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So where are all the Elite Sales Performers?

November 21, 2006 in Sales Management

I received yet another call today from a sales manager asking me where he could find a really good sales pefomer for his business. He complained that most of the sales people in his industry had been around the block too many times and no new skills, ideas or talent where being brought into his industry. Same old people, same old things, same old results.

Trouble is he is not alone and the Elite Performers you want are most likely working in other industries or markets and are not even thinking about working for you.

Relying on ‘experience’ as a major determining factor in your sales selection process can severely limit your potential to develop a competitive edge in your industry and find elite sales performers.

I recall another client saying they didn’t want to hire people from their industry because they just weren’t competitive in the current market. They wanted to refresh the gene pool and bring in fit sales people who were not tarnished by the industry and its way of doing things. They knew that in this overcommiditised marketplace that their sales people where their competitive edge. They were on the right track trouble is they didn’t know how to start.

So here are some tips on finding elite sales peformers

  • Review your sales strategy and ask “what qualities (skills, knowledge, competencies, attitudes) do we need now to translate our sales strategy into sales action and results”?
  • Define the Threshhold competencies (i.e. sales and comminication skills, self motivition, social skills, etc.) and more importantly define the Differentiating Competencies (those qualities that separate high achievers from everyone else) that you want and need.
  • Look in industries and other professions where the qualities you want already exist
  • Targets those industries that have the talent pool you want (mixture of headhunting, networking, reading other industry journals, asking clients, suppliers about their experiences with good sales people from other industries, etc.)
  • If advertising write ads that attract and describe the style of person you want; DON’T describe the role
  • Use a structured sales recruitment process that uses a multi assessment competency based approach (The average percent increase in output from improved selection is approximately 2.5 times greater in sales jobs than in low-complexity non-sales jobs.)
  • Build a proper sales induction training process
  • Make sure you have a sales management support system

Defining and finding Elite Sales Performers for your business should be happening on a regular basis and be a part of any sales manager’s role even if you don’ have a vacancy. You are always recruiting sales people.

That client who wanted to refresh the gene pool did look outside and found elite sales peformers. Result: the elites sales performers achieved a sales closing ratio of 4:3 within 2 months. Their learn to earn curve was great and there was a definate ROI.

Hello, World!

November 5, 2006 in Uncategorized

This is my first entry into my blog! Welcome to ‘Sell Like a Woman’.

The creation of this site came about as a result of an idea I had about putting a book together. I am writing a book called “Sell like a woman” which I want to publish in 2007. My aim in writing this book is to highlight the key qualities, approaches and attitudes displayed and used by successful sales women.

To make the book real, accessible and relevant to readers I wanted to profile real women and their stories and then coordinate the findings with the relevant research and see what we come up with. This is so it will not be some ‘technical’ book but a ‘living, inspiring’ book which also happens to be supported scientifically – no tricks or secrets here. I have interviewed over 30 women so far and hope to get around 50 successful sales women to profile here in Australia. (If you would like to recommend anyone let me know asap)

There is an increasing body of research overseas showing that woman are often often outperforming men when it comes to achieving real and sustainable results in sales and effective sustainable client relationships.

As you can understand I would not want to create controversy for controversy’s sake, however, here in Australia the feedback and support for this site and the book has been overwhelming.

The book and this site is not about denigrating men nor is it a feminist manifesto, it is really about drilling down into what makes people successful is sales today.

I want to challenge the way we think about selling and demystify some myths along the way. And perhaps, every now and then, highlight the qualities women bring to the world of business and in particular sales and see what lessons cab ne learned – for men and women alike.

One of my colleagues and friend is a specialist consultant in Retail, Debra Templer, Australian Retail Services and has written a book on ‘What Women Want: How to Market to Women

Her research shows that in Australia at least over 85% of all retail buying decisions are made by women (directly or indirectly). She also confronts the often aggressive manner in which some men try to sell to women and how this just doesn’t work and never really has – so they are losing sales they could otherwise have made if they had chosen a different approach.

Also in a business space where a new product has only 6 months at best to trade on its ‘unique’ features before it is replicated how do we keep selling value? As you said in your book – you sell on substantial relationships based on trust, transparency and doing what you said you would do, etc.

So I hope you can understand that I am working for the good of all and whilst the title might raise an eyebrow or two you must admit people will take notice – all I would like is for people to read the detail and then make up their own mind based on fact not effect.

If it helps I have two young sons so it is not in my interest to go about male bashing.


I started my own business in 1995 after holding senior positions with a leading consultancy and recruitment company. I had become increasingly frustrated at the haphazard approach to improving sales performance. I started my business because I was frustrated at seeing capable people going to waste in a one-size-fits-all approach to sales. Most people’s efforts to increase sales are faddish or haphazard, following no logical process when strategising, selling, training or recruiting. This doesn’t make them money, it costs them money.

I look forward to your feedback and support.

warm regards

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