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Capitalize on Sales Strengths

"Discover Your Sales Strengths" says adapt job to salesperson

August 16, 2005


photo of Paula Parisot
Paula Parisot

review or buy Discover Your Sales Strengths

Opening the door to assured sales success takes a thorough understanding of one's personal sales strengths and talents followed by the ability to choose the sales field that is the perfect fit, according to one sales book.

After interviewing 250,000 salespeople, 25,000 sales managers and more than a million customers, Gallup Organization authors Benson Smith and Tony Rutigliano have discovered that "the best salespeople adapt the job to suit their strengths; they do not attempt to change their strengths to fit the job."

Discover Your Sales Strengths: How the World's Greatest Salespeople Develop Winning Careers defines strengths as "those capabilities that enable us to perform well in various parts of our lives, spring from recurring patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that occur spontaneously and become unique parts of our personality as we mature into adults."

Strengths and talents are not developed by learned behavior only enhanced by gaining knowledge and experience, the book says. And defining those strengths and talents can create an awareness of what kind of sales position would make for the best sales career.

For example, someone who has a talent of making a good first impression and meeting others might do well at setting the initial appointments while someone who has more of a talent in "closing" would do well to be the one to make the sale.

The book identifies 34 different "themes" that the authors have found to apply to most sales people. These themes are based on certain attributes a person displays and the book explains how to best fit them using "five critical dimensions of fit for a sales role."

Analyzing motivation is important, the book says, because the best sales people "are simply much more motivated than most of the population." The second and third criteria to analyze are how well a sales person can build relationships and gain commitment.

"If you naturally develop deep relationships with customers, but are in a job in which you see a customer for only fifteen minutes and then never see them again," the authors advise, "you are squandering a valuable talent."

Structure, the fourth criterion, also plays an important role in how productive we are with or without certain guidelines in our work life. One with a theme of "adaptability" might do well in an environment that is constantly changing, such as the mortgage industry where new programs and guidelines are added and rates are constantly fluctuating.

Themes of "strategic, input, ideation, and futuristic" are usually associated with great salespeople who are involved with "solving customer problems," the fifth dimension of fit the book explains.

"If one or more of your Signature Themes seem to largely describe your talents in thinking," the authors suggest, "a sales role that requires a lot of mental activity and problem solving is often a better fit than one without such requirements."

Paula Parisot is a MortgageDaily.com feature reporter and a blogger at CloserBlog.com who has also worked in the mortgage industry.

Email Paula at: [email protected]

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