The New Salesman: Agility

by James Barton / October 14, 2020

In my previous blog I spoke about the 5 new attributes that elite salespeople need to master in today’s digital first selling environment.

To remind you, the five attributes are:

  • Agility – Our ability to process information and make decisions based on what is being received
  • Control – Our ability to be impulsive or decisive when it comes to our routines
  • Analytics – Our ability to look at a calculated risk from an instinctive or deliberate perspective
  • Focus – Our ability to avoid distraction and focus on a single task
  • Risk – Our attitude towards risk


Let’s deep dive into the first one; Agility.

This attribute is focused on a salesperson’s ability to process the information they are receiving and being agile enough to make the right decisions based on that information.

This foundational attribute can be learnt and adopted over time, but only to a certain degree. 80% of it is innate, just part of someone’s character, with 20% being impacted by experience and training.

The evidence points to elite salespeople, just like elite athletes, being faster at processing information than novices.

Let’s look at a sports example; a professional soccer player. When they are attacking, the player needs to know what is happening around them. They need to see the opposition, tracking where they are moving towards and identifying potential threats. 

They also need to see their teammates, identifying who is in space and who is making the key run into an attacking position. They need to read the pitch, the ball, even the weather conditions; in short, they need to be aware of everything that’s going on.

Those players that appear to intuitively know where to be on the pitch or can read the opposition’s movements are the ones that are the most valued. But it’s more than intuition.

Evidentially, the defining marker is the cognitive ability of the player to process all the information around them and be able to react quickly to what is happening.

This is the same in sales. There are people that we know who seem to know exactly what to say or do based on what the prospect might be doing or saying. They almost have a sixth sense when it comes to reading the buyer, and they always know exactly how to add value.

Today’s digital selling environment has gifted us with more information than ever before.  Whether that is from our CRM, from digital engagement, emails, or social profiles, the challenge for salespeople is processing all of this information and identifying the best next action to help the prospect with their buying decisions.

As I mentioned before, this is a truly foundational skill, and whilst there is no real hierarchy in the 5 attributes, this one does stand out. It doesn’t matter how good you are at kicking the ball if you are in the wrong place!

Mentor Group’s partnership with London Cognition has sparked the development of the CogMap tool; the only tool on the market that is able to measure these attributes, allowing you to map out where your salespeople are, what support they might need and even recruit the right people in the first place.

Interested? Drop us a line and we can have a chat about how we can transform your salespeople into an elite team.

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.