Great Salespeople Can See the Pixels - The Rest Watch the Movie

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:03 AM

lucyEach morning my son and I build a story from the playlist we hear on the radio.  Consider today's playlist from Sirius/XM's 70's station:

  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • I Wish
  • Skyhigh
  • Disco Lady
  • Diamond Girl
  • No Sugar Tonight
  • Could it be I'm Falling in Love

So the story goes that Lucy was up there in the sky with her diamonds and I just wish she hadn't been blown sky high because she's a Disco Lady who just loves those diamonds.  Because of this unfortunate incident, there won't be any sugar tonight.  Could it because I'm falling in love?

Forget for just a minute how lame this is and let's pretend that one of your salespeople just returned from a sales call and you debriefed him.

A seventy-four percenter, your "C" player said that he presented but the prospect rambled, complained about some problem with an explosion and some diamonds and seemed very distracted.  Your salesperson is going to send a proposal and follow up but he doesn't see much of an opportunity. 

Your "B" player is a top 26 percenter, good, but not a great salesperson, who said that she had a fairly strong opportunity.  She identified a problem - Lucy was blown sky high and is up there with her diamonds and the prospect needs to address the problem.  She is going to attempt to get him qualified before proposing a solution.

Your "A", an elite top 6 percenter who outsells everyone by a 3:1 margin, put it this way:  The prospect has a very compelling reason to get our help.  As a result of the "incident", the prospect will have no sugar tonight and worse, he is very concerned that he might be falling in love.  It's affecting his work/life balance and the money he lost when those diamonds were lost is preventing him from taking advantage of all the new opportunities being presented to him every day.  I really differentiated us from everyone else, listened, showed I cared, developed a strong relationship, and had the conversation nobody else had with him.  He thanked me for asking the right questions and helping him understand his real problem, and said he can't wait to work with us.

Every sales call has data points or dots or even pixels if you will.  In our pretend scenario above, we can convert those data points to a story line or pixels to a movie.  Great salespeople have the ability to see AND connect the dots as well as identify the dots that are missing.  An example of the missing dots in our story might go like this:

"You said that as a result of the incident you won't have any sugar tonight.  What about your prospects for sugar over the long term?  Why is the sugar so important?  What happens if you can't replace the sugar?  How will that affect your recovery from falling in love?"

Good salespeople identify only some of the dots and sometimes focus on the wrong ones.  

The remaining 74% of salespeople, the "C's", fail to see the actual pixels and they just watch the movie until it ends.

We have been describing the Consultative Sales approach.  How do your salespeople fare in their ability to sell consultatively and, more importantly, which of them can be trained and coached to effectively execute this with consistency and results?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, sales management, sales excellence, sales effectiveness

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About Dave

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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