I just finished reading Ted Kopel's new book, Lights Out: A Cyber Attack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath. The book was incredibly well researched and written, but more than that, it scared the crap out of me! While Kopel asked and thoroughly answered all the questions, it left me with a few questions that I just couldn't answer, and that created a sense of urgency in me. As you know, urgency leads to action and that brings us to our topic. Who are Preppers and what do they share with Elite Salespeople?
Preppers are those among us who are prepared to sustain themselves in the event of a natural or unnatural disaster. They have food and water supplies to sustain them for an extended period of time, may have a local or remote shelter, self-sustaining utilities, and could even be armed. In the context of the book, they are fully prepared and committed to survive an attack on our electrical grid, water supply, transportation system, nuclear attack or other disaster, as well as protect their home and family from looters and thugs.
One of the distinguishing qualities of elite salespeople is that they are fully prepared and committed to survive any attack against their company, product, offering, proposal, solution, price or existing customer. If you are a fan of the Netflix series House of Cards, then you will see those same qualities in the President and First Lady, Frank and Claire Underwood. While you should find them to be ruthless, manipulative, corrupt and unethical, they always seem to find a way to survive each and every attack against them.
Salespeople cannot be any of those things, and elite salespeople manage to fend off and survive attacks while selling with integrity. They control their emotions, push back gently but with confidence, ask questions to uncover the truth, easily talk about money, are rejection proof, don't empathize with stalls, put-offs, excuses or bluffs, and have very healthy skepticism. Additionally, they have tremendous listening and questioning skills, a great sense of timing, follow a proven and effective sales process, and continually improve, practice and refine their selling skills.
You can find elite salespeople like that in the same way that you find mediocre salespeople! They are usually among your pool of candidates, but are often eliminated early (for being too aggressive, having typos on their resumes, not having the background you are looking for, trying to reach a decision maker, asking too many questions, etc.). One way to identify them early and not accidentally reject them is to use Objective Management Group's (OMG) incredibly accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments.
Elite salespeople make up 7% of the sales population and strong salespeople represent an additional 16%. You don't have to put up with mediocrity and you can choose not to.
Stu Heincke, author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, interviewed me for his Chicago Radio Show. Listen to the Podcast here.