Do you have “Gumption”?

I told my rep today that I would like her to be more “annoying.” Not typical advice for your 1:1’s with reps but I think you need to be persistent sometimes to the point of reaching annoyance to succeed in sales.

I’ve been known to casually joke that when it comes to prospecting you’ll know you’ve crossed the line when you get the restraining order. I was without a doubt the most “professionally persistent” rep to my clients and I’m sure our management would say I’m a pretty professionally annoying manager now too when it comes to pushing internal policies I want for my team. But I would take over-confident and persistent to the point of annoying over well informed but meek any day in a rep.

Gumption” I think was what my parents called it growing up. “Shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness.”

I try to foster a lot of “gumption” in my team now. Whether it’s faxing someone a meme, sending them an Instagram pic of your dinner, spamming them with a GIF of Snoop Dogg, or showing up at their office the last day of the quarter, I’m proud to sell a product I’m so certain will benefit a prospect that I’d go to such great lengths to get their attention.

I’ve noticed that when I interview candidates I use words like “obsessed” and “stalking” more than I should when describing the role. But I think to really OWN a territory you need to be a little obsessed with your industry and clientele, and to some degree stalk your target prospects.

For example I can say with confidence that if any software start-up on the east coast gets a new round of funding or an executive leadership change it’s unlikely that my rep wouldn’t know about it, and if they somehow missed it someone else on our team would probably send them a note. We created a micro culture to gamify these trigger events as a team so that if you “stump” someone on our team by sending them a press release for a company in their patch that they weren’t already on top of it’s embarrassing, and becomes a challenge of pride in truly OWNing your territory.

Product knowledge you can teach, features and competitive intel can be learned, but at the end of the day the product differentiators will fade and all seem the same to the prospect after a few demos and the reason they buy is because of confidence in the vendor and the rep. Especially with our product, it’s a big investment you only want to make once, and for the buyer can be a resume building decision that gets them promoted, or a blundering mistake that gets them fired. Our prospects buy from us based on confidence in the product and company which comes from the rep leading the buying experience with persistence and gumption.

What are some examples you have seen of “shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness” to get a deal done?

Kelli Lampkin

Kelli Lampkin is a writer, traveler, comedienne, and entrepreneur.

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