What the Stanley Cup Can Teach Us About Sales Urgency

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Jun 03, 2019 @ 12:06 PM

Bruins-Blues three takeaways

Urgency is an innate, emotional need to get something done now. It cannot be taught but events can influence it. Let say it’s April 14th and you haven’t done your taxes. A public service announcement plays on the radio, talking about the consequences of not filing. Your gut aches. The ache is your conscious triggers fear which hopefully results in action.

Many salespeople and sales leaders lack urgency while others have trouble managing it.

When we react, we are driven by emotion, and when we respond, we balance that emotion with rational thought. Great salespeople have tremendous urgency to act but they apply in situationally appropriate ways. By doing so they produce equally great outcomes.

Two-days ago, the Boston Bruins beat the Saint Louis Blues after losing the previous game in Boston. Both teams brought urgency and emotion to game three. The difference was that Boston played with tremendous urgency but was patient enough to take advantage of the opportunities presented. Saint Louis was so invested in playing a physical game that they made mistakes.

Urgency without restraint does not work as well.

Salespeople worry about being overly “aggressive” with their follow-up. Much of this is because they accepted a put-off and or did not gain agreement for a logical next step which  usually results in the salesperson chasing the prospect.  When a prospect goes missing urgency is probably the missing ingredient. The adage “time kills all deals” is best seen as absolute, yet many salespeople patiently wait for the prospect to respond. If they had more urgency for getting to a no, they would waste less time, end up with more yeses and both parties would be a lot happier.

Salespeople are usually emotional by nature. One reason salespeople allow time to pass after a put-off is their own Need for Approval. Their urgency is trumped by fear of losing the deal or the prospect. Because a majority of salespeople need to be liked as well as some difficulty managing their emotions, they need help.

Here are some ways to develop more urgency and use it more effectively.

  • Slow-down in the discovery process
  • Take the time to really identify Need, Impact and Compelling Reasons
  • Trust that by asking probing questions you create value with good prospects
  • Do more pre-call strategy
  • Play a little hard to get
  • Ask for more time when scheduling your calls
  • Use the Sales DNA Modifier
  • Role-play weekly
  • Stop trying to be perfect, we learn by making mistakes
  • Bring more humor and playfulness
  • When the momentum shifts go for no
  • Develop some compelling personal goals
  • Publicly commit to things you are going to change
  • Get your spouse or significant other involved in holding you accountable
  • Trust that “luck” happens when you consistently do more of the right things

 If you want to learn more about how to find and hire great sales people attend this highly actionable thirty-minute webinar.

Topics: urgency, lead follow up, reps making quota, closing more sales, delayed closings

How To Be 35% More Effective As A Salesperson

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, May 13, 2019 @ 13:05 PM

Like many characters in Game of Thrones, Arya's journey has transformed her. Recently, during the battle of Winterfell, she repeats a phrase she learned from her sword-fighting teachers about death. Not today! This perfectly summarizes how important attitude and mindset are in all things, particularly sales. 

It turns out there is a profound correlation between the effectiveness of salespeople in critical selling competencies and whether they have Need for Approval. In the table below, the red bars indicate the percentage of salespeople who have the weakness of needing to be liked, and the purple bars show the percentage of salespeople who don't have this weakness.  The table shows how Need for Approval affects 9 other sales competencies.  As you can see, not needing people to like you makes salespeople significantly better at almost every facet of selling.

Watch this video and learn how to improve by 35%.

 

Becoming a more effective salesperson or sales leader means closing your Sales DNA gaps. The Sales DNA Modifier is an easy to use powerful tool specifically designed for this purpose.

If you are a sales leader or have sales leaders that want to become world-class Sales Coach (pre-call strategy and post call Debriefing) please join us at our June 4-5 Sales Leadership Intensive.

