Sales Reps and the Selective Attention Challenge


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One of the most common issues that needs to be overcome through a sales performance improvement initiative is the subjectivity with which many salespeople pursue business.  If left to their own, many sales reps see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and, frankly, do what they want to do.

This tendency is one of the most important reason to hire the right people (with the relevant personal traits for the job) and provide those people with the structure, processes, and tools to assure that only the positive elements of subjectivity (reading people and situations, instinct (to a degree), and other capabilities one might classify as the “art” aspect of selling) impact their decision-making and how they pursue business. At ESR we know that objectivity is a critical selling capability.

Selective attention is an interesting behavior to study when it comes to salespeople.  Basically, it’s deliberate, focused attention. (Here is a detailed description.) The problem is, as I see it, that many salespeople focus their attention on what they want to see, rather than what’s really there. Some of you may remember that I often use the quote, “We see things not as they are, but as we are.”  Or, the more popular and humorous, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”  That one is attributed to Mark Twain.

So here’s a video for you. I’d like you to watch it, then come back to me with your response to this question:

Do you agree or disagree that selective attention is an issue that must be addressed in a strategic sales effectiveness initiative?

Here is the YouTube link to the video below, in case you’re on an iPhone or iPad:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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