I found it challenging to write this article.
The company that provides us with cyber-insurance required that our entire team watch a series of 21 training videos to make us more aware of how hackers operate, how easy it is to be hacked, and what we must do differently in order to protect our data, privacy and accounts. Imagine my surprise when the first video described hacking operations as businesses with outbound prospecting operations whose goal is to convert their emails, texts and calls into paying customers. They described very aggressive and efficient sales and marketing operations staffed by people who operated without feelings or empathy, felt no rejection or remorse, and didn't care about the prospects that didn't respond, but were all in on those who took the bait.
Salespeople have never had GREAT reputations, and from among the tens of thousands of B2B salespeople I have met, worked with or evaluated during the past 35 years, if they were guilty of anything, it would be for trying to overcompensate for that undeserved reputation.
While I can't stop thinking about that video and the analogy they used, there are two strong thoughts pulling at me.
On the one hand, I am shocked and chagrinned that the insurance company would use salespeople as a reference point for hackers. You could not possibly understand the degree to which It bothers me.
On the other hand, you and I both know that if salespeople worked as methodically, consistently, aggressively, effectively, and efficiently as the hackers do, we would double our revenue.
Most B2B salespeople are ethical and trying their best to help their prospects, customers and clients. They have feelings and consciences, try to be honest and that makes them good human beings. Hackers lack those traits and while I'm not a psychologist, I'm pretty sure their lack of a conscience makes them psychopaths!
Hackers perform the way we wish our salespeople would however they are psychopathic criminals.
Salespeople underperform because the human elements that make them normal and ethical - their fears, feelings, emotions, consciences and empathy, slow them down, get in the way, make them think too much and sabotage performance.
It's a double edged sword.
According to Objective Management Group (OMG) and their data from the evaluations of 2,180,816 salespeople, the top 5% as well as many in the top 20%, are in fact human, ethical, and have consciences. This proves that high performing salespeople and ethics are not mutually exclusive. We can have the best of both worlds. To prove that, I looked through OMG's data and found that the top 5% of all salespeople actually score 45% higher than the weakest 50% in the attribute of high integrity selling. Despite that, only 26% of all salespeople and only 39% of the top 5% are effective at building trust. What does that mean?
Salespeople who are not high integrity sellers and who struggle to build trust have major credibility problems while salespeople who are high integrity sellers that also succeed at building trust establish tremendous credibility and consistently win business.
Warning: The salespeople to beware of are those who are not high integrity sellers but despite that, manage to build trust. Watch out for them! That is the group that gives salespeople a bad name.
There's more! One of the OMG Sales Core Competencies, "Stays in the Moment," encompasses fears, feelings and emotions. Great salespeople are able to stay in the moment and don't allow their fears, feelings and emotions get in the way. OMG's data shows that while only 37% of all salespeople are able to stay in the moment, 65% of the top 5% of salespeople are able to stay in the moment and 19% of the weakest 50% are able to stay in the moment. The top 5% are 42% more effective at staying in the moment and preventing their fears, feelings and emotions from getting in the way.
You can see more of OMG's data here.
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