That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? So, what’s the answer?
If we ask a hundred experts we are going to get a ton of different answers, theories, insights, and points of view. And, I am guessing a good handful of them would have enough validity for us to have to take a hard look at their reasoning. A large number of those opinions would have some validity but most likely, in my experience, don’t have any basis in fact so they are hard to put much stock in.
With all due respect to all of the other ideas out there and acknowledging that coming up with “THE” one factor is a near impossibility to agree on...here are my thoughts! I will support my point of view by making it clear that I have been in the sales business all of my life. I spent 17 years in sales and sales management with a couple of America’s elite sales forces and for the last 18 years, we have been speakers, trainers, and consultants to sales forces worldwide. We have also benchmarked countless sales and sales management positions with inputs from thousands of top sales professionals as we help our clients select top sales talent for their organizations. With that background here is how I break down what is “THE” most important factor.
“BE” + “Do” = “Have”
That equation comes from my good buddy Curt Tueffert at Brick Wall Motivation. What Curt is saying is that we have to “be” the right person on the inside, then “do” the right things on the outside in order to “have” success. This equation plays well whether we are talking about sales, sales management or any endeavor in life! I am going to ask us to consider which of the two factors in the equation is most important...“be” or “do?” My answer, not sure what yours is, is it is the “be” part. Who we are internally is most important.
If we agree on that (you may not and that’s ok...read on anyway) then the question is what is the most important factor on the inside? As a part of our benchmarking we measure 23 core skills/core competencies. Of those 23 we believe there are five critical core skills for outstanding sales performance. They are;
* Personal accountability – I do what I say I am going to do
* Resiliency – the ability to bounce back from adversity
* Interpersonal skills – effectively connecting with other human beings
* Self-management – run your territory like a business
* Continuous learning – a personal drive for learning and personal development
The question we ask decision makers, workshop attendees, keynote audiences is always – “If we scored at the top of the curve in these five core skills, how good would we be”? The answer is...AWESOME! (Note: These five would make us awesome at anything we do!)
Well we now have it down to five critical core skills and there is a definitive downside to being deficient in any of the five...play that out in your mind when you have a chance. So, which one would you pick as “THE” most important? Choose any of the five and you won’t get any argument from me. But, if I had to choose, I go with?
Why? Well, I believe if we own that one then we can develop the others! That’s my story and I am sticking to it. For years I have said...“As long as we are learning, we are living! The moment we stop learning is the moment we start to die”! Here is a quote we have been using lately in a lot of our programs. Check it out; “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists!” Eric Hoffer
Contributed by Jim Jacobus Jim is an international expert on extraordinary performance, or what it would take for us individually and collectively, personally or professionally, to experience our immense sales and sales management potential. He is a trusted resource for organizations looking to get maximum "sales results" in today’s competitive environment.