December 23, 2008

Yes, Sales People Are Different

Salespeople are different.  More precisely, those in the profession of sales are typically characterized by a set of traits different to the majority of the population.  That is from those people with whom they must work and to whom they must sell. 


The typical sales person is different to the typical accountant or engineer.  They started out with a slightly different set of characteristics and skills, and over time have nurtured those skills in order to ensure their success.


You will already have noticed that sales people are typically a little more assertive, independent and confident than the population, or workforce at large.  The archetypical sales person is generally:


·         A better talker than listener


·         Prefers solo-runs to a team effort


·         Has a bias towards action, as opposed to planning


·         Can be quick to make their mind up and slow to change it.


Many of these personality traits can be important strengths in selling.  But, of course any strength overused can become a weakness.  Consider the fact that for many colleagues (particularly those in accounting or technical) the archetypical sales person can seem; loud, showy, insincere and arrogant.


Recognizing and appreciating these differences is important for sales people in managing themselves, for sales managers in managing their teams and of course in building strong customer relationships.  Unfortunately, however, too many customers and staff have a poor perception of sales people and that is something that must change.


Awareness of the differences is key.  Every organization needs a cautious and analytical account, as much as it does a confident and outgoing sales person.    For both to appreciate, support and respect each other then the sales dynamic in an organization is at its greatest.


Of course, the best sales people don't so easily fit the archetypical definition.  They take care to balance listening with talking, work well as a team, plan before acting and so on.  And, of course, they can and do come from all backgrounds – after all who better to see accounting solutions than an accountant, for example. 


But, keep in mind that as a sales person you




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