Salespeople Must Use & Embrace Life's Most Embarrassing Moments

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 @ 11:09 AM

embarrassedCan you remember that time, back in school, when you did something so embarrassing that you wanted to run away and hide forever?  Of course you do - it was all about you.  But I will wager any amount of money that you are the only one who remembers.  The others who were there that day and anyone you might have told have long forgotten.  It - wasn't - about  - them.

The same phenomenon applies to selling.

You and your salespeople have made dozens of horrible, embarrassing calls to prospects and companies.  While you and your salespeople remember your act of extreme failing, the prospects don't.  They wouldn't remember you, your salespeople or your horrible attempts if their lives depended on it.  Doesn't that mean you could try again and nobody would be the wiser?

Why not make it next month's initiative?

With prospects whom you thought you'd never call again:

  • Prize for most conversations,
  • Prize for most (qualified) meetings scheduled ,
  • Prize for most opportunities entered into the pipeline,
  • Prize for most accounts closed/opened/sold,
  • Prize for the largest sale and/or
  • Prize for the first sale.
Everybody wins!

They won't remember.  Treat it like a first call.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales targeting, sales prospecting, sales incentives, sales contests

How to Get Top Performance From Your Salespeople in December

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 05, 2011 @ 09:12 AM

top sales performerHeading into the last week of the month, quarter or year, would you prefer to be ahead of goal or behind?  And what about your salespeople - would you prefer for them to be ahead of goal or behind?  

Are you sure?  I didn't ask how you wanted them to finish...

As an example, let's look at yesterday's Patriots-Colts Football game where the Patriots had around a 28 point lead in the fourth quarter.  Two things happened.  The Patriots thought they had the game won and they relaxed - they took their foot off the gas - while the Colts, with nothing to lose and no resistance, mounted a huge comeback.  The Colts didn't quite make it all the way back but they turned a game that really was a blow out into what appeared to be (based on the score) a close, well-fought game.

Over the years, I have observed the following to be consistently true:

  • Salespeople who have hit their numbers with time to spare go into cruise control, take their foot off the gas, and prepare for the next period.  You love their numbers but I hate the let down.
  • Salespeople who have been behind, but close for most of the period, pull out the stops and usually manage to hit their numbers.
  • Salespeople who have been far behind give in to the inevitable, stop trying, and allow the period to die on the vine.
  • Sales Management is usually far too reactive - too late - to change any of this.
  • Contests and Incentives, when well conceived, can have a short-term  impact.  

So back to my question.  Would you rather have your salespeople ahead of their number or behind the number as the end draws near?
A case can be made for both answers so why don't you weigh in and explain why?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, top sales thought leader, sales incentives, sales contests, top sales assessment tool, under achieving, over achieving, top performers

Little League and the Sales Force - It's more Than Trophies

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 @ 08:04 AM

LL Baseball LogoIt's Little League time in my neck of the woods.  That means parades, six weeks of baseball games, practices, coaching and awards.

The awards I got when I played Little League were for being selected to the all-star team, and leading my team in batting, period.  Today, every kid gets a trophy - the same trophy.

There are certainly positive aspects to the "trophies for everyone" philosophy.  Awards build self-esteem by making the kids feel good about themselves, helping them feel like they contributed, and helping them feel special - even if they were the worst baseball player in the league!

On the other side of this argument, the truly gifted, talented kids who outperformed everyone else don't receive exclusive recognition for their outstanding achievements.  In addition, the weaker players aren't provided with an incentive to practice, improve and achieve because they are already being recognized.

Let's switch gears and move to sales and salespeople.  You might recall my very popular post about Money Motivated Salespeople Becoming a Dying Breed.  Today's discussion ties in quite nicely to that post.

The concept of an award, plaque or trophy - extrinsic motivation.  The recognition that goes with it - intrinsic motivation.  The piece of plastic is nice.  The feeling of being recognized - praised for ones accomplishments - that's priceless.  And that goes a long way toward motivating salespeople and keeping them motivated because the feeling lingers on.  Just remember that the contest for which the awards are presented must be shorter than 90 days in duration.  Like Little League, it helps if many can win awards but unlike Little League, not because they simply partcipated in the contest.  Create as many award catagories as possible and make sure that none of them are about most total sales.

Remember, the underlying premise for a contest is to change behavior that will drive revenue!

Challenge your salespeople, provide incentives for them to modify behaviors to drive revenue, and reward them for leading the way.  It's a formula that can't be beat.


Topics: sales motivation, little league trophies, sales mankurlanagement, sales contests

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

 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