Do you use a personality test when it comes to finding the right candidate for your team? When was the last time you checked to see how stressed your employees were?
We were lucky enough to interview Barry Saltzman, Founder & CEO of the Saltzman Enterprise Group, who really made us take a step back and think. Office snacks and ping pong don’t work when your office is remote. Finding the right work-life balance is different now, but even more importantly so is finding the right candidate.
Read the Podkast Transcript
Speaker1: [00:00:01] All right, everybody, this is Greg Reffner on the abstract podcast, and today we’re going to be talking about personality profiling and building successful sales teams. So I am joined by Barry Saltzman, founder CEO of Enterprise Group. Barry, please say Hi sir.
Speaker2: [00:00:19] Hello, everybody. Greg, thank you so much for having me. It’s a beautiful cold day here in Chicago, so I’m so excited to talk to talk to your audience.
Speaker1: [00:00:28] Awesome. Well, we’re excited to have you. So before we get into it, I’m I’m kind of curious when you’ve taken personality profiles yourself, what? How have you been deemed? What characteristics have you kind of been labeled as?
Speaker2: [00:00:45] Yeah, good question, Greg. So over the many years that I’ve been in the business world, I probably been to about six or seven different assessments. Okay. And what always comes out of the assessments? They’re all a little bit different, but they’re kind of the same, right, but what always comes out of these assessments is my my competitiveness and my focus on producing results and reaching a goal so that that comes out loud and clear. Ok. My my sense of urgency and my comfort with moving moving extremely fast so I can I can handle the pace of pretty much anything. And the other one that comes out many times is. My I call it exact thing, so my my attention to detail and more of a systematic way of thinking. So it’s it’s a logical, systematic way of, you know, you’ve got to do one, then two, then three before you get to four.
Speaker1: [00:01:41] Ok, so it sounds like maybe a mix of dominant and analytical.
Speaker2: [00:01:47] Maybe that would be fair to say, correct? Yeah.
Speaker1: [00:01:50] Okay, cool. Have you found that that’s pretty consistent across all the different personality profile assessments you’ve done? Kind of the same results come out of that.
Speaker2: [00:02:00] Yeah, from from a from a high level personality perspective. Yes, each each tool goes a little bit deeper and different with with what they’re looking for. But those are the things that come up most of the time. One assessment tool many, many years ago said that I should be in H.R., which was, I found, interesting and never thought of myself, never thought of myself as an HR person when I was younger. But now I am many years later and older, and pretty much what I do is I address HR issues. So maybe, maybe it was good for foreshadowing for me.
Speaker1: [00:02:31] I guess everything kind of came around full circle right there. That’s awesome. Well, I’m a dominant, dominant personality type, so I’ve taken, I think, three or four. And so it’s a it’s always been interesting how my wife was like, I didn’t need a personality profile to tell you that great because like, she knew that all along. So it’s always interesting. I found that most people in sales have some type of dominant component of their personality. Would you say that that’s generally fair to be true?
Speaker2: [00:03:03] Very. Yeah, it depends on what role within sales, Greg. So they’re if you’re looking at the Hunter role, the person that has the wake up in the morning and actually go hunt and find business, you know, they’re going to want to have that. If you’re talking dominant in the disk world. Yes, in other profiles, it could be controlling where their very goal oriented, results oriented. If it’s more of a customer service account manager, more of a nurturer, you might want to dial back the controlling a little bit because that might be a little bit too much for a customer in terms of day to day relationships. So again, it depends on the specific role within sales. But Hunter for sure. Dominant makes sense. Yes.
Speaker1: [00:03:40] Ok, cool. Well, let’s dive into this a little bit. So you have 30 years of coaching experience, global one hundred orgs. They have a wealth of knowledge around this stuff. So I think playing a little bit of foundation, making sure on the same page with the language we’re using is helpful as we move forward in our conversation. So let’s say. I I have I just raised a series a round, I got five million dollars in the bank and I need to go. I need to go land some sales reps. I need to hire my first true sales team. Where do I even start when I start thinking about how to maybe leverage personality profiling and data to help me build out a sales team?
