I recently asked a few people from our sales team a series of questions – both serious and lighthearted – about being in sales. One of the more casual and playful questions posed to the team challenged them to think about which animal most closely relates to them as sales people. This question is one that many people have come across in the interview process, as well as reading in various leadership articles. So what were their responses? Check out what they said below, contrasting to other popular answers.
I wasn’t surprised with the two lion responses – I think that responses including different types of felines are sometimes the most commonly found. Felines are often graceful and calculated – two things that sales people should consider strengths when carrying themselves and chasing business. One of the the greatest strength of lions is their ability to travel, hunt, and remain in packs, supporting one another and ensuring the entire “team” works together for a common goal. Because lions are hunters by nature, they can sometimes can come across as aggressive. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for sales people, as long as they can “tame” themselves as needed.
Adaptability is an increasingly important characteristic in sales, as the business world and technology continue to evolve in ways never seen before. Chameleon’s have the innate ability to change and adapt to their surroundings, something salespeople often have to do throughout the span of a project or even their career. Often times, sales people have to change their approach to fit the specific needs of the people that they are working with. The most important things about chameleons is ensuring that even though they adapt to their surroundings, that they are genuine and passionate about serving their customers.
When I saw that one of the answers was for a rabbit, I was a little surprised. For me, rabbits seem timid and small but the more I thought about this, the more I understand the answer. Rabbits are quick and spry, flexible in the way they move. Sales people often have to be the same way – quick in their processes and flexible in how they maneuver themselves. With a friendly disposition, rabbits are the only of the three answers that can also be domestic pets, making them very relatable (and what sales person doesn’t want to relate with their clients?). Rabbits are thought to be lucky as well, which would definitely not hurt in business.
Finally, seeing a jaguar, I could easily understand the choice, especially with the reasoning provided by the sales person. “I like to approach business the same way a Jaguar may approach hunting,” she said. “This fierce feline doesn’t pounce on the first opportunity they come across, they methodically track their prey until they find exactly what they’re looking for.” This is a good lesson for those in sales, to really evaluate the opportunities they are given and approach them in the best and most thought-out way.