The Sales Assessment as Crystal Ball

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 16, 2008 @ 10:10 AM

Not all sales assessments are created equal.

That's an understatement.

Yet it's when a client pushes back - not when they look at the recommendation or prediction and accept it - that we get an opportunity to bring our sales assessment to life.

Take the candidate who lacks desire or commitment - not in life, not in general, but for sales.  Clients can't believe it when a candidate they know, with a track record of success, is found to possess lack of desire or commitment. 

Of course, in these cases the clients are on a backward looking path while we are on a forward looking path.  What has happened in the past isn't a guarantee of what will happen in the future.  I won't get in to the factors that could cause an otherwise average or below average salesperson to have wild success in one position and fail miserably at the next but trust me when I tell you that it happens a lot.  That's why it is so important to look beyond what you see on the resume and in the interview.

When we bring a sales assessment to life and use the data points to tell the story behind the findings, then the sales assessment becomes a crystal ball.  How about the former successful business owner who must now apply for a sales position?  He is known in his industry and the client is all excited about hiring him.  Yet the sales assessment says, Lack of Desire and Lack of Commitment.  "How can that be?" The client pushes back because it doesn't correlate to his backward thinking experiences.  But if we look forward the story unfolds.  Can you imagine this former owner, used to running things, making cold calls every day?  Going on sales appointments every day?  Actually hanging in, being tough and closing business the way good salespeople do? Sure the candidate was successful - running his business. But it's not sales success that he wants or is committed to now. Right now he simply needs something to do and he needs to bring in some money.  There aren't many companies posting jobs for former owners and he has all of these industry contacts so why not a position in sales?

If you ask the client what he originally wanted his new salesperson to do he would tell you, "find new business."  And if you were honest about what this former business owner was capable of doing it would be run a business or possibly bring some former accounts to his new company.

While clients get discouraged and sometimes even upset about our ability to bring desire and commitment issues to light, they eventually appreciate their new toy - the crystal ball - their ability to predict the future sales success of every candidate.

Would you like to know why more executives don't use the crystal ball?  They'd rather not know.  They find it more comforting to use hope - and be wrong - than use information and have to try again.  After all, isn't the goal of sales recruiting to hire someone?  And why not the person sitting in front of me?  She has as good a chance of making it as anyone else..."

It's that kind of lazy, quick to the finish practice that leaves us with a sales force filled with under achievers.  The crystal ball will give you a sales force made up of over achievers!

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales assessment, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Salesforce, Sales Force, Sales Candidate, sales evaluation, sales personality, hiring salespeople, sales profile, sales personality test, sales test

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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