When my husband Jim told me about his first job, as a paperboy, I had to hold my sides because I was laughing so hard. At age 10, he would get up at 4 a.m., load up his bike with papers and work like crazy to deliver them before the 7 a.m. deadline. If it was really bad weather, he would wake up his father to help finish the job. (Note: Our current paper person delivering in a car doesn’t seem to have that sense of urgency. Maybe it was the bike.)
The real fun began after school, when he’d start collecting money from the customers. Many of them liked to mess with a 10 year old, saying they weren’t going to pay or attempting to shortchange him by pretending they gave him a $10 bill when they really gave him a five. More than once, a customer shut the door in his face. So he continued knocking and stood his ground in order to collect his hard-earned money.
The job enabled Jim to develop skills such as commitment and assertiveness — two things that CEOs and sales managers should look for in their next job candidates.
Commitment: An early mentor of mine said, “Commitment is doing what you said you’d do, regardless of how you feel.”
The committed salesperson may not feel like making one more phone call or attending one more networking event. But they do, and consistently execute the daily, weekly and monthly activity plan. A committed salesperson invests the time to practice new selling skills, even when they’d rather settle for good enough.
Committed salespeople do what it takes.
In Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit,” she discusses research about the traits of highly successful people. She found that highly accomplished people are committed people. They are dogged in their pursuit of excellence and consistently demonstrate perseverance to accomplish goals.
Assertiveness: This soft, emotional-intelligence skill is the ability to nicely state what you need. And in the sales profession, there are many parts of the sales process where soft skills produce hard sales results:
- Meeting with other buying influences. The assertive salesperson is comfortable stating that she needs to meet with key influencers before writing a recommendation.
- Disqualification. Assertive salespeople are comfortable disqualifying prospects. If they aren’t hearing enough reasons for a prospect to change or invest, they are OK telling the prospect that this opportunity isn’t a good fit.
Assertive salespeople eliminate practice proposals and wasted time.
Hiring is one of the most important skills to develop as a CEO or sales manager. The traditional job of paperboy or girl isn’t around anymore. But you still can look for the same competencies.
Hire for commitment and assertiveness, then watch sales soar.
Elevating your Sales EQ helps you sell bigger deals in less time at full margin. See how a few Emotional Intelligence skills impact your sales performance. Take our Sales EQ Quiz and learn more about your strengths and areas of improvement. Soft skills do produce hard sales results.