8-Year Old Houston Astros Fan Demonstrates a Huge Secret of Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jun 11, 2021 @ 09:06 AM

kid at baseball game

Walter and I attended a recent Boston Red Sox / Houston Astros game at Fenway Park.  It was my first visit to Fenway Park since 2019 and it was exciting to see most of the seats filled. It was exciting to hear all of the fan noise that has been missing for so long but there was one fan in particular that I heard louder than all of the others.  Starting in the fourth inning, Timmy, the eight-year-old Astros fan sitting next to me, didn't stop chatting with me for the remainder of the game. When Timmy said he hated the Red Sox I had to ask him why. His answer is the focus of this article on selling!  "Why do you hate the Red Sox so much Timmy?"  

He said, "Because their faces are ugly."  Wow.  I asked how they were ugly and he said "They have zits - and they pick them in the dugout."

That might not sound like the basis of an article on selling to you, but it certainly does to me! 

Timmy's grandfather flew him to Boston to watch his favorite team play the Red Sox in the absolute best ballpark to watch a game. He loves his Astros the way I loved my Red Sox when I was that age (OK, I love them at this age too) and as much as Ethan Bryan loves his Royals.  Ethan still wants to throw out the first pitch at a Royals game this year....

Timmy was not able to provide talking points, data, facts, bullet points, or even anecdotal evidence of why his team, which cheated to win the 2017 and 2019 World Series, was the best and the Red Sox, who won the World Series in 2018, was not.  He has an unexplainable emotional connection to the Astros.  

Salespeople don't understand this phenomenon.

Customers often have unexplainable emotional connections to the salespeople, account managers and companies they do business with and it doesn't matter how much better your company is, how much more responsive you are, how much more capable your product is, how much lower your price is, or how much more motivated you are to win their business.  Their emotional connection to their account manager and company will determine the winner every single time.

Don't let that deter you!

If you know that this happens, it should be your number one goal, with each and every customer, to build that kind of an emotional connection so that your customer will refuse to even consider moving their business to anyone else.  This isn't easy, won't happen overnight, requires making every customer a much bigger priority than ever before, and is not for the salesperson who loves to hunt.  But you can do this!

It is also important to know that most of the salespeople working for your competitors aren't good enough for their customers to have these emotional connections.  Most salespeople can't and won't accomplish this.  The salespeople who do accomplish this aren't particularly good salespeople but they are fantastic at nurturing and developing relationships and have probably been working closely with those customers for over a decade.

Remember, whether it's zits or chits, unbreakable relationships can't be undone by better pricing or specifications.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Closing Sales, Relationship Selling, Baseball, account management, sales effectiveness

The Simple Tool that Simplifies Account, Time and Territory Management

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 @ 08:01 AM

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Image Copyright 123RF

I've written a lot about scorecards in the past 12 months while Kurlan & Associates created scorecards for more than a dozen companies in December alone.  Companies that are using our scorecards are reporting significantly higher win rates, better use of resources, and much less time spent chasing deals and accounts that they simply can't win. Until now, I have talked only about sales process scorecards used to further qualify opportunities and predict the chances of winning the business.

There are additional uses for scorecards:
  • Marketing - to score a lead.
  • Recruiting - to score a candidate.
  • Account/Territory management - to score accounts so that you can objectively determine the accounts on which your salespeope and/or account managers should be spending most of their time.

In the table below, you can see a generic Kurlan scorecard for time/territory management as well as account management.  You can modify the weighting for the 9 criteria based on how important each one is to you and your business. Just make sure that the totals equal 100.  

account-territory-mgmt.jpgAfter you have prioritized each category and assigned points, score each account in the territory.  Salespeople and/or account managers should invest their time in direct proportion to the scores for each account.  You can hire an additional salesperson to work on the accounts that aren't as important, but still need to be touched on a regular basis in order for growth to occur while at the same time assuring retention.

What other criteria can you include in your account/territory management scorecard?

