I’m not one to generalize, but I have to when it comes to junior sales reps: there is a fundamental difference in their attitude about their careers.
I won’t jump on the “sense of entitlement” train that many use to describe this particular generation of professionals – although the frequency with which they fudge on past earnings and walk into an interview with unrealistically high expectations of their professional worth is troublesome.
What I will say is that I consistently see a lack of professionalism in their dealings with employers, colleagues, clients and prospects. There is no diligence in their work habits and, for the most part, they are unwilling to commit to a particular position or company for more than the briefest period of time. There is also a stubborn refusal to seek and take advice from successful sales professionals; advice that would actually help them achieve those unrealistic earnings expectations.
I’m not basing this on the occasional interaction with a bad candidate. I’m basing this on a steady diet of unprofessional voice mail messages, blown-off customer appointments, unexplained no-shows for interviews with Fortune 100 customers, lateral job-hopping, and failures to follow up with customers and prospects.
It all demonstrates a lack of focus and consistency, both of which are critical to success in the world of sales.
Is it a generational difference that can’t be overcome? I don’t think so. It just takes a little give-and-take on both sides. Clean up those voice mail messages, honor your commitments to clients, prospects and employers (including potential employers), and approach your chosen profession with hunger and enthusiasm. In return, we’ll provide you with the feedback, opportunities and tools you need to get where you want to be.
If you can’t do that, find another career. It’s just that simple.