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The role of personality in sales

The role of personality in sales

Museum of the City of New York

Let me escape from the limitations of my own personality to imagine how people of other personalities would think to sell books. I am an Idealist, as impractical a person as you can find, so it’s a no-brainer to ask other personality types to help draw a roadmap for successful book sales.

My next book is heavy on history, ancestry, and psychology. Conservative Guardian types would of course make sure every possible bookstore ordered a few copies and had me speaking and signing books at most of them.

The ever innovative Rationals would see from the book’s contents that the target markets would be most receptive in Southern California, Arizona, and New York City.  The book’s theme of respect for history, family pride, and a really good mystery story could allure merchants well beyond traditional bookstores. Such would include gift shops in museums, tourist destinations and airports. Even local branches of national stores like Costco could go for it. (My writer cousin in Newfoundland managed to get a stack into her local Costco.) Rational marketers would be the first to insist on online sales through my own site and on plenty of other entrepreneurs’ online stores.

The most action-oriented personality group are the Artisans who can’t sit still and would insist I don’t either. For them, I should do performance readings at workshops in museums, different deliveries than what bookstores get. They would want to be in on the entire book design so that even non-readers would brandish their credit card at the mere sight of it.

Finally, I think there is energy to light up the cause from people and groups who care deeply about lives similar to mine. They include Irish cultural groups, historians, adoption story writers, wonderfully fanatic geneaology students, and fans of memoirists. All personality types are to be found in such groups and, from among them, riciculously creative people have produced TV shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Who do you think you are? Maybe somebody will take that extra step of producing a show around the book and hawking the original on their online platforms? Yes, why not dream big!

Appreciating what’s driving other people

Appreciating what’s driving other people

The only way to change the world, according to Tony Robbins at the very end of his TED Talk Why We Do What We Do, is to “appreciate what’s driving other people.” People in my training sessions have all experienced what other people’s values actually look like. For example, Orange people are driven to compete, but non-Orange people can judge all that competition as just plain annoying. So instead, shouldn’t non-Oranges step back for a moment? Should they not consider that their NASCAR-loving brother-in-law Mike gets high on life when he gets a chance to be top dog? Orange Mike is driven to compete. Mike gets off on winning, or at least trying to win. What business do we have raging at Mike’s great joy in life? Perhaps we should ask ourselves what core values in our own lives will make us just as passionate as Mike.

It can be hard to see what’s driving other people

My own mother unknowingly tortured me, my sister and Dad with tales of heroic frugality at every dinner table. I am not kidding. She listed the prices of all the food items. She walked us down the aisles of the stores she visited.  Mom recalled the coupons used.  She smiled at her own cleverness of heating up leftovers when possible. She bragged our desserts were homemade and surely finer and healthier than the expensive goodies advertised on TV. Sadly, it was only decades later that I realized she was glowing with pride for high Gold achievement. For Mom, frugality enshrined the Gold core values of responsibility and conservation of resources. She was certain she was always striving to do the right thing. She used the dinner table to role model and teach the right thing.

So I ask you. Imagine how smoother my relationship with Mom could have been. Her core values were definitely not my core values. I too often chose to get angry about hers. I chose to demean her for being almost ridiculously true to her own belief system. Needless to say, I could have figured it out. She did grow up in the Great Depression. Believe me, her family had been dirt poor, but came out on top because of unrelenting hard work and, yes, frugality.

And what else might I have done to have better conversations with Mom? For one, I could have learned to speak Gold. For example, when I wanted to urge her to buy store-bought desserts, I could have countered with nutrition info. I could have comparison shopped. I could have made a case for time savings. I could have bought a few items with paper route money for her to sample.

I like to think I could have changed my little world a little by appreciating better what was driving Mom.

 

Are we born with a personality?

Are we born with a personality?

If we really are born with a personality, as many psychologists tell us, there is plenty of evidence to makes us think so, but also plenty to argue against it.

If I were a Badass Orange person, for example, you just might agree I was probably born with great physical abilities and an adventurous nature. I would tell you that, yes, I worked hard to get skillful, but that I honestly feel that I was gifted at birth with a terrific body type, a bottomless cauldron of endless energy, and a ridiculous comfort level with risky behavior. I’d say, yes, you are looking at a naturally born Badass. I am Orange, Orange, Orange.

On the other hand, we just might discover that our individual temperaments are nothing like our parents’. Our siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and our own children have core values in direct contrast to our own. How could our own DNA manifest itself so differently? How is it, then, that we are ‘born’ with this personality?

I challenge you to look back over your whole life for just a minute. How different are you, really, from the kid in grade school you remember? Was your main core value that much different from now? For example, if you were dependably responsible then, are you still that way now? I mean, is ‘dependable responsibility’ still more important than harmony seeking, than knowledge and competence, or than personal freedom? If that principal core value remains the same, there’s a case to be made that you came into the world with a strong DNA-based temperament. You always were and always will be Gold, a Loyalist, a logistical thinker.

Needless to say, you were a hostage of your parents until your teenage years, so you have to wonder how much of ‘who you are’ comes from a natural temperament and how much comes from the intense nurturing that your parents and community thrust upon you for over a dozen years. All those people influenced your thinking, your philosophy of life, your religion, even your politics and career choices. You have to ask yourself, “How many of my life choices came from the real me, from my innate temperament, and how many were influenced by the society around me?

Whose life?

So am I living my own life, or someone else’s idea of life?”

To paraphrase Rene Descartes, we can’t live until we reject everything we’ve been taught and then begin to design our own life. Descartes’ thinking must have come from the realization that a real, innate self needs to trump the weavings of the cultures swirling around us in order for us to truly fulfill our destiny. Ah, there’s the word: Destiny. And I don’t think the word ‘destiny’ here means ‘pre-destined fate’ that we really cannot control, but a pre-determined set of talents and intelligence that need to blossom under our own control, in the face of the cultures around us, to find the best possible path for a lifetime.

So do I think we were all born with a temperament? You betcha. Both nature and nurture contribute to who we are as whole persons, but I am certain our brains and bodies arrive with some kind of pre-installed hard drive (temperament) that develops into a whole character through configurations with the apps of life.

The trick, I think, is to discover the right path early in life rather than later. And if it’s clear our own path differs significantly from the paths of the gang that lives around us, our choice to follow our own right path will probably demand a ton of uncomfortable honesty and raw courage.