Talented, motivated and loyal, that is how I want my sales people

“William Carr, Executive Searchers“

“William, hi, Gerald Orwell, Software Generation.”

“Good to hear from you, Gerald. What can we do for you?”

“Hey Bill, I need at least 5 new sales people.”

“Five, Gerald. That sounds promising. Software Generation is doing well. Congratulations! The market is picking up again. Defnitely good for a great software integration company like Software Generation.”


“Things must be going well if you need five sales guys or gals. Hahaha!”


“You don’t sound very enthusiastic, Gerald.”


“Tell me, what’s going on. You know that we guarantee absolute confidentiality.”

“Do you know why I need five new sales profiles?”

“Tell me.”

“Because the previous ones have all run away.”

“Right, and why have these people all gone, Gerald?  You’re not paying enough?”

“They can’t handle the pressure, William. They all want a BMW 5 under their fat back sides, the latest Samsung Galaxy in their hands, and a big salary, but working hard and prospecting and achieving results, that is too much for these primadonna’s. You know what they’re like, anyway. Think only of money, and if they do not make it with us, then they go to another company messing up the business there as well. I’m sick and tired of it, Bill.”

“A good, talented, loyal and motivated sales person is indeed a rarity, Gerald. But what do they say when they submit their resignation? Do you have an exit interview with your people when they leave the company? What do you do to keep them?”

“They complain about the lack of strategy, lack of support on problems in delivery. Nagging, really. It is the fault of the management and delivery that they can’t sell. Find me five good sales people, guys who sell and don’t moan. What did you just call them?”

“Talented, loyal and motivated.”

“And hard workers. No luxury horses.”

“Those delivery issues, Gerald. I hear it all the time. It’s not easy to properly align sales and delivery with each other.’

“Perfection does not exist in ICT. Everyone knows that. Excuses. A seller must sell. Full stop.”

“I’m going to a ask you direct question, Gerald. Could it be that they are right about their complaints?”

“What do you mean?”

“Yeah, well, you see, what if I find five new sales people and they run into the same problems.”

“What are you saying?”

“It might happen that the new sales people also leave after a while.”

“A devious way of saying it’s all my fault?”

“Well, there are obvious structural problems, and I do not know whether the recruitment of new sales will solve those problems. More fundamental issues, maybe.”

“You’re refusing the assignment? I thought you’d be delighted with such a search!”

“I am pleased with the confidence you place in us, Gerald. But I think you have to solve a few other problems first. You need to clearly define your portfolio strategy, put your delivery organization straight. You will not be the first CEO who has internal challenges to solve before he gets his sales team on track.”

“A headhunter who lectures me.”

“A headhunter who means well with you and your company , Gerald.”

“What do you suggest? You are going to sell me some business process reengineering consultants. Consultants, a species even worse than sales.”

“Your kindness and love for human kind has clearly improved, Gerald.”

“Yes, Bill, I’m at the end of my wits. I feel that I’m all alone.”

“It’s a quarter past twelve, Gerald. I suggest we have  lunch together. We’ll map your problems quietly together, and then we’ll see how we can solve them.”

“OK. But you pay, huh?”

“Of course.”

“Where are we going?”

“Da Tonio?”

“He has an excellent vitello tonato. I choose the wine.”

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