Closing and Negotiating Challenges - Symptoms of Another Selling Problem

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 @ 14:04 PM


 Image Copyright Shironosov

One of OMG's sales candidate assessment clients in Europe purchased two goldfish. In keeping with their tradition, the client named the two fish, Recommended and Not Recommended.  Surprisingly, recruiting salespeople was not one of the topics addressed in the Richardson 2017 Selling Challenges Study.  Meghan Steiner, from Richardson, was nice enough to send me a copy of the results.  There were a number of interesting findings and of course I had some insights from the report.

Respondents said the following issues are challenges for their companies:

  • 24% said gaining higher prices 
  • 20% said closing win/win deals
  • 17% said maintaining profitability
  • 24% said competing against a low cost provider
  • 16% said creating a compelling case for change
  • 19% said customers who continue to reopen the negotiation
  • 15% said positioning a competing value proposition

The 7 findings I listed above came from two different chapters of the report.  Higher prices, win/win deals and profitability came from the chapter on Negotiation.  Positioning, reopening negotiations, competing against low cost providers and the case for change came from the chapter on closing.  

It is clear to me that if you combine those 7 challenges, the real problem
these companies have is that their salespeople are unable to sell value!

The findings came from a survey where most of the 300+ respondents were from companies larger than $500 million, with sales quotas generally running more than $1 million each.

How do the findings compare with OMG's scientific data from the evaluation of 2 million salespeople from 30,000 companies?  Let's compare!

The average score for the Selling Value competency is 56 which means that the salespeople in the 370,000 rows of data in my query have, on average, 56% of the attributes in the Selling Value competency.  You can see that the top 10% are significantly more effective and the bottom 10% are significantly worse!

value2.jpgAnother way of looking at this competency is to determine the percentage of salespeople who have selling value as a weakness.  

68% of the salespeople I looked at were weak at Selling Value.  

OMG's data shows that selling value is a much greater issue than the survey suggests.  The likely reason for this is that respondents from large companies probably don't understand the reasons why they have the seven issues bulleted above.  They only recognize the symptoms.

You can see the attributes of the Selling Value competency in this screen shot from a sales force evaluation.


When companies mistakenly believe that their problems lie in negotiating and closing, they tend to seek training on negotiating and closing!  When the real problem is selling value, the training needs to be on what the selling conversations should sound like when you take a more consultative approach, sales process to support a consultative approach, a value-based pricing strategy, and training on selling value.

Here are four other things you should do:

1. See how your salespeople compare to others in your industry and to salespeople in general in any or all of the 21 Sales Core Competencies with OMG's complimentary stat finder tool.

2. Select only strong (16%) and elite (7%) salespeople with OMG's accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment.

3. Become more effective coaching your salespeople in all 21 Sales Core Competencies 

4. Download the 2017 Sales Challenges Study from Richardson.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, close more sales, negotiating, objective management group, selling value, Richardson, OMG Assessment

How Dramatically Has Selling Changed?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 06:02 AM


Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Yesterday, I was listening to a radio promotion when they said, "Take a selfie with a standie and then, using your smartphone or tablet, upload it to Facebook, or tweet your image using hashtag [something I can't remember]."

Now, pretend it's 1995, and reread the quotation.  Twenty years ago, would you have recognized any of the words other than "take", "and", "then", "using", "your", "or" and "to?"  In 1995, selfie, standie, smartphone, tablet, tweet, hashtag, upload, and Facebook would have had you believing that you were listening to a foreign language.  That's just one example of how dramatically some things have changed in the past 20 years.

Let's take selling.  How dramatically has that changed in 20 years?

There are some obvious changes that most people in sales will recognize, like:

  • Salespeople are no longer sources of product knowledge or pricing, both of which are readily available online.
  • Salespeople enter the sales cycle only to find their prospects much further along in their buying cycle.
  • Salespeople utilize Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, email marketing, blogging, and the web for knowledge and to connect with prospects, before they speak for the first time.
  • Personal online networks, like Facebook, Google+, and LInkedIn are exponentially larger than the physical networks of twenty years ago.
  • Salespeople with transactional products and services, like tickets, travel, commodities and most retail items have found themselves being replaced by online sales.
  • Many salespeople who once worked in a territory or vertical, now find themselves doing the exact same thing by phone.
  • Video conferences and phone calls are replacing face-to-face visits.
  • Inbound, Lead-Gen, and Appointment Setting Teams are recent additions to Inside Sales.
  • Value Propositions and Added Value have given way to salespeople who must now be the value.
  • A vast array of productivity tools, especially those that sync between devices, make selling not only more efficient, but more fun.
  • National and global competitors are making it more difficult to win the business.
  • Demos can be easily conducted online.
  • There are vast amounts of free, online resources that individuals can use to improve themselves.

And then there are the changes which are not as obvious, like:

So my question is, are these changes good or bad?  Have you made any or all of these changes?  If you have ignored any of the changes, was it due to ignorance, discomfort, or arrogance?

