Sales Myth Episode 2: Selling Ice to Eskimos

Another sales myth that is the most popular is that if you can sell, you can sell anything.

And a lovely cliché of selling ice to Eskimos. That is also not true.

There are several types of sales people and they perform better if they stick to their marketplace. So, there are people that can generate new business, and we often call them hunters and they have a series of different formal business names. And then, there are those people who can nurture and grow an existing client base, we call them account managers and farmers. They are not the same people.

If you move people between the two jobs, they will fail. The hunters who are agile, adaptive, fluid, capable of dealing with the unknown and that ultimately means people that are new to the business, new to your client base, will get bored and stroppy and lazy if you make them step on and farm. They won’t object though. They’ll agree happily because farming is easier, or it is to them anyway. So they’ll happily say, “Sure. I’ll take over the client base and the prestige of being the account executive,” but they would do a bad job for you.

On the other hand, the strategic long-term precise people who are really good account managers who can sit themselves down and really think about what they need to say and why and how, and prepare the tools that they’re trained, who don’t need to improvise and don’t like doing it. They cannot ___. Not just won’t they willing, they actually can’t. The different mentality. It’s a different skill sets. So, you will waste their skill and capacity if you make them go out and do it. Lots of businesses, when they’re short of cash just get everyone on the phone, let’s all make cold calls including, yes. I’m the managing director. I will sit down because I’m brave and I will do it with you.

Five percent of people are able to do that. Don’t torture and discourage and demoralize your staff by making them do something that they really cannot. It’s not about their willingness. It’s not about them being being diligent.

Find out more by contacting Maya.

Watch Part 3: Answering whether there’s only ONE type of Salesperson?

Are your staff too scared to cold call?


Are your staff scared to cold call?

“Always do the things you fear the most. Courage is an acquired taste, like caviar.”
– Erica Jong

Erica Jong is an American author who wrote about fear, usually her own, and how she managed her life despite those feelings. Her quote is great advice for anyone feeling the grip of fear.

Fear is very a common human reaction and an important part of our survival processes. Fear helps us avoid situations that are dangerous and which could result in our death. However not all things that are scary will actually lead to physical death and we do need strategies to continue to engage in our lives despite our natural fear reaction.
The thing that sales people find the scariest is usually prospecting and specifically, cold calling. Going into the unknown and facing the risk of rejection (i.e attack) will paralyze the average sales person into a state of non action, or freezing, or compulsive business where they do not have the time to do any selling yet feel productive as they are working hard. It is a very small percentage of people who can face their fear and fight on despite it.

When I write about cold calling in this blog it seems like such a trivial thing, but the effect on most of us when confronted with the physical reality of the phone or being on the street door knocking is real and usually very daunting. Our mental danger radar does not distinguish the risk of verbal attack from the physical, so our fear response can be just as strong when the risk is verbal humiliation rather than actual physical harm. To our brain, the risk and thus the fear response, is the same no matter what the nature or source of the attack.

I know from the 20,000+ candidates we have tested using our sales IQ system, Sales Inventory Profile or SIP, that less than 5% of the general population are able to cold call consistently. Consistently, meaning for several hours every day, week in and week out for years.

Another 10% will, as Erica suggests, come to be able to tolerate it given time to acclimatize themselves to the process and with some support from their organization.

Most people are too scared to prospect consistently

So how do you find these precious 15% who can become new business sales people?

No longer do you need to have literally 100’s of people coming through your business to find the very few who don’t run out screaming or work themselves to a standstill or get sick. Using the traditional mass employment i.e hope-some-will-survive mentality within the recruitment system, the cost to the business in direct resources wasted is bad enough. But when you think of the effect on your reputation of having the wrong person on the job representing the company and the revenue not earned while we are distracted with the wrong people, the cost is catastrophic.

Then we often overlook the cost of the subtle energy drain on the other staff as they watch the carnage from the safety of their administrative roles, thinking ‘who would want to do that?’ Ultimately, the morale across the entire business is subdued by the revolving door recruitment strategy for sales staff.

It does NOT have to be that way.

