How You Can Get Your Salespeople to Do What They Don't

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 @ 08:07 AM

describe the imageI always said to myself that if I could apply the same discipline I applied at work to my eating and my golfing I would be a thin scratch golfer.  One down...

Please read this article the way I intended to write it.  First, what it is not.

It is not an article about how I lost 40 pounds. Nor is it an article about why I lost 40 pounds.  Instead, please read this as an article about how to get people to change.

Awareness?  I knew I was forty pounds overweight and your salespeople know they are under performing. I also knew I wasn't very healthy.  Awareness alone is not enough and when you continue to tell people what they already know, it makes them more, not less resistant.

Reasons?  I had one reason for not changing and it went like this:  "I don't have any other vices.  I don't smoke, drink, gamble or carouse. Just let me have my food!"  I found a way to justify my weight, health and eating, but in the end, it was just one, big excuse.  Your salespeople have excuses too.  "Prospecting is a waste of time" and "I'm too busy doing that CRM stuff you want me to do" and "I'm working on a proposal".  Just excuses.

What changed?  I was ready, but I had been ready before.  I was committed, and a few times in the past I had committed to diets.  This time, it had to be permanent.  This time it had to be for the right reasons.  This time it had to be lifestyle, not diet.  What must change with your salespeople?  They have to be ready.  They must be committed.  They must be committed for the right reasons.  It has to be permanent.  It has to be a work style change, not an exercise or experiment.

A number of things made my transition successful:

  • I was inspired this time - by my wife - who assured me that I could do this.
  • I knew what had to change - not my 40 pounds of excess - that was too overwhelming.  I had to change what I ate.  So I simply eliminated processed food, specifically sugar and flour.  I could manage that every day, three times per day, with no problem.  Even though the staples of my diet were ice cream and bread, when I eliminated them, everything else tasted spectacular.  You know what your salespeople have to change and it begins with their prospecting behaviors.  The revenue part is overwhelming to them.  Change what they have to do each day and it becomes simpler.  Clear the path!
  • I knew how to measure the change.  This part was easy because I could measure how I felt and what I weighed each day.  You know exactly which forward looking indicators you must measure for sales performance and they are all at the front end of the funnel.
  • I know how to hold myself accountable.  I performed a daily huddle with myself and held myself accountable for what I ate and what I weighed each day.  Do the same with your salespeople.  Hold them accountable to what they do each day relative to building their pipeline.
  • I committed.  And with no exceptions.  Exceptions ruin everything so I don't make them. That "no exception" rule leads to discipline and consistency.
  • I tracked my progress and today, exactly one year later, I am 40 pounds lighter, I don't take any medications, and I'm really healthy. (I did this without exercising, too)  Track the progress your salespeople are making and show them how much healthier their pipeline becomes and how much better their bank account looks.

Speaking of your salespeople, EcSELL Institute is conducting a national research project that looks at sales management through the eyes of a sales rep.  It is asking sales reps, from across the US and Canada, what they want and need from their sales managers.  The research project is trying to define a wish list that sales managers can use to guide their own sales management behavior.  It takes 3 minutes to complete.  Have your salespeople visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EcSELL_SalesRepSurvey.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, changing behavior, Sales Accountability, salespeople

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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