You Aren’t That Bad, and It Isn’t Over

The new cottage industry that has sprung to life on the social channels are self-loathing sales improvement experts.

These folks talk down to you, suggest that you are terrible at selling, and suggest that the vast majority of salespeople can’t sell and have everything backwards. They spend their time publishing the mishaps and poor attempts some salespeople make, suggesting that somehow the poor SDR is to blame for the poor approach and not their manager.

This new crop of commentators on all things sales will tell you that buyers now have all of the power in the relationship between buyer and seller and that the best that you can hope for is mercy when they abuse you, misunderstanding the very statistics they cite as evidence. They also tell you that your job is practically gone now, due to automation.

Let’s set the record straight.

The number of salespeople who make their quota has been relatively stable for a long time. But like all statistics, who knows what makes sense? Were half of those statistics the result of sales leaders and entrepreneurs believing that requiring a 50 percent increase in sales was going to be achieved because they mandated it and called it quota?

The United States economy is some number North of 19.2 billion dollars, and that is the highest number in history. Someone, somewhere, must be selling something with a fair bit of success.

Are there terrible salespeople? Sure there are. But no more as a percentage than terrible doctors, lawyers, tattoo artists, and barbers.

The Internet provides buyers with information. That is a factor when it comes to selling effectively. But the Internet provides you with information, not wisdom. It doesn’t provide you with the experience to understand how to make complicated decisions. The Internet moved information closer to the person who needs it, but it has not eliminated the need for help understanding how to evaluate strategic, expensive, and risky decisions. And it doesn’t tell you anything about who you should trust as a partner, or how well you do working together.

Artificial intelligence and automation are factors when it comes to the future of every job. If a robot can perform complicated surgeries, then nothing is off limits. But not today. And not tomorrow either.

I promise you are not as bad as this new crop of self-loathing sales experts suggest you are. Quite to the contrary, you are far and away better than the generations that have come before, being better trained, better developed, and better coached than salespeople were in the past. And, you are going to be able to make a living selling for a long time into the future, in some form or fashion.

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