Dave Kurlan On Phone Prospecting

Dave Kurlan On Phone ProspectingBoston-area sales force developer has been winning awards for years because of his real thought leadership. His blog at omghub.com is one you should visit and seriously consider signing up for.

Top Sales Article from Dave Kurlan On Phone Prospecting

Today he linked to an article in Top Sales magazine, in which he talks about the issues people have when prospecting by phone. You can download the pdf by clicking here.

Dave's article starts on page 16.

On his blog, Dave Kurlan talks about many sales issues. Developing sales teams, motivation, what it takes to start conversations and more. Sales and sales management are complex topics, and Dave consistently tackles the big sales questions.

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How to Be a Salesman

how to be a salesmanWhat does it mean to be a salesman or saleswoman in our new era? The requirements of how to be a salesman have changed. While they may remain the same as 20 years ago in individual companies, what being a salesperson is has totally transformed in the most critical place--the mind of the customer.

Interestingly, the public continues to have the old view of how to be a salesperson: backslapping, guffawing, baloney-talking money grabbers. Your typical consumer has not met a professional salesperson. I don't even tell members of the general public that I'm a sales trainer, because the reaction I got was very negative. They thought I showed people how to screw other people out of their money.

And so on the one hand, the public views salespeople as slimy tricksters who will say anything to get an order, while most B2B businesses are well aware that how to be a salesman or saleswoman and be successful today is a completely different point of view and skillset. Are many businesses still directing their sales staff to sign up customers for whatever they can get out of them? Sure. The mental image of used car lots is a typical example, whether deserved or not. However, such businesses are today losing the reputation battle. And that kills sales.

Let me share some stats with you that clearly tell the tale...Prospects today believe:

95% of salespeople talk too much

82% of salespeople fail to differentiate themselves

86% of salespeople ask the wrong questions.

(stats courtesy of The Sales Board)


Those are some huge stats. They show a massive gulf between what prospects expect and what the great majority of salespeople are actually doing. Clearly, the large majority don't know how to be a salesman today.

How can you be a more effective salesperson?

How To Be a Salesman Today

Listen more than you speak.

Stand out positively to the prospect.

Ask better, more insightful questions.

(Except at the beginning and ending of your sales conversations, when you must speak more to lay out the ground rules, you should be speaking 30% of the time and listening 70%. Are you?)

(Are the words that come out of your mouth and appear in your marketing carbon a copy of everyone else's in your industry? "...long list of satisfied clients...best in class...amazing features..." If so, change them now!)

(Are your questions Yes/No, or open-ended?)

Genuinely trying to understand your prospect's world is the key. Your prospect doesn't want a list of features and benefits. They don't want a demo. They want out of their terrible, unbearable situation RIGHT NOW, if only they can find a trustworthy solution! And what are you doing to help them succeed in that effort? Do you think giving a presentation as soon as you can will accomplish this?

Customers today want a problem solver, not a product pusher. That's how to be a salesman now.

>> For more on how to be an effective, ethical salesperson, get the free SALES ON FIRE video training series. Want more? Get this FREE report on getting better customers and more money right here! <<


Managing Sales People — Busy Or Effective?

Managing Sales People -- Busy or Effective?Managing sales people -- busy or effective? I work with many presidents, and vice presidents, and they tell me one thing consistently:

They don't work day-to-day with their front line salespeople. They're not familiar with the precise problems that their salespeople experience.

They are focused on the strategic, not the tactical. The numbers, not the behaviors, of managing sales people.

But over and over, these top level executives tell me, "There's a disconnect. Somewhere, the plan isn't being followed. The plan says to do one thing, and they're doing something else."

Many companies don't have action plans for their salespeople. Some do, but there's a clear disconnect between what was planned and what the actual activities are in managing sales people and execution.

The Challenge In Managing Sales People that Keeps Them Busy Instead of Effective

When I look closer on behalf of the client, I typically find that the front line salesperson has become overcome by 'busy' work. This means they have pushed 'effective' work aside. They don't really know how to be effective at selling.

While actions like immediately getting information for a customer may seem effective, choices like this fill up the salesperson's day. Is customer service important? Of course. However, we can train our customers that they will get a quick turnaround on their requests without sacrificing effective activities such as prospecting that bring in new business.

If the salesperson is not extremely alert, their schedule will be overrun by 'busy' work. And their medium term performance will suffer, because if we're not filling the pipeline we're slowly dying.

A salesperson's schedule is the most important tool available to control their results.

How closely do your salespeople follow their action plan/schedule? Do they even have a schedule?

If you are a salesperson, what's happening to your day? Are tasks you know are important--but seemingly not urgent--getting shoved aside in favor of 'busy' work? Remember that we all have only 24 hours in a day. If you lose that time you had blocked out for effective prospecting work, you can't get it back. The time simply isn't there at the end of the month. Protect your schedule and your "golden hours" at all costs, and make sure the work you're doing is effective, not merely keeping you busy.

How do you know?

Ask yourself: "If I didn't do this right now, could I recover by the end of the month?"

The answer will frequently surprise you.

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