An excerpt of, Selleration CEO, Nick Rini’s interview with sales expert Mike Kunkle. Kunkle is the Vice President of Sales Transformation Services for Digital Transformation Inc., and founder of Transforming Sales Results LLC. Rini and Kunkle discuss the definition of Selling Judgement - and how it differentiates top producing salespeople from underperforming sales reps.
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NR: “One of the things that you and I have talked about extensively - that we don’t hear often from others in the sales industry - is Selling Judgement, meaning how people apply judgement in selling situations. Mike, what’s your definition of Selling Judgement?”
MK: “I think of Selling Judgement as a rep’s ability to interpret, decide, and respond to a particular situation. It also has some to do with critical thinking and problem solving, but in sales it really means the decision of what to do next.
Think of Batman’s utility belt. In the heat of the moment he reaches into his utility belt and finds a grappling hook to save the day. A great salesperson does the same thing. They reach into their sales utility belt, and pick out the right thing at the right time. They use Selling Judgement to make the right decision and use the right judgement based on the situation. I think about it as the ability to interpret, decide and respond to make the best choice. “
NR: “When you think about Selling Judgement and how people are measuring it, do you think that happens primarily through sales role play, or observations?”
MK:” I think the problem is that most people aren’t thinking about Selling Judgement. For close to 17 years, I have been doing top producer analysis. My approach has always been to look at what the top producers are doing compared to that big bucket of performers in the middle and the bottom 20% or so of sales reps who are on the bottom. One of the differences between these groups that has surprised me over the years is level of patience.
When we talk about top producers, it’s often about their drive and Type A personalities. Very often we think about them as being extroverted (although we are learning that is not always true). But what they do have a surprising amount of patience in situations with customers.
The other thing that has surprised me about top producers is they also have a very high level of Selling Judgement - meaning how they interpret, decide, and respond to what’s happening is different from middle and low performers. I’ve seen time and time again that Selling Judgement emerges as a differentiating factor. They just always seem to know what to do.
It’s not always even unconscious competence. I have talked to a lot of top producers who seem to be trying purposely to analyze where they are and what is happening, and figure out what their response should be and what they should do next. “
“In critical situations with clients when top performers are overcoming a concern, or really trying to understand a challenge, they come alive and become very focused on understanding what is happening at that moment. I don’t think that is measured enough.”
“I think there is an opportunity in role play to measure Selling Judgement, and I think sales simulations are a great way to help salespeople develop this skills. Selling Judgement is a difficult thing to teach, but it is not an impossible thing to teach.”
NR: “You hit on something that is very, very important. It used to be that the back slapping, extroverted sales guy was THE guy that everyone wanted to on board. That was the person that everyone thought would be the perfect salesperson. However, there was a study that came out and reported that an ambivert - someone between an extrovert and an introvert -who typically is the most successful salesperson. They are a little bit more level.
This goes hand in hand with what you said about patience, because as you know, Selleration develops simulations and we do a great deal of analysis around behavioral skills and how those apply to sales. So virtues like patience, and even personality traits like to what degree someone is an extrovert is something we look at closely.”
Hear more of the discussion on Sales Judgement measurement and improvement, on Sales Acceleration with Selleration on iTunes.