What springs to mind when you think of top salespeople? Slick-talking, suit-wearing professionals, with a gift of the gab? Born with a ‘sales gene’, of sorts. They can sell ice to eskimos, they’re that good.
And, they do it naturally.
So, what does this mean for the rest? Is it as simple as splitting us as ‘salespeople’ or ‘non-salespeople’?
Harvard Business Reviewset out on a mission, interviewing thousands of top business salespeople, to measure the five main personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional negativity) to better understand traits that separate them from their peers.
Guess what they discovered?
Key personality traits directly influence top performers’ selling style and ultimately their success.
But, before we jump into the results, take this information with a grain of salt… and find a sales system that you can use that’s tailored to YOUR business.
Just like Tick’s personality profiling tools,which is fun to do take and easy to apply to your business and life.
Now, here are the top qualities that researchers found.
Modesty & Conscientiousness
Let’s go back to that slick stereotype. Well, 91% of top salespeople have medium-high scores of modesty and humility. What does this tell us? The minority of top salespeople are egotistical.
Even more interesting is their team orientation selling style. Instead of positioning themselves as the focal point, the TEAMis the centrepiece… while still maintaining a strong sense of duty and responsibility for the results.
Achievement & Curiosity
84% of respondents scored high in achievement orientation and performance. They know their goals and understand the politics of decision-making. These salespeople strategise and understand how the products fit into the organisation… rather than pushing the products themselves.
How do they do this? Curiosity plays an important role in their process. Top salespeople are highly inquisitive, active and present… driving conversations and asking uncomfortable questions, in seek of answers.
Lack of Gregariousness & Discouragement
Top-tier performers average 30% lower gregariousness (friendliness, social and outgoing nature) than below average professionals. Interesting, isn’t it? In other words, overly-friendly salespeople are too close to their customers and therefore, have an issue establishing dominance.
Their lack of discouragement is an extension of this. 90% experience infrequent or occasional sadness… and come from more of an objective stance.
Lack of Self-Consciousness
And lastly, less than 5% of top salespeople are self-conscious. They’re action-oriented and not afraid to courageously cold call new prospects.
Like we mentioned earlier, this isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to sales. Just because someone shows all of these qualities, it doesn’t mean they’ll be a success.
But the thing we can’t deny is that personalities play a critical role in determining how a salesperson will perform.
Keep this study in mind, but don’t base your hiring process on it. You need personality tests tailored to YOUR business, your people.
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