One SKILL every selling professional needs in 2018

At the beginning of each New Year comes a rash of articles listing the essential tools, talents and resources needed to be successful in the coming year. This year was no different.

One of the “prepare yourself for 2018” pieces I read outlined the 8 essential skills that every sales person should possess in order to be successful – and these included “the ability to be honest” and “emotional intelligence”. This brought a bit of a smile to my face, and it got me thinking – what is the greatest skill a sales person needs in order to survive and thrive in 2018? Because, let’s be honest, it’s going to be one heck of a year.

I’d sum it up in a word: CREATIVITY. Or perhaps a few words: fearless, insane, all-or-nothing, go-for-broke creativity.

With so much undifferentiated content broadcast, so many mediocre messages shared, so many dull pitches and pitiful presentations performed, audiences are crying out for something new, real and honest.  And the best sales execs will answer that call.

Now, I think that we all have the ability to be immensely creative. We evolved as a species by being creative. Finding new sources of food, building complicated tools and discovering untrodden routes to new lands are acts of immense creativity. We all have the creative gene, it’s in our DNA.

But we don’t tap into that gene as often as we should.

Instead, we tend to “auto-audit” for fear of making a mistake, looking silly or stepping into the unknown, because it’s supposed to be “safer” that way. It’s almost as if we have large auto-audit buttons we reach for at the formation of a new idea, an untested hypothesis or a unique perspective.

Just think of all those great ideas that could have made the world a richer place had we given them oxygen and let them live!

So my advice for sales people in 2018 – shake it off, shrink those auto-audit impulses. Be bold, be creative and give your audience something they are dying for – something new and exciting. Rescue them from the tsunami of blah, meh and mediocre. Oh, and don’t forget the bits about emotional intelligence and honesty, you’ll need those too.