- February 19, 2010
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
One of the many sales newsletters I get each day had a ridiculous sales test. It asked “Is a Sales Career Right for You?” and had an 8 question test.
First, there aren’t 8 questions in the world where the answers would allow us to make that determination. Even if we tried, we couldn’t identify even 15 of our 100+ questions that would allow us to answer that question accurately! But I was curious and clicked on through. 8 Questions and if you get 3 strikes or wrong answers, you’re out and shouldn’t be in sales. This free test shouldn’t even be available for entertainment purposes!
How accurate, predictive or relevant could an 8 question test be? My problem was that only one, maybe two if I stretch it, of the eight questions were relevant to one’s suitability for selling. The rest examined (if you could call it that) beliefs (2 questions), aptitude (2 questions) and strength/weaknesses (3 questions).
I read some of the comments that follow the article and they fell into 2 categories. The first was “I don’t agree” and the second was “thanks for helping me understand why I am struggling”. People just shouldn’t have any expectations from an 8 question test of any kind.
Aptitude, or what someone knows about selling, has no bearing on WHETHER an individual should sell. Skills, strategies, tactics and process can be taught. When people first enter sales, none have the prerequisite skills. And many who have been selling and have developed the skills shouldn’t be in sales because they AREN’T suitable for sales.
Beliefs, while important, can predict outcomes and the likelihood of success, but not suitability. Beliefs can be changed too.
Strengths and weaknesses help us understand whether skills, tactics, strategies and process will be executed. Too many weaknesses and you have a very weak salesperson at which point you could call it DNA.
But ultimately, Selling DNA has more to do with sales motivation and attitude, which this pretend test forgot to ask about.
Why did I waste an article about this little 8 question fraud of a test? Because there are many reputable assessments which, when they try to use them for sales, become just as irrelevant.