Mediocre Sales People Often Suffer and Fail Because of This

A common trait of the mediocre sales person is that they suffer in silence. They fail to ask the questions of their peers and superiors which will propel them above their current intellectual competence. They develop a complex that if they ask questions they’ll either look stupid or out of their depth. The truth…that’s not the case!


I learnt this difficult lesson when I was back at university. I can remember in my lectures that there were three women whom would continually ask questions of our lecturers. They’d hijack the majority of the lecturers time so that they could fully understand everything they needed to. I can remember at the time thinking that it wasn’t fair on everyone else, but now reflecting on this I realise that they were all go getters. They understood that their route to top grades was to absorb as much as they could from their lecturers and so they dominated as much of their time as they could. The result, well unsurprising these three women achieved the best grades!


Now not everyone is fortunate enough to have such a life lesson early on. I recently worked with a salesman whom hadn’t yet learnt this lesson, despite his 10+ years’ experience in his field. The trouble he had, alike many is that he continued to suffer in silence. He had been in his role for half a decade but had failed to grasp many of the technical concepts, mainly due to the fact that he hadn’t asked questions when he didn’t know the answer.


This trait led to a downward spiral for him. Because his technical proficiency wasn’t where it should be, he often made mistake after mistake, both costing his business capital but also letting down his customers. Moreover his lack of understanding meant that he often over promised and under delivered as well as the fact that his sales were consistently poor as he struggled to steer and lead conversations with buyers.


The point we’re trying to make in this article is to ask questions, if you’re unsure or aren’t skilled in an area then don’t try to muddle through…ask for help!


I love this quote below on this topic:


Even a genius asks questions!

Tupac Shakur


Don’t forget this, we can’t know everything, irrespective of how intelligent you are, there is always more to know and learn. I’m a sales coach, I don’t know everything about sales, I never will. I’m constantly asking sales people what they do, how they do things, what results they’ve seen etc!


He who doesn’t ask questions is no different than he who can’t!

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It is said that we as human beings are genetically 96% the same as a chimpanzee. If both a human and a Chimpanzee were given a task to complete, the chimpanzee would use trial and error and muddle through until the task is solved. It would fail and fail until it eventually succeeds. For the human whom conducts such a task, is he any different than that chimpanzee if he follows the same trial and error approach? We’re supposed to be the most intellectually advanced species on this planet. Should that human being not at this point ask the question, how can I complete this task instead of trial and error? Should he not enquire for advice about a faster and more efficient approach to achieving this task?


Asking questions, whether it be for advice or technical knowledge isn’t cheating. Gaining that insight will get you to the destination you desire much quicker and chances are without much of the failure and hardship you’d experience should you not ask those questions.


So don’t suffer in silence. If you don’t know or don’t understand something then ask the question and then learn it. If you’re in an environment or workplace whereby you feel you can’t ask questions then there’s a problem. If that’s the case then change that fact, even if it means moving elsewhere. If you can’t ask questions then you can’t improve, and therefore can’t one day become the sales icon of your business or industry.

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