As an outside sales representative, you know your career is not a walk in the park. Every day you face a good amount of rejection, long hours, and a constant fear of falling short of your quota. Not everyone is carved out for this type of job, as it takes certain personality traits and qualities. Not only do you have to close deals, but you also have to hustle through each long day of work.
So, is outside sales representative the right job for you? One way to find out is by taking a personality test. Two different tests--the Big Five Personality Test & the Myers Briggs Test--are quick methods for determining your key personality traits, and if you’ll enjoy outside sales.
The Big Five
The Big Five Personality Test stems from a theory that your personality is made of five components: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. The test will calculate your score for each of these five qualities. Depending on your results you can decide whether outside sales representative is the job for you!
- Openness to Experience: High scorers tend to be more creative, intrinsically motivated, and are more receptive to new ideas. These high scorers make excellent outside sales representatives as they have a strong inner drive that propels them to close the next deal. They’re eager to try out alternative tactics and go after new leads.
- Conscientiousness: Of all five factors of the Big Five model, studies show that conscientiousness is most highly correlated with sales performance. If you scored highly, that means that you are organized, dependable, and hardworking--all great traits for an outside sales representative. These characteristics help maintain quality relationships your customers.
- Extroversion: Great salespeople rate highly for this trait, as extroversion refers to sociability. High scorers enjoy keeping busy and being in the presence of others. An extrovert is your classic “people’s person.” Their assertive and talkative nature is essential to their success.
- Agreeableness: High scores for agreeableness are not vital to outside sales. But, the trait does come in handy when building relationships with leads. This is because agreeableness is associated with honesty, dependability, and a mild-mannered temperament. So with these traits under your belt, your accounts will trust you with their business.
- Neuroticism: This is where your level of emotional stability comes into play. High scorers experience more intense negative feelings and are more prone to mood swings, whereas low scores are associated with a more calm temperament. Like Agreeableness, emotional stability is not an essential trait in an outside sales representative, but it definitely helps to be able to manage your stress when you are out in the field!
Carl Jung, the personality theorist behind the Myers Briggs Test, believed there are four psychological categories to explain our personalities: Extroverted/Introverted, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. After you’ve taken the test, you are assigned a personality type that contains one trait from each category.
The ideal outside sales representative personality type is ESFP (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving).
- Extroverted: As stated above, extroverts enjoy the company of others and like meeting new people. Meeting others and making connections is a main objective of sales reps.
- Sensing: This part of the Myers Briggs Test refers to how we gather information. If you are a Sensing type, you obtain information from your five senses rather than from your intuition. This is great for sales because you work well with real figures and pay attention to details.
- Feeling: Feelers use a more subjective approach towards making decisions than Thinkers. Feelers take into account values and the emotions of others. Good salespeople tend to be Feelers because they are highly aware of their clients’ needs and emotional states. They make decisions based on social cues and not on hard logic calculations.
- Perceiving: Perceiving types are flexible, go-with-the-flow people. This is ideal for outside sales because in the field you never know if your schedule is going to go as planned. Flexibility is key.
But Don’t Worry!
Don't worry if you didn’t score the ESFP personality type with the Myers Briggs Test. There is still hope for you as an outside sales representative. There are many skills and personality types necessary for success in outside sales.
Here are some silver linings to scoring the opposite personality type: IITJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging).
- Introversion: If you tend to be more introverted than extroverted, this can benefit you in the field. For example, introverts are more inclined to work through problems thoroughly and think before they speak. These are are valuable traits in customer relations and sales.
- Intuition: Outside Sales representatives can use their intuition to develop customer relationships. Intuitive people are focused on the long term, and contemplate future implications of current actions to make sure their customers are happy and stay happy.
- Thinking: Thinkers are great at strategizing, so in the field they are able to make rational decisions when managing their customer interactions. They take a more objective approach to life and are great at standardizing processes. For example, these skills can be useful in keeping up to date with clients or generating new leads.
- Judging: People who are categorized as Judgers tend to lack spontaneity and flexibility. However, they prioritize keeping organized and staying on schedule, which is very important in outside sales. You only have so many hours in the day as an outside sales representative, so staying on track is vital to closing deals!
So, Now What?
After taking these tests, you are hopefully more familiar with your own personality type and how it connects to outside sales. So now it is time to use this newfound knowledge in the field as an outside sales representative. Focus on your strengths during your daily routine, but don’t forget to learn from your weaknesses. Use your unique personality to your advantage by turning your weaknesses into strengths that will aid you in the field.