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 9 consecutive years. You can find Dave’s blog articles here.

  • Bob Chronicles Part 6 - When Salespeople Suddenly Make Things Your Problem
    by Dave Kurlan on January 20, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Both AT&T and Verizon have delayed activating their 5G networks near airports because it might cause interference with airplane guidance systems on certain planes, like Boeing 777s. Forgive my cynicism, but how long have the airlines known about that? They have probably had years to prepare for this deployment and update their own technology but didn't and now, at eleventh hour, they sounded the alarm and tried to make it the carriers' problem.   Can you think of any selling scenarios for which this would be a good analogy?  I can!

  • Has Buying Changed and Has B2B Selling Adapted?
    by Dave Kurlan on January 5, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    My articles begin with analogies so we'll start by asking, has baseball changed?  

  • My Most Popular Sales Article of the Last Ten Years
    by Dave Kurlan on December 13, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    This is my annual nutcracker post.  I first wrote the article in 2011 and people loved the analogy between the Nutcracker and a sales call.  I make minor modifications to the article each year as current trends, best practices, and recent data dictate. Last year, The Boston Ballet cancelled their performance of the Nutcracker but we will be in attendance next week and look forward to continuing the tradition. Please enjoy the article and share it.  It's not only popular, it's one of my all-time favorites as well!

  • Sales Selection Tools: Do You Get What You Pay For?
    by Dave Kurlan on December 9, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Perhaps you've heard the advertisement while listening to a SiriusXM radio station.  It's for Home Title Lock.  They scare you by mentioning that some bad people can commit fraud by going online, claiming your home's title, taking ownership of your home, and borrowing against your home's equity without you knowing it.  Home Title Lock prevents this from happening.  Maybe.  I don't know enough to say whether this fraud actually happens and whether their service works.  But I do know this.  I've been trying to cancel my business internet with Verizon for two months and I can't prove to them that it's my account.  If the legitimate account holder, with credentials (account numbers, invoices, names and address), is unable to cancel my own business internet account, how can someone casually take over your title and suddenly own your home?  It doesn't make sense to me! Here's another thing that doesn't make sense.  If you have used Indeed to hire salespeople, they will offer to have your candidates take a free sales assessment.  Doesn't that sound great?  It is great if the assessment is helpful but it happens to be a useless piece of crap.  Why would anyone think, for even a moment, that there is any value in their lame, assessment-in-name-only test? In this article we'll explore how Indeed's sales assessment compares to the gold standard in sales candidate assessments from Objective Management Group (OMG).

  • Top 10 Sales and Sales Leadership Articles of 2021
    by Dave Kurlan on December 7, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    There are two articles that I post each and every December.  This is the first - the top articles of the year - and later this month I will post my annual Nutcracker edition which I have been doing since 2011. There are several criteria for choosing the top articles of the year, including, but not limited to: Views (Article) Popularity (likes on LinkedIn and Twitter) Engagement (comments to the article, via email, and on LinkedIn) Personal (my favorites)  Value (insights for the community) Some of the criteria is subjective and some is measurable.  I believe value is most important, although it might not be reflected in views or likes, and then engagement.  I think views are less significant because people could read the article but not like it.  Popularity is a good barometer but not everyone sees what is posted on LinkedIn and Twitter and the time of day influences that.  So with all that said, here are the top 5 Sales Articles and the Top 5 Sales Leadership articles of the year.

  • Can You Find The Perfect Sales Candidates for Your Sales Team?
    by Dave Kurlan on December 1, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Have you tried recruiting salespeople lately? It's a lot like it was in 2019, pre-pandemic, only different. From time to time, I help clients recruit for key roles.  Unlike recruiters, I don't work on a contingency because I take responsibility for the entire recruiting process from soup to nuts and then the client makes the decisions on who to hire.  They pay a fee for services.  I specify the requirements, write the job postings, attract and source candidates, take the initial application, get them through Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive candidate assessments, review resumes, conduct the first interview and then recommend candidates who are perfect fits for the roles. With that for context, consider these two contradicting projects.   I am helping one company find a single needle-in-a-haystack sales leadership candidate and it has taken nearly six months.  I am helping another company find 3 sales leaders and received 3,765 applications.  What's the difference? For the answer to be meaningful, we have to look at the entire job market, not just sales candidates.

