Is selling an art or a science? I have, personally, thought of it as an art (can you really teach someone to be an insanely successful sales person?). But the methodicalness in me wants selling to be a science. Of course, as always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
When I watch natural sales people in action, they do it without hesitating. No one had to teach them to pick up the phone, knock on the door, take the risk. No one taught them to handle rejection with aplomb. No one insisted that they make 25 cold calls, 10 warm calls, and 10 follow-up calls today. These individuals you don’t have to worry about, they will MAKE IT HAPPEN!
The next tier of sales persons are those that have some natural ability, maybe a warmth about them, maybe a passion for what they are selling, maybe more organization than the next person. These individuals are also successful without much assistance though a few tools thrown there way will help them MAKE IT HAPPEN!
The last tier in the sales ranks are those who probably will not make the big sale, probably will not make their quota, probably will have every excuse in the book why they haven’t made it, probably are big fans of incentive sharing. These individuals may have some of the necessary skills to get the job done but they don’t have the drive, resilience, and natural abilities to MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Why then, do so many organizations hang on to sales people who don’t sell, who don’t produce results, who barely justify their existence? I don’t know. It is beyond me. At some point, there are no excuses that hold water under these circumstances. But I see it happen over and over again. Is it loyalty? Is it blindness? Is it fear? What is holding the organization back from making a change?
My conclusion about sales – natural abilities matter, organization skills matter, knowledge of the products and services matter, but what matters most is RESULTS! Get your sales staff the assistance, training, and tools they need, set realistic expectations, coach them to the next level, but at some point, they have to show that they can MAKE IT HAPPEN on their own!