Sales Confidence - How to Ask Any Tough Question Anytime

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 @ 20:07 PM

I'll share one of my secrets for asking any tough question, push back with confidence any time, challenge the CEO of any company, or even ask why your prospect wouldn't just make the easy decision and go with either the market leading competitor or incumbent.  Ready?  Simply keep your pipeline stuffed - busting at the seams - no place to put the next opportunity.  When you have enough opportunities in the pipeline you can say, ask or do anything - no worries.  And that's what it takes to differentiate yourself from everyone else.  But when today's opportunity is THE opportunity you'll be afraid to say "boo" without worrying that you'll mess up and lose the opportunity.

Speaking of selling fearlessly, check out Robert Terson's new book, Selling Fearlessly, and his web site and blog.  The book is one of the few sales books I have read AND liked.  I'm sure that you will like it too!

You may remember me writing about Top Sales World last year.  Well, they have continued their pursuit of being the Top Sales Portal on the planet and just last week added the Top Sales World Magazine!  I contributed one of the articles - a rebuttal to why some morons are proclaiming that consultative selling is or will be dead.  The magazine can be downloaded for free by visiting the site and clicking Download Magazine.  You'll have to register at the site before you can download the premier issue.  Full Disclosure - Objective Management Group, and my Kurlan & Associates are both sponsors and I am one of their resident experts.

Another one of Top Sales World's Sponsors, Sold Lab, has launched their sales magazine too.  Their 5th Issue - July - is available on their site now.  I have contributed articles to their site and you can read them here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales tips, sold lab, robert terson, selling fearlessly, Top Sales World

Do Stories Make a Difference When Selling?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 10, 2011 @ 09:05 AM


Perhaps you have some stories that you always share - to make a point, lower resistance, show a different perspective, break up a technical presentation, provide examples, or explain what you do.  If you have your salespeople consistently using stories this way, you are right on the mark.

Perhaps you never use stories.  If your salespeople aren't utilizing stories, they are probably less effective than they could be.

Perhaps you tell so many stories that you have numbers for them!  Stop  it!

Regardless of the group you fall into, there is a time and a place for a story.  I use them whenever I encounter one of the scenarios in my first sentence - they are very powerful.

Twice, prior to today, I mentioned the enormous Top Sales World Sales and Marketing Summit taking place this week.  35 Professional Presenters, only $5 per session, proceeds to benefit the Red Cross effort in Japan, a great cause and an unbelievable value for sales and sales management professionals.

Jonathan Farrington is the CEO of Top Sales World and the man behind Top Sales World's Mission.  He recently posted this story and used it to effectively promote the event.  The story is a must read.  The event is a must attend.  My presentation, How to Shape Your Environment, is for Sales Leaders and begins tomorrow, May 11, at 12 PM ET., and runs for 30 minutes.  You can register here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, japanese relief effort, storytelling, Top Sales World

Winning in Sales Isn't Everything - Yes it Is!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 @ 17:11 PM

Sales Manager:  How did the call go?

Salesperson: Really good.

Sales Manager: Excellent.

Isn't that a lame discussion?  The sales manager can improve it by simply asking, "What made it such an excellent call?"

The salesperson might respond with, "They were willing to talk, they seemed to like me and they said they'd be happy to speak with me again."

Depending on where we are in the sales cycle, our response to that salesperson's answer should be:

Attempting to schedule a first meeting: Unacceptable

Moving from Suspect to Prospect: Uncacceptable.

Moving from Prospect to Qualified: Unacceptable.

Moving from Qualified to Closable: Unacceptable.

Moving from Closable to Closed: Unacceptable.

There must be a win, characterized by meeting defined criteria, not feelings, before one can say a call of any kind was excellent.  Yet that hypothetical sales conversation takes place in most offices of most companies on most days.  Sales managers should be asking things like, Why were they willing to talk?  Why will they talk with you again?  What can you help them with?  What are they hoping you can do?  Why would they want to do business with us? Why didn't you [insert next desired step here], etc.

Speaking of winning, Top Sales World will present awards to the winners in 11 categories in the first annual Top Sales Awards on December 16.  Jonathan Farrington, CEO of Top Sales World and Gerhard Gschwandtner, publisher of Selling Power will be the hosts.

You can see the categories here.

My Blog, Understanding the Sales Force, has been nominated for the Top Sales Blog but I was busy celebrating Thanksgiving and enjoying some much needed time away and failed to let people know to vote for it.  So, now I'm a week behind and I need your help to generate enough votes to come from behind,  take over the lead and win this thing.  But you'll have to help!  To vote for this Blog as the Top Sales Blog of the Year, click here - but only if you think it is worthy.  I don't want votes out of obligation or friendship...or do I?  Sure - I'll take all the votes I can get.  You can even ask that miserable brother-in-law that you had to spend Thanksgiving with vote!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, Sales Coaching, Top Sales Awards, top sales blog, winning in sales, Top Sales World

The Search for Perfection - How it Can Ruin Your Sales Efforts

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 @ 22:09 PM

darksideSometimes perfection is good but sometimes there is a strange dark side.  First the good and then, in the fifth paragraph, I'll share the frightening dark side with you.

First the good: After months of planning and design, Jonathan Farrington, his design team and the Sales Council (I am one of the Sales Council members along with 23 others including Jill Konrath, Linda Richardson, Keith Rosen, and Tony Alessandra) have finally launched Top Sales World, a site with hopes of becoming the top web site for sales on the planet!  Stop by and let me know what you think.  Over the coming weeks and months you will find the best expertise, advice, videos, podcasts, articles and resources on sales and sales leadership. More good: Lee Salz has been working on his Sales Management Minute for quite some time and it too strives for perfection.  Visit him and let him know what you think.  And as my regular readers know, I've been working with my team at Objective Management Group for more than 20 years to perfect the Sales Force Evaluation, the Sales Candidate Assessment and the Leadership Team Evaluation and as always, we are THIS CLOSE to perfection.

That's the good side of perfection - you work hard, diligently and creatively to develop something and it comes out, well, almost perfect.

But as I mentioned earlier, there is a dark side to perfection and I'll share the gory details with you here.  You have salespeople who are perfectionists and while this is a good when it comes to attention to detail and getting things right, it's bad when it comes to selling. Bad things have names - usually Greek or Latin, so I named it Perfection Adversis - Perverse for short - when your salespeople can't, or more specifically, won't, do what they need to do until they're sure they can do it...perfectly.  As you know, it's simply not possible to consistently sell with a perfect approach.

Let's take prospecting for example.  You have some people who are prospecting monsters - no problem.  You have others with call reluctance - too many weaknesses to even think about using the phone to make cold calls and you understand their fears and have them in account management roles.  Still others must be directed to call and then held accountable. Finally, there are your perfectionists who, because they are unable to achieve cold calling perfection, don't even make the attempt.  These salespeople, in a hopeless search for perfection, are chronic procrastinators.

Is there hope?  Yes, of course. And all you have to do is....

Give them permission to do it badly!  Do it with them.  Help them fail!  Make sure they have fun with it.  Make it a game.  Give them points just for doing it.  In time, they'll strive to improve but they can't improve until they start and they can't start until you find a way to make it safe for them.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than what they're doing now!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, Sales Force, Keith Rosen, Linda Richardson, jonathan farrington, jill konrath, Top Sales World, perfectionists, procrastinators, sales management minute, lee salz, tony alessandra

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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.

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