Tenacity is one of those qualities top sales people possess that makes them successful. And it’s one of the key traits sales leaders and managers look for in their sales reps. The truth is, tenacity destroys sales success when it’s not applied in the right way.
The official definition of tenacity is “the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly.” Synonyms are persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, steadfastness, and staying power. All positive words. So why does it backfire and actually hinder sales results?
When sales people have tenacity, they don’t take “no” for an answer. They are steadfast in how they approach their accounts and their customers. They remain a few steps ahead, always trying to fill in their gaps of knowledge and see through the customer’s lens. At top of mind is how they can best help customers solve their problems and attain their desired outcomes.
Tenacious sales people also make sure they meet with all the key individuals who are impacted by the changes an opportunity presents. They identify objections throughout the deal and carefully think through every step to ensure they achieve a win-win scenario.
But unfortunately, tenacity can be bad. For example, when a sales person will not walk away from a deal they have little to no chance of winning, it’s a bad thing. Or when their doggedness causes them to spend too much time on an opportunity that is not important to the customer – and therefore, not where the customer wants to spend their time, money or resources – now or in the near future. Tenacity can make sales people hang on to deals that will not close, and constantly cascade deals from quarter to quarter in their pipeline.
I often see sales people unable to let go. Maybe it’s because they don’t want the time they’ve already invested to go wasted. Maybe they think letting go is the same as giving up or admitting defeat. Maybe their management is telling them they absolutely must close it. Or maybe these sales people truly believe they can provoke the customer into changing their priorities or goals to meet their sales targets.
Whatever the reason, one thing is clear when tenacity destroys sales success: the sales manager or leader must be the one to talk sales people off the ledge and tell them to just move on. So, sales managers and leaders, tell me: Have you been in a situation where a sales person’s tenacity has actually kept him or her from being successful?