More than 35 years ago, the insurance industry started an intensive program within the agencies in order to find a solution to the low turnover problem caused by the expenses and waste. As a result of 35 years of research and millions of dollars spent, turnover was 50% more in the first year and 80% more at the end of the first three years.

So why haven't these turnover rates been achieved in the past? We do not have clear information on this issue, but the reasons include:

* Significant amounts of money paid as salary to new sellers, commissions paid on it, additional expenses etc. like, wasted money paid to sellers even though they could not sell.

* Traumatic expenses resulting from the waste of time, money and effort due to selecting, recruiting, training and supervising people who are not capable of being successful in their jobs.

* Unsuccessful sales, interrupted business, loss of reputation, morale, lost market shares, etc. large expenses incurred by reasons.

So, what is the main reason for this inadequacy, which is costly for companies?
The main reason, according to Robert N. McMurry, is that companies do not know the reasons why one man is able to sell while the other cannot. The vast majority of those in the sales business cannot sell. If the sales efficiency was maximized in America, the important problem of today, the waste of money and labor, would be minimized. Further, a detailed analysis of what actually sells and what needs to be done to increase sales efficiency would have been made. If we want real answers, we need to dive into the mysteries of psychology science and personality analysis and take a closer look at them.

The reason we have been doing seven years of field work in this area is to develop better sales methods. In the rest of the article, we will examine the basic characteristics required for a seller to make successful sales, based on the information we have gained as a result of our research. In addition, the information we obtained from the same research proves that we are moving in the right direction. For detailed explanation, see our article below.

High Empathy and Ego's Role in Ensuring Sales Success

Our basic theory is that a good seller should have at least two key traits: empathy and ego.

The Ability to Feel: Empathy, which is the ability to understand the other person's feelings, is a characteristic that we should have in order to sell products or services to people. A person can understand the other person's emotions even if they do not share the same feelings with him, but a salesman cannot sell unless he empathizes with his customer and receives positive approval from him.

In this context, we can cite anti-aircraft weapons and heat guided missiles as examples for empathy. Using an anti-aircraft gun, the gunner fires his gun, taking into account the deviation caused by the wind. If the shooter misses the target by 3-5 centimeters due to a small calculation error, or if the target avoids falling with a masterful move, the missed shot causes unwanted damage in an area of ​​hundreds of meters.

This is the recipe for a salesman who lacks empathy. The seller does his best to hit the target, that is, to realize the sale, but if the target (customer) stops buying with an unexpected move, the target is missed.

However, heat-guided missiles lock on the temperature of the target engine and the missile will follow and hit the target no matter how much evasive action the target makes.

This is the recipe for an empathetic seller. Understands what the customer wants from the reactions shown by the customer and takes an attitude accordingly. Instead of using rote sales tactics, it acts on the interaction with the customer. Understanding the customer's feelings, the seller either immediately changes tactics or takes a step back and locks on to his goal and realizes the creative adaptations necessary to end the sales process.

The Need for Success: The second feature that a good seller should have is ego. Accordingly, it is not money that pushes the seller to sell. In reality, successful sellers see the sale as a victory and in this way satisfy their egos. They see themselves in the giant mirror when victorious, and like a dwarf when they fail.

Due to the nature of sales, sellers experience more failure than success. Because failure will hurt their self-esteem, they cannot bear to go like this for a long time due to their high egos. Failure creates motivation and triggers greater effort. When success is finally achieved, the expected happens and the ego enjoys reaching its peak once again. The ego is balanced in itself. Instead of being devastated by failure, he is strong enough to be motivated by it, and he seeks ways to get back on his feet.

An empathetic seller, rich in ego, effectively locks on and sells.


A balance must be struck between ego and empathy so that the seller understands the customer's needs while selling with great enthusiasm. Empathy and ego togetherness causes different possibilities to arise. While empathy and ego are high in one seller, they can be both low in another, or empathy may be low in one with low ego and high in the other.

For example:

* Seller with high ego and empathy: These sellers are among the best.

* Salesman with low ego, high empathy: These sellers can be great people, but they cannot make successful sales. These are nice and kind people. Everyone loves them and he seems like one of the best, but he just can't be. Even though people love it, they choose to shop from the other store. He is mostly hired for his good qualifications, but poor sales skills. He gets along well with the customer, understands it and brings it to the purchasing stage, but does not have the inner strength to make the customer take that step and complete the sale. In the last phase of the sale called closure, empathy alone does not work, and in this case, the ego appears as the most necessary element with its powerful effect.

