Getting the most out of your sales team can be as simple as understanding thier personalities.
By Jason Catullo
Motivating a sales team takes more than a "one-size-fits-all" approach. Factors such as time, tactfulness and the ability to adapt can make the difference between motivating employees with the appropriate support or losing their attention and suffering the consequences of an unmotivated, disengaged staff. However, one of the main keys that can make a good sales force a great one is understanding the personalities that comprise the entire dynamic of a sales team.
Bob Phibbs of The Retail Doctor presented the SEMA webinar, "Get More From Your Crew Using Four Personality Styles," to provide techniques that help managers understand the personalities of their sales staff in an effort to boost performance. Incentive programs and quality products certainly make a sales person's life easier. But, understanding the strengths and weaknesses in each personality style provides managers with the ability to staff the floor appropriately, placing employees in the areas where they can leverage their stronger personality traits for the benefit of the bottom line.
According to Phibbs, there are two personality categories—Thinkers and Feelers—and each category has two classes. In the Thinkers category, there are two classes—the Analytical and Driver. The two classes in the Feelers category are the Expressive and Amiable.
Phibbs says that while there are positives and negatives to each personality type, and the traits that are demonstrated by each are situational, it's important to remember that one personality type is not better than the other. He also encourages management personnel to understand what personality types they are as managers.
"Once you understand the four personalities, it's important to understand which type you are as a manager," explained Phibbs. "If you know, for example, 'I'm a Driver,' then you know that you tend to come off like a ton of bricks and really powerful; you better find a way to temper that, or you're going to anger people along the way."
Phibbs also provided this advice: "If you know who you are, you can manage better. If you know that, then the personalities that you bring on to your team should not all be the same as you."
Here are the personality types, as well as the characteristics and examples, that Phibbs covered in his presentation.
The Analytical follow a certain process when conducting their jobs. They go from part A, to part B, to part C…etc. The good thing is that they spend the time to discover the logical sequence. They are certain of what works and what doesn't work. According to Phibbs, characteristics of the Analytical personality are found in careers, such as surgeons, car mechanics, contractors and CPAs. They are the experts, regardless of the field they are in, simply because they understand the processes and repercussions.
The good thing about Drivers when working in groups is that they are the ones who naturally want to get involved, get things done and take charge. They like to fix things, they like to be right and they like to be recognized for it. Chef Gordon Ramsey, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Trump are examples of people who Phibbs designates as Drivers. These are the type of people who you don't cross. Drivers have big egos, they want the best and believe they know how to obtain it.
Where the thinkers approach and solve situations by relying on what they think, Feelers handle situations based on what's in their hearts.
The Expressive personality is someone who is always out there looking at the possibilities. They are considered the sparkplugs, according to Phibbs. They are the most entertaining personalities—they tend to be actors, musicians and do help create an energetic environment in the workplace. The Expressive can be fun; however, from the managerial point of view, Phibbs says that the Expressive personality is the hardest of the four traits to manage.
These are the selfless people. They are constantly living in the world of what others are doing. Amiable represent more than 50% of the work environment. Phibbs says that the occupations that typically fall in this category are nurses, teachers and firemen. They are about helping others, which is completely opposite of the Driver and the Expressive.
To learn more about these personality types and how to effectively use different styles to make your customer service and sales top-notch, download the entire presentation, "Get More From Your Crew Using Four Personality Styles."