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Sales Tests

Data Shows 1st Year Sales Improvement of 51% in this Competency

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 @ 13:09 PM


I've written extensively about how salespeople score in 21 Sales Core Competencies. Typically, both the articles and data are shared in the context of the difference between top salespeople and weak salespeople but rarely have I written about what happens after salespeople have been evaluated.

Here's how it usually works.  A company asks their outside sales expert for help growing sales.  As a first step, the expert suggests evaluating the sales force using OMG's incredible suite of tools.  The results are shared and reviewed with the client and anonymous data from the evaluation is added to our nearly 1.8 million rows of data.  That is the data I so often write about and you can see the aggregate scores, sorted by sales percentile, industry or region, at our public statistics site.

Post evaluation, the expert will likely help the company by providing some combination of training, coaching, consulting, recruiting, systems and processes updates in the areas that need to be improved.  As a result, do salespeople actually get better?  That's a direct result of the trainer's/consultant's effectiveness, the company's commitment to change, and the sales managers' ability to coach to the sales process and methodology, all well out of OMG's hands.  However, we do have some insight into how much their salespeople improve.

Approximately one year after the initial sales force evaluation, OMG offers to conduct a checkpoint where change can be measured and now I have the data.

I looked at the before and after scores for eight of the 21 Sales Core Competencies as well as the Reaches Decision Makers, Account Manager and Farmer competencies for a total of 11.  See the table below:


One of the first things you might notice is that scores went down in 2 competencies - Relationship Building and Account Management.  Many salespeople believe that selling is simply having relationships and showing up. Then, when training and coaching targets the more impactful competencies, it's not unusual to see scores actually get worse in the two competencies they previously took for granted.

Another thing you might notice is the significance of change for Closing, Reaching Decision Makers, and Selling Value, a bi-product of what I assume the training and coaching would have been focused on post evaluation.

Twelve months later, there is an overall 18% improvement in scores.  We know that just a 10% improvement creates a 33% increase ins sales.  Don't believe me?  Check out this table:

improvement creates a 33% improvement in revenue, what does an 18% improvement create?  Math is a really important tool in creating value and in this case, math tell us we can expect a 59% increase in revenue.




Posted by Barbara Spector on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 @ 8:44 AM

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Remember the movie in which Kevin Costner said that?  It is burned into my memory. Probably yours too. So, what does the film, Field of Dreams, have to do with finding top sales talent?  Companies are always asking us, “Where do we go to find great candidates? We post our ads on the best job boards but there is no one out there that we would want to hire. We just get lousy results and spend hours pouring over resumes that don’t even come close to the type of candidate we need.  We must be posting in the wrong places. What are the best places to find them.”

I’d recommend you think again. The job boards aren’t the problem, a tight labor market isn’t even the problem.

I’d propose that your best candidates can’t find you because you are probably writing a job ad that no top performer would even be interested in reading, never mind responding to. Did your HR department, with no fault of their own, tell you to use your job description as the ad for the position?  

Ah, therein lies the problem—your job descriptions are not designed to attract top talent!  They are basically a compliance document that describes fundamental skills, duties and responsibilities. They have no “sizzle”, no excitement. Boring! And should never be used as job ad copy.

Consider if you wrote an ad to sell your products online, or on TV or on the radio the same way as you write job ads. You wouldn’t get any new customers.  

Imagine if companies like the company with the little gecko as spokesperson simply droned on about their various products—car insurance, homeowners insurance, motorcycle insurance, flood insurance, earthquake insurance and how long they have been in business along with what a great team works at the company, and then they listed their premium rates—you’d stop listening immediately.  You would change stations!

The people that write great job ads, like we do, know that you must MARKET to your candidates rather than expecting them to get excited enough over a list of skills, duties and responsibilities. Trust me, they won’t send in their resume.  

And the ones that do send them in, suck! These applicants are mediocre at best because a job description does NOT describe top performance, only mediocre performance.  Therefore, TOP performers won’t reply to job descriptions posing as a job ad. They need to read something entirely different because they want to DO something different.

So… You must start thinking about your candidates like you think about how you would attract your best customers.  Ultimately a great ad will attract great candidates—who (if you use great interviewing techniques and use the best sales assessment on the market to ensure they are a fit to your business) will become great sales people and the truth is, THEY will be your most important (internal) customer. Why? Because you won’t grow without them!

So, please, remove your job descriptions posing as ads and write an ad that attracts top talent. Want help writing your job ad? Request a free call with me to help you.

If you build it right, they will come! It is THE most important first step to finding top talent.

And stay tuned.  Next time we will discuss the “fake news on resumes”.  

If you’d like to receive this series of 52 tips to creating a world class sales organization, please text SMARTMOVES at 72000 or email us at with 72000 in the subject line.

