When the Sales Goals Change but the Behavior and Results Don't

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Apr 18, 2010 @ 23:04 PM

Suppose that you need your salespeople to find significantly more new business.  Perhaps you've wanted this for a while but it's only recently that you communicated this to your salespeople.  You've changed the goal but after a month your salespeople's behavior and results haven't changed at all. 

Let's compare this to weight loss.  You decide that you will finally lose that 30 pounds you've been carrying around for several years.  Your goal changes but after a month, the weight hasn't begun to decrease.  Did the behavior change?  Was there a change to either diet, lifestyle or exercise?  With weight loss goals, it's usually very apparent that the weight won't come off until at least one of those three behaviors change.

Unfortunately, with salespeople, it's not always apparent that a modified goal requires modified behaviors.  As much as salespeople tend to take the path of least resistance, sales managers tend to enable them by not holding them accountable and not providing the right type and amount of coaching and motivation.

You can change salespeople's behavior but it takes more than asking or demanding.  You must be able to provide a reason, explain the benefits, share the plan, set expectations, and have a timeline.  You must be able to coach to the new goals, hold them accountable to the new behavior, and be willing to enforce consequences when you don't see the anticipated change.

Or, you could simply allow them to continue doing what they've been doing...

I wrote an article on just this subject back in September.  It was the Hierarchy of Sales Coaching - How to Change Behavior. 


Topics: sales management, Sales Coaching, Sales Force, Sales Accountability, sales expectations, sales goals

Ultimatums for the Salesforce - Do They Work?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Nov 18, 2008 @ 23:11 PM

Suppose you deliver an ultimatum to a salesperson...

Suppose you deliver it to the entire sales force...

How would you expect them to react?

Is it predictable?

It is if you break it down by A's, B's and C's.

Ultimatums are embraced by A's - they thrive on the pressure, the challenge, the urgency of it all.

Ultimatums will provide the answer to the question, "can my B's become A's?"

Ultimatums will accelerate the process by which your C's leave.

One more thing about ultimatums - they don't work.  UNLESS:

  • Expectations are clear;
  • The "how" is clear;
  • You support them as needed;
  • They get the coaching they need;
  • They get the training they need;
  • They receive the development they need;
  • Accountability is tightened up;
  • They are committed to the end result;
  • You are committed to the end result.

What do you think about ultimatums?

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales training, sales management, selling, Sales Coaching, Salesforce, Sales Accountability, improve sales performance, sales expectations, sales development

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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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