Change in Approach Leads to 304% Increase in Sales Effectiveness

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 09, 2019 @ 06:09 AM

track

You're famished and someone suggests that you go on a 2-day fast!

You're late, it's a two-hour ride by car to your destination and someone suggests that you walk!

You're exhausted and ready for a nap and someone suggests you should clean our your basement!

You've decided to eat better and lay-off carbs, and someone suggests ordering pizza!

These are all crazy opposites of what you were focused on and they cause you to ask, "whaaat?"

So now you'll understand how I responded when, during a two-day training program, I was asked about messaging for a talk track.

A talk track?  Given that we are trying to get them to take a more consultative approach to selling, shouldn't we be working on a listening track?

Salespeople don't think in terms of listening.  They think as in, "OK, I'll ask a few questions so that I can talk about what I know."  There it is - the talk track.  They think they can control the call when they're talking.  They can't.  They think they can lead and direct the prospect.  They can't.  They think that they're selling.  They aren't.

But a listening track - now we're (not) talking! Listening informs our next question.  Listening helps us direct the conversation with our next question.  Listening puts us in control because we're the one asking the questions!

My favorite video for the power of asking questions is this one from the comedian Louis CK.

 

 

The top 10% of all salespeople are 304% more effective at listening and asking questions than the bottom 10%.  Good salespeople don't need talk tracks.  They use listening tracks to ask great questions.  

How do you get yourself to ask better and better questions?  Leave your comment in the LinkedIn discussion.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, asking questions, Listening

You're Normal and Your Sucky Salespeople are Probably Normal Too!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 03, 2019 @ 16:09 PM

normal

Do salespeople report up to you?  Do you get frustrated with half to three quarters of them?  

Is it a good day when a new opportunity is added to the pipeline?  Is it a better day when they close a new piece of business?  Do you wish you could double or triple the amount of activity, number of opportunities and deals that close?

Are they generally good people and you feel like they don't deserve to be terminated?  Do you like them too much to give them an ultimatum?  

When you try to coach them, do you get frustrated because they say they understand but when they talk with a prospect or customer they don't do what you coached them to do? 

Do you think it's you?

Have you resigned yourself to the fact that they aren't going to improve?  When you look at it objectively, are they helping your competition more than they are helping you and your company?  

You're not crazy and it's not you - at least it's not your fault that you haven't been able to fix them.  The data from Objective Management Group proves that from the 1,894,193 salespeople that have been assessed and/or evaluated in 21 Sales Core Competencies, 50% of them just plain suck and another 25% are merely serviceable.  In other words, it's exactly what you probably have on your sales force today.

One of the reasons your salespeople can't do the things you ask and suggest is their Sales DNA.  If it's weak, and it probably is, there can be as many as six major weaknesses that prevent them from executing sales process, methodology, strategy and tactics.  That makes it nearly impossible for sales managers who don't know or understand the role of Sales DNA to coach up their salespeople.

You might be one of the sales managers or sales leaders who fall into the 93% that don't coach enough and don't coach as effectively as required.  Since you're in the majority, there's nothing to feel bad about.  You simply haven't been shown how to make coaching salespeople a magical experience.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  There is help available and I would like to personally invite you to attend the magical two-day event that will change everything, show you how to fix your salespeople, change your life and increase your earnings.

Attending this program will get you a 28% increase in sales - quickly and easily - by applying what we teach and demonstrate.  We will show you the magic ingredients to effectively coach your salespeople each day.  What would a 28% increase in revenue mean for your budget, earnings and career?  Watch this video.

 

Follow in the footsteps of the hundreds of sales leaders who came before you and join us for two days on November 13 and 14 in Jersey City.  Learn more here.

We hope to see you there!   Bonus for my readers! Use this link to register and save $100!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales core competencies, sales management training, sales leadership training, sale leadership, OMG Assessment

Did You Know That The Beatles Taught us About Selling?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 26, 2019 @ 06:08 AM

beatles

While this should be a fun, end of summer article I'm guessing that you don't actually believe that the Beatles taught us about selling.

The Beatles recorded 18 songs where the lyrics talked about selling plus I included two bonus titles by other artists to bring the total to 20!

The Beatles. 

