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.

  • A Key Competency That Differentiates Top Sales Performers From Posers
    by Dave Kurlan on July 21, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    We were watching an episode of the hilarious comedy series The Goldbergs and one of the themes of episode 4 in season 3 was about authenticity.  In this episode, Barry and Erica, the two oldest children, accused each other of being posers. The bottom 50% of all salespeople are posers too.  In an article last week we discussed how data can help you hire the ideal salespeople. In that article I shared a top/bottom analysis where the top performers were 100% more effective reaching decision makers than the bottoms.  Below I've shared another top/bottom analysis with different findings. 

  • A Home Run - How the Right Data Can Help You Hire Your Ideal Salespeople
    by Dave Kurlan on July 13, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Last night Major League Baseball held its annual Home Run Derby.  We've seen the home run derbies before.  We watch them every year.  They are always the same - each slugger tries to hit more home runs than the other sluggers in the contest.  At the same time, they are always different and last night there were four stories that made this year's home run derby different from all the rest.  Pete Alonso, Shohei Ohtani, Trey Mancini, and Juan Soto made the contest different. It is always the individual story lines that make the mundane different.

  • Is Your Sales Process Backwards, Upside Down or Stupid?
    by Dave Kurlan on July 7, 2021 at 11:53 am

    My wife and I recently watched the new funny but sad movie, Here and Now, written and directed by Billy Crystal, who stars as comedy writer Charlie Burnz.  In one scene, Charlie recalled a happier time when his family used to have what they called "upside down day." On upside down day they started the day by eating dessert, had dinner for lunch, and finally ate breakfast for dinner.   Speaking of meals, we recently dined in a restaurant which had its rules laminated and affixed to the table. Their very first rule read, "Food must be ordered with alcohol" instead of what it should have said, "Alcohol must be ordered with food."  Words are important and these words were backwards. (100 bonus points if you can guess the restaurant name.)  In between the meal and the movie, we attempted to shop at a well-known French retailer.  Before entering, they required scanning a QR Code, registering on their website, and waiting to receive a call from an associate before being allowed to shop.  Also frustrating was the problem that most of their products were not on display so you needed to know exactly what you were looking for because browsing in this upscale retail store was not encouraged.  Retail is all about browsing and at this store, they forgot about making it easy to buy and replaced it with making it difficult to get started.  Brand stupidity. (100 bonus points if you can guess the French brand.)  Last night I was pulled over by a Massachusetts State Police Officer for changing lanes when there are double solid white lines.  I don't think it was the first time I've done that in 50 years of driving, but I'm certain I've never been pulled over for that before. I broke the rules. Let's take upside down, backwards, rule breaking and stupid and use those four conditions to dissect sales processes.

  • Why More Salespeople Are Being Recommended for Difficult Selling Roles
    by Dave Kurlan on June 24, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    We are finally doing things we haven't done for quite a while including dining inside restaurants, flying, staying in hotels, going to and hosting parties, attending packed stadiums for sporting events and more.  Something else we haven't done for quite a while is revisit Objective Management Group's (OMG) sales selection statistics on the percentage of people that are recommended for various selling and sales management roles.

  • The Bob Chronicles Part 5 - Bob Can't Win This Argument Over a Sales Core Competency
    by Dave Kurlan on June 22, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Most of us have strong passion in support of our own beliefs and opinions and the degree to which we are willing to embrace the opinions of others varies wildly.   Allow me to provide two examples where people tend not to change sides: Boston Red Sox fans "argue" with New York Yankees Fans and in rare cases, the arguments can get nasty.  Personally, I am friendly with a boat load of Yankees fans and have never argued with any of them because I'll never say the words "Yankees suck."  For the rivalry between the two teams to be at its best, both teams need to be good and when one team sucks, the rivalry ceases to exist. Democrats disagree with Republicans and it goes without saying that liberals disagree with conservatives.  Over the past five years, those differences have become filled with hate.  I don't understand why we can't simply agree to disagree but for some reason, liberals think that all conservatives are racists and conservatives think that all liberals are socialists.  While there is probably some truth to both arguments on both far extremes, most people are much closer to the center than everyone thinks. I use those two examples as a context for the "argument" I am most likely to have on a daily basis.  As regular readers know, I am the founder and CEO of Objective Management Group. OMG has assessed more than 2 million salespeople and measures their sales capabilities in 21 Sales Core Competencies.  While some might not like their scores, most salespeople agree with our findings because they are extremely accurate.  However, there is one competency of the 21 that causes salespeople to dig in, disagree, and push back.  Today I will explain the competency and share yesterday's conversation with Bob.  For new readers, and those who don't remember, Bob tends to get himself into trouble and is representative of all weak salespeople.

  • A Properly Constructed Sales Process Can Help You Experience the Euphoria of a Walk-Off Win
    by Dave Kurlan on June 15, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    We attended last night's Red Sox Game.  Unlike most games at Fenway Park, this contest was a pitcher's duel and the Red Sox held a fragile 1-0 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays heading into the top of the 9th inning.  The Red Sox closer, Matt Barnes came in and quickly struck-out the first two batters and that brought up the best hitter in the major leagues, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  Barnes quickly got ahead in the count and was only one strike away from ending the game when Guerrero absolutely crushed a rolling curve ball, blasting it into the light towers in left field to tie the game. The mood in the park immediately changed from celebratory to morbid.  But the game wasn't over. In the bottom of the 9th inning, the first two hitters reached base for the Red Sox and then Raphael Devers smoked a long fly ball off the wall in left-center field to give the Red Sox a walk-off win.  From morbid back to celebratory and beyond to euphoric.  Such is the feeling of a walk-off win.

  • 8-Year Old Houston Astros Fan Demonstrates a Huge Secret of Sales Success
    by Dave Kurlan on June 11, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Walter and I attended a recent Boston Red Sox / Houston Astros game at Fenway Park.  It was my first visit to Fenway Park since 2019 and it was exciting to see most of the seats filled. It was exciting to hear all of the fan noise that has been missing for so long but there was one fan in particular that I heard louder than all of the others.  Starting in the fourth inning, Timmy, the eight-year-old Astros fan sitting next to me, didn't stop chatting with me for the remainder of the game. When Timmy said he hated the Red Sox I had to ask him why. His answer is the focus of this article on selling!  "Why do you hate the Red Sox so much Timmy?"  

  • Will Salespeople Travel or Continue to Work Remotely in 2022?
    by Dave Kurlan on June 1, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    May 29 was the day that nearly all COVID restrictions were lifted here Massachusetts.  How liberating! Or so I thought... I went to the grocery store and was stunned to discover that I was the only person in the store not wearing a mask.  Either everyone in the store was unvaccinated, didn't believe the vaccine would protect them, or they were afraid to go out in public without the mask. I returned to the store on Sunday and was stunned again when nearly everyone in the store was maskless.  It seemed odd that the masked and maskless numbers flipped in twenty-four hours but I loved it.  We were much closer to normal.  But it did get me wondering what normal means for sales teams moving forward. My first attempt to understand how 2022 might look was to survey Objective Management Group's Partners (sales development experts that provide OMG's assessments to their clients).  Among other topics, we asked them two questions about travel and in-person training and here is what they had to say:

  • 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?