Understanding personality styles is crucial for success as a sales leader, which is why I wrote, “The Relationship Selling Secret.”
This month, I’d like to address the five personality traits that need to be considered when we look at success.
Personality styles have been around since the days of Hippocrates. Research on the five core personality traits can be traced back to work that D.W. Fiske did back in 1949 and then later expanded by others, including Norman in 1967, Smith in 1967, Goldberg in 1981 and McCrae & Costa in 1987.
The trait I’d like to explore today is “Openness.” This trait features characteristics that include imagination and insight.
Typically, people with a high degree of openness have a broader range of interests and are curious about the world around them. They enjoy learning and like to learn things about other people that they might not have known. They tend to be open to trying new things, are very creative, and are fine with abstract concepts.
Those that are low in openness tend to be more traditional, set in their ways, and can struggle with abstract thinking. They sometimes resist change and new ideas.
As a sales leader, where do you stand? And if you are low on openness, how can you improve?
Not every personality style is cast in concrete when it comes to openness.
It depends on how your four styles are aligned and how close your scores are. When your scores on the “Four People Personality Assessment” are close, you’re more balanced and tend to see where other people are coming from. Also, how you grew up can impact how open you are based on how your parents raised you. Were they strict or lax? Did they let you explore or were they rigid?
Salespeople enjoy working with leaders that are open to new ideas and concepts. Can you imagine if all you new ideas or approaches to selling where shot down? How can a team then take their performance to a new level?
Great leaders are open to the ideas of their salespeople and are willing to have robust discussions as to what would work, what might not work and how they can implement new concepts and approaches to selling. Now let’s address the natural tendencies of each of the Four People Personality Styles.
Gold is the Director
Blue is the Relator
Green is the Detective
Orange is the Activator
Breaking them down even further, the Gold and the Green are more dominant left-brain styles, and the Blue and Orange the more dominant right-brain styles.
We can see from the left and right brain which styles tend to be more naturally open when it comes to sales leadership. As we look at the focus of the left brain, we see that the characteristics tend to be focused on task, facts, more rational, sequential in their approach, more details oriented, desire analysis and are more logical. Since facts are important to them, they would not be as open to abstract concepts. So, for the Gold and Green leaders, it can be more of a challenge to be open to their salespeople’s new ideas and approaches. Golds and Greens need to be cognizant of this. In a world where change is accelerating, new ideas can give your sales team a huge advantage.
The Blue and Orange styles tend to be more open to new ideas and concepts, and sometimes without looking too deeply at the details. The characteristics of the right brain include feelings, being more random in approach than structured, bigger picture than detail oriented, and more relationship than task driven. They desire synthesis over analysis. In other words, what do you do with the analysis? They also tend to be more creative than logical.
As a Gold or a Green, be aware of your strengths of being detailed and sometimes testing concepts. It’s okay to test concepts but start by being open when your salespeople bring an idea. Don’t automatically shut it down without hearing them through and then asking the appropriate questions to engage them in a more robust discussion.
As a Blue or Orange, your relationship strengths will lead you to being open to your salespeople’s ideas. Deliberately question the concepts to confirm the strength of their ideas.
Remember, every personality has strengths to leverage. The key is to realize what your non strengths are and work and improving them to be more balanced.
Here’s to good selling!