Can you name the song that went on and on about building relationships?  Of course you can.  It was:

I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND 

Can you name the song about prospects who refuse to schedule a first meeting or appointment with a salesperson?

YOU WON'T SEE ME (Time after time you refuse to even listen)

Are you getting the hang of it?  What must salespeople do to accelerate the sales process?  For this the Beatles recorded:

SLOW DOWN

The Beatles wrote a song about price objections too!

IT'S ALL TOO MUCH

They wrote a song describing the alarm that sales managers sound with their salespeople who have stale and/or stuck opportunities in their pipelines:

YOU'RE GONNA LOSE THAT GIRL

And they wrote one for the day after when salespeople learn that their sales managers were right about those opportunities:

YESTERDAY (all my troubles seemed so far away) 

The Beatles recorded a song by the same name as one of their movies about salespeople who, after the previous two days and titles, needed to rebuild their pipeline.  It was called:

HELP (I need somebody, help, not just anybody, h-e-l-p)

Sometimes selling is easy because there is low hanging fruit from renewal business and call-in business.  The song they recorded for that was:

COME AND GET IT

You might remember their legendary song about negotiating called:

WE CAN WORK IT OUT

They even recorded a song for long sales cycles where the decision makers change over time called:

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD (that leads to your door)

Some salespeople make the mistake of calling on prospects repeatedly over a span of years, despite the fact that the prospect has never, ever bought anything and never, ever will.  The Beatles recorded a song about that too, called:

YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY

I asked the salespeople that I coached to  develop wish lists, and then reach out to their network to learn if anyone knows an executive at one of the wish list companies.  The Beatles recorded it first but Earth, Wind and Fire had a bigger hit with this song: 

GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE

Too many salespeople feel like they've won when the only thing that happened was that they were considered for an opportunity, like when they receive an RFP or RFQ.  They actually thank their prospect for the opportunity to be considered!  In honor of that, the Beatles recorded:

I'M HAPPY JUST TO DANCE WITH YOU

Today, salespeople send out a lot of unanswered emails.  The Beatles anticipated this more than 50 years before it happened when they recorded:

NO REPLY

Salespeople are often guilty of developing Happy Ears where they hear what they want to hear, even if it isn't true or factual.  This often gives them a false sense of hope so for this problem, the Beatles recorded:

DON'T LET ME DOWN

One thing that hasn't changed in years of selling is prospects that make a decision to not make a decision, forcing ineffective salespeople into follow up mode.  The Beatles were thinking about that decades ago when they recorded:

I'LL BE BACK

One of the most important skills that salespeople must develop is the ability to listen and ask questions.  Not surprisingly, the Beatles recorded:

TELL ME WHY

Unfortunately, many salespeople don't ask those questions, won't push back, won't challenge a prospect's thinking because they are afraid the prospect won't like them anymore. As a result, they choose to ignore it and move on.  The Beatles covered that with:

LET IT BE

Now for the two bonus songs.  Can you name the song that makes it obvious that if you talk to the wrong person, you won't close the deal?  That song would have been:

SYVIA'S MOTHER by Dr. Hook where he wants to talk to Sylvia can't get through because her mother is playing gatekeeper.

Can you name the song about salespeople who try over and over to sell something that their prospect has no intention of buying because they don't have the problem that the salesperson's product solves?  That would be:

HONKEY CAT by Elton John where he talks about trying to find gold in a silver mine and like trying to find whiskey in a bottle of wine.

Your turn.  Can you name a song - by any artist - that describes selling?  Leave your comment in the LinkedIn thread.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, selling tips, sales tips, the beatles

How Big of a Role Does Age Play in Sales Effectiveness?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 19, 2019 @ 16:08 PM

young-v-old-image

I'll be 64 in November which means that just like everyone else, I'm getting older. 

There are certain things that younger people do that change when they get older.  For example, younger adults :

  • go to bars and night clubs but tend to choose dinners out or nights at home binge watching TV when they become more mature
  • go to concerts but tend to choose movies when they get older
  • backpack across the US or Europe but tend to choose cruises as they age
  • want freedom at work but are more open to structure and accountability when they become more mature
  • focus on themselves but tend to focus on their children and then their grandchildren when they become older

The same applies to salespeople.  Young salespeople (0-2 years experience) tend to wing it, while older salespeople (20 or more years experience) tend to be more skilled and structured.  Want proof?  Let's dig into the data.

young-v-old

On average, older salespeople are 105% more likely to be strong and effective than young salespeople.

