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 Gas Grills, Gardening, Masks, and Baseball Mimic Your Sales Team
    by Dave Kurlan on May 3, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    Some random thoughts from the weekend and its impact on sales teams... We have a twenty-year old gas grill built-in to a stone wall on our back patio and this year I decided to replace all of the components.  New burners, new heat plates, new briquettes, new grates, new ignitor, and new wiring.  All told, it took three-hours of work, much of it with the ignitor and the wiring.  When I got it all reassembled, everything worked except the ignitor despite the fact that I smartly tested it prior to reassembly.  I opened it back up and discovered that the battery had become disconnected.  A tweak later, it was reassembled, the ignitor was sending sparks, but it was still failing to ignite the gas.  After all that work, and despite all the new components, I still must use a hand lighter to light the grill and will have to call a gas grill expert to get the sparks to ignite the gas. My project corresponds so well with how many executives approach their sales teams. 

  • Crappy Salespeople and Lack of Urgency Alignment  - The Bob Chronicles Part 4
    by Dave Kurlan on April 27, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    We shouldn't discuss that time you were in a meeting when, without warning, you had about 10 seconds to get yourself to the nearest restroom or you would need to drive home for a wardrobe change.  Fortunately, you were able to gracefully excuse yourself and run down the hall as fast as you possibly could.  THAT is urgency! This is the fourth installment in the Bob Chronicles.  Bob is the weak salesperson who represents the bottom 50% of all salespeople. You can read previous installments about Bob below: The $225,000 Mistake That Most Salespeople Make Data - The Top Salespeople are 631% More Effective at This Than Weak Salespeople  Good Bob, Bad Bob, The Stockdale Paradox and Sales Success You're probably wondering, what did Bob screw up this time?  He screwed up urgency.  You might be asking how a salesperson could possibly screw up urgency but Bob and the rest of the weak salespeople screw up just about everything else so why not urgency too?

  • 31 Conditions That Predict Your Sales Opportunity is in Trouble
    by Dave Kurlan on April 16, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Long article for the weekend. In December I took delivery on my all-time favorite new car and I've been driving my Genesis GV80 for four months now.  You probably saw video of the GV80 that Tiger Woods' destroyed and there wasn't a thing the car could have done to prevent him from crashing it because he had probably disabled the driver assist features and he may have been "disabled" when he got behind the wheel. Last week, a crazy driver pulled out right in front of me and despite the fact that I anticipated his stupidity and would have been able to stop before smashing into this moron, my car wasn't as certain as I was.  My Genesis took matters into its own hands and went into all out protection mode - making sure nothing happened to it or me. As advertised, it took over the braking and steering to protect itself, sounded all the alarms to alert me to its strategy and then did two things that really surprised me.  All at once, the seat enveloped me in a cocoon and the seat belt tightened around my shoulders so that there was no chance that I was leaving that seat.  Going through the windshield?  Not a chance unless the whole seat was coming with me! That was cool.  And it got me thinking.  Wouldn't it be cool if salespeople had a sales version of an early warning system/driver assist like my car has?

  • How to Become More Successful One Day at a Time
    by Dave Kurlan on April 13, 2021 at 11:30 am

    You can find inspiration anywhere.  Even in a book called, A Year of Playing Catch.  Tom Schaff was nice enough to send me a copy of this book and there was the inspiration, right there on page 128.  Why would someone from the world of sales care about a page out of a baseball book?  I'll give you fourteen really good reasons.  You see, the book is much less about baseball and much more about the following fourteen integral competencies of sales success: Relationships  Goal setting, planning and execution  Story Telling Commitment Rejection Persistence Listening and Asking Questions Being of Value Presentation Skills Outlook Controlling Emotions Messaging and Posturing Being Coachable Developing Supportive Beliefs With that said, this is what author Ethan D. Bryan wrote on page 128 and I quote:

  • How to Get Your Audience to Fall in Love With Your Virtual Event
    by Dave Kurlan on April 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Do you remember April 1, 2020?  The entire world was in lockdown and at Objective Management Group (OMG) we had just ten days to figure out how to convert our annual four-day international conference for sales experts to a three-day virtual event over Zoom. The 200 in attendance loved it and right after the conference I posted this article with 15 lessons we learned about the transition from a face-to-face conference to a virtual conference.   By late last summer, we knew full well that our 2021 conference would also be virtual.  The difference was that we would have 7 months to prepare and we wanted to optimize the conference specifically for a virtual event.  How was it different from what we accomplished a year earlier?  Let me share some of the things we did that worked so well.

