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March 31, 2020

Understanding the Psychology of the Salesperson and How to Leverage It (According to HBR)

While every salesperson is different, there are some things that they all have in common. They fall under an archetype that makes it easy for them to see how to get to the top. 

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, there’s a specific archetype of the salesperson that you need to understand.

Said article refers to salespeople as Happy Losers.

Think of sales as a gambling addiction. Like those who are addicted to gambling, salespeople are constantly going after the thrill. They know that they might lose, but the prospect of a win fills them with excitement. 

Why else would someone want to stay in a job where they get rejected 90% of the time?

It’s not just about winning per se – it’s about the thrill.

And you can take advantage of it.

First of all, this can help you manage your people the right way. 

While money is obviously an important factor, the paper showed that it’s not the biggest motivator.

Instead, it’s the value that salespeople place on the struggle. This means that it’s more about the process than the outcome.

Think of this as foxhunting. Hunters run around for hours on end. They might fall off their horses and depend on the hunting dogs’ sense of smell. At the end of the day, they might not catch anything. But it was a hell of a ride for them. 

Salespeople work the same way. 

For this reason, you need to show them how hard it is to lose. Give them huge projects that will make them lose even more. Reward them for losing as much as possible. This will make the struggle even more rewarding for them.

Frontier Performance can show you more well-researched but unconventional ways of managing your team.

When you’re ready, see if you qualify for a free training session with us.