This article is reprinted with the author’s permission from the WittyParrot “Sales Productivity Tips from the Experts” eBook published in February 2014.

Mike Bosworth worked as a sales manager at Xerox Computer Services in 1979 with Neil Rackham when he was researching what became the SPIN project .

Neil could map the sales productivity rise from new hire to a peak performance (around 18 months at Xerox), and then almost to the day, predict the decline, followed by loss of sales rep motivation and morale.

Xerox knew the problem existed, but it took Neil Rackham to pinpoint why it was happening. What Rackham found was that sales productivity rose over time until the salesperson had gained the expertise of having seen every permutation of buyer problem and need.

The first day of the 19th month on quota, instead of listening to the prospect to learn what the buyer problem was, the sales rep could not contain themselves and prematurely elaborated what the prospect “needed to do.”

Try telling your spouse a few “here’s what you need to do’s” tonight when you get home and observe the reaction. Prospects go from curious and open to defensive to blocking and pulling away from salespeople who tell them what they need to do to solve their problem.

Jeff is around 30 years old, working for an SEO software company. He was one of the original salespeople in the company, and although he had been the #1 seller for the previous 12 months, he was in a slump.

As with most salespeople and athletes in a slump, if they knew how to end it they would!

Jeff was ‘stuck’ in his slump and didn’t know how to get out of it.

In a public Story Seekers™ workshop, Jeff discovered why he was in his slump when he saw the chart from research Neil Rackham did at Xerox in 1979.

The day after the workshop Jeff had three demonstrations scheduled.

He was able to catch himself wanting to tell his buyer what they should be doing and what they needed, and instead told each a story about how a peer had solved a similar problem.

This put the prospect in the story and connected them emotionally to Jeff’s approach.

Jeff’s slump ended that day with three new customers.

New Call-to-Action

About Mike Bosworth

Michael Bosworth is noted for founding and growing Solution Selling®, one of the most successful virtual companies in the B2B arena.

He is currently involved in two start-ups, Mike Bosworth Leadership and WeConcile®. MBL teaches Story Seekers™ workshops. You can learn more at

You are invited to attend Mike’s forthcoming workshop in Minneapolis MN. from March 18-20 2014. Click the following link to find out about the forthcoming Mike Bosworth StorySeekers Seminar

Topics: Sales Enablement, sales productivity