6 Common Salesperson Personalities in the Office
Are you familiar with the DISC personality assessment? It is a widely adopted principle that everyone falls into 4 general personality categories: Dominant, Introvert, Supportive, and Cautious.
Are there are more personalities beyond the 4 quadrants of DISC? I’m not sure. In my 25 years of being a sales professional and coach, I can tell you that there is a broad spectrum of personalities amongst salespeople. It is important that you know the different types of personalities on your team and how to lead them. Comment below if anyone comes to mind as your scroll down the list, or if there was someone we missed.
1. The Narcissist
This member has a high sense of self-importance and can be manipulative. They feel that they are special or superior. They are too confident with their skills and may underestimate his or her teammates. Controlling and giving them advice can be tough because they think they know everything.
This can be hard to deal with, but you can manage this person by creating a strong bond and team cohesion. You may use team meetings where each member provides peer feedback. This is less threatening to them compared to a manager’s criticism.
2. The Insecure
This member lacks confidence. They tend to ask for help often, even after something has already been explained to them. They compare themselves to others. They feel hopeless when they don’t contribute to sales.
I have a saying, “Don’t apologize for asking for help if you are working hard.” The message this sends to my team members is that I appreciate their efforts. Like anyone, I don’t like having to repeat myself over and over again, so what I do is record videos as I train people and screen record what I am doing. This way when someone asks for help again I direct them to the video. It saves me the hassle of repeating myself one more time.
3. The Teacher’s Pet
There’s one in every organization. They’ve confused their title of “assistant to the regional manager” to “assistant regional manager.” This person regularly performs well and loves to be praised.
You wont have to worry about the production of a teacher’s pet. You will have to worry about them sharing the spotlight. Their competitive nature can discourage others. Great managers know how to recognize high achievers without alienating others, and specialize in fostering growth out of the less productive salespeople.
4. The Happy-Go-Lucky (HGL)
This salesperson is always late, takes long lunches, and loves to party. Their mood is not dependent on their sales production or their success. Some people might see this as positive, but it can be a bad influence on other team members.
The HGL salesperson isn’t motivated by production. If they sell, great. If they don’t sell, no big deal. This can get very sticky if this person is a top producer. You don’t want to lose a top producer, but you don’t want other salespeople mimicking bad behavior either.
I have found that the best solution for this is to give this person more responsibility. Give them opportunities to develop training programs or presentations so that others can benefit from her/his sales experience. If the happy-go-lucky team member is not a producing member, it is imperative that we discuss their performance and schedule with them subject to the terms of their employment.
5. The Negative
This is someone who often talks bad about his or her teammates, the management, and the company. Even when they make a sale, they are predicting a cancellation or a chargeback. They somehow seem to find something wrong with everything. This is dangerous when it graduates from being verbally negative to outright defiant without being addressed.
You can’t change people, believe me I’ve tried. I’ve worked with top producing sales people who were negative and it can be exhausting. Instead of trying to change someone, it is easier to request that they bring any suggestions or negative comments to you directly. This doesn’t mean that their feedback isn’t without merit. It just preserves morale amongst the troops.
6. The Blamer
This salesperson blames the economy, the training, the lack of buyers, and the company for poor sales. They blame everyone and everything else but themselves.
Most blamers are not top producers. When speaking to a blamer divert the conversation in a positive direction. Praise them for their progress including their ability to overcome hurdles. Reminding them that they are still winning in spite of all the challenges will help them take responsibility for their own successes and failures.
In my 25 year career I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned that the people you think will-won’t and people you think won’t will. I’ve seen that the people you think can-can’t and people you think can’t-can. You can’t prejudge who will succeed and who wont. You can make sure that your message is framed properly so that it is embraced by the right personality.
Go out and sell!