The New Psychology of Sales Performance

Timothy L. Coomer, Ph.D.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet one of the insurance brokerage industry’s most successful producers. This man had generated millions of dollars in commissions for years, had been labeled a “power broker” by industry journals, and was managing one of the most successful regional offices for a national brokerage firm. We had become friends over the years as my business supported his successful sales efforts with actuarial services and analytical software.As an entrepreneur, I was interested in understanding what this undisputed industry leader viewed as the main challenges in the insurance brokerage world. When I asked him that question, he paused briefly and then replied, “If you can figure out how to identify who will succeed as a salesperson, then you will have solved the biggest challenge this industry faces.”

That was not the answer I expected, but it led me on a journey to understand the factors that contribute to sales performance. In fact, I entered an executive leadership program at Oklahoma State University so that I could examine this topic at the Ph.D. level. I approached this endeavor in the same way that I have approached all my high-level analytical work—seeking to do quality research and distill the results down to the practical level to benefit the sales profession and individuals seeking personal growth.

Because I’ve supported brokers and agents for over 30 years, I was able to access a research sample that few others could have secured. My pilot research had a sample of 1,200 respondents, and my detailed personality testing involved more than 150 insurance salespeople—with an average salary of $137,000—and their supervisors. In other words, I was able to test my hypotheses on the relationships between personality factors and sales performance with a sample of very successful professionals. I am deeply grateful to the salespeople who patiently answered nearly 150 questions each, as well as the supervisors who provided performance evaluations, so that my results could have a high degree of statistical reliability.I later expanded upon this initial research to incorporate dozens of other research studies and my own proprietary research into personality, decision making, and performance.

My findings have compelling, easy-to-apply implications for the all-important task of cultivating a productive sales force in any B2B setting. In the short 50-page book you see linked in the sidebar, I explain what I have learned and how you can put this information to work. I have tried to keep things short and simple. I think you will find the book an easy but fascinating read.

Also, the resulting personality model, called MyPersonality®, is now available in two forms. One form is available free to brokerage firms and agencies that would like to use the assessment as part of their hiring process. The book explains how to sign up and access this resource. Second, a version designed to support personal growth and goal setting is also available and free. This too is explained in the book.

The book goes into detail concerning the HEXACO personality model, Psychological Capital, and Grit. Both forms of the MyPersonality® assessment provide a complete personality profile with detailed sub-trait analysis. But more importantly, this information is used to predict how the assessment taker will perform in a variety of situations.

If you are looking for a new effective tool for personal growth or for hiring successful salespeople, please consider purchasing The New Psychology of Sales Performance.

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