But let's dig even deeper.  The biggest differentiator between younger and older salespeople is the Qualifier competency.  Older salespeople know that if they don't qualify, they may be wasting their time, while younger salespeople are so thankful for the interest, they might skip qualifying altogether.  Look at the specific attributes of the Qualifier competency below. 

young-v-old-qualifier-1

Notice that as we keep digging, one finding stands out as a difference maker and in the case of the Qualifier competency, it's self-limiting beliefs where older salespeople are 213% more likely to have supportive beliefs around qualifying than their younger counterparts.

If we dig in on self-limiting beliefs, we'll find that two self-limiting beliefs that stand out:

  • It's not polite to talk about people's money
  • I need my prospects to like me.

Those two self-limiting beliefs alone show that older salespeople are  on average 55% more effective than younger salespeople.  I wrote much more about self-limiting beliefs last month in this article.  There are 21 Sales Core Competencies that Objective Management Group measures.  You can see them here and learn how you compare.

It's not surprising to find that old salespeople are more effective than young salespeople but it is very surprising to learn that the biggest differentiators are not skill related. They are Self-Limiting Beliefs which are part of Sales DNA.  If you look at the attributes that make up the Qualifier competency, you'll see that there isn't much difference between young and old salespeople on the skill-related attributes where young and old suck equally:

  • Meets with Decision Maker
  • Uncovers Actual Budget
  • Knows the Decision making process
  • Knows the Decision making criteria
  • Asks about Everything

On average, there is only an 8% difference between old and young on the 5 skill-related attributes.  That doesn't say much for the older salespeople who simply didn't improve over their 20 plus years in sales.

Would you like to comment?  Leave it on the LinkedIn discussion for this article.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales qualification, sales effectiveness, age difference

The Bearded Lady, My Shaving Pattern and Your Sales Pipeline

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Aug 08, 2019 @ 06:08 AM

bearded-lady

I can grow a pretty decent five o'clock shadow  - above my upper lip and only after about a week.  Unlike the bearded lady at the circus, when it comes to facial hair, there's really not much there!

Can you think of something else which, at first glance, appears to be OK but upon closer inspection, there's really not much there?

Did you guess sales pipelines?

As I wrote about a month ago, 46% of salespeople fail to maintain a full pipeline but most salespeople don't even know how many opportunities must be in the pipeline for it to be full.  

46% is very similar to the percentage of reps that make their quota each year.  Coincidence?

This is really a hunting issue and as I wrote in last month's article, only 33% of all salespeople have hunting as a strength.

So what are hunting-averse salespeople to do?

Cold emails don't work very well.  Want proof?  I get at least a half-dozen cold emails each day just from companies trying to sell a service to book meetings by using email, LinkedIn and Twitter.  I delete those emails.

Cold calls still work the way they always did but not until you reach a decision maker.  Most salespeople give up after four attempts but today it takes between six and fifteen attempts to actually get through.

Outsourced and semi-automated cold calls work if you outsource them to a company that's good at it - like ConnectAndSell - who also offers automated dialing.  They dial multiple names on your list at the same time until someone answers and then the salesperson takes over the call.

An inside team of Sales Development reps can book meetings if you're willing to make the investment and settle for the underwhelming results.  They might be able to average 1.5 meetings booked per week. If they do it on their own, salespeople should be two to three times better.  Of course, if you already have a flow of inbound leads, SDR's can follow up on those leads as they come in.  Immediate follow up has a significantly better chance of converting.  For most salespeople, even with the aid of an SDR-scheduled meeting, the pipeline isn't full.  They need to supplement - but probably aren't doing that.

Woody Allen said that 80% of success is showing up.  While good messaging beats lack of messaging, showing up wins the day over those who hide.

