Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan’s Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. You can find Dave’s blog articles here.

  • Salespeople Make This Mistake - The Dumb Question I Was Asked in a Hotel Restaurant
    by Dave Kurlan on February 15, 2019 at 2:16 am

    I pulled up to the entrance of the Doubletree Hotel, greeted Chris, and we walked into the hotel restaurant.  As we approached the table, a well-meaning server asked, are you an Honors member?  I said, "yes." &nbs […]

  • Hiring Salespeople Should Not be Like a Coin Flip
    by Dave Kurlan on February 6, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    For most companies, hiring the right salespeople has always been problematic.  With the shortage of quality sales candidates, it's now more difficult than ever.  The pressure to fill a role often causes sales management to hire the best from a limited and deficient pool of candidates instead of hiring the right candidate for the role.  The difference is huge, especially if you have a complex sale, a long sales cycle, a high-priced product or service, or a lot of competition.  If you rush to hire someone and get it wrong, three things usually happen.  The first and most obvious is that you will inevitably have to begin the hiring process all over again in several months.  Second is the lost opportunities from having a weak salesperson and for periods of time, no salesperson.  Finally, there is lost revenue from customers who are stolen away, creating negative territory momentum, where the pendulum swings to favor the competition in that territory. Hiring salespeople does not have to be like a pot luck supper or a coin flip.  If you are selective instead of impulsive, good things will happen.  Take a look at the image below. […]

  • I'm Sorry But Your Sales Process Sucks
    by Dave Kurlan on February 1, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Perhaps you saw this too.  Yesterday, a post appeared in my LinkedIn feed that talked about the power of sales process.  The article was clearly written to support the author's technology application, which helps track sales KPI's; so they should know a little about the topic of sales process. Towards the end of the article, they provided a sample of what an effective sales process should look like.  The following text is exactly what they wrote: […]

  • An Easier Way to Coach Salespeople - For a While
    by Dave Kurlan on January 30, 2019 at 10:17 pm

      One of the challenges that sales managers have is their trepidation around transitioning from very little coaching to daily coaching; and at the same time, moving from coaching light (ineffective coaching) to coaching pro (effective coaching).  Why?  They aren't masters of role-playing and role-playing is one of the primary tools to demonstrate best practices and how effective sales conversations should sound. As I suggested to a pair of sales managers today, there is an intermediate step they can take.  You can use the following approach to coach to any selling competency but this example helps your salespeople who need to take a more consultative approach. This is easy - you can do this. […]

  • Great News! The Latest Data Shows That Salespeople are Improving
    by Dave Kurlan on January 23, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Some really terrific news came across my desk this week when John Pattison, Objective Management Group's (OMG's) COO, showed me two graphs he had created.  For the first time in recent memory, salespeople as a profession GOT BETTER! That's right, when we compared the results of the 85,000 or so salespeople that were evaluated in 2018 to the 80,000 or so salespeople that were evaluated in 2017, there was a measurable improvement in overall scores! Let's review the two graphs below. […]

  • Do the Least Informed Salespeople Have the Loudest Voices
    by Dave Kurlan on January 22, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Do the least informed among us have the loudest voices? This article is about salespeople but to set the stage, we'll start with the news. When I listen to and watch the news, it seems that those on the fringes and representing special interest groups get the most attention, benefit of the doubt, dictate how everyone else should think and act, and cause tremendous tension and stress.  Yet, wherever I travel, whomever I interact with, whatever their story, and regardless of their skin color, religion or national origin, I never see any signs of the friction, division or hate that is amplified by the news media on a daily basis.  Why does the news media continue to deliver stories of hate, invite people of extreme opposite sides to debate, or express so much hate themselves?  When I tune into the news, instead of news, all I hear is screaming, hate and accusations. Do the least informed among us have the loudest voices?  Now sales.  Consider two very different salespeople working a new opportunity.&nbs […]

