Even if you’ve never taken an art class in your life, we guarantee that you are a creative person. In fact, we firmly believe that every person is creative in their own way; it’s just a matter of degree and type of creative thinking. Ray Reed, our sales team expert has this to say:
“I put people into one of two categories: a CEO thinker or a COO thinker. The CEO is very creative, strong in leadership, and brings vision to the team. The COO is thinking about how to execute, pointing out potential holes in the plan, and bringing a different perspective. You need both types of thinkers.”
The following test is a resource Ray uses to help teams evaluate their creativity levels. We highly suggest doing the same!
Part of creativity is the ability to go beyond what is obvious. To this point, Ray likes to emphasize that good sales team leaders hire from a pool of candidates that goes beyond salespeople with experience in the Federal marketplace. “Some of the best federal salespeople I’ve hired were recruited from the private sector/commercial team,” says Ray. Hiring team members from diverse backgrounds can broaden the overall creativity of the group by incorporating fresh perspectives that you would otherwise miss out on.
When scouting for new hires, it’s tempting to focus only on a candidate’s proven sales metrics, but we encourage you to also look for creative thinkers who possess the traits of a successful salesperson. Some of these key qualities include:
Good questioning skills
A drive to learn and succeed
A curious and passionate team member is an inherently creative employee. Such people are active listeners, great question-askers, and out-of-the-box thinkers who can take your sales team to new and exciting levels.
From Forbes.com: “The most effective sales professionals avoid routinizing their approach to sales. They leverage their creativity to gain a leg up on competitors. The payoffs can be enormous. Research from the Aston Business School, one of Europe’s largest business schools, found that sales professionals who were more creative generated higher sales than their less creative counterparts.”
Creative employees resist a one-size-fits-all approach when dealing with potential and active clients. They adapt their communication to fit each situation rather than relying on scripted pitches. This kind of empathetic communication could be the key to bringing in those big clients you’ve been dreaming of.
How can this information change the way you hire and sell? If you’d like to learn more, please reach out to Focusing Forward or visit our Sales Consulting page.
Forbes Article: Why Creativity is a Secret Weapon in Sales:
* Written by Sophie Zacaroli and Kelly Johnson, October 2022.