In today’s corporate world hiring managers often give as much consideration to an applicant’s personality as they do to educational background or professional experience. When hiring for positions that are calculating in nature, an accountant, a technician, perhaps a computer programmer, a hiring manager will likely be looking for candidates who are reserved, focused, and task-oriented, with the belief that these character traits are important contributors for success in their line of work. In sales, intuition tells us that the outgoing, people-oriented candidate is going to be more productive than someone more reticent or introverted. Besides general sociability, the hiring sales manager will also factor in other personality traits: sincerity, empathy, doggedness, and the resilience to hear “no thank you” repeatedly while maintaining a positive attitude and moving forward. For years these have been the attributes we instinctively look for in a sales person, but are we justified in doing so?

Preliminary studies in this field have produced some revolutionary findings that suggest that our instincts may be well off the mark. Contrary to intuition, recent evidence-based research demonstrates that the outgoing and gregarious person might not be best suited for sales. Such a counter-intuitive finding could radically alter the measures by which companies recruit and hire young salespersons. Imagine if every company that has placed a heavy emphasis the degree to which a candidate proves to be outgoing or extroverted was in fact passing on people better suited for the job. For sure the company may be hiring effective communicators, people who are able to make contact and maintain relationships, but quite possibly they are overlooking the potential salespeople that can produce the most sales, and in the overall picture, isn’t that what every company seeks?

Sam Johnson, an expert in personality theory, and President of ALC points out that, “The overall amount of money that hypothetically has been lost in unrealized sales is enormous if preliminary studies are correct. What is important though is that we believe we know what to do now, we believe we know what personality type does sell the most, and we are confident that better decisions can be made in the future.” The next question that begs to be answered is, if outgoing and people-oriented are not the traits we are looking for, then what is the personality type best suited for sales?

With over a decade in sales training and an academic background in personality theory, Johnson has developed his own hypothesis. “The outgoing individual, who is at the same time task-oriented, has the most ideal combination of personality traits for sales. Such an individual is generally direct, dominant, driven, and constantly striving to achieve one task after another.” Recently concluded evidence-based research from Dr. Kirk Wakefield, of Baylor University supports this hypothesis, with outgoing/task-oriented personalities prominently out producing other personality types in sales. Interestingly, the same study found that the reserved/people-oriented personality types were the second best in sales performances. The study suggested that this is because such individuals are very conscientious of their clients’ needs and look to fulfill them.

If your company has been hiring outgoing and people-oriented personality types for sales and you are wondering why you are not closing enough business…well we think we might have an answer for you.

Sam Johnson teaches effective communication and leadership skills through personality theory. He is certified in DiSC Personality theory and Professionally trained in Myers Briggs. His acedemdic background is also rooted in <a rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” href=”http:// communications” target=”_blank”>”>communications skills and leadership. His website is http:// www.alc-performanceenhancement.comArticle Source:

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