Speaker2: [00:04:22] Yeah, that’s an awesome question, Greg. So with one of the tools that I use, we look at what profile fits based on the maturity and stage of the company, right? So you just referenced you just raised a bunch of money. Now you’ve got to go out and make things happen, right? So you know, the investors are calling you up every 15 minutes. Greg, what are you doing with the money? Where are the results? How much did you sell yesterday? Where’s the product, right? So when you’re in that early stage, I’ve got to go build something. You want to hire people that have that, that builder competitive, you know, huge drive to produce results and probably somebody that isn’t really going to do very well with process and maybe someone that doesn’t listen very well, right? They’re focused on produce. I got to go make it happen. Yeah, I got to go produce a sale, get a customer, create a product, get it done quickly. High sense of urgency. So those people typically do very, very well in an early stage. You know, when it gets to the next stage, that profile might not work so well, but it got you to the next stage.
Speaker1: [00:05:25] Yeah. So when you when you’re talking about that stuff I think of, there’s a gentleman by the name of Jason Lumpkin, and he wrote an article that was titled The Forty Eight Different Types of Sales Leaders. And he talked about at each stage, there’s like Mr. Repeatable, Mrs. Unicorn, Mrs. Dashboard’s, Mrs. Go Big, and it’s like the personality traits, whether they’re process oriented or worse kind of wing it, figure it out on your own type of personality. Like, would you say it’s true that that personality also extends out to the sales leaders within companies as well? Based upon your experience,
Speaker2: [00:06:06] Yeah, I think everybody on the team needs to fit a certain profile that works for that particular organization. But it’s multidimensional, Greg. It’s not. It’s not like one dimension in black and white. You know, the things that I want to dig into is, who is the customer? Who are we trying to sell to? So if you tell me I’m trying to sell to. You know, financial people in New York City that have networks of a billion dollars, that’s going to be a very different profile to sell to that person versus I’m trying to sell to nurses in Southern California who are extremely passive, right? So you know, you’ve got to look at the stage of the company, you’ve got to look at the buyer persona. Who am I selling to? And who will that person respect from a sales perspective, so. So it is it is multidimensional.
Speaker1: [00:06:55] So let’s let’s let’s dive into that a little bit, Barry, because I heard HR leader tell me one time that they were hesitant to use disc profiles and personality profiles because they felt like it, maybe open them up to some potential like discrimination. Because if you’re talking to a guy in New York with a billion dollar portfolio versus passive nurse in Southern California, I would say the personalities that are going to build rapport with those type of people are going to be different. So how do you use that in such a way where maybe you’re you’re not getting in trouble telling somebody how your personality isn’t what I need?
Speaker2: [00:07:36] Yeah, well, I would never say that. Yeah, so to me, so to me, Greg, it’s a data point in the decision making process, right? So so if I’m going to hire somebody, typically any company that’s hiring somebody, usually you have a job description. The job description has a series of responsibilities or attributes for that person. So I look at these assessment tools as it’s just another data point. It’s never used as a final yes or no. What it does for me, Greg, in the way I use the tool is let’s assume I was interviewing Clare and let’s assume the data. Let’s assume the data for Clare showed me that she was extremely passive and she was not competitive, right, as an example. So if the job required somebody to be competitive and not passive, then I would know what questions to ask Clare. And I would say, Hey Clare, give me an example of how you did this in this particular situation. So I use the data to identify strengths and gaps. And then when there’s gaps, I turn those gaps into questions because Clare might be the perfect person for this job, even though her profile isn’t perfect for this job. Through the questions and the answers in that conversation, Clare might convince me that she’s totally capable of doing this and she’s done this before. So again, it’s a tool. It’s not a final decision point, at least for me, that’s how I use it.
Speaker1: [00:09:00] I love that. And for anyone who’s wondering who Claire is, Claire is our director of marketing here. Too abstract and she is the least. She actually is one of the most competitive and least passive people I know, so we wouldn’t have to worry about that for Claire. Only slightly, only slightly. So, Barry, I like that you take those kind of those data points and turn those into questions. Can you give us a give me an example of maybe like this person? This role needs to be a dominant personality type. This person is coming off as amiable, analytical, like what are maybe some things you come up with to try to understand? Is this person still potentially a good fit for this role?
Speaker2: [00:09:48] Yeah. So a good example would be let’s assume we want to hire. A strong sales leader that’s selling a very sophisticated product with very, a lot of attention to detail. So I want somebody that’s very good with detail and I want somebody that’s got a strong personality. I run the assessment and the data tells me that they are. A people pleaser. They are not a dominant personality and there a big picture creative person, and they might not do well with detail. So I would start asking them questions like, you know, give me an example of some process that you created in your previous job where you help solve a particular problem. You know, walk me through your experience with using a CRM tool. How do you handle one on one issues with employees? So what I’m trying to do is I’m probing to see again, just because a person has a particular personality doesn’t mean that they can’t do other things. They just that. It just means that that’s not how they’re naturally suited, right? If that makes sense. So I honestly believe that anyone is capable of doing anything. But I also believe that if you ask somebody to do something that’s not natural to them, it’s not sustainable forever. Right, so one of the one of the assessment tools that I use, it actually does a job match and it will match a profile to a specific job. And then where there’s the gap, it’ll give me many, many questions that I could ask in the interview just to better understand how that person might do in that environment.
