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Sales – Wisdom vs Foolishness

Sales – Wisdom vs Foolishness

By in Achieving Growth, Agile Sales, Business Acceleration |

Sales and a Tale of Two Businesses

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”

(Dickens – Tale of Two Cities)

Sam and Bill are chatting after a monthly meeting with other business owners when Bill says, “I’m looking to hire a salesperson and you’ve got a great sales team. Do you have any referrals or recommendations?”

Sam pauses and says, “Thanks for asking. I get this question a lot, so let me ask. Do you think your business is ready to support a salesperson to be successful?

Bill wasn’t expecting a question like this. He actually hoped to get a referral or at least some resumes. Given Sam’s successful sales team, he must get quality resumes all the time.

“I’ve never had anyone ask me that, Sam. I’m just starting the process and thought my first objective is to get some resumes and hire someone. I would think the salesperson knows what they need to be successful.”

Sam smiles with a hint of a chuckle,Yes, most business owners believe that myth. I did until I went through two salespeople with very little new sales to show for it. After the first one, I thought my problem was I didn’t know how to hire the right person. For the second one, I went the recruiter process, but couldn’t figure out why the best salespeople didn’t take my offer. I ended up hiring one of the less qualified candidates because I thought that would at least make some sales happen. I was definitely wrong and found out later the qualified candidates knew they couldn’t be successful selling for my company.”

“Ouch, but, you’ve got a great sales team. So you figured it out. I’ve always heard it takes hiring multiple salespeople before finding that right match.”

That’s another myth business owners get sold, literally. Keep throwing them against the wall until one sticks and a high performance sales team magically evolves out of this trial and error process. Believe me, that’s BS and very expensive. I’ve seen owners come close to losing their businesses trying to grow by hiring salespeople this way.”

“So, how would I know if my business is ready to support a salesperson? I want to grow sales, but I can’t afford hiring someone and them not produce.”

“Bill, if you have twenty minutes, I’ll buy you a coffee and show you what is working for me.”

“I’d prefer a few resumes with that cup of coffee, please.”

“That’s funny, Bill. After I share my thoughts with you, let’s see if you still want those resumes. Three reasons I enjoy sharing what’s worked for me.

  1. First, I believe it will help you achieve your goals;
  2. Second, sales is the most important key for building a sustainable business, but is the least understood by most owners;
  3. And third, every time I share it, I see gaps and opportunities for improving my sales process.”

“Looks like I fit into that least understood category.”

“I was right there with you when I started trying to hire salespeople. While sales is not rocket science it requires serious considerations because it is absolutely the most important component for building a sustainable business. It amazes me how I just thought I’d hire a salesperson, provide product training, give them leads and they would know what to do to produce sales. Or, at the very least I’d figure it out through the process. I never imagined it would cost me as much as it did.”

“I really appreciate what you’re saying, Sam. I thought I’d ask you for a referral and resumes and I’d be on my way. Thanks for taking some time to help me better understand and avoid your mistake.”

“Bill, when we sit down I’ll show you a simple road map for building what’s called a sales ecosystem. The first time I saw it, I realized just how close I came to losing my business. While I could sell, I didn’t know anything about making sales happen through salespeople, much less what it took to develop a successful sales team.”

Come join Sam and Bill at the coffee shop…Sales Ecosystem vs Hire, Hope and Fire


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About the Author: Alan Goldsberry, Managing Partner, ZFactor Group

Alan serves as the Managing Partner of ZFactor Group, LLC and LeaderXY Group, LLC. He also serves as Chairman of Higher State Technology, LLC. Since 1975 Alan has founded, operated, acquired, advised and invested in multiple entrepreneurial ventures. In 1984, he secured the initial funding to start a solid waste collection company in Houston, Texas and with additional rounds of funding, he co-founded Allied Waste Industries, Inc., now Republic Services Inc. After serving as President, VP of Sales and Director, Alan left in 1994 and has been involved as an Investor, Chairman, Director and Advisor to other private and public companies. Read More…