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December 2017
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Are you training your sales people to be sharks?

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year! That’s right, Shark Week, when America celebrates pushy, aggressive salespeople who pounce on unsuspecting customers, take their money, and send them floating downriver before anyone has a chance to figure out what the heck just happened.

Just kidding. Shark Week, courtesy of Discovery Channel, is a celebration of nature’s most perfect killing machine, the shark. We all have our favorite shark species, but let’s be real… without the Great White, there’d be no such thing as Shark Week. Existing for millions of years but transformed into a pop-culture icon by Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws, the Great White shark can weigh almost 3 tons and reach 20 feet when fully grown, sports a giant maw packed with 2-inch-long serrated teeth, and can smell a single drop of blood from miles away. And still most of us would rather deal with that than an obnoxious salesperson.

True story: 15 years ago, when working for a now-defunct company, I attended an in-house sales seminar during which the division manager donned a furry shark costume and ran up and down the aisles growling sales pitches (sharks = sales pirates?). I won’t even tell you how they made us stand on chairs, form fins with our hands, and dance to surf tunes blaring over the PA system, because the emotional scars I bear are still too raw. But, as hokey as that event was, management did at least recognize that aggressive, transactional selling was not helping the organization grow over the long term. Unfortunately for them, the message, “Don’t be a shark,” was a little too simplistic and a came a little too late to save a sinking ship. Not even a bigger boat would have helped.

Nowadays the talk is about talent development. Companies are looking for salespeople whose motivations suit the organization’s mission, vision and values, not people who have made a career of bouncing from one transactional sales role to another. Managers want sales reps who can work as part of a team, build relationships with customers and fit the departmental culture, but it takes time, effort and the right people to build such a sales operation.

The good news is that Caliper offers a plethora of products to help you identify and develop the best available sales talent, from pre-employment assessments to onboarding services to Caliper Analytics™, and we are developing all-new, expanded and scientifically validated Job Models that separate out the personality attributes needed for success in new business acquisition vs. account development vs. technical sales, and more. As always, our expert consultants and advisors are ready to partner with our clients, identify their unique needs, and help determine the best talent-management solutions.

In other words, let Discovery Channel handle all your shark-related needs and leave the talent development consulting in your sales organization to us.

About Caliper - For nearly half a century, Caliper has been helping companies achieve peak performance by advising them on hiring the right people, managing individuals most effectively and developing productive teams. The accuracy, objectivity and depth of our consulting approach enable us to provide solutions that work for over 25,000 companies. To find out more about how Caliper can help you identify and develop people who can lead your organization to peak performance, please visit us at  or call us at 609-524-1200. Email to contact Caliper.