Are Accountants Smarter Than Sales People


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Are accountants smarter than sales people? Surely most think they are. And those IT guys, the HR staff, and virtually anybody who has Manager in their job description.

After all they had to take classes, sit exams, get qualifications. They get paid for what they do, not what they produce.

You sales guys don’t have to do all that. You just call people. You get paid a fortune for getting lucky.

Sales people are regarded by the office guys as arrogant, undisciplined, difficult, hard to please, uncooperative, loners.

Unfairly of course, but it’s hardly the bean counters fault. Sitting in an office making up new rules, going to meetings where they disadvantage the ones who aren’t there. Making sure somebody else gets the blame when stuff goes wrong. That’s what the office types spend their lives doing.

They don’t have to be creative.

Anybody who’s carried a sales territory, a target, a prospect list and a sales forecast knows the truth. Selling is hard work. It takes tenacity, and courage, and thinking outside of the box beancounters spend their lives in.

Sales people have to be creative, all day, everyday. They have to understand personalities, figure out new angles, make moves nobody else recognises. They have to think on the run, responding to events. Most of all they have to live with rejection. 90% of what the sales professional does goes nowhere. And they have to live with the number. Make it and they’re hero for a day. Miss it and they’re zero, forever.

For the guys who spend every day in the maelstrom of selling, confusion and risk and rejection are business as usual.

Sales guys can cope with the beancounters. They don’t have a choice. They can’t fire them, so they have to live with them.

And that’s where sales professionals are smarter than the corporate Me Toos.

There’s a story told to me by Chris, a sales professional of long standing.

He was sitting in the office one day when the branch manager walked into the room.

“So who has sold something today?” the corporate beancounter asked.

Nobody said anything. The room was full of foreboding. This beancounter manager was having a little fun, making the sales team feel small. Everybody studiously examined files on desks.

“Um, well I have” said Chris.

The manager attacked. ‘What’s that?” he asked in his superior manner.

Chris replied “an ERP system for Crofton Pallets”.

The manager looked surprised and questioned “why have you sold that”. “It wasn’t in the forecast“. “You can’t do that”. Why didn’t I know about it?”. “You’ve been around long enough to know you have to forecast deals you think you might win”.

Chris looked a little embarrassed. This idiot was picking the wrong fight, in front of the wrong crowd. It was time to put him in his place.

“Well” replied Chris “I didn’t put it in the sales forecast, because – “

“I didn’t think I was going to win it!”.

Following which the branch manager sloped off, tail between his legs, having no answer.

Everybody now knew he wasn’t as smart as he’d thought.

If this post made you smile you’re familiar with problem and might find more interesting thoughts in the rest of our Sales Stories From The Front Line.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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