I always smile when I talk to an ag retailer, seed company, grain or livestock group, or machinery company when I ask them how they sell. They say "On relationships." I agree people generally don't buy from people they don't like. But if you sell on relationships, why do you have pricing problems, delays in getting their order?

The table I have put together below is from our assessment work with companies like yours. It is sorted by the 5 ranges of Sales Percentile with the weakest salespeople in the percentile of 25 or below, and the top 5% in the elite group, with scores of 95 or better.

The second column shows the percentages of those who DO NOT need to be liked arranged by Sales Percentile. You'll notice that those scores correlate perfectly with the Sales Percentile, just as they did in this study of the Correlation Between Sales Motivation and Effectiveness. With the exception of the extrovert column, ALL of the scores in ALL of the columns correlate perfectly with Sales Percentile.

I mined the data on 5 of the key attributes of the Relationship Building Competency and laid them out by Sales Percentile in order to compare them to the findings of Not Needing to be Liked.

There are some striking discoveries here, including the fact that the percentage of extroverts positively correlates to sales effectiveness. In addition, while you can't see it in the table, 78% of the extroverts need to be liked.

Look at the highlighted data for Not Needing to be Liked, Relationship Based Sales Process and Relationships are Key Factors in Closing Business. While 86% of the weakest salespeople DO need to be liked, only 42% of them have a relationship-based sales process and some believe that the relationship is the key factor. Do you see it? Despite NEEDING to be liked, most of them lack the conscious awareness of whether or not they are successfully building a relationship during the sales process. That is one of the key reasons that the weakest group of salespeople are so incredibly ineffective. Some in this group are attention seekers while some are so timid that if you blew them a kiss they would tumble over. Either way, this is a group that you shouldn't waste time coaching, shouldn't attempt to raise their expectations, and ultimately, shouldn't retain. Replace these salespeople and use OMG's accurate, predictive, customizable, sales-specific assessment tool.

Conversely, we see that two thirds of the top group, where only 11% need to be liked, DO have a relationship based sales process while only 1% believe the relationship is a key factor to closing the business. Do you see it? They DON'T NEED to be liked but are conscious of the importance of developing a relationship during the sales process.  They know how (mechanical) but don't need to (emotional).

These are just some of the insights that prove and disprove theories while shedding light on the reasons for various sales effectiveness and performance.