Your Workforce: The Separate Reality of Your Sales Reps




  1. There are two kinds of sales representatives: those who actually believe in their product, and the rest of miserable humanity. The former is almost as rare as the unicorn. The latter believes the former is the unicorn. Be actually passionate about your work? What kind of hearsay is this?
  2. There are several reasons why your sales rep might not be eager beaver. He doesn’t actually know the product. He might be an asshole. Or your product might just really be that bad, in which case, you have a bigger problem than just personnel management.
  3. In the separate reality occupied by your sales representatives, opposites do not attract and majority always wins. If you’ve got a fair share of gung-ho, chances are, the rest of your team will be pretty passionate too. Passion is infectious, and the few with antibodies (Iamdeterminedtohatemyjob) will give up and go away quickly enough, leaving the rest of your sales team happily contagious. On the other hand, if your sales office resembles the losing team’s locker room, it’s hard to reverse the tide. Misery (or at least, pessimism) loves company.
  4. Your sales rep spends a lot time feeling torn between feeling proud he’s sold a product with smoke and mirrors, and feeling ashamed he’s sold a product with smoke and mirrors. This is okay. The only people who ever fully come to terms with this are the Madoffs and monks of the world. So say nothing when you hear them mutter Godfather quotes underneath their breath. “It’s just business.” “I’ll make him a deal he can’t refuse.”
  5. Sales is war, and your sales representatives are your front-line warriors. To win a war, sometimes a sales rep has to promise the moon and your first-born child. If you’re an engineer or an account manager, be patient. It’s not like they aren’t aware they are, at some level, unreasonable, but hey, it’s war.
  6. No matter how the marketing team may try to position the product—sleek, yuppie, cool, modern—every sales rep knows sometimes you just need to pull out the Southern slang t and toss in some niece/nephew stories for good measure. Being cutting edge is well and good, but sometimes you need to be cuddly too.
  7. “It’s not a lie, it’s a strategic conversation!”

Want to hear other (anonymous) confessions about your employees? Stay tuned for QuestionPro’s upcoming Workforce product.

Part 2 of the Workforce series, published every Friday.