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Salespeople: Are you a bee or a wasp?

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25th Jun 2015
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Forget old analogies about sales hunters and marketing farmers, two new character profiles are being proposed - and they are generating a lot of buzz.

According to a personality test undertaken by sales training company sales Commando, sales people can be categorised as either social bees or aggressive wasps.

The verbal survey, carried out among both men and women engaged in financial and business-to-consumer sales, revealed that their characters generally fell into two clear camps – passive or aggressive.

Bees proved to be a good analogy for the more passive personalities, Doug Tucker, the firm’s managing director, said. “They pollinate and, in consequence, make things grow,” he explained. “They’re also a social insect and produce honey, a sweet and satisfying return for their endeavours. Sales people falling into this category tend to develop and maintain client relationships with a long-term view on sustainability and profitability.”

Wasps, on the other hand, were aggressive, predatory, and far more willing to pester and sting, Tucker said. “Sales people falling into this category are focused on the short-term and can be quite ruthless in the way they go about getting business and maximising instant returns,” he continued. “Their sting is often questionable or outright immoral sales techniques.”

Thankfully, the survey revealed that “bees” were three times more common than “wasps” and, according to Tucker, were also much more likely to prosper.

“Wasps have a scatter-gun approach to prospects. Bees, by contrast, target only those who will benefit from what they’re selling, which is yet another poignant example of why bees flourish and wasps fail at the point of sale,” he said.

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