Sales Leadership Competencies – Agreeableness

by | Mar 6, 2023 | Relationship Selling

This month I’ll continue to write about personality traits, focusing on agreeableness.

As I left the house with my wife Betty, she made the comment, “Wow it’s cold outside!” My immediate response, being a cold-blooded person and from New York, “No it’s not, it’s nice out.” Betty’s response, “You never agree with me! You always state the opposite.” And of course, she’s right!

Am I that way with customers?

Absolutely not!

So, why would I say that? Maybe to be macho? Well guys, help me out here – how well does that work?

When you respond to someone’s point of view, is your default to take their side and agree, or to be neutral, or to disagree?

This is another personality trait called “agreeableness”, which can be described as kind and trusting, using other prosocial behaviors. People that are high in the area of agreeableness tend to be more cooperative. Those that are low in agreeableness tend to be more competitive and challenging.

When we overlay this trait with the Four People Personality Styles, we see that right brain people, by nature, tend to be more agreeable. These are the Blue and Orange styles. Oranges, like me, are competitive, helping you to understand my comment to Betty!

The Blue Personality people, like my brother Scott, tend to take your side. Blues do not like controversy. They are high in agreeableness, tend to be interested in the other person, and are high on the empathy scale. It’s a true enjoyment to make others happy and to please. You will find many folks with Blue and Orange personalities enjoying careers in service and in sales, like real estate agents.

The Gold and Green Personality Styles are the left-brain styles that are more task-oriented than relationship-oriented. They might be low in agreeableness. They are not as high in empathy, not as interested in other people’s issues and they might even insult or belittle others. It’s not that they mean to, they’re just being honest in their views and they are direct. Especially the Gold style, who are naturally very direct in their communication.

When it comes to your emotional intelligence, agreeableness falls into the category of Self-awareness. The goal is to be aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. Like I said, any of the four personality styles can be high or low in this area even though the right brain styles tend to be stronger in general than the left brain styles.

As a sales leader or a salesperson working with a customer, the key is to understand where the other person is coming from on agreeableness. If your client tends to be agreeable, make sure you are empathizing with them and supporting their views if they are correct. If you don’t agree, soften your approach in explaining your point of view to build the trust and avoid controversy. When finished with your explanation, ask for feedback to see if they agree with your point of view.

If you’re working with someone who is challenging you, you might assume that they are low on agreeableness. Proceed by acknowledging their point of view, and then explain your thoughts while being direct and confident in your approach. You might get into a debate which is fine. Be respectful. Welcome the discussion and do not get defensive. Always encourage open and honest discussion and when you feel the conversation is over, ask for agreement.

Working with others that are not the same personality style as you requires you to adjust. This is what emotional intelligence is all about. It’s the ability to recognize feelings in others while you regulate your own emotions. It can be challenging to adjust your approach on the fly, but the more you’re aware of the different styles, and you work on improving, the better your results will be. The bonus is the strength of the relationships you’re building.

Relationship selling is about understanding the perspective of the other person and adjusting accordingly. It’s being open and transparent, respectful of their point of view, and being assertive with your approach. When we can be proactive with others, it builds long-term relationships which is always the goal for everyone in sales.

When done authentically, agreeableness makes for stronger relationships, wouldn’t you agree?

Good Selling!

©Stu Schlackman