Recruiting Sales Consultants: A Case Study

A client of ours in the financial services industry had historically used a DiSC based behavioural tool as a key component of their selection processes. However, they began to realise that, despite identifying what they thought were the ideal behavioural matches for their sales consultants, they were experiencing unusually high turnover.

We used the Personal Development Analysis (PDA) behavioural tool and methodology to explore whether the behaviours the client thought were critical for success where indeed relevant.

The client asked us to assess their top 50 performers and bottom 50 performers using the PDA, so that we could identify key behavioural differences that predict success in the role.

Initially, we were concerned with the results that we found, as both groups appeared to have very similar behavioural preferences. Thus, behaviour did not appear to be the key differentiator in this instance.

When we explored the way in which the individuals in the sample were adapting their behaviour, it became clear that the top performers were displaying very different behaviour. They were becoming more outgoing and influential, recognising the need to build relationships and interact with their clients face to face. In addition, this group were also becoming more independent and goal orientated, and less reliant on rules and policies.

In contrast to this, the poor performers were not adapting their behaviour significantly at all.

Thus, it became clear that the client had spent time developing a clear understanding of what they thought was required by the role, and were clearly very successful recruiting sales consultants based on this assumption. This is because both the high and low performers displayed very similar styles of behaviour.

The conclusion we reached with the client was that their initial assumption of what would be a good behavioural match to the sales consultant role, was clearly incorrect, and the client now recruits based on the adapted behavioural style displayed by the strong performers.