SO, YOU THINK YOU CAN SELL

by Matt Thomas

I love salespeople. BDR’s, Sales Consultants, Account Managers, Inside Sales, Outside Sales. I love them all. It takes an unbelievable amount of courage to ask people to give you money for a living. At least once a week I’ll take a cold call or reply to a cold email because I want to give someone a shot or maybe just a boost of confidence in the event they’ve been on a bad run. Last month, one guy had the best elevator pitch I had ever heard, and the next week we signed his company on as a vendor. Are cold calls worth the time investment? I don’t know, but this one sure worked!

The best thing about sales is that with clear performance expectations it is absolutely impossible to hide. If you are not meeting your quota you are on the hot seat, period. Especially if you have some kind of base plus commission set up. In one way or another I’ve been in sales my entire career. Mostly as a business owner, but also strictly as a Sales Consultant for a national home builder. I spent a year selling new homes in one of the hottest markets in the country. It was, mostly, a blast. During my first month on the job, I sold seven homes in one weekend. I remember the rush of adrenaline I felt driving home that Sunday evening. Hard to beat. Everyone has a gregarious friend in sales that they love to give a hard time. Take it easy on them, they’re probably having more fun than you anyways.

When pushed though, I have to admit that if I have a favorite job search it has to be for revenue generators. First and foremost it is because we know how much impact a good salesperson can have on an organization.

When people ask me if we specialize in a specific industry or type of position in our recruiting work I’m always reticent to respond. The truth is we have clients big and small across industries with needs at every level in an organization from labor to the c-suite. I like the diversity and plan to keep it. When pushed though, I have to admit that if I have a favorite job search it has to be for revenue generators. First and foremost it is because we know how much impact a good salesperson can have on an organization. Whether people want to admit it or not, revenue makes a lot of headaches go away. Clients are always happy when we land them a great new hire, but they LOVE when we find them a great salesperson. In fact, most of the clients who have been with us the longest or have returned after we’ve wrapped up other searches have been the recipients of a bonafide rainmaker. To reiterate, I love salespeople.

We’ve interviewed thousands of salespeople and I get a call at least once a day from someone trying to sell our business something. We’ve seen a lot of good salespeople come through, some terrible ones, and a few great ones. A good salesperson believes in the product or service they are selling. They are convinced that it will make life better for the customer and is absolutely worth the investment. Without that belief, or a significant amount of luck, you are on the clock for a performance drop off. Bottom line, if you want to be successful in sales, you have to believe in what you are selling. A great salesperson not only believes in the product or service, they actually believe it offers some intrinsic good not just to the customer, but to the world. In short, they are convinced that more of their product or service in the market makes for a better world.

A great salesperson not only believes in the product or service, they actually believe it offers some intrinsic good not just to the customer, but to the world.

Salespeople typically have a terrible track record of bouncing around from job to job. More often than not they are chasing bigger commissions. The ones that stay? They believe the product or service they are selling makes the world a better place. Good salespeople are hard to find. Great ones are damn near impossible because once a company finds a great salesperson, they don’t make it easy for them to leave. If you’re looking for a new opportunity or considering transitioning into sales, take the time to honestly assess how you feel about the product or service you would be selling. If you genuinely believe it will help the customer, you’ll probably make some decent money doing work you enjoy. If you think it could change the world, Katy bar the door.