 

Topics: close more sales, better salespeople, predictive sales pipeline, reps making quota, sales skill gaps, sales productivity

How to Get a 33% Percentage Increase in Total Revenue

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Apr 29, 2019 @ 14:04 PM

The time difference between first and tenth place in the 2018 Tour de France was 14 minutes. That sounds like a lot until you realize that the course is 2,200 miles!  This is a .0028% difference. Greg LeMond won the 1989 tour by eight seconds. In this video I discuss data from Objective Management Group which proves that what sales leaders spend their time on correlates directly with revenue.

The slide below shows the data I  refer to.

Impact of Coaching-1

 

Want to learn more click one of the following.

Learn how to be a better sales coach.

Download this paper on sales force effectiveness.

Fix your Sales DNA with Sales DNA Modifier

Topics: Sales Coaching, executive sales management, increasing sales, sales quotas, low closing percentage

Why Good Sales Prospects Stop Returning Calls

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 @ 08:04 AM

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CSO Insights' 2018-2019 sales performance study shows that only 47.3% of forecast business closes. Imagine what would happen if the KPI's in other departments looked like this. In this short video I discuss one of the primary reasons this happens and how to fix it. 

 
  

The most important skill sales leaders must have is great developmental coaching ability. If you want to be a great  coach join us in June for our knock your socks off Sales Leadership Intensive

Topics: lost sales opportunities, prospects that don't respond, predictive pipeline, inaccurate forcasts, managing pipeline, quantifying sales

What You Should Measure to Grow Your Sales Pipeline

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Apr 09, 2019 @ 10:04 AM

Black Hole

Every CEO, President, GM or sales leader I speak to complains about delayed closing and inaccurate forecasts. This video post discusses why your sales pipeline may be a black hole. Opportunities are entered never to be seen again. Objective Management Groups data warehouse provides deep insight into solving this fundamental problem.

 

If you want to learn more about pipeline management and building a world class sales organization Kurlan Associates is hosting our raved about Sales leadership Intensive on June 4-5 at our office in the Boston area.

   

Topics: sales process, predictive pipeline, best salespeople, inaccurate forcasts

Simple Ways To Ask Better Questions

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Feb 26, 2019 @ 12:02 PM

Greater Clarity

Closing percentage can mean a lot of different things, including how much time you might waste from the point at which an opportunity becomes closable until it is actually closed. Let's say you close 30% of your proposals to new and existing customers. When you consider the 70% that you did not close, approximately how much time do you think you wasted? Is it 20%, 30% or higher? We know it's  not zero.

One primary driver of this is our ability to achieve great clarity with our questions. In today's video I discuss the analogy of using bright lines and fine lines. This two-minute clip will help you improve your questioning process.

 


 

 

Topics: Consultative Selling, sales questions, active listening, low closing percentage, delayed closings

Hold Your Sales Management Horses

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Feb 11, 2019 @ 14:02 PM

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Todays video blog discusses some of the things which prevent sales leaders from having maximum impact on their sales force. In the Pogo cartoon script, the phrase "We Have Met the Enemy, and He is Us" teases the problem.

 

Are too few of your salespeople missing quota or nor finding enough new business? Learn some time proven strategies to make your salespeople better. Attend our sales leadership Intensive and close your gaps!

 

Topics: sales skills, Sales Coaching, sales management effectiveness, reps making quota, sales development, sales productivity

The Wisdom of Baseball in the Context of Selling

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Jan 28, 2019 @ 21:01 PM

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Since September, I have conducted eight multi-day sales intensives for about three hundred salespeople. The vast majority of attendees had 5-25 years of tenure. When shown the graphic below virtually all agree they regularly skip steps between first and second base and run to third.

Picture1

There are two reasons why this happens:

The first reason is that in the internet age, prospects believe they are experts after a few searches. So they push salespeople to present their company's services without having much of a conversation. They want to engage at third base.

The second reason is the capabilities of the sales force. The table below shows the average competency scores for all salespeople excluding elite and strong or the top 20%. These scores represent the remaining eighty percent of salespeople. We see strengths in account management, presentation approach and relationship building but weakness in reaching decision makers, consultative selling and qualifying.

