Sales Best Practices – Or Are They?

Which salesperson would you rather have?

There’s George, who has so few opportunities that he doesn’t dare push back, ask tough questions, follow up right now, attempt to move things along, or close when it’s closing time. It’s not unusual for his opportunities to sit in the pipeline for quite a while before dying on the vine.

And then there’s Charlie who, once he has a targeted prospect in his sight, asks every tough question he can, pushes back to create urgency, takes a strong position and differentiates himself and his company. Then, once he knows he has a strong opportunity, he thoroughly qualifies, makes a strong presentation and can’t wait to close.  And he will get it closed, sooner rather than later.

Easy one, right? 

Then explain to me why so many companies have so many salespeople like George.  And why do so few companies have so few salespeople like Charlie?  If we know which one possesses true sales best practices, then why aren’t we hiring and developing more Charlies?

You see, I posted a survey a couple of days ago and I’ve had a large number of responses.  Most respondents are identifying the exact same issues as key, like hunting for new business, which is currently the number one issue.  But even though more than 90% of the respondents have identified four issues or more that they are struggling with, when asked if they know why they are struggling and what the difference is between their top and bottom performers, nearly all of them are answering that they know.  Here’s what I don’t understand; if they know why their salespeople are struggling and they know the difference between their A’s and their C’s, why haven’t they corrected it through effective selection and/or development?

a. they don’t really know the reasons
b. they don’t know how to fix it
c. they don’t know how to develop salespeople
d. they don’t know how to select salespeople who will succeed
e. they don’t want to make an investment in their sales force
f. the devil the know is better than the devil they don’t
g. none of the above
h. all of the above
i.  they believe in magic
j. their salespeople aren’t trainable

Click comments and let us know what you think!

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan