Whether you are a business owner, a salesperson, or a customer service representative, you’ve probably figured out that people hear, speak, and understand information very differently. Not surprising since every person is unique, BUT even though people make purchasing decisions very differently, they do it for the same reason. They either buy to gain pleasure or to avoid pain – that’s it! HOW they come to those decisions and work through the process is determined by their personality. To build those lasting relationships with customers and be able to close a sale, you must be able to read them and understand how they think and digest information.
You’ll find that some people think and act quickly, while others take more time to make informed decisions. Some people are more friendly and enthusiastic, while others are more reserved. The more adaptive you and your communication skills are, the more likely you will be to develop a rapport with a variety of customers and deal effectively with a diversity of situations. In other words, you need to be able to connect on an emotional level before your buyer will trust you and pull the “buy” trigger.
Assertive – These individuals are usually goal-oriented, decisive, and competitive. They are results driven vs. relationship driven. They are usually to the point, ask few questions, look confident, and are animated when they talk. They tend to make statements vs. ask questions. To make the sale, be professional. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t make it up. Find out and follow up after. Cut to the chase. Assertives value efficiency. Explain how your offering solves their solution. They want facts, not personal opinions or testimonials. They usually aren’t great listeners, so short and to the point works best. Often CEOs fall into this category.
Amiable – These individuals are fantastic listeners and like to build a relationship with the person selling to them. They may ask more personal questions to get to know you. They are friendly, laid back, and patience. They are less formal than assertives.
To make the sale, show them a vision. What outcomes could their business achieve by buying your offering. They also need to trust you and feel comfortable with you, so build rapport with them. Show or tell them about similar clients and their successes. Amiables are risk-averse, so talking about your refund, cancellation, or guarantee will make them feel more comfortable and more likely to buy from you. Many people in nurturing roles are Amiables such as customer service reps, retail employees who deal with clients all day – they have a lot of patience.
Expressive – Similar to amiables, expressives like to build personal relationships. They like to learn more about you and build a relationship. However, what differs them from amiables is that they will also be very concerned with others’ well-being. They will be concerned with how their decision will affect the people around them. And they tend to ask less questions and speak more in statements. They tend to rely on their intuition. They are outgoing and creative, but they value respect and loyalty. If you make a promise or commitment to them and then don’t follow through, this will most likely end your relationship with them.
To make the sale, you’ll need to show them that you are looking out for their best interest and how your offering has helped others. Case studies and testimonials go a long way. They also want to know that if there is an issue, they have someone who will help them. While data is important, the key to impacting their buying decision is showing how it affects them on a human level. Also, make sure to summarize and ask questions as you go to get their buy-in and confirm they understand and everyone is on the same page. Many salespeople fall into the Expressive personality type!
Analytic – Data, data, and more data is what analytic types are interested in. They don’t want to be pitched to, they want the facts. They will ask very detailed questions about the company and the offering. Yes, they will have researched both prior to speaking to you. They value deadlines but do not make decisions quickly. They need to research and understand each option available to them before they pull the trigger. They are cautious and logical, but once they make a decision, it’s final. They are not very expressive or emotional; they are direct, formal, serious, and will listen and distill everything that you say.
To make the sale, you need to be patient. If you rush an analytic, you will lose the sale. Since they do a lot of research, you can expect to skim over the introductory info and spend more time talking about the details and any personalization or customization that could be done for them. Don’t make any claims or statements unless you have the data to back it up, and don’t exaggerate any features, as this will cause analytics to become suspicious. When providing data, be as specific as possible with actual numbers and figures vs blanket statements. And lastly, don’t try to force a relationship. If you are too complimentary or over the top, analytics will get annoyed and feel like you are being fake to make a sale. Analytics are often purchasing agents, CFOs, actuaries, accountants, and engineers – it’s all about the data!
While these are the 4 main personality types, many people don’t fall neatly into one type and are a mix of several. However, if you are familiar with the different types and can pick up on the cues in how they are communicating with you, then you should easily be able to adapt your communication style to accommodate them.
Washington Branch Manager, Assistant Vice President