Sales is a difficult role, I would argue the most difficult role, in any company. The skill set and mind set required to be successful is rare in the general population. Yet, strong salespeople are out there and hopefully on your team. However, most teams that we assess have a salesperson (or more) who is not performing up to expectations. This salesperson seems to have the tools, but something is holding him or her back. The concern I always have, in this situation, is that they possess the most dangerous sales weakness. Fear of rejection. For sales, this is the big one. This weakness can single-handedly neutralize any strengths the… Read MoreContinue Reading
Do Great Salespeople Make Great Managers?
That is an age-old question, isn’t it? You can insert your favorite sports example here which typically involves a superstar/Hall of Fame-caliber athlete who fails as a coach because the game came too easy to him. But does this analogy work in the sales arena also? This Sales & Marketing Management article approaches the topic with aplomb. The pull quote (emphasis mine): Sometimes great salespeople aren’t as good at coaching and managing other people – they’re excellent at being individual contributors, they’re great at building relationships with customers and working deals from start to finish, but they lack the patience or coaching ability or intangible interpersonal savvy to be responsible… Read MoreContinue Reading
Hiring What You Need To Know
Experience is a tricky component to successful sales hiring in that it is often overvalued. Don’t get me wrong, it is important, but you never want to overvalue it. The reason is that you can teach new salespeople about your product or service a lot easier than you can teach them how to sell. A sports analogy (I know, often overused) – it is far easier to teach a football wide receiver what routes to run in your offense than it is to teach them how to run a 4.3 40 yard dash. Some will simply never run a 4.3. This is why talent is far more valuable to successful… Read MoreContinue Reading
I’ve been swamped of late with sales candidate assessments for different customers and have encountered an important trait – common sense. This is a broad topic, but we use it in a fairly defined manner – using common sense. We actually measure this aptitude in one of our assessments which often leads to rather pointed discussions…especially when a candidate has a low score in this area. But what of it? Our definition utilizes speaks to common sense being more of a natural reflex as opposed to a logical thinking process. I’m not talking about intuition but rather the practical thinking in regards to seeing the world. Does that make sense? … Read MoreContinue Reading
Fundamental Attribution Error
Warning – psychology babble coming your way from Fast Company. I encounter this effect often with clients: That judgment is what’s called, in psychology, the Fundamental Attribution Error. Meaning that we tend to attribute people’s behavior to their core character rather than to their situation. So when somebody cuts you off in traffic, you think, “What a jerk!” You don’t think, “I wonder situation he’s in that’s causing him to drive so crazy.” Even though in those times when YOU have driven crazily, it was almost certainly because of the situation you were in—you were late for a job interview or a date. May I make a suggestion? The use… Read MoreContinue Reading
Salespeople – Born Or Made?
The nature vs. nurture debate is one for which I am most intrigued. My Bachelor’s degree is in psychology and this topic was a popular debate topic in my courses. Yesterday I came across this article from CNNMoney.com – Are entrepreneurs born or made? As I look at the stats, I tend to interpret the result as saying entrepreneurs are made: Shane and his fellow researchers compared the entrepreneurial activity of 870 pairs of identical twins — who share 100% of their genes — and 857 pairs of same-sex fraternal twins — who share 50% — to see how much of entrepreneurial behavior is genetic and how much is environmental.… Read MoreContinue Reading
Talent Is Dreadfully Cheap
How about this quote from Stephen King’s Danse Macabre (h/t JustSell.com): … talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force — a force so great that the knife is not really cutting at all but bludgeoning and breaking… Discipline and constant work are the whetstones upon which the dull knife of talent is honed until it becomes sharp enough, hopefully, to cut through even the toughest meat and gristle.Continue Reading
Isn’t there an old sports axiom that states games are won or lost before you ever take the field? Well, at least some form of that saying. JustSell.com lists a handful of self-defeating thoughts from the sales world (email newsletter – sorry, no link). Here they are: Defeatist (accepting, expecting, or being resigned to defeat) Cynical (contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives) Vindictive (seeking revenge) Blame/ Fault (who cares? what are we going to do now?) Wishful (do what you can to influence the deal and keep moving) Self-pity (get over yourself… complain less… especially to yourself) Worrisome (it won’t help, costs time, and can drag you down) Jealous… Read MoreContinue Reading
Good article here from Salesopedia.com titled Reject Me, Please. Handling rejection just may be the most important trait of any strong salesperson. Rejection is the key differentiation between sales and all other positions. Salespeople have to be able to handle this topic well. Excellent sales people realize it’s about the products and service, and not them. They may have represented the product poorly and answered questions about the services ineptly, but nonetheless, the opposition is about what’s being sold, not the seller. This ability to distinguish between the purveyor and the purveyed I call Separation Clarity. Well stated and I am now a fan of the phrase “separation clarity.” I… Read MoreContinue Reading
Lack Of Attention To Detail
Derrick wrote a series on sales traits last year which transcends sales and applies to everyone. I was catching up on my RSS reader from the Labor Day weekend and came across this perfect example to illustrate the lack of Attention to Detail. According to this post from US News & World Report, employees of media agency Carat learned about a planned layoff by management through an email. Because someone did not have an abundance of the attention to detail trait, an email meant strictly for management accidentally went out to everyone in the company. This is why we stress the use of assessments to “x-ray” a person’s hidden abilities and talents, or lack thereof. Unfortunately… Read MoreContinue Reading