The 2-4-6-8 Problem
Do you manage a group of sales guys?
Chances are that you know what the 2-4-6-8 problem is, but you may be scratching your head trying to figure out if their is a solution. The truth of the matter is that the 2,4,6,8 problem is most likely un-solvable by you as a manager for an individual and impossible for you to solve in a group setting.
So save yourself a giant headache that has been hurting you for a while and quit trying to solve it – just build a system so that the sales person doesn’t even matter to your overall success. A sales *machine* if you will.
The 2-4-6-8 Problem: What Is It?
The magic number for any sales guy who hasn’t made a small fortune yet is $100,000. As in $100,000 per year. As in the first thing they will ask themselves when evaluating a job is “can I make $100,000 per year”. Forget about whether or not the opportunity you have for them will actually enable them to make $100,000 per year, just know that coming into an opportunity, the question that they are asking (even if they aren’t asking it) is can I make $100,000 per year.
And almost all the sales jobs I know, the answer is that they can make $100,000 a year, but most of the other sales people working in that same job just don’t.
Because of the 2/4/6/8 problem.
What Is The 2/4/6/8 Problem?
If you are a single male (the most common profile for a 100% true blue entry level sales person), your total monthly bills add up to about $2k/month. You may not realize it yet, but that is the primary reason that you are always looking for “something with a base” so that you can at least make enough to pay your car insurance and rent. You will do pretty much anything as long as you make $2k/month.
If you make $4k in a month, you start feeling good about life. You go out more on weekends and possibly even start paying for your girlfriends dinner. You are eyeballing that new Audi A4 or Infinity G35 rollin’ on 20’s.
If you make $6k in a month, you roll into the dealer that you have been scoping out since you started making $4k/month in your broken down Civic from college and roll out in a new G35.
If you make $8k in a month, you pretty much quit working. Maybe only for a month, maybe for a quarter — maybe forever. No matter the time period, the point is that the nature of the sales animal (note: I didn’t say “normal human”) is that you just quit working. At some point you will either move on, get fired or quit and end up back at the beginning of the 2/4/6/8 problem again.
Rinse and repeat this cycle for 20-30 years and you have the career cycle of far too many sales people.
Who cares. I am not telling you that this is right or wrong, true or false. I am just saying that it is.
And I haven’t met a business owner or a manager of a large number of highly commissioned sales people, who disagrees that the 2/4/6/8 problem just is.
But I have met thousands of sales people who do.