Chicago Sales Coaching Blog

New, Groundbreaking Research on the Attributes of Top Sales Performers

Star ?I’ve heard various theories and opinions. Some companies use DISC profiles, which can predict style and behavior. One business owner proudly shared his secret to hiring sales people. He told me: “I look for people who have the gift of gab.” He also proceeded to share that his gabby sales people were not as motivated and productive as he’d like.

I’m not sure if anyone would intentionally hire a bashful sales person. But with all due respect, today’s top sales performers have come to learn that the gift of knowing when to shut up can be an even more valuable skill than the gift of gab. Is there a secret to finding top performers?

New research uncovers significant insight about the intangible attributes of top sales performers in both the US and Europe. The research revealed a common trait common to 70% of top sales performers in both the US and Europe. Here’s the full article from Talent Assessment Guru Bill Bonnstetter.


Groundbreaking Research

What’s Inside of Top Sales Performers in the US and Europe

By Bill J. Bonnstetter

Research studies of top sales people in both the United States and Europe confirm that top sales performance can be predicted. The most success­ful organizations in the world already know that hiring the right people has the potential of becoming the most powerful “secret weapon” in their arsenal of competitive strategies. What they don’t know is that hiring the right sales people can be as simple as following a recipe based on recent findings from an international study conducted by Frank Scheelen of The Scheelen Institut, Waldshut­Tiengen, Germany and me, Bill J. Bonnstetter of Target Training International, Ltd. in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a result of our twenty years of research, development and distribution of assessment tools to measure performance, we have been telling organizations that it is what’s on the inside, not the outside, that counts, especially in sales performance. What we are fighting is the myth that hiring people who look and sound good leads to good performance. As global competition forces organizations to greater heights in key performance arenas such as customer service, quality and customization, aggressive organizations must be ever vigilant in the identification, acquisition, development and integration of innovative technology. This type of innovative technology is now available to select top performers.

Much of the research conducted in the past on top sales people has been focused on behavior. Behavioral research has been popular because, like looking good and sounding good, behavior can be observed. Little, if any significant study has been focused on what goes on inside a top salesperson. Our groundbreaking research in the United States and Europe now confirms that attitudes far outweigh looking good, sounding good or behavior in distinguish­ing top salespeople.

Two of our most significant assumptions were confirmed by the two studies:

  1. Top performing salespeople around the world are similar and,
  2. Attitudes or values are more important than behavior in sales performance (See Study 1 and Study 2 below)

In both studies, only top performing salespeople responded. In the United States study and a separate German study, top performing salespeople responded to two as­sessments. One was based on the internationally validated DISC behavioral model and the other was based on the Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values model, currently being validated internationally.

Note that in the United States study of 178 firms, top sales performers tended to be spread across three behavioral dimensions. In the German study, top sales performers tended to be spread across the same three behavioral dimensions. In view of these results, it is reasonable to conclude that salespeople can sell in most, if not all behavioral dimensions.

However, when it comes to what is on the inside of top performing salespeople, both the United States study as well as the German study confirm it is hands-down, a utilitarian attitude.

Groundbreaking Research - Charts

Bill J. Bonnstetter is the President of Target Training International, our strategic partner for sales talent assessment tools.


To Gab or Not to Gab?

To gab or not to gab is not the question. However, if you can identify sales people with utilitarian attitudes (a hunger for results), you’re much less likely to make a hiring mistake. Job Benchmarking and Assessment tools can significantly reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes. You’re invited to contact us to learn about putting these tools to work for you.

Learn more about Sales Assessment Tools.

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