Persistence and Resilience
I’ve helped many companies in building out their competencies and values for hiring their sales team. We have a strong process for doing so. We define what success looks like, then we build out competencies for getting to success. We also build values that are absolutely necessary for a candidate to work at the company. I share with the company leadership that we build no more than three or four must have values. This is serious stuff. You can teach someone skills if they only have 7 of your 10 competencies, but you can’t teach values. Most leaders will fire someone for lack of values, well before lack of competencies.
My purpose for telling this story is the fine line between competencies and values. Thus, the question; is persistence a competency or a value? Is resilience a competency or a value?
I was having a conversation with a friend, and we were talking about hiring for their company. Most founders will hire based on trust of the people they bring in. Unfortunately, that leads to them hiring friends and relatives. Yes, you must trust who you bring into your company, but that isn’t the sole reason for hiring them. You must be able to determine if they have the skills, and values that you want. That is a deeper interview and a deeper commitment to hiring. My friend shared that they hired off the campus and they looked for the best and the brightest and I asked if their solution was that complicated that they needed valedictorians to sell it. I may have stumped him. It was a question that he had never been asked.
I went back to my suggestions on how to set up their basics. What competencies and values are they needing to be successful at their company? After some conversation he admitted they needed sellers who were persistent and resilient. He asked if those were competencies or values. My thought was it doesn’t matter (but they are competencies…). I shared with him that he was starting the process to determine who would be the best match for their solution, and their company.
For the record, you need persistent sellers to pursue any opportunity and to create opportunities. Studies will show that most prospects don’t take you seriously until you have contacted them 5-8 times. You also need resilient sellers. There is a great deal of rejection in sales, and you can’t take it personally. I relate it to baseball. A great hitter can be in an 0-20 slump and then hit at above a .500 pace for a month. They must have the confidence to move on to the next at bat, and the salesperson must move on to the next opportunity.
People buy differentiation, and your sales team can be a differentiator. Hire the right people. It’s a good way to start.