That applies to cold calls.  There aren't many salespeople who are good at making cold calls but those who are committed to making them, are disciplined about it, and call until they reach their targets, succeed because they did what most salespeople won't do.  Here are some good reasons to get back into the habit of picking up the phone, punching in a number and pressing send:

  • Your competition is not making calls
  • You can control how many prospects you dial
  • You can control how many conversations you have
  • You won't have to compete for eyeballs like you do with email or social  media
  • You can get your prospect engaged on a phone conversation
  • You can close for an appointment if you get them engaged
  • You can quickly build a strong pipeline just by showing up (on the phone)

You will crush:

  • Your quota
  • Your best earnings year
  • Your colleagues
  • Your competition

Just pick up the phone and start dialing it!

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales pipeline, hunting, sales prospecting, booking meetings

How All Those Trucks on the Road Can Help You Stop Discounting

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 05, 2019 @ 06:08 AM

discount

We've been doing a lot of traveling this summer to baseball tournaments (30-second video showing how one playoff game ended), college baseball showcases and back. During these travels, one thing has become abundantly clear.  Trucks and construction.  Lots of trucks.  Lots of construction.  Lots of congestion on the roads because of all those tractor trailers. 

If you heard that inventory levels are low, it's certainly not because companies have stopped buying.  It's because the supply chain is busier and stronger than ever and as a result of all of the buying, our roadways are jammed with trucks shipping products to distributors, retailers, warehouses and fulfillment centers.  Don't believe a word of it when you hear an economy related objection or put-off.  Business isn't off, inventories aren't purposely low, money isn't tight, companies aren't on buying freezes, and the economy isn't tanking.  If you aren't reading or hearing how historically great the economy is right now, you're listening to, watching or reading the wrong news outlets. Business is booming and procurement departments would like nothing more than for you to buy into the fake news, hoping that your next move will be an incentive. 

I have an awful lot to say about incentives to buy! The occurrences are as predictable as the 6pm news beginning exactly at 6pm.  If you have opportunities in the pipeline during the last week of the month, the last week of the quarter and the last two weeks of the year, and your prospects showed a strong likelihood of moving forward, they'll be sitting back waiting for a call from a salesperson or sales manager to sweeten the pot so that you can get this deal in before the end of whenever.  How lame.  

Why do we need salespeople if their only method of getting business closed is to offer a time-sensitive discount? Nor do we need sales managers and sales leaders spending their time offering discounts.  Anyone, from any department, from any background, who is capable of having an adult conversation, is capable of making the, "Have I got a deal for you!" call.  Even worse is when it occurs via email.

The practice of end-of-month, quarter and year incentives must stop.  If salespeople aren't strong enough to sell and close the deal on its own merits, then companies should either hire stronger salespeople or train and coach up the existing salespeople so that they are providing much needed expertise and solutions, to prospects with problems who haven't been able to solve them on their own or with their current vendors.  This describes a consultative approach.  The timely discount is a transactional approach.

I know what you're thinking.  "We do take a consultative approach and when they don't buy at closing time it's then that we offer a discount."  That's actually quite transactional and you do that because your consultative approach is simply not consultative enough or not consultative at all.

Only 41% of all salespeople have consultative selling as a strength.  But it's worse than it looks.  Only 3% of the bottom half of all salespeople have strong consultative skills.  Just about half of all salespeople do not have the skills to take a consultative approach!

It's similar with selling value.  Only 41% of all salespeople have selling value as a strength and this is also worse than it looks as only 11% of the bottom 50% of salespeople have strong value selling skills.  Just about half of all salespeople do not have the skills to sell value!

If we look at the Sales DNA behind those two competencies, the bottom half have Sales DNA of only 28%!  That totally sucks.  Instead of having the selling strengths to support a consultative and value-based approach they have selling weaknesses that sabotage their attempts to sell that way.

The data isn't from some lame survey.  This is Objective Management Group (OMG) data from the evaluations and assessments of 1,885,255 salespeople from companies.  You can see the data for yourself and even see how you compare in all 21 Sales Core Competencies.

All the blame for discounting does not fall on salespeople, sales managers and sales leaders.  CEO's must accept their share of the blame for setting precedent.  The sooner that CEO's shut the door on incentives, the sooner companies will stop suggesting that "we might be able to do better."  When salespeople give prospects some hope that they will be competitive, in the ballpark, meet or beat any legitimate quote, or might be able to do better, value selling goes right out the window and in the prospects' eyes, if you then can't meet those expectations you lied.  Only a CEO has the power to end that ill-advised strategy.