2019-01-28_11-36-14

The average score for the top three competencies is 56% while the average score for the bottom three competencies is 44%, a 22% variance.

When asked why they begin their sales process at third base, most answered in one of three ways:

  1. They thought they would lose the deal if they pushed back on the prospect
  2. They felt personally compelled to talk about products or services
  3. They didn’t know there was another way. 
So much for the notion that salespeople don’t show up and throw up!

You might assume that after salespeople become aware of this, they can change. Unfortunately, this is not true. The reason why occurs in sales DNA. Most in the group above have Need for Approval, Become Emotional, have difficulty talking about money, and possess Non-Supportive Beliefs. It takes time to overcome these weaknesses and very proactive sales coaching. Sales manager should spend 50% of their time on coaching. Most of this should be scheduled, not on demand.

This is where a staged, milestone-centric sales process is so critical. Managers must coach to the sales process showing salespeople when and where they skip steps, why this happens and how to get prospects to slow down and move back to first base so they can have stage appropriate conversation(s). Consultative selling occurs between first and second base, not between second and third base. If you have not identified the business need, quantified its impact, identified the compelling reason to act and created a high value relationship (SOB) you set yourself up as another commodity seller who generates too many proposals and spends lots of time chasing prospects.

Would you like to become a better coach? Attend our March Sales Leadership Intensive and learn how to accelerate the develop of your salespeople and have greater impact on your sales force.

Learn more at http://www.kurlanassociates.com/sales-leadership-event/# and receive a $100 discount when you register here

Topics: Consultative Selling, sales process, sales management coaching, sales leadership effectiveness, low closing percentage, sales force excellence, delayed closings

New Years, Commitment and the Sales Force

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 17:01 PM

new-years-resolutions

A significant percentage of the annual revenue for gyms occurs in January. By late February or March, you can stroll into most health club without lines and work out without interruption.

We all know why. People’s desire for fitness spikes with a New Year resolution but their commitment fades rapidly when the “pain” of doing the work becomes reality. 

Salespeople suffer from the same problem. Whether it’s prospecting for new business, social selling, nurturing centers of influence or walking away from low probability opportunities, the majority of salespeople quickly slide back to their old ways.

While 70% of the lower half of salespeople have strong motivation, fewer than fifty-percent of that group have strong commitment. The next 35% see their commitment scores jump to 80%, but unfortunately, the percentage of salespeople who take full responsibility for any lack of performance is only 34% and 46% respectively.

This morning I spoke with a CEO who lamented this very challenge. In his case, a high percentage of new hires had failed to become productive. When I asked about sales leadership, he said they’re good at motivation but weak on accountability and managing behavior. In my experience, it is an absolute requirement to close the commitment and responsibility gaps.  

Creating sustainable change in a sales force requires sales leaders to change what they do, how they do it and the frequency and cadence of the interactions with their salespeople. To accomplish this, CEO’s and presidents must hold their sales leaders accountable and provide them with weekly coaching.

Resistance occurs because change makes people uncomfortable. Doing what’s normal regardless of whether or not it is effective, feels right. This applies to everyone, executives included.

January is the preferred time to assess and reset.

Whatever your role, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What should I stop doing in 2019? This is possibly something you enjoy or feel productive doing.
  • How can I get others to hold me accountable?
  • How do we I / we raise our prices?
  • How do I spend my time now? This must be as detailed as analyzing your credit card statement.
  • How should I be spending my time?
  • What specific metrics must I / we be held accountable to?
  • What do I / can I do that has the most positive impact on the business?
  • How do I spend more time doing this?
  • Why did I / we not achieve more in 2018?  Don.'t rationalize
  • Which opportunities currently in the pipeline should be removed?
  • In what areas do I need coaching?
  • Am I committed to getting a coach, if not why?

We are all going to have good days and bad days. Our desire and commitment will vary depending on circumstances. Change will always feel uncomfortable at first.

