Top 10 Rules for Successfully Building a Sales Culture

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

More and more firms that aren’t traditionally sales-driven are finding it necessary to finally build more of a sales culture.  They know they need to do a better job at selling in order to deal with increasing competition, fewer call-ins, commoditization of their products and services, aging rainmakers looking at retirement, etc.  Management seems to understand that they need to be more proactive bringing in business, cross-selling and up-selling. They’re saying the right words.  They’re asking the right questions.  But can they pull it off?

Often times not.  Many of these same executives, when it comes time to assess their employees, become hypocritical.  The reason to evaluate a group like this is to learn who it would be fair to ask to participate in more aggressive business development.  It’s nice to want more of a sales culture but a morale-killer to ask people unsuitable or disinterested in the task to participate.  Another reason to evaluate is to determine what realistic expectations should be for their group.  And of course training.  What kind of help will the group need?  What kind of weaknesses do they have and what kinds of issues will they have difficulty overcoming?

Some managers begin to get protective (threatened) at this point.  Can you soften the language?  Those questions don’t apply.  Do they want to create more of a sales culture or not?  Post evaluation they’ll learn that some employees are totally wrong for participating in business development and they’ll ask to make exceptions.  They’ll ask for training and then ruin it by saying that a particular approach won’t work in their business (as if they would know!).

Here are the rules for developing more of a sales culture:

  1. The culture won’t change on its own.
  2. The culture won’t change without someone in management driving that change.
  3. The culture won’t change without identifying the people who should participate.
  4. The culture won’t change without simple, basic expectations.
  5. The culture won’t change without showing them how to do what they need to do to meet the expectations.
  6. The culture won’t change without training them with the necessary skills to provide them some ability and confidence.
  7. The culture won’t change without coaching.
  8. The culture won’t change without getting outside expert advice.
  9. The culture won’t change unless there is an early emphasis on low-risk concepts like cross-selling, up-selling, calling inactive customers/clients, and trolling for referrals.
  10. The culture won’t change unless management holds everyone accountable.

There you have it.  Good Luck,

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