Over the last 5+ years, I have encountered many people who are salespeople. I have watched them, critiqued them, mentored them, and at times I am one.
As with any job, there are terrific salespeople, terrible salespeople and everything in between. There are also salespeople who can produce numbers but burn a lot of bridges along the way.
Certain industries tend to breed terrible salespeople, and it’s mostly in industries where personal relationships are tapped for one’s financial gain (real estate, insurance, personal finance, accounting, cosmetics, etc.). The problem stems from a breakdown in training, and investing in your business so people don’t have to hit up their friends, family and strangers for business and leads, have a look at the online payslips for employees.
No new hire wants to hear that they need to learn about marketing, sales, advertising, and accounting in order to make a career out of selling insurance. They’d rather be given a some sales training, told to “network” with people and drum up business from their families and friends because it seems easier. The large corporations with these business models know this and play off it in their recruitment and training efforts. When the person finally figures out that the approach they’ve been taught is not sustainable because they can’t have unlimited friends and family members, and strangers get upset when they’re invited to a casual lunch only to encounter a sales pitch, the new hire either figures out what they should have been told up front — train yourself, invest in marketing/lead generation for the long term — or he/she quits. That’s why there is such high turnover in those industries. The corporations treat their employees as a numbers game — 80% turnover is fine if you don’t invest a lot in the employees and make their compensation based on commission after an initial period of stability (eg. salary for 6-12 months while you build your business).
Attraction vs. Promotion and Trust
I’m not saying you can’t sell something to a friend, family member or a stranger. However, treading lightly on those relationships and not interacting with those people for solely for personal gain is a better approach in the long run.