Speaker1: [00:11:24] Interesting. Ok. I like that. I like that. So let’s let’s dive into that a little bit. So you mentioned it’s not sustainable. So as teams grow, as companies grow, is personality profiling something that companies should be maybe revisiting on an annual basis to go, OK, this person did OK in this role, but you know, maybe we have this new need over here. Like, yeah, I just broke the golden rule of asking multiple questions at once. So let’s go back to the first one. Like, how often should you be looking at personality profile of your employees?
Speaker2: [00:12:03] Yes, I typically look at a year and again, depending on depending on the tool that you use. One of the tools that I use looks at stress, and it’s able to tell us, in addition to somebody’s personality profile, what is their stress look like today? So in the case of Claire and Claire, we’re not picking on you, but since you’re right here, it’s easy to talk about you. Let’s assume Claire has the perfect personality for this job, right? She’s she’s got a she’s got a strong personality. She’s goal oriented, she’s detail oriented. She gets stuff done. Perfect fit. And Claire has the perfect experience for this job, so one would think I’m going to hire Claire. Well, one of my profiles will tell me that Claire is under a tremendous amount of stress right now, and even though she’s got the perfect personality and the right experience, she might not have the capacity right now to handle more change. So. So with COVID in the world we’re living in today, I think every six months might be more appropriate than a year just because there’s so much going on in the world right now that’s causing people stress. And most business leaders and managers have no clue whatsoever of how people are handling stress for two reasons. One, they’re not paying attention to it. And number two, everybody’s on Zoom, and they’re not getting an opportunity to see it. So. So I think every minimum six months to a year would be suitable in today’s world to to better understand how our team is doing.
Speaker1: [00:13:29] That’s such an interesting point when I haven’t really even thought of very in terms of back when I was in the office every day. You know, even if your team didn’t say something you could often see based on body language and kind of their face. Were they having a hard day or not? And sometimes a couple of days might go by and I might not see or talk to a member of my team right now. And so you might lose that. And so having a regular cadence of some type of formal check in makes sense, especially now. I mean, every company is offering remote working or hybrid like it’s only going to become a problem in HR has to deal with for the foreseeable future. Not forever.
Speaker2: [00:14:11] Right? Yeah, exactly. I did a project about a year and a half ago for a company, and we did about 15 people on the sales team, and the manager came back about six weeks ago and said, Hey, I’d like to do the same exact thing. I want to take a look at their stress. Was fascinating, Greg, so I looked at all the people before and after everybody’s personality was basically the same. We don’t change much as human beings in the short term, right? But everybody’s stress was dramatically different and the manager was like, Wow, he was. I totally I goes. I totally underestimated how stressed out my team is, and I’ve got to change the way I talk to them and work with them. And the stress is not necessarily stress from work. You could be stressed just from life. It could be your family could be it could be anything. So when I look at these assessments, it’s helping me understand a person and what’s going on in their mind so that I could make a better decision on them.
Speaker1: [00:15:04] I like that. So let’s let’s let’s say we have a scenario where you have somebody who is in a role that they were an OK fit for. They’re stressed, and it’s that you did a check in and maybe it’s time to to move them into something else. Like, I would imagine that’s a very delicate conversation that sometimes needs to be had, so how do you go about coaching HR or sales leaders around how to how to have that conversation with somebody that you’re not the right fit for this, even though you think you want to be and you want to do this like we need to move you out to something else. It’s not an easy conversation.
Speaker2: [00:15:45] No, it’s it’s a very hard conversation. So my my starting point would be if I know this individual has has a very high stress level and I’m concerned about their ability to handle the change, right? So the first conversation would be, Hey, Greg, let’s look at your report because again, we’ve run this report and you and I are going through the data. I explain what the data means and what I would say is according to this data. What I’ve seen in other people is high levels of stress equals challenge with trying to. Change so. So, Greg, tell me, what do you enjoy doing that brings you happiness and calmness in your life, and you might say, I like fishing or I like spending time with my family or I like doing yoga. Everybody has something that brings them some calmness and peacefulness. So the first thing I try to do is identify what can this person do to maybe bring down their stress level? And what most people will say, particularly today, is, you know, I love exercising makes me feel good. So I’d say, Greg, when was the last time you went to the gym? You’d be like, Well, I haven’t gone to the gym in 18 months because I’d say, All right, Greg, here’s what I need you to do.
