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The Greedy Salesperson

September 1, 2011 — 4 Comments

In my early day’s of sales management one of my colleagues made the statement, “Greed is good.”  The idea being, we want the sales team to want money, which in turn will drive them toward greater profits.  It sounds right when you hear it in passing…I’m convinced it’s dead wrong.

The Good to Great Paradigm

Collins, in his book Good to Great states it this way, “All companies have a culture, some companies have discipline, but few companies have a culture of discipline.  When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy.  When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy.   When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls.  When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.”  And I would add, “When you have disciplined sales leadership, you don’t need greed – in fact it’s destructive to the trusted adviser mindset.”

Money and Character

Sales performance is largely a character issue.  The fear of failure, the fear of man, lack of focus, lack of discipline – lack of endurance.  These all lead to a lack of sales.  Money does not change character.  It has been show that a pay increase sparks excitement, but only for a short period of time.  Once in place, poor character returns, and the same old habits inhibit success.  Over the long haul, more pay will only direct the paid performer to focus in one area or another, not actually improve their performance.

Money and Aptitude

Money may cause someone to try harder for a moment, but skills are not acquired by greater pay, nor  does one suddenly become confident with the skills they have.  Seeking out new skills and practice that makes perfect, takes us right back to character.  People with desire to grow and learn, are people of character.

Greed, a mindset that leads to poverty

Brian Salcido, Albert Gonzales, and others who have taken the shortcut to success have done so out of greed, not character.  Their skills have been acknowledged for what they are; high-tech hackers with bad character and discernment.  Greed leads people to prey on other’s weaknesses rather than working to demonstrate value.  Greed causes some to recruit others, drawing them into deceptive schemes to make a buck. Greed destroys trust, ruins client relations, breeds customer dissatisfaction, and avoids accountability, leadership, and teamwork.  In the end, the greedy one is found out, and while perhaps hired for their demonstration of skills, is now fired for reasons of bad character.

© 2011, David Stelzl