Sometimes, people can become overly focused on having specific Themes of Strengths to fulfill specific job roles. They may look to stereotypical “matches” for a particular job and think, “everyone in this type of role needs to have this set of Themes.” Or more broadly, they may look to the Domains of Strength and think that people in certain types of jobs need to be dominant in one domain or another.
I’ve spent most of my career in sales, and if there is one group of people that gets overly lumped into a stereotype of needing one particular strength, it’s salespeople. At Leadership vision, we know that one set of Themes is not better than another for any particular job.
My biggest “a-ha” moment about good sales people not being limited to one or two Domains happened during a period when I was responsible for recruiting salespeople. As a Strengths fan, I intentionally researched effective salespeople whom I knew, hoping to find the “magic” Domain or Themes in hopes of using those as a guide in recruiting. To my disappointment, and to my delight upon reflection, I know that people with a myriad of Strengths can be effective salespeople.
Below are some examples of how I’ve seen extraordinary salespeople use their Themes of Strength in their work over the years. To best understand my reflections below, first take the time to read and understand our post about the Domains of Strength, which provide the outline for this discussion. Leadership Vision advocates spending time learning the four Domains of Strength to help people wrap their heads around the 34 Themes. I have also included real examples of colleagues, with names changed.
My hope is to encourage you, the reader, to understand that many Strengths, and Strengths across all Domains, can be generative in a sales role.
The Executing Domain of Strength
These nine themes in the Executing domain are the hardest working of the bunch. They tend to get things done, with speed, precision, and accuracy. They are all about making things happen and following through.
- Achievers will work tirelessly to complete their objective. Early in my sales career, I learned from a legendary veteran to “make one more call.”
- Personally, I do bring the Strength of Belief to my business development role, with core values like humility and service above self which seem to serve me well.
- For my former colleague Charlie, one of the “best of the best” in a Fortune 500 sales organization, his Theme of Discipline meant he had a routine and tremendous follow through which built trust among clients and team members. You could count on Charlie to follow through on his customer’s behalf.
- Probably my favorite sales Strength in the Executing Domain (a theme in which I wish I were stronger) is Focus. I worked with Adrianna, an ultra-successful saleswoman, who had an amazing ability to put her head down, power through her call list, and treat each client like no one else existed.
The Thinking Domain of Strength
Salespeople with Themes in the Thinking Domain of Strength use information and ideas for inspiration, helping prospective customers to imagine the benefits of a product or service.
- As a C-level leader, Bill uses Futuristic to paint the picture of an audacious sales goal, and what that means for company success.
- I’ve seen people like Tom bring the Strength of Analytical to partner on a sales team, maybe not closing or prospecting, but providing the proof of concept to help a prospective customer understand the proposed solution.
The Influencing Domain of Strength
The Influencing Domain of Strength is probably the most natural and obvious connection to sales, as the influencers are the ones reaching more people and getting buy-in – sometimes literally!
- The Activators, like Belinda, have a unique drive to get things going. They have probably made multiple sales calls before their counterparts have started their day.
- Those with the Strength of Communication are blessed in a sales role with the talents to articulate their value proposition, but also to listen effectively. Communication paired with Relating Domain are especially effective.
- Of course, many successful salespeople have the Strength of Competition. Always comparing herself to the standard, Elisa is driven by being at the top of the scoreboard. She plays to win.
The Relating Domain of Strength
The Themes in the Relating Domain of Strength look at how individuals fit into the bigger pictures and can create pathways for them to thrive. Sales success means performing in relationship to other people.
- Daniel lights up a room with his energy and attitude inherent in his Theme of Positivity. The glass is always half full or more with Daniel.
- Some of the most effective salespeople I have known have the Strength of Empathy, with the kind of emotional intelligence which builds trust between them and a prospect. As a buyer, I always loved salespeople who “got me.”
- Salespeople with the Strength of Harmony can look for areas of agreement in the face of conflict or dissonance, and solve a sticky situation to gain a faithful customer.
What are Your Sales Themes?
What Themes of Strength do you bring to your sales role? Can you look at salespeople in a different light now that you know they are playing to their Strengths?