Sales Leadership; the lost art of discovery

July 15th, 2011

 Sales Leadership: The lost art of discovery: Sales Training

 As I am finalizing a program for a client of mine I thought I might share my thoughts around sales training. While Acumen isn’t a sales training firm, as a sales leadership consulting firm we get actively involved in designing course work and helping sales managers developing their sales training programs. For those that have read this blog for a period of time you know we believe that sales managers should plan their sales training programs on a quarterly basis, listing dates, times, topics and individuals responsible.  Today I wanted to share another important aspect in salesperson development.

 The paragraph below is from an article by Dave Kurlan, a noted sales trainer, it highlights what I have noticed over the past 10 years, salespeople have moved into a product push rather than a relationship building style. Why is that?   Perhaps it’s the email/technology world we live in, short attention spans, or simply the lack of improving the level of professionalism of our sales teams.  I like to recommend that you “video tape” your sales teams at least twice a year, the first is to validate they can effectively sell your company in less than 3 minutes and second is to record them as they perform a role play around Discovery or asking questions.  A salesperson’s ability to ask key questions and then based upon the prospects answers, probe deeper to fully understand the individuals needs and the true business challenges are the key to improving sales.

 Get Your Veteran Salespeople to Take Baby Steps

 Posted: 08 Jul 2011 01:22 AM PDT

 The Pipeline Guest Post – Dave Kurlan

 We expect newer salespeople to be sales challenged, that is, not very effective when it comes to listening and questioning.  But the reality is that for at least 74% of the sales population, veteran salespeople aren’t very effective at this either. Here are some of Objective Management Group’s additional statistics from assessing more than 500,000 salespeople:
•    58% talk too much
•    58% don’t ask enough questions
•    84% present too early in the sales process
•    85% offer quotes or proposals too early in the sales process
•    86% take prospects at their word – they trust enough to not ask a clarifying question

 The questions I have for you today are:

 1)      When was the last time you simply went on a sales call to observe your salesperson’s skill level?

 2)      How are you building the skill level of your team?  If you want a Salesperson Development Tool, send me an email;

 3)      Have you trained your salespeople to listen, ask business focused questions and build relationships?

 I would enjoy hearing from you on your reactions and thoughts on sales training. Leave a comment below…

 Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America.

  Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 



This entry was posted on Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 9:44 am and is filed under sales leadership, Sales Leadership Training, Sales Management Training, Sales Training. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Sales Leadership; the lost art of discovery”

  1. jeff B Says:

    sales training, evaluation, mentoring — all lost management skills in my opionion– these skill require a belief thta helping people is what managing is all about