Join the discussion and leave your comments on the LinkedIn thread for this article.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, closing, discounting, value selling,

The Best Salespeople are 791% Better at This Than Weak Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 @ 18:07 PM

criteria

The first contractor got a proposal to us within a few days, the second contractor got a proposal to us later the same day and the third contractor gave us a price on the spot.  On the responsive scale, the third contractor was the best. 

Certainly, responsiveness is not the only criteria that prospects weigh as part of their decision-making process.    They may also consider:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Timeline of the deliverable(s)
  • Referrals
  • Expertise
  • Credibility
  • Personality
  • Understanding of your needs
  • Fit
  • Price
  • Chemistry
  • Ease of working with
  • Capabilities
  • Your comfort level
  • Reputation
  • Proximity
  • Flexibility

The list isn't complete as I'm sure there are more.  

Although price is only one of 18 criteria listed, it's the only objection salespeople ask for help with.  Salespeople don't ask if we can help with the reputation objection, chemistry objection or personality objection.  With salespeople it's always about price.

The thing is, if you have a reputation problem, or any of the others on the list that aren't price, they may be difficult or impossible to overcome.  Price, the criteria salespeople obsess about, can be eliminated when salespeople sell value.  That's not accomplished by talking about value, saying there's value, or adding value.  It occurs when salespeople bringing the actual value to the customer.  Salespeople must be the value.  When customers perceive that you provide a value that others don't, your higher price won't matter.

Objective Management Group (OMG), which has evaluated and assessed 1,879,518 salespeople, has some data on selling value, one of the 21 sales core competencies we measure.  41% of all salespeople are strong at value selling, but that's deceiving because only 11% of the bottom half of all salespeople have selling value as a strength and that group's average score is just 46%.  On the other hand, 97% of the top 5% of all salespeople have selling value as a strength and their average score is 87%.  Top salespeople are 791% more effective at selling value!

Why is there such a difference?

72% of all salespeople have non-supportive buying habits and understand it when their prospects shop for the lowest price, comparison shop or think it over.  Yet, if you break it down by performance, it's quite a different story.

Only 23% of elite (top 5%) salespeople have non-supportive buying habits but it gets a lot worse from there and quickly.

46% of strong (next 15%) salespeople have it, 72% of serviceable (the next 30%) salespeople have it and 89% of weak (the bottom 50%) salespeople have non-supportive buying habits.

You might be thinking, "It can't be that big of a deal if almost a quarter of the best salespeople in the world have this weakness and they're doing fine," and you couldn't be more wrong.  Understand that if the best salespeople have this weakness, it's likely the only weakness they have and their considerable strengths, grit and tactical selling competencies make up for it.  On the other hand, most of the weak salespeople have many more weaknesses and too few strengths to compensate.

Almost ALL of the bottom 50% buy in such a way that their habits don't support ideal sales outcomes.  And sales training won't fix that.

What does?

You have to change the way you buy things!

Join the discussion for this article on LinkedIn.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, OMG Assessment, self-talk, buying criteria

The Best Salespeople are 2733% More Likely to Have This Than the Worst Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 @ 19:07 PM

beliefs

86% of all salespeople have beliefs that don't support ideal sales outcomes.  That's important because beliefs influence behavior, and appropriate sales behavior drives results.  Think about sales process, sales methodology, sales strategy and sales tactics. Salespeople who have the ability to execute those four elements of success are less dependent on their knowledge of selling than what they believe.  While most salespeople have self-limiting beliefs, it should not surprise you that only 18% of the elite salespeople - the top 5% - have self-limiting beliefs.  But it drops off rapidly from there.  Below I have listed the percentage of salespeople with self-limiting Beliefs by performance levels.

  • Elite (the top 5%) 18% self-limiting
  • Strong (the next 15%) 49% self-limiting
  • Serviceable (the next 30%) 78% self-limiting
  • Weak (the bottom half of all salespeople) 97% self-limiting

In other words, the best salespeople (top 5%) are 2733% more likely to have Supportive Beliefs than the worst salespeople (bottom 50%).  Supportive Beliefs is one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies, each of which correlates perfectly to the four levels of performance. It's also one of six competencies that make up Sales DNA and no competency correlates more to performance than Supportive Beliefs. I'll repeat it.

