Are your sales staff bees or wasps?

In the stock market there are bears and bulls, but in sales?

A recent personality survey undertaken by a world-leading sales training organisation has identified two new creatures that perfectly characterise sales professionals – bees and wasps.

The verbal survey, based on the principles of psychometric testing, was carried out by Sales Commando and encompassed a small but representative cross section of men and women in finance and b2c sales.

Sales Commando Managing Director Doug Tucker, explains the process, “We carried out the survey to give some definition to the character types of sales professionals. What we found was that they generally fell into two camps – passive and aggressive which is how the bee and wasp analogy came about.”

“Principally, bees are less aggressive than wasps. They pollinate and, in consequence, make things grow. They’re also a social insect and produce honey, a sweet and satisfying return for their endeavours. Sales people falling into this category tend to develop and maintain client relationships with a long-term view on sustainability and profitability.”

“Wasps on the other hand are more aggressive than bees. They are predatory, less social and far more willing to pester and sting. Sales people falling into this category are focused on the short term and can be quite ruthless in the way they go about getting business and maximising instant returns. Their sting is often questionable or outright immoral sales techniques.”

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And the survey results? For the good of the sales profession, the survey showed there are more than three times as many ‘bees’ than ‘wasps’. However, the fact remains that there are wasps and nobody likes to be pestered, pushed and manipulated into agreeing a sale, let alone being stung. To succeed in sales, wasps must turn into bees and Doug Tucker explains how this can be done:

“Successful selling requires listening rather than telling, asking rather than demanding and explaining rather than bullying. Put yourself in the prospect’s seat and see how they perceive you. Be friendly but not over familiar and, essentially, give the prospect time to consider what you are selling and patiently explain how it can benefit them.”

Is there one last tip that will turn a wasp into a bee? Doug, again, has the answer:

“Right at the beginning of the sales process comes the task of defining the target audience. Research, research and research again to make sure that your list of prospects is hot; that you’re going to be speaking with people your product or service is relevant to. Wasps have a scatter-gun approach to prospects. Bees, by contrast target only those who will benefit from what they’re selling, which is yet another poignant example of why bees flourish and wasps fail at the point of sale.”

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