Friday, December 11, 2009

Anyone Can Do Sales

[ Rant Warning ]

Anyone Can Do Sales

Anyone Can Do Marketing

Anyone Can Do Computer Support

Anyone Can Do Network Engineering

Anyone Can Do Business Coaching

Anyone Can Run a Consulting Business

. . .

Except: They Can't!

I recently did a Spam Show with Vlad Mazek and Monique Rogers (will be posted Here some day). We talked about H.R. - Human Resources and how much everyone hates to do H.R.

The hiring process can really suck up your time. And in the end you might not get the employee you want, need, love, and deserve.

KPEnterprises - Sacramento's premier Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist - recently did a lot of hiring. I can officially say that I hate the H.R. job and have hit the limits of my patience with H.R.

I've seen thousands of resumes from people who aren't remotely qualified to touch a computer. They shouldn't be allowed to USE computers let alone fix them. What are they thinking? I'm too stoopid to know that they are less qualified than my cat? Do they think they'll get hired by accident and then just work out so we'll keep them on?

I honest-to-God don't know what they're thinking.

And we're not alone. If you go to a bunch of networking events (live, in person, in your town) you've seen that 30% of all unemployed professionals have now become "business coaches" of some kind. Life coach. Transcendental success coaches. Whatever.

There are people out there with skills, talent, education, certification, and a process that works. So you can't wake up one day and say "People like to take my advice. I'll become a business coach."

Sales is the same way. Everyone who's ever sold a used shirt at a yard sale thinks he's ripe to be a sales person. No. Sales people have skills, talent, education, certification, and a process that works. You promoted a failing product on LinkedIn? That doesn't make you a sales person.

True Story:

After two phone screenings, a resume review, and a skills matrix evaluation, I brought in a person to be interviewed for sales. I introduced myself, held out my hand, and she said "I don't shake hands."

I don't shake hands.

So now I have to update the advertisement: "Must not exhibit behavior that will lose the sale before you get three feet into a prospect's office."


It's the same story with marketing. Remember those in-person networking events? Well another 30% of the crowd are instant experts in marketing, social media, search engine optimization, and getting your message "out there." Hey, who needs Robin Robins when this unemployed investment banker can give you everything your business needs for $300?

Everyone knows I love Robin, but she's not unique in the universe. But she and a small group of other people have skills, talent, education, certification, and a process that works. They are the pros. Just because someone "figured out" Facebook doesn't make them a marketing pro. Twenty years of working your butt off makes you a pro.

Somehow everything that everyone else does looks easy.

Anyone can do that.

Except they can't.

We complain that "anyone" can get into the consulting business. They just print up a laser perf business card and start fixing things. But it's becoming the same with everything in our society.

"Anyone" can set up a home entertainment center. Well, anyone do a half-assed job of it.

Anyone can set up SBS incorrectly.

Anyone can create crappy ad copy.

Anyone can sell something to someone, even if it's the wrong thing at the wrong price.

Anyone can set up a network the wrong way.

Anyone can design their own server at Dell and end up with 1GB of RAM and a Celeron processor.

Anyone can build their own non-working off site backup strategy.

Anyone can build a desktop in the cloud that performs worse than a P3 with 256 MB of memory.

I don't want "Anyone"! I want someone with skills, talent, education, certification, and a process that works. I want the real thing. I want people and services and tools that work.

Sometimes that costs money. Anyone can fool themselves into thinking they're saving money by hiring a consultant who has never opened the case on a computer. You know who's qualified and who isn't. The hard part is finding clients who know the difference.

I'll be glad when the economy picks up and people go back to doing what they actually have skills, talent, education, and experience in. Insurance sales people should sell insurance. Bankers should bank. Construction workers should construct.

And I should get back to running my businesses and not screening nincompoops who think I'm going to ignore my own ad and hire the first person with a pulse who walks through the door -- even if they don't shake hands!

- - - - -

Warning: Later today I'm doing an interview and then going to lunch with a candidate for the sales position. If he dribbles food all over himself and starts talking about his porn collection, I'm going to stick my fork into his throat!

[ /Rant ]

That felt good.


  1. Did you even continue the interview with the non-handshaker?

  2. Great question, Nick. I was so stunned I didn't know how to relax. I interviewed her for ten minutes (I don't even know why) and sent her on her way.

  3. Well my words would have been something along the lines of...

    "Well thanks for coming... we'll let you know.... BYE!"

    What in heaven's name does someone think when they turn up for a sales job and they won't even shake hands.

    Someone needs a quiet word with themselves!

  4. As I said, I didn't know how react. I must have looked very confused.


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