* Salesman with high ego, low empathy: These people can make some sales with the pressure they put on the customer, but this is insufficient. Because of their lack of understanding, they harm the employer because they miss customers.

* Salesman with low ego and empathy: These people should not be in the sales business. However, most of the existing vendors are from this group. If employers have this information, they will not employ, train and support men who do not have the basic dynamics of success.

Reasons for Failure of Tests

Since the most successful vendors are in the minority in number, so far no proper method has been developed that allows us to effectively select such worthy men.

For more than fifty years, psychologists have done significant work in the field of testing. People's personality, behavior, thoughts and abilities have been put under the microscope by the people who apply the tests. There have been some noticeable success in testing for IQ and mechanical skills. Personality tests, which have been carried out by applying projective techniques in recent years, have provided a certain level of progress. Talent consists of personality dynamics rather than simple mechanical skills, and the area we have the least knowledge of so far is ability tests.

 Sales skill is a non-mechanical ability and it is completely human and measurement attempts made in this regard remain inconclusive. While the reasons for failing to create a test of sales ability are numerous, we can cite four main reasons:

1. Tests are tailored to interests, not talent.
Evaluating a person's abilities according to their interests is the biggest reason tests fail. In addition, the tests are created on the basis of successful vendors or businessmen in every field, and since the responses of the people participating in the test are in line with the successful people used to create the test, it is assumed that they will also be successful vendors.

While this assumption is seemingly logical, it is wrong when applied to real life. According to the science of psychology, interests cannot be a marker of abilities. In other words, if a person has the same interests as successful sellers, that doesn't mean they can be a seller too. His willingness to sell is not a sign that he will be a good seller.

2. Tests are available for highly misleading answers.
During an interview, a job applicant tells the employer what he or she wants to hear. Since the job applicant is not stupid, he tries to pretend to be someone he is not really by posing as a good seller. He says that although he likes to sit at home and read a book, he likes to be in a social activity, attends parent-teacher meetings instead of listening to the music he likes, or leads a discussion group instead of scouting. On the Internet, there are guidelines for selling ability tests to get high marks, but a person with average intelligence quickly grasps which answers will get high marks without the need for these guidelines, and answers the test as required. Tests are so useless that even the least talented are capable. In other words, they are not reliable due to their vulnerability to fraud. During the interview, the employer does a much better job than tests that are far from being accurate.

3. In tests, group work is accepted, individual creativity is not.
Recent criticisms of psychological tests are negative. Standard approaches in tests performed in sales or other areas are cited, and the tests are said to judge participants one-sidedly and question how the appropriateness of the answers will be determined. This kind of critical approach is quite appropriate.

Free-spirited, creative minds with original ideas are eliminated from business life because of these tests because they encourage group work. He regards those who are not inclined to group work, those who do not submit to authority and fearlessly oppose their superiors when necessary.

Unfortunately, the cowardly, timid, authority-dependent employees approved by the tests can be good servants or supervisors, or even managers responsible for paperwork, but they can never be a successful vendor.

These tests not only eliminate good sellers, but also top sellers with original ideas, high intelligence and creativity who are considered weak and weird.

While working with one of my clients, we faced a similar situation. A company in Istanbul was looking for a large number of vendors to hire. We passed many tests of applicants. After examining the 20 tests that came to our office, we asked the sales manager what kind of criteria were adhered to when eliminating the male candidates who answered the test, and we learned that the candidates were given a sales ability test that they prepared a few years ago instead of the tests we prepared. Our test was also given to those who got high marks in their test.

We had previously reviewed the company's test and knew that the test measures the ability to speak effectively and to have a degree of intelligence and comprehension. Gentlemen with high ego, scored low in the company's test. For this reason, male candidates with high ego qualities we were looking for were eliminated. Then we advised the sales manager to stop doing the test of their company, that candidates should only look at their presentable and references, and those who passed this stage should give our test. After that, the results were just as we expected and one out of every five male candidates passed the test.

4. Tests focus on some specific characteristics rather than evaluating the candidates as a whole.
Most of the personality and aptitude tests are used to reveal people who have certain characteristics in terms of approach and structure. According to these tests, personality is measured by the coexistence of a bunch of traits. While one is good at social relationships, he may be inadequate in self-confidence and leadership. While someone else is good at self-confidence, they may be lacking in collaboration. For this reason, tests are insufficient to measure personality. According to many modern psychologists, personality is a set of mathematically compartmentalized traits.

Based on this idea, a salesman with the personality traits of a good scout; Although he is very social, leader, friendly, responsible, honest and loyal, he can be a bad seller. When adhering to these dynamics, it cannot be measured whether people are suitable for being a successful seller.

