Why Thinking is Such a Bad Thing for Salespeople

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 @ 14:10 PM

negative-self-talk.jpg
Image Copyright iStock Photos 

I recently conducted several two-day sales intensives with dozens of successful veteran salespeople. We spent much of the time discussing how their thinking impacts what they do and don’t do on sales calls.

As with most of the salespeople with whom I have worked, their pre-call planning was woefully incomplete and focused on what the prospect wants to accomplish. Understanding the prospect's agenda is critical, but developing and confirming a meeting agenda will usually result in a positive step forward. That is consistent with a defined sales process and a required sales best practice.

Examples of desired outcomes are:

  • The prospect is 100% committed to changing how they buy something
  • If certain things happen the prospect will get the financial decision maker involved
  • Agreement to fully discuss the cost of the current problems

Assuring that meeting outcomes are win-win requires salespeople to challenge or push back on their prospects. Early in the sales cycle, salespeople tend to accept the amount of meeting time a prospect offers instead of respectfully asking for the amount of time needed. Later in the sales cycle, instead of defining the parameters of a successful trial and what happens when it’s completed, salespeople are often OK with simply reaching the trial stage.

The actual lessons from the training, submitted by the salespeople below, illustrate why salespeople fall short.

  • Always make sure key decision makers approve next steps.
  • It is okay to say “No."
  • Do not be afraid to ask the tough questions – you can always apologize.
  • Stop wasting time - Reach higher in the organization.
  • Bring a conversation to your level or terms to establish equality.
  • Be skeptical of good news.
  • I assume I’m further along in the sales process than my customer is.

Behind each of these lessons is a belief which strongly influences behavior. Because these beliefs occur without us being fully aware of them we “think” ourselves into the wrong action.

If you don’t recognize that spending time with non-decision makers is a waste of time you won’t reach higher in an organization. When you are not OK saying No, you will work only on the prospects agenda. Getting excited when you hear what sounds like good news prevents you from verifying that it is actually good news.

Identifying and becoming aware of non-supportive selling beliefs is the only way to change behavior. Take a few minutes right now and evaluate your beliefs and how they impact you as a salesperson or sales leader and read Dave Kurlan's terrific article for his slant on sales beliefs.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, chris mott, self-limting beliefs, sales effectiveness, negative self talk

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

Subscribe to Email Updates

Scan the QR Code with your smartphone for immediate access to Chris Mott.

Chris Mott LinkedIn

Sales Leadership Intensive

http://www.kurlanassociates.com/sales-leadership-event/

hiring mistake calc