There are a number of studies and theories out there regarding which type of personality is the ‘best fit’ for a salesperson. Desirable attributes range from likeability to trustworthiness, and from assertiveness to flexibility - notwithstanding natural curiosity and a deep-rooted reputation for being relatively confident. However, certain negative interactions render the above statistic surprising for some. As a result, many sales reps are often tarred with a dirty brush - one caked in ego and pretension. Fair? No way!
So, instead of rehashing the same tired quizzes and character profiling to define the perfect salesperson, let’s take a different stance. Quality attributes and a personable demeanour go a long way whatever the profession, as do diligence and a hardworking attitude – so why should sales be any different?
Do my reps have what it takes to be successful in sales?
Contrary to popular belief, salespersons don’t need to be ruthless or misleading to sell their product or service. Self-assurance and motivation may be ideal characteristics, but so are the aforementioned ‘modesty and humility’ traits.
In our opinion, anyone willing to devote so much time, patience and care to their craft is worthy of praise – they certainly don’t all deserve a ‘dog-eat-dog’ nametag! Therefore, managers in the market for recruiting a powerful salesforce should be mindful of a complex set of factors when considering potential candidates. Business education and experience are much more valuable when combined with a fierce desire to succeed, as opposed to a brutal drive to top the leaderboard at all costs. (See previous blogs on success - E.g. Climbing a Pyramid of Success...)
How is recruitment like casting a play?
Let’s be clear, such a comparison does not insinuate falsity or insincerity. We certainly don’t wish to encourage exaggerated CV’s or ‘putting on an act’ to sell dishonestly - on the contrary!
A stage director strives to get the best out of actors, by matching personality and skill set to the role in hand. A dramatist may pen a character on paper in the same way that a recruitment officer outlines the criteria of a position. Both require adaptability and professionalism and neither are suitable to all candidates - but only one is REAL!
On stage, the most believable performances are delivered by artists who truly connect with their persona. Stage direction, dedicated research and endless hours of rehearsal evolve into exquisitely convincing realism - the audience are completely taken in. This portrayal isn’t a 'lie' when the spectators have bought into it - they knew what they were getting in for when they took their seats! The power of escapism whilst watching a show is only truly fulfilled when the actors pull off their parts. The same can be said about customer satisfaction when clients are on the lookout for something new. They WANT to be sold to! But, whereas a theatregoer wants to experience something entertaining, customers expect REALITY!
An accomplished actor will grow to know their forté, in the same way that well-guided sales representatives may nurture a preferred method or approach. When sensitive to their audience and mindful of authenticity, both can climb to the top of their game. Devoted leadership and frequent appraisals also give them opportunities to upskill and prosper even further - with REALISTIC goals.
My team is highly able - but how can I ensure optimum results?
Recruitment is only the tip of the iceberg. Actors and actresses are given time to learn their lines and rehearse scenes, unless it’s an improv scenario. Similarly, sales reps can know their game inside out, yet still need to think on their feet and improvise on the daily - but must NEVER promise what can't be delivered. Additionally, arming them with digital tools to plan and track their progress, whilst shadowing activity and safeguarding their wellbeing promotes efficiency and job satisfaction.
Software applications designed by sales professionals for sales professionals who have walked the walk and talked the talk, keep specific needs in mind. Their collective wisdom holds the key to unlock the secret of a successful sales organisation. Catering for all modernities and sharing awareness of what makes winning companies tick, bespoke apps are guaranteed to boost performance. Activity trackers provide data, insights and other digital tools which engage and empower staff. Goals become more visual and reps become part of an interactive community without borders or restrictions. They can compete against each other or work towards a personal best. All in all, using one platform in one application makes everyone’s life easier.
Those are the words of a wizard of an actor, whose art is to make us believe the unbelievable. However, presenting your product or service is NOT an illusion. Taking pride in what you’re selling and always bearing client needs in mind define said ‘discipline’for top professionals. The job of an honest salesperson is to make the incredible credible - selling the life out of something that their company genuinely believes in, with nothing but truth at heart. ‘Incredible’ includes exceptional aftercare, continued communication and trust - fundamental for customer retention, contract renewal and enhancement.
Where actors deliver fantasy, the most esteemed sales reps will always find the best solutions for everyone concerned, when approaching or receiving prospective clients. Those armed with the best tools for the job will always steal the show - leaders in sales performance management with the means to integrate such dynamic applications will have a hit on their hands and be living the 'dream' in no time!