The Best Salesperson Behaviors

Is high assertiveness a behavior that leads to success with salespeople, or can it be detrimental?  Do high performing salespeople need to be very social or not?  Do salespeople with a high sense of urgency perform better in the sales role or worse.  Does one’s reasoning ability affect the sales process?  The answer is positively YES and positively NO.

It is a huge misnomer to believe the traditional stereotype salesperson of hard charging, they can talk to anybody, and are smart as a whip, is always effective.  In a sales environment that empower these behaviors, great.  But sales environments and cultures that don’t align with these behaviors, they are the kiss of death.  What often determines if a certain behavior is good or bad, are the behaviors of the buyers or the processes the salesperson is engaged in.  The best approach to identifying what sales behaviors are successful in any organization is to assess the sales staff with ONLY a normative assessment, and then complete an internal behavioral success study.

Take for example the belief that good salespeople are high People Contact and very social.  They get their energy from being around people.  If the sales role requires considerable networking then this behavior might fit.  If a buyer absolutely can’t stand salespeople that talk too much and don’t ask good questions because they are in “tell my story” mode, this behavior is brutal and not likely to get many repeat appointments.  They are viewed as time wasters.  I was granted an appointment with a buyer once because on the phone call to set up the appointment, I told her I’m not really social so when the content of the discussion is done, I’m “outta” there.  The buyer was also low People Contact and because this was a perfect match, I was given an “In that case, come on in”.  Highly assertive salespeople are often great closers, but poor listeners because listening doesn’t put them in charge.  A low assertive salesperson calling on a highly assertive buyer may come across as weak and indecisive.  They lose respect because high assertive buyers respect high assertiveness.  High Reasoning Ability, traditionally referred to as “really smart” salespeople tend over detail a product or service, and they sell right past the close because details are fun.


Successful sales behaviors are determined by environment and culture, not by stereotype.  The only way to help salespeople improve their behavioral fit, is to help them understand their own personal sales DNA and connect that relationship to their sales role in the sales environment.