The Sales Expeditor

Are Your Salespeople Great Ambassadors?

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Oct 07, 2015 @ 12:10 PM

Recently, I was at a conference and the terrific keynote speaker shared a story about a one million dollar account, the no-brainer annual renewal, and how the salesperson completely blew the deal with one ill-conceived sentence. In this scenario, the salesperson completely failed to understand and appreciate some of the sensitivities of his corporate audience. It is important to recognize that Management is responsible for recognizing these challenges while providing skills coaching to a salesperson's Ambassadorial temperament.  

Have you have ever conducted a customer feedback survey? If so, you have likely heard things that made you cringe. Customer-facing people will create, reinforce and often taint client and prospect perceptions of your company. Problems with messaging, tone and clarity usually have quite a lasting impact. 

In this video, I discuss this and offer some important insights.

Do you want to know more about what motivates and holds your salespeople back? Take a few minutes to complete the checklist below.

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Topics: chris mott, coaching salespeople, account management, win-loss analysis

Selling Value When Your Prospect is a Price Shopper

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Oct 01, 2015 @ 10:10 AM

Have you ever been in a scenario where you had to sell value, but your prospect was interested in nothing other than how low you could go? That might be an exciting proposition if you were trying to win a Limbo contest, but if you are trying to win the business and protect margin, you may have quite the challenge on your hands. In order to sell value to price shoppers, salespeople must be very highly skilled along with having supportive sales DNA and beliefs. Additionally, it will take lots of practice. Salespeople who tend to become emotional could lose objectivity and if they identify with buying based on price, they won't push back. If salespeople aren't comfortable having a financial discussion, they won't be effective at discussing the very issues that create value.

In this short video, I explore this challenge and sales management's response.

Is it important for you and your team to be more effective at handing price shoppers? Are you losing too many deals and wasting too much time? Get some quick feedback on your sales force and the other things that might be causing this.

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Topics: Sales Coaching, chris mott, selling value, price shoppers, improve win rates

Are Your Salespeople Really Selling Consultatively?

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 @ 12:09 PM

Do you sell consultatively? Salespeople and sales leaders frequently think that they are, when in reality, they are either selling transactionally or applying solution selling. Does that statement bother you? Does it raise any questions? According to Objective Management Group and its data from evaluating and assessing close to a million salespeople, salespeople possess an average of only 48% of the attributes of a consultative seller. 

My video post today discusses this in some detail. Watch it and then go ask your saleseople to define consultative selling. You likely be frustrated by the answers.  

If you need to hire salespeople who have great consultative selling ability, read our whitepaper on sales selection.

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Topics: Consultative Selling, recruiting sales people, chris mott, hiring great salespeople, selling value

Are You Frustrated With Your Salespeople? - Coach Your Sales Managers.

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 @ 08:09 AM

It shouldn't be a surprise that employees apply more of what they learn when training is supplemented with coaching. But how frequently does that happen and how effective is the coaching when it does happen?  You might be surprised...

Dave Kurlan shared some mind blowing statistics from Objective Management Group (OMG) in this 2009 article about sales leaders. Please take a moment to read that and then return here.  

Many sales leaders are not having appreciable impact on the sales force. Since the majority of Presidents and CEO's rise to their positions from technical, operations and finance roles, they may not see how important it is for sales managers to be coached.  Sales VPs and Directors may have come from similar backgrounds where sales management coaching did not take place and as a result, may not know the importance of providing high impact coaching like this..

In this short video I discuss this challenge and offer a recent client experience.

If you want to be a better coach, why not attend our Sales Leadership Intensive later this month. Click on this link for more information. 

Topics: sales management training, chris mott, sales growth, manage sales more effectively, coaching sales managers,

What Untrainable Salespeople Sound Like and What That Means to You

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Sep 09, 2015 @ 09:09 AM

When a salesperson needs help, but appears to be untrainable or uncoachable, it's like they are a fish out of water. We know that selling has changed dramtically since 2009. The pressure on companies to adapt to these changes are greater than ever. Unfortunately, a measurable percentage of salespeople lack the personal incentive to change. All too frequently this includes top performers. Building a great sales force requires a core of people who are fundamentally sound and committed to improving their skills and effectiveness. In the video below I discuss what it sounds like when salespeople aren't Coachable and/or Trainable.         

