Title

Sales Leadership - 6th of the 10 Kurlan Sales Management Functions

Sales and Sales Leadership Lessons from Lou Piniella and the Umpire

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, Sales Force, sales enablement, sales architecture, world class sales organization, sales talent, top sales books, sales infrastructure, sales strategy

SPIN Selling and Miller Heiman Compared to Baseline Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Apr 28, 2006 @ 03:04 AM

 
Baseline SellingA reader asked me about my book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, and how it compares with SPIN Selling and Miller Heiman's Strategic Selling. Both books - SPIN Selling AND Strategic Selling are good; but neither of them are selling systems or processes.

Baseline Selling covers four points in the evolution of an opportunity within the selling process: first base (suspect), second base (prospect), third base (qualified) and home (closable). SPIN is a questioning process that can be mapped onto Baseline Selling and the entire process takes place between first and second base. Most of the concepts in Strategic Selling take place in the on-deck circle and between second base and third base. So, while neither of them are complete processes, both qualify as methodologies or approaches.

The 2nd topic we can explore is how applicable they are to your business. As good as SPIN is, most salespeople simply can't replicate it. It's just too difficult. So Baseline Selling has a simple questioning process that anyone can do - right out of the book! As good as Strategic Selling is, it isn't tactical. In other words, it's a book on strategy but it doesn't explain with detailed examples of dialog how to execute the strategy. Baseline Selling takes only a few pages to explain the four steps and the remaining 213 pages are devoted to tactics - how to get around the bases. Is Baseline Selling for you? Most sales development experts think so!

[Updated - This short video shows a much better comparison of SPIN, Solution Selling and the Challenger to Baseline Selling]

 

(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc

Topics: Dave Kurlan, top sales books, Baseline_Selling, SPIN Selling, Strategic Selling

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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, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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