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12 Differences Between Your Salespeople and Sales Candidates


Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

ComparisonYesterday Jim Sasena and I were reviewing data for a recent subset of the 500,000 plus salespeople that Objective Management Group has assessed.  We were analyzing the distribution of the Commitment finding when Jim decided to separate the findings into two groups:

  1. Sales Candidates - those who had applied for positions at your companies.
  2. Existing salespeople - those who were part of a company-wide sales force evaluation.  
While comparing the two sets of data, Jim saw something we had not previously noticed.
Salespeople that already work for you are TWICE AS LIKELY to LACK Commitment than candidates applying for sales positions at your company.
What are some of the possible reasons for this discrepancy?  Here are 12:
  1. Your salespeople are complacent
  2. Your salespeople are not truly salespeople
  3. You may have moved some of your people into sales roles
  4. You may have selected the wrong people for the role
  5. Your salespeople are taking the path of least resistance
  6. Your salespeople don't have anything to prove
  7. Your salespeople aren't being held accountable
  8. Your sales management isn't recognizing the signs
  9. The candidates will do anything to prove themselves worthy
  10. The candidates are true salespeople
  11. The candidates are more motivated
  12. The candidates want to work
Feel free to add your own thoughts to the comments below...
If you are one of the stubborn leaders who hold on to under performing salespeople, thinking the devil you know is better than the devil you don't, get over it.  As long as you are using OMG's predictive sales candidate assessment, you'll surely hire salespeople who are stronger than those you have in place today.

Sixteen of the worlds top sales experts are meeting.  I'll be there.

Get a seat at the table.

More information and panel registration.

Tomorrow we'll discuss the difference between Commitment and strong work ethic.

© Copyright  Dave Kurlan All Rights Reserved

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 @ 05:25 AM


Dave, you may want to consider looking at family held businesses as well. In my experience family business owners have a tendency to make more emotional decisions instead of good business decisions about the family member sale staff. When a family member is in sales and is an under performer the owner may have tendency to accept more mediocrity from a family member because of blood ties. On the other side of the equation when the family member is the sales person I have observed a degree of an entitlement attitude on the part of the sales person. On the part of the owner the commitment is misplaced and on the family sales member there is little to none.What I brought to the surface is certainly not the case in all family owned businesses.

posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM by Al Turrisi

Incentives are missing. They get put on a salary as their commissions were too high. Owners hate it when they make less. Or I have seen where they change your commission so that your percentage goes down as sales go up. The logic is that 15% is not a big deal when you sell $500,000 but $5 million it is a lot. It does not have to do with being less profitable either.

posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 7:11 PM by Barry Rickert

In my experience many managers manage to lose instead of use the commitment and motivation candidates have initially - a good number of managers focus on control and restrictions rather than delegation and opportunities. 
On the other hand many candidates may look more committed because at the time of the evaluation they were looking for a job it was their primary focus to get it. Once they got it they need new focus to commit to. And it brings us back to management and how that issue is being handled on the job. 
Last but not least, sales people may differ in relation to how they see selling - as a job or as a profession. People are less committed to a job rather than to a profession. It relates for me to whether they enjoy selling or just enjoy the benefits of a sales job. When they sell themselves as candidates they see and present themselves as enjoying the selling because it looks good to them before they step in. After they get it they start struggling with it while doing the job.

posted on Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 1:39 PM by Teddy Anguelova

An interesting related issue is measuring salespeople's performance. Sometimes CEO's and sales managers pay more attention to the hours a salesperson puts in than on the true metrics that matter like the number of people they talk to or appointments they book. They mistake the "work ethic" for the commitment to overcome the hidden weaknesses that are preventing them from succeeding and growing. Salespeople who continue to "work hard" without commmitment to work on the hidden weaknesses are doomed to keep doing the same things over and over again with pretty similar results. They will not grow themselves and they certainly can not be counted on to grow the company. In my experience, once you overcome the weaknesses you don't have to work as hard. So in my view, commitment is much more important than work ethic.

posted on Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 4:34 PM by Dan Caramanico

Great points everyone - thanks.

posted on Tuesday, October 04, 2011 at 10:18 PM by Dave Kurlan

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