If you have ever hired one or more salespeople you have probably experienced this scenario:
• You place an ad hoping to attract an “A” player salesperson to upgrade your sales results. You comb through tons of
• You narrow it down to the top candidates based on their experience and reported results.
• Now for the interview process…
• You interview multiple candidates (if you are lucky) and one of them wows you. He has all the right answers great
people skills, the right experience, he even has industry experience. Everything about him screams “Salesperson of the
• There’s no doubt, this is the one! So you hire him with high expectations and a certainty of success.
• Fast forward 12-18 months—you’re scratching your head because your sales hero is not only not meeting expectations, but he’s failing. How can this be? He had all
the attributes of a sales winner, or did he?
I call this distinction the difference between salespeople who “can sell” and those that actually “will sell.”
So what’s the difference? “Can Sell” salespeople look good, sound good, and may even appear to have all the skills you are looking for, but they are unable to execute what they know due to one or more factors:
Crucial Elements of Success: Most salespeople lack one or more of the crucial elements of success which impacts their performance and/or trainability. For example:
• Desire: A salesperson must have a high level of desire for sales success, otherwise they will sir come to the challenges inherit with sales in today’s tough and
• Commitment: Most salespeople have what I call “conditional commitment”. They will “do whatever it takes” to be successful in sales unless it’s takes them out of
their comfort zone or is just too tough. “will sell” salespeople are different than most salespeople though, they are committed to do “whatever” it takes to be
successful as long as it’s ethical.
• Excuse Making: Salespeople that externalize their lack of results and blame them on things like the competition, price, your company’s service, or even the
economy; lack any personal accountability. Without accountability there can be no growth!
• Trainability: You may be asking yourself, isn’t everyone trainable? The answer is, no. Everyone is “learnable” meaning exposed to training and coaching they may
learn new things. Trainable means that they will actually “use” what they have learned and implement it. Salespeople lacking desire and/or commitment won’t
have the motivation to implement any training and/or coaching. Add a dose of excuse making and you are likely to see your training and coaching efforts go to
Hidden Weaknesses: After many years of providing sales training and being frustrated by the fact that some salespeople would embrace the training and execute the strategies, tactics, and skill sets in real world selling scenarios while others, who sat through the same exact training wouldn’t; I decided to understand why. The difference? Hidden Weaknesses. Hidden Weaknesses tend to neutralize a salesperson’s ability to do what they know they should do in a particular sales scenario. We’ve identified some 60+ Hidden Weaknesses but here are the top five:
1. Need For Approval: Your salesperson’s need to be liked is greater than his/her need to get the business. These salespeople avoid confrontation; hold back from
asking tough questions that might upset the prospect; and are easily put off by stalls and objections.
2. Non-Supportive Buy Cycle: These salespeople believe their own buying methods are the best. This means that if they prefer research, price shopping, and mulling it over, they will empathize with prospects who behave the same way. The prospect says, “I never make decisions without exploring all options to make sure I get the best price,” and a little voice in the salesperson’s head says, “Makes sense, that’s what I’d do.”
3. Inability to Control Emotions: The prospect throws your salespeople a curve ball and they panic. They are easily flustered and distracted by their own reactions, resulting in a tendency to listen to themselves instead of the prospect. They lose objectivity, which leads to a loss of control. When they lose control, they often lose the sale. Estimated sales boost by overcoming this weakness? 25%
4. Self-Limiting Beliefs: When your salespeople’s belief system contradicts selling “best practices,” it will limit their ability to execute what they know they should do in common selling situations. For example, if they believe prospects need to think things over, that will neutralize their ability to close the saleeven though they
know that’s what they’re supposed to do. Another example: A salesperson who believes people buy on low price will never be able to use any of the 124 techniques
he memorized to overcome price objections.
5. Unable to Talk About Money: These salespeople can do little more than ask if there is a budget. They’re unable to uncover if the budget is real, where the money will come from, who controls the money, and if the prospect will ever spend the money. These salespeople have trouble talking to the prospect about spending
more money with your company than with your competitor. These salespeople are likely to waste time on prospects that don’t qualify.
The good news is that entreQuest has a sales candidate assessment tool that will determine if a sales candidate “will sell” in your sales environment. It is customized to each client’s sales environment and sales candidate profile. It’s easy, affordable (think of what a hiring mistake costs), and after more than 600,000 assessments has been independently validated as more than 95% accurate. We use it for all our talent acquisition clients hiring sales and or sales managers. If you want to take the mystery out of hiring “will sell’ salespeople, just let us know and we will gladly send a free, no obligation sample that we will be happy to review with you.
Until then… Good Selling!
Mike Zaruba is a Senior Business Consultant for entreQuest. He helps to develop and grow sales teams and assists small to medium sized businesses Grow Regardless.