Selling With Your Personality


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Anyone can sell if the price is cheap enough or if what is being sold is something people can’t live without. However, for the vast majority of us, neither of these luxuries are part of the scenario. The difficulty of selling is compounded by the fact that most customers have a wide range of options available to them regarding what they can buy. Therefore, in order to close the sale, it becomes necessary for us to stand out from other salespeople. One of the best ways to be different is by displaying a confident personality.

A powerful sales tool that many of us overlook is our personality. It positively and negatively influences far more sales than we will ever admit to. I firmly believe that you should use your personality to impact every sales call. “CPP” is a concept I often teach to sales groups. It stands for “Confidently Passionate Personality” and it means to use your personality with a level of passion and confidence that allows the customer to believe you are genuinely interested in them and their success. Although it’s not rocket science, it is a critical idea that is often neglected and is very useful in helping you gain sales over your competition.

Note that in order to successfully use your personality on a sales call, you have to be confident in how you can help your customers. Unfortunately, many salespeople are simply confident in what they’re selling, not in their ability. There’s a big difference. When you’re confident in what you’re selling, it means you’re putting more emphasis on your products or services than you are on your customers. This misunderstanding eliminates a large number of salespeople from being able to use their personality to positively influence their ability to close. Confidence should not come across as manipulation. I’m sure we all know salespeople with infectious personalities that use them to bulldoze their way through with customers. On the surface, they’re very successful, at least for the short term. However, those who have a manipulative personality will lull themselves into a false sense of security when, in reality, they’re destroying their long-term sales potential.

A confident salesperson is willing to take the time to find out what the real needs of their customers are. They don’t jump at the person’s first comment and try to close the deal. Their genuine interest helps expose the underlying needs that the customer may otherwise not be willing to share. Confident salespeople believe so strongly in themselves and their ability to help that they’re not concerned with making a quick sale. Rather, they want to make a great sale, which is usually much bigger and more profitable than a quick one.

Furthermore, when you’re genuinely confident in yourself as a salesperson and how you can help people, it’s impossible to keep from showing your passion. The word “passion” is usually heard in the context of someone being passionately in love with another person. This is not what I’m talking about. The “passion” that I’m referring to is showing genuine care and concern for helping the customer. This means that you’re willing to not only take interest in what they are telling you, but to also dig deeper, even if it takes you down a line of questioning you had not planned on. The true test in demonstrating passion towards a customer is if after you’ve determined their needs and discovered that they are not in line with what you are selling, you would be willing to refer them to someone else. That’s passion! Yes, it may mean giving up a sale, but I guarantee that if you truly are passionate towards your customers, you’ll end up with far more sales in the long-run than the person who is not.

Finally, to successfully use your personality as a sales tool, you must be someone that people like to associate with. Negative or self-serving personalities will not see positive results. Your personality must be upbeat in both actions and words, and should be complimentary to everyone you come in contact with. Attractive personalities do not get easily upset with issues, are willing to help find solutions, and are optimistic. They are inviting rather than exclusive, and they cause others to be willing to share openly. Very simply, an attractive personality is one you would like to hang out with.

To determine your level of confidence, ask yourself the following two questions.

* Do customers call you for information that goes beyond what you sell?

* Do customers willingly refer you to others?

Although they are simple questions, the responses they elicit can quickly tell you if your personality is confident, but not arrogant.

Having a “Confidently Passionate Personality” is not something every salesperson can achieve. However, for the vast majority, it is attainable if they’re willing to show genuine interest in their customers. The questions they ask and the service they provide will allow their personalities to be the effective sales tool that differs from their competition.

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," is a sales expert who speaks to thousands of people each year on how to increase their sales profitability. For more information or to receive a free weekly sales tip via email, contact "The Sales Hunter" at


  1. After reading your blog, I’m still not sure what value personal charm has for customer-centric relationships–not that having “personality” is a bad thing. It’s just that I don’t clearly understand what confidence, passion, and personality really are, and how I can translate these terms into concrete behaviors. That said, I admire that you have taken on communicating the importance of interpersonal skills for sales effectiveness.

    You mention that “the true test in demonstrating passion towards a customer is if after you’ve determined their needs and discovered that they are not in line with what you are selling, you would be willing to refer them to someone else. That’s passion!”

    . . . But I think what you are describing is really a different competency. In any case, sales effectiveness requires performing multiple behaviors that cannot be easily separated from one another.

    I have worked with many, many passionate, charismatic people who have been utter failures as salespeople. Why? Because vigor and enthusiasm was all they could demonstrate–not how they put the client’s success first.

    A great salesperson doesn’t have to be the life of the party. For me, I’ll take the bookish salesperson with the personal charm of a bean-counting CPA if he or she is genuinely bright and proves they have my best interests at heart. They’re out there. I talk with them every day.

  2. I’d like to add in on Andy’s comments.

    Perhaps this is a derivative point, and I could be reading into Mark’s point, however I believe that personality can often get overlooked within a complex sales process and worthy for discussion. However, adding personality types may be too much to model right now to develop scalable and robust CRM systems today.

    Heck, most organizations are really struggling with cross-selling, getting sales teams to do better account planning, and selling ahead of the RFP. It strikes me that also focusing on personality too might be akin to swallowing too much of the elephant all at once. Mark, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how we as a community can factor in personality in a more scalable way across solution teams, marketing organizations, and throughout the entire sales force.

    Also, it would be interesting to hear from you about what makes a sales person confident. False confidence becomes bravado and that can become very off putting. To me, nothing makes sales teams more confident that having sufficient knowledge to engage in value-added dialog throughout the entire lifecycle.

    Scott Santucci
    [email protected]


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