No, I'm not seriously expecting you to go out and ask that question of the next person you interview for a sales or recruitment role, but hear me out on my logic.
I've spent a decade and a half interviewing candidates for all types of positions but I guess the ones I have cared about the most have been the candidates I interviewed to come work with me. When I am hiring recruiters, I make sure to look for proven sales experience or capability as it's an essential part of the job, whether you're an agency recruiter or an in-house corporate recruiter. Let's face it, we all sell. Sometimes its the role itself, most times its the company you work for or are representing. We sell the salary, we sell the benefits, we sell the culture, heck we even sell ourselves as being a trusted advisor. But how can we truly tell whether someone is going to make a great sales person, and perhaps more importantly, how can we assess what type of sales role are they best at. My theory is that if we could only ask them how many people they have slept with, we'd nail it. One question and we'd instantly be able to determine what kind of role they would be suitable.
The studs/ tramps/ players/ "free spirits":
100. I've thrown it out there, a number, a baseline. If you've slept with over 100 people, you're my business development candidates. You live for the hunt, the chase. You dream of "sealing the deal" and you're obsessed with closing the next deal, always. In your personal life, you prey on the opposite sex (or same sex depending on your leaning) and you know every play in the book to try to get your prey into bed. Once you've closed, you immediately want to move on to the next deal. You have zero interest in spending any more time on the "account" you just closed. It's boring. You've proved you could do it; time to find a new challenge to overcome. For the same reasons that you're awful at relationships, you would be awful at managing an account over time. You'd avoid returning calls and the customer who loved you so much when they signed on the dotted line would quickly grow to loathe you with as much passion. But when I want volume, you're my guy/ gal!
The "cuddlers"/ monogamists/ stalkers:
20. Another number. Arbitrary but depending on your age, I'd say an average number of partners to have had in one's life. Maybe you've had just 1, maybe you're at 10; what I'm saying is that 20 is the high-end of this scale. You believe in true love, your'e still with your high school sweetheart or you had fun in your late teens/ early twenties but never "played the field" in the truest sense, you kissed a few frogs but soon found your prince/ princess. You're my account manager. You're great at relationships. You don't walk away when times get tough; you dig in, confront the problems and make it work. If necessary, you'll go to counseling. You don't give up easily on a good thing and you've little interest in going out there and finding a new account once you've found a good thing. In fact, most importantly, you recognise a good thing when you have it. You hold onto it and devote time every day to making it work. I want you to look after my biggest clients. They'll love you! You'll send them birthday cards for their kids, you'll bring them out for Christmas drinks and remember to send them tickets when their favorite team is playing at home. You'll return every call and sweat every last penny out of your partner..sorry, I meant client. However, if I was to ask you to make a cold call, you'd likely die of a heart attach. You'd make every excuse not to. BD doesn't work, you'd tell me. Need to set me up with one of your friends however, and you'd have no problems. You get referals from the great accounts you manage. You're rock solid! Hiring managers be warned though, you don't want to fall out with a great account manager. They will hunt you down and hold a grudge forever!
When I first suggested writing this post to my Facebook network a few weeks I received tons of great (and hilariously creative) suggestions. What about the virgins? What about people who've slept with 40-60 people? What about the monogamists who are inundated with offers yet resist all in the name of staying faithful? What about the poor folk who dream of sleeping around but can't find a date? I'd love your thoughts. After all, we need to smile; Christmas is only 2 weeks away!