As you read the brief descriptions, reflect upon your interactions with someone on a team or a prospect or customer with whom you work on a regular basis. How well do these character types address outcomes in the selling process? Does the salesperson with different styles adequately cover elements like building rapport, uncovering the prospect’s pain, or discussing budget issues?
The Dominant Style: More often than not this is the “rock-star” in the sales group but people who interact with her think she “steam-rolls” over people. She is results-driven, competitive and was probably an outstanding athlete in college. However, she may be low on rapport and only provides enough small talk as necessary. Typically, she scores high on the qualifying, uncovering challenges and the negative impact on the prospect’s business. She has no fear asking sensitive questions about money or the budget. Sales managers provide cover because she is the top performer and rules are bent to keep her happy. She does not want (and is rarely asked) to take the time to train others.
The Influencer Style: He has a well-developed personal side, is fun to be around and has a good rapport. Some say he likes being the center of attention at parties. He wants to be liked, talks a lot but not necessarily about the prospect’s issues. He would like to avoid negative impact stories or problems. He is entertaining but knows relationships are about business. He is ready to train and help, but his motivation is to have fun and avoid conflict. He does his work, but managers see him as disorganized and lacks details. These two traits, plus not being a good listener, contribute to why his performance is only slightly above average.
The Steady Style: she takes the time to learn the product and the prospect’s needs so she can apply solutions. She puts herself in the prospect’s shoes and is an excellent listener and creates trust. She can be very empathetic with the prospect’s challenges and explains things calmly and thoughtfully. She wants to help the prospect and is best in one-to-one situations. She is willing to come in early, stay late but is not comfortable talking about the budget or asking for the order. She is not so concerned about the numbers but is concerned bout how changes effect everyone. She doesn’t want to upset the boss or the team or the prospect. She likes all things to be even keeled.
The Conscientious Style: he wants to understand all of the products in the catalog, their SKU numbers and which ones are better used in specific applications. He is concerned with details, accuracy and the truth. This is the person the team consults when a complex question, an application or an installation issue is raised. He has the answers to most of the product issues, code numbers and skematics because they are kept in his head. It takes time for him to “warm up” with new prospects but over time he has a good rapport and creates trust. He follows the selling process exactly. He enjoys good rapport with clients when discussing the intricates of products and non-business related issues like plans for the weekend. Most clients love him becasue he proceeds cautiously and spends time, a lot of time, with them. He is deliberate, reserved and willing to train the new employees.
Here’s the kicker! Anyone in either personality style could be the top sales producer on your sales team. It depends on matching the skill set, the personality, and your buyer’s context. Understanding the characteristics of your sales people, your prospect’s personas and where they are on the buyers journery is critical for growth.
On a sales team, how do these individuals interact with each other and other staff members in the company? Do they contribute equally to the company’s growth? Do their personalities match, or clash, with the requirements of the position and plans for business growth? Hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost from mismatches.
Think about the match of personalities with your prospects and clients? Is there a match or clash? Imagine if you placed a dominant style or an influencer style in a complex sales position selling to engineers? Do you think sales performance would accelerate? Probably not. How about hiring a detailed-oriented candidate for a commodity sales situation requiring cold calling, fast paced transactions, and quick decisions? That’s probably not a good idea either.
Know your buyer’s context, your team’s individual personality styles and match them accordingly.Uncover your sales personality before you hire. Consider buying an online assessments before you make an offer. Still not convinced? Check out an earlier blog I wrote, Bad Hires and Recruiting Challenges.
What have been your experience with different sales personalities?
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