I tend to think of salespeople as a pretty confident bunch. It takes a healthy ego and a strong sense of self-worth to go out there every day and ask people to give you money.
So if I were to ask a group of salespeople, “How good are you at your job?”, I’d have expected most to say, “Awesome!”
According to one survey, the answer is more likely to be “pretty good.”
Some key findings from the survey, conducted in 2010:
- Only 27% of respondents felt that they’d “fully mastered” their job.
- Prospecting was the area salespeople felt least mastery over — only 23% indicated “full confidence” in their prospecting skills
- Salespeople also reported that they struggled to create “win-win” collaborations and had trouble in group negotiations (e.g., with multiple decision makers at the table).
Bad news or good news?
Some might see cause for alarm in these statistics: that there’s an epidemic of sniveling self-doubt among the people they’re counting on to drive revenue.
But hey, I’m an optimist.
And based on the thousands of salespeople I’ve talked to over the years, I think my optimism is justified. To me, these findings suggest that salespeople are never satsified with themselves. In my experience, the best of them tend to be the least satisfied. Top Sales Dogs are always looking for more ways to stay ahead of the pack.
And that’s good news for sales managers and sales trainers, I would submit. Conventional wisdom suggests that salespeople tend to be ego-inflated know-it-alls who resist training and coaching. These survey results suggest the opposite — that most salespeople feel a little insecure about their skill levels and are eager to improve them.
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