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.

  • How Big of a Role Does Age Play in Sales Effectiveness?
    by Dave Kurlan on August 19, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    I'll be 64 in November which means that just like everyone else, I'm getting older.  There are certain things that younger people do that change when they get older.  For example, younger adults : go to bars and night clubs but tend to choose dinners out or nights at home binge watching TV when they become more mature go to concerts but tend to choose movies when they get older backpack across the US or Europe but tend to choose cruises as they age want freedom at work but are more open to structure and accountability when they become more mature focus on themselves but tend to focus on their children and then their grandchildren when they become older The same applies to salespeople.  Young salespeople (0-2 years experience) tend to wing it, while older salespeople (20 or more years experience) tend to be more skilled and structured.  Want proof?  Let's dig into the data.

  • The Bearded Lady, My Shaving Pattern and Your Sales Pipeline
    by Dave Kurlan on August 8, 2019 at 10:01 am

    I can grow a pretty decent five o'clock shadow  - above my upper lip and only after about a week.  Unlike the bearded lady at the circus, when it comes to facial hair, there's really not much there!

  • How All Those Trucks on the Road Can Help You Stop Discounting
    by Dave Kurlan on August 5, 2019 at 10:00 am

    We've been doing a lot of traveling this summer to baseball tournaments (30-second video showing how one playoff game ended), college baseball showcases and back. During these travels, one thing has become abundantly clear.  Trucks and construction.  Lots of trucks.  Lots of construction.  Lots of congestion on the roads because of all those tractor trailers.  If you heard that inventory levels are low, it's certainly not because companies have stopped buying.  It's because the supply chain is busier and stronger than ever and as a result of all of the buying, our roadways are jammed with trucks shipping products to distributors, retailers, warehouses and fulfillment centers.  Don't believe a word of it when you hear an economy related objection or put-off.  Business isn't off, inventories aren't purposely low, money isn't tight, companies aren't on buying freezes, and the economy isn't tanking.  If you aren't reading or hearing how historically great the economy is right now, you're listening to, watching or reading the wrong news outlets. Business is booming and procurement departments would like nothing more than for you to buy into the fake news, hoping that your next move will be an incentive.  I have an awful lot to say about incentives to buy!

  • The Best Salespeople are 791% Better at This Than Weak Salespeople
    by Dave Kurlan on July 17, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    The first contractor got a proposal to us within a few days, the second contractor got a proposal to us later the same day and the third contractor gave us a price on the spot.  On the responsive scale, the third contractor was the best.  Certainly, responsiveness is not the only criteria that prospects weigh as part of their decision-making process.    They may also consider: Trustworthiness Timeline of the deliverable(s) Referrals Expertise Credibility Personality Understanding of your needs Fit Price Chemistry Ease of working with Capabilities Your comfort level Reputation Proximity Flexibility The list isn't complete as I'm sure there are more.   Although price is only one of 18 criteria listed, it's the only objection salespeople ask for help with.  Salespeople don't ask if we can help with the reputation objection, chemistry objection or personality objection.  With salespeople it's always about price.

  • The Best Salespeople are 2733% More Likely to Have This Than the Worst Salespeople
    by Dave Kurlan on July 11, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    86% of all salespeople have beliefs that don't support ideal sales outcomes.  That's important because beliefs influence behavior, and appropriate sales behavior drives results.  Think about sales process, sales methodology, sales strategy and sales tactics. Salespeople who have the ability to execute those four elements of success are less dependent on their knowledge of selling than what they believe.  While most salespeople have self-limiting beliefs, it should not surprise you that only 18% of the elite salespeople - the top 5% - have self-limiting beliefs.  But it drops off rapidly from there.  Below I have listed the percentage of salespeople with self-limiting Beliefs by performance levels.

  • How to Transform Your Sales Pipeline Today
    by Dave Kurlan on July 8, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Big ones, little ones, sharp ones and stubborn ones. I was pulling weeds from the garden when it became crystal clear to me.  The various weeds were like the many types of opportunities in most sales pipelines.  Big ones, little ones, those that hurt (we're behind the competition) and those who are stubborn (they aren't sharing important information).  The flowers in the garden are allowed to remain and are nurtured with sun, water and plant food. Similarly, we must leave and nurture the opportunities that will grow and produce sales, and weed out the undesirable opportunities that distract us from what is most important. Flower gardens can be large, colorful, impressive and calming to look at.  Unfortunately, most sales pipelines are full of weeds, not large enough, and certainly not impressive.  From its evaluations and assessments of 1,875,978 salespeople, Objective Management Group (OMG) has found that only 46% of all salespeople maintain a full pipeline.  It breaks down as follows:

  • Putting Some Hollywood into Your Sales Presentations
    by Dave Kurlan on June 18, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Last week I wrote about First Impressions and today's topic is presentations.  That's quite the change in direction from Consultative Selling, Sales Process, Assessments, and Performance. What do Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocket Man, Miracle and Argo have in common and what do they have to do with selling? What do Unbroken, Hunt for Red October, and A Few Good Men have in common and what is their relation to selling? Let's tackle the issue of presenting your solutions to two different audiences: Those who are very familiar with what you have, what you do and how it works; Those who are unfamiliar with what you have, what you do and how it works.

  • Your Last Chance to Make a Good First Impression
    by Dave Kurlan on June 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Most salespeople don't take first impressions seriously enough. If they did, their first impressions would be much more favorable.

  • Win a Free Coaching Call with Dave Kurlan and 4 More Prizes
    by Dave Kurlan on June 12, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    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!

  • How to Raise the Incomes of Minimum Wage Workers Without Wealth Distribution or Socialism
    by Dave Kurlan on June 5, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    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: