Consultation Sales Coaching – Neuroticism as a Personality Trait

by | Jan 5, 2023 | Sales Coaching

As a sales leader, coaching your salespeople is your top priority, helping them achieve their goals, grow, and improve their sales skills. I’ve written about openness and conscientiousness, two of the personality traits that make up our personalities. This next trait might be one you would not expect.

As a coach there may be some people on your team that you hesitate to share your thoughts because you’re just not sure how they will receive them. Maybe they get defensive, emotional, or even defiant. If this is the case, you might procrastinate in the coaching session or you might avoid it altogether. This is not uncommon.

This is when you need to understand the personality trait of neuroticism. I’m not saying your salespeople are neurotic, but we need to better understand what this trait is all about, so you don’t miss out on the coaching opportunity. Someone with high neuroticism needs to be coached as much as anyone else.

Neuroticism is a trait that at its worst describes sadness and emotional instability. These people worry about many different things, whether it’s work or their personal life. They get upset easily, feel anxious, and will not easily take constructive feedback. Just announcing a coaching session can increase their anxiety.

According to recent research most of us are dealing with heightened anxiety due to the pandemic. So, as a leader, you may need to support more people as they deal with that anxiety.

Those with low neuroticism are stable, deal with stress well, and are typically in a good mood. They’re more relaxed, don’t worry much, and are easier to coach.

People with high neuroticism need to become more aware of their moods in order to deal with them.

As we look at the Four People Personality Styles, Blue, Gold, Green and Orange, neuroticism can crop up in each of them, but for different reasons.

  • Blues and Greens might have more worry since they are more “worry based” personalities. Blues worry about conflict and acceptance, while Greens worry about their proficiency and ability to be correct in what they do.
  • Golds and Oranges are more “anger based.” These styles tend to be more impatient and aggressive. They stress out with frustration. For Golds it’s their ability to get things done, and for the Oranges it’s to win and be successful.

Since all four personality styles are driven for different reasons, we need to understand this when we review their pipeline, the sales opportunities they’re working on, or their sales plan for the coming year.

When neuroticism is present in a coaching session, the best way to address and manage it is to ask questions that will bring it into the discussion.

Realize that it can be more difficult for the Blue and Green styles to open up, since they are more passive and indirect in their communication styles. A good opening question can be, “what are the biggest concerns you’re experiencing with your prospects right now?” Second question can be, “how can I better support you to alleviate your concerns?” These questions are designed to get them to open up, and to show them you’re there to help. If they have a hard time discussing, let them know that you’re invested in their success and want them to achieve the results they expect. And, of course, if you think it’s something serious, you may need to gently suggest other resources where they can get help.

For the Gold and Orange styles, your approach will be a little different. A question for them might be, “What’s frustrating you most with your prospects or clients? A second question can be, “How do you plan to address it?” Frustration is common among these two styles as they can be more impatient and can become stressed out about delays in their pipeline.

In every coaching session it’s important to realize the personality style of your salesperson so you can address their concerns from their perspective and not yours. If you can help them overcome their worries or frustrations, it will be easier to coach them to grow in the areas most needed. It will also build trust with them which is paramount with every sales leader and their relationship with their team.

Understand your salespeople’s perspective, address their concerns in a way they can relate, and give sage advice that they will appreciate. Those that can lower their neuroticism can improve their emotional intelligence.

Good selling for the New Year!

©Stu Schlackman