  • % of products or SKUs 
  • Years a customer
  • Loyalty
  • Referral source
  • Quality of the Relationship with the Account Manager
  • Distance to Travel
  • % of Their Total Business

Here are some of the other articles I've written on scorecards as a part of the sales process.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, account management, time management, scorecard, territory management

School of Rock the Musical Demonstrates Selling to Existing Customers and Customer Service

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 @ 06:02 AM

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This weekend we had seats to the new Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway show, School of Rock.  Our son has watched the original movie around a dozen times and didn't think there was the slightest possibility that the show would be as good as the movie.  Did the show meet expectations?  I'll share that in a moment, but first, let's discuss the dynamic of the show versus the movie and compare that to an ongoing sales challenge.  While salespeople have expectations for meeting outcomes and sales results, prospects have expectations too - for the meetings, salespeople, products, services, prices and terms that a company will provide at various times during your sales cycle.  In the case of movie versus show, there is a better analogy to strategic account management and even customer service.

With an existing customer, you represent the movie, School of Rock.  You are known, there is history, and the customer knows what to expect, both good and bad.

When you schedule a call or meeting to upgrade, upsell, or simply renew your contract, you represent the Broadway show, School of Rock.  Will you be the same or worse, will your prices go up and will your service go down?  It could be extremely difficult for you to improve upon the performance you already provided or impress them further.

On the other hand, your competition, finally getting their chance to compete for the business, comes in with guns blazing. They represent a different show altogether so your customer or client has more of an open mind, lower expectations and becomes easier to impress.

How did School of Rock, the Broadway show compare to the movie?  They rocked, of course.  They brought a raw energy to the stage that could never be achieved in the original movie.  It would be quite the accomplishment for the Broadway version to impress our nearly 14-year old son, but they pulled it off.  He even walked away with a School of Rock guitar pick, tossed into the audience by the Dewey Finn character.

How can you  exceed expectations with your existing customers?  Step it up, bring more energy, bring greater creativity, bring your best ideas, and commit to completely wowing your existing customer.  If you don't, your competition will!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, account management, major account sales, school of rock

New Book will Improve Your Account Managers' Relationships

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 @ 20:04 PM

people love youI wanted to let you know about a new book hitting the shelves today.

Most of the books that are written about great customer experiences only cite best practices by large, well-known B2C companies like Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, and Zappos. You know how I feel about studies that only cite big companies... 

Here at Understanding the Sales Force, we discuss mostly B2B relationships which are far more complex than B2C relationships. 

Jeb Blount, a leading expert on customer experience and account management, just published the new book, People Love You: The Real Secret to Delivering Legendary Customer Experiences.

People Love You will show you:

  • How to make your customers happy,
  • What to do to keep your customers from defecting to competitors,
  • Ways to get customers to buy more every year,
  • The secret to getting customers to love you and
  • How to deliver a great experience for every customer.

One of my clients lost just one customer and that loss was so significant for them that it meant layoffs, a plant closing, and the threat of bankruptcy.  Account managers are usually responsible for holding these relationships together.  In People Love You, you'll gain the insight, knowledge, and tools that you need to serve and engage customers in a way that will tie them to you, your brand, product or service.

Get your copy today!  You'll be glad you did.  When you order today, you’ll also receive instant access to over $500 worth of business tools from leading experts, including a gift from me. 

I don't endorse many books, but this is a good one and if you manage important accounts or relationships, this book is a must-read.

Start with Chapter 4: Put Customers First”  – it will change how people do business with you forever.  Check out People Love You now.


Topics: Dave Kurlan, customer service, jeb blount, account management, people love you

How Would Your "Top Salespeople" Do If.....

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 16, 2011 @ 17:05 PM

easyMost companies have people who are considered top performers who, under different circumstances, would be considered extremely weak salespeople.  While these salespeople do appear to be weak when we assess them, it's much more difficult for management to recognize how weak they are when they lead the company in revenue.  Notice how I didn't say "sales"?  That's right, they happen to manage more revenue than anyone else, but that has less to do with selling than it does account management...

So how would your "top performers" do if:

You took away their existing accounts?

They had to overcome strong resistance to your brand?

They had to compete against 5 competitors for each account/deal?

You put them into a new territory and they had to build it from scratch?

Their customer contacts all retired or quit?

They had to make cold calls?

Your company had higher prices, a lesser brand, or a new, unproven technology?

They had fewer resources on which to rely?

You raised their quota by 30%?

They didn't have established relationships with their customers?

They were only allowed to close business with new customers?

In my experience, if I had to choose between a very successful account manager type who did not have to overcome any of the previously mentioned challenges, and someone who was struggling to perform but had to overcome most or all of the same challenges, my money would be on salesperson #2!

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales performance, account management, top producer

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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 nine 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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