2733%!

The data is from Objective Management Group (OMG) which  has evaluated and assessed 1,879,518 salespeople.

You probably have two questions by now:

  1. How many beliefs - supportive or self-limiting does OMG measure?
  2. What are some examples of self-limiting beliefs?

A salesperson's beliefs are deemed to be self-limiting if they have more than 6 that are self-limiting.  Most salespeople have upwards of a dozen!

Just a Few Examples:

  • Prospects will buy only if I have the lowest price
  • I need my prospects to like me
  • It's not OK to ask my prospects about their finances
  • Prospects that think it over will eventually buy from me
  • It's impolite to ask a lot of questions
  • If I challenge or confront a prospect they'll get upset with me
  • It's OK if my prospects want to comparison shop

Today is a great time to begin working on your self-limiting beliefs and there is an easy way do that.

Use the Sales DNA Modifier to reprogram your beliefs and overcome your sales weaknesses with our powerful tool for just $119/year.  The Sales DNA Modifier will help you overcome 12 major sales weaknesses through powerful self-hypnosis and it really works.  All you have to do is stare at the computer screen while listening to the audio twice per day for 21 days and then move on to the next weakness.  If you subscribe today, as a bonus I'll send you my powerful 5-page exercise for reprogramming your Self-Limiting Beliefs.  The exercise includes every potential self-limiting sales belief and the appropriate replacement beliefs as well as instructions for how to make it work.  Subscribe today!

Join the discussion for this article on LinkedIn.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales DNA, hidden sales weaknesses, need to be liked, self-talk

How to Transform Your Sales Pipeline Today

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 08, 2019 @ 06:07 AM

pipeline2

Big ones, little ones, sharp ones and stubborn ones. I was pulling weeds from the garden when it became crystal clear to me.  The various weeds were like the many types of opportunities in most sales pipelines.  Big ones, little ones, those that hurt (we're behind the competition) and those who are stubborn (they aren't sharing important information).  The flowers in the garden are allowed to remain and are nurtured with sun, water and plant food. Similarly, we must leave and nurture the opportunities that will grow and produce sales, and weed out the undesirable opportunities that distract us from what is most important.

Flower gardens can be large, colorful, impressive and calming to look at.  Unfortunately, most sales pipelines are full of weeds, not large enough, and certainly not impressive.  From its evaluations and assessments of 1,875,978 salespeople, Objective Management Group (OMG) has found that only 46% of all salespeople maintain a full pipeline.  It breaks down as follows:

Elite  (the top 5%) 76%
Strong 65%
Serviceable 57% 
Weak (the bottom 50%)  41%

And when it comes to full pipelines, we must ask, full of what?  Generally undesirable opportunities.

Why do those undesirable opportunities remain in the pipeline?  They provide salespeople with a sense of security. Unfortunately, what they perceive as a safety net, is really denial of the reality of their pipeline.

Step one in transforming your sales pipeline is to perform a thorough weeding, which leaves you with a smaller pipeline, but with the same number of quality opportunities.  This is where a well-built, predictive scorecard will help.

Step two is to determine how many opportunities must be in your pipeline at all times.  To find the answer to that question you must know the size of your average sale or account, your closing percentage, and monthly sales goal.  Let's assume the following three metrics:

  • Monthly sales goal of $100,000,
  • 25% Closing percentage
  • $20,000 Average sale or account

With those numbers, you must have 20 opportunities worth $400,000 in your pipeline at all times in order to close 5 of them each month.  Complete the same exercise using your own historical numbers.

Step three is to determine the gap between what you need and what you have.  Using the example above, let's say you actually have 4 good opportunities worth a total of $80,000.  Your gap is 16 opportunities worth $320,000 - just for this month!

Step four is to add 16 new opportunities.  How?  Referrals, introductions, inbound leads, cold calls, whatever it takes.  But do it!  Today!  Now!  Referring back to OMG's findings again, only 40% of all salespeople are strong at Hunting.  That breaks down as:

Elite (the top 5%): 88% 
Strong: 77% 
Serviceable: 58% 
Weak (the bottom 50%): 26%

When it comes to generating referrals and introductions, only 35% of all salespeople are strong.  It breaks down as:

Elite (the top 5%): 48%
Strong: 42%
Serviceable: 39%
Weak (the bottom 50%): 32%

[Update - I was asked whether weak Sales DNA is responsible when a strong rep is weak at getting referrals and introductions.  It turns out that for 97% of strong reps, it's not Sales DNA but for weak reps Sales DNA is responsible 97% of the time.]

