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Salespeople are Like Children
By Dave Kurlan, CEO, Objective Management Group

What? Salespeople are like children? Read this article how it argues for this statement.

The best way for me to show you that salespeople are just like children is to share an experience I had yesterday with our 3-year old son. While driving him to school I asked, "Would you like to go shopping with me tonight and pick out a present that you can give to Mommy for Christmas?"

"Oh Yeah!", he replied.

"What do you think she might like?", I asked.

"I think she should like a pocketbook", he said thoughtfully.

I was thinking, "He gets it. He really understands gift giving."

He continued, "Or maybe she should like a train set for me."

So maybe he is just like a salesperson. After all, your salespeople learn that they should ask questions to learn about the needs, issues, applications and problems that their prospects might have. And some of them actually ask one or two of those questions - like they get it - and then they start to present their product, service or company. Just like our son, they can think about the other person for only so long before they revert to thinking about what's important to them or comfortable for them.

How do you break this child-like behavior? Stickers work for our 3-year old. Perhaps the corporate version of stickers would work to change the child-like behavior of your salespeople. The stickers your salespeople will respond to would be spiffs or recognition - anything that would motivate them to behave the way you would prefer. If they ask the right questions, they get rewarded. If they ask enough of the right questions, they get rewarded. If their prospects provide the right answers, they get rewarded. If they perform those behaviors consistently they make more sales, earn more money and they reward themselves.

Salespeople really are like children.

Dave Kurlan is the author of Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know About the Game of Baseball ( ). He is the founder of Objective Management Group, Inc. ( ), the pioneers in sales assessments and he is the CEO of David Kurlan & Associates, Inc. ( ) a leading sales force development firm. Dave can be reached at 800-221-6337 or by email at

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