Researchers uncover dark traits that most successful salespeople have


Representational image. — Unsplash 
  • Researchers reveal narcissism, machiavellianism and psychopathy are traits that successful salespeople normally have.
  • Triad of dark traits is found in salespeople more so than in other professions.
  • Study finds narcissism and psychopathy may lead to success at first, but it will be then followed by “fall from grace”.

Two new studies by American researchers revealed that narcissism, machiavellianism and psychopathy are all traits that successful salespeople normally have.

In fact, the triad of dark traits is found in salespeople more so than in other professions, not including CEOs, lawyers, and celebrities.

To conduct the studies, researchers investigated how dark salespeople perform overtime compared to lower ranking salespeople and how social networks influence their performance.

Surprisingly, the first study found evidence that narcissism (a condition where one has an inflated ego) and psychopathy may lead to success at first, but it will be then followed by a “fall from grace”.

However, machiavellianism (the ability to use manipulation to gain power by any means) produces little results in the short term but has long-term performance benefits.

The second study analysed how a salesperson’s network reacts to discovering their dark traits. High-reach efficiency is when a salesperson’s traits become visible to others, whereas low reach efficiency delays the social visibility of a salesperson’s actions.

“If the network structure obscures information regarding the misdeeds of a dark salesperson, it enhances the probability for performance-enhancing cooperation between the dark personality and his or her unsuspecting peers,” said co-author Cinthia B Satornino, in a media release.

As a result, narcissism and psychopathy lead to decreased sales whereas machiavellianism benefits from reach efficiency, which leads to enhanced performance.

The study is yet to be published in the Journal of Marketing.



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