The Secret - The Ancient Scrolls and its Impact on the Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 @ 12:03 PM

Al Turrisi was kind enough to give me a book called the Power of the Kabbalah.  Its ancient scrolls originated around 4,000 years ago, inspired The Secret and predates Moses and the Bible!  Since this book is not the Kabbalah itself, rather a Cliff Notes version, it tends to read more like a self-help book. It is far more powerful than a self-help book though as it points to a number of rules that will cause a transformation in one's life.

Seven of the desired behaviors are consistent with the philosophies in Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball as well as Objective Management Group's Sales Assessments:

The importance of Desire. Read the Top 10 Factors for Salespeople to Overachieve.

It's not about you.  Over the past several months I have found myself telling an awful lot of salespeople and sales managers that it's not about them.  It's even become a finding in Objective Management Group's Sales Manager's Evaluation - The It's All About Me finding.

Need for Approval or what happens when you need people to like you.  This is the second most powerful weakness in all of selling. Here's an article about that.

Becoming Emotionally Involvedor reacting instead of proacting.This is the third most powerful weakness in all of selling. I wrote an article about this.

Resistance or the great challenge that presents itself rather than an obstacle.  I wrote a an article about this earlier this month and another one a couple of years ago.

Certainty or having faith that what you say, ask, or do will get the desired outcome.

Doing What's Uncomfortable.  I wrote an article about this a while back too.

Many of the articles I linked to were Baseline Selling Tips.  Speaking of Baseline Selling, this is the third anniversary of the publish date of the book, a good reason to reread or order it.

So in summary, simply by having your salespeople overcome their sales weaknesses, doing the very things they are uncomfortable doing, having faith in their abilities and having a strong desire for success will cause those very same people to experience life changing experiences.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan



Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Need for Approval, Baseline Selling, assessments, sales skills, Salesforce, Sales Force, Changing_Behavior, over achievement, sales weaknesses, Motivation, sales core competencies, assessment, sales evaluation, over achieve, improve sales performance, sales winners, overachievers, sales assessment test, Baseline_Selling, sales assessments, sales test, objective management group

Another Connection Between Sales and Baseball

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 06, 2007 @ 23:09 PM

Seems like I'll never stop coming up with these connections.  Ever since I published Baseline Selling, I've been able to connect baseball to selling in so many new ways.  In tonight's game between the Red Sox and the Orioles I noticed that J.D. Drew, the Sox overpaid right fielder, left four more men on base.  For those who don't follow baseball, that means that he came to the plate with runners on base and failed to drive them in - again.  A guess.  He must lead the major leagues in runners left on base.  He is as frustrating to watch as Bob, the salesperson from my post last week.

Let's use the Visual Pipeline - suspects on the first base line, prospects on the base path between 1st and 2nd, qualified opportunities on the base paths between 2nd and 3rd and closable opportunities on the base path between 3rd and home. When Bob, or any salesperson, fails to drive in those opportunities by either not moving them forward, not closing them at the first closing opportunity or having them get picked off, he too is leaving opportunities on the bases.

What's the solution?  

During 2003-2006 there was probably nobody better at driving in runners than David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox.  He lived for those situations, especially the pressure situations, late in the game, with a very close score.  He had a sense of urgency about the situation and just did what was needed.

Salespeople must have the same sense of urgency, the ability to sense that this is the only chance they're going to have to get that piece of business closed, or that account signed up, or that deal done.  And they have to execute. They can't be tentative, they can't let the prospect control it and they have to be aggressive.  It may be the only chance they'll get.

You have to make sure your salespeople are prepared for those situations.  Do you coach them so that when the opportunity presents itself they're able to capitalize on it?  That's the essence of your role as their sales manager!

© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc. 

Topics: coaching, Baseline_Selling

Salespeople, Selling and the Home Run Derby

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 11, 2007 @ 12:07 PM

This week featured Major League Baseball's All Star Game and Home Run Derby.  Maybe it's just me but I noticed some similiarities between the Derby and Selling.  I wrote about them in my weekly Baseline Selling Tip.

