I’ve had the privilege of working alongside sales reps of all experience levels. It’s good practice to watch and learn from both the most seasoned vets as well as the rookies. The best sales people always share one thing in common, they all have a high level of character. Or simply, honest.
There is no better way to find out how honest a sales rep is than to ask her a question that she doesn’t know the answer to.
I learned this trick from Booker T. Washington’s book, Character Building. The book covers a series of lectures Mr. Washington gave to his students at the newly formed Tuskegee Institute. In one of his lessons on schooling, Mr. Washington told students, any teacher that answers your question by saying, “I don’t know” – is a great teacher and one that should be admired.
He is saying that it takes courage and honesty to admit when you don’t know the answer.
I see this play out all in the time for rookie sales reps. Often they don’t know how to answer a prospect’s question about the product. They (rookie reps) just started selling the product and are out there in the ‘wild’ with very little information. They panic when they can’t answer a question. Unfortunately most of them will fabricate a terrible response.
On the other side, the honest and best reps will simply answer, “I don’t know the answer to that but I will find out and get right back to you with the information.”
That’s the honesty that makes a sales rep a great one.