Sales Management Lessons My Dog Taught Me

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

Sales and sales management lessons can come from anywhere!  Keep your eyes wide open, look for applications, and try them out.  While best practices always rule, even the best of those probably began as somebody's trial-and-error project.
Which brings us to the topic of today's video.  Do you have or know someone who has a dog?  Do you even like dogs?  Cesar Millan, sometimes referred to as the "Dog Whisperer", uses his own pack of dogs to correct the bad habits of dogs he is training. It turns out that dog packs have a significant impact on a dog's behavior.  Sales Managers can learn a lot from this!

In today's video, I would like to share some simple, but powerful sales management lessons that my dog, Lily, and her trainer taught me over the weekend:

Are you looking for additional ways to improve sales productivity?  Are the following questions on your mind?
  • How is Sales DNA impacting optimum results?
  • Why is sales forecasting so unpredictable?
  • What are our motivation challenges?
  • How can I be a better sales leader?
  • How can we be better at selling consultatively?
If so, consider evaluating yourself and your salesforce and click below.

Topics: effective sales leadership, change sales behavior, coaching salespeople, improve sales performance

Great Sales Managers Look for What’s Different

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 13:07 PM


I got frustrated this morning because a colleague quickly figured out how to share information with me using an online task manager, but when I tried to do it, I couldn’t easily replicate his success.

Why did he find the answer so quickly?  His observation was, “Maybe I look for things that are not easily seen and you look for the obvious."

This fits perfectly with the premise that sales managers must be master diagnosticians. When you are very close to something, it’s often very difficult to see how things fit together, as well as the context.  My experience is that because of this, salespeople and sales managers frequently miss critical details.

In my task manager problem this morning, the icon next to the task list changes to an image of two heads when you hover your mouse over it.  I missed that because I was seeing what is normally there.  He saw what was different.

In the context of a sales calls and coaching, when you are looking for what you expect to see instead of what’s different or missing, you are more likely to ask the wrong questions.  For example, if you expect prospects to be inconsistent, you won’t hear the contradiction between, “We are happy with are current supplier or approach.” and, “I wanted to hear what you can offer us."  If you were being more objective, you would recognize that someone would not want to invest their already limited time talking with your salespeople about an unnecessary solution.  As a result, you’re much less likely to ask why the salesperson accepted and why the prospect made two apparently contradictory comments.  Your worst case scenario is that your salesperson doesn’t hear the contradiction between the two statements.

A great sales manager listens to a salesperson recap the call and asks, “When you asked why they wanted to meet despite being so happy with their current supplier or solution, what did they say?”  This points out the contradiction, demonstrates the correct questioning and teaches the salesperson how the put-offs could have been better leveraged.

Other Examples of this include:

· Momentum Shifts – What’s changed?
· Changes in Demeanor - You seem less interested than you were.
· Emphasis on Cost – I am confused about why the investment has become so important.
· Delays – It sounds like fixing the problem is not as important as it was.
· Timeline – What happened to the need to fix this by…?

Building a great sales organization requires that you have the right people selling a product or service, with a clearly defined and compelling value proposition, operating inside a well-designed scalable process, and managed by people with exceptional coaching skills.  Learning to quickly recognize what’s changed is critical to making this work.

Join us in September for our Sales Leadership Intensive and learn how to master the differences.

Sales Leadership Intensive

Topics: debrief, improve sales performance, accurate sales forecasts, increase sales

Are “Old Dog” Sales Leaders Able to Learn New Tricks?

Posted by Chris Mott on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 @ 12:04 PM


I received an email today from a CEO whoOld Dogs Image I coached during his start-up at Vistage International.  If you are not familiar with Vistage, you should be.  They are the largest CEO resource firm in the world with the mission of helping CEO’s, presidents and executive managers to become better leaders who make better decisions that produce better results. 

CEO’s have gotten a lot of bad press in the USA lately, yet they are responsible for leading the companies that produce our economic growth.  Their willingness to take risks, both personally and financially, is driven by a clearly defined vision and an undying conviction that something better is possible.  If you are from the “Baby Boomer” generation, I’m certain that you heard this kind of commitment described by your parents as the duty to sacrifice for the greater good. 

Change is hard.  It causes stress and discomfort.  Human instinct is to push back and rationalize the discomfort using any excuse as to why it’s not possible, workable or practical.  The counterweight to this behavior is commitment and desire.  How much do you want to improve at what you do?  How important is personal growth and improvement?  Are you really committed to reaching your goals?

I’ve coached many CEO’s, in a selling or sales management role, who commented that it was one of the hardest things they had ever done.  If CEO’s, with their experience and wisdom, struggle with this issue, why do we conclude that salespeople don’t need tremendous amounts of coaching, mentoring and development?  This conclusion does a disservice to the profession and the people in it - not to mention our companies and the people who hold a stake in our success.

My CEO friend had the courage and open-mindedness to seek help and then use what he learned to create a group of peer CEO’s with whom he could share his knowledge and experience.  Desire is the passion to achieve something; commitment is the willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish this.

Sales Leaders are generally experienced successful salespeople who have advanced in their career.  This experience, understandably so, can cause them to believe they have “figured it out”.  The question is not whether what they know has great value and is well deserved.  The question is what don’t they know?  Mastery is a never-ending process.  The journey, the challenges and the opportunity to learn and grow are the real value.  “Masters” know this and seek out other masters who can help them. 

Do you have the desire and commitment to improve as a sales leader?  Do you need your sales leaders to have more impact on your sales organization?

If so, Kurlan and Associates, Inc. is hosting a Sales Leadership Intensive designed to help you get to the next level of sales leadership expertise.  

Topics: improve sales performance, Executive Team, essential sales tools, improving as a manager

Sales Force Productivity Declines when Control Shifts to Consensus

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 @ 08:08 AM


In a recent conversation I heard the phrase “socialize the idea”. The premise being that more frequently prospects are saying this is necessary.

For simplicity let call this consensus building. The question is why do prospects believe it's necessary? Obviously, it will depend on where they are in the decision making hierarchy, the more senior their role the less you’ll hear about the need to socialize.

The standard answer about why this must happen is it’s a necessary part of, sometimes mandated, the buying process. This sounds rational and it may be true, but what is the motive behind the motive? It’s usually because they are afraid of something.

Here are a couple possible motives. I suggest you make your own list.

  • This is new territory for them; they don’t have experience with it
  • They have a new manager or peer in their group
  • There are uncomfortable with risk
  • They don’t like making decisions
  • Confrontation (directness) is outside their comfort zone
  • They are under the microscope

In today’s business climate people want security and socializing an idea makes them feel safer. It also means that projects get delayed, change doesn’t happen and status quo rules. Start with this premise; opportunities usually disappear when prospects start the consensus building process.

To overcome the fear you need to do the following:

  • Remind them of the compelling reasons for action
  • Increase their understanding of what they gain from acting
  • Identify the specific fear or discomfort
  • Get them to vocalize this to you
  • Show them how their fear is the real problem

Have you noticed that prospects want to socialize your ideas more lately?

What are you doing to overcome this challenge?

Topics: Overcoming Obstacles, sales tips, improve sales performance, Under achievers

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