One in Twelve

Someone once said to us, “Only 1 in 12 salespeople has any business being in sales.”

At first glance, that’s a pretty cynical view of sales professionals. But how professional are most salespeople, really?

Think about all the salespeople you encounter in your life, and not just the ones in obvious selling situations: retail, food service, B2B encounters, cold callers, teams of sales rep/manager/sales engineer presenting in your conference room.

How many truly impressed you, and how many completely missed the basic blocking and tackling of a great sales encounter, like: not knowing their own product well enough to answer your questions, sticking to a canned script with no attempt to tailor their pitch to your specific needs, or not asking questions to find out what those needs were?

Sticking with the “1 in 12” theory for a moment, how about your own team? How many sales hires have you made that amounted to a swing and a miss?

Perhaps a little cynicism is in order. Next time you’re interviewing or hiring, do so with the mindset that only 1 in 12 belongs in the business. Start out skeptical. Be selective.

And assume they’re one of the other 11 until they prove otherwise.