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Where Have all the Talented Salespeople Gone?

The old Wendy’s commercial — yes, I’m dating myself — featured Clara Peller asking the question, “Where’s the beef?”

The commercial has begun to hit home with too many sales teams.  Rather than “where’s the beef,” I would change it to, “Where’s the salesperson?”  Specifically, “Why is it so hard to find talented salespeople?”

Salespeople are easy to find if your definition is you merely want a warm body.

If, on the other hand, you want a salesperson who is going to make a difference, then you’re going to find yourself searching for a long time.

I base this on the number of phone calls and emails I’ve received the last few months from sales managers and other senior people looking for sales talent.

One of the reasons I believe for the shortage is due to the excess of salespeople that existed up until a few years ago and more importantly the shift in the selling process.

Up until 5 years ago, many salespeople could rely on the phone ringing to generate the sales they needed.   Business was so good, it didn’t require true selling.

Today it’s a whole new ballgame.  The economy is coming back but along with it so has the level of competition.   Combine this with the continued aging/retirement of veteran salespeople, and we are on the verge of a perfect storm.

Big reason I’m writing this is to increase awareness on two fronts.

First, I encourage people who are looking for a career to look at sales.   Second, I advise companies to be wiling to invest in new salespeople.

The era of being able to find quality talent that can be poached from another company is coming to an end.  It’s time for organizations to realize the way you create a high performing sales team is by growing it yourself.

What it comes down to is the need to hire based on attitude and be willing to train the skills necessary to become a top-performing salesperson.  And if you are in the position of having to hire salespeople, I highly recommend Lee Salz’s book “Hire Right, Higher Profits.

Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

Click on the below book cover for more info on boosting your profits!

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2 thoughts on “Where Have all the Talented Salespeople Gone?”

  1. I noticed the decline when I ran telemarketing rooms. That goes back further than you suggest.

    1st, the “idea” of straight commission began scaring the hell out of people rather than them seeing how they could benefit by not having a limit on what they could make.

    Then, even min wage type phone people who were given incentives/bonuses for better performance, seemed to have no desire to work harder for the bonuses.

    I’ve been a salesman since I was 16 and I’m 55 now. I would rather have straight commission than be paid any other way.

    Just don’t understand why the decline in motivation.

  2. I have been in sales for 25 years but since I didn’t finish college most companies will not take a chance on me!
    I know I can out sell most if not all college graduates!

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