  • Top 13 Requirements to Help You Soar as a Sales Manager
    by Dave Kurlan on January 17, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    In my last article I shared the top 8 requirements for becoming a great salesperson.  Wow, did that resonate with people and there was a great discussion about it on LinkedIn.  In addition to that, I received a number of emails asking, what are the requirements for becoming a great sales manager? I'll share those in a moment but first, since they were so popular, a few more "do you remember the first time" questions: Do you remember your first cell phone that didn't need to be plugged into a roof-mounted antenna or, a little later, the first cordless phones for your home?  Do you remember the first car that allowed you to use Bluetooth instead of holding the handset? Do you remember your first "portable" computer?  For most people it was a laptop but mine was a Kaypro CP/M based transportable computer that weighed about 15 pounds circa 1984 which I replaced with a Panasonic laptop, with 20 MB of storage circa 1987. Now for sales management.  Do you remember the first time you coached a salesperson and they told you how helpful your coaching was? Do you remember the first time they asked how soon they could come back for more coaching?  Do you remember when all of your salespeople felt the same way about your coaching?  Do you remember the first time you coached a salesperson on an opportunity they were unlikely to win and they won it because of your coaching?  Do you remember how the rush from coaching a salesperson to a win was greater than the rush you used to get from your own wins? […]

  • The Top 8 Requirements for Becoming a Great Salesperson
    by Dave Kurlan on January 14, 2019 at 11:30 am

    If you're young enough, some of the questions in the first few paragraphs won't apply because you haven't experienced the world without the innovations mentioned below.  Don't let that prevent you from reading this because after the milestones, we'll get to the good selling stuff. For those of you who are my age or older, do you remember the first time you saw color TV?  For me it was the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in the early 1960's. Or the first time you watched Cable with more than 6 channels and without snow? Wireless remote controls?  OK, that was all in the 1960's.  Let's skip to the 1980's. Do you remember the first version of Microsoft Windows?  Computers with more than words and numbers - how cool!  Do you remember what came before Windows?  MS/DOS or CP/M and the commands you needed to know to get the computer to do what you wanted?  How about the 5 1/4" floppy disks that stored a whopping 160KB of data?   Let's skip to the 90's.  Do you remember the first time you connected to the internet?  I connected through a now defunct service called Prodigy.  AOL had its infancy around that time as well. Do you remember sending and receiving your first emails?  I remember the pushback I got from OMG Partners who, at the time, didn't want to abandon fax machines to send and receive information.  My first email address was *protected email*.  That was almost 30 years ago!  Do you remember earth's biggest bookstore?  How cool was it when you placed your first Amazon.com order, or later on, read your first book on a Kindle?  Your first look at early HD TV? Now the turn of the century.  Do you remember when LinkedIn got started?  Most of the people I invited to join my network didn't have LinkedIn accounts yet. You can follow me at linkedin.com/in/davekurlan. Do you remember reading your first Blog article?  I read one by Seth Godin, became an early subscriber, and in 2005, became one of the very first sales experts to Blog.  This article will be somewhere around #1,750 in the series and since that time my Blog has won 27 awards. Each of these innovations had the cool effect, as in, "cool! Let's do that again!"  Now we can transition to the same kind of coolness, but in sales. Do you remember the moment you became a Salesperson?  Not a presenter, Not an order taker, but a true consultative sales professional? […]

  • Popularity Polls are Just Like Sales Management Tracking Metrics!
    by Dave Kurlan on January 8, 2019 at 2:32 am

    Image Copyright iStock Photos Have you ever watched a news program where they presented poll results, like the number of people in favor of legalizing marijuana?  The poll shows popular opinion, but not the facts, logic, or impact on arrests, the economy, traffic accidents, unemployment, addiction, death rates, etc.  There is a huge difference between people's often uninformed opinions, versus what the facts might suggest.  That's the problem with the statistics I'm going to share in this article.  The stats show what sales managers are doing but those managers are largely uninformed. They don't know what's good for them, haven't been asked or held accountable to doing it differently, and aren't in any way shape or form following best practices.  John Pattison, Objective Management Group's COO, mined some data on salespeople who report to sales managers.  I was appalled by what I saw.  Check this out! […]

  • Dave Kurlan's 10 Surefire New Years Resolutions For All Salespeople
    by Dave Kurlan on January 3, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Like most people, this year I intend to make good on my New Year’s resolution.  It’s actually more of a life resolution than it is a New Year’s resolution in much the same way that salespeople should make theirs a career resolution. If it’s important enough then it shouldn't be for only one year. I’ve compiled a list of resolutions that all salespeople should make and follow.  Some will likely surprise you but they are all necessary to become more successful.  Enjoy the 10 most important elements for New Year's Resolutions That All Salespeople Must Make.  Here we go! […]