And as for making cold calls, only 33% of all salespeople prospect consistently.  It breaks down as:

Elite (the top 5%): 70%
Strong: 54%
Serviceable: 43%
Weak (the bottom 50%): 25%

If from among the bottom half of all salespeople, 50% of them won't make cold calls, 64% won't generate referrals and introductions, and 82% won't fill their pipelines, then nearly half of your salespeople may not do much of what was laid out in this article.

But there is hope for the serviceable, strong and elite salespeople - the other half.  Many of them will be able to do most of this but the key is holding them accountable.  Their sales managers must set expectations, designate this as non-optional work, impose a deadline, and enforce penalties for non-compliance. 

These four steps are not a one-time fix; they are requirements for continued success in sales that continue into perpetuity. 

Comments?  Questions?  Leave them on the LinkedIn discussion of this article.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, closing, sales pipeline, prospecting, objective management group

Putting Some Hollywood into Your Sales Presentations

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 18, 2019 @ 14:06 PM

Bohemian-Rhapsody-Featured-Art

Last week I wrote about First Impressions and today's topic is presentations.  That's quite the change in direction from Consultative Selling, Sales Process, Assessments, and Performance.

What do Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocket Man, Miracle and Argo have in common and what do they have to do with selling?

What do Unbroken, Hunt for Red October, and A Few Good Men have in common and what is their relation to selling?

Let's tackle the issue of presenting your solutions to two different audiences:

  1. Those who are very familiar with what you have, what you do and how it works;
  2. Those who are unfamiliar with what you have, what you do and how it works.

Think about a time when you were being sold, and the salesperson was blabbing the company's talking points, capabilities, features and benefits and you either already knew that stuff or weren't particularly interested in hearing about it  Wasn't that an awful experience?  It doesn't have to be that awful.  If you saw Bohemian Rhapsody, you already knew what was going to happen to Freddy Mercury and Queen but the movie sucked you in despite that.  If you saw Rocket Man you already knew the story of Elton John but the movie grabbed you by the throat and didn't let go even though you knew how it would end.  If you saw Miracle, you already knew that the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team defied the odds and beat the Russians to win the Gold medal but they had you immersed despite that.  And if you saw Argo you already knew that the hostages escaped from Iran but you were still on pins and needles hoping they made it out of Iranian airspace.

The presentations to people who know you and your company don't have to be boring and repetitive.  What can you do to transform your presentation so that you achieve the same emotional reactions as those four movies do?  You need to stop taking your presentations for granted, stop sleep walking through them, stop treating them like you're reciting the multiplication tables and infuse some drama, interaction and suspense.

Your other audience is the group that isn't aware of your capabilities.  Most of us who watched Unbroken weren't familiar with the story of Louis Zamperini.  Most of us who watched Hunt for Red October and a Few Good Men weren't even aware that they were true stories!  When presenting to new prospects, people who aren't familiar with you, how can you tell your story in such a way as to get your new prospects to react emotionally in much the same way as you would have reacted after those movies?  "Wow, I'm so glad we saw that - I had no idea!"  Again, infuse some drama, interaction and suspense into your presentations!

The Sales Competency on which salespeople generally score the highest is Presentation Approach - presenting the right concepts to the right people at the right time for the right reasons.  That said, there is still room for improvement.  OMG's average score for all salespeople is 71% but there is less disparity between the top 5% and the bottom 10% than any of the other 21 Sales Core Competencies.  Elite salespeople are "only" 157% better at Presentation Approach than the bottom 10%.  Want to see all 21 Sales Core Competencies, the scoring variances by industry and how you and/or your team measure up?  Click here.

Bonus lesson:  Bohemian Rhapsody has a scene where Freddy Mercury articulates Queen's Positioning Statement. Watch it here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales presentation, dka, Bohemian Rhapsody, rocket man, argo

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About Dave

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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