Assume for a moment, you want to hire 5 new sales professionals for your firm. Preparatory to the hiring process, you itemize the qualities of the new hires. You will most likely model the new qualities after your top sales people. In fact, you have probably hired one or two of them to manage the sales force. Here are a few interesting tidbits of research that directly impact this process. 1) Modeling the top 1% of sales professionals across the spectrum of products is ideal and if possible, will yield the desired results. 2) No one in the organization, including the top 1% of sales professionals, can teach the process primarily because they don't know what they are doing. They conduct themselves innately (Emotional Intelligence) and they do not know how to teach it to others. 3) Most sales managers are hired on a different set of criteria than required for the position. They are hired based on sales performance rather than for their leadership, teaching, and team building skills. This is why great athletes rarely transfer their skills into coaching. In most organizations there are the top tiered sales performers who rarely attend meetings and rarely offer advice or ideas. The mediocre performers won't quiet down and they offer up an abundance of ideas, strategies, tactics, and autobiographical anecdotes. Yet if you were to compare the top performers' approach with the mediocre and low performers, you will find that the top performers don't do anything similar to the others. In fact, they don't say much because their approach is dramatically different than the corporate training and they want to be left alone. Top performers innately understand that creating a relationship based on mutual trust and respect closes sales. What they don't do is... * Build rapport by trying to find commonalities (relate) * Try to be liked * Use persuasion or manipulation * Sell on benefits * Use small talk * Try to close with any number of existing closing strategies implored or taught by sales trainers What they practice is... * They set up Rules of Engagement for each meeting (before the appointment and before the meeting, 2x) * They hold a normal conversation to learn about the prospect (this builds mutual trust and respect) * They discover what the prospect wants and they get a small commitment with each item (Conditions of Satisfaction) * They close by presenting the prospect the features, benefits, and detriments of the product and then ask "What do you want to do?" What happens is... * A 70%+ closing ratio The industry or product is not as important as following the system. The system works when employed. Top sales professionals are indeed born, but they are also taught. The challenge is our current mindset on selling is in contrast to research on human behavior and emotional intelligence. The top most distrusted professions are filled with sales professionals of every kind. Lumped in with sales professionals are attorneys and politicians. The commonality is that those most distrusted often use the tactics that top sales professionals abhor. I've lived every aspect of this narrative. I've taught and been taught both sides. My closing ratio was over 80% when I sold insurance and mortgages. Because I studied this process from ground up, I can teach it and I can model it. Being a sales professional is a very tough and challenging career and too many talented people leave the profession because they are taught skills that push others away (communication blindspots). This impacts them at work and at home. Most sales people fear their job. I can show them how to remove the fear! Using the New Science of Sales and Leadership implements neurobiology and psychology into the equation. I've had many students and clients express amazement at the power of the Micro Skills of holding a simple conversation. In fact, one hedge fund trader from New York, commented, after challenging him to implement the tools at a Black Tie event: "Richard, you should license that stuff with the police. It's lethal. I've never experienced anything like that in my life." I've got over 30 years in sales, 25 years in the financial industry, and 30 years of coaching and training. I have an MBA, a masters degree in psychology, and I'm finishing up my dissertation on Emotional Intelligence and Workplace Bullying. My Ph.D. is in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. I've written a book and a workbook on the topic of leadership: Listen & Lead: The Micro Skills of a Leader.