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salespersonAs we approach the mother of all month ends, it reminds me of those slog overs in cricket. The last 6 balls and you need 10 runs to win. I see the same with the Sales team of any organization. They are usually competitive, passionate and driven taking on the challenge of tough markets and beating their competition. 

Yet most HR professionals will agree with me that hiring Sales staff is like finding a groom in your 30s, the ones you want are already taken and the ones who are pursuing you are irrelevant.

I was recently interviewing one of my Bank’s sales staff who was interested in moving to an operations role. When asked her the reason, she said it’s because I want to do a banking job. My eyes dilated by a few cms and so did my co-panelist’s. Are you doing banking only when you are dealing with documents and approving notes? Why is there no pride in acquiring customers?

Marketing ≠ Sales

Business without sales is not a reality, then why do Business Schools run without a Sales specialization. I would be most interested in hiring students who have done their Masters in Sales. They will of course be taught marketing, but they will come with clear focus and skills to SELL. Invariably B Schools tend to undermine the Sales function. It remains a small section of the otherwise very elaborate curriculum in marketing. Thus students graduate thinking marketing is more their league than Sales.

I can’t do sales because I can’t lie

It’s a misconception that sales can be done only if you are pushy. Sales can be done by Introverts and Extroverts. Introverts bring in a very important skill to the sales process. They listen. They have the ability to truly probe and understand the real need of the customer. And if you got that right, you can sell.

I want a stable job

Even in times of recession, most organizations continue to hire and grow their front-line sales staff. No job comes with a security, but atleast this one comes with several opportunities.

You are fired

We recently did a deep-dive into analyzing our high performing sales staff. Of course the best were those that had stayed with us the longest. When we explored further, we realized that the time when they were hired, we were selling a product that was relatively easy and didn’t really require outstanding selling skills. Thus they got enough time to hone their skills and now have become experts at selling. Unfortunately today organizations don’t have the time. They want their men to board fast-moving trains, the ones that make it are heroes and the rest are simply left behind.

So sales is not for the faint hearted.. It’s a job for the bold, for the ones who are passionate, for those who don’t worry about hiding their failures and for those who want a challenge. My blog post is dedicated to all those who chose to be in Sales… A big salute. The irony though is that its March end and I know they aren’t reading a blog.