Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Bold Advocates - The Story of Mr Hyde

In my last post I told a story about Patrick - possibly the best salesman I've worked with.

Patrick had an ugly side. He had a substance abuse problem (alcohol, cocaine and speed), was bankrupt and three children from different women. Consequently around 60% of his income was subject to a garnishment order by the courts for his children and his creditors. One of the other salesmen gave him some old suits and, there were times when we were convinced he was living out of the office.

Patrick had an anger problem and when under pressure, honesty came a distant last. There were times when he would stand nose to nose screaming at me. The combination of the implicit violence, body odour and bad breath made me nauseous.

He would rage and yell when his lies were exposed or whenever I took a firm line on pricing, service or sales resourcing issues.

But he was still our best - by the proverbial country mile. And Senior Management team were very keen to retain his services and his sales.

Consequently I was left to manage a personal time bomb - a risk to the safety and sanity of myself and other team members. Needless to say, I learnt many valuable lessons. One of those is the key to this blog.

What do you think was the common element to his life of erratic success?

Patrick was a risk taker. In every aspect of his life, Patrick would take risks. With his partners, business, managers, health and customers.

The key lesson for me was the greatest trait a salesperson can have is their capacity and willingness to take risks. Patrick is an extreme case in point, but indeed the most powerful lessons come from the simplest stories.

Give me a salesperson who:

  • prospects without fear of rejection
  • asks the hard questions that others won't
  • presents challenging ideas
  • closes at every opportunity
  • negotiates without unnecessary fear that the customer will walk
  • "pushes the envelope" internally and fights for the customer
  • who isn't afraid of "no"

and I give you a great sales person. Indeed I give you a Bold Advocate.

Jason Wenn

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