Understanding the Sales Force | Sales Development Blog
Dave Kurlan, Sales Expert, Top-Rated Speaker, Best-Selling Author discusses sales best practices, secrets to recruiting great salespeople, proper use of assessments, tests and evaluations on sales candidates and salespeople, how to evaluate a sales force and refine the sales recruiting process.
By the middle of June each year, we tend to know who the best of the best are. Super Bowl Champion, NBA Champion, Stanley Cup Winner, Masters Winner, and in baseball, MLB all-stars are being selected. It's as good a time as any to recognize the best readers of Understanding the Sales Force!
Hang in there - this will be an article on sales - but you need to get through the big set up.
Bernie Sanders spoke at a Walmart shareholders meeting and criticized the company for not paying higher wages. He said that a company owned by the wealthiest family in the USA, should be able to pay $15/hour. Bernie and some of his colleagues believe in wealth redistribution, conjuring up images of Robin Hood stealing from the wealthy and giving it to the poor. Walmart says the average wage of their hourly workers is $17.50.
Bernie and his pro socialism friends believe that people who have built successful business enterprises should be penalized for their success while capitalists believe that their success allows them to reinvest in their businesses and create new jobs and great new products and services. Wages will rise as a result of supply and demand and right now, demand outweighs supply. Ask anyone who is hiring salespeople or computer software engineers and they'll tell you how much wages are increasing!
Not stated, but implied, is that minimum wage employees are forced into those low paying jobs and the wealthiest Americans are to blame. Why can't low hourly wage workers seek and earn better paying jobs? Is it lack of skills? Lack of motivation? Lack of commitment? Lack of education? Lack of opportunity? Lack of training?
Why not sales? Selling is a profession that employs 16 million in the US alone and for most sales jobs, especially with today's lack of candidates, there is a laundry list of qualifications that are NOT required:
Most of the CEOs and sales leaders I speak with agree that their sales organizations need to be more effective at taking a consultative approach to selling. At the same time, they insist that they talk about it often and that their salespeople are doing OK with a consultative approach. OMG's Sales Force Evaluation usually reveals that they aren't doing much more than talking about it, as their scores for the Consultative Seller competency are quite low.
Last week Tom Hopkins shared a post on LinkedIn that resembled what I have said so many times. He said, "The art of selling involves two jobs: Job One is to reduce sales resistance and the other is to increase sales acceptance."
Many readers left comments about the importance of relationships as a means to preventing resistance from going up.
I left a comment that said, "Thanks Tom. Most salespeople fail to lower resistance because they lack the self-awareness to understand what it is that they might say or do, or how they might act that would raise resistance in the first place. When salespeople can anticipate and manage resistance, they won't have to work so hard to reduce it so frequently. All of the comments about the importance of developing relationships to lower resistance and increase acceptance are misguided. Just look inside your own family dynamics to recognize that relationships don't eliminate or lower resistance. It might be quite the opposite."
One reader asked me a great question, "How do you anticipate resistance?"
I thought that was such a great question that we should discuss in this article. Do you remember the Carly Simon song from the 70's? It was used for the Heinz Ketchup ad. Ready?
Back in the 1960's it made sense for gasoline prices to be discounted down to the nearest 9/10 of a cent because gas prices ranged between 17.9 to 18.9 cents. But when gas prices are around $3.00 per gallon, how does 9/10 cent continue to make sense? Some habits die really hard.
Most lies are truths to the people who state them. Take climate change for example. Climate change is clearly a real thing. The planet has been warming exponentially since the ice age! But to think that humans are responsible, that humans can stop it, or else we'll be dead in 12 years, is ludicrous. My statement is a lie to every reader that doesn't agree with it, but rings true to those who do agree. Lies are in the minds of the beholders.
Let's cover some of the lies being told to companies with sales organizations and how those lies prevent sales organizations from being their best. Over the past 10-20 years, we have seen and heard the following proclamations (and you can find most of them with this Google search link:
I was in the basement of our home looking for something when I saw it. It moved left to right, low, between the stored Christmas trees. I took another look and this time it moved right to left. Each time I moved, it moved. I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized it wasn't a critter but a shadow that I was casting.
I saw something that simply wasn't there. A figment of my imagination. You could even call it a hallucination.
Salespeople frequently have hallucinations where they think there is something there, like a great opportunity, and in reality, there isn't anything there. Not even close. And then there are the salespeople who don't see an opportunity when there is actually a great one hiding in plain site.
Let's talk about the many reasons that these scenarios occur.