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Want to Increase Sales? Get to Know the 4 Personality Types of Your Customers

When you do, it’s like being in their heads. This should be every sales person’s secret weapon.

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BY Marcel Schwantes - 13 Mar 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

People are are naturally wired at their very core to hear differently, speak differently, and work differently. You can thank their personality types for that.

But get this: People are also wired to make purchasing decisions differently for the same reason.

I think we're on to something here...and if you're in sales, track with me and see the bigger picture of what I'm about to propose.

In order to build better customer relationships and tap into buyer behavior that will trigger a close of sales, you have to understand not only your own personality type and how you roll, but understand your customer's personality types and how he or she rolls.

 

The 4 Personality Types of Most Buyers

Over the years, I've come across numerous personality assessments, such as the FIRO-B, Meyers-Briggs, and the DiSC. Each has its strengths, but my favorite is The PeopleMap System. It's short (seven questions), user-friendly, 95 percent accurate, and you can apply your understanding of the personality types almost immediately in a customer setting.

In The PeopleMap research, most people's personality types fall into four basic primary styles. Primary, in this sense, means it's your customer's most dominant type, which will influence your customer's decision to buy.

As I describe them, pay attention to clues that will inform you how to sell your product or service to each specific 'type.' This is as close as you'll get to being inside your customer's brain and know what they're thinking, so you know what your next move is.

 

The Leader Type

If you've taken the DiSC profile, "Leader" correlates with 'D,' or Dominant in the DiSC. This is a customer that likes to make decisions quick. He or she is driven, doesn't like small talk and wants to cut to the chase. He or she likes to take control and be in charge. You'll note this customer asserts himself right off the bat, and may tell the seller what needs to be done. For example, this personality type will walk into the car dealership, take a car for a spin, and sign a sales sheet in 30 minutes. They just don't have the time to deal with sales people. They came prepared, did their research, and knew exactly what they were looking for. Their No. 1 need in dealing with a sales team or person is to get results.

How do you sell to this personality type?

Have your sales team or person study a customer's approach and tune in to these behaviors. If that customer is a Leader Type, you want to stay out of their way! Just like the car salesman will step back and give them the key to the car and wait until they ask questions, you should do the same as it relates to your product or service.

 

The People Type

These customers may display traits of being warm, schmoozy, talkative, excited and extroverted. They have strong interpersonal skills, are great listeners, and value peace and harmony. They are social creatures who love service and that special, "personal touch." Their No. 1 need is to connect with the sales team or person.

How do you sell to this personality type?

Remember, these customers are people-oriented, so create a sales environment free of conflict, confrontation, or pushy sales people. They want to talk about how your product or service is going to help people, bring value, and make their lives better. They want to be close with your sales team during the sales process and feel part of the team. Your first priority is to drop the sales pitch, turn off "sales mode" and turn on "relationship mode." Reinforce their beliefs, be a great listener, be available, be "with them" and support them. If you master this customer interaction and serve them really well, the People Type is going to be a walking, talking, billboard for your product or service. Put lots of business cards in their hands.

 

The Free Spirit Type

This type correlates to the 'I' for Influencer in the DiSC profile or the "Popular Sanguine" in other assessments. The Free Spirit is fun-loving and likes to have a good time. They're extremely independent and are risk-takers. They value freedom, don't like to be put in a box or be constrained by your sales rules; they have little patience for boring or controlling sales routines. They like adventure, and to be in control of how and when things get done--the freedom part at play. Their No. 1 need in a sales process is personal freedom.

How do you sell to this personality type?

Get excited and celebrate with them! They're quirky, creative people who seek fun and play. They march to the beat of their own drum, so make the sales approach equally exciting and celebratory, not boring and stale. Offer out-of-the-box incentives, sweeten the pot with something novel and appealing to their sense of adventure--bungee-jumping or rock climbing tickets to a local outing. Whatever you do, make sure that they have fun during the sales cycle!

 

The Task Type

This type correlates with the 'C' for Consistent in the DiSC profile. The Task Type will be your most challenging personality to deal with. They are punctual, meticulous, structured, and very detail-oriented. They are the total opposite of the Free Spirit. Dependability and reliability are their biggest needs in dealing with a sales person.

How do you sell to this personality type?

They are cautious and have to be reassured over and over, so slow things waaay down. Don't try to pressure-sell them because they will shut down. This "steady-Eddy" personality can be a dangerous person for your sales team. They're going to take every phone call you make, track with you, listen to every piece of information, cross every T and dot every I. But your sales team's patience will be tested with this customer still being stuck in phase one and having to "think about it" after numerous conversations. They'll want to know all about the how's and why's of your product or service. Here's what do: Have great follow through, stick with the plan, don't throw curve balls (they abhor change), be dependable and reliable, and do what you said you were going to do. Be your word! In the end, your credibility and trust will win them over before the final purchasing decision. So teach your sales people to expect this and be ready for it.

 

Bringing It Home: Master Your Own Personality Type First

This whole understanding of your customer's personality type is a hill of beans if you don't first understand your own personality type in relation to your customer. This means getting to know how your own personality type naturally responds to your customers in order to sell to their type most effectively, is the first step.

For example, if you're dealing with a Task Type customer and you're a Leader Type sales person (who operates with urgency, some level of aggressiveness, and a will to get results), you'll want to be understanding of his or her incessant need for information and step off the gas to avoid friction.

If you're dealing with a Leader Type customer and you're a People Type sales person (who is naturally bubbly, outgoing, and loves to personally connect with customers), you'll want to adjust to your customer by keeping the small talk to a minimum, getting to the point, being straightforward, and selling on rationale and logic, not emotions.

If you know these things ahead of time, it'll be a game changer. You can expect it and not get mad or frustrated at your customer for being naturally wired a certain way.

Look over these descriptions of every customer that will walk come into contact with you and begin to integrate your understanding of each type into your sales process.

Take it a step further and include your support people, admin, vendors and suppliers to help them understand how to interact and communicate with different personality types (internally and with customers). Your whole sales organization will have a true competitive edge when you do.

For more information on The PeopleMap System, hit me up on Twitter.