Gekko was good. And he proved that too much of a good thing can sink even the best.
Gekko’s good thing was being ambitious. Nothing wrong with that. But at some point his ambition got hijacked by an intense selfishness. He rose high, then flamed out. We’ve seen similar crash and burns among well known sporting figures.
A Gekko type salesperson might be described as a self starter, internally motivated by whatever, hard working, disciplined and organized, one who sets goals constantly and who won’t take no for an answer. A kind of selling machine.
Are they becoming obsolete in sales?
While we admire the fire and focus, there are lots of things for customers to dislike about these types. Their selfishness. Their lack of team work. Their attitude. Their unwillingness to believe they’re ever wrong. Customers today have more options and information. I think they don’t need to buy from Gekkos as much as they used to.
Is there any hope for today’s Gekkos? It’s hard to rewire the DNA. If you know a Gekko, say a friend of yours or even someone you manage, and you’re motivated to help, consider suggesting this (if you can get him to listen):
Stop being all business. When a salesperson is all business they can come across as self serving. Not exactly customer focused. Encourage the salesperson to incorporate into his or her call planning a way to be “less business”. Since this doesn’t come natural they’ll have to be disciplined to work it in. This is hard but doable because the Gekko is disciplined.
But he also has to be genuine about it. This could be more challenging. He has to replace his selfishness with something equally commanding of his attention. I coached a sales manager recently on how he could manage one of his reps who was “all business”. We concluded that this rep needed to realize that being “less business” didn’t mean he had to change his goal. He needed to change his path to achieving it. If he was truly genuine in executing the approach he could enjoy not just the outcome but the journey too.
Don’t give up on Gekkos if you know one. But time is running out.