The Blog at the Harvard Business Review recently ran this article about the top seven personality traits of successful salespeople. Thanks to Peter for sending this along to me.
Regular readers know how much I cringe when anyone attempts to suggest that personality tests are or could be predictive of sales performance. If you haven't read it before, read this series of articles and especially this article along with its embedded links that expose the truth about using personality assessments for sales.
Back to Harvard's Blog. Is their article any different from others I have debunked? No! They make the same mistakes. They lead people to believe that if they identify someone who is modest, conscientous, achievement oriented, not very self-conscious, curious, not very gregarious and who doesn't get discouraged, they will have a top salesperson. Surely, they can't be serious!
The biggest problem with this particular article wasn't even the personality assessment. It was the qualification for top performers. In most companies, the top performers are some of the weakest salespeople on the planet! These are the people who have inherited the biggest and best accounts, who manage the sweetest territories, or who have simply rested on their laurels. Isn't it more likely that this article simply looked at some of the common traits of an effective account manager?
Personality assessments are wonderful. Just don't use them to determine whether a salesperson will succeed in your particular sales role!