Could Jack Reacher be Your Next Great Sales Professional?

You must know when to take charge in a sale

You must know when to take charge in a sale

So we’re back to work in the New Year. How do you jumpstart your sales in the coming year? I’m going to share a profile of a sales professional that can light up your sales team this year. I warn you this may not be the most traditional sales hire, but it’s one that can jumpstart your thinking to take your sales team to the next level.

Every year, I get several new books for Christmas from clients and friends. This year, two stood out for me because of how they challenged many of my assumptions on what makes a great sales professional. The first was The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. The second was a complete set of Jack Reacher books by Lee Child.  Now, somewhere between reading these books I came up with an interesting thought on how selling is changing and what we can do to make sure we keep growing.  I’ve been sharing with clients how the political environment persists in making our sales jobs more challenging than in the past.  Many of our best clients continue to vacillate on what the best strategy is for their businesses. Providing leadership into your client organization can provide your company a durable and lasting competitive advantage.   Let’s start by looking at Jack Reacher, sales professional.

Enter Jack Reacher, a former military policeman (MP), who was most recently portrayed by Tom Cruise during the holiday movie season.  I was given the books because of my interests in the military and mystery writing. What can you learn from an MP?  There are three key strengths that Jack possesses that you want in your best sales professionals. They are intuition, agility, and sight.  I would add to this list, knowing when to close the deal. Jack’s done this in over twenty books and it looks like he’ll continue, if the movie and books success are an early indication. Let’s take this opportunity to kick start your new year into high gear.  Over the next two days, I’ll share what I learned to help you get more business in the coming year.

The first strength Jack has is intuition.  How do you teach the people on your sales team how to be more intuitive? Why are some people more intuitive than others?  Can you recreate this edge with your best team members? I know intuition has been developed in many of our best leaders.  It can be a learned skill.  I think you can make significant improvement in the intuition area by working with your people on the quality of questions they ask and then learning to watch for subtle reactions they get from the people with whom they are working. One of the best ways to start building intuition is to work with your team on becoming more aware of their own biases and how they interpret the patterns of other people.  Most people are so busy trying to come up with the next question they miss the more subtle signs they should be receiving from the people with whom they are talking.  When teaching others to ask better questions, you should help them understand what they’re looking for in the answer.  I also work with my team leaders on helping them see the bigger picture of what’s going on in the prospect’s life. Not everything happening in the sales call has to do with your sales team.  Prospects have other issues going on in their lives that show during your sales calls.

We’ll review the other two strengths, agility and sight, on tomorrow’s blog posting.  Come back to see why you need Jack Reacher on staff!

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