9 Reasons Why Salespeople Lack the Urgency Necessary to Succeed

Dave Kurlan, Objective Management Group

I was in the right-hand lane of very slow moving traffic because of a lane closure ahead, marked by orange cones. I was along side the cones in the lane where traffic was merging left. All of a sudden, a police siren and flashing lights were upon me but I had nowhere to go.

Cars were in front of me and to the left of me with cones to the right and the cop was right on top of my rear bumper. He moved into the lane closed off by the cone, rolled his window down and screamed, "Get out of the way!" 

But, from what?

He stopped his Ford F150 along the guard rail inside the coned off lane, turned off his lights and sirens, and put his truck in park. He was working a private detail, was 5 minutes late and was with the Massachusetts Environmental Police. I couldn't believe it. He turned on the lights and sirens, reserved for code 3 emergencies and traffic violations, just so that he could park - and he screamed at me.

What does this have to do with selling?

You're probably wondering what in the world this scenario has to do with selling but it does, and in a big way. There was money on the table and the cop was feeling tremendous urgency to make sure he didn't lose the money.

Many sales leaders feel frustrated that salespeople lack the urgency they did when they were selling.
Dave Kurlan

I coach a lot of sales leaders and their most common frustration is that they can't understand why their salespeople don't seem to have the same urgency as they did when they were selling. Their salespeople lack urgency when returning calls and emails, lack urgency booking appointments with people they've been asked to meet, lack urgency when it's time to follow up, lack urgency when the deal needs to be closed, and lack urgency building their pipelines. The opposite of the cop.

So while I found the cop's behavior unacceptable, it's exactly the behavior that money motivated salespeople will exhibit, sometimes to the point of rude and obnoxious.

In my experience, these are the top 9 lack of urgency reasons:

  1. Expectations
    Their managers have not been crystal clear as to what exactly they expect their salespeople to do.
  2. Need to be Liked
    Their need for approval is very strong and they don't want to appear to be a pest or a nuisance which in their mind could cause the prospect to dislike them, so they back off.
  3. Intrinsically Motivated
    They are motivated by being part of something bigger than themselves, mastery, love of selling, and job satisfaction so the expected behavior is inconsistent with how they are motivated.
  4. Fear of Failure
    When salespeople are afraid of failing it causes a sort of paralysis as they ask themselves, what if I fail?
  5. Rejection
    Similar to the failure issue, they are worried about being rejected and when they try to avoid being rejected, the results don't follow.
  6. Lack of Desire
    Their desire for sales success isn't strong enough to get them to do what needs to be done.
  7. Lack of Commitment
    They aren't willing to do whatever it takes when what it takes is more difficult, scary or inconsistent with their beliefs.
  8. Compensation
    Their comp plan is weighted heavily toward salary so they are already being paid - whether or not they do what you need and expect them to do.
  9. Perfectionist
    Perfectionists don't do anything until they are certain it will be done perfectly. In the mean time, they procrastinate.

Would you like to suggest a 10th possible reason? Please leave a comment!

Dave Kurlan, Objective Management Group
Published October 1, 2017, written by

Dave Kurlan, Objective Management Group

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best selling author, successful entrepreneur and sales development industry pioneer. The founder and CEO of the Objective Management Group, Inc., the leading developer of sales assessment tools, headquartered in Westboro, Massachusetts. He is also the CEO of Kurlan & Associates, Inc., a leading sales force development firm. He has 3 decades of experience in all facets of sales development, including consulting, training, coaching, selection, strategy, systems, processes, and metrics.

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