The latest issue of Harvard Business Review published the results of a large-sample-based article (Lynette Ryals and Iain Davies, authors) on successful and unsuccessful sales people. To the extent that empirical-based research exists on sales performance, this article is an important step forward. (  The top sales people were described as experts, closers and consultants. The bottom 2/3 of the sample were described as story tellers, focusers, narrators, aggressors and socializers. The value of this taxonomy is that it allows sales managers to focus on areas for coaching and training that need refinement or improvement for the sales staff. This allows the manager to do it systematically rather than situationally or case-by-case on each sale. A key recurring theme for the bottom two thirds is that the styles collectively share a common communication error of not doing a good job of qualifying a prospect and not assessing the prospects “pain” through good listening and questioning skills. They tend to communicate by the “show up and throw up,” “let me bully you,” or distraction techniques of talking about anything but the sales situation.

The social psychology of a sale is partially about a thorough assessment and application of persuasion and motivation research. If MINES can assist you and your staff  to attain higher levels of performance, please contact us.