I think we should ask ourselves, "am I really committed to being a better salesperson, sales leader or executive and what must I change to hold myself more accountable?"

Topics: sales productivity, sales and sales management tips, coaching culture, sell more

Why Speed on Base Wins in Baseball and Sales

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Nov 05, 2018 @ 18:11 PM

 

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Dave Roberts' stolen base in game four of the 2004 American League Championship started the Red Sox historic comeback against the Yankees that resulted in them winning the 2004 World Series.

The mental battle between a runner and the pitcher (the runners who are threats to steal are often referred to as “Speed on the Bases” by broadcasters) perfectly describes what salespeople must accomplish to create a high-value relationship with a prospect. When the runner gets into the head of the pitcher, a base stealing opportunity is created. When you get your prospect to pay more attention to you than anyone else a sale becomes exponentially more likely. 

In OMG's Relationship Building competency, 65% of Elite, 58% of Strong and 55% of the Serviceable salespeople are strong compared to only 36% of the bottom 10%.

Over the last five weeks I have conducted seven sales and sales leadership intensives for about 150 sales professionals. A high percentage of them viewed relationship creation as creating rapport and finding common interests. Virtually all of the Account Managers saw their job as keeping people happy at all costs. As a result, they tend to posture themselves as vendors instead of advisors.

To create Speed-on-Bases (SOB) in sales you must take a different approach. It not about making people feel comfortable, it’s about creating equality, trust, value and intimacy. 

In OMG's Doesn't Need to be Liked Competency, part of Sales DNA, 54% of the top half of salespeople are strong compared to just 20% of the bottom half. 92% of the top 20% have this as a strength.

When we at Kurlan begin a sales development project, we generally conduct sales and sales management intensives. These are typically our first encounters with the entire team. These are cold groups and analogous to an early meeting with a prospect. The attendees can be skeptical, reluctant, uneasy, wary and in some cases on a mission to undermine our efforts. We are in the truest sense of the word just another vendor.

To achieve a positive outcome requires us to quickly develop Speed-on-Bases with the group and the individual members. 

SOB quality is comprised of Relationship, Honesty, Credibility, Value-Add and Posture. Salespeople tend to focus on the first element most frequently without intention.

Relationship is primarily about warming people up and creating rapport. Getting people to laugh, having some fun and being a little vulnerable. After all, we are all people trying to help each other. Honesty requires speaking the truth even when it’s uncomfortable, acknowledging the elephant in the room, “many of you are skeptical about me and what we are doing here”.

Credibility is using their language or speaking from the perspective of the audience in my case. With prospects you must know what it’s like to be them. How they think, what their day looks like, the politics of the organization, communication challenges and the problems they face including those that have nothing to do with you. 

Value-Add is by far the most important. It cannot be created without the first three SOB elements. In short you must challenge and poke holes in their thinking. Presenting, talking about solutions, features, benefits and your value proposition do not add value. They make you sounds like all the other ineffective salespeople they have met.

Finally, there’s Posturing. At its core, posturing is being the advisor instead of a salesperson, as the table below shows. 

Weak Posture

Strong Posture

Talking

Asking tough questions

I / We can help

I don’t know if you will be a good customer

I will do whatever it takes to win your business

I don’t need your business

Help me with how to sell to you

This Is how I do business

Tell me about the challenges you face

What is your part in these challenges?

If you are not comfortable sharing your budget that’s OK

I can’t help if you don’t trust me

What are you trying to fix?

What is the business driver?

Most salespeople are conditioned to accept the inequality prospects want when they buy. It’s considered OK for prospects to spin the truth, lie by omission, string salespeople along and cancel meetings without notice. Weaker salespeople accept this as the norm and don’t push back. From an objective, non-emotional perspective, this is crazy. Salespeople need to toughen up, stand their ground, stop seeking approval and stand up for the noble profession we all embody.

Want to learn more, click on image. evals.

Topics: advanced selling skills, sales advisors, differentiate our company, selling value, elite salespeople, differentiating yourself

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