If you want to learn more about your salesforce and how much better it can be click on the link below. 

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Topics: sales training, sales motivation, chris mott, coaching salespeople

When Does Sales DNA Lead to Sales Hiring Mistakes?

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 14:09 PM

DNA

Sales DNA describes a salesperson’s underlying strengths and weaknesses.  Using athletic traits as an analogy, they are comparable to good hand-eye coordination, quickness off the line, acceleration, and balance.

A salesperson’s Buy Cycle (how a salesperson purchases), the time it takes for them to Recover From Rejection, and whether they Get Emotionally Involved when selling can significantly influence selling behavior and outcomes.

Sales candidates either can sell or will sell.  The challenge is selecting the ones who will.  Effective sales recruiting requires science, the right process, patience, and excellent interviewing skills.  Unfortunately, many companies don’t approach sales recruiting holistically.  The most common, first mistake comes in identifying what they’re seeking.

Science is critical to consistently hiring “Will Sell” salespeople.  Recent data from the Objective Management Group sales candidate assessment and sales force evaluation identifies the following:

  • 90% Have Unsustainable Pipelines,
  • 83% Lack Written Personal Goals,
  • 60% Make Excuses,
  • 55% Lack Urgency,
  • 45% Are Not Self-Starters, and
  • 21% Have Consultative Selling Attributes.

Because prospects are more knowledgeable (due to the internet), increasingly skeptical, and empirically proven to contact salespeople much later in their buying process, hiring managers absolutely must identify a salesperson’s DNA and skill gaps very early in the recruiting process.

On Objective Management Group’s Sales Candidate Assessment Dashboard, Sales DNA is reported as a percentage.  The difficulty of the sales position drives what the minimum required score is for Sales DNA.  The candidate’s Sales DNA must correlate with the specific sales role for which they are best equipped.  For instance, salespeople who must hunt require very different attributes to be successful than those who will manage accounts.

Benchmarking, while commonplace, universally misses one critical component.  If you identify only those elements that your top salespeople have in common, the analysis is inherently flawed.  For example, in one company, executives bragged that all of their top performers were highly motivated.  That proved to be an irrelevant finding when we showed them that their bottom performers were also highly motivated.  We were able to show them that while their bottom performers had difficulty recovering from rejection, their top performers were rejection proof.  While both their top and bottom performers were committed to sales success, their top performers all scored more than 15 points higher for commitment than those of their underachieving peers.

Great data and science create a foundation for successful recruiting.  A best practices, sales-specific, recruiting process, combined with practiced, honed interviewing skills, will increase your percentage of “Will Sell” salespeople.

Join me at the EcSELL Institute Fall Summit this October in Dallas for a lively, real world discussion about the science of sales recruiting and how you can learn to attract, screen, interview, hire and onboard great salespeople.

Topics: sales assessment, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Top Performer, EcSELL Institute, Sales DNA, Sales Candidate, Candidate Assessment, chris mott

Sales Mojo Versus Achilles' Heel

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Jan 03, 2013 @ 16:01 PM


Achilles Heal, sales culture, selling, sales competenciesHaving a great plan isn’t enough. The problem is that we all have an Achilles' Heel.  Frank Belzer’s post, “5 Ways to Restore Your Sales MOJO for 2013!”, offers great tactical advice and provides an outline for a sales plan.

I’m a good planner, but consistent focus and discipline can be a challenge.  Like many of you, I suspect, I alternate between firing on all cylinders and a semi-stalled engine.  When I’m on my game, I’m very focused.  For me, 2013 is about keeping my sales mojo and paying more attention to my Achilles' heel.

As a teenager, I loved science fiction.  I was a Star Trek fan, read many books by Ray Bradbury, Issac Asimov and Kurt Vonnegut.  My favorite though was J. R. R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.  Tolkien’s Trilogy, preceded by The Hobbit, was his life’s work.  He literally created the languages and developed ' of history for his stories.

While his works are based on the classic “good vs. evil” metaphor, they're also about struggle, adversity and the human condition.  Bilbo (The Hobbit) goes on an adventure which challenges his complete being.  In The Lord of the Rings, his oldest cousin, Frodo, is tasked with the unthinkable - saving the world from evil.  Despite the overwhelming odds against these lovable Hobbits, they somehow found the will to continue and thrive, driven by a purpose for which neither asked nor knew they possessed.