  • Salesenomics - Many Sales Organizations Are Stuck in the 1980's
    by Dave Kurlan on November 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Today is moving day for Objective Management Group.  When we first toured our new space, John Pattison, OMG's COO said, "It looks like something the 1980's barfed up!"  I'm happy to report that thanks to big-time help from PENTA Marketing CEO Deborah Penta, our new space is bright, cheery, modern, energetic, open and functional!  Thinking about the 80's got me thinking... When was the last time you saw a black and white television or even a console color TV? How about an electric typewriter? Or a car that didn't have anti-lock brakes? You would have to return to the 1980's to see those things and when it comes to their operations, some sales organizations are still in the 1980's. For example, check out these statistics from OMG's evaluations of 30,000 sales teams and more than two million salespeople.

  • 2 Questions That Will End Every Request for a Better Price
    by Dave Kurlan on November 15, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    I was thinking about all the things we pay for that used to be free and are still free, yet we pay for them anyway.  How many can you think of?  I came up with the following: Water - you can get an unlimited amount of drinking water from the tap but we not only buy bottled spring water, we buy FIJI, one of the most expensive brands, because it tastes so much better.  We pay around $1.25/pint-sized bottle. Radio - you can listen to as much broadcast radio as you want, but all of our cars have SiriusXM subscriptions to the tune of around $600 annually. Television - you can watch plenty of free broadcast TV and your local channel's streaming content, but we have five AppleTVs, and between Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple TV plus, and others, we pay close to $75/month for various streaming services. Software Applications - there are free versions of most of the cloud-based software we use but I pay for versions that have all the features I want. I get more value when I pay for the features I want than I can get with free versions.  In other words, the pain of not having better tasting water, more listening and viewing options, and software that does everything I need, is exponentially greater than the savings I would realize from not paying a premium. What's the point?  When prospects tell you that they're going with the lowest price, it's total crap.  They might be saying that, but are they required to do that?  If they have any bottled water in the kitchen, pay for any streaming, or software then it's simply not true.  Can you say bluffing? I don't blame companies for trying to buy for less, but it doesn't mean you have to sell for less, or match or beat someone's price.  They're just saying the words and waiting to see if you'll bite.  Just about a year ago at this time, I wrote another article about selling value where I used Dunkin Donuts coffee as an example. So what should you do when a prospect asks for a lower price?

  • Sales Forecasts Do Not Have to Be as Wrong as Fortune Cookies
    by Dave Kurlan on October 29, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    There has been much talk in the news about forecasts - and while most have been wrong they are still more accurate than Fortune Cookies! Thanks to satellites, computer modeling and doppler radar, weather forecasts are more reliable than ever before.  Yet despite those advances, they are still guessing - educated guesses to be sure - but guessing about what will happen, when it will happen, and where it will happen.  I live in central Massachusetts and between late November and early April, most winter storms track up the east coast and when a storm tracks a few miles east, west or south of the New England coastline it determines whether it will bring, rain, snow, ice or a combination, and if mostly snow, how much snow to a given city or town.  They get it right - a lot - but they get it wrong often enough too. We have also seen 19 months of COVID-19 case, hospitalization and fatality predictions which have been totally and consistently wrong.  Two weeks to stop the spread has turned into vaccine and mask mandates that show no sign of going away, especially when they treat each new variant like the pandemic is starting anew.   We get economic forecasts, employment forecasts, and of course the most famous of all forecasts during October, political polling.  We know the polls are are always off by enough points to get the results wrong. With all of these forecasts having the chance to be completely wrong, it makes me wonder about the way sales leaders and CEOs react to sales forecasts.  After all, should we expect anything different when it comes to sales?

  • When Your Sales Opportunity Stalls, Do You Call Roadside Assistance?
    by Dave Kurlan on October 18, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    We were driving on the highway when the dashboard indicated low pressure in the left rear tire.  That can't be good!  As we exited the highway eight miles later, the tire was flat and we were able to drive another mile to a safe location and call roadside assistance.  Until that moment, I wasn't aware that the car did not have a spare tire but was equipped with a tire inflation repair kit instead.  Roadside assistance told us that the lack of a spare tire meant the car would be towed to their nearest dealer. There are typically three possibilities when you have a flat tire: Change the tire if you have a spare and know how to do it or have roadside do it for you Use the tire inflation repair kit and keep the tire inflated long enough to get to your mechanic Get towed. In my opinion, getting towed is the worst possible option and the last thing we want to deal with and in the waning days of a pandemic, they'll take your car but not you, so that doesn't solve anything.  Your car is still broken, you are still stranded, and you are temporarily separated from your beloved vehicle. When salespeople get into trouble and an opportunity stalls out or goes off the rails, their sales managers are the sales version of roadside assistance.  In the context of a sales opportunity, there are typically three possibilities: