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Courtesy is for Closers

07.20.12   |   Job Search & Career   |   Christopher Simone, Vice President at Treeline Incorporated


You are wondering how might I possibly tie this topic to selling and sales hiring. We'll get there in a circuitous way.

I have been spending much more time at the club this year. To paint a picture, this is a great place with pools, tennis courts, group fitness studios and a gym on three levels. Full time staff tries to keep this place immaculate around the clock.

I noticed something the other morning when I was leaving spin class. Some people left without wiping up the puddles of sweat on the floor under their bikes. Why in such a nice place would you leave a puddle of sweat on the floor? This is not a field or the gym from the movie Rocky. Then, every gym has a few people who leave their weights on the floor. So, the rest of us are paying all this money for the privilege to rack other people's weights? Or, worse, the person who was clipping his toe nails in the sauna. Yup, that happened!

Looking back, I guess there were always some people around who simply were not courteous. The sweat puddle guys (and girls by the way) were probably the same roommates in college who never washed their dishes.

Every once in awhile I have a sales candidate blow off an interview; Just not show up. And when asked what happened, they respond as if I asked, "Dude, why did you leave a bowl of instant oatmeal hardening in the sink"? Somehow the default answer seems to be "I was busy closing a deal". I tend to doubt it. Honestly, I think there might be a correlation between this mind set and sales people who lack accountability. For this crowd, failure is external and elsewhere. Discipline is apparently reserved for the deferential. Quota is a barrier not a goal.

Now, I enjoyed the "coffee is for closers" scene in the movie Glenngarry Glen Ross too. But, brash and and overly bold are not perquisite traits of driven performers, winners, and closers. I'm just so relieved that Alec Baldwin didn't actually move to France; but this is an election year so who knows.

Listening for instance is inherently courteous. Dale Carnegie's concept "talk in terms of other people's wants and needs" expressed intrinsically courteous behavior. Qualifying alignment early in the sales process is an act of courtesy - even if you are willing to waste your own time, why waste the time of others. Sales process discipline leads to accurate forecasting which is courteous to the organization. Enterprise selling in particular is a team sport and team players are courteous while also motivated to win.

Trust is an enabler of enterprise and organizational greatness. People who are not courteous don't engender, and can't sustain, trust.

The courtesy factor also impacts the sales hiring process. This explains part of what sales hiring managers are looking for when they express the importance of finding a team player. This is a subtle but important element of defining and hiring the perfect fit. This is also why rapport building between the sales candidate and hiring manager is so important.

So, coffee is great but courtesy is for closers too.

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