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3 Intriguing Statistics From Analyzing 1000 Salespeople’s Personalities

Solution sellers, insight sellers, challenger sellers: the debate over the “perfect” sales personality rages on.

While there might not be a 100% “right” answer, we decided to dig into this question to shed some light on what personality characteristics make for high performers using Ideal Candidate’s Selling IQ Sales Personality Assessment.

The Selling IQ Sales Personality Assessment was built using 10 predictors proven to correlate with sales performance. Through a series of assessment questions, these predictors form seven sales personalities.

Depending on their responses, each candidate falls into one of the seven types:

  1. The Relationship Builder prioritizes the quality of the sales experience over price and features.
  2. The Problem Solver strategically uses facts and figures to win over buyers.
  3. The Achiever values autonomy and has a killer work ethic.
  4. The Team Player understands the value of collaborating with others in the sales process.
  5. The Competitor wants to succeed and outperform their colleagues.
  6. The Charmer is skilled at overcoming objections and creating rapport.
  7. The Straight Shooter tells it like it is and stays true to their word.

Two things we know for sure are A) certain personality traits are more correlated with selling success than others, and B) the best way to measure these sales personality traits is to use an objective assessment.

An analysis of the personalities of 1000 salespeople who completed the SellingIQ assessment reveals some interesting and surprising trends. Below is the distribution of 1000 candidates based on their number of years in sales.

3 Intriguing Findings

1) Roughly 30% of respondents are Relationship Builders

Overall, about a third of salespeople in our sample have a relationship-building sales personality, with problem-solving and achieving rounding up the top three.

2) New salespeople filter into Team Player and Competitor profiles

When comparing brand new salespeople (i.e., those who are in their first sales jobs) to seasoned salespeople (i.e., those with seven or more years of sales experience), newbies are more likely to be Team Players (14% vs. 9%) and Competitors (12% vs. 7%).

3) Experienced salespeople trend towards Relationship Builders and Achievers

Seasoned salespeople, on the other hand, are more likely to be Relationship Builders (31% vs. 28%) and Achievers (26% vs. 15%) compared to brand new salespeople.

What are the driving forces behind these statistics? We have two theories.

Theory 1:

As salespeople start their sales careers, they may be more driven by having something to prove, and this focus lands on their colleagues: they’re more likely to be either Team Players or Competitors. As they become more experienced, salespeople may gain confidence in their abilities and learn to focus on the customer instead: they are more likely to be Relationship Builders and Achievers.

Theory 2:

Depending on the company sales culture, type of product or service, and industry, selling may be both more competitive or collaborative today than it used to be. This may attract salespeople who thrive in collaborative, team-based sales cultures or autonomous, performance-driven sales cultures.

What Do You Think?

Our two theories are simply initial thoughts. Now we’d like to know what you think.

  • Do salespeople learn to focus more on the customer over time? Is it possible a competitive spirit is a strong skill out of the gate but over time a relationship-building approach is adopted?
  • Is today’s sales world more collaborative and competitive? The younger generation of salespeople has grown up with more social networking -- perhaps this has led to more team builders? At the same time, are some sales teams leveraging new technology and creating more competitive, performance-driven sales cultures?
  • Disagree with both explanations? Think there’s a third explanation? Let me know in the comments!

Are you an outlier? A young Achiever? An experienced Competitor? Discover your unique sales personality at www.SellingIQ.com and let me know! Find your strengths and close more deals.

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