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The Sales Shrink – Type A/B Personalities

by Tina Cherpes, Featured Contributor

Behavior Therapy #24

“I PROBABLY SHOULDN’T say anything” Stephanie paused although she knew there was no turning back, “but last Friday when we all got together to evaluate the candidates for the position, Rebecca’s the one who killed it. She said there was no way she could deal with another Type A on her team.”

The Type A/B Theory was originally introduced in the 1950s by two cardiologists who concluded that by categorizing behaviors, it was possible to assess the risk/likelihood their healthy male patients would later develop coronary heart disease.

sales shrinkWhile there are known correlations between certain behaviors and heart disease, the Type A/B model gained its popularity in the field of psychology and later became rooted in main-stream vocabulary as a way of labeling personality styles. On one end of the label would be the aggressive, impatient, perfectionist behaviors of Type A and on the other end would be the patient, relaxed, and imaginative behaviors of Type B.

Because a majority of the population (behaviorally) lives somewhere in between these two extremes, it can be helpful to our long-term success to understand how to identify and ultimately influence these personality types we’ll encounter either working with clients or leading our teams.

In general, Type A’s are goal and solution oriented, prefer to work alone, and often thrive on competition. And while A’s can be assertive, self-starters who tend to focus on results, A’s can often be insecure about their own status and be perceived by others as impatient, controlling, and critical. When working with A’s, it’s important to keep them challenged and busy while simultaneously helping them set limits and controls that emphasize balance. And, seeking out opportunities to genuinely acknowledge their contributions can also aid in bolstering their self-confidence.

Conversely, Type B’s are generally even-tempered, steady, and reflective and thrive in a harmonious environment. And while B’s can be easy going, philosophical, and imaginative, B’s can often be perceived by others as procrastinators who are too casual in their approach, and lack decisiveness. When working with B’s, it’s important to provide development opportunities in the areas of conflict management and developing a heightened sense of urgency through effective time management.

When building a team, we need to be clear about the type of team we want to create and deliberately find the attitudes, behaviors, and personality styles that will strengthen our overall results. When dealing with clients, understanding personality types will help us align our product/service in a way that resonates and is relevant to our client.


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