Salespeople face enormous challenges, including rejection, disingenuous prospects, loyalty, politics, unaligned self-interest and even themselves.  What is your Achilles' heel?  Can you identify and describe it?  Are you doing anything about it?

I believe the biggest challenge which salespeople face is looking at them in the mirror each day.  Whether it’s the challenge of Commitment, Desire, Outlook, Rationalization, Willingness to Change, Open-Mindedness, Humility or Tenacity, we need to honestly identify and work on them each day.  We'll make mistakes, but continuing to put one foot in front of the other is the essence of what Star Trek's Captain Kirk referred to as the "human condition".

My challenge for you is to identify your sales force's Achilles' heel, put a plan together to address it and stoke the fire each day.

Click me

Topics: sales competencies, sales force assessment, sales blog, sales culture, sales people motivation, sales core competencies, chris mott

Sales Lessons from 1994 Nebraska National Championship Football Team

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

top performerLast night, I had the pleasure of listening to Aaron Davis, a member of the 1994 Nebraska National Championship football team.  His enormously passionate message offered practical thoughts on sales leadership and our challenges.

It’s said that all I really need to know I learned in kindergarten. Examples include: 

  • Share everything.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt someone.
  • When you go out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder.

Aaron’s message, like the kindergarten lessons, was timeless and applies to every aspect of our lives from being a successful sales leader, parent, spouse, friend or employee.

  • Find out what your “why” is and live it.
  • Listen more than you speak.
  • Discuss the elephant in the room.
  • Make sure everyone understands and believes the purpose and intent.
  • View change as an opportunity.

None of these ideas are new.  They have been passed down from generation to generation.  What’s important is how we live and manifest them in our daily lives.  As I thought about Aaron’s message, it struck me that sales leaders assume that if we properly communicate and reinforce these principals, our salespeople will integrate them into their selling habits.  While intellectually this is true, it doesn’t mean our team member will be able to do this without help.

For example, it’s intuitive that having clearly-defined personal goals will lead to better results.  Going to the gym, making the weekly date night a priority, calling your friends or relatives and being mindful of what we eat make sense.  In sales, Desire and Commitment are the two most important drives of performance - Commitment being paramount.  The real issue is why this is important to them.  This is the more difficult question to answer, one with which many sales leaders are woefully inconsistent and ill-equipped to help their people answer.

The biggest problems which we face are the non-supportive beliefs of our salespeople. As Aaron put it, championship teams don’t spend time thinking about why they might lose.

The good news is you can identify these non-supportive beliefs and the limiting weaknesses which influence the “why”.  The chart below comes from a top-performers vs. non-performers blog post which my colleague Dave Kurlan wrote.  It empirically identifies what sales leaders need to know to help their salespeople improve.

If you are committed to being a top-performing sales leader, you must coach your people on the real issues.  To do this, you need to know what they are.

Top 5%

 Trait

Bottom 5%

 99.5%

 Trainable and Coachable

 0%

 100%

 Strong Desire for Sales Success

 0%

 95%

 Strong Commitment to Sales Success

 33%

 94%

 No Excuse Making

 20%

 78%

 Don't Need Approval from Prospects

 6%

 59%

 Don't Get Emotional

 10%

 98%

 Comfortable Talking Personal Finances

 2%

 79%

 Supportive Sales Beliefs

 0%

 76%

 Supportive Buying Habits

 8%

 74 pts.

 Average Severity of 5 Biggest Weaknesses

 251 pts.

 95%

 Rejection Proof

 18%

 100%

 Have Personal Written Goals

 16%

 95%

 High Money Tolerance (choking point)

 35%

 88%

 Make Decisions to Buy without Thinking it Over

 18%

 77%

 % of the Attributes of a Hunter

 31%

 45%

 % of the Attributes of a Closer

 8%

 59%

 % of the Attributes of a Qualifier

 11%

 

 

Topics: sales competencies, sales force assessment, sales blog, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Aaron Davis, Robert Fulghum, evaluation of sales management, chris mott

Do HR Professionals Understand and Respect Salespeople?

