Beyond the Number
The Four Commandments of Dating for Salespeople, Part 1
I’ll be totally blunt: The qualities that make you a great salesperson often make you a downright terrible significant other.
Not convinced? Look, I’m by no means a dating or marriage expert. In fact, the stories I’ll share would probably suggest quite the opposite. But as any great salesperson should do, I have learned to reflect on my successes and failures (let’s not dig up too much of the past), identify patterns, and find solutions to the problems or attempt to replicate the good behaviors. So hear me out and consider how these four areas that make for a killer salesperson can be, well, absolute relationship killers.
Sales Relationship Commandment 1: Thou Shalt Not Treat Thy Smartphone Like Thou Sidepiece.
An AE on my team just won a great partnership, and the client emailed me to let me know that the key factors were salesmanship, follow up, responsiveness, and drive to win the business. Let me tell you, this AE and I had many after-hour conversations about this deal, a multitude of emails back and forth, and Slack messages galore—and that’s just from internal strategizing and conversation. His level of communication was certainly more significant because of his responsiveness to the client as well. People don’t partner in business with people who don’t respond and act quickly.
But always-on responsiveness doesn’t translate well in relationships. I recently made the dumb mistake of agreeing to go on a date on the last day of the quarter and almost had a panic attack all the way through dinner. It was exhausting. I could feel the vibration of every text, every email, every call coming through as the team was wrapping up the deals. The fact that I had to make such a conscious effort not to look at my phone for an hour (a failed effort, I managed at least 3 emails) almost made me embarrassed at the level of dependency I have with it…almost. I would love to say that I would have been 100% different had it not been end of quarter, but I pride myself on honesty.
My smartphone is a constant companion: if it’s not stashed in my purse or coat pocket for easy access, it’s cradled in the palm of my hand, helping me navigate life. My phone does a lot and it demands a lot, too—just one more check-in, alert, or email. Who doesn’t love a companion that ALWAYS wants to talk to you, hear from you, show you something interesting, or potentially deliver the deal that will take your career to the next level?
Sound familiar? For a salesperson, it’s hard to think of a more essential communication device. But your significant other might not have the same warm feelings toward this powerful device, which distracts you from conversations and interactions. But all is not lost. Read on for tips for how to balance your email addiction and your love life!
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Salespeople: How to Suck Less at Relationships
Be better at home: I would be lying if I said I was the best at phone control and “tech-free time.” As a salesperson, it’s not always possible to shut down (even on vacation, but that’s a whole article in itself). However, I have become significantly more cognizant of how my actions impact the relationships I have, especially regarding the perception of value I place on the relationship and my effort to engage in communication. No one wants to partner in business with someone that is lackluster in responsiveness and communication, and the same goes in your personal life.
Admit you have a problem: Awareness is key. You can’t improve something you don’t admit needs improving. For many people, the constant checking of the phone, distracted engagement, and immediate need to respond has become almost a natural behavior.
My mom was the one to call me out on my behavior (as any good mom should do) one day as she was frustrated that I would come over to visit, and inevitably check my phone frequently to take care of “just one thing.” My parents live 2 miles from my house and so I see them frequently. Who knew my mom was feeling neglected when I would come over, drink her wine, eat the dinner she made, let her help me take care of my kids, all while I was ignoring her to do “little bits of work here and there”? (Sarcasm added.) She put a stop to that one big time and I’m glad she did! People who choose to spend time with you want to spend time with all of YOU, not 75% of your attention in between checking your phone. I’m sure my own two daughters will be nothing like this when they become teenagers…
Timing is everything. There are entire industries for whom the term “last day of the month” means nothing. I know; it’s shocking. But seriously, I realized that not everyone in my life understands the demands of my role, especially during those milestone times (Ex. end of quarter or fiscal year when there is a hard press to finalize contracts), especially when they are in completely different industries. It’s made a world of difference in their understanding just giving them a heads up that I would need to be far more available at work during certain days or weeks and that I may be on my phone a lot more than usual.
Consider some limits on phone use. Put it in sleep mode during dinner. Or, turn off the notifications once you’re home, and only let yourself check it once an hour….or maybe half-hour. Baby steps. Check out some great tips on sales digital detoxing here.