Sales is possibly the hardest position to fill with success. Finding just a “good” sales professional is task. Adding an all star salesperson is even harder.
What if you knew what traits these all stars all have in common? Well a Harvard Business Review researcher has made this easy. He interviewed 1,000 of the top sales performers at some of the country’s best companies. These are the President’s Club winners- the cream of the crop.
I’ll bet many of you think you know that the common traits are: “driven, outgoing, smart” etc.
Well, I felt the same way… then I read the article and was VERY surprised by a few things.
- Modesty was the number one trait in common. 91% showed high levels.
- Curiosity was #4, with 82% showing high levels.
- Lack of gregariousness was #5; top performers averaged 30% lower gregariousness then average salespeople—they listened better.
- Lack of discouragement was #6, 90% showed rare or occasional sadness.
I found each of the above a bit surprising. Most stereotypes of sales people are of loud, immodest, gregarious people. But when I think of the all stars that I know- they fit each of these to a T.
Modesty was cited because people like modest people, and modest people put together teams to help achieve goals.
Curiosity is obviously a good thing no matter what the career is. But is curiosity really #4 in Sales? Well, the best sales people we know are fantastic at asking questions till they discover what the prospect really wants and needs.
Lack of gregariousness was a total surprise to me. The author stated that overly gregarious people are possibly trying too hard to be liked. They over empathize with customers instead of really having conversations. Whereas the all stars get to a place of respect with customers, not allies or friends.
Finally, lack of discouragement. while not a surprise to me for Sales, I was surprised that a simple things (especially for interview purposes) was that the author tied that most top performers played High School Sports- and learned how to cope with discouragement early in their lives (based on my H.S. career I should be great at this).
So, what do you think? Do you have top performers that fit this profile? Can you use this to help find some all stars? Were you surprised by any of these?
For the full article go to this link: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/06/the_seven_personality_traits_o.html