Here’s why. The sales environment has changed extensively over the last ten years. It’s bifurcated.
Products and services that were once complex are less complex because of the availability of information. That information is easily available to buyers on the Internet. At the same time the Internet has changed the competitive landscape and how we buy products and services. So the skill sets required to sell some things have been dumbed down.
However, other portions of our lives have become more complex. Think about the rapid changes in the Internet, communications, information technology, software, security, energy, environment, healthcare and medicine. Think about how the world has shrunk. How our world has flattened, so that now I do business with someone living in Mexico, using programmers from Brazil and the Philippines.
These changes require smart people to help prospects solve problems. Not just the problems the prospect knows about, but problems they haven’t thought about yet. I want a sales rep who can understand the impact of a new technology, see how it might be applied to solve a problem the prospect doesn’t even know exists. This requires smart.
While we have many societal stereotypes around smartness such as “The Nerd,” it’s been my experience that intelligence is an asset in sales. And I’m not talking street smarts, or emotional intelligence here.
I often hear managers say that they want street-smart individuals to sell. I think there’s a clichéd credo that street smarts and intelligence are two different things. I don’t believe they are. I’m not discounting street-smarts, but I’ve rarely found someone who is street smart who is not also intelligent. A recent publication in the journal Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience by Aron Barbey finds evidence of s a strong link between the two.
“Intelligence, to a large extent, does depend on basic cognitive abilities, like attention and perception and memory and language,” said study coauthor Aron Barbey, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois, in a statement. “But it also depends on interacting with other people. We’re fundamentally social beings and our understanding not only involves basic cognitive abilities but also involves productively applying those abilities to social situations so that we can navigate the social world and understand others.”
So leave the Bubbas behind. Test for general intelligence. Hire smart people.
Do Great Things!
Prairie Sky Group
Making Sales Cry With Qualified Leads
651-357-0110 (Cell 24×7)