The Truth About How To Have A Winning Sales Personality

Do you ever wonder why one prospect is practically “eating out of your hands” while another can’t seem to wait for you to leave? This article will reveal why you shouldn’t treat all prospects the same and expose “The Truth About How to Have a Winning Sales Personality.”

There is one simple, but often overlooked, personality characteristic that is vital for sales success. This one thing, however, is perhaps one of the most elusive qualities for salespeople to master.

Most salespeople don’t actively work to develop this capacity and many are completely unaware of just how vital this personality trait is. That’s because they have been brainwashed to believe a myth that has been making its way around the world of selling for about as many years as there have been professional salespeople.

The myth is that there is such a thing as a winning sales personality – and only someone with that personality can be successful at selling. Salespeople have often been led to believe that if they can just be outgoing, friendly, persuasive and even glib, that they will automatically enjoy success in selling.

Fortunately, it’s just that – a myth.

Lots of organizations perpetuate this myth by hiring only people who fit this stereotype for sales positions. However, our extensive research with thousands of salespeople reveals that personality type really has very little to do with sales success.

In some cases, the “right” personality according to the myth is the absolute “wrong” personality in certain situations. In fact, it is possible that personality mismatches often lead to more lost sales than anything else. (We’ll explain this in more detail a little later).

Our research indicated that successful salespeople weren’t necessarily the extroverted and persuasive “sales type.” But they all did have one all important quality in common.

So what is the one essential personality characteristic that is vital for sales success?

It’s flexibility:

  • It’s the capacity to adjust your personality to match the demands of the particular situation in which you find yourself.
  • To empower yourself to blend your personality to be in total coordination with the pace, tone and speed of your prospect.
  • It is not forcing your “dynamic personality” onto a prospect who is cool, distant or removed.
  • It is not talking your head off constantly to a prospect that tends to be quiet and reserved.
  • It is not being distant and cool with a prospect who is warm, engaging and interested in dealing with you in a very personal way.

What many salespeople fail to understand is that there is a vast difference between being flexible and being “fake.”

It’s not a matter of putting on a fake personality – it’s simply a matter of letting your prospect set the tone for the meeting.

Let’s look at it from another angle. Think about how you dress for a sales call. Most salespeople would agree that it’s important to look as professional as possible. But, the best bet is to also make sure that you blend in with the way your prospect and other people at that organization normally dress. In other words, no matter what “the real you” likes to wear on other occasions, and no matter what kind of dress code your organization observes, when you meet with a prospect, you take your dress cues from the prospect.

In the same way, you should take your cues on how to behave from the prospect. They’re inviting you into their environment to see if you can be of service to them. No matter how “the real you” behaves in other situations, in this situation it’s in your best interest to let the prospect dictate how the two of you will interact.

Of course you’d make a terrible impression if you dared to show up in an executive’s office in jeans and flip-flops. But many salespeople aren’t aware that their behavior can have the same effect on a prospect if it doesn’t match the way the prospect likes to interact with salespeople or the way the prospect likes to buy.

For example, many salespeople believe that the best way to develop rapport and make a good first impression is to be very enthusiastic and friendly. That usually works well if they’re meeting with someone who likes to interact that way.

But the exact same behavior makes a very different impression on a prospect who likes to be more formal and deliberate in dealing with salespeople. They might instantly start to feel uncomfortable because to them it seems like the salesperson is talking too loud or too much or standing too close…

Just about every salesperson has had this experience… you meet with one prospect that just can’t seem to get enough of you, you say and do all the right things and they can’t wait to schedule another meeting with you to get the sale rolling. Then you meet with your next prospect and you say and do the exact same things and somehow the whole meeting seems to fall flat.

There could be many explanations, but assuming you’ve qualified them both beforehand, there’s a very good chance those two prospects simply like to buy differently. You approached one in the way that they liked to buy. You approached the other the exact same way, but that’s not how they wanted to interact with you.

This is where your ability to be flexible can really pay off. You have to realize that it’s your prospect’s meeting – you’re a guest on their turf. If you want them to be receptive of you, you should look to them to figure out how to conduct yourself once you’re there.

Let’s take a look at how you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Here are 5 tips to help you immediately:

  1. Approach every prospect in a way that allows you to adjust to their style, speed and demeanor. Don’t force them to adjust to you.
  2. Do as much advance groundwork as possible to learn the fundamental personality style of your prospect before you ever get in front of them.
  3. Even when you suspect that you know your prospect’s basic style, approach them in a neutral way until they exhibit that fundamental style. Then adjust to them. Don’t assume that your pre-call work is correct or that they are comfortable enough to display their “real” personality to you early in the sales relationship.
  4. Constantly look for clues that will characterize the most essential characteristics that your prospect is looking for in you in terms of:
    * Formality versus informality
    * Results versus process
    * High energy versus lower energy
    * A positive/optimistic outlook versus a negative/cautious outlook
  5. Consistently do your best to match the characteristic that best reflects the behavior that your prospect displays. The reason for that is quite simple. People look for those characteristics in others that they, themselves, see as strengths that they possess and admire.

It’s really a matter of using your insight and understanding of others to do a better job of building trust and rapport from the outset. If you can sharpen your intuitive people reading skills to ensure that your prospect feels comfortable, confident, trusting and positive they’ll be far more receptive to what you have to say… AND you’ll have a much greater chance of proceeding with that prospect to the next phase of the sale.