It’s been amazing to see how quickly many businesses have been able to switch to some sort of online delivery model over the last week or so. Continuing my musings on ‘Working Styles’, here’s something to bear in mind though, especially for your sales team.

To be good at sales, or customer service, or support, people need to be get some of their motivation from other people – they need to be externally focused.

So far, so good. But the context of sales can vary, and individuals can have very different working style preferences and still be excellent sales people – as long as the context they are in remains congenial.

For example, a good salesperson can have a reactive preference – that is, they act on things that happen, rather than initiating events.  That’s perfect for physical retail, where customers don’t want to be pestered, yet want attentiveness when they ask for it. People with a proactive preference, on the other hand are more suited to a field sales role, where they have to go out and find clients, or for pulling in customers through promotions outside the premises.

Bear these preferences in mind as you switch to online. Working against the grain of their preference will be more difficult for both proactive and reactive people. You could, for example have the reactive people man your chatlines and customer service lines, while the proactive people do online networking and phone calls.

To find out what preferences the people in your business have, I recommend “Words that Change Minds” by Shelle Rose Charvet. I’ve used this approach many times, to help with franchisee recruitment, and to help individuals identify what they should be looking for in a job or career. It can be done in 20 minutes, via a telephone interview.

Now would be a great time to find out what makes your people tick.

For more in the series ‘Working Styles’ and other business insights by Kirsten visit gibbsandpartners.com

‘People and Process Podcast’ – Monthly conversations with talent expert and fellow chamber member James Crawley and self-confessed process geek Kirsten Gibbs which can also be viewed on You Tube HERE