This post was originally written by Bob Apollo on the blog, Customer Think.
The traditional profile of a successful sales person isn’t a million miles away from the personality of Captain James Tiberius Kirk – someone who has been variously described as “cunning, courageous and confident, and with a tendency to ignore regulations when he feels the end justifies the means”.
Apparently, the inspiration for Kirk’s character came from such diverse sources as Captain Horatio Hornblower, Shakespeare and Alexander the Great. So it’s no surprise that Kirk comes across as the all-action hero, capable of rescuing apparently fatal situations through exceptional acts of derring-do.
How to avoid vanishing up your own event horizon
But, of course, real life isn’t like the movies. And it’s often a great deal easier for most sales people to get themselves into some sort of avoidable scrape through a reckless or thoughtless act of bravado than it is for them to escape from the hole they have just dug for themselves.
That’s why, of course, the success of so many of the Star Trek story trajectories relied on the creative tension between Captain Kirk’s “take that hill” Ying and Commander Spock’s more cerebral, considered and thoughtful Yang.
In fact, it’s pretty clear that – no matter how inspired some of his individual actions – Kirk’s innate recklessness would have seen him removed from command before the end of his first tour of duty if it had not been for Spock’s restraining influence. In a complex world of better-informed buyers today’s sales people cannot afford to rely solely on their creativity, affability and ability to build relationships. Those traditional virtues remain important, of course, but they need to be mindfully melded with a measure of dispassionate analysis.
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