It’s human nature to wonder how other people see us.
What does my boss think about my comments in meetings? Does my friend feel like she can rely on me? Was I friendly to my new neighbor?
It’s actually very difficult, if not downright impossible, to see ourselves (our persona) from the outside. What’s way more important is how we see ourselves. This requires attention, intention, and practice.
When it comes to our persona in regard to our work life, we might start – but not end – with thinking about how we would like to be seen by our clients. This is especially true in car sales, where we’re likely facing negative stereotypes formed over many years.
In my experience, these stereotypes are absolutely false. But even salespeople who don’t believe them might feel some defensiveness with customers – a need to prove the critics wrong.
Considering our clients’ thoughts and feelings is a good place to start, but when it comes to our personas we have to bring it back to our original intention. If we stop with “I’ll prove them wrong,” we’re coming from defensiveness. If we adopt an intentional persona, we’re coming from a place of meaning and inner strength.
No worries about getting it right from the outset. Think of your persona as a role you’re practicing. Plus, as you discover what resonates with you and what doesn’t, you can tweak your persona as you go.
6 Popular Personas
Your persona puts energy behind your work. It can act as a source of inspiration and help you get into “the zone.” Importantly, it can give you the push you need on days that aren’t going so easy.
Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, let’s start by taking a look at a few of the most popular sales personas to see if anything resonates.
Caring: This nurturing persona is kind and empathetic.
Competent: This persona is a leader who can help consumers or sway them to act.
Excited: This lively persona is always ready for a new adventure.
Positive: This persona lives on the sunny side and shares it with others.
Rugged: This robust persona is strong and tough.
Sophisticated: This elegant persona radiates style and prestige.
Choosing just one is a good way to start, or maybe these examples will spark a totally different persona that fits. You might find that just one suffices, or maybe a blend of one or two (even three) is more fitting.
The more you hold the intention of your persona, the more natural it will feel and become.
A key teaching of the late great motivational speaker and author Wayne Dyer is to see ourselves as the creators of our own lives and to practice intentional manifesting. To become the person we were meant to be, he encourages us to “assume the feeling of your wishes being fulfilled, and steadfastly refuse to allow any evidence of the outer world to distract you from your intentions.”
Remember: Keep practicing!
Let’s take a look at three major players in the industry and what their personas might be.
“This can be a really tough profession,” Stone said, referring to selling cars. “And it’s real easy to get sucked into negativity, just like anywhere else. I felt like I could really add something by focusing on the positive. It’s so important.”
Regardless of what he’s working on, Stone stays focused on the positive, and his fans and followers have come to rely on him for his ability to help bring them up. His positivity spreads to customers, as well, especially in his role as Sales Manager at Ed Martin Toyota.
Last month, Stone wrote on Facebook: “I made a choice to use my gift to not only spread positivity socially, but to have a major impact on the industry in which I work. I’m on a mission to help change the perception of the car industry and I have a great group of people with me. Are there some bad apples out there? Yup, but I truly believe that by leading by example, spreading our beliefs socially and training our future leaders that we can help eradicate the negative stigmas that equate our buying process to visiting the dentist.
Customers, we love you, and we won’t be perfect 100% of the time. But I can promise you this, there’s an elite group of people who truly want to do great by you, establish relationships with you, do things the right way, be transparent and provide exceptional experiences.”
Believing in herself and seeing herself as fully capable has helped Cars Her Way Founder Lisa Copeland wildly succeed in an industry with a reputation for a bias against women.
Copeland – like many women in the industry – has experienced this bias from both coworkers and customers alike. But her solid belief in the value women provide the industry saw her through trying times. It even helped her achieve goals such as owning the most successful Fiat/Alfa Romeo dealership in the world, and breaking the record of Fiat 500 hatchbacks sold in a month.
“Women perform at a high level,” Copeland recently told Modern Dealership. “They’re more collaborative and they put customers at ease. Focus groups have found that they provide the perception, at least, of a better experience.”
She sees supporting women in the business as not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do, and wants to see more dealerships hire more women in all roles.
“This is a great business, with lots of opportunity, and no degree required,” Copeland says. “Dealers need to be sure to open this opportunity to more women. You want to hire more people who look like your customers.”
When Mike Davenport last spoke with Modern Dealership, he remarked that he was only getting a few hours of sleep at night – he just couldn’t stop thinking about new ways to create great experiences for customers via social media.
He recently said on Facebook that he’s on a mission to “Make Car Buying Great Again.” OK, that’s his playful side, but he’s serious about providing an awesome, transparent customer experience.
“I’m just trying to hustle and grind and make a good living, and doing it in an honest way to show people that there are more good people in the car business than there are bad,” he told us. “Technology has changed a ton and has helped me to sell more cars, but also to get out there that there are good people in the car business.”
Has a persona helped you reach your work goals? We’d love to hear from you!