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6 key sales talents

Submitted by on Tuesday, 6 July 2010No Comment

Working with over 2,000 sales teams in numerous countries, using both qualitative and quantitative interviews and assessments, Derek Gatehouse knows a thing or two about sales teams.

His book, The Perfect Salesforce, is a great summary of his research and well worth the read.

One of the themes of the book is that high-performing sales teams have one thing in common: they play their salespeople to their key sales talents.

Talents are those things that we are born with and can do little to change, so it makes sense to identify them and work with them. Ignoring them usually leads to serious performance issues. Affirming them is the surest route to success: especially in sales.

The 6 key sales talents

The six key sales talents identified by Gatehouse are:

  1. Quantity vs. Quality sales. Salespeople broadly fall into two types: those who thrive in ‘quantity’ sales – where the selling is often repetitive & structured; and those who thrive in ‘quality’ sales, which usually involves fewer clients and where near-perfect performance is required.
  2. High pain tolerance / threshold. A key driving talent in sales is the ability to be able to do things many others do not like. Being able to handle rejection, for example, is vital; in most cases this is something not learned but born with. In the words of Albert Gray ‘Although hard work, good luck and astute human relations are all important, the successful person has ‘formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do’.
  3. Advisers vs Pleasers. This is critical in persuasion. Some people are born ‘pleasers’ – which is on the whole ineffective in the field of sales, while other people are born ‘advisers’. This latter group use their persuasive talents to close effectively.
  4. Executive Rapport: High vs Low. Some salespeople bond instantly to the ‘common man’; others are more naturally suited to ‘high-level’ executive sales.
  5. Need: created versus established. Some salespeople do poorly when creating a need but excel when it is already established. Others thrive on the challenge of creating need. It’s critical to put the right type of salespeople in the role that plays to their strength.
  6. Obvious vs. Concept. The last sales talent is the inclination for some salespeople to be better at selling a tangible good (‘obvious’) or an intangible Concept. Again, it’s critical to get your salespeople in the right role.

Top sales teams learn the rules of human behavior; they understand that it is the conditions that create the desired behaviors, and that by establishing the perfect performance conditions in the sales department they automatically create an autonomous growth machine.

Derek Gatehouse, The Perfect Salesforce

Getting your sales team playing to its strengths

Getting your sales team playing to its strengths is a critical (but just the first) step to developing a high-performing sales team.

If you would like to get your sales team playing to its strengths and performing at its best, feel free to contact us here and we will be delighted to help!

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