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Common Questions and Answers
Good salespeople continue to be in demand. Finding a quality person to fill a position is not an easy job. Although many people think they can be effective in sales, the reality is that few can do it well. Even more amazing is how many employers want capable salespeople, but are not willing to compensate them accordingly or invest in their development.
I once read a survey conducted by the employment organization, Manpower. They polled 32,000 employers in 23 countries. The results indicated that the number one position they had trouble filling was not specialized like an engineer or accountant as some would expect, but, rather, sales representatives. Since competition in retail is not going to go away, the struggle to find quality employees is only going to get tougher.
This means that we need to focus even more on the on-going development of salespeople, not just their entry-level training. When I have challenged employers with this information, I am amazed at the kind of response they give me.
Some will comment on how they don’t want to invest in someone who can quit on them at any time. Unfortunately, if this is the belief system held by an employer, there really are far bigger issues.
I don’t believe it is the sole responsibility of the employer to develop the skills of their salespeople. The employee must also continue to grow. Many argue that they do not believe they are paid what they’re worth. Therefore, they question why they should invest in themselves, since the company isn’t paying them enough in the first place. Employers need to recognize that any salesperson with this attitude will never be better than average at best.
Are good salespeople still in demand? Absolutely. The question is, “Are employers willing to find them, compensate them accordingly and continually invest in their development?”
Therefore, the question that must be considered is what is the right level of on-going development a salesperson needs to perform at a high level. Unfortunately, there is no uniform answer, although I would venture to say that there are probably less than 5% of all salespeople receiving the correct amount.
I believe that the answer lies not in the level of time or money spent developing somebody, but on the continuous results that person is achieving. It is important to remember that self-development must be on-going, not just when the person is falling behind. The best time to train is when things are going well. The person will be more relaxed and open to ideas, instead of being in a panic mode of trying to find short-term solutions. In the end, the salesperson and their employer must determine how much continual development is needed.
About the author
Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. He is also author of “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.”