Salespeople vs. Robots

In my opinion, the best salespeople are living, breathing, creative, independent minded, passionate people. They do not spend their days asking for permission, they get excited – take action and if needed, apologize later. But if their instinct and passion are on target, apologies are rarely needed. When one of these passionate folks joins a new organization, they are rarely thinking “What is my new company going to do for me? Instead their thought is usually “What can I do that shows I will bring something new and better to my new company?

This excitement can often get a little squashed by the early days of online training, meetings and webinars meant to prepare them for their job by getting to know the company’s practices and guidelines. They likely need to be told these things will pass, and they can set the world on fire soon enough with their brilliance. Yes, great sales people have egos. I prefer confidence as the term. How else do you expect them to represent the company, meet new clients and get your current clients to warm up to them? 

When I worked in task force, part of my job involved going thru resumes, meeting prospective hires, and finding out if they would be a good fit as either a Director of Sales or a General Manager. I learned quickly that the best resume did not mean the best candidate. And that it is rare that you are looking for the same traits for both positions. 

A major factor in searching for the right DOS is – what will work well with the GM. Is the GM creative and very involved in Sales? Or do they want a Director of Sales that does not need their day to day direction but instead is a strong partner who has ideas that don’t need supervision or constant reassurance. Personalities of the team in place weigh heavily on if the new partnership will work.

Another big factor is how much the team in place will help the newbie get adjusted? What will their first days look like? There were many times where I may have liked a candidate more than another, but had to recommend the right one for the team and GM.

The important part in placing people in new roles was to make the onboarding match their excitement and learning level. And then getting out of their way. Give them a week or two to dive in, then follow up for questions they may have.

Checking back a month or two later to suggest some additional training or resources that will hone their skills. Ideally their GM or supervisor also gives ways to challenge them or spark their creativity in new directions. I have always thought those annual reviews are less of a “here’s how we think you are doing” and more of a “how can we help you grow and stay passionate”?  

The main thing to remember is that people who are great at Sales – won’t do exactly what you want. They will use their own skills, instincts and connections to clients to reach and surpass their goals. Let them. You can program a robot, but I think they are less fun and as a result – less profitable.💵


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