You Need to Hire a Fighter. Is There Upside to Aggression?

When you’re looking for someone to hunt down new customers, land a million dollar partnership, find new investors or land the best executive talent, you need someone special. You need someone who will take up your cause and fight for it – sometimes against fierce competition and in the face of incredible odds.  This person must be resourceful, diligent, and fearless.

Many would describe this ideal person as aggressive.

I argue that, if you equate aggression with success in sales, business development or recruitment situations you will be sorely disappointed with what you find.

I’ve met dozens of highly successful closers—people who sign million dollar contracts for undiscovered start-ups, land lucrative partnerships, or bring in world-class investors. They are all curious, competitive and confident. They can quickly sniff out a winning deal and like a dog on a bone, they find a way to make it happen. But is it aggression that gets them to the close?

When I think about someone who is aggressive, I picture someone who is pushy and doesn’t listen to objections. Someone who uses bullying tactics to get the transaction done. But a great hunter is an incredible listener, someone who gathers up objections and finds creative solutions.

No one wants to spend time with an aggressive person. When you send someone out to find customers, investors or teammates, they need to build positive relationships and be your ambassador. The great closer genuinely seeks to add value.

An aggressive person makes you feel defensive and uncomfortable. If you do buy from them, you’re more likely to feel like you’ve been taken advantage of, or to regret the decision. The great closer, on the other hand, will build trusting relationships and leave customers and partners feeling overjoyed with their decision.

Think about it. When you say you need someone aggressive, do you really mean someone confident, diligent, assertive and competitive? Do you also want someone likeable, who treats their teammates and customers with warmth and respect? Choose your words well, and don’t lose sight of the other positive traits that define a great closer and a great ambassador of your brand.