On July 24, 1996, I had the privilege of proposing to my wife in the White House Rose Garden. A dear high school friend who was chief of a federal agency at the time arranged for this surreal life event. On that special day, I bent down on one knee in traditional fashion and asked Sharon to marry me. You already know her answer since I refer to her as my wife.
What if during the entire two years we were dating I focused on getting to know her needs, wants, desires, likes and dislikes — but never let her get to know me at all? What is the chance that she would have accepted my offer? The odds are pretty high that I would not have been pleased with her answer. How could she be expected to make an informed decision on a major life event if I had kept the relationship at arm’s length?
This may seem silly to you. After all, who would propose a relationship of this magnitude without both sides fully getting to know one another? Yet, it happens every day when companies consider candidates for their sales teams. Executives are so focused on evaluating the candidates that they forget to turn the tables and give candidates the opportunity to evaluate the role.