How to improve your sales success, according to Harvard (and Tick profile results)

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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.

If this doesn’t sound like you or sales isn’t natural for you, keep on reading. Harvard Business Review conducted research to unpack what makes a person good at selling, interviewing thousands of top business salespeople. They measured the five main personality traits 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.

The caveat? You don’t need to worry about all these traits. Keep it simple and take the Tick personality test. It’s fun, easy to do and most importantly, even easier to remember (and apply everyday 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 salespeople are egotistical.

Even more interesting is their team orientation selling style. Instead of positioning themselves as the focal point, the TEAM is 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.

The key takeaway here is this: 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. That’s exactly what Tick’s personality profiling tools do.

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