So You Think You Are a Great Salesperson, Driver, Parent, Lover ….


What have those “roles” got in common? Simple. When was the last time you heard anybody say, “I am a lousy salesperson” or “I am a terrible driver” or “I am a useless parent” I’ll spare you the last one, but it is nevertheless relevant in the context of this post.

The truth is, you probably haven’t.

But let me tell you what those three roles actually do have in common: Most people believe that you only need to be taught once, and then you have those skills for life.

You are taught to drive, you pass your test, and that’s it.

You become a parent, you learn how parenting works, and then you have as many children as you like, assuming that if you raise one you must know all there is to know about the job.

You decide on a career in sales, you are sent off on a training course, and that’s it, you are now qualified to sell for the rest of your life – really? Even the major corporations who once insisted on a twelve month induction program have reduced that to around two weeks – if you are lucky.

Times change: Driving today requires a completely different set of skills than twenty years ago. There is more traffic; faster cars; less consideration. It is open warfare out their on the roads and it has become the survival of the fittest. Think you can drive? Try navigating Place de l’Étoile in Paris, any time of day – but be sure to pack spare underwear and a huge helping of valium!

Parenting is no different: The skills required in this age of “instant gratification” Internet and social media are much more challenging than when I was growing up. All my mother had to worry about then was if I had put my bike away, and how bad the grazes were on my knees from playing footie (soccer) all day.

However, all of that is nothing compared to the changes we have witnessed in the sales space over the past five – three even – years.

We have moved on a long way from believing that “peddler” mentality of merely demonstrating products and expanding on their features. We got to realize that a flashy sales presentation alone alienates rather than persuades. As I suggested in yesterday’s post (do please scroll down if you missed it) we are using sophisticated software these days to hunt down our prospects. We are engaging on social media sites, and collecting lots of followers …

But, have we got better at selling? Have we regularly updated our skills to cope with the new more educated, more savvy buyer of today? Are we selling more than we used to? Are we murdering our quotas?

No! In fact completely the opposite. Sales achievement levels are plummeting. Levels of professional salesmanship have never been so bad. How do I know that? Like you, companies are trying to sell to me every day.

Can we arrest the downward spiral? Yes. How? We need to re-think our sales enablement strategies, and give our front-line troops the weapons they need to win the war – because right now, they are not even guaranteed to win minor skirmishes on a regular basis.

What are the weapons they need? Join me tomorrow, and I’ll share with you my “course of treatment”


News: Two new interviews over at Top Sales World, which you may have missed: Art Sobczak, the master of new business generation, highlights the need for proper preparation prior to every interaction with new prospects, and shares his tips with me – “Preparation is EVERYTHING” and I am also in conversation with one of the world’s foremost leadership gurus, Kevin Eikenberry, who poses the question, “Does Example Trump Reason?” You can catch them both HERE



  1. says

    Jonathan – I can’t agree enough! The next generation is learning in a completely different way to the past. Technology is driving that change and it is essential for sales trainers to not only accept but to embrace tech wholeheartedly if there is any hope for sales teams to ‘win the war’.

    The problem is this can scare some trainers, but if sales teams are to be successful they need to see their training in action. Integrating what they learn in the classroom – still an important tool – into their daily working lives through existing sales CRM systems is a must. It’s a dangerous game for sales trainers to believe they know it all. The sales teams they are training live life in a digital world and it’s essential sales training keeps pace. Great insights as always!

    Gary White, CEO White Springs


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