How Can Strong Salespeople Lack Desire for Success?

franconaThis question is kind of funny to me.

Using Objective Management Group’s Sales Candidate Assessment, a company could assess 1,000 salespeople, understand that Lack of Desire for Success in Sales causes an automatic “Not Recommended”, and not be tempted to interview a single candidate who lacks Desire.  That is until they introduce a sales candidate that they “know” into the mix.  When they introduce a known candidate, it is usually someone with a good track record or a well-liked salesperson with whom they are familiar.  When the known candidate lacks Desire, everything changes.  “How could it be?”  “Is it validated?”  “There must be something wrong with the test!”
“Have you checked this problem out?” “Can you walk me through how you could have come up with such a finding?”

We have assessed 1831616 salespeople and we have the strongest predictive validity in the business so it’s a lot like the old Smuckers tag line – “it just has to be good”.  So why the contradiction?

We think we know people.  We’ve had a drink, heard about them, received referrals, gotten to know them, we like them, they have good industry experience, they were the salespeople of record on those huge accounts, so how could they lack Desire?

Think in terms of a before and after picture.  Everything you know about that person is the before.  The assessment findings are the after.  Instead of questioning the assessment, which on matters of Desire is always correct, why not ask yourself, “I wonder what changed?”  or “Could I really have known how little Desire he had?”

I can name a few strong, talented individuals who at a particular point in time lacked Desire.

I am writing this on October 20, 2011 so the first two names are timely as of this writing.

Terry Francona recently stepped down as Manager of the Boston Red Sox.  He was very strong but I’ll guarantee that at the end, he lacked the Desire to continue – at least with the Red Sox.

Steve Jobs recently passed away.  No one was stronger than he was but I’m sure at the end of his battle with Cancer he lost the Desire to continue innovating.

These aren’t sales examples and you don’t know these people personally so they should be examples that are easier to understand.

I have observed many very strong salespeople – they had both sales skills and sales DNA – for whom sales success was no longer the most important thing to them.  And when Desire goes, the incentive to do what is difficult, time consuming, painful, scary, or disinteresting goes along with it.  That includes doing it your way, development, being receptive of coaching, being resilient, tackling the biggest challenges and the list goes on and on.

So next time, instead of questioning the assessment, simply ask how well you really know this person and whether you really know what makes this person tick when it comes to their will to sell.