What character type are you?

EVERYBODY talks about ‘types’ of people in order to try and figure them out. Salespeople are all taught to mirror, model, and type their prospective customers. Big mistake. In my opinion, that’s a total manipulation, total joke, and total waste of time. The key word is harmonise – not mirror or model. Harmonise is sincere. Mirror or model is manipulative. Get to know them as a person, not a personality type. But that’s not what I am writing about. Instead of ‘typing’ customers and prospects, let’s talk about types of salespeople. What’s your type? “Eh, wait a second Jeffrey,” you stammer. “I may not want to know what type I am.” Too bad. This won’t hurt – it will help you see yourself the way others do. At the top of my list is the ‘non-conformist, high performer’. You know the type. Makes all the sales. Breaks all the records. Breaks all the rules. Ruffles management. Does it his way. The boss doesn’t know how to handle him. Half the sales team loves him. Half the sales team hates him. Then you have the ‘conformist, compliant, high performer’. The model salesperson. They’re people who get the job done, make big sales, exceed their sales plan, and follow the rules. Every company wishes they had 100 people like this. In my experience, they’re predominantly women. That’s not to say that men are not conformist/compliant, but men tend to step outside the lines a lot more than women in the selling process. Then you have the ‘conformist, compliant, non-producer’. For whatever reason, he can’t make the goal. Darn nice guy. Everybody likes him. Customers love him. Only problem is, he can’t close a sale. Often referred to as ‘the visitor’. Finally, you have the ‘non-compliant, non-performer’. He whines about everything. Blames everyone else. Is an accident waiting to happen. And is always the victim. The word ‘responsibility’ is usually as painful as the word ‘accountability’ to him. Those are the big four. And obviously there are people who fall between each of these sales types. And his or her personality plays a role with respect to each person’s aggressiveness, assertiveness, self-starting ability, enthusiasm, and attitude. But all of these elements are part and parcel of their result – they ‘type’ the person and their character – as well as their level of performance. You would think a positive attitude would be part of every salesperson’s makeup. But you would be thinking incorrectly. Many salespeople, especially seasoned salespeople, can be highly productive, yet somewhat cynical. The reason I’m putting these descriptions in front of you for these types of salespeople is for you to see yourself. Your manager, your coworkers, your fellow salespeople, and your customers already see you; and they ‘type’ you. They see the way you dress. They see the way you act. They see your character. They see your personality. They see your style. And they see how you perform. But rarely do you get to see or evaluate yourself. So, I am asking you to do that now. I’m asking how close to ‘conformist, compliant, high performer’ can you rate yourself? I’m gonna throw some other words at you: friendly; helpful; sincere; value-driven; truthful; ethical; and grateful. These are areas of your personality and character that will lead you closer to sales success. It’s not just a matter of making more sales. It’s a matter of building more relationships – so that one sale turns into many. It’s a matter of building your reputation, so that when people talk about you behind your back, they say things that you would like to hear to your face (or that your children would be proud to hear, if they overheard the conversation). Sales success is not about your performance as of this moment. It’s about the strength of your character that will earn you any success that you desire – over time. In my leadership career, I’ve encountered many sales prima donnas who made big sales, and broke all the rules. I fired every one of them – and every time I did, the rest of the team picked up the slack, and sales always increased. You see, if you’re the leader (the boss, the owner, the entrepreneur), people are looking at your actions, and will often judge your character as permission to evolve their own. “The boss did it. I don’t see anything wrong with me doing it.” Self-judgment is difficult. And if you ask someone else to judge you, they probably won’t be truthful for fear of hurting your feelings, or their relationship with you. So, what’s your type? What’s your character? What are you known as? What are you known for? If you can answer all those questions, and are willing to expose yourself to the opportunities that your shortcomings reveal, then you are ready to take the quantum leap – to the type of salesperson that would make your mother, your customers, your boss, and your banker proud. If you’d like more ways to improve your reputation and performance, go to, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word REPUTATION in the GitBit box. By Jeffrey Gitomer


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