In an article published in the Harvard Business Review in 1964 – titled “What Makes a Good Salesperson” – Caliper’s founder Herb Greenberg argued that two personality traits (empathy and ego drive) are the two essential traits of all good salespeople.
Having the ability to feel as another does, is not necessarily equivalent to being sympathetic, he wrote. Sellers with good empathy can sense reactions of customers and adjust accordingly.
The second basic quality for super-salespeople is ego drive – or the need to make a sale in a personal way, not merely for the money to be gained. This “need to conquer” must be present despite the sales reality of frequent failures.
These personality requirements have still not hit home for many firms in China and elsewhere, according to Caliper’s Mark Lawrence.
“After extensive research, we’ve found that a majority of salespeople shouldn’t be in sales at all,” Lawrence explained. “Of those that are, many are not selling the right thing.”