The Darker Side of Sales Organizations: Use and Abuse of Salesperson’s “Sphere of Influence”

Dean Benson
3 min readAug 27


Sales organizations play an essential role in the business world, driving revenue and growth. “Nothing happens until someone sells something” However, not all sales organizations operate ethically or morally. Many companies engage in a disturbing practice: recruiting individuals primarily to tap into their “sphere of influence”, the network of friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances, only to discard them if they fail to meet unrealistic sales targets within a short timeframe. This exploitative approach not only damages the reputation of the industry but also negatively impacts the lives of those caught in its web. Haven’t we all heard, “Bring a list of your friends, family, and acquaintances” when applying for a job? Companies often present an alluring picture of unlimited earning potential, flexible hours, and personal growth opportunities. They target individuals seeking extra income or a change in their career trajectory, promising that their personal network will be their first customers. Friends and family are viewed as low-hanging fruit, creating a false sense of confidence in the recruits.

The Recruitment Dilema:

Recruits are enticed by the idea of leveraging their existing relationships, making it easier for them to secure initial sales. However, what seems like an advantage can quickly turn into a problem. Pressure mounts as recruits are pushed to exhaust their social circles and expand their reach to neighbors and acquaintances.

The focus shifts from building genuine relationships to exploiting connections for the sake of sales quotas. Going from genuine to outright predatory.

The 90/120-Day Ultimatum:

The practice of giving recruits a mere 90 or 120 days to prove themselves is a recipe for disaster. Real relationships take time to cultivate, and a short window to achieve substantial sales is often unrealistic and disheartening. The pressure to meet these aggressive targets can lead to unethical behavior, damaging personal relationships and eroding the trust of friends and family.

Consequences for the Recruits:

When recruits inevitably struggle to meet the very tough sales expectations within the arbitrary 90/120-day timeframe, they face termination. This abrupt abandonment leaves them feeling used, manipulated and disappointed. These individuals are left not only without a job but also with strained relationships and a damaged reputation in their community.

Impact on the Industry:

Most of this practice falls on the insurance industry, but there are many, many other fields that do this too!

The exploitative practices of such sales organizations cast a shadow on the entire industry. Trust is eroded, both within the sales community and among potential customers. Legitimate sales professionals find it harder to build authentic connections and establish their credibility due to the skepticism generated by these immoral practices.

Call for Reform:

It is essential for the sales industry as a whole to address these issues and enforce ethical recruitment and retention practices. Sales organizations should be held accountable for the promises they make to recruits and the treatment of their employees. Training and help with leads and prospecting should be mandatory! Transparent communication about job expectations and the avoidance of predatory recruitment tactics are crucial steps toward reform.

The tale of sales organizations that recruit individuals for the sole purpose of exploiting their personal connections, only to discard them if they fail to perform within 90/120 days, serves as a cautionary tale for both job seekers and the sales industry. Recognizing the harmful impact of these practices on individuals and the industry as a whole is the first step towards fostering ethical and sustainable sales practices that prioritize relationships, integrity, and long-term success. Hope you found this useful!

Dean Benson, “The Dean Of Rock & Roll” The Only Classic Rock Channel!



Dean Benson

Looong time married, 2 daughters, you can't scare me easily. Been through a lot, but boy do I have stories and experience. I even remember some!!!