Speaker2: [00:16:54] Starting tomorrow, you need to get up and every start doing some exercise. So what I try to do is coach people to do things that bring them more balance and calmness to their life and try to get them back to a non stress state so that I can move them into their job. If if they don’t, then they can’t, then the conversation would be I’m concerned about your ability to handle more change. Let’s talk about this because the last thing I want to do is cause a person to. Bring down their performance and deteriorate versus bring them up and lift them. So it’s a very it’s it’s a very hard conversation and depending on their personality profile, Gregg would determine specifically how I talk to them, right? So if I’m talking to you, it’ll be in a much different way than if I’m talking to someone who is introverted and passive and highly emotional.
Speaker1: [00:17:45] Ok. Well, for the record, I am a hardcore introvert. Extroversion and doing video podcast is about the most painful thing that I could possibly do. So I’m going to need some distressing yoga after this.
Speaker2: [00:18:00] Just like I think, I think you should go play the saxophone that’s up on your will. Well, better
Speaker1: [00:18:06] Now now, because I’m so bad at that, so I won’t do that. That’s interesting that you that you look outside of work to see what you can do to bring somebody back to kind of that balance, state of mind and then to kind of get them back into that place where maybe then you can have a productive conversation about their future, what they want to do. And would you be fair to is it fair to ask that as you go through that line of questioning that maybe what you find out that stresses them out is related to the gaps in their personality as it relates to their performance in the job and are struggling with kind of filling those gaps?
Speaker2: [00:18:48] Yeah, very, very well. Could be if if you’re asking a very creative. Let’s talk about the sales world. We hire a great salesperson. They’re creative and they’re artistic, and they love brainstorming. But they’re awful at detail, right? This happens all the time, Greg. This kind of cracks me up in today’s business world, so we hire this wonderful sales rep that can sell whatever, whatever it is you’re offering. And now we’re forcing them into spending seven hours a day entering data into our CRM tool.
Speaker1: [00:19:15] Super smart.
Speaker2: [00:19:17] And they are just they they they are miserable at work. They’re miserable thinking about work because they’re not getting to do what they’re really good at. So that would be an example of a personality trait where you’re asking someone to do something they’re not naturally good at or want to do, and it’s going to cause them. Stress happens all the time, all the time, with salespeople trying to force them to use CRM. You’ve got to explain to the rep how CRM benefits the rep so that they’re excited about using it, not using it. Because I’m the boss and I’m like, Greg, you must enter everything and you must be putting all your data into CRM seven hours a day that doesn’t work with certain styles.
Speaker1: [00:19:54] Now, I’ve learned the hard way, and most of the super successful never misquote a sales rep. I know hate CRM data entry and they end up actually even paying people on fiber or Upwork to actually do their data entry for them because they don’t want to be bothered with it. So it’s fascinating that there’s this disconnect between kind of psychology and using personalities and different types of people and strengths and weaknesses, and trying to fit everybody into this kind of box that that people don’t want to be put into. So fascinating.
Speaker2: [00:20:39] Yeah. Another good scenario that I see often is a person gets hired into a management role and they’ve got that Type-A personality, Heidi. Highly competitive, fast paced. They want to get stuff done, and now they’re dealing with a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. So for someone like me where I make a decision, I implement it in five minutes. If I’ve got to wait six and a half weeks for 12 people to approve it and form 12 committees and go on conference calls, that’s going to cause me tremendous stress. And so, so for each of the different personality types, it’s just being mindful of not putting them in the in the opposite. Situation you mentioned you’re an introvert, right, so imagine if you hire an introverted person, you say, OK, Greg, here’s what I want to do next week. We’re doing a presidents club and I’m going to put you on stage in front of fifteen hundred people. I know what you’re going to be doing at night. Not, not. Not sleeping well.
Speaker1: [00:21:36] Yeah, that’s so true. Yeah, it’s fascinating. I I was on a call with the procurement team for one of our soon to be customers, and they they said that their next I.T. sprint would allow them to implement abstract in twenty twenty four. And I was like, What do you mean? Did you mean twenty twenty three? And they’re like, No, all the all the approvals, all the things that have to be checked off, all the people that need to say yes to a project like this, there’s no way it gets done in the next two years. Like I could I couldn’t do that, I don’t know what’s worse that or public speaking.
