Quick question. Without overthinking it, give me a yes or no:
Do you think you are a better-than-average salesperson?
It’s a well-worn statement that most people believe themselves to be smarter than the average person. A recent Wall Street Journal weekend edition article did a study to confirm this. Men (70%) more than women (59%) validated this point.
Do you remember that book that I recommended a few weeks ago, Never Split the Difference? One of the statements made by the author, Chris Voss, was that smart people make bad negotiators because they think they know everything while humble people ask the obvious and learn more. For those of you old enough to remember Lieut. Colombo, you will recall his approach.
All of this made me wonder about those people who believe themselves to be better-than-average salespeople. Are they making assumptions that others aren’t? They believe themselves to be bulletproof within an account? If so, they will soon be looking for new business.
The irony here is that it takes quite a bit of confidence and even some hubris to be successful in the role sales and yet overconfidence can kill everything that you have built. Recently, a young salesperson asked me at the end of our training work together, “What three recommendations would you have for me?” My first answer was, keep asking people that question. Stay humble. Humility is what makes great people great. The minute you start believing you are better than, smarter than, or safer than the average salesperson, you become less interesting and more vulnerable.
12 o’clock noon every day a text message reminder pops up on all of my Apple devices: “Are you doing your best?” This is one of Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements and I put it there as a reminder. Recently, I changed my answer. Whereas every day I used to answer, “yes,” now I answer, “no.” I can always do better.
All of us need more humility!