I have been thinking about writing this for a long time. Swagger is such a powerful word, yet often times misconstrued. The definition by Merriam Webster is the following: “to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially: to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence”. My question to you is this – is swagger pompous or does it define a successful person?

The way I see it is that sales people with swagger typically win. They may not be the most popular people when it comes to the way they win, but they don’t like losing and usually are successful at winning. Our world is crazy competitive. In sales, everyone is trying to sell someone something. We all believe we have the superior product. Let me put it this way. The people with the most confidence win. The people with the most knowledge about their solution win. Without these two key attributes, you are destined to fail.

Swagger doesn’t come overnight. Swagger is something that is embedded in our “core being” but doesn’t come into full fruition until you have seen both success and failure. If you haven’t seen what failure looks like, you won’t fully appreciate what it is like to win. Once you win, and win over and over, then and only then, will you appreciate what it takes to be successful. When this happens, you start building the confidence or the “aura” that is perceived as swagger.

You have to know what you are doing to have swagger. You have to know the product inside and out when you are selling. You have to know your competition. You have to know confidently what will happen if a potential customer goes with another product. You have to be bold. You have to say things that are uncomfortable. I have read more “success” books than I care to admit and the people who have achieved greatness all say and do things that make me feel uncomfortable just reading them!

Swagger is imperative to win. Swagger separates you from the competition. People with swagger may not win a popularity contest. In the end, who really cares? If you can’t win, then your product won’t sell and your company won’t succeed.
As a recruiter, I look for people with swagger. Sales people with swagger can confidently tell me what they have sold, how much they have sold and what they are worth because of what they have achieved. Pompous? Maybe. Is that someone I want on my team? Is that someone I want to represent? Yes!

As part of my vetting process, just being confident and having accolades is not enough though. Candidates must show me what they know. They must show me what failure looks like. They must want to learn more about the products or solutions they will be representing. If they don’t ask basic questions, I don’t want to hire them. People with swagger understand that if they are representing a solution that doesn’t add value then they won’t be successful. People who have swagger want to be successful and sell a product that will enable their success.

So in conclusion, having swagger is essential. If you don’t have it, you haven’t been at your company long enough and you need to stick around a little longer to get it. Once you have swagger, the competition better watch out, because you are going to win. You are going to win every time. When that happens, let’s talk. Until then, work on sharpening your sales skills.