Elite Salespeople are 26 Times More Effective at This Competency Than Weak Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 @ 11:08 AM


As you know, I'm a baseball guy.  I wrote the best-selling book that merged baseball and selling, my son is a ranked high school catcher and I use baseball analogies in many of my articles.  With apologies to soccer, hockey, football, basketball and golf fans, no sport is more analogous to selling than baseball.

Before we get to sales and the data, let's take a quick dive into the most important skill position in baseball, pitching.  Even that's a sales word!  Pitchers don't have to throw hard if they have great control and effectively and consistently locate their pitches.  Hard throwers don't need to be as precise as long as they have a second and third pitch to keep the hitters off balance.  Pitchers who throw hard, locate their pitches and have a 4-pitch mix are elite.

One group of special pitchers are the closers.  They typically enter games in the 9th inning, throw hard and close out the game.  For example, Craig Kimbrel, the Boston Red Sox closer, has been such a guy.  Entering play on August 14, 2018, he has appeared in 49 games, pitched 49 innings, has amassed an amazing 75 strikeouts and has saved 35 games in 39 chances.  At the other end of the spectrum, less effective pitchers usually fail in the closer role because they don't dominate the hitters.

Pivot to sales.  Elite salespeople don't need to close and weak salespeople suck at closing.  Want proof?  Let's review some data from nearly 1.8 million evaluations and assessments of salespeople conducted by Objective Management Group (OMG).  You can see and play with the data here.

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Only 108,000 out of 1,800,000 salespeople are strong at the closer competency and 63,000 of them are from the elite top 5% and the next group of 20% who are strong.  This proves that salespeople who are strong at the 7 Sales Core Competencies that precede closing don't need to be strong closers.  Those 7 competencies are:

  • Hunter Competency

  • Sales Process Competency

  • Relationship Builder Competency

  • Consultative Seller Competency

  • Value Seller Competency

  • Qualifier Competency

  • Presentation Approach Competency

The data also proves that the remaining 75% of salespeople who are serviceable or weak and also ineffective at most of the 7 Sales Core Competencies that precede closing, can't close even when they try!  Closing is so overrated!

Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art and Science of Getting Past No

There are few one-size-fits-all solutions in sales. Context matters. Complex sales are different from one-call closes. B2B is different than B2C. Prospects, territories, products, industries, companies, and sales processes are all different. There is little black and white in the sales profession.

Except for objections. There is democracy in objections. Every salesperson must endure many NOs in order to get to YES. 

Objections don’t care or consider:

  • Who you are
  • What you sell
  • How you sell
  • If you are new to sales or a veteran
  • If your sales cycle is long or short – complex or transactional

For as long as salespeople have been asking buyers to make commitments, buyers have been throwing out objections. And, for as long as buyers have been saying no, salespeople have yearned for the secrets to getting past those NOs.

Following in the footsteps of his blockbuster bestsellers Fanatical Prospecting and Sales EQ, Jeb Blount’s Objections is a comprehensive and contemporary guide that engages your heart and mind.

In his signature right-to-the-point style, Jeb pulls no punches and slaps you in the face with the cold, hard truth about what’s really holding you back from closing sales and reaching your income goals. Then he pulls you in with examples, stories, and lessons that teach powerful human-influence frameworks for getting past NO - even with the most challenging objections.

What you won’t find, though, is old school techniques straight out of the last century. No bait and switch schemes, no sycophantic tie-downs, no cheesy scripts, and none of the contrived closing techniques that leave you feeling like a phony, destroy relationships, and only serve to increase your buyers’ resistance.

Instead, you’ll learn a new psychology for turning-around objections and proven techniques that work with today’s more informed, in control, and skeptical buyers. Inside the pages of Objections, you’ll gain deep insight into:

  • How to get past the natural human fear of NO and become rejection proof
  • The science of resistance and why buyers throw out objections
  • Human influence frameworks that turn you into a master persuader
  • The key to avoiding embarrassing red herrings that derail sales calls
  • How to leverage the “Magical Quarter of a Second” to instantly gain control of your emotions when you get hit with difficult objections
  • Proven objection turn-around frameworks that give you confidence and control in virtually every sales situation
  • How to easily skip past reflex responses on cold calls and when prospecting
  • How to move past brush-offs to get to the next step, increase pipeline velocity, and shorten the sales cycle
  • The 5 Step Process for Turning Around Buying Commitment Objections and closing the sale
  • Rapid Negotiation techniques that deliver better terms and higher prices

As you dive into these powerful insights, and with each new chapter, you’ll gain greater and greater confidence in your ability to face and effectively handle objections in any selling situation. And, with this new-found confidence, your success and income will soar.  

Find out more >