sales personality

Enneagram and Sales: Personality Profiles

I am endlessly fascinated by the connection between psychology and sales.

What makes a salesperson tick? Are some personality types more likely to be successful salespeople? What insights can we gain from personality profiles that will help us to be better salespeople?

enneagram_colorOne of my favorite personality profiles is the Enneagram. Here’s the summary, according to Wikipedia:

The Enneagram of Personality, or simply the Enneagram (from the Greek words ἐννέα [ennea, meaning “nine”] and γράμμα [gramma, meaning something “written” or “drawn”), is a model of human personality which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. … As a typology the Enneagram defines nine personality types (sometimes referred to as “enneatypes”), which are represented by the points of a geometric figure called an enneagram, which, it is believed, also indicate some of the connections between the types. There are different schools of thought among Enneagram teachers, therefore their ideas on some theoretical aspects are not always in agreement.

The Enneagram of Personality has been widely promoted in both business management and spiritual contexts through seminars, conferences, books, magazines, and DVDs. In business contexts it is generally used as a typology to gain insights into workplace dynamics; in spirituality it is more commonly presented as a path to higher states of being, essence, and enlightenment. It has been described as a method for self-understanding and self-development.

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The 9 Enneagram personalities are:

1 – Reformer

2 – Helper

3 – Achiever

4 – Individualist

5 – Investigator

6 – Loyalist

7 – Enthusiast

8 – Challenger

9 – Peacemaker

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While I am far from an expert, knowing my Enneagram number has helped me to identify, for instance, why I take a “no” so hard. As a 3 on the Enneagram chart, I am wired to want people to like me and think that I am valuable because of how I serve them. As a salesperson, this means that I am going to take very seriously the need to meet my client’s needs. If I bring them solutions, I can’t understand why they won’t take them. And often, I’ll take it personally. Knowing all of this about myself helps me to take healthy steps of handling areas of personal weakness.

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Here’s a great chart from the fantastic Enneagram In Business showing how different people think about sales, according to their Enneagram number:

sales personality

 

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According to this site, the best Enneagram numbers for sales jobs are 2, 3, 8, and 9. Want to figure out your number? Take one of these Enneagram tests.

 

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Come back tomorrow for an article about a bunch of things I wish my sales manager knew.

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