Putting for Eagle - Going for the Unlikely Close

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 @ 16:09 PM

eagle puttMy friend, Rick Cayer, sunk his first-ever eagle putt today and I saw it all.  While I've been golfing for only a few years and suffer from tremendous inconsistency on the course, Rick has been golfing for more than 20 years, knows what he needs to do, and executed perfectly.  On the 455 yard par 5 6th hole, he hit a driver about 280 yards right down the middle of the fairway.  He followed that with a pefectly stroked hybrid for 175 yards to within a foot of the pin and tapped in for an Eagle.


Veteran salespeople are capable of pulling off the same heroics, but only when they execute the sales process perfectly. Today, one veteran salesperson told me about all of the short cuts he took to reach his lofty goal.  He used an internet web site to do his closing, skipped over important questions to uncover compelling reasons to buy, and failed to qualify, all because he was selling something more transactional than normal.  He not only used short cuts, he used crutches despite having the ability and track record to flawlessly execute the sales process. His result?  He failed to hit even 10% of his goal! 

Last year around this time, I wrote this article about how easy it is to get away from the sales process and other things you must do to achieve consistent results.  In these difficult times, the one thing you can't do is attempt to do it without systems and processes because they are about the only things you can rely on.

You know the Capital One ad where the Vikings ask, "what's in your wallet?"  Well, what's in your sales force?  Do you have salespeople who have and faithfully execute an effective sales process?  Or do you have salespeople who are constantly selling by the seat of their pants, doing what's comfortable instead of what's effective, doing what's easy instead of what works, doing what they did last time instead of what they should do this time, and using shortcuts and crutches?

Congratulations Rick! It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, Sales Force, golf, Selling System, salespeople

Teaching Sales in School is Like Learning to Golf on the Wii

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 29, 2009 @ 10:07 AM

I'd like to thank Phil for sending this link along to me today.

The article, "Can College Teach You to Sell?", has its pros and cons.  Let's start with the good stuff.

They're finally teaching sales in school - yeah!  And even more surprisingly, kids are actually taking the classes - yeah again!  Why surprisingly? How many of your salespeople selected, as their primary career choice, sales?

Kids get a sense that selling is an honorable profession!  This post, from November of 2008, demonstrates each of the last two points - kids don't choose sales because, well, they don't believe it's honorable.

Kids are getting a sense of what selling really means, that it's not really about presenting and  strong-arming people into buying things.  Hooray!  And perhaps they do have a better sense of what's in store for them when they accept their first sales position.

How about the cons?

Can you teach them what rejection really feels like in a classroom?  Then how can they overcome it?

There were several factually incorrect statements in the article. 

Turnover, in some industries, is not as high as 30%.  Turnover, in some industries, is higher than 100%! 

It does not take 18-24 months for companies to break even across the board.  It depends on the compensation, the length of the sales cycle, the length of the learning curve, and the candidate's experience - not in the industry, but in the marketplace.  Additionally, some candidates do ramp-up much more quickly than others - if you select the right ones.  Objective Management Group not only recommends strong, hirable candidates, but they can even identify those that will ramp up more quickly than others!

In my experience, learning sales before you've sold is like learning to play golf on the Wii.  You can become quite good in theory, but watch what happens when you put real clubs of different lengths and feel, in play with real bunkers, water, rough, up-hill, down-hill and side-hill lies.  There's nothing like the real world.

That said, it has always been my preference to NOT train brand-new salespeople until they have been in the field and gotten beat up for at least 60 days.  Then the training means something.  Until then, it's simply theory.

What do you think about teaching sales in college?

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan


Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales, sales recruiting, selling, Salesforce, Sales Force, Sales Candidate, golf, rejection, college, wii

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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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