Golf School or Sales School Because Most of us Suck

I write often about urgency.  Bob Kriegel, author of 3 best-selling books on business, says urgency is fueled by passion.

I’m in Florida taking some training – for golf – short game school.  I have a passion for golf although as a golfer I pretty much suck. Today I shot 113, 14 points higher than my best score to date.  I’ve been golfing for three years and I’m just like a lot of your salespeople because, according to my statistics, 74% of them suck too.

But like I said, I have a passion for golf.  I want to improve.  Do you know how many of your salespeople have passion (at OMG we call it Desire) for success in sales?  Do you know how to measure it?

My friend, Rick Cayer, sent me to golf school (and came along to lead by example) because he knew I’d enjoy it, benefit from it and improve my game. Do you know which of your salespeople would enjoy, benefit from and improve as a result of going to sales school?  Statistically, only 70% of all salespeople have the incentive to change or improve.  Do you know which of your salespeople would benefit from training?  Let’s pretend you had the ability to correctly identify that group, the 70% who had the passion for sales success and the incentive to improve.  Should you blame them for not already taking their sales game to the next level?  Is it because they’re content with the money they’re earning?  Is it your fault for not providing this training for them or are you content with the business they’re producing?

The economy will likely get a lot worse before it begins to improve again.  It may be rough going into 2009.  Salespeople who easily generated revenue when the economy was strong will begin to struggle to maintain that revenue as prospects and customers provide resistance to their sales pitches.  Order takers, account managers and inside salespeople, who all masquerade as salespeople, do fine when the economy is strong.  But change that single variable, the economy, and you’ll begin to see the difference between those who actually sell effectively and those who were in the right place at the right time.  This is the right time to develop your salespeople.

The first step of the development process is to evaluate your sales force to learn who would benefit, how they would benefit, and what the return would be.  Of course, as part of an evaluation of the people, strategy, systems and processes in your sales force, you’d learn a myriad of other important areas where you could make immediate improvements.  When was the last time you had your sales force evaluated?