Sales Tips

Salespeople and Apple Pickers: Their Similarities

It seems that sales managers often find themselves in a similar position as foremen who manage workers that pick apples. While we are speaking about extreme differences in the type of work, the similarities are amazingly frightening. Yes, the majority of salespeople wear very nice clothes, while the fruit pickers wear ragged clothing and rubber boots. Salespeople often carry briefcases and apple pickers carry baskets. The tools are completely different, but the attitudes and thoughts can often run down the same path.

In this article, we will explain the similarities between apple pickers and salespeople. We will look at what goes on in their minds. Both sales managers and foremen in the fruit fields have to discover ways to set their workers back on the straight path. Scroll down and discover these extreme similarities.

The 5 types of salespeople and apple pickers

1: The Scroungers.

Juan started picking apples 13 years ago. When he first started, he was very good at his job. John started selling vacuum cleaners 12 years ago. He often sold 3-4 vacuums every week back then.

Both Juan and John have changed their perspectives in their careers. The amount of apples Juan gets now is about 40% less and the amount of sales John gets is about 40% less. The quality that comes from both Juan and John has dropped substantially. Many of the apples Juan brings are bruised or have worms. A large part of the sales John gets are people with bad credit and they cannot pay for their vacuum cleaners.

Juan and John have become scroungers. Juan just picks apples off the ground and John just goes after vacuum sales from the cheap ad he put in the local free ad network that runs in the low income part of town.

The Fix

Both Juan and John need reminders of their “glory days.” They need to be taught the basics again. Most superiors would have these older workers work closely with a young worker who is following all the rules, and doing their job properly. This idea can create 2 great outcomes.

  1. The older workers will become embarrassed that a young worker is doing better. They will change their ways in a competitive fashion.

  2. The older workers will see that they have the potential to be leaders. They will change their ways to show their true leadership capabilities.

2: The Cherry Pickers

Yes, we are talking about apple pickers here and salespeople. How did this other fruit come into the picture?

In the sales world, we often here the term “cherry picker.” These are salespeople who will only go for sure sales. They do not want to face any rejection. They also only want the high commission sales.

There are apple pickers who do the same. They look for the biggest and best apples and leave the rest behind. Hopefully the scroungers will grab some of those ones.

For these apple pickers, they bring in beautiful apples, but their basket may only be ¼ full. It is the same with cherry picking salespeople, they have huge sales, but 1 sale a month doesn’t cut the mustard.

The Fix

Both fruit foremen and sales managers need to use the same technique. This is when the boss works side by side with the employee. They force them to do it correctly or be prepared to be on the unemployment line. Some will change and stay, and some will go. Let them go, because you do not need the work force adopting their methods.

3: Green (High Pressure)

Buford comes back from picking apples and the basket is 85% full of green apples. While some people like green apples, the best selling apples are red. Green apples get many people sick.

Bryan is a great salesman, but as of late people have been calling in complaint after complaint on him. The sales manager realizes he is using high pressure techniques. Yes, he is getting sales, but the reputation of the company is on the line.

Both Buford and Bryan are using techniques they were not taught. They are crossing barriers with a thought process that they are great at their profession, when they are really hurting their employers.

The Fix

The best method to solve this is through pay docking. These employees are money hungry, or they wouldn’t use these techniques. If you tell Buford you are taking back so much of his apple pay for every green apple, you will not see another green apple in his basket.

Tell Bryan that the complaints are going to cost him a high percentage of every commission. Explain that you know he is using high pressure techniques, and explain to him how it is harming the company’s reputation. The odds say that the complaints will come down substantially, and Bryan will halt his high pressure techniques.

4: Basket Thieves

These are the lowest of the workers. The basket thief in fruit picking comes behind their fellow workers and takes fruit from their baskets when not looking.

The basket thief in sales may be the salesperson who knows a fellow employee has a scheduled appointment with someone Monday at 2 PM. He undercuts the fellow salesperson and goes at Noon and sells the person.

These are basket thieves and there is only one way to deal with them.

The Fix

This is plain and simple: “Here is your final check…YOU ARE FIRED!”

5: The Sales Pickers and the Apple People

These are the employees who go tree to tree picking the fruit that is ripe. They are willing to climb and stoop. They work very hard and attempt to get the fruit that is ready for harvest.

This description is for both apple pickers and sales people.

The Fix

No fix needed for these employees. You may want to give them a raise, because they are doing their jobs correctly.

Final Thoughts

As we can all see, there is not a big difference between fruit pickers and salespeople. They do dress differently, and many probably live quite opposite lifestyles, but when it comes to their work attitudes and thoughts, they can be very similar.

Maybe the best fix in some cases would be sending some of the sales reps out to pick apples and let Juan, Buford and other fruit pickers do the selling.

About the author

As a book author and freelance writer, Greg Boudonck writes on a variety of subjects. His favorite subject is business management. With well over 10 years of professional writing experience, you will find Greg’s material easy to read and understand. Visit Greg’s website: to see more.

Greg Boudonck