Super Bowl 49: Salespeople That Win vs Lose

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


We just watched the Patriots and the SeaHawks battle it out in Super Bowl 49.  Just 8 minutes into the game, it was obvious that second efforts would be the rule of the day.  Then, with less than two minutes left to play, we witnessed THE CATCH - requiring a fourth or perhaps even a fifth effort - that put the SeaHawks in a position to win.  It wasn't meant to be, as the Patriots came up big on defense with a key interception to earn the victory.

As I write this, we're expecting yet another 12-18 inches of snow, on top of last week's blizzard.  Tomorrow, in the thick of the storm, I'll be training Objective Management Group's (OMG) 30 newest partners.  Many of them are struggling to reach Boston because the same storm that is bearing down on us is wreaking havoc across the Midwest today.  But one by one, they are getting here.  Second efforts.  And on our end, we needed to make a number of alternate arrangements to get everyone here safely.  Second efforts, and more.  Which brings us to selling.  How many salespeople do you think make appropriate second efforts?  

I'm not talking about when salespeople are pestering prospects who have no interest.  I'm talking about when salespeople are told they lost; or the article from a couple of weeks ago when a salesperson closed the deal and then lost it when the prospect had a change of mind.

OMG has a lot of statistics on second efforts.  All of the elite 6% and many of the next 20% are able to make a second effort.  But the majority of the bottom 74% can't.  And it's not for a lack of skills, it's because of their Sales DNA.  There are several strands of Sales DNA that make it next to impossible for most salespeople to step up, push back and take control of their destiny:

  • 54% of Salespeople have Need for Approval - A salesperson's need to be liked prevents them from asking a lot of questions beyond a no, and especially tough questions or challenging their prospect.
  • 86% of Salespeople are Too Trusting - A salesperson who is too trusting will accept at face value what their prospect says and when they hear it's a "no", they accept that and won't consider a need to push back.
  • 72% of Salespeople Have Difficulty Recovering from Rejection - Salespeople who struggle to overcome being rejected are typically in no kind of shape to quickly bounce back and make a second effort.
  • 18% of Salespeople Lack Commitment - It takes tremendous commitment to do whatever it takes to succeed in sales.  Salespeople who possess only conditional commitment -  the salesperson agrees with what must be done, it's not too difficult, and it's not too scary - will totally bail out after a "no".  It's too difficult for them to overcome.
  • 84% of Salespeople have Self-Limiting Beliefs - When salespeople are told, "No" and they believe that it's "Not polite to push back," that belief will stop most salespeople in their tracks.

When I was a young salesperson in the 1970's, the very first professional sales training video (actually film back then) that I watched starred the legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.  The topic?  Second Efforts.  Tonight I found a 1:15 second clip from that timeless video on YouTube.

Second Efforts can be the difference between a loss and a win.  Would you like to know which of your salespeople are capable second efforts?  It's part of a sales force evaluation from OMG!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales weaknesses, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, second efforts, vince lombardi, green bay packers

New Penn State Coach - Just Like Dysfunctional Sales Management

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jan 06, 2012 @ 09:01 AM

Bill O'Brien with Tom BradyUnless you lived in a cave in Afghanistan during the past two months, you heard about the scandal involving people associated with Penn State University's football team and coaching staff.  I won't discuss any of the nastiness but I do want to discuss the latest step in their recovery.  Today officials at Penn State will introduce Bill O'Brien as their first new head football coach in nearly 50 years.  He will be responsible for rebuilding the football program and through that, the image of the school.  That will be one difficult job and it begins immediately.

Today, Bill O'Brien is still the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.  Because the Patriots are the #1 seed in the playoffs, Bill O'Brien has another challenging job - preparing and helping the Patriots offense, led by future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady, to compensate for their own pathetic defense, as they attempt to advance to another Super Bowl championship.

Bill O'Brien. One coach - two full time jobs.  Both teams need his immediate, undivided attention and won't get all that they need.  Given the dual roles, how do you feel about the Patriots' chances of another Super Bowl?  Given this conflict of interest, how do you feel about Penn State's ability to have a quality recruiting season?

This happens quite frequently in my world - the sales force.

In most small businesses, the President or owner is responsible for running the company and by default, manages the sales force too.  The problem?  Unskilled sales management is being provided on demand and that is always quite ineffective.

In companies that can afford one, the sales manager is often asked to maintain personal accounts and manage the sales force.  In scenarios like these, personal sales and, more specifically, the commissions earned, get most of the sales manager's attention and although we may see slightly more in the way of sales management skills, it is simply another example of on demand sales management and it doesn't work.

In a mid-size company, we may see more of the dual-role scenario playing itself out.  Here we could have 3-10 regional sales managers reporting up to a Sales VP and anywhere from 0-10 local sales managers reporting to the regional sales managers.  When regional managers don't have any sales managers in between them and their salespeople, you'll see those managers going out and closing business with their salespeople.  It's actually more of a hybrid than it is two distinct roles, but they still aren't focusing 100% of their time developing their salespeople.

Dual Roles could be the single biggest common issue in companies that are trying to grow.  Dual roles don't work.  I'm proof!  I'm running two companies, still working with select personal clients and can't focus on any one of those roles for any extended period of time.  I'm fortunate when I can devote ONE ENTIRE DAY to a single one of those three roles. Most days my time, attention, effectiveness and results are so badly split up that it's a wonder everything gets done.

In most cases sales will suffer.  Dual role people lack the time to do sales justice so if a prospect is difficult to track down or slow to respond, they don't have the bandwidth that a full-time salesperson has to connect.  It might be a week or two before they have the chance to make a second attempt!

When people are in a dual role it is always sales that suffers.

Are you or any of your people in dual roles?  What is suffering?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, New England Patriots, Penn State Football

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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 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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