October 1, 2007
Much of the filtering that occurs in sales hiring incorporates the all-too-familiar standards of industry experience and college degrees. The interview follows a step-by-step history of their career much like the old TV show This Is Your Life. The candidates have learned the proper rote responses to most of the questions. It is a dull process that leads to marginal results.
But what about creativity? Creativity often gets overlooked or ignored in sales hiring.
“Creativity belongs in marketing.”
“Salespeople should be money-motivated, driven hunters who complete one-call closes.”
Boring and antiquated. Creativity is the overlooked, undervalued aspect of selling that can be the differentiator between an above-average salesperson and a great salesperson.
Here are just a few areas where creativity can have a substantial impact on successful selling.
The sales training company I used to work for would teach salespeople how to open a cold call:
“This may not be a fit…”
“This is a cold call so let me know if you want to hang up now…”
Nothing earth-shattering here, but the point was to sound different. I often think in sales the worst thing you can sound like is a salesperson. Think features/benefits.
I once had a competitor in the computer networking market who would provide one of those miniature baseball bats with his company info on it. He would tell the prospect that the next time they wanted to destroy the network hardware to call him before beating on the equipment with the bat. Different and memorable.
This may be where creativity is most valuable in selling. Rarely is there a cut and dry solution offered by a salesperson that fits perfectly into a solution for the prospect. The solution is usually a “best fit” solution which means there is give and take. Creative salespeople can use their aptitude to craft a solution that marginalizes the competition and maximizes their own offering. This ability requires much creativity.
Next time you are looking for a new salesperson, pay attention to the candidates who don’t quite fit into your standard expectations. You may be looking at a creative superstar salesperson. And if you are not sure, contact us and we can assess them for you.