It is possible to recruit from only those people who have the core capacity and inner fortitude to sell and specifically cold call, train them well so they are effective quickly, support them effectively over time and have a sales team that is stable, successful and making themselves and you lots of money. It is also possible to build a team that is admired by the rest of the organization..

Am I dreaming?

No! We have been doing just that since 2008 in Australia and New Zealand. Just ask any of my clients (see our testimonials page which contains a selection of our 100+ client base) how effective it is to accurately identify sales capacity in candidates before they even interview them so that at the recruitment interview they are focused on assessing the candidate on product and cultural fit to their business and/or the market place.

If you have had enough of the revolving door system of failed recruiting lets organize a 20 minute Skype demonstration of our sales IQ system. The system has been used and tested across many industries and will work in any country where English is the primary language.

How to start?
Leave a comment on this blog or send an email to with your own contact details and one of our staff will call you to organize a time that best suits you.

More on cold calling? Read on why cold calling is still vital in sales

Why do candidates with better selling profiles on SIP have so many jobs?

SIPIf you are hiring New Business Sales staff it is likely to be a good sign. It indicates an inner strength or resilience on the part of the candidate. We cannot predict why these people chose each of their previous jobs, but we can deduce that there has been something missing or wrong with the fit each time to result in the continual movement.

So how can that be a good sign?

Faced with rejection or the disappointment of losing their job, these people have had the resilience to keep going. They do not ‘make do’ with a bad fit and try to fit in where they do not naturally fit in. I hear you say they didn’t need to make do, they were fired! Yes, but even so, the result is the same.  They were unable to make themselves fit somewhere they did not well enough to stay employed.

In sales, there are plenty of people who don’t fit well enough but we have decided to keep them as it is better than not having any sales staff or face the endless revolving door of recruitment.

If you are reading a candidate’s résumé and the type of jobs they have already held is always changing it indicates that they don’t know what sort of job they are best suited to.

With SIP we know how well suited to our role they will be, even if they don’t. The fact that they are willing to try different job types indicates an ability to deal with the unknown.

People who have succeeded at selling, especially new business selling, have come from a wide range of previous job types. All the research conducted by SIP on over 25,000 individuals shows no correlation with education, age, industry (that is product type) and their SIP score, or sales IQ, for new business sales. Yet there is a direct correlation between success in the new business roles and the SIP scores of those tested who are already employed in these roles.

Here are some more related articles:

Why a Receptionist at a Real Estate office is a gun sales person

What’s the number one issue facing real estate business owners?

BDMs vs. Account Managers 


Why a Receptionist for a Sales Organisation Needs to be a Gun Sales Person

superhero receptionistWe have tested over 400 receptionists through all the businesses we have worked with and the profiles of the ones the business owners tell us are very good, are identical to the sales people.

Yes, equal to the BETTER sales people, especially in specialist sales organisations like Real Estate offices. You’re surprised that this role is so important to your business achieving new sales? I’m not.

One of the characteristics with new business or ‘hunter’ style sales people is they are not focused on details as they are often working too quickly. The upside of that is they are willing to handle a million balls at once, which is the first reason you need a hunter at reception. That is, they don’t handle a lot of detail as a normal part of their work, but in a busy office they need to be good with volume and not get flustered.

The second reason is the reception deals with the most important people, your public, often in times of crisis and confusion and if they cannot calm, or stall, an unhappy caller before they are dealt with more fully, the caller will turn their distress at your business and most often never call back. You get one chance at the really important issues to make a difference and the front desk is the first person the public will deal with so they can make a huge difference in supporting your prospects and  clients before they are heard by the ultimate representative.

The third reason is that reception is the best way to give someone too young to sell or unable to work full-time a chance to learn the whole business while you wait for them to be ready to sell. Given how hard it is to find quality sales staff at any level why waste this role on someone who does not aspire to a career path inside your business.

If you are interested in a simpler more accurate way of finding sales staff who can sell, whether for reception, a listing agent or a BDM for new managements contact me at or call now on 0407 005 290

Wanting to grow your sales team? Have you considered growing your talent within?