2 1/2 Minute Video Blog

3 Factors that Determine the Pace at which a Salesperson will Work

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Video Script

Hello, I am Steve Suggs, salesperson recruiting training expert and author of the book Can They Sell. Welcome to my recruiting video blog. Two and a half minutes of recruiting salespeople training.

Today were going to talk about the 3 factors that determine the pace at which a salesperson will work. Recently in a coaching session with a manager, he was struggling with whether or not to let one of his salespeople go. He described a person who was loved by her customers. She had one of those charismatic personalities, a strong attention to detail and was good at solving problems. But this manager was frustrated with her level of sales activities for the past 6 months.

He had painted himself into a corner with a salesperson who was too nice to fire.

He thought he could coach her enough that she would eventually turn the corner. So here’s what I did to help him with this decision. I explained the 3 factors that determine the pace at which a salesperson will work. With this information we were able to have a more in-depth discussion as to whether or not she was a good investment of his time.

Here are the 3 factors. 1- hardwired personality traits. 2 – the character trait of disciplined work ethic. 3 –  the number of outside distractions in a salesperson’s personal life.

The hardwired personality traits of goal orientation and need for control are what I call a person’s internal alarm clock. People with low goal orientation and low need for control are more focused on the process they are using while completing a task. They are less concerned with a deadline and the pace at which they are working, and more concerned with following a system that helps them avoid mistakes.

If the same person has a high detail orientation and a high need to nurture, all of which are hardwired personality traits, this person will need close management and supervision inside deadlines in order to be productive. They are prone to analysis paralysis and spending too much time nurturing people who will never buy. A person with this personality combination will most likely struggle with having enough sales activities.

A salesperson with high goal orientation and high need for control possesses an internal alarm clock that is always ringing, signaling them to hurry up and get on with it. This causes them to work at the pace of a racehorse, getting very creative with ways to beat the deadline. The ideal salesperson will have high goal orientation, high need for control, low detail orientation and a lower need to nurture. This personality combination is a person who is restless for results, less focused on unnecessary details and is motivated to only nurture people to a certain point.

The 2nd factor is disciplined work ethic. This is a character trait that is formed during childhood. When a parent works with the child and teaches them to focus on a goal, stick with the task especially when it gets hard, and finish inside a deadline, the child learns disciplined work ethic. The degree to which this teaching is repeated over and over will determine how hard the child works as an adult and has a disciplined focus to finish the job.

Disciplined work ethic is important in both of the personality scenarios just described. The slower paced methodical personality needs disciplined work ethic in order to pay attention to the deadlines and the coaching from the manager. Without this discipline, this methodical worker will ignore deadlines. This is the person who measures their productivity by the number of hours worked not the amount of productive tasks completed. The fast-paced racehorse salesperson who does not have be disciplined work ethic will become bored and will quit when the job becomes hard, and  they will look for an easier path to success. We see this many times with the salesperson who changes jobs every 1-2 years.

The 3rd factor is outside activities. We live in a multitasking society. The salespeople who lack the discipline to say, “no” to the multitude of opportunities that come their way will eventually become the notorious Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none. We see this many times where a talented salesperson’s sales will drop off because they are unsuccessful at balancing their work life and home life. Throw in the current popular ingredient of pursuing an additional revenue stream outside of their main job and you have the recipe of a salesperson who simply cannot keep up the necessary prospecting and sales activity levels needed to succeed in their daytime sales role.

After this conversation with my client, he came to the conclusion that this particular salesperson would need constant management by deadlines because she was wired in a way that lacked the internal alarm clock coupled with a week disciplined work ethic. With her lack of discipline to deal with her out-of-control personal life, it became obvious that she was not a fit for a role on his sales team.

Thank you for joining me here today as we discussed how personality and character traits impact sales productivity. See you next time on the Can They Sell video blog for more salesperson recruiting training. As always, please leave your comments below and forward this video to anyone who will benefit. If you haven’t already, please register for this blog. Now go recruit the best salespeople.

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