Given a choice between the following two salespeople, who would you rather have working for you?
Bob: On the positive side he is extremely nice, friendly, knowledgable, courteous, reserved, and respectful. On the negative side, he can't ask difficult questions, won't push back, challenge, do or say anything to differentiate himself or your company.
Mary: On the positive side she is very assertive, will push back, challenge, ask tough questions, have the conversation that nobody else will have, won't stand for any crap, and is a very strong closer. On the negative side she doesn't come accross as sweet and warm, is sometimes too impatient to be courteous, and can rub people the wrong way.
Of course, as is the trend in the automobile industry these days, there is a hybrid, the best of both worlds, with all the charm of Bob and all the resolve of Mary. But my opening question didn't include the 'A' player as one of the choices. If you had to choose Bob or Mary, who would you select?
I would choose Mary. It is easier to take a naturally strong salesperson and smooth out the rough side, than take a very nice salesperson and give them some nerve.