Can anybody sell? It’s a common question: doctors get asked about random pains, comedians get asked about jokes, I get asked about business, leadership and, inevitably, sales.
I took this from an interesting blog:
‘Dave Kurlan’s pioneering sales assessment company, Kurlan & Associates, has crunched the numbers on half a million salespeople in the last 30 years. The results make for a very sobering read.
According to Chris Mott, the company’s president of corporate training, 25 per cent of all those sales people are “functionally un-trainable”. Take the balance of what’s left and “anywhere from 20 per cent to 50 per cent aren’t worth investing in”. Your return over the average employment timeframe will be too small.
All of which means you only have 25 per cent motivated, trainable, focused sellers in front of you.’
Is that true? Really? I would have serious questions for my senior management if this painted an accurate picture of our sales department.
Once a company reaches a certain size, a percentage of any departments will not be operating at full speed on any particular day. That’s human nature. That one quarter of a department is “functionally untrainable” is an issue for management. Take a look at yourself, take a look at HR, and work out which one of you needs to go sit in the corner.
To me, it’s the same for the 20-50 per cent. How did that happen? Sales teams often need to be surrounded by positive noise: a buzz (or whatever you choose to call it). Sales can be a difficult job, and that 20 per cent are not scoring is okay, if they provide the dynamic environment that enables others to do so. But 50 per cent…
Sales is an easy department to measure (at least in terms of end-result, mood and culture are topics for future blogs). If 75% of that function – effectively your engine for growth – is not capable or, even more damning, not worth investing in, then sales training is the last thing you need.
Start your checklist with eyes, ears, pencil, paper.
Can anybody sell? The answer, I believe, is another question: can anybody be passionate? That’s why you need the eyes and the ears. They will tell you all you need to know about a good sales floor, or effective sales people. The pencil and paper are for writing down what you paid out, and what you’re paid in.
Yes, it’s more complicated than that – but not until you’ve got more than 25% motivated and focused.