Selling to different Personality styles
Types of Buyers we Deal with
Have you noticed how most people don’t like salespeople, or being sold to? When people are asked what they don’t like about salespeople they say things like:
They’re too pushy
They don’t listen
They don’t really care about me
They’re only interested in selling me something
They get aggressive if I say I’m not interested
The odd thing though is that most people don’t like being sold to, but they do like to buy things. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that many salespeople have a single, preferred style of selling and find it difficult to sell to different buyers. They use a strategy of making friends with customers and while this works sometimes, there are certain buyers who just don’t like this approach at all.
If you ask different people to describe their preferred way of buying. You get different replies:
I like to take my time
I’m an impulse buyer
I like my partner to be with me
I like to compare different products
I don’t like being sold to. I like to make my own mind up
One feature of modern, relationship selling is that we need to understand about peoples’ preferred buying behavior if we are to sell to more of them. It is a fact that people buy differently.
Some people prefer to buy quickly, others slowly. Some people need a lot of information and detail, for others a sheet of A4 with bullet points is all the information they need.
Some buyers make purchases on impulse; others take their time and try to avoid risk. Some buyers are very loyal; others will automatically choose the cheapest option. Some buyers can be quite intimidating to the point of being rude; others are quite passive and easily manipulated.
This makes selling a real challenge. To sell to all these different buyer types we need to be able to adapt our selling behaviour and make the buying process easy for each type of buyer we come across.
To begin this process we need to look at 2 aspects of buyer behavior; assertiveness and responsiveness. People who are assertive are confident and know what they want. They are not afraid to put forward opinions and are willing to listen to the opinions of others. They are not afraid of conflict and will be more than happy to argue their case. People who are highly assertive can be seen as being aggressive while people who lack assertiveness are often passive and get taken advantage of. There are times when it is appropriate to be more or less assertive and we need to recognize when these times are. Responsiveness means the extent to which people are willing to respond to us and our questions. Some people are highly responsive and will give lots of information about themselves, their problems and needs. Others are unwilling or unable to respond in this way and we see these people often as being negative or difficult.
There are four basic styles of behaviour and these are determined by the way, in which people relate to one another.
The analytical buyer
People who lack assertiveness and responsiveness are called Analyticals. The analytical buyer distrusts salespeople because they lack precision. Analyticals like to analyse and compare things.
They take their time and are wary of making quick decisions. They deal in facts and like things to be objective rather than subjective. They tend not too confident in social situations and hate small talk.
They avoid risk taking and like things to be put in writing and in detail. They find salespeople to be intimidating especially if they feel under pressure. Their main tactic for getting rid of salespeople is to stop replying to their voice mails.
The amiable buyer
The amiable buyer is highly responsive, but not very assertive. They are very friendly, good in social situations and prefer friendly relationships to conflict. Many salespeople are amiable in their nature. Amiable buyers lack assertiveness so will agree to appointments and meetings, but are they wasting your time?
They tell you what the competition are up to, but what are they telling the competition about you? Look after your amiable customers. They are loyal and unlikely to move to a competitor because that involves a certain degree of conflict and they hate giving bad news. They are nice people to be around, but find difficulty saying no and in negotiations tend to give everything away.
The expressive buyer
The expressive buyer is highly assertive and highly responsive. They are impulse buyers with low boredom thresholds and a short attention span. They love to buy concepts and will make quick, if not always good, decisions. They don’t want a lot of detail and will not read detailed proposals. They are not good listeners and like brainstorming sessions. They are confident and flamboyant, but not great when it comes to detailed thought and analysis. In negotiations they start off strong but get bored and will often make a concession just to get things over with. Expressives are impulsive buyer. Get some sort of commitment from them while you can. Once you have gone they will be moving on to their next project and will have forgotten about you.
The Driver is highly assertive, but not very responsive. This is the typical negotiator. Tough, uncompromising, doesn’t suffer fools gladly and determined to be in charge. Drivers want to be in control and can appear to be aggressive if you don’t give them what they want. They seem unfriendly at first and will impose time deadlines on meetings.
The Driver doesn’t want to be your friend, so the typical salesperson will irritate the Driver, who will often bully the salesperson into submission. The Driver drives a hard bargain and wants to win.
So, how do we deal with them?
The answer is that they need to be dealt with differently. We have to match their preferred style by becoming more or less assertive and responsive. The simplest way to sum this up is that drivers like to buy from drivers, amiables like to buy from amiables, expressives like to buy from expressives and analyticals like to buy from analyticals.
Whatever our preferred style we have to match the behaviour of the person we are selling to. Speed up, slow down, get into the detail, sell concepts, be friends, or don’t bother.
The analytical buyer
Don’t be pushy
Take your time
Action rather than words
Stick to specifics – and don’t overstate
Discuss reasons and ask `why?' questions
The amiable buyer
Seek common ground
Find out about personal interests
Give personal assurance
Take your time to be agreeable
Focus discussion on `how'
Demonstrate low risk solutions
The expressive buyer
Ask open questions
Keep the pace – don’t make them bored
Work out specifics on points of agreement
Try short, fast moving experience stories
Get commitment today
Be assertive. Use eye contact
Discuss actions and results
Keep it to the facts
Get to the point fast
Tell them what’s in it for them up front
Learn how to say no
People buy differently,…so we should sell to them differently try to Determine their type within the first few minutes, Be flexible, Learn to shift. Understand your own preferred style and the strengths and weaknesses it brings to the way you sell. You have to learn to be flexible if you are going to sell to a wider range of people. Work on being more or less assertive and more or less responsive and you will sell to more people.
We highly recommend you take a look at our Behavior styles article for the characteristics of each personality style