Posted by Chris Mott on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 @ 11:08 AM

HR ProfIn a recent article from Management Association, Mary Lynn Fayoumi talks about the importance of HR professionals having good sales skills.  She speaks about the necessity of “selling” great talent on coming to work for you. 

In a competitive marketplace, where specialized skills and experience are increasingly important, the ability of hiring managers to differentiate themselves and their company is critical.

If we surveyed HR professionals, asking them to define what a successful salesperson must do well, I suspect that articulating the company’s value proposition would rank very high.  The question is how?  The best salespeople help the client to discover that core business issues and unforeseen consequences make the value proposition important.

Salespeople often start off in the right direction, but then quickly find themselves in presentation mode.  The result is a loss of control and differentiation.  I believe that HR professionals suffer from the same problem.

My experience is that far too many HR executives underappreciate the science, art and difficulty of professional selling.  They can articulate the business case, cost and impact of underperforming salespeople.  They understand the opportunity cost of turnover, but they really don’t “get” salespeople and, in too many cases, underappreciate the difficulty of the sales job.  This probably isn’t surprising since most CEO’s have the same challenge because they’re from the finance, operations and/or technical side.  HR professionals also happen to spend a lot of time interacting with vendors who often don’t live up to expectations.

What makes salespeople different? 

  • They are usually highly emotional and sometimes volatile people.
  • They are not good at being introspective.
  • Asking for help is typically a weakness.
  • Compliance is not in their vocabulary.
  • Most are fairly self-absorbed.
  • They love teamwork when they are in control of the team.
  • They should ask questions which make prospects uncomfortable.
  • Details are not that important.
  • The good ones fight when prospects say no.

What percentage of these traits do you think HR professionals possess?  More importantly, how many look for these attributes when hiring great employees and how does this affect the sales talent recruitment?

 

 

Topics: sales competencies, sales blog, sales culture, sales candidates, sales personality, chris mott

How Well Will You Adapt? – The Sales Seismic Shift

Posted by Chris Mott on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

A client of mine sent me an article recently from the Harvard Business Review titled The End of Solution Selling.  It is a long, well-researched piece which challenges the status quo.

A key premise is that customers now are investing a significant amount of time and energy before they engage salespeople to diagnose their own problems and identify the solution. Salespeople, who historically have focused on finding a problem and identifying the solution, now increasingly are seen as unnecessary and redundant. 

Many salespeople view themselves as facilitators of a buying process, which they frequently allow the prospect to design and control. They spend much time explaining why people should buy from them instead of helping the prospect identify the potential flaws in their logic and decision-making. They get lost in the details and miss the opportunity to discuss the big picture, including industry change, disruptive events and how this aligns with or may undermine the potential customer’s strategy.

Yesterday, I spoke to a recently hired sales leader. In our conversation, he shared that while improving the effectiveness of his sales force was an important priority, the bigger issue was getting senior management to understand that “sales” is as important as operations and that great products don’t sell themselves. This comes from a company with over 500 employees.

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Developing salespeople, from presenters of a value proposition to proactive hunters with great consultative selling ability, is the biggest and most important challenge facing the sales industry today. The days of building a relationship and presenting a solution are gone forever. Unfortunately, most salespeople don’t know that a seismic shift has already taken place and they’re not prepared for what’s coming.

Great salespeople love when prospects push back. They relish the idea of being challenged and engaging prospects. They understand that their real value comes from dialogue and their ability to change people’s thinking and perception. In Baseline Selling terms, they spend much time between first and second base, building SOB quality. Remember that SOB means that the prospect is paying more attention to you than anyone else because you have helped them discover new challenges, opportunities and concerns which need to be addressed.

Which percentage of your salespeople are proactive hunters who excel at consultative selling? How many lean in when their prospects push back, not out of frustration but because they naturally engage in honest two-way conversations? Lastly, how effective are your sales leadership skills in developing your salespeople in these critical areas?

Kurlan & Associates, Inc. is holding a two-day Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston on October 3-4. The program is for CEO’s, President’s, GM’s and Sales Leaders committed to excellence.

Topics: sales culture, Consultative Selling, sales model, sales methodology, sales training, harvard business review, solution selling, hbr blog, chris mott

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