Topics: coaching, Baseline_Selling

Gazelles 2007 Sales & Marketing Summit

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Feb 11, 2007 @ 13:02 PM

If generating more revenue is a priority at your growing company then you won't want to miss the 2007 Gazelles Sales & Marketing Summit, April 24-25, in Atlanta. Verne Harnish, the Growth Guy, recently posted the exciting details on his web site and his blog.   Verne's "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits" has been a best-selling business book for years and his Growth Summits are among the top-rated business events of the year.  2 Days, 5 Key Topics and 8 Speakers.  It's a must attend event so make plans to be there.

Some of you may not know that Verne wrote the forward to my best-selling book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball.

I'll be presenting my top-rated "Raising Expectations, Elevating Performance" on Tuesday the 24th at the Gazelles Sales & Marketing Summit and hope to meet many of you there.  Those of you that haven't been able to justify traveling to a city for one of my 2-hour appearances will find a two-day event much more to your liking.

© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: Baseline_Selling

Sales Performance - Salespeople Sell the Way they Buy

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 08, 2006 @ 07:11 AM

I was in Chicago last night, speaking to the local EO chapter.  Many of the wonderful people in the audience had already read my book, Baseline Selling, and were unabashed fans. The EO chair, Russ Rosenweig, had already seen his company's revenue increase by 20-30% as a result of the book.  But there was one guy in the room, a rare heckler, who just didn't buy it.

I was talking about the Rule of Ratios, demonstrating how to quantify a problem, and turning it into a compelling reason to buy.  He believed, so strongly, that this was a transparent exercise that every prospect would recognize as as a means to justifying a higher price.  He became so emotionally involved that he actually called me a "dumb-ass", right there in front of everyone.  He believed that quantifying was a waste of time because prospects would only make their purchase based on who had the lowest price. 

Why did he believe that?  Because that's how he buys.  And like so many salespeople, he mistakenly believes that all of his prospects buy the way he buys.  It reminded me of the Death of Selling posting that we had going on all summer.

So my heckler has a Non-Supportive Buy Cycle, becomes Emotionaly Involved, is Uncomfortable Talking about Money, and a Self-Limiting Record Collection.  The good news is that he didn't seem to have any Need for Approval.

The funniest thing is that he came up to me at the break - not to apologize - but to further support his claims.  Then he said that he uses the Objective Management Group Assessments to hire salespeople and they're extremely accurate and very helpful.  Too bad he can't recognize the same weaknesses that cause us not to recommend people for his sales force in himself.

© Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: coaching, assessment, Baseline_Selling

What is it About Baseball Books?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 12, 2006 @ 08:07 AM

A recent post on was titled 'What is it About Baseball Books?'. It was a good article but, given the audience, Top Management Executives, I wondered how the author, Jack Covert could have omitted the two baseball books actually written for his audience. They are Jeff Angus' fine management book, Management by Baseball, and my book, Baseline Selling.

I understand that Jack was actually writing about baseball books that excited him and that it wasn't intended to be an article about management books. But it was an opportunity to show that in addition to the excitement felt when reading a great book about baseball, the sport can also be used quite effectively as both a sales and sales management metaphor. In Jeff Angus' case, those great, exciting stories are used as examples to illustrate both effective and ineffective management styles. In my case, baseball rules, tactics and strategies are used as guidelines for the selling process.

Come on Jack, Blog about the business books of baseball!

(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: Baseline_Selling

Sales Coaching - Between the Lines

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 22, 2006 @ 19:06 PM

If you read Baseline Selling then you're familiar with my research and data. There is an elite 6%, a top 26% and then all other salespeople. That's right, a bottom 74%. Don't believe it?  Look at your own sales force and the requests for help that you get - that's if you get asked for help. If the coaching you're asked to provide is anything like the coaching I'm asked to do, it also falls into the top 26% and bottom 74% department.

The top 26% ask questions like, 'OK. I have this prospect, they need us, there are compelling reasons to buy from us, they like us, the problem is killing them, they know we can help them, but they can't justify spending 34% more to do business with us. I know I've differentiated and built a good relationship but we're $18,000 higher and they're supposed to be on a cost lowering initiative. I've got the decision maker and he just doesn't want to be the exception to the rule that he created in his company. What should I do?