What is the next change that will rock your world?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, close more sales, twitter, linkedin, selling value, long sales cycle, sales win rates, google plus

Top 10 Ways to Accelerate the Sales Process - The Need for Speed

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 13:01 PM

expresslaneHave you ever noticed that when you choose the Express Checkout it always seems to have either the slowest register clerk, or there's an old lady paying who has already taken 10 minutes to find her wallet?

Have you ever noticed that during rush hour, the Express Lane for the toll booth is the only lane that isn't moving?

Have you noticed that whichever security line you choose at the airport will be the line that moves the slowest?

Road warriors are certainly familiar with the last two scenarios.  They have a need for speed and when they get on sales calls, the need for speed remains.  Perhaps you'll recognize some of these scenarios:

  • The prospect has another meeting in 25 minutes so there is a need to speed through the presentation;
  • The salesperson didn't ask for enough time in the initial meeting so there is a need to speed through this meeting to "get to the end";
  • The salesperson is most comfortable presenting, giving demos, talking capabilities, so there is a need to speed through the earlier stages/phases of the sales process to get to the "good part";
  • The salesperson is least comfortable asking tough, timely questions that might differentiate them from every other salesperson and "vendor" (their word, not mine) out there so there is a need to speed past the uncomfortable questions.

You've heard the expression "Speed Kills".

All four scenarios lead to lousy sales outcomes.  The surest way to create urgency, accelerate the sales process, eliminate the competition, get the prospect to self-qualify and spend more money on your solution, is to A B A N D O N the need for speed.  You can do that by:

  1. Asking for more time than you need;
  2. Making sure the right person is in the meeting;
  3. Spending a very long time - longer than a typical salesperson can stand - on asking good, tough, timely questions that differentiate your company from everyone else's;
  4. Become a master at uncovering the compelling business reasons why prospects will spend money to buy from you;
  5. Developing elite listening and questioning skills;
  6. Practicing #3 - 5
  7. Holding salespeople accountable to #3 -5
  8. Letting prospects know you'll be more expensive;
  9. Taking the time to identify compelling reasons that eliminate your competition;
  10. Never agree to write a proposal or quote unless you know the outcome before you do it.

describe the image

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, close more sales, increase sales, shorten the sales process

Sales and Sales Management Simplified

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 01, 2010 @ 20:12 PM

baseballI am often accused of writing about the nuances, science, complexities, and advanced concepts of sales force management and selling.  Shoot me.  Guilty as charged.  So I'll give myself a break and in this post, make sales and sales management as simple as possible using some baseball analogies.  After all, it worked in my best-seller, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball.

  • When you don't make ability, competence and effectiveness of salespeople a priority and insist on carrying ineffective salespeople, then the sheer quantity of opportunities is the only remedy.  Take enough big swings and one of those pitched balls is likely to accidentally hit the bat and leave the stadium.
  • When you have salespeople who either aren't motivated or aren't emotionally capable of keeping their pipeline filled with opportunities, they must compensate with exceptionally high closing percentages and significantly above average order/account sizes.  When you aren't in the starting lineup and don't often get to bat, you had better make good on the few opportunities that come your way.
  • When your salespeople are short on opportunities and unable to compensate by closing a high percentage of large opportunities, perhaps a new sales manager will fix the problem.  When the baseball team stops hitting they usually fire the manager.
  • When salespeople struggle at any aspect of sales, you must provide training, coaching and development.  When baseball players go into a slump or have difficulty making the transition to the big leagues they take lots and lots of batting practice under the supervision and guidance of a hitting coach.  When that fails they are sent back down to the minor league for more instruction.
  • When all else fails, fire the manager's boss.  The General Manager gets fired when they've fired and replaced players and managers with no apparent change in results.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, close more sales, book more appointments, manage sales more effectively

Enough Leads for the Sales Force? How to Convert Them More Quickly

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 @ 11:10 AM

Today I wrote an article for the Hubspot Blog around the concept of how marketers can help to shorten the sales cycle and close more sales.

If you presently get a lot of leads, simply read it without the marketing assumptions in place.  If you don't presently get a lot of leads, read both the marketing and sales assumptions.

Finally, if you have any interest in the November 3 event, you can use my discount code DK1103 to either attend the luncheon or pick up the live stream at no cost.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales management, Sales Force, convert more sales, close more sales, marketing, Executive luncheon, shorten the sales cycle

Content not found
Subscribe via Email

View All 2,000 Articles published by Dave

About Dave

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.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile


Receive new articles via email
 to the Blog on your Kindle 



Most Recent Articles


Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs 2021

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Hall of Fame

Top 50 sales blog - TeleCRM

 Hall of Fame


Top Blog Post

Expert Insights

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers


Top Blog

Hubspot Top 25 Blogs


2021 Top20 Web Large_assessment_eval