When are Salespeople Too Old to Sell Effectively? 10 Conditions

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 09:06 AM

the beach boysFirst, let's acknowledge that EEOC guidelines in the US demand that you not discriminate against candidates based on age (40 and older), gender (non-males), race (non-Caucasians) or disability (Americans with Disability Act).  This article isn't about that, but I wanted to make sure that I put that out there before going any further.

Last night, we attended a concert in Boston.  On stage, 5 guys in their 70's, backed up by a younger show band, played and sang the songs made popular by a group of teenagers about 50 years ago.  When we closed our eyes, they pulled it off.  They sounded the same, perhaps better than the teenagers!  With eyes open, they demonstrated the same energy and showed that they really enjoyed performing and recreating that sound.  The only things different - and I mean the only things - were the wrinkles and sags on their faces and bags under their eyes.

I'm referring to the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Concert and it was a terrific show.

When it's time to recruit salespeople, clients have often told me that they want a "less mature, more energetic, and fit" salesperson - code for "younger".

Like the Beach Boys, who can still pull it off with ease, salespeople can still pull it off with ease as they age, well into their 70's, as long as the following ten conditions exist:

  1. They have the same energy.
  2. They have the same work ethic.
  3. They retain the same motivation and urgency to succeed.
  4. They continue to enjoy selling.
  5. They have adapted to the changes of the past 5-10 years, including selling consultatively, using technology and working harder.
  6. They are fine being held accountable to a potentially younger sales manager/sales leader.
  7. They interviewed well.
  8. They are still quick on their feet.
  9. The OMG Sales Candidate Assessment has recommended them.
  10. They have prior success doing what you need them to do.
The interesting thing about this list of conditions is that it's not age-specific and should be used with all salespeople.  If they can still generate new revenue for your business, why would you care if their skin is wrinkled?  If the choice is between a performer with wrinkles and a smooth-skinned pretender, the choice should be a no-brainer.  Watch this video on Sales Recruiting Best Practices.
Best Practices for Sales Recruiting Process and Tools

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales management, sales competency, sales candidates, sales assessments, beach boys, eeoc guidelines

Can the Beatles Help You Close Big Deals?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 07, 2010 @ 23:01 PM

Perhaps. Back in the 60's, three companies were competing for attention. But they weren't retailers, manufacturers or service providers. Despite that, they had features and benefits that caused people to follow and buy from them.  Some people didn't care for any of the three and bought from alternative sources.  Some preferred just one or the other.  And some bought from all three.  They were the big winners of their day.  Who were they?  Try The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones.  Check out the following table which, if they were traditional sellers, could have been used to tout their features and benefits.

Feature/Benefit

 Beatles

Beach Boys

 Stones

Angelic Harmonies

 

 x

 

Sounds of Summer

 

 x

 

Musicianship

 x

 

 

Rhythm Section

 

 

 x

Blue Collar Sound

 x

 

 x

Foot Tapping Sound

 x

 x

 x

Sophisticated Arrangements

 x

 

 

Made in the USA

 

 x

 

Catchy Melodies

 x

 x

 x

Love Songs

 x

 

 

Songs about Girls, Cars and Surf

 

x

 

Dynamic Front Man

 

 

 x

You may argue with my analysis but my analysis is not the point. 

The point is that you may be just like one of these market leaders - or not.  One mistake that companies make is they say, "Let's do the things those other guys are doing and then we'll be all things to all people and increase our sales."  Can you imagine the Stones singing like the Beach Boys?  Yuck.  Or the Beach Boys getting all gritty like the Stones? 

When companies become all things to all people they lose their following.  They lose their edge, their niche, their appeal.  Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, ask yourself how many more followers, buyers, customers and clients you would have if you simply improved on what you already do.  The Beatles did that.  So didn't the Beach Boys.  Stones too.

What happens if you're not a leading band but you're simply a one man show - a singer, songwriter, or recording artist like Neil Diamond or a small business?  How does Neil Diamond compete with The Beatles?

That was the topic on this week's edition of Meet the Sales ExpertsMy guests were Sales Development Experts Tom Schaff and Andy Miller and they contributed some brilliant ideas as they spoke about the work they do to help small companies land huge deals.  You won't want to miss this show.

Click here to listen.  Click here to contact Tom.  Click here to contact Andy.

 

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, Tom Schaff, the beatles, rolling stones, closing big deals, andy miller, beach boys

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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