SellingPower.com’s article deals with something we have seen throughout our many years of sales assessing, hiring and coaching – financial comfort zones.  Here is a good explanation of it from the article (emphasis mine):

Eker stumbled on the concept of financial blueprints while running his first company, a fitness business. In that business, his trainers often referred to a body’s “set point,” or the metabolic rate at which a body is comfortable. Eker, looking back over his financial history one day, realized that again and again he followed the same financial pattern of making a lot of money and then losing it. Up and down, up and down for fifteen years. “Wow,” he thought. “In the same way we have a set point with weight, we must have a set point with money.” His follow-on observations of others confirmed his theory, that everyone has a financial set point they unconsciously return to all their lives.

So true – this plays out time and again in the sales world.  Salespeople often get caught in a stagnant mode once they hit their financial set point.  They stop prospecting, they find busy paperwork, they fine-tune tasks…essentially their behavior goes into cruise control.

When hiring salespeople, it is important to dig for this set point.  Typically a candidate will not provide it willingly, but you can pursue their past successes.  It is perfectly legitimate to ask for a previous W2.  It is always valuable to delve into the largest deals they closed and the commission they earned.

A candidate with enough of a history will show distinct financial set points that you can then determine if they are a fit for your position.  One last thought is that this set point works 2 ways – you won’t retain a salesperson in a $75K position when their set point is $150K.  If your compensation plan is inflexible, capped or unattainable, they will leave once they realize the ceiling.

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