A recent study by researchers at the University of Virginia published in the Journal of Child Development shows that teens that argue with their parents deal with peer pressure in more healthy ways. Take a look at this article from the NPR health Blog. Specifically the study finds that teens that argued in appropriate ways were far less susceptible to substance use.
The research Dave Kurlan has done evaluation salespeople over the last twenty-five years shows the top 5% of salespeople possess several consistent weaknesses. Dave’s article titled Ultimate Comparison of Top Salespeople vs. Those Who Fail discusses this.
Take a look at the percentages for the top 5% of salespeople for the following findings. They are all very high.
- Doesn’t Need Approval from Prospects
- Doesn’t Get Emotional
- Rejection Proof
The research done by Joseph P. Allen and his colleagues state and I’m paraphrasing that teens who learn to argue (push back) against their parents in healthy (non-emotional ways) model this behavior same when they are amongst their peers.
My opinion is that great salespeople were likely teens who demonstrated this same behavior. I believe it’s quite likely that teenagers who are willing and able to push against their parents and peer group don’t have as much Need for Approval, are less vulnerable to getting Emotionally Involved and Recover from Rejection more quickly.
When a salesperson has these as weaknesses vs. strengths you can expect the following challenges.
- Not Being Able to Control the Selling Process
- Assumes Too Much
- Calls On Purchasing Agents Before End User or Decision-Maker
- Gatekeepers Keeping Him / Her From Getting Through
- Takes Too Many Put Offs
- Wasting Time With Unqualified Prospects
On a personal note my lesson is to help and encourage my children to argue (pushback) in healthy ways and be willing to stand up for their positions. On the sales development front I see the following as critical.
- Hire people who don’t have these challenges
- Assess your existing salespeople to determine who has these limitations
- Get your salespeople to understand the challenge and the impact
- Hold people accountable for consciously and intentionally overcoming this
- Role-play and practice constantly
- Know when to change direction