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Jeff Garrison

Nice article. I have an idea as to why sales are not necessarily getting better. It is because few sales people, sales managers, and business owners are willing to commit to "growing" sales. Specifically, the ground must be prepared, seeds must be planted, water and sunshine must be available, and there must be protection from invasive plants, animals, and weather.

Mostly, we just want to go to the store and pick out a mature plant for our garden. If it thrives, great! If it dies, we'll go back to the store.

There are lots of great selling systems and trainers out there. Pick one. Take the time to practice and master it. Measure what will likely be slow and steady progress. One day, sales will explode!

Dan Wood

Excellent article. I especially liked your football analogy. To extend this analogy, it's up to the players to stay in shape and hone their skills.
It's also important that they have the best equipment for the job, and sadly it seems that the majority of the tools available to salespeople today are missing the mark one way or the other.
CRM often feels like a management tool that is forced down from above, and many of the promises of Sales Force Automation are yet to be realized.
There is a new breed of sales tools, of which ours is one, that hope to change this for the better.

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Personally I find listening to Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins and Brian Tracey CD's in the car are the best way for me to stay motivated and continue learning


Great article, Gerhard. Comprehensive take on the state of sales cultures that leaves no one without an excuse- managers or AEs. It truly amazes me how many of each have blinders on to what will either make their team and/or themselves better.

Take this to heart if you have truly chosen sales as your honored profession.

Dick Wooden

Great useful summary and to the point. Personal accountability and continuous learning are key principles I have found helpful.

In my consulting and implementation of CRM systems I see too many sales people not following these teaching points and taking control of their own careers.

Personally I have gotten helpful principles and tips mostly from Jill Konrath, Tony Parinello, Neil Rackham, Jeff Thull, Jeff Gitomer, Tom Hopkins, and Brian Tracy.

I'd suggest the interested reader find an author(s)that relates to their prospects and customers. Learn and put into practice.

Jacques Werth

You article is an excellent treatise on why it is so difficult for salespeople to learn what works in sales and how to sell. My own quest to learn how to sell started in 1955 after I got my first college degree majoring in Industrial Sales, where I Aced every sales class.

Back then, the latest "scientific" selling method was called "Needs Selling" which originated in the 1930s. Now it is generally called "Consultative Selling" and it includes all of the systems that are included in the first paragraph of your article.

In my first sales job, I found that hardly anything I learned in school worked consistently. So, I started to go out on sales calls with top salespeople in many different industries to watch how they work.

The first thing I learned is that they way the top 1% of salespeople sell is radically different from the other 99%. The second thing I learned is they can seldom tell you how they sell because they learned what they do intuitively.

Since 1955, I have observed hundreds of top salespeople interacting with customers and prospecting. Their sales methods keep evolving as market conditions keep changing. Unlike all the aforementioned selling systems, they have made major adjustments for the age of Information Overload, which started circa 1985. Another adjustment has been made for the advent of the Web. And, further adjustments were based on the latest studies of psychology and brain science.

Top producers have the unusual ability to intuitively understand what works in selling, to constantly improve, and they are avid, life-long learners.


Great Post

Personally I find listening to Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins and Brian Tracey CD's in the car are the best way for me to stay motivated and continue learning

Jill Konrath

Excellent article! You make a ton of great points about why salespeople are struggling today. At the core is a lack of personal accountability.

I've worked with numerous companies whose salespeople don't know anything about Sales 2.0 tools, who won't read books unless they get reimbursed and have no desire to upgrade their skills.

As they cost merrily along, they're fast becoming dinosaurs. But they don't even know it and neither do their bosses. They're just hoping to meet their numbers - which clearly gets harder and harder each year.

On the other hand, I've worked with young, aggressive companies who have created a culture of learning. The future of our economy lies with these organizations. I'd bet on their success any day!

P.S. And thanks for including me in your "masters of success." I am honored.

Kelley Robertson

Great post Gerhard.

It's unfortunate that the vast majority of sales people receive little to no formal training. While I agree that people need to take responsibilty for their own development, in today's highly challenging business world, it only makes good business sense to give your team a competitive advantage.

Although training can be expensive, when it is properly executed, the return on investment can more than make up for the initial investment.


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