In our research, we focused on some central dynamics that we believe form the basis of sales ability by skipping the whole of personality traits. Accordingly, when we did in-depth research and narrowed down the options in determining the characteristics that a successful seller should have, we largely avoided the fraud in the tests because it made it difficult for the test takers to understand what was essentially sought in the questions they were asked.

Thus, the areas of interest, which are considered as one of the important factors in determining a good seller in the tests, lost their importance significantly. Instead, the focus was on detecting some characteristic features. Rather than relying on how good sellers answer these questions, we prepared the test by creating a model of what features are required to be a good seller and what are the ways to identify those features. We believe that we have developed the right method by working on these dynamics to reveal the successful vendors of the future, doing what has not been done until today.

The importance of the experiences has faded

Most sales managers look for experienced sellers for the product being sold. This is true in a way. It is natural that there are great differences in training and experience between a dealer selling data processing equipment and a dealer selling cars. For this reason, it is obvious that the desired features will be different in the sought-after sellers in both sectors. Whether the candidates meet the requirements of the job can be understood by looking at their CVs, but there is a point that cannot be understood. It is whether the person has basic sales dynamics that enable us to predict whether they will be able to sell successfully regardless of the product they sell.

We have worked on more than 7000 vendors so far. Some of them were selling products, some were selling services. Some of the retailers were selling luxury and some were selling cheap products. The dynamics of success are more or less the same in all options. Sales capability is the basis of sales and is more important than the product sold. Successful sellers develop the qualities required for selling throughout their childhood and adolescence, before they know the product they will sell in the future. When the qualities acquired from childhood are combined with experience and empathy and ego are added to it, we are facing the successful seller of the future.

To be a successful seller, it is not enough just to be experienced. For example, the experienced salesman, who thinks that he will do what nobody can do and create miracles in his new job, constantly crushes his colleagues. Yet such a miracle rarely happens. The seller is what he was before and after. Companies are looking for people who have basic sales skills. Experience is not that important. Somehow it is gained, but real sales ability is not so easily gained.

The role of education in being a good seller.

No matter how big of sales skills people have, none of them can suddenly start selling insurance policies, mutual funds, electronics or automobiles. Each of them must be trained. Companies invest large amounts in order to create effective training programs. People with high sales potential learn to reveal their potential thanks to the training program they receive and become great sellers. Finding A-class vendors without training is very difficult. Even after long and expensive training, employees cannot make much progress if they are placed in the wrong area. In such cases, the educator or even the training program is blamed and in some cases the training programs are withdrawn and the trainers are fired. But most of the time there is no mistake in neither the training program nor the educator. The reason for the failure of training programs is that they have undertaken an impossible task. Even the most skilled jeweler cannot create a diamond from a piece of coal.

Let me give an example like this. About three years ago, an international company invested heavily to launch a great company-wide training program. After two years, the results of the program were evaluated. It was seen that at that time of the year, the expected sales from that sector could not be exceeded. Investments for that training program were completely wasted. Therefore, the training program was terminated. Six months later, we were summoned by management to review the sales team and figure out why the popular training program had failed.

The reason was obvious. In the eighteen-man sales team, there was only one A-class salesman, who had increased their sales significantly after the training program. The two men were B-class salesmen and they also made progress with the training they received. The remaining fifteen men were Class C and D salesmen and they should not have been selling because they did not have the qualities required of a good seller. They were rigid, stubborn, and most importantly, lacking empathy. Such men cannot benefit from any training program. It was useless to try to train the fifteen men.

The necessity of education is indisputable. In today's highly competitive markets, getting employees to their maximum productivity level is paramount. In order to provide effective training for employees, it is necessary to develop the most modern methods, but training only works when the right employees are selected. Just as certain scientific methods are used in the products produced in the factory, scientific methods should be used when choosing a recruit.

The role of vendors in the success of the company is huge. Nowadays, we need more empathetic and ego sellers in order to be able to sell effectively, as they can be addressed to different cultures in the global market. Therefore, we must find, educate and retain good sellers.

The industry should also improve in finding the best sellers. The inaccuracies made so far are the confusion of attention with talent, the frauds in ability tests, the appropriateness instead of creativity, and just some specific features of a man rather than looking at the whole. Remember that if a seller has a high level of empathy and ego, experience is not that important. Therefore, such candidates should not be ignored and should be allowed to be successful sellers. Training only works when the seller has high sales potential. If we want to reduce the cost of high loss of labor, which is one of the most important problems in the industry, we must give due importance to empathy and ego in order to choose better vendors rationally.

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