  • MUST READ: Are Assessments as Evil as the Persona Movie Suggests?
    by Dave Kurlan on April 7, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Suppose you made a movie about cars and decided to feature the 1970's era Ford Pinto, arguably the most dangerous car ever made.  In your movie, you say that since the Ford Pinto is a car, it is therefore representative of all cars, and since the Pinto had a gas tank that could burst into flames from even a fender-bender, that all cars are equally dangerous.  Of course your movie doesn't mention safe cars like Volvo, full-size sedans, pick-up trucks, SUVs or specialty vehicles like sports cars, convertibles, or limousines.  Nope.  The Pinto is the poster child for cars. That's the problem with the documentary Persona - The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests. The movie shines the spotlight on the well-known Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator and swings between those that love knowing, being and relating to one of the sixteen personality types; versus those who are trying to change laws to prevent assessments like this from being used as a pre-employment test. The film mocks those who embrace the Myers-Briggs while advocating for the elimination of pre-employment assessments.  The film focuses on people who believe they were harmed and branded as unemployable as a result of being rejected for work - supposedly because of their test results. Kyle Behm was one of those people and he committed suicide while the movie was being filmed.  The advocates against personality testing for employment issue the dire warning that everyone is or will be negatively impacted by personality assessments. The film takes five huge leaps of faith and expects viewers to leap along with them:

  • Why I Believe We Should Blow up the Business Development Rep (BDR) Role in Sales
    by Dave Kurlan on March 29, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Did you ever notice how most supermarkets place the least capable cashiers in the Express Lane?  Drives me nuts!  The Market's perspective:  Small orders will be easier for them to handle.  My perspective:  Let's go!!!  They call it Express for a reason!   Did you ever notice that companies that utilize the Business Development Rep (BDR) role put their youngest, most inexperienced new hires in that role?  The company's perspective: The top of the funnel is easier to handle than a full-blown quota and responsibility for an entire sales cycle.  My perspective:  Why put newbies in the role that is the most difficult of all selling roles?

  • Startups Almost Always Get The Sales Thing Wrong
    by Dave Kurlan on March 19, 2021 at 12:14 am

    It's short article Friday. According to NetShopISP, there are about 305 million total startups created globally each year and around 1.35 million of those startups are tech related. Did you have any idea the number was that huge? Typically, founders of start ups put it all on the line - everything - their house, savings, loans from friends and family and perhaps bank loans, angel investments and more.  As brilliant as they are, in most cases, sales is not one of their strengths and it's not until the business has a logo and a website when they realize that success won't come until somebody sells something.  Oh-oh, now what?

  • My Simple COVID Relief Plan Actually Provides Relief
    by Dave Kurlan on March 2, 2021 at 12:44 am

    [Updated March 7, 2021] We are going off topic because this article has nothing to do with selling although it is related because some of the businesses that were hurt by the pandemic and the government's reprehensible shut downs have sales organizations. In the US, the COVID relief bill has passed the House of Representatives and the Senate and we learned that only 9% of the $1.9 trillion in the plan goes to actual COVID relief.  The 9% includes $1,400 for individuals earning less than $50,000 and several hundred billion dollars for small business relief although it's unclear how the small business money will directly help the specific small businesses that were hurt the most.  It seems clear that this is another bill that won't do what is needed but will certainly lead to a tax increase. Joe Biden said this could increase GDP by $1 trillion.  Imagine that.  Spend $1.9 trillion for a $1 trillion return.  Where I come from that's a pretty bad investment so in response to their bloated, stupid bill, I present my simple plan and explain how it will help everyone involved.

  • How Pitchers Fielding Practice is Exactly the Same as Salespeople Role-Playing
    by Dave Kurlan on February 26, 2021 at 11:30 am

    It's short article Friday.  Less is more. My Twitter feed had the funniest 1-minute baseball video I have ever seen.  It was pitcher fielding practice (PFP) and the coach was miked up. It illustrated just how bad most professional major league pitchers are at fielding their position and how a coach can keep it light - even make it funny - when the pitchers are struggling so badly. Watch the video here.  It's only 1-minute and you don't have to like or even understand baseball to enjoy this.  Even cricket fans from across the pond, soccer enthusiasts from around the world and hockey nuts from up north of the border will understand and love this video. When professional salespeople are asked to role-play the salesperson's part of a sales conversation they sound every bit as awful as these pitchers look when attempting to field their position.  Role-playing is the sales equivalent of fielding practice in baseball.