Speaker2: [00:22:16] So yeah, that’s that’s a that’s a that’s a tough one. Know something something like what you offered to the market shouldn’t take two years to do. Right? I mean, I think in terms of minutes and hours and days, some people are thinking in terms of months and years, it’s yeah. And again, this is all about trying to identify the right person that has the profile that matches the culture of the company. Because if you hire the wrong person, what’s going to happen is they’re going to leave. The company is going to waste money, the employee is going to waste their time. So either create a win win. Or a lose lose, right?
Speaker1: [00:22:52] So, yeah, so let’s end on this question, so. We touched it a very high level on the importance of psychology and understanding people’s personality profiles and and it’s really not that hard to deploy this test and then lean on individuals like yourself for resources online to understand how to go implement that change. What’s the number one reason why companies don’t do this in your mind?
Speaker2: [00:23:25] So the first thing that comes to mind is the decision maker has a certain personality trait where they’re a skeptic. So you’ve got the skeptic personality, which is, you know, Greg, don’t you know, I’ve been running this business for 27 years. You’re telling me a tool that takes five minutes is going to provide data. Come on. And they just they don’t believe anything, right? So then you have others that have used other tools, but they didn’t have the right experience on how to implement the tool into their environment. You know what, I what I don’t want to do with the assessments I do is I don’t want it to be a trophy that sits on the shelf. I want it to be a living, breathing document that people use as part of their business. So I’ve got to take a lot of time and really get people comfortable with the accuracy of the data and give them examples of how it could solve problems. But there’s a percentage of the population that just don’t like it, don’t want it. And that’s OK because I know who they are because I do this all the time. I just I just move on to the next prospect.
Speaker1: [00:24:23] I love it. All right. Well, Mary, this has been awesome. It makes me just realize that as we grow abstract, like keeping these things in mind, like I remember my first conversation when my first conversation was Claire, I was like, Claire, you got to tell me exactly what you need for me, how long it’s going to take, because if you don’t do those things, I’m just going to ignore it until I get to it. And it may be important to you. But my personality is like, You’ve got to be specific. And I know she probably loses patience with that sometimes. But I think it’s important to communicate these things because it makes everything a little bit easier when everybody is kind of knowledgeable about how to interact and communicate with each other.
Speaker2: [00:25:08] Yeah, yeah. So one of the tools that I use, Greg, there’s an exercise that I go through. It’s a little workshop. So there’s two little two little exercises. One is called Talk to me. And the other exercise is called Understand Me and what I do with my clients is I would literally have you and Claire sit down and ask each other questions. And what I would say is Greg asked this question to Claire, but I want you to really listen to her answer because if you listen to what she’s saying and you do what you’re saying, you’re going to get the most productivity out of Claire and vice versa. So, you know, it just comes down to taking time to understand our people. And how does Claire like to be spoken to? How does how do I understand Claire? How do I understand you? And the hardest part about being a manager in today’s world is everybody’s different. So managers have to be mindful, and it’s no different than if you have if you have multiple kids or if you have multiple pets, they’re all different. And if I talk to my one son the same way as my other son, it might not work. So it’s it’s this mindfulness thing that everybody talks about. I think it’s the real deal. It’s being mindful to other people, understanding them and taking the time to talk to them in the language that works for them. It’s not about me, it’s about who I’m speaking to. And that’s kind of the approach that I take and it’s what I’m trying to teach in the marketplace.
Speaker1: [00:26:24] I love that seek to understand before being understood, right?
Speaker2: [00:26:28] Absolutely. Yep, absolutely.
Speaker1: [00:26:30] I love that. Well, Mary, as we wrap up. If anybody wants to get a hold of you, learn more about what you’re doing there at the Saltzman Enterprise Group. What’s the best way to get a hold of you?
Speaker2: [00:26:41] Yeah, the best way is always to shoot me an email. It’s Barry at Saltzman. I’ve got the website as well, Saltzman, but best way is always just shoot me an email and I’m I’m happy to talk to anybody about this topic and bring your challenges and problems to me. And let’s have a fun conversation.
Speaker1: [00:26:59] I love it. I love it. Well, thank you for your time today, Barry. This was a really good reminder for me to kind of go back and relook at some of those things and also things to consider for us as we grow our company. So I really appreciate the time today. Thank you again for having four, for being a part of this and having you join our podcast today.
Speaker2: [00:27:18] Thank you so much for having me. Had a lot of fun. It’s awesome. Go by.
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