Sales Traditions and Rituals - They're Not Just for December

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 @ 05:12 AM

holiday traditionFor some salespeople, selling is as caked in tradition and ritual as any religious ceremony.  To get a sense of this, consider the many inside sales roles, demo-centric salespeople, and low-level, in-home salespeople.   Many inside salespeople repeatedly read from the same script.  Most demo-centric salespeople must cover all of the features and benefits.  And many in-home salespeople perform a mini-show on every sales call.

I have several rituals that I can share with you below.  I always:

  • visit their website to get a sense for what they do,
  • prepare to take lots of notes,
  • visualize the outcome,
  • guide them through a conversation that they've never had with anyone before,
  • hit the milestones of our sales process, and
  • discuss and agree to next steps.

December is also the time of year when companies and salespeople send cards, pretzels, brownies, cookies, popcorn, wine, champagne, and other gifts.  These actions are very kind and generous, but not unexpected.  A nice note, card or gift, at a time of year when it's not expected, can differentiate you and your company even more!

Along with the holiday traditions celebrated by you, your family and friends, my Blog has three traditions in December:

  1. I ask readers to vote for their favorite article from the past 12 months (coming next week). 
  2. I am honored to have won one or more of  the annual Top Sales & Marketing Awards since the event's inception several years ago.  This year I was nominated for 3 awards and Objective Management Group was nominated for 1 award.   
  3. I always repost this very popular article from several Decembers ago, Only 11% of Salespeople Do This at the End of a Call.  There are 3 great lessons in this article that are still true today.

Do you have any sales rituals or traditions that you would like to share in the comments?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, top sales blog, Nutcracker, top sales thought leader, top sales assessment, Top Sales Article

Questions You Should Ask Sales Candidates and Much More

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 @ 07:12 AM

giftThis is my final post of 2011 so as my holiday gift to you I have included links to original articles I have written for other sites, links to some articles on this site, and links to two recent interviews.  All in all, there is enough material here to more than make up for the 10 days I won't be writing!

What are the Best Answers to Sales Interview Questions? is a terrific guide to the questions you should be asking, as well as what to look for in your candidates' answers.  I wrote this article for task.fm.

I also wrote How Do You Best Select a Candidate to Hire? and How Do You Manage Salespeople in a Startup Environment? for task.fm

Speaking of interviews, here are two interviews that were recently conducted with me:

Aaron Ross interviewed me for his Predictable Revenue Blog where the topics included sales process, music and fatherhood.  There is an article and the interview is here on audio.

Brendan Cournoyer interviewed me for OpenView Labs where the topic was Which Sales Competencies Matter Most? A transcript of the interview and audio are both on the page.

I wrote six articles for the Alister Paine blog.  They include: 

The Key to Driving Revenue 
How to Close More Business
Incentivizing Your Sales Force 
How to Predict and Prevent Sales Turnover 
What to Do With Your Useless Sales Pipeline
The Pros and Cons of Hiring Green Salespeople.

2011 was a terrific year.  My Blog won the Gold for Top Sales & Marketing Blog of 2011, my article, Money Motivated Salespeople a Dying Breed (there were two follow ups to that article; The Offer is here and Non-Stop Sales Motivator is here) won the Silver for Top Sales & Marketing Blog Post of 2011, Objective Management Group won the Gold for Top Sales Assessment Tool of 2011, and I was a finalist for Top Sales & Marketing Thought Leader of 2011.  Thanks to the panel of expert judges for their decisions and to all of the readers that lended their support with the popular vote.

Have a great holiday!

Have a wonderful holiday and I'll be back in two weeks with more to disucss.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales core competencies, hiring salespeople, top sales blog, money motivated salespeople, top sales thought leader, top sales blog post, sales assessments

Sales Recruiting Effectiveness and Trust

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 05:12 AM

An Objective Management Group (OMG) Partner asked for a statistic that shows the difference between a company's effectiveness hiring salespeople when using a recruiter versus their effectiveness when using OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment.

We have so many statistics that they are coming out of our...database! 

The assessment is customized right down to who they need to call on, the price point they are selling at, the competition they face, what you actually need them to do, the resistance they'll face, etc.

When a candidate is not recommended (we don't believe they will succeed in that role at your company selling the product or service specified to your market with all of the conditions they'll be facing), but a client hires that candidate anyway, 75% fail within 6 months.  When a recommended candidate is hired, 92% rise to the top half of their sales force in the first year.  That's having statistics on your side!

We have boatloads of anecdotal evidence but we have not collected empirical data on the comparison our Partner asked for so I was wondering if you would find it satisfying to help?  Whether or not you have used OMG's assessments and/or a recruiter, if you could answer six very simple questions, we will have that statistic very soon!

If you are feeling very helpful, this is the last week (ends 12-9-11) I'm accepting answers to the Trust Survey based on this article about whether salespeople can be trusted.  The data collected from this survey will help us develop the next generation of assessments that will include industry specific needs for salespeople who can more effectively build trust, as well as enhancements to sales training based on industry perceptions.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, top sales thought leader, best sales assessment, best sales candidate assessment, best sales blog

How to Get Top Performance From Your Salespeople in December

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 05, 2011 @ 09:12 AM

top sales performerHeading into the last week of the month, quarter or year, would you prefer to be ahead of goal or behind?  And what about your salespeople - would you prefer for them to be ahead of goal or behind?  

Are you sure?  I didn't ask how you wanted them to finish...

As an example, let's look at yesterday's Patriots-Colts Football game where the Patriots had around a 28 point lead in the fourth quarter.  Two things happened.  The Patriots thought they had the game won and they relaxed - they took their foot off the gas - while the Colts, with nothing to lose and no resistance, mounted a huge comeback.  The Colts didn't quite make it all the way back but they turned a game that really was a blow out into what appeared to be (based on the score) a close, well-fought game.

Over the years, I have observed the following to be consistently true:

  • Salespeople who have hit their numbers with time to spare go into cruise control, take their foot off the gas, and prepare for the next period.  You love their numbers but I hate the let down.
  • Salespeople who have been behind, but close for most of the period, pull out the stops and usually manage to hit their numbers.
  • Salespeople who have been far behind give in to the inevitable, stop trying, and allow the period to die on the vine.
  • Sales Management is usually far too reactive - too late - to change any of this.
  • Contests and Incentives, when well conceived, can have a short-term  impact.  

So back to my question.  Would you rather have your salespeople ahead of their number or behind the number as the end draws near?
A case can be made for both answers so why don't you weigh in and explain why?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, top sales thought leader, sales incentives, sales contests, top sales assessment tool, under achieving, over achieving, top performers

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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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