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TO SELL LIKE IKEA: Why do Swedes test employees and how does this affect profits?

12/ 03/ 2019
  Per Anders Falk. Head of SLG, a Swedish Consulting Company I used to run an IKEA store in Stockholm for a long time. And once I had noticed that the sellers perceived their work as something mechanical - to answer a question, to show an item, to give the item, to take the money. That is the way, they did at their previous jobs, and how their colleagues were selling. It was a set of the strictly prescribed procedures, performed with automatism. Not only do I think that this is wrong, but I am confident, that procedures in sales are harmful. You will sell effectively if you interact with a person, taking into account his individual characteristics and personal qualitative characteristics. That is just the way they sell in Sweden. For over thirty years, the Thomas System has been a huge success. It helps to discover fundamentally new aspects in another person, and when there is an understanding of the personality, it is much easier for people to do what is requested. The Thomas System was originally invented in 1928 in the USA. And you can still buy the book Emotions of Normal People, in which D, I, S, C factors were first described. In 1956, the Americans decided to make a test out of it. Today it is used in more than 100 countries of the world – more than any other test. Should I mention that getting to know Thomas System has completely changed my life? I was able to determine the individuality of every person I met, and talk with every person so that we understood and heard each other. For example, I taught the sellers of IKEA to define their personality type - so that they would understand themselves better and would learn their features. The second step was to recognize the personality type of a buyer or an employee - with the tools of the Thomas System it was no big deal. The third step for the sellers was to learn to adjust their behavior to a concrete person. How does it work in practice? For example, if I am a D-factor - energetic, act and make decisions quickly, and my colleague or a buyer is a typical S-factor, whose peculiarity is stability, then I should not be pushy. I should carefully listen to the clients wishes, be patient and polite. If the client is C-type, I should know the characteristics of the product very well, including the numbers and parameters. And if I have a typical І-factor, I need by all means to ask his personal opinion about our product. Sometimes experienced salespersons unmistakably guess the type of customers they are dealing with. However, it is still better to prepare a small list of questions for different types of personality in order to know how to speak with a buyer so that he would want to make a purchase. It is also important to be attentive to employees, interact with subordinates, inspire and support them every minute. If a manager uses the Thomas System tools, he can easily do this, taking into account the personal characteristics of each. Understanding the needs and peculiarities of an employee’s personality, you provide an opportunity for absolutely everyone to give the ultimately best results, whatever the person does. This automatically increases the profitability and success of your business. I know for sure that efficiency of business grows literally with each test of the Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) of Thomas System. This is confirmed by the experience of the best Swedish companies.

Per Anders Falk

Head of SLG, a Swedish Consulting Company

I used to run an IKEA store in Stockholm for a long time. And once I had noticed that the sellers perceived their work as something mechanical – to answer a question, to show an item, to give the item, to take the money. That is the way, they did at their previous jobs, and how their colleagues were selling. It was a set of the strictly prescribed procedures, performed with automatism. Not only do I think that this is wrong, but I am confident, that procedures in sales are harmful. You will sell effectively if you interact with a person, taking into account his individual characteristics and personal qualitative characteristics. That is just the way they sell in Sweden.

For over thirty years, the Thomas System has been a huge success. It helps to discover fundamentally new aspects in another person, and when there is an understanding of the personality, it is much easier for people to do what is requested. The Thomas System was originally invented in 1928 in the USA. And you can still buy the book ‘Emotions of Normal People’, in which D, I, S, C factors were first described. In 1956, the Americans decided to make a test out of it. Today it is used in more than 100 countries of the world – more than any other test.

Should I mention that getting to know Thomas System has completely changed my life? I was able to determine the individuality of every person I met, and talk with every person so that we understood and heard each other.

For example, I taught the sellers of IKEA to define their personality type – so that they would understand themselves better and would learn their features. The second step was to recognize the personality type of a buyer or an employee – with the tools of the Thomas System it was no big deal. The third step for the sellers was to learn to adjust their behavior to a concrete person.

How does it work in practice? For example, if I am a D-factor – energetic, act and make decisions quickly, and my colleague or a buyer is a typical S-factor, whose peculiarity is stability, then I should not be pushy. I should carefully listen to the client’s wishes, be patient and polite. If the client is C-type, I should know the characteristics of the product very well, including the numbers and parameters. And if I have a typical І-factor, I need by all means to ask his personal opinion about our product.

Sometimes experienced salespersons unmistakably guess the type of customers they are dealing with. However, it is still better to prepare a small list of questions for different types of personality in order to know how to speak with a buyer so that he would want to make a purchase.

It is also important to be attentive to employees, interact with subordinates, inspire and support them every minute. If a manager uses the Thomas System tools, he can easily do this, taking into account the personal characteristics of each. Understanding the needs and peculiarities of an employee’s personality, you provide an opportunity for absolutely everyone to give the ultimately best results, whatever the person does. This automatically increases the profitability and success of your business. I know for sure that efficiency of business grows literally with each test of the Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) of Thomas System. This is confirmed by the experience of the best Swedish companies.

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