The bottom 74% ask questions like, 'I'm not comfortable picking up the phone. Can you help?' Or they ask, 'How can I get prospects to return my phone calls?' Or they ask, 'How can I get prospects to stop thinking it over?'

Can you see the difference? Complex vs. Simple. Sophisticated vs. Basic. Knowledgeable vs. Uninformed. Which salespeople do you have?

By the way, can you provide the solution for the first salesperson? Submit your comments!

Topics: coaching, Baseline_Selling

Management by Baseball

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sat, Jun 03, 2006 @ 00:06 AM

Just six months after my book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball was published, Jeff Angus published his new book, Management by Baseball. The experts are saying that this book is a homerun too!

It's great that he wrote a management book and used the baseball metahpor. My next book is going to be a sales management book and I didn't have a sense for how to translate my sales management message into baseball terms the way I did with my sales message. Now, I can write something different on the topic and not regret passing on the baseball metaphor.

(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: Baseline_Selling

SPIN Selling and Miller Heiman Compared to Baseline Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Apr 28, 2006 @ 03:04 AM

Baseline SellingA reader asked me about my book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, and how it compares with SPIN Selling and Miller Heiman's Strategic Selling. Both books - SPIN Selling AND Strategic Selling are good; but neither of them are selling systems or processes.

Baseline Selling covers four points in the evolution of an opportunity within the selling process: first base (suspect), second base (prospect), third base (qualified) and home (closable). SPIN is a questioning process that can be mapped onto Baseline Selling and the entire process takes place between first and second base. Most of the concepts in Strategic Selling take place in the on-deck circle and between second base and third base. So, while neither of them are complete processes, both qualify as methodologies or approaches.

The 2nd topic we can explore is how applicable they are to your business. As good as SPIN is, most salespeople simply can't replicate it. It's just too difficult. So Baseline Selling has a simple questioning process that anyone can do - right out of the book! As good as Strategic Selling is, it isn't tactical. In other words, it's a book on strategy but it doesn't explain with detailed examples of dialog how to execute the strategy. Baseline Selling takes only a few pages to explain the four steps and the remaining 213 pages are devoted to tactics - how to get around the bases. Is Baseline Selling for you? Most sales development experts think so!

[Updated - This short video shows a much better comparison of SPIN, Solution Selling and the Challenger to Baseline Selling]


(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc

Topics: Dave Kurlan, top sales books, Baseline_Selling, SPIN Selling, Strategic Selling

More Baseline Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 05, 2006 @ 22:04 PM

I'm watching the third baseball game of the young season. My team, the Red Sox, is trailing in the seventh inning. As Red Sox games go, this is boring, if not depressing. The most prolific offense of the last three years, the Sox hadn't scored a single run. Similar to some sales calls, it began badly.

The Red Sox? We just have faith that before the game is over, they'll put some runs on the board. The sales call? It depends on the salesperson. You just need to have faith. It doesn't matter how badly the call begins. You just need to have faith. Your salespeople don't have to do anything wrong for a call to begin badly. If a prospect isn't sharing, cooperating, answering questions or showing interest, that's a bad start. If a prospect acts like a buyer, puts on a power play, treats the product like a commodity, or otherwise makes things difficult, that's a bad start.

However, if your salespeople have faith and hang in there, there will be an opportunity on every call to ask a great question, make a fantastic point, change the momentum, or get the prospect's attention. It's just like baseball. At some point, in every game, the hitter will get his pitch, even if it isn't until the bottom of the 9th inning.

The trick is for your salespeople to practice two situations - regularly. Hitters take situational batting practice and your salespeople must engage in situational sales practice. Role Playing. Practice situation number one involves getting your salespeople to ask a tough prospect some good, tough, timely questions, early in the call, in an attempt to get their attention early. The second practice situation involves getting your salespeople to be patient, waiting the prospect out, summarizing what they said and coming back with the good, tough, timely questions when the prospect has finished taking their position.

Bottom of the 7th and the Red Sox have taken the lead. You must have faith.

(c) Copyright Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: coaching, Baseline_Selling

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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