9 Things Terribly Wrong With Sales Today

Sales is suffering from 9 brutal ills:

  • The Bro Culture,
  • Lack of Coaching
  • Too Product-Centric
  • Not enough sales people understand the game/rules of sales
  • Too much reliance on selling tools.
  • Not enough training in the industry/space
  • Too much activity management
  • Little respect for prospects and buyers time
  • Not enough humility

Sales is the greatest profession in the world in my opinion. Sales makes the world go round. Yeah, it’s a cheezy saying but it’s accurate: Nothing happens until something gets sold. It’s this unique element that I love about selling and the sales world.

Another word for selling is influence and that’s what I find so powerful about sales. When people are selling, they are influencing, influencing outcomes. No matter what the product, situation, or environment, if you can influence an outcome, you have power, prestige and most importantly the ability to help people.

Sales is a helping profession and when done right sales people should be the most sought after, helpful, and desirable people on the planet, but unfortunately, we’re not. The stereotype of sales people being pushy, annoying, selfish, dishonest, etc. is all too often true.

The issues in sales that drive the negative stereo type are ubiquitous, and effect, in one way or another, every sales organization in the country, if not the world.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down what’s wrong with sales today, why these issues exist and how to avoid them. As stewards of the sales profession, we owe it to the industry to behave differently and to weild the great power of influence in a positive, customer-focused, way, not in a self-serving, money-grubbing way.

The Bro Culture:

The “Bro” culture has to go. Enough is enough. I’m guilty of it too. I played sports, I’m super competitive, I can be overly aggressive, so I get it, but it’s time to change. The athlete-centric, male-centric, overly aggressive, in your face, what have you done for me lately, super competitive, sales culture has got to go. It’s not the 80’s any longer. We’re not neanderthals. Brute force, rough, overtly masculine, hard driving, rigid, cutthroat, Glengarry Glen Ross selling organizations need to cease and give way to more sophisticated selling methods and organizations.

Selling is not a contact sport. It’s about helping. It’s about influencing. It’s about assisting buyers in solving business problems and needs. It’s about understanding your buyers current world and the issues and challenges they are facing. It’s not about leader boards. It’s not about exceeding quota by selling unnecessary upgrades or products. Sales isn’t about riding sales people like oxen, getting every last sale out of them or creating a dog eat dog environment. It’s about cultivating and developing sophisticated consultants, who are viewed as valuable assets by your buyers, for their expertise, knowledge, creativity, support, and commitment.

It’s time we make the transition to become more sophisticated and complete selling organizations. It’s time we put the boiler room, hyper-competitive, old school bro sales culture to bed. It’s time we focus more on the customer then on quota. It’s time we stop pushing for deals to close at the end of the month because you need to make your number. It’s time we stop patting people on the back because they upsold a useless add on. It’s time we stop propagating the stereotype that sales people are extroverts. It’s time we stop viewing athletes as the ideal sales candidate. It’s time we move into the 21